1955 Chevrolet Del Ray

Owner: Mick & Susie Hunter, Sisters, OR

This is my 5th 55 car since 1965. I have had one 55 chev pickup as well. Big back window short box. 350 hp 327 4 spd. I had that one for 7 years and accept for paint it was ready to go.
I have had four posts ( One standard 210 and three Del Rays ) and one 2 BelAir door hardtop plus the 55 pickup.

I have had three 62 Impalas. 67 RS Camaro. 78 Camaro. 95 Z-28. 85 Corvette. 89 Corvette roadster. 94 corvette roadster and all very enjoyable. I still keep coming back to the 55 and I know at this stage of my life this is where I want to stick.

As for my current 55 Del Ray - - - - - -
I got the car on consignment from a man that had it at Premium Motors when they were in fife.
For over 4 years I was driving the Corvettes and going to the cruise's. I wanted a 55 every time I looked at one. I kept saying to Susie that I need to get one of these again and we agreed to look seriously. I wanted one I could work on and not pay 30 grand. For the four years I looked and talked with people I could not find one that was for sale that wasn't almost completely finished or if it needed work they wanted too much for the car compared to the ones that I looked at that were turn key ready to go.

I was getting a bit discouraged.

One day in Feb. 2001 I was going to take my Granddaughter to help her practice and we took the Corvette I looked over and saw the 55 on the lot. I told Brittany that when we were coming home I thought we would stop in and look at it as I did almost ( Susie says EVERYTIME ) I saw a 55 on the side of the road or in a lot.

When we stopped at Premium I parked the Corvette in the lot next to where the 55 was sitting out front. There were 4 or 5 people looking at it and James came up and asked if I wanted to trade in the Corvette in a kidding manner. I told him " I was just looking" as usual.

I noted it had a 4 speed and the engine had some fairly nice parts polished. The body was fairly straight and it was most definitely a driver. It had a 87 IROC 305 and the tires were good. It had a single AFB on a polished manifold and Centerline Hurricane wheels. I'm a 5 American mag guy myself.

The paint looked good for a driver with some bug chips in front. 4.10 posi and power front discs.
The engine compartment needed a lot of work to be as detailed as I would like even for a driver.
A driver was my goal from the start. I knew I needed to have one I could drive dependably for the many trips Susie and I take to see our 3 children and all of our Grandchildren. 9 to be exact. Too many for a two seat Corvette.

At any rate I noticed the asking price for what I saw as the quality of the car was about 4 to 5K less than most I had looked at over the past 4 years.  Brittany sat in it. ( My 11 year old Granddaughter at the time and thought it was a neat car. She enjoyed the Corvette with the top down very much though.) the car had papers and phone numbers to verify all information. The car was built in 87 in Ontario Canada. 94 Olds Crimson Red and off white two tone. I made an offer to trade the Corvette and Rich Marsh bought it and I ended up with my 55.  I have not been much more excited over buying a car since my first 55 I think.

When I drove that car off and started shifting that Hurst linkage I felt as most that grew up with these cars and owned them when we were 16 yrs old.

Thank you to my friends at Premium motors for working hard to get the deal for me. James and Rich. You guys are great!!!

I took it straight to work and the typical comments from the non-mechanical non-Hot Rod people was - - You guessed it ! - - - - - Are you going through you second childhood? My immediate reply was this. No --- I never did get out of the first one. You assumed from your own experience and limited knowledge that forces you to blurt out conventional cliché's when you see someone enjoying their passion and hobby as I am right now. OH -- Even if I were going through my seconded childhood . . . . Don't you wish you had the courage to go through yours without being concerned of the comments from the people you worry about what they think? By the way. I give everyone that has the energy and ability to go out and own one of their classic cars and has someone pop that mindless comment from being jealous to use that same line of response.
Please do it in your normal tone of being civil as most of the people I come into contact that own one of these classic has. One of the reasons I enjoy being in the NWCCC.

Improvements since that first day.
-All new wheel bearings.
-Both rear were bad.
-Replaced the 4.10's with 3.55's
-New driveline and U-joints.
-New 7 X 15 Torq Thrust polished Alum mags.
-New BelAir dash insert with no lighter or radio holes. ( AM-FM Sony CD in the Glove compartment.)
-All inside door handles / cranks new.
-New BelAir spears to replace dented original 210. (My personal touch to my Del Ray.)
-I had the front repainted back to the doors to get the chips out.
-New balanced 350 cu. in. 350 horse long block to replace the 305
-New Edelbrock dual quads. Matched set of 500 cfm carb's and fuel line and linkage. ( Note need for Overdrive transmission )
-Chevrolet polished valve covers
-New center force flywheel / clutch plate and disc.
-New Tremec T-56 with Hurst to replace Super T-10. T-56 first gear 2.97 5th .65 overdrive and 6th .82 overdrive. ( 10 miles to the gal increase on the highway. Now I cruise at 2,200 RPM's at 70 mph instead of 60 mph at 3,000 RPM's. I'm satisfied !!!
-I took all winter and cleaned the 50 year old grease and oil from the core support back to the mid way point to include the front A-arms and springs. Down to bare metal and all repainted. ( I really do not want to do that again without taking the front end off.)
-Rebuilt the steering with the Danchuk bearing kit that happens to be one of best improvements of all. (Replaces old bushings)
-New Flowmaster 40 series
-New 2 1/2 aluminized tail pipes
-New side motor mount and cross member to replace original front / belhousing mounts.
-New T/A's
-New speedo cable
-New Autometer gauge cluster
-New speedometer face

The idea I have for this car is to keep it as the 55's on the street that were not customized or with a straight axle for height.  I wanted to go the cast alum. American Mags like I had in 65 on my second 55 but those polished Americans won't turn me loose.  My vanity is weak in that wheel glitter area if you know what I mean.  It has the stance of many 60's and 70's 55 56 and 57's on the street when we were trying not to be lost to the new muscle cars for importance and attention. The truth is that most of us knew these cars would always be a popular favorite. How come I didn't know they would be worth so much today? Hmmmmmmm Not as smart as I thought I was at 18?

At any rate I hope this history is as interesting for the classic car nuts and wrench heads that like to hear a similar story to their own experiences.  This car has brought many new friends and endless interaction and experiences that I would have missed without it.  I am one thankful man to be able to own and share this car with so many family and friends as well the people that yell and give you thumbs up when you are driving around on a nice day or just getting gas.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and keep those classics out where others can enjoy them as well.

-Mick