Bodie Stroud A Blast From The Past

1957 GMonster Chevy Bel Air

SA HotRods Magazine ran an article on Bodie Stroud and his award-winning 1957 GMonster Chevy Bel Air back in 2014. To date, this has been one of the best looking Tri-Five cars ever featured. RestoMod decided to dust off the photos and give the GMonster some much-deserved love.

Bodie Strouds success story is quintessentially American. He worked for the same company for15 years, starting out as a heavy diesel mechanic. And working his way up the ladder until hedecided it was time to pursue his dream of owning his own hot rod shop and founded BodieStroud Industries.

He started out in a small two-man shop in North Hollywood, California in 2007.Since he has built a name for himself as one of the most skilled custom car builders in theworld. He uses his unique ability to work on both the aesthetics and mechanics of a vehicle. Therefore, hehas created some of the custom car worlds most talked-about vehicles. This includes the nowlegendary 1960 Starliner Scarliner and actor/comedian Tim Allens exquisite 427 COPOCamaro.

One vehicle that has always loomed large for Bodie has been the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Hisfather owned one when he was a child. Bodie was immediately enamoured with all thechrome and the big metal turquoise dash on the 57. However, it wasnt until Bodies childhoodfriend James Cole came to see him, that he had the chance to work his unique style on one.

Cole had previously owned and restored a 1956 Bel Air which he sold to start his business andsupport his family. Once his business was successful, he decided it was time to finally realize hisdream of owning a 1957 Bel Air. Once a vehicle was sourced, James turned Bodie loose withtwo requirements. |One, it must have a big block engine and two, the car must match his wifes BlueMy Mind nail polish. With nearly limitless possibilities, Mr Stroud set to work.

Bodie began by modifying the stock chassis to work with a custom four-link rear suspension as well ashis newly designed bolt-on Tri-Five front suspension. Both these, utilize Bodies ingenious(and patented) EZ-Aline system which makes alignment changes extremely simple. Even withthe wheels in place. Quality damping and easy ride height adjustment are provided by RideTechcoil-overs.

All of this amounts to an incredibly modern suspension that should be able to betweaked to suit nearly any driving style. Bodie decided to go with a relatively conservative(relative to his past builds anyway) wheel and tire package with BF Goodrich G-Force tires. They weremounted to Rushforth 19 x 8.5-inch wheels on the front and 20 x 12 inch Rushforth rear wheelsclad in Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires. Ample stopping power is provided by top of the linesix-piston Wilwood callipers and 13-inch rotors at all four corners.

As per Mr Coles design brief, the Bel Air is powered by a massive Chevy 509 cubic inch bigblock engine from QMP Racing out of Chatsworth, California. Fuel injection is handled by aKinsler Dragon Claw EFI system. This brings modern power, control, and economy to the buildwhile still retaining a super slick vintage look. Fuel is delivered by an Aeromotive A1000 pumpwhich is controlled by a Fast XFI electronic fuel management. Exhaust duties are handled bycustom headers and a custom three-inch stainless steel setup from MagnaFlow.

With an engine of this size and power, some serious cooling is needed and that is handled by aMatsons radiator and dual 14-inch electric fans from SPAL. What do all these lust-worthy partsget you when all is said and done? How about a staggering 800 horsepower ran on 91 octane pump gas.

Clearly, no ordinary transmission and rear end combination would hold up to theabuse that the big block will be dishing out. So power is routed through a 4L80E transmissionthat has been beefed up by the transmission gurus at TCI, a custom three-inch aluminium InlandEmpire driveshaft, and a Strange-built Ford nine-inch rear end.

All of that power is going to create quite a bit of heat under the hood as well as inside thecabin. Bodie Stroud looked to the A/C experts at Vintage Air to manage the internal temperature. This was to help the vehicles occupants stay cool. The modern seats and interior have beenupholstered in fine black leather with contrasting silver stitching from Corona Concepts.

Thebillet steering wheel and column are both from Flaming River and the modern instrumentscome courtesy of Dakota Digital. The custom centre console houses a Kenwood seven-inchtouch screen double-DIN head unit as well as a mini iPod docking station which drive Power Bassspeakers. A combination which is sure to make itself heard, even above the thunderous roar ofthat big block power plant.

Six months and thousands of hours of work later, the vehicle was completed. The iconic1957 Chevy Bel Air was finalized by being given a name worthy ofits monstrous engine andsizable presence: GMonster.

With a vehicle as recognizable as the Tri-Five Chevrolet, its tough to do something new. Toreally step outside the box and challenge preconceived notions as to what is and what is notacceptable. Furthermore to really make people pay attention. The 57 Bel Air is the car that weve allseen a million times. It has in some way been a part of all our lives. Its almost ubiquitousthroughout the classic car world. This familiarity can be both a blessing and a curse for abuilder.

Bodie Stroud has managed to do something that most people would have thought impossible. Hes taken something very iconic and has re-engineered it to make it modern and new whileretaining that familiarity of the Bel Air. It takes someone with just the right skill set and perfecttiming to do what hes managed to do with the GMonster.

Everything speaks to his abilities asboth a designer and a builder. From the gigantic engineto the ingenious suspension, to the updated, but still classic interior. What is even more impressive is that with his Tri-Fivesuspension, hes made it repeatable. Thus anyone with a Tri-Five can make it handle with bolt-onparts; thats quite a contribution to the automotive community.

Bodie has a truly unique way of looking at a car. He has an extremely successful track record ofbuilding cars. They are crazy in the sheer scope of their modification and yet familiar. Most importantly, stillrecognizable as the cars on which theyre based. This is why the world tends to pay attentionwhen Mr Stroud opens the door to his shop and rolls something out.