Member’s Feature
Mike & Sandra Mattice, Member #270
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
Sackville, Nova Scotia

Story & photos by Gary Porter
Meet Mike and Sandra Mattice and their 1956 Bel Air sport coupe. While Mike and Sandra are new to the club, their ‘56 has been in the club with previous owners dating back to March 1981 (the month after the club was formed) when it was fairly stock, sporting a two-tone gray paint scheme and owned by member #20, Sinclair Harnish. Former member, Jim Morrison acquired the car in 1985, and turned it into a drag car, adding big block power, an ‘80 Camaro front clip, tubbed rear with a ladder bars and coil-overs. In 1988, one time member Alan Bishop bought the car, painted it laser red and raced it for a time. Again it was sold. A subsequent owner (not a member of our club!) ran afoul of the law and the car was sold at a Government Proceeds of Crime auction about five years ago.
This is where Mike enters the picture. A friend of his told him of the upcoming auction and heard that there were some cars to be sold. The ‘56 was there and looked quite good, although close inspections were not permitted. After Mike became the owner and able to get a closer look, there were more things that needed attention than he first thought.

Not deterred, work started on the ‘56. The smogger big block was yanked in favour of a 502 crate motor which Mike had sitting in his garage for a future project. Mike also installed a 700R4 transmission which helps offset the 4.88 gears in the Dana 60 rear end when on the highway. A Painless wiring harness and March pulleys were installed.
The ‘56 still sports the laser red paint, which has been accented with a unique flame job by Kenny head from Cape Breton. The quality of the work and the attention to detail is evident throughout the ‘56 and the interior is no exception. For added driving comfort, bucket seats have been installed and, along with the rest of the interior, have been covered with black and red leather by Mike Chapman. A radio delete Bel Air insert gives the dash a smooth, clean look. The stock speedometer, gas and temperature gauges have been replaced with a set of white face gages. The updated dash also sports a matching clock. An Ididit tilt column is used, topped with a banjo steering wheel from Danchuck manufacturing. A Lokar suspended gas pedal and matching brake pedal round out the interior.
Recently, the ‘56 has been treated to a set of Billet Specialty wheels. Up front 18 X 7's roll on xxx tires while out back 20 X 15 are shod with Mickey Thompson tires. Mike and Sandra can be found with their ‘56 at most local shows and cruise nights. They recently picked up a top 25 award at the Atlantic Nationals in Moncton. No easy feat with more than 1,800 cars in attendance. When not enjoying their ‘56, Mike has a 70½ Camaro project car at home while Sandra is the proud owner of a 2004 Corvette.