1955 Chevy 210
Built by Rudi van der Merwe
When you think of a 1955 Chevy, you think of beautiful body curves, huge chrome bumpers, immaculate paint job, expensive wheel, all perfectly put together, cruising down the road looking all pretty and shiny. The same feeling you get when you see a beautify woman in a elegant night grow walking past. Lucky Lucile is not a elegant beautify woman, she doesn’t show a bit of leg to teas the boys, NO. Lucky Lucile is the woman your Mommy warned you about, she body slam you and ride you like a Harley.
Rudi Van Der Merwe from Pretoria is the proud owner of this interesting 1955 Chevy 4 door, bad ass that he calls Lucky Lucile. Rudi tells us the story of his beloved Lucky Lucile.
When I was 16 I heard a V8 for the first time and I fell in love, I just knew I had to have one!. Growing up in a small Freestate town called Heilbron (about 120km from Joburg)I had my first bike when I was 8 and my first car at 16 (a 1972 Toyota Carona bakkie), My dad helped me to buy my first V8, a Chevy small block that was in pieces for R700 bucks, and with the help of local gear heads and the engineering shops and I al lot of school fees on “bargain parts”we finally got her ruining on the engine stand! What a feeling! Hearing that V8 rumble for the first time without mufflers.
Well now I had the engine, and was looking for a car to put it in. I spotted a old car sitting under a tree. I just had to have it. So I sold the Carona bakkie and brought the 1955 Chevy 4 door sedan for R6500. It had very little rust and still had the old straight six blue flame motor. Before tearing her apart, my mates and I, used to hunt rabbits with a shotgun through the mielie fields with that car! Well the V8 had to go somewhere, so we stripped her down put the V8 in with auto box and a El Camino diff.
That was nice for a while, later I got that itch to go faster so in went a Iskenderian cam, Rhoads lifters, Edelbrock Performance intake and a Holley 600 carb. That made a huge difference. The car took me to Pretoria for 3 months, each year back in the day when I was doing my diesel mac apprenticeship.
I still remember scaring people in the car because when you push the brakes(drum brakes) it used to be all over the road!
After I qualified as a diesel mac, I went to work in England and I had some time to obsess about what I want to do with my Chevy! At the time the car was the typical SA 80’s Rod and I began to realize that it wasn’t me. I wasn’t happy, it was still too slow, looked way to tame and just not getting the juices pumping!
I brought a book about turbo-charging and became interested in the idea of doing a turbo conversion on the Chevy. I saved up some cash in the UK and the first thing I did when I got home was to swap the El Camino rear for a shortened Ford 9inch. To be able to fit some nice fat BF 275’s under the wheel wells. It is also a nice basis to be able to handle the power I was planing to put down on the tar.
Next was a suspension rebuilt with polyurethane bushes and disc brakes front and rear, also lowered and moved the engine back for weight transfer purposes. Then came the new seats, roll-cage, battery relocation, polycarbonate windows, locally fabricated throttle body fuel injection, Gotech Engine Management Systems and the big turbo conversion.
The car keeps evolving as we speak, it fist had a Medium sized RAJAY Turbo Products on, it now has a ginormous Schwitzer turbo on, off a Mercedes Actross truck and a massive custom made inter-cooler.
The inspiration for Lucky Lucile came from the fifties bomber airplanes! Those old big planes were tough as nails and the pilots were real characters and definitely lived live to the fullest! Not this bullshit white collar, Greenpeace SUV driving society we living in today! That was a time when Gas was cheap, Hot Rods was bad ass, rock and roll ruled, whiskey on the rocks was the drink off choice!
I feel if you build a car, it’s like a artist painting a picture, freedom of expression and to do anything you want, that”s respect!
The car is named after actual bomber plane that flew during World War II !Lucky Lucile!
The car now makes about 300kw at 0.8 bar boost. Thanks for all the gear heads who helped me with Lucile.
@JacoFerriera (stainless work)
@LauHerne (aluminium fabrication)
@Micheal de Carvalio (bonnet)
@Maurits Lourens (decals)
@Leon van der Merwe (general technical ‘guru’)
Future plans is a Forged rotating assembly,with 1.2 bar boost!and a 10 second Quarter mile!