We first spotted Andre “Dre Ghost” McGee’s Las Vegas, Nevada, ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible a year ago. What caught our attention was the freshly built 383-c.i.d. small-block. Word on the street was that a new LS engine was going to replace that engine. Well, we had to see just how true that was. We recently caught up with Dre and he did a complete engine swap. Actually, the whole car has been redone and the result is one custom ’57 convertible that just we had to show you.
After debuting his ride last year, Dre took the ’57 to California, and dropped it off at Bowtie Connection in Artesia, where they took on the full project. With a good crew of workers, the Bowtie guys stripped the car after making sure that everything lined up. The major thing on the agenda was to transplant and bolt an LS-2 Corvette engine into the “tri-five” convertible. The aluminum engine and transmission were purchased through Street and Performance, as were all of the accessories that were bolted onto the engine. A Weiand aluminum intake was used for the top end of the engine block. After wiring a few components, this engine was ready to roll.
A combination of paint, chrome and engraving make this engine compartment a winner. Airbrushing was used on the custom valve covers. Street and Performance pulleys, brackets and engine accessories were used to dress up the engine block. A Griffin four-core radiator and Spal electric fan keep the performance engine running cool. The engine compartment turned out to be a walk in the park as the Street and Performance crate engine is essentially a turnkey project.
Since Homies Hydraulics of Paramount, California, is known for its bridges and hydraulic setups on ’57s, the frame of Dre’s car was sent out to be fully reinforced, juiced and made ready for paint. The trunk received two pumps with a custom whammy tank and mounting plate. The setup features four Adex square dumps or hydraulic valves that were plumbed by Igarashi of Craps Hydraulics in Santa Fe Springs, California. The system is powered by four Optima batteries that were mounted on custom round-shaped racks. While the car was at Homies, it was shipped to 562 Kustoms where “Gordo” made a custom speaker box that works with the hydraulics.
The car’s bodywork was in pretty good shape with only minor imperfections, which made it easy for Holix of Las Vegas to spray the car’s House of Kolor candy Oriental blue finish. The body received a dash that was patterned out in a custom finish to match the frame by Allen at Wet and Wild Customs. The frame features a silver flake base accented with patterns done in Oriental and cobalt blue to tie in to the exterior. Other tricks to the finish include pinstriping by “Curly” that accents the mural airbrushed by Abel Rocha of San Fernando, California, showing Biggie, 2pac and Easy E playing poker at the Bellagio.
With the car at Bowtie Connection, John had his upholstery department tackle the interior. The original-style interior was stitched up by Freddy, who made sure that all of the interior lines were lining up. Freddy also took care of the custom convertible top that was built from scratch. Having the top match the car keeps the whole blueprint theme going. Interior tricks include a chrome rack (done by A1 Plating), electric windows, bench seat, Ididit tilt column and Dakota Digital gauges.
Exterior options include a Continental kit, spotlights, skirts, disc brakes and engraved bumper guards by Hernan Custom Engraving. Other engraving was done by Precision Engraving, giving the car the best of both worlds, as one style of engraving is freehand while the second was done with a CNC-machined program.
Andre “Dre Ghost” McGee is no stranger to the pages of Lowrider. After his ’61 Chevy Impala convertible was featured, he says that everyone in Vegas copied the car’s style. Once people get wind of this new car, they’re sure to follow “The Blueprint.” The new rumor after shooting this ’57 was that he’s building a ’58 Impala convertible to the same caliber as his ’57. We don’t doubt it. Keep up the good work, Dre.
Owner: Andre “Dre Ghost” McGee
Vehicle: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible
City/State: North Las Vegas, Nevada
Club: Street Players C.C.
Engine/Drivetrain: A Street and Performance LS-2 Corvette engine was hitched to a 460E transmission at Bowtie Connection in Artesia, California.
Body/Paint: The Blueprint features a House of Kolor candy Oriental blue paint job sprayed by Holix of Las Vegas with a silver flaked rolling chassis.
Interior: A factory-style interior kit was put together by Bowtie Connection.
Sound System: An Alpine head unit controls Rockford Fosgate amplifiers and speakers.
Setup: Two chrome pumps with a custom whammy tank reservoir with four Adex dumps and custom tubing was built by Homies Hydraulics in Paramount, California, and Igarashi at Craps Hydraulics in Santa Fe Springs, California.
Tires: 5.20 Premium Sportway
Wheels: 13×7 reverse Zenith wires