Posted on: Nov 14, 2012
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'56 Chevy Packs Toyota NASCAR Power


This classic piece of Americana may look like a faithful restoration, but underneath the teal hood lurks a TRD racing engine with 650 horsepower.
It may be the '57 Chevy Bel-Air that most people think of first when it comes to classic American metal of that era, but the '56 looks every bit as gorgeous as the model that followed. It's an especially enticing prospect when it packs a modern NASCAR engine under the hood. Yes, you read that right, and no, we're not high. We're talking about a 1956 Chevrolet Two-Ten coupe that's had a 650-horsepower, 5.8-liter OHV V8 from Toyota Racing Development dropped into the engine bay.

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The engine swap puts the difference between a modern "stock" car and the actual stock vehicles they're meant to emulate into even starker perspective. The 358 cubic-inch engine developed as the first import in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck series may be smaller than the big-blocks fitted to some hot rods, but you can bet it produces more power than most. It's been mated to GM's 4L80E Hydra-Matic electronic transmission - the same used in Chevy's heavy-duty pickups and Suburbans - and coupled with a power steering rack, coil-over suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. In other words, it's not just the engine that's been upgraded on this classic piece of Americana.
Of course it's the vintage styling that people will notice first, and this one's a real beaut. It's decked out in Nassau Blue and white for a gorgeous two-tone finish inside and out - even under the hood and in the trunk. Oh, and did we mention it can be yours? That's right, this beast of a classic is up for grabs at RM Auctions' upcoming liquidation of the Cars of Dreams Museum in North Palm Beach, Florida. The vehicle is expected to fetch upwards of $100,000 when the gavel drops at the beginning of December. (Photos by Teddy Pieper, courtesy of RM Auctions.)

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