Jay Leno's Garage: LT4-Powered '57 Bel Air Restomod


"When you think of an American hot rod, you think of a '32 Ford with a Chevy motor. The second biggest hot rod is probably the Tri Five Chevy, the '55, '56, and '57, with the '57 being the one everybody lusted after the most," remarked Jay Leno in a recent episode of his show Jay Leno's Garage. He continued, "For guys of a certain age, like my age, this was the cool car to have. When I was in high school, these were 10 or 15 years old and you could get them at a reasonable price." In this episode, Leno rides with John Paul DeJoria in his '57 Bel Air powered by a 750-horsepower Lingenfelter LT4 V8.

JP DeJoria's '57 Bel Air Build


Leno met up with entrepreneur and philanthropist JP DeJoria to learn more about this '57 Chevy, which maintains the classic exterior appearance but adds a modern engine, suspension, brakes, and chassis beneath. "I love the fact that you haven't modified the body," said Leno. "To me, these cars always looked good, they just could be made faster, to stop better, go around corners better."


JP and his daughter purchased this car in unmodified form, fixed it up, and used it for road rallies for a little while. Unfortunately, some body panels were damaged in a collision, so JP's business partner offered to repair it at his shop. Two years later, it was returned to JP in the condition seen here. The shop had fully rebuilt it as a surprise gift.

It rides on an Art Morrison chassis with front coilovers, independent rear suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and billet wheels with custom JP center caps.


Under the hood, which is finished in a custom quilted insulation panel, the Lingenfelter LT4 engine produces 750hp and 570 ft-lbs of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed manual transmission to maximize driver engagement.


The interior features custom-upholstered bucket seats that serve as a throwback to JP's biker days, plus a billet steering wheel and 200mph speedometer.

As Leno and DeJoria took the '57 out for a spin, they discussed their history collecting cars and enjoyed the on-demand power of this resto-modded Chevy. Watch the full video below from Jay Leno's Garage:

Looking for Tri Five Chevy Parts?


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