Ron Dickerson's 1957 Chevy (from Volume 13, Issue 141)

If you’ve watched one of the many car themed shows on cable TV odds are good you’ve also seen this 1957 Chevy featured in a commercial for American Motorsports in Orlando during one of those programs. It belongs to Ron Dickerson, who owns American Motorsports, and the commercial has a comical side. It starts off showing a kid on a Big Wheel pedaling as hard as he can to spin that plastic front tire.....then the video transitions to a beautiful 1957 Chevy doing a big smokey burnout. During that visual the voice-over states something along the lines of “You may have changed over the years, but your need for speed has not”. While this is cute and funny, it is also very true - as I’m sure many of us simply went from one toy to the next until in the end we found ourselves behind the wheel of a car like we’ve always dreamed of since childhood. I’m sure Ron Dickerson was no different, and one of his current toys is the 1957 featured here.

Ron has had a “need for speed” for many years, and has raced for about the last 40. This included competing in Top Sportsman, running mountain-motored Pro Stocks, and even Funny Cars. After having owned Altas Glass he decided to focus his automotive enthusiasm into a business by opening American Motorsports about seven years ago.

Ron purchased this 1957 Chevy a little more than three years back, and it certainly fits in with that “need for speed” theme thanks to an alcohol burning 472 cubic inch big block Chevy from Oddy Perfection in New York. With the help of a BDS 871 blower it puts out 1,400 horses through an ATP built electronic Powerglide, which has a two-piece race converter and is equipped with upshift and downshift buttons in lieu of a traditional shifter. Out back resides a Ford 9-inch rear end with a set of ladder bars, while the front sub-frame came from a Camaro.

The car was built for the famous Canadian photographer Steven Rudd by Voo Doo Customs in Whitby, Ontario. Though it was completed about 13 years ago you’d never know it by looking at the car, as everything is still absolutely immaculate. Other than a few things over the years that have been taken off or changed every Phillips head screw is indexed (north, south, east and west) from nose to tail so they all face the same direction. The exterior was treated to 18 coats of gorgeous candy brandywine paint, with ghost flames in the front, plus subtly done ghost flames on the fins out back. A set of American Racing Torque Thrust II rims keep the traditional hot rod look alive, and out back are fitted with beefy 33x21.5x15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tires that certainly still strain to grip the tarmac with all the horsepower produced with just the blip of the throttle.

Inside you’ll find all the goodies that accompany going fast, but with a classic look that includes a red and white tuck and roll Connely leather upholstery. Because it was made to not only look good but also pound out low quarter mile times it has an NHRA legal roll cage. Though some may be surprised to also find a back seat, along with an AM/FM cassette player in the dash which is mated to a 6-disc CD changer located in the trunk.

Weighing in at 4,400 pounds with no driver this radical ‘57 Chevy has clocked a 9.20 second elapsed time at 150 mph in the quarter mile on slicks. With those types of performance numbers, combined with great looks inside and out, you can imagine that it certainly draws a crowd wherever it goes.

The focus for Ron opening up American Motorsports was to have a business that he could do with his son Tim, and build it up for Tim’s future. Unfortunately, as fate would have it Tim passed away in an accident nearly five years ago. Since then Ron has dedicated not only the shop, but his gorgeous ‘57 Chevy to Tim’s memory. CN