Mike Watts’ Fesler-Built ‘55 Chevrolet 210

August 11th, 2011

Text by Courtney Halowell

Photos by Chris Fesler

When Mike Watts dropped off his ‘55 Chevrolet 210 with the crew from Fesler Built, he left very specific instructions. He instructed them to build a clean driver, a car he could jump behind the wheel of and spend the day on the road having fun.

No sooner than the crew had rolled the car into the shop than there was a phone call was made to Art Morrison to order one of its super trick rolling chassis for Mike’s ’55. The Fesler crew didn’t skimp on the options either, they included extras like a 9-inch with Posi and 4.11:1 gears, 4-link, big Baer brakes, thick anti-sway bars and coil-over shocks all the way around.

The second phone call was to the local GM Performance Parts dealer to order up a very rare 427-ci ZL-1 crate engine and a 4L80 transmission to back it up. The engine was fit with a set of MSD wires, Billet Specialties Tru Trac accessory drive, Fesler headers before it was dropped into the new mounts on the Morrison chassis.

The body was pretty straight, so not a lot of work was done to the exterior other than shaving the trunk and hood and painting the sheet metal GM gray. Then the body was bolted to the new chassis. Of course, all of the trim was restored and the bumpers were narrowed before they were rechromed, but that was all stuff that could be done with the body on the new chassis. Other things like the Fesler billet hood and trunk hinges, hood adjusters and headlights, along with the Rock Valley fuel tank, PRC radiator, hydroboost unit, SSBC master cylinder Fesler FS901 wheels and BFGoodrich tires were also bolted up.

A set of Classic Instruments gauges that fit in the space of the stock speedometer keep tabs on what’s going on under the hood.

Inside, the dash was shaved of the heater controls, glove box and all of the switches, except for the ignition and headlight switches, and all of the interior sheet metal was painted to match the car’s exterior. Under the dash a Ron Francis wiring harness and a Vintage Air system were installed, and a complete power window makeover was done using regulators from Electric life. Then Brian York was called in to install the DEI alarm and the audio/video system that features a Pioneer head unit with Kicker amps and speakers. Brian built a custom center console and a fiberglass enclosure under the rear deck to house the subs. The interior was fit with a Flaming River steering column and a set of Fesler seats, power up front, before leather was stretched over them and the rest of the interior panels. There is high-end carpet on the floor, too, and the headliner was done in suede.

When Mike saw the finished car for the first time, he was a little worried that the crew from Fesler Built went a bit over the top with the build, but the first time he got behind the wheel he fell in love with the car, and he’s put a bunch of miles on it since then.

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