This ’55 Chevy Is A True Street And Strip Terror

When Dale Poore discovered this ’55 Chevy 210 Del-Ray sedan in 1986, it wasn’t in the best of shape. “It was an off-color, and had a couple of old Pontiac bucket seats in it,” he says. “There probably wasn’t one stretch of wiring that hadn’t been spliced multiple times.”

55 chevy

The original 327 had a hole in one piston and a lot of stuff was cobbled up. Dale’s project did start out with reasonably good body panels.

Dale took pride in rebuilding the ’55 Chevy a little at a time, and today, he’s extremely proud of the way his hot rod turned out.

I repainted the car in 1990. It took another five years to get it to the point it is now. – Dale Poore

Dale was very fortunate the car was nearly rust-free. “It was a little beaten up, but had very little rust,” he affirmed. “The corners had a tiny bit of rust, but the headlight caps are all original. They’ve never been touched.”

The frame is stock, and Dale doesn’t have a rollcage installed. “I wanted the original look of the ’55, but it’s not all original under the hood,” he says. “I drag race it more than I drive it on the street. I will admit, I’m cutting it close to the NHRA limit, racing without a cage at my speed and e.t.

Poore tells us that he has gone under the 7.50 NHRA e.t. limit on the 1/8-mile tracks a few times, but he wants to keep this car minus a rollcage. He did smile and say "oops" when his '55 has pulled of a few 7.30 e.t.s.

The body is all 1955 steel. He left the original back window in place, but had to replace the remainder of the glass. He sprayed the body himself with BASF-Diamont base and clearcoat paint.

Inside, the ’55 Chevy sports retro-style, vinyl-pleated black and red seats and door panels. Dale had stock-style black carpeting installed along with three-point seat belts. Tiger Upholstery completed all of the interior work. A Speedway Motors three-gauge cluster is in the stock dash monitoring water, oil, and volts, while an Autometer tach with shift light is clamped to the steering column. An Ididit tilt-steering column holds an old-style chrome three spoke steering wheel. He also keeps a G-Force Racing Gear helmet on the seat for race day.

Dale left the original front A-arms in place, adding 90/10 Calvert Racing shocks, stock springs, and Chevelle rotors and calipers to the front suspension. In the rear, he added a Currie Enterprises 9-inch rearend fitted with 4.11 gears and spool. The brake system is rounded out with drum brakes in the rear and a Jeg’s Performance master cylinder for stopping power. Wheels are Weld Draglites, 4-1/2 x 15 on the front and 8 x 15 on the rear. While racing, he installs Mickey Thompson front runners and 27 x 11 Hoosier Quick Time Pros on the back.

55 Chevy

Dale’s self-built 383ci small-block stroker has more than 225 passes on it with absolutely no problems. Dale thanks Ronnie Allen for his help on the engine and the use of his shop.

Power is provided by a 383ci small block. A Holley Performance 750 Ultra XP carburetor sits on top of an Edelbrock Air Gap dual-plane intake. Dale used a General Motors production 350 block and oil pan, and added Trickflow Specialties 215 heads. Harland Sharp 1.5-ratio roller rockers with COMP Cams retro lifters are in place.

A Scat Enterprises cast crank and 5.7-inch rods, SRP 9.5:1 compression pistons, and a Summit Racing crank balancer make up the rotating assembly. A Mallory Unilite distributor and MOROSO Performance wires send the spark to E3 spark plugs. He uses a cold-air box and finished it all off with Hedman Hedders 1-5/8-inch headers. The best quarter-mile e.t. for the ’55 to date is an 11.67 seconds at 115 mph.

A 9-inch rearend is bolted to Caltrac traction bars combined with stock Chevrolet leaf springs.

The transmission is a Turbo 350 with a Hughes Performance 3,000-stall converter, TCI Auto sprag, manual-shift valve body, and a Summit Racing flexplate. Shifting is via a B&M Mega Shifter with reverse lock-out. The stock driveshaft was fitted with Spicer U-joints for strength. Dale thanks Larry Akins for building the transmission. He noted it has the same number of passes as the engine.

The ’55 Chevy weighs in at 3,400 pounds with him in the seat. “Removing little things helped with taking some weight away,” he says. “I weighed it before, but I always wanted it lighter for drag racing. When I crossed the scales at Beech Bend Raceway last year, I was pretty happy with the 3,400-pound number.”

Dale proudly states he did a great deal of the work on the car himself. “I did it all except the interior, transmission, and got help with the 383,” he says. “My dad, Arnold, was always there to help me with the ’55 until his death in 2009.”

He credits his Dad for getting him interested in cars at a very young age. They went to car shows and races, and worked on their personal cars together. He knows it was a valuable experience and an excellent start for him.

Poore has been drag racing the ’55 since 2008, and he claims it has been a ton of fun. He is looking for another ’55 that he can build to run in the 10.50-second zone while converting this one to a full-time street hot rod.

Dale is starting to get an itch to go faster, but has no plans to cut up his pristine ’55 Chevy. “I’d like to put this one back on the street and then build a dedicated drag car,” he says. “It wouldn’t take much to put this car back on the street full-time. I just need to put in a different transmission, rear-gear ratio, and take a little stall out of the torque converter. I like the reliable engine combination I currently have. I want to build one similar with a little more power.”

For now, he’ll keep running his ’55 Chevy at local tracks and attend the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion and other nostalgia events each year. When he finds another ’55 Chevy just lying around, all the fun will begin anew with a little help from his friends and family.

About the author

Todd Silvey

Todd has been a hardcore drag racing journalist since 1987. He is constantly on both sides of the guardwall from racing photography and editorship to drag racing cars of every shape and class.
Read My Articles

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