Matt Sommers' 1962 Chevy Bel Air
(from Volume 18, Issue 201)

While making our way through the show car field at the Spring Daytona Beach Car Show during March, we obviously came across many cool cars. In addition to taking pictures for the show coverage that would follow, we were also keeping an eye out for future feature cars that we could shoot on site inside Daytona International Speedway. When we stumbled across this 1962 Chevy Bel Air we really liked the cool look of the car, quality craftsmanship that was apparent throughout, and the mix of old and new that went into crafting it. Before long we found ourselves chatting with the owner about various items on the car, and asking if we could shoot it for a feature. That is when we noticed half a dozen business cards for Sommers Racing & Performance tucked into the rubber around the windshield. Figuring that maybe Sommers had done some work on the car we inquired, at which point we realized that the owner we were talking to was actually Matt Sommers, who also owns Sommers Racing & Performance.

Matt started Sommers Racing & Performance in 2004 while living in Minnesota, and moved to Hudson, Florida in 2008. Though his business had initially started by doing race cars, it has evolved to include street rods and any kind of hot rod car, in addition to race cars. They do everything from minor repairs to complete frame-off restorations, plus sell high performance parts and do installs. Matt figured it was time to build his own street car, so he put together the 1962 Chevy Bel Air you see here as a complete frame-off restoration. Matt Sommers did all the work himself at Sommers Racing, along with help from Greg Sommers and Jeff Stone. They did everything but the interior and paint, with the car becoming a rolling testimonial to the quality work his shop is capable of.

Walking up to the car you first notice the nice Corvette yellow paint, done by Sam Pagano, and the Coys wheels (17-inch fronts, 18-inch rears). The body was kept pretty well stock, so when you pop open the hood it is a pleasant surprise to find a modern engine inside the immaculate compartment. Sommers took a new LS1 Corvette motor which produces 350+ horsepower, slipped it between the frame rails, and topped it with goodies. That included a set of Hedman headers and Flowmaster mufflers, billet serpentine pulleys, and a custom aluminum radiator. Shifting is handled by a Tremec TKO 600 5-speed manual transmission, and the power passes back to a custom built 9-inch Ford rear end.

Looking around the car you’ll also notice that every line is stainless steel braided with AN fittings, which lends performance and a custom hot rod look. The car utilizes rack and pinion steering, Global West suspension in the front and rear, plus CPP disc brakes all around. Inside the car’s clean theme continues, with a leather interior by Street Seats. It retains a basically stock look inside, except for the Autometer gauges, and Classic Auto Air system under the dash to keep things cool.

Everywhere we looked we were impressed with the attention to detail that Matt and the crew at Sommers Racing & Performance put into the car. That included underneath, which looks as immaculate as those areas directly visible. I’m sure Matt will have loads of fun with this resto-mod Bel Air, and in the process showcase his talents wherever the car is displayed. Sounds like a win-win situation to me! CN