We were at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California, in October to cover the American Tri-Five Association's Western Invasion presented by Danchuk. The 2021 Western Invasion was a show and drag race exclusively for 19551957 Chevys (including trucks and Corvettes). It's the sister event to the Tri-Five Nationals that has been going on in Bowling Green, Kentucky, for years. ATFA and Danchuk figured if they can do it in Kentucky, they can do it in California, and the West Coast Tri-Five crowd showed up to prove them right.
In addition to the racing that took place on the famous Famoso strip, the Western Invasion included a car show area for street cars. Show judges picked 10 of those cars for the Lecarra Steering Wheels by Lokar Top 10 award. At the end of the Western Invasion, one of the 10, voted by his fellow winners, was named Western Invasion Best of the West. We recently showed you five of those 10 winning Tri-Fives. Here is the rest of the pack, including the overall winner.
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Big News: Western Invasion 2022 Coming Back to California
The American Tri-Five Association recently announced that it will be returning to Bakersfield in 2022 for the second annual Western Invasion presented by Danchuk.
"We feel that we owe it to the Tri-Five lovers on the West Coast to do it again in May, as it was originally planned," said Chris Sondles, president of the American Tri-Five Association. The ATFA announced the Western Invasion will return to the historic Famoso Dragstrip on May 1415, 2022. Registration is open now.
1955 Chevy Bel Air Convertible / Wayne Hartwig, San Diego, California
There's no cooler way to get a dose of vitamin D than soaking up the sun in a topless Tri-Five. Wayne became the third owner of this '55 about 23 years ago. It was a rust-free Arizona car, and his plans were to keep it stock. The body is as close as it gets. The rest is a textbook of well-done mods, starting with new front framerails and Corvette suspension goodies. The wheels are Foose five-spokes. Under the hood is a dressed-up 350-cubic-inch Ram Jet crate engine, backed up by a 700R4 transmission. The tomato red interior is completely contemporized; our favorite detail is the 140-mph speedometer.
2,000 Tri-Five Chevy Street Cars and Gassers to Invade Bakersfield
Tri-Five Chevys are descending on California. The first-ever Western Invasion presented by Danchuk will be held October October 15–16, 2021, at Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield. What’s your favorite Tri-Five Chevy? Is it a dragstrip-pounding 1955 Gasser, a cool custom 1956 Bel Air boulevard cruiser, a painstakingly restored 1957 Nomad wagon, or one of the countless other variations of these iconic Bow Tie classics? Whatever your answer, the American Tri-Five Association loves them as much as you do and has been welcoming them all at the annual Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, since 2015. Now they're taking the action west.
1957 Chevy One-Fifty Handyman Wagon / Chris Price & Albert Weeden, Layton, Utah
In 1968, teenaged Albert bought the wrecked 1957 Handyman for $75, had the sheetmetal damage repaired and drove it as his high school "party wagon." In 1971, he bought a '70 Chevelle, and the wagon was forgotten. Thirty-plus years later, Albert and his son-in-law Chris began a 12-year rebuild, using a 2006 GTO as a donor car for many transplanted parts, including the seats, gauges, door handles, electrical system, computers, and the 6.0L LS2 engine and Tremec six-speed. Albert and Chris treated the exterior to numerous custom touches, including the orange and sand paint.
1955 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop / Dan & Jan Levitt, Tucson, Arizona
The Levitts have nicknamed their '55 hardtop Blue Ice and made all kinds of remarkable modifications to the eye-catching Bel Air. BluePrint Engines filled the sanitary engine bay with a high-performance LS3 for the True Blue and Frost White Bel Air, which rides on an Art Morrison GT Sport chassis. On the inside, the customized '55 dash is packed with aftermarket gauges and faces a modern pale-gray and cream interior. Up-to-date amenities include the Alpine audio and GPS system. A Momo steering wheel is mounted on an ididit tilt column.
Tri-Five Chevys on the Quarter-Mile at Historic Famoso Dragstrip
Famoso Dragstrip was Tri-Five Chevy heaven when the American Tri-Five Association brought the Western Invasion presented by Danchuk to Bakersfield’s historic race track in October 2021. The American Tri-Five Association has been organizing the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, since 2015. That event was an immediate success and plans soon began to create a West Coast show. The premier Western Invasion was all set to take place at Famoso in 2020, but the pandemic pushed it further along on the calendar.
1956 Chevy Two-Ten Sedan Gasser / John Lynch, Camarillo, California
The beast among the beauties was this stunning Galaxy Gray and Midnight Black '56 Gasser. John has owned the car for 14 years, but, technically, he grew up with it. It was driven by one of his friends during their high school days (running Cragars and a Chevy small-block). The body-off build transformed the Chevy into a street-driven Gasser, with a Jim Meyer Racing chassis underneath and a BDS-supercharged 2x4-barrel 392ci Hemi rising from the engine compartment. Pie-crust Firestone cheater slicks from Coker roll on E-T Wheels Fueler wheels with skinny front rubber on E-T Gassers.
1955 Chevy Two-Ten Handyman Wagon / Kurt Pedracci, El Sobrante, California
The recipient of the Western Invasion Best of the West trophy was voted on by the other winners in the Lecarra Steering Wheels by Lokar Top 10 program. Most of those winners are high-tech contemporary cars, but one that got the most votes from the others was this traditional '60s custom wagon with a four-barrel small-block. Owner/builder Kurt Pedracci reminded us that wagons were a novelty when he began work on his '55 Handyman in 1992. He'd had the car since long before that, though; it was his daily-driven family car, then built as a driver for his wife, Cindy. Kurt machined and assembled the four-barrel 265 engine—after it had spent 40 years in Kurt's father's garage. The outer appearance is old-school, right down to whitewall pie-crust Firestones on 15-inch Wheel Vintiques Smoothies. The period-looking jade paint is actually a '77 Ford truck color. The restored interior is mildly customized with '55 Nomad-style upholstery by Dale Woods.
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