Tried-and-True Two Ten – Larry Breeden’s 1957 Chevy
If you came of age in the ’60s and tagged along with your older brother in his 1957 Chevy, chances are that you’d want the same car someday. For Larry Breeden of Van Buren, Arkansas, that time is now.
“You like to go back to what you had as a kid,” Larry said.
Larry is the first to admit that his ’57 210 two-door sedan is not a six-figure trailer queen. He drives this car. The PPG tan and orange car just looks right. No fancy graphics, no multi-thousand-dollar wheels. No interior that you’re afraid to sit in because it’s so expensive. There’s nothing wrong with those big-money rides. We’d all like to own one, but Larry’s ’57 is a good example of how the rest of us can build our own dream car with simpler, tried-and-true components.
“It gets good mileage, cruises the highway at 70 miles per hour all day long,” he said. “It’s a super-nice driving car.”
Larry’s ’57 is far from a daily driver. The design is simple but stylish, functional and fun. “My car is not a real high-dollar car,” Larry said, “but people become attached to it because of its simple style.”
Larry found the straight, rust-free car in Arizona about three year ago. Local friends helped with the build, especially helping find pieces Larry needed to complete the car. Other than the removal of some trim and emblems, the body is straight stock, with an emphasis on stock.
Power comes from a Chevy crate engine. The 350c.i. ZZ4 power plant is topped with a Holley carb on an Edelbrock intake. Exhaust flows through stock-sized pipes on a dual-exhaust system. Like the rest of the car, the engine compartment is clean and simple, but well-planned and executed. A GM 700R4 four-speed automatic backs up the V8 and feeds the Currie 9-inch rearend that houses 3.55:1 gears.
The stock frame utilizes CPP steering and dropped spindles to help get the stance right and make driving easier. Four-wheel disc brakes handle the stopping chores. Oversized Wheel Vintiques steel wheels (17-inch in the front; 18-inch in the rear) host Michelin whitewall tires and provide a look that balances nostalgia with modern flair and performance. Chevy dog-dish caps and chrome trim rings set off the subtle-but-striking wheel package.
The trunk is pure vintage, with an original-style mat, spare and even a tire-changing instruction sheet. The interior respects the classic design of the 1957 Chevy. Westach gauges reside in the stock instrument cluster, while a Billet Specialties steering wheel sits on a painted ididit tilt column. Vintage Air controls and an aftermarket stereo fit with the stock trim.
The upholstery is an aftermarket kit that was skillfully installed by a local Van Buren upholsterer. That’s part of the story of how Larry’s car came to be what it is today – the help of friends and local vendors. One friend – Mark Sowell – helped Larry settle on the tan-and-orange color combination. “He talked me out of painting it black,” Larry said.
Who applied the glass-like finish? Believe it or not, a local paint and body specialist named James Glass. Really.
More friends helped supply some of the many parts and pieces needed to complete the project. “I bought several new parts from friends who didn’t need them,” Larry said. “A lot of your car friends have friends (with parts).”
Other than memories of his youth, we asked Larry why he chose a 1957 Chevy? “I’ve been involved in street rodding for years,” Larry said. “I always thought the ’32 Ford was the hot car. I now think the 1957 Chevrolet is becoming the new ’32 Ford. They’re just good-looking cars.”
Larry’s been around the car world since his family bought the local Dodge dealership in 1970. His brothers still operate the business. Larry, though, went a different way. “I didn’t like the car business, so I ventured off into other interests,” Larry said.
Still, Larry has been around cars his whole life. He’s traveled to car shows around the country for years, making hundreds of friends. That’s what he likes most about the hobby. “Best thing about this sport that I love the most is that it has the best friends in the world,” he said. “It’s not that you go to see other cars, because you do. I can go to a car show around parts of the country and see a bunch of friends that I’ve seen elsewhere.”
That brings us to another point. More than 160,000 1957 Chevy two-door 210 models came off the assembly line back in the day. If you don’t count those survivors returned to factory-original specs, there are thousands of variations of that model at almost any car show or cruise night. And it’s fine with Larry if you prefer someone else’s version of this ’50s classic.
“We all like different things,” he said. “If we all liked the same things it wouldn’t be a good sport.”