1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Door Hardtop 5-Speed

In the world of classic cars, few are as iconic and revered as the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. This particular two-door hardtop has a fascinating history, having been previously owned by none other than the legendary five-time NHRA champion, Joe Amato, before being acquired by the renowned musician, Alex Van Halen, in 2013. This car boasts a unique combination of sleek black and white finishing, powered by a mighty 540ci V8 engine paired with a Tremec TKO five-speed manual transmission. Let’s take a closer look at the features and modifications that make this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air truly stand out.

Striking Exterior Features

The exterior of this Bel Air showcases a striking black and white color scheme that undoubtedly turns heads wherever it goes. During its past ownership, the car received a repaint to maintain its pristine appearance. Notable exterior features include a captivating “hood bird” hood ornament, chrome side spears and bumpers, Bel Air badging, LED taillamps, tinted window film, and dual exhaust outlets adding a touch of aggression to the design. While the paint does show minor chipping on the front fascia, left front window, left door edge, and rear trunk area, it still exudes timeless charm.

Staggered Wheels and Performance Suspension

To enhance both aesthetics and performance, the car is equipped with staggered 15″ ET Classic five-spoke wheels, wrapped in 205/60 BFGoodrich Advantage T/A tires at the front and massive 325/50 Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R tires at the rear. The vehicle’s handling is greatly improved, thanks to an Art Morrison chassis featuring independent front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. The adjustable Strange Engineering coilovers and power rack and pinion steering ensure a smooth and controlled ride. The front wheels benefit from reliable Wilwood disc brakes while the rear features durable drum brakes.

Luxurious Cabin with Retro Touches

Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a luxurious cabin boasting front bucket seats and a rear bench, all upholstered in black vinyl with white piping and accents. The interior exudes a classic vibe while incorporating modern touches. Notable features include a floor-mounted fire extinguisher, aluminum bowtie trim, a Hurst shifter, an analog clock, front shoulder belts, aftermarket speakers, and a retro-style digital cassette stereo. Conveniently located, a battery, 10-disc CD changer, and power cut-off switch are housed in the upholstered trunk, ensuring both style and functionality.

Classic Instrumentation and Odometer

The three-spoke steering wheel with a chrome horn ring frames a 110-mph speedometer, along with gauges for fuel level and coolant temperature. Adding to the vintage feel, a Mooneyes tachometer is mounted on top of the dashboard, complementing the ancillary gauges integrated into the dashboard. The mechanical odometer displays five digits, indicating 11,000 miles, with approximately 8,000 miles driven during the current ownership. The total mileage of this classic beauty remains unknown.

Performance-Packed 540ci V8 Engine

Under the hood lies the heart of this roaring beast—a 540ci V8 engine installed during a previous ownership. The powerhouse features an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, MSD electronic ignition and billet distributor, braided fuel lines, RHS cylinder heads, tubular exhaust headers, and an efficient aluminum radiator with dual electric fans. A recent oil change in 2022 ensures the engine remains in peak condition, ready to unleash its full potential.

Manual Transmission and Custom Exhaust

The thrilling power generated by the V8 engine is harnessed by a Tremec TKO five-speed manual transmission, delivering an engaging driving experience. To add to the excitement, the car is equipped with a 9-inch Positraction rear axle boasting 4.11:1 gears, ensuring optimal traction and acceleration. Additionally, a custom dual exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers enhances the engine’s growl, making sure this Bel Air’s presence is truly felt.

In conclusion, Alex Van Halen’s modified 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Door Hardtop is a true masterpiece, combining iconic classic design with impressive performance and unique customizations. This stunning vehicle, previously owned by two extraordinary individuals, Joe Amato and Alex Van Halen, holds both historical significance and a special place in the hearts of automotive and music enthusiasts alike.


  1. How many miles does this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air have? The mechanical odometer shows approximately 11,000 miles, with around 8,000 miles added during the current ownership. However, the total mileage of the car remains unknown.
  2. What engine does the Bel Air have? This Bel Air boasts a powerful 540ci V8 engine, featuring performance enhancements such as an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, MSD electronic ignition, and tubular exhaust headers.
  3. Can you tell me about the car’s exterior features? Certainly! The car sports a captivating black and white finish, LED taillamps, dual exhaust outlets, and chrome side spears and bumpers. It also has a “hood bird” hood ornament, adding to its classic charm.
  4. What kind of suspension does this car have? The Bel Air is equipped with an Art Morrison chassis, boasting independent front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. It also features adjustable Strange Engineering coilovers and power rack and pinion steering.
  5. Who are the previous owners of this Bel Air? This 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air was previously owned by the five-time NHRA champion, Joe Amato, before being purchased by musician Alex Van Halen in 2013.

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