Building A Dream, Kevin & Billy Mitchell’s 1957 4-Door Hardtop

Kevin Mitchell 57 Side View
To say that the restoration of this 57 Chevy 4-door was a labor of love for Kevin Mitchell would be a huge understatement. It was more like the realization of a life long dream he shared with his father since he was a little boy. You see, Kevin’s dad was what you call in the trade, a gear head. And, as it turned out, so became his son Kevin. When Kevin was growing up he and his father spent hours and hours going thru parts catalogs and magazines planning together and fantasizing about what they were, someday, going to do with that 57 Chevy in the basement.

Billy Mitchell and Friends 1968The car was purchased in 1968 by Kevin’s father, Bill, as a daily driver. And Bill drove it every day until late 1977/78 when the car was replaced. Bill put the car in the basement to keep it safe from the Tennessee weather. There it stayed until 2006 when Kevin, Bill and Kevin’s daughter, Danielle, rousted the 57 from its slumber. The car was cleaned up and looked pretty good but the time had come for Kevin and Bill to realize their dream.

Kevin Mitchell 57 Frame OffIn 2007 Kevin started what would end up being an almost 10 year project. The 57 was treated to a full frame off restoration and Kevin did everything himself, with his father standing guard, supervising and lending a hand. First the car was totally disassembled and each part, nut, bolt etc were brought back to better than factory condition. All the stainless on the car was de-dinged and polished and what wasn’t serviceable was replaced with new from Danchuk.  Kevin Mitchell 57 Passenger Side BodyworkKevin Mitchell 57 Partially AssembledKevin MItchell 57 327 Engine InstalledKevin stripped the body down to bare metal and massaged out the few dents and dings there were in the almost pristine panels. Once the bodywork was complete Kevin shot the car with Nason Urethane Single Stage Onyx Black paint which was then wet sanded and buffed to perfection. The stock frame was blasted, painted and reassembled with all new parts. The original engine was replaced in 1974 with a 375 horse 327 crate motor which had only 8000 or so miles on it. Even so, Kevin spruced it up with new gaskets, double roller timing chain and roller tip rockers from Comp Cams. An Edelbrock intake with a Holley Street Avenger carb was installed along with a Pertronix electronic upgrade for the distributer along with a Flame Thrower coil and black MSD wires. The exhaust is handled by a set of Hooker headers that run into a custom bent exhaust system by Wolf Tire & Muffler & Automotive in Morristown, TN that features 2 Chamber 2-1/2″ Flowmasters and a crossover. The original 3-speed transmission was cleaned up and resealed along with the original rear end. Original brakes were treated to new wheel cylinders and springs and re-shoed with Raybestos shoes. The car rides on Cragar 390 Series wheels, 15 x 8 on the rear and 15 x 7 on the front with BF Goodrich TA’s 255/70 rear and 215/70 on the front.

Kevin Mitchell 57 Interior CompleteOnce the car was pretty much assembled it was time to turn their attention to the interior. Kevin, with his Uncles help, rebuilt seats installing new foam and seat covers along with new door panels, carpeting and headliner. The dash was painted and detailed bringing it back to pristine condition.

Kevin Mitchell 57 SideThe car was completed on July 20, 2016 when it took it’s maiden voyage across town to get a front-end alignment the exhaust work. Kevin and Bill took the car to its first show on July 23, 2016 where they won a trophy for Top 25. Since then the 57 has also taken a Top 20, 15, 10 tied twice for People’s Choice. At the time this was written they had gotten a Judges Choice at their first ever indoor show.

Kevin told us “The best part of the build is spending time with my dad while doing the car, taking it to the shows and seeing Dad’s face when people tell us we have a gorgeous car”. He added “We just installed the Danchuk rocker mouldings and future plans include installing front and rear sway bars and, of course, driving the car as much as possible”.

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