If this Bow Tie is baffling you, don't stress out about it, that's part of the '57 Chevy's appeal. At first glance, everything looks right and wrong at the same time, yet for some reason, you can't stop staring. Mark Espino's black beauty is no stranger to rubberneckers, but it's the journey from start to finish that is nearly as entertaining as the classic truck. We have a saying around the office, "A project truck is never really finished," but for Mark's Chevy, the build is now complete and he enjoys the days of disturbing the peace in the truck he named Dragula.
Purchased from Choppers Inc. bike builder Billy Lane, the '57 Chevy was already lowered with a Camaro subframe, rolled on 15-inch Pro Street wheels, and the '58 Apache fleetside bed was in place. The engine and interior were more than presentable and even the black paint was nice. Wanting to make the truck his own, Mark dropped the truck off at Jose Pena's Drops "R" Us shop in Houston. Jose and his crew quickly got to work bolting on Impala drop spindles and Firestone airbags on the front end. Out back, Jose fabricated a custom ladder bar setup, notched the frame for added clearance, and bolted on a pair of Firestone 'bags to really bring the truck down low.
One of the most notable upgrades bolted on, the '07 Corvette Z06 big brakes stand out and let the naysayers know that this truck was built for fun. Of course, those brakes do seem to get lost by the beautiful Bonspeed Atom wheels. Up front, the 22x8.5-inch Bonspeed wheels are wrapped in 255/30R22 Pirelli tires and out back, the coup de grace is a matching pair of 24x14-inch Bonspeed wheels wrapped in Pirelli 405/25R24 rubber. It's a look that cannot be overhyped-9 inches of rear lip looks incredible. With the air let out of the 'bags, the '57 Chevy hovers over the Texas tarmac with a stance that can easily be described as nailed.
Powering the Chevy is the original 454ci big-block built by Billy Lane. Thanks to a high-rise intake, .580-lift camshaft, and Hooker headers with MagnaFlow mufflers, the engine runs strong and has an unmistakable rumble. With those massive wheels in the back, the rearend was narrowed and the ring-and-pinion was replaced with a mini street spool with 4.10 ratio. Shifting chores are handled by a Turbo 350 equipped with a TransGo shift kit and 3,600 rpm stall converter. Billet and chrome goodies dress up the engine bay, while a Vintage Air A/C kit ensures Mark remains nice and cool during those hot summer days.
Thanks to Billy, the body was in amazing shape when Mark drove the '57 home, and the crew at Choppers Inc. had already added the '58 Apache bed, shaved the tailgate, welded in a roll pan, and smoothed the firewall. All Mark needed to was drive the truck to his own shop, Hot Dog Customs, also in Houston, where the talented guys got to work making the interior look its best. Adding black suede to the red-leather bench seat, the interior took on a whole new persona, while a matching Bonspeed steering wheel really set the cabin off. Behind the seat, Hot Dog Customs built a ported sub enclosure for a 13.5-inch JL Audio sub and two Lunar amps. Alpine R-series components fill the truck with mids and highs, while a Pioneer navigation/DVD head unit handles the signal input. More red leather and black suede were used under the sheetmetal tonneau cover as the Hot Dog crew covered the wheel tubs and bed floor for a show-ready look.
Driving in the '57 is like being the president in Chicago, you're an instant celebrity and people can't stop smiling. Mark's already won several Best of Show awards with the Chevy and he drives it every chance he gets. During the build, he worked with many talented people and he was quick to thank Billy Lane, Drops "R" Us, Hot Dog Customs, Moises Guerrero, and the entire Ground Zero crew. Now that the recognition has been handed out, Mark can go back to disturbing the peace in his beautiful '57 Chevy.
Simply a thing of beauty. Bonspeed wheels, measuring 24x14 inches provide the insane, Big-
Brakes from an '07 Corvette Z06 let you know quickly that this truck isn't messing around.