SP Rides: The Modern Classic


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By Michael Kitchens

Owner: Steven Hyer
Age: 60
Occupation: Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Hobbies: Cars and Cars and Cars
Year/Make/Model: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
Color: Black
Engine: 502CC Chevrolet Big Block, 950CM Holley Carburetor, MSD Ignition, Madison Radiator, Lots of polished and chromed pieces
Interior: Custom dash, Pioneer Receiver, Custom Speaker Install including Powerbass Amp and Kicker Sub
Drive Train:  Turbo 400 transmission, Ford 9-inch rear-end
Suspension: Front and Rear Coilovers
Wheels & Tires:  20-inch Color-matched Asanti AF131s Pirelli Scorpion Zeros 335/25R22s Rear, Dunlop Direzza DZ101 225/25R20s Front

It’s good to be a little different sometimes. Case in point, Steven Hyer’s 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air has a modern take on an old classic. This car features the fantastic lines of its era while sporting touches that vault it into the here and now.

Practically born and raised in a gas station in Wahiawa, Steven grew up around cars. The gas station mentioned was Hyers Service and owned by his father. As such, Steven has owned a plethora of different rides. His first car was a 1959 Plymouth Belvedere in addition to various rides such as a 1970 Nova. In his youth, he wasn’t shy in getting the rubber down. He frequented the racing at Hawaii Western Steel after Clay Miller closed the old track in the ’70s.

In what seems to be a common experience for some enthusiasts, Steven exited the scene for about 30 years because family, work and other obligations prohibited his enjoyment of the classic automobile. After attending a Ron’s Cruise Night in 2010, he fell in love with a 1956 Bel Air that happened to be at the event. Starstruck, Steve immediately jumped on the Internet and went searching.

“Back in the day, cars mimicked planes and rocket ships,” says Steven, which is probably why he was so attracted to this classic ride.

He found the car of his dreams in Florida and had it shipped to Hawaii. This Bel Air was already hopped up from the previous owner, but Steven had to add his own touch, so he went straight to it.

First up was to make the car more streetable. Featuring a 502 big block Chevrolet engine, this Bel Air also has a Turbo 400 transmission connected to a Ford 9-inch rear-end with coilovers set at the front and rear. The ride already had a 1050CFM Dominator carburetor, which was just too much, so Steve decided to go with a 950CFM Holley plus intake manifold. A gorgeous, polished radiator and A/C cooler were purchased from Madison Radiators and installed along with a custom polished support bracket.  Polished valve covers were added and Steven also relocated the battery to the trunk with a trick- polished battery compartment.

This car is considered a Pro Touring Bel Air, so creature comforts are an absolute must. The interior features polished dash accents installed by Steven as well as updated gauges and A/C vents that blow cold. The polished steering wheel sets off the look and the dash features upgraded gauges. A Pioneer receiver sends the sounds to a custom speaker install with a Powerbass amp powering the huge Kicker sub located in the trunk. Of special note is the memory foam bench seats installed with new upholstery.  It’s super soft and makes cruising an absolute delight.

But make no mistake: This Bel Air does not ride on your usual suspects. It features a custom set of color-matched 20-inch Asanti AF131s paired with Pirelli Scorpion Zeros 335/25R 22s in the rear and Direzza DZ101 225/25R 20s in the front. Combined with the classic exterior and chromed good looks, the set really adds a modern flair to the ride. The exterior itself is pitch black and well polished to a gleaming shine.

The car hits Steven’s spot in all the right ways.

“It’s a soft ride, fast and it’s cool,” he says, adding that enjoys the looks and attention he receives while out and about in his Bel Air.

With all of its creature comforts, you can’t consider this ride anything but a modern classic.