Traditional Kustom Hot Rod and Vintage Culture
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1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani

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Message  Predicta Dim 29 Mar - 9:15

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Message  Predicta Dim 29 Mar - 9:17

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Message  Predicta Dim 29 Mar - 9:44

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Message  Predicta Dim 29 Mar - 9:50

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Message  Predicta Dim 29 Mar - 14:53

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Japan is a land known for its lack of space. Tiny apartments, capsule hotel rooms and narrow roads are just a few things that call to mind the scarcity of open areas in the country’s cities – and if you are into cars this can be a tough thing to deal with. Here, sometimes it’s hard enough finding a place to park your car let alone a place to work on it, which is why most custom and modified car owners choose to have their cars built and maintained at a specialist garage. And when it comes to the world of Japanese hot rods and custom cars, there is no shortage of shops putting out fantastic work.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev11

But that’s not to say that every high level custom car build in Japan was turned out by a big shop. This is Shinobu Furutani’s 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, and he almost single-handedly built the old Chevy into a fantastic looking ’50s-style custom with all the right touches.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev12

‘Chevy?’ you might be saying. Furutani-san’s car definitely doesn’t look like your typical ’55 Chevrolet and that’s because he’s actually used side trims from a mid-1950s Ford. Some might consider this cross-manufacturer swapping to be sacrilegious, but in my eye the result is both tasteful and unique.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev13

Aside from the Ford styling bits, other custom work on the ’55’s exterior includes body shaving, a custom front grille and full fender skirts in the rear – all set off by a perfectly-vintage turquoise paint scheme.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev14

A continental kit out the back further adds to the nostalgic style.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev15

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Message  Predicta Dim 29 Mar - 14:55

Because Furutani-san smoothed over the Chevy’s factory fuel tank door, he relocated the inlet to this trick compartment behind the driver’s side tail lamp.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev16

The ’50s vibe continues to the interior, which has been kept mostly original. Changes include a skull-topped shifter and all the controls to adjust the Bel Air’s ride height.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev17

While many custom cruisers don’t have a whole lot of attention paid to their engine bays, there is no let down when you pop the hood on this ’55. It’s here you’ll find an immaculately-detailed small block topped off by a period-correct Offenhauser intake manifold and a trio of Rochester carbs.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air - Mr. Furutani  55chev18

There’s always something special about a homebuilt car, but the fact that Furutani-san has built such a stylish and authentic example of a car that’s 60 years old and half a world removed from its origins, is nothing short of inspiring.
It’s just one more reason why I’ve fallen in love with Japan’s custom scene.
Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike
mike@speedhunters.com

http://www.speedhunters.com/2015/01/lost-in-japan-lost-in-the-50s/

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Message  Predicta Mar 31 Mar - 7:04

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