Since their inception more than 50 years ago, Tri-5 Chevys (1955-57 model Chevrolets) have been the most popular GM brand in the history of the company. From the time they hit the showroom floor back in the fall of 1954 through and including today, these Chevys have been the stimulus for the performance aftermarket generating hot rod speed parts, suspension upgrades and a host of other innovations. The launch of the 1955 Chevrolet also signaled the arrival of the legendary small-block Chevrolet, an engine that still continues to be the most popular performance engine on the planet.
Chevrolets have been a part of Danny and Art Danchuk’s life since the 1950s. They say that the biggest influence in a boy’s life is his father, and an example of this couldn’t be more apparent than with the Danchuks. Both boys, Danny and Art, followed their father’s footsteps into the tool and die business, as well as acquiring his appreciation for Chevys. At their young ages, they had no idea that 50 years later they would still be reaping the benefits from the skills and hard work that he instilled into them.
The Danchuks’ love of auto restoration prompted an entry into the world of Chevy reproduction parts in 1976. The initial response was so overwhelming to their efforts, they directed all their energy into manufacturing only ‘55, ‘56 and ‘57 Chevy parts and have been going strong ever since. Danchuk is now the world’s largest manufacturer of 1955-56-57 Chevrolet restoration parts. In addition to their impressive catalog of parts, they have a large showroom where they display their reproduction parts in a nostalgic setting. Plus, a second showroom where they house their fully restored Chevy Bel Air convertibles: all three years, a ‘55, a ‘56 and a ‘57 convertible; a turquoise 1955 Nomad; and the 1957 “McEwen” Funny Car are displayed among other collectibles from the Danchuk Collection. Also on display is a 1957 Chevy Bel Air which has cut-away body panels, parts and all mechanical components so that you can visually inspect the inner workings of this American classic.
In addition to their impressive manufacturing facility in Santa Ana, California, we were invited to take a tour of their personal collection of cars. While we expected to see the fine Chevys in the showroom, we were shown some cars that we were not expecting. While the classic ‘50’s GM cars from Oldsmobile and Buick were not shocking, and neither were some very nice early Corvettes, we were surprised to find a contingent of classic hot rods, Mopars and even a lone ’70 Boss 302. Take a look at the snapshots we collected during out tour. These guys know performance, along with how to make a Tri-5 new again. Enjoy the tour.