Custom Cruise Friday
Brash. Aggressive. Bold. Unapologetic. All four of these words, and likely more, are accurate descriptions of this week’s Custom Cruise Friday vehicle. It is pretty safe to say that the 1957 Chevy Bel Air two-door coupe owned by Sid Rowland as well as his wife Annette and son Dylan, is one of a kind. If the throaty roar of the large V-8 engine under the hood of the “The Beast,” as the family calls the car, doesn’t grab the attention of onlookers, the bright orange custom paint scheme certainly will. Of all the vehicles of this era that have appeared in the Custom Cruise Friday series, none have been quite so…noticeable.
“I think it’s the color that attracts people,” Rowland said. “It really catches the eye.”
Bringing “The Beast” home
Rowland was in the market for classic car that would be perfect for cruising around with his family. Like so many other owners, Rowland ended up browsing classified ads on Kijiji and found the 1957 Bel Air. By all accounts the entire Rowland clan immediately and enthusiastically approved of the new addition to the family. However, first contact with the car’s previous owner revealed that Rowland hadn’t acted fast enough and another buyer had already left a deposit.
However, a very short time later, the previous owner contacted Rowland and delivered the news that the existing deal had fallen through and “The Beast” was Rowland’s for the taking.
What are we looking at?
When “The Beast” arrived home with the Rowlands, it was largely in the incredible condition it is today. Since the family has owned the car, they have just kept up the required maintenance and treated the powerful drivetrain with the necessary amount of respect. In fact, the most involved upgrade that has been done is the addition of a new stereo.
The most noticeable element of the 1957 Chevy coupe (other than the paint color) is the massive blower sticking out of the hood. Facing the front end of the car lets onlookers know they are constantly being watched. A pair of eyes have been pained on the intake covers on the blower. The gaze from the engine component is so intense that it reportedly once bested a young Dylan in a staring contest. That larger blower is connected to a 383 cubic-inch Stroker V-8. It’s isn’t clear how much power the engine will put to the wheels, but it’s probably a lot.
Among the first few times the Rowlands took the car out for a ride, Sid’s curiosity got the better of him and he really put his foot into it. A loudly roaring engine, more than a fair amount smoke and several feet of thick tire marks on the road later, the family got see a brief glimpse of what “The Beast” could do when properly motivated.
Passing down tradition
Dylan Rowland was about 11 when the family purchased the car. He and Sid have worked side-by-side over the years keeping the car running and in show-condition. Dylan has picked up on so much about the car so quickly that he confidently answers questions about the car at shows when his parents are otherwise indisposed. The passing down of automotive knowledge from father to son is somewhat of a tradition in the Rowland family.
Looking down the road
Rowland has no immediate (or future) plans to part with “The Beast.” Dylan has recently turned 16 and is due to be getting his driver’s license soon. While other interests have attracted the teenager’s attention, the father and son team still find time to work on the car together. There is plenty of team for Dylan to get promoted from occupying his traditional spot in the back seat where he a view of everything to the driver’s seat, taking over for his dad.
What’s in your garage? Are you working on something special? If you are building your dream car or have completed it, Don Wheaton wants to tell your story. Send photos and pertinent information to Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki by email, email@example.com. If chosen, we will be in touch to set something up.