As a resident of Port Chester, New York, Jimmy Soler and his older brother, Fabian, have built quite a name in the lowrider community. As members of Certified Riderz, they’re diehard lowriding fans but it’s their attention to detail that has people talking. Fabian’s work on his 1961 Impala landed him a feature in Lowrider back in 2016, and now it’s Jimmy’s turn to take center stage with this flawless creation.
Growing up in his older brother’s footsteps, Jimmy knew his path early on. His path was so clear that at age 14 he purchased his first car, a Cadillac coupe that sat in the driveway until he got his license. True to the Soler name, Jimmy added a full hydraulic setup and wire wheels before selling it to a friend. The Cadillac was just a practice session for Jimmy and he had already set his sights on a Tri-Five.
Searching for an affordable Tri-Five Bel Air certainly isn’t easy, but Jimmy struck gold when he found a stock 1956 in New Jersey. The Bel Air was in running condition but the stock paint was faded and the motor definitely needed an upgrade, as the owner had an old Monte Carlo 305 underhood. Once the Chevy was brought back to Jimmy’s garage, he realized that his gem needed a lot more work than he first thought. As a one-man crew, Jimmy took the entire car apart, leaving him with a bare frame.
The Bel Air was brought to JC Auto in Orangeburg, New York, where all the body was straightened and prepped for paint. Jimmy chose the original 1956 color of Axalta Sierra Gold and Adobe Beige to set the stage for the Chevy. In order to get the Bel Air running properly, Jimmy and Fabian added a crate 350 motor that replaced the high-mileage 305 and upgraded all the performance aspects of the Chevy. After looking for six months, Jimmy found an original continental kit, had JC Auto paint it, and he and Fabian installed it.
Jimmy added a RetroSound radio that looked original but is actually modern and connected to custom Pioneer kick panels and rear deck speakers. A custom aftermarket sunvisor as well as dual spotlights that Jimmy found at a swap meet in Pennsylvania were added to the Bel Air to make it unique.
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
Empire State Tri-Five
Port Chester, NY
GM Performance 350 motor from JEGS, four-bolt main, Cadillac-style air cleaner, 200-R4 transmission, painted Sierra gold and silver, front disc conversion, power brakes, CPP brake kit, stainless steel brake lines and fuel lines, new gas tank
Axalta Sierra Gold and Adobe Beige paint; full frame restoration done by JC Auto in Orangeburg, New York; new moldings and chrome trim; chromed dual spotlights; aftermarket front visor; LED taillight housings and LED headlights; aftermarket bumper guards; rear fender skirts
Universal Air suspension, 8-gallon tank, two ViAir 480 compressors, York engine-driven compressor, four switches under dash
Cars Inc. original copper and cream interior kit, painted dash, gauges hidden inside original tissue box
RetroSound original-looking radio, Pioneer components in kick panel and rear deck
13×7 cross-laced 72-spoke Zenith wire wheels, 155/80-13 Remington tires
Jimmy wishes to thank his wife, Tara, and their baby daughter, Madison, for all their support and constant push. A special thanks also goes to his older brother, Fabian, and his Certified Riderz family for all their help.
What is a Tri-Five?
The 1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevy Bel Airs (150, 210, and Nomad included) are known as Tri-Fives because those three years shared the same frame and suspension platform, making them basically the same car with a different body.