Twin Turbo 1956 Chevy – Indy Airstrip Attack Half-Mile

October 2nd, 2020

One does not expect to find a twin turbocharged drag car on a half-mile airstrip course – certainly not a vintage hot rod with plans to approach a 200 mph top speed. Obviously, this 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air is beautiful. Despite being a purpose-built drag car, this classic has the body of a show car. Let’s have a closer look.

Under the hood of this black beauty is a 632 cubic-inch big block engine by Bischoff Engine Service (BES). Forced air induction is handled with a pair of 88-millimeter turbochargers. The transmission is a GM 4L80 automatic and the rear end is a narrowed Ford 9-inch. The engine is producing approximately 1,400hp running strictly pump gas. The body is all-steel and the chassis is a full tubular racing unit.

Fresh off the trailer, the big ‘shoe box’ Chevy posts a 157 mph top speed but the owner (Tom Brets) let off the throttle early. Tom promises a better effort in the next run.

Sure enough, Tom puts up a top speed of 183.74 on the next pass. He realizes that the transmission never shifted into fourth gear. Keep your fingers crossed for a better top speed next time.

On the third pass, Tom runs a 181.55 mph top speed despite traction issues on the bottom end. I don’t think Chevrolet ever planned for these cars to go this fast.

Tom rolls out on day two under overcast skies and cooler conditions with an optimistic outlook. Once again, traction issues have Tom fighting the car through the bottom end. Nevertheless, the old Chevy posts a top speed of 191 mph. Amazing!

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