South Dakota’s G3 Rods Builds Ford Powered Chevy

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This custom 1955 Chevy roadster known as “Payback” has some surprises up its sleeve! Photos: G3 Rods

No tour of shops across the country, whether physical or digital, would be complete without a stop at G3 Rods, one of the Midwest’s premiere custom shops. Located in Rapid City, South Dakota, G3 Rods is owned by Chuck Gruba and his two sons, Ryan and Jay. What started as a small family business has grown over the years to include over 20,000 square feet of shop space and a dedicated staff that not only builds these amazing cars but also travels with them to shows all across the country.

Builders of the incredible 1969 “TREX” Camaro that went on to be a Finalist for the 2015 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year Award, G3 continues to produce amazing Chevys that enthusiasts could only dream of owning!

170A6440One of G3 Rods’ latest creations made its debut at the 2016 Detroit Autorama in February. Like all of G3’s creations, this car is all about style, class and those extra little details that put cars in the uppermost show categories. But, it’s not what you might expect. After all, it’s a gorgeous 1955 Chevy roadster that has what its namesake alludes to being a little “Payback” under the hood. That’s because this Chevy is powered by a Ford!

We know we’ve got some true-blue, diehard Chevy fans here that may scoff at the idea of any Chevy, let alone an iconic Tri-Five, being powered by a Ford V8, but when it comes down to it, this car is the best of both worlds for owner and Ford fan, Flip Cooper.

As the story goes, Cooper being the Ford fan that he is, had the Ford 427 SOHC engine in his collection when he decided it would look best between the fenders of an iconic Chevrolet. For this, he enlisted the help of G3 Rods, who found the perfect Chevy for the project – a 1955 Chevy Bel Air hardtop that had been stored and preserved in good condition for years. The rest, as they say, is history.

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A Ford motor in an iconic Chevy? Some may scoff but in this case, it’s one heck of a combination.

There are a lot of ’55 Chevys out there these days, and some pretty nice ones at that, but G3 Rods isn’t about building “just another Chevy”. So they took things up a few notches with Cooper’s wishes in mind, completely ridding the car of its top to transform it into the roadster it is today. They also channeled the body before fitting it atop a full Art Morrison chassis with a C6 front end and independent rear suspension setup.

Of course, under the cutout hood is Cooper’s previously acquired blown Ford 427 SOHC engine, which is attached to a C6 transmission and produces just over 1,000hp. Additions like Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners, one-off wheels, and sticky Nitto tires all add to the performance and appeal of this impressive machine.

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Rounding out the build are custom details like a custom grille and window frame, tucked bumpers, a custom belly pan, an a full custom blue and black interior featuring bucket seats, a custom dash with a 1957 Ford gauge, and a Kicker audio system. This is all topped off with what could only be seen as another “payback” item, a Ford GT40 Blue paint scheme. Now if that isn’t a way to have your cake and eat it too, we don’t know what is.

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About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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