1955 Plymouth Savoy – Alloway Builds a Mopar!
You can count on one hand the number of Mopars that have been hot rodded by the legendary Bobby Alloway of Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop down in Louisville, Tennessee. While those cars were bitchin’, none are as bad to the bone as his latest custom cruiser – Gene Suelzle’s black and mysterious ’55 Plymouth Savoy. Cloaked in PPG black (99% of Alloway’s projects are black), it’s dark and mysterious, especially captured at night in these photos by John Jackson (@notstockphoto)
When Suelzle, a career hot rod guy wanted something other than a 30s car, he approached Bobby Alloway a few years back about a 1955 Chevy build. “What do you think you can do to a ’55 Chevy that hasn’t already been done before,” he asked Alloway. “What do you think?” Alloway didn’t have to think too long. “I have a ’55 Plymouth at the shop,” he said. Once he started laying out his thoughts and ideas on how to build it, Suelzle was ready to start cutting checks. The car was finished last month and will appear in the PPG booth at the upcoming SEMA show where you can see it up close.
The first thing you will notice is the stance. All of Alloway’s cars rest menacingly on bigs and littles. So renowned for his rake, it has been said he builds his cars around the rear wheels. In that sense, he has perfected automotive art. Around 15 years ago, his friend Glenn Grozich of Billet Specialties began cutting wheels exclusively for all of Alloway’s builds. They are a signature look loosely patterned after classic Halibrand slots. And they work on everything – be it a 1932 Ford, a 50s car or a 70s muscle car. For Suelzle’s Savoy, Alloway went with 17s up front and 20s in the all-important ass end.
But getting the right wheel and tire combo takes a lot more than picking diameters! The Alloway team (as they so often do) cut out the floor, remade the firewall, tubbed and re-arched the rear wheel well openings before setting the massaged body on a custom Art Morrison chassis. They also de-chromed the Plymouth opting for original stainless trim. That presented a problem. They only had about a quarter of the needed parts. Thus began an exhaustive junkyard hunt for Alloway as he searched far and wide for ’55 Savoy trim coming up quite a bit short. To adjust, he sourced stainless trim from every other 1955 Plymouth he could find – Belvederes and even wagons. He collected enough then massaged it to fit like new. “I’m not like these other hi-tech shops that can just mill the parts they need,” Alloway said. “Here, we like to use as many OE pieces as possible, converting them as necessary. It helps add to the timeless look we strive for. We don’t like building trendy cars.”
Under the liquid-smooth hood lies the mother of all motors. An electronically fuel injected 500 inch-plus Chrysler Hemi built by Indy Cylinder Heads. Of course, it’s turned out in show-winning fashion and makes crazy power. A Tremec 5-speed trans ensures the power band is on point. Inside the cabin, Alloway went with his signature ’64 Thunderbird seats masterfully trimmed in black leather by Steve Holcomb with matching black carpet. The stock dash and gauges were retained but all new internals by Classic Instruments light up the night.
So there you have it. What might have turned out to be just another ’55 Chevy ended up being a menacing mid-50s Mopar sure to have tongues wagging during the 2018 event season after its SEMA debut.