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Fri, 29 Jan 2010, 01:18 PM

New Authentic 55 Chevy Pro Mod Body Unvailed
Courtesy of Brian Losness

Necessity is the mother of innovation" to paraphrase the proverb in this event holds true, especially for two people. Tim Wallace the owner of Wallace Motorsports based in Boise, Idaho and Bob Mandell the owner of Bob's Pro-Fab in Culleoka, Tennessee. Wallace hired Mandell to build a Top Sportsman car for his teenaged son Timmy. The junior Wallace wanted to go the old school route and make it a Fifty-Five Chevy. Therefore, when the first body arrived at Mandell's Pro-Fab Shop from a vendor, the look of the car was not to neither Mandell's nor Wallace likes. So a second body was ordered from another vendor, and once again, the look of the car was not to either parties liking. "None of the bodies we bought and or even looked at were to our satisfaction, they were all distorted looking and didn't have that authentic look of a Fifty-Five Chevy" stated Wallace and Mandell. Wallace also added, "Even the ones that are currently in competition no matter who built the car, to Bob and I they all look just distorted." In addition to this, they could not put the currently used thirty-six inch tall top fuel tire under the car, with out having to make bubbles in the rear quarter panels or through the rear windows in order to get the tire tubs into the car. Then they hide the tire tub bubbles that protrude from the body with the spill plates for the rear spoilers or the build the deck lid up higher and shorten up the rear window in order to get the tires up under the rear of the car. "The other complaint Bob and I had is that in order to get the body to fit they also have to slide the body back to get the tire center in the wheel wells. Then they have to stretch the nose to make the front end fit, and this makes it look disproportional to us," said Wallace from his Boise, Idaho office.

Therefore, Wallace and Mandell put their heads and experience together, and created a company called Authentic Composites. Both men have extensive backgrounds in the motorsports industry, and both owning or have owned automotive collision repair businesses and running a chassis shop. They knew what had to be done to make the body of the Fifty-Five look the way they want it and be functional. The biggest hurdle they had to clear was to build a Fifty-Five Chevy plug that would be proportional and esthetically correct to pull a mold. Once building started on the plug, there was count less man-hours that were spent by Bob and his team to create this new plug. This plug is esthetically correct to the Fifty-Five Chevy. There have been a few subtle yet necessary aerodynamic enhancements made to the plug. The front end is kicked out about five inches, to enhance its aerodynamic capabilities; however, it retains the authentic look of the Fifty-Five Chevy. The body shell of the car also retains its authentic look. There is some wedge and narrowing work in the front half of the body. The largest amount of creativity was in the back half of the plug. There was so much work done with rear of the body, building wedge and slope into the body to keep it authentic looking and still be able to fulfill the needs of the current pro mod racers. The major concern was being able to run the current top fuel rear tires, which are 36 inches tall. This fact and being able to retain a 3-inch rocker box with a 48 ?-roof height, were majority of the time was spent, to make the rear of the car look right. "This body will be able to fit the 112 to 115 inch wheel base Top Sportsman car and or Pro Mod car, and it will easily accommodate the top fuel tire under it," states Mandell. Mandell also added, "The original shaped deck lid is in place and will allow for the new and longer and lower pro stock style rear wing to be used. This wing design which has been shown to be more aerodynamically effective than the older style raised up deck lid that was previously used on the Fifty-Five Chevys." There is already interest about this body from some of the major chassis manufactures around the country. We haven't even finished the mold yet, we have just finished with the plug stage and we our receiving phone calls from chassis builders, which is exciting to us," stated Wallace. Of the first two bodies that Authentic Composites will produce, one fiberglass and one carbon fiber are being reserved for projects that Mandell Pro-Fab Shop is working on. After that, Authentic Composites will be taking orders from outside sources.

We had two goals in mind when we started this project. One was to make this body to be as authentic as possible, both inside and out. Making sure the exterior of the body was as authentic and functional as possible. One of the other products we will have is a scaled Fifty-Five Chevy carbon fiber dash, and a carbon fiber Pro Stock rear wing to round out the look of the car. The other goal of Authentic Composites is to have an end user product that requires little if any bodywork. We set out to build a quality product, that is what my auto body business is known for as well as Bob's chassis business", stated Wallace. "Our goal is to have something that all a chassis builders has to do, is square it up, hang it ,prime it and paint it. "There should be no excessive cutting or modifying that will be required" according to Mandell and Wallace.

The goal of Authentic Composites is to have bodies ready for sale by March. Interested parties can reach Bob Mandell at Bob's Pro-Fab at (931) 987-2708.

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