Allen and Linda McEntire both retired early from the state of Illinois, and after moving to Florida they tried their hand at fishing, but it just wasn’t for them. Having always been involved with cars, and after seeing all the local cruises that take place, they decided to build another car for themselves. After looking around Allen decided that he really liked the styling of ‘56 Chevys, and as luck would have it some friends of his from Illinois found a ‘56, so Allen and Linda bought it from just seeing pictures. The McEntire’s friends towed it down as an excuse to visit, and about 5-1/2 years later the car has been transformed into what Allen was dreaming of, with completion coming recently.
During the car’s reconstruction it was put onto a rotisserie, where it received metal work by Willy Tollentino of Father & Son Auto in Avon Park, Florida. Santiago, the father, assisted after getting over the shock of what was needed. That included replacing the floors, supports, trunk, plus inner and outer rockers. The hood was shaved and a cable release latch installed, the door handles were shaved, as was the trunk - which now sports a Cadillac pull down latch. The cowl vent was filled in, all emblems removed, then the body was treated to Vibrance Yella and Premium White Pearl paint, both of which really shimmer in the bright Florida sun. With the addition of smoothed front and rear bumpers, plus a set of American Racing Torque Thrust II rims (17x7 inch front, 17x9.5 inch rear), the car has a classic yet flowing look.
Underneath it all you’ll now find Heidt’s tubular upper and lower A-arms, with 2-inch dropped spindles and 2-inch lowering springs. The rear end was narrowed 2-inches on each side, allowing clearance for the bigger tires residing in an Earle Williams pocket kit and mini tubs. To get the rear of the car at the proper height the rear springs are de-arched 3-inches, and utilize 1.5-inch lowering blocks. Disc brakes all around complete the undercarriage.
Residing under the hood is a 350 cubic inch, 290 horsepower crate motor, which is fitted with 3-2’s carburetion and a Joe Hunt electronic distributor. A March front mount serpentine system, Stainless Works headers and exhaust system, and lots of various plated and polished parts add visual appeal to the immaculate engine compartment, while a 700R4 overdrive automatic fitted with a Lokar shifter round out the drivetrain.
The interior has received its fair share of attention as well. That includes filling the glove box, ash tray and dash seams, adding a Flaming River steering column, installing power windows front and rear, as well as a power wing vent. Dakota Digital instruments now help keep an eye on the vitals, and a system from Classic Auto Air keeps things cool. When it came time for upholstery work the car was taken to Clint’s Custom Street Rods & Upholstery in Avon Park, Florida. There it received completely customized Cadillac Eldorado front and rear seats, a custom built lower dash and center console, and a rear package tray custom built with a center tunnel for speakers covered with a slick looking stainless screen. A total of 9 hides of Caramel Angelina leather with Concierge Apricot suede (for the headliner and various inserts) were used, including the custom padded dash, and the matching fully upholstered trunk. Stainless seat inserts and mouldings were hand built to coordinate with the hand wrapped Banjo steering wheel, hand polished power window switches in the console, billet pedal assembly, and the various other brightwork accents inside the cabin.
As we all know, building a cool car can take lots of good assistance, so Allen wanted to give special thanks to Neal Young, Gordy Stuber and Pete “Andy” Poff for their help. With a car as iconic and familiar as a ‘56 Chevy it can sometimes be hard to make it stand out from others, but Allen incorporated lots of subtle styling changes, quality craftsmanship, and good taste to make this shoebox Chevy pull in plenty of people when it is at a cruise-in or car show. I certainly like fishing, but I’m glad that Allen and Linda McEntire decided to put their efforts into building a cool car. They landed a whopper! CN