1957 Chevy 150 Business Coupe – A Bay Area Bruiser
The 1957 Chevy 150 Business Coupe could be ordered in a number of configurations. Most were purchased by salesmen logging endless road miles selling their wares. As a result, the bulk of them were ordered with the “Blue Flame” 140hp inline 6.
Whoever originally ordered this model had to be a speed demon. It’s the ultimate “delete car.” It was manufactured at the old Oakland, California GM plant which shuttered in 1963 and spent its entire life in the Bay Area. With the “V” designation in the VIN – it was a coveted V8 version featuring one of the biggest and most powerful engines Chevy had to offer at the time – the “Super Turbo Fire” 283c.i. V8. That setup came with dual 4-barrel carburetors and was rated at 270 hp. This car also featured the rear seat delete, radio delete, heater delete and stationary rear quarter windows. True to form, this business coupe was all business when it came to acceleration. The only thing its owner was selling was win lights at Fremont Drag Strip.
While scanning Craig’s List in 2008, South City Rod & Custom founder Bill Ganahl saw it listed. He scooped it up and began collecting as many OEM parts as possible with the goal of turning it into a 60s street survivor. The sheet metal was clean but the firewall was beat to hell from a backyard big block swap. When Bill’s “projects” became too numerous to house, he sold it to his father Pat. Pat Ganahl is just as good as Bill at collecting vintage hot rod parts. Over the next several years, Pat assembled lost gems for the coupe including the holiest of holy’s – a Sun tachometer transmitter. “This whole car was built around that tach box,” joked Bill.
Eventually after South City Rod & Custom was gaining steam as a signature hot rod shop and Pat began to realize the scope of a restoration, Bill bought the car back from his dad with the idea he could perhaps build it for a client into his 60s street survivor vision. He placed a call to customer Tony Jurado to see if Tony knew anyone who might be interested. The more they got to talking, the more Tony got lathered up. “Let’s do it” Tony said.
With that – Bill and his team of Donny Welch, Ron Brooks, Jair Valle and Greg Robledo got to work. Bill and his guys specialize in “legacy” cars, especially those with Bay Area ties so this business coupe restoration was right in their wheel house.
They opted to keep the stock suspension yet “squat” the ass end with lowering blocks while the front end was treated with slightly more aggressive springs. “We wanted the stance era correct and to make it look like it was coming off the line,” Bill said.
As with the underpinnings, the engine was left alone albeit freshened and completely gone through with the addition of a hotter Duntov cam. With the chassis and drivetrain set, the bodywork chores commenced with Ganahl and Welch making all new floors, a hand-fabbed firewall and patchwork around the drip rails. It was gapped then sent next door (literally) to Compani Color for prep and paint. Master painter Joe Compani shot it GM Anniversary Gold – an eye-pleasing 1962 Impala color.
Inside, the interior was redone in black vinyl with one inch pleats by Chris Plante. The dash was repainted its stock combination of black and silver while the addition of the Moon Tachometer and Superior steering wheel cemented the 60s vibe.
The addition of American five spokes in front and chrome reverse steelies with cheater slicks out back finished off the groovy street look. As you can see the South City team absolutely nailed it.
The stance, the guts, the motor and the glowing gold hue make this one of the most bitchin’ ’57 Chevys to come down the pike in a long while. Its Bay Area heritage will surely be celebrated by its new owner Tony Jurado with a throttle stomps throughout all the old haunts.