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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale WITHOUT RESERVE and SOLD to the highest bidder January 19th – 22nd 2017 at Russo and Steeles 17th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Please contact us for more information.
Following the release of the exciting new-for-1955 Chevrolets with powerful small-block V-8 engines General Motors high-volume Chevrolet Division gained a totally new reputation for performance and style. The small-block grew to 283 cubes by 1957 and soon it dominated NASCAR ovals especially with Rochester mechanical fuel-injection. Rated output of the Fuelie was 250 horsepower with a hydraulic camshaft and Powerglide automatic transmission up to 283 hp – one horsepower per cubic inch – with the solid-lifter Duntov cam and three-speed manual transmission. Despite Chevrolets success on the track including Buck Bakers 1957 NASCAR Grand National championship the AMA American Manufacturers Association racing ban abruptly halted Chevrolets overt and aggressive factory-backed racing program.
A few fuel-injected Chevrolet road cars were built for 57 with the 550 option price for the sophisticated induction system keeping build numbers low. Following Chevrolets withdrawal from competition in 1957 a few of them went on to be raced by private individuals including the very special example offered here. Bruce Morgan a truck driver from San Gabriel California purchased this 283 fuel-injected Bel Air Sport Coupe as a dealer demonstrator with 2000 miles from Calliau Chevrolet in South Pasadena. On weekends and in his spare time Morgan drove the car to and from the drag strip and raced it building a reputation for his driving talent with many wins. Shifting to NHRA-sanctioned tracks exclusively Morgan ran the Chevy in B/Stock – Super Stock with automatic transmission – without sponsorship – and set his sights on the NHRA World Championship. For 1961 Morgans Chevy also known as the Black Mamba for its quickness was tuned by none other than fellow Chevy Super Stock racer Dyno Don Nicholson.
At the season-opening 1961 NHRA Winternationals in Pomona Morgan won B/Stock with a time of 14.06 seconds at 101.12 mph and went on to be undefeated in his wicked 57 Chevy. On the Labor Day weekends NHRA Nationals at Indianapolis Morgan swept the field in B/Stock and emerged with the Top Stock Eliminator title over an exceptionally deep group of competitors including Don Nicholson Dave Strickler Dick Harrell Jim Wangers Harold Ramsey Arnie Beswick Hayden Proffitt Gas Ronda Al Eckstrand and other top drivers. For his efforts Bruce Morgan was awarded a new Royal Pontiac-tuned 368-hp 61 Pontiac Catalina from George Hurst of Hurst Performance.
Morgan hooked the Pontiac behind his 57 Chevy and drove home to California soon after selling the victorious Bel Air to Portland Oregons Tindle Brothers of Orange Crate show/race hot rod fame. They quickly resold the Chevy and it continued to race at NHRA events. Meanwhile Morgan raced his new Pontiac – again tuned by Don Nicholson – and set a new NHRA Super Stock record with it in November 1961. In all Morgans Bel Air has had 12 owners and it has been raced over 800 times – a quarter-mile-at-a-time – over its long racing career. As offered at auction the Black Mamba stands as one of the most successful Super Stock cars of its time – an iconic 57 Chevy Bel Air fuelie with a truly colorful past.