We can all identify with the feeling of looking back on a car that we know we should have held onto. For Randy Randleman of Pleasanton, California, the car he missed most was a 1957 Chevy that he bought back in 1975. “I bought my first 57 Chevy just by chance of a good deal,” he explained. “I only kept it a few years before moving on to other cars, but for me, it was always the one that got away.” He always loved the fins, the stainless, and all of the chrome those cars carried.
In 2006, after a kitchen remodel, his wife told him to use the “extra” money leftover from the project to buy the car he was always talking about. With cash in hand, and even more important that, permission from his wife, he embarked on the search that would eventually turn into this stunning, LS-powered 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
When Randy bought the car, it was fitted with a small-block 350 engine, front disc brakes, and a 12-bolt positraction rearend. “I drove the car for eight years, making some minor modifications as I went along to repair issues like overheating and wore out electrical parts. I even adding seatbelts so my kids could ride in the car,” Randy said.
“While the 1985 paint was good from 10 feet away, it was showing its age. It was late in 2014 when my buddy, Mike Markwell, let me know that he would have time in the next year to paint the car. We have been friends since I had that other ’57 Chevy back in 1975, and he had painted a few of my other cars over the years.” The project started as just a simple paintjob, but quickly snowballed into what you see today.”
Randy started ordering parts, and if you’ve ever done a restoration to this scale, you know there are a lot of parts involved. “My living room was filled with boxes of parts, this didn’t impress my wife too much, but she was understanding,” Randy explained. “Remember, she had her kitchen!” He started by ordering a connect-and-cruise LS3 and 4L70 combo with a computer and complete wiring harness. “I went this route, as I had heard from a few folks using junkyard pieced together projects having communication issues with computer and parts, the LS stuff was all foreign to me, so I didn’t want the learning curve to be too much.”
The project hit the ground running as Randy and Rick Peterson, got to work stripping the car and getting it ready for paint. They mocked up the engine, modified the engine mounts, welded in the brackets for his new 22-gallon fuel tank from Rick’s Tanks, gutted the wiring, and took off all of the removable parts. The metal work consisted of repairing old repairs that previous owners had done.
After the car was painted, the big challenge of fitting the new engine and transmission without scratching, dinging, or otherwise damaging his freshly painted firewall began. In addition to the LS engine and transmission, the car also features a CPP big disc-brake kit, Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering, Concept One front pulley system, and an American Auto Wire harness.
Randy was able to hide the computer under the driver fender, this prevented him from having to put any big holes in the firewall. “The toughest part was running the wiring to the doors,” Randy said. “I wanted it hidden, and had purchased special door hinges from Woody’s Hot Rodz that allowed the wires to be run inside them.”
While the exterior of the car is absolutely stunning, the interior is equally impressive. Randy sourced the upholstery material from Ciadella’s, but had a local shop, Super Auto Upholstery do the stitching. They did the seats, door panels, and console, but gave them to Randy so he could do the install himself. The headliner is made from a cloth that closely resembles the original material that would have been used.
Since he finished the car, Randy had driven the heck out of it and taken it to many shows. In 2017, he took it to the Midwest and visited Woody’s Hot Rodz, took it to the Street Rod Nationals, and also to the Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
As for the namesake of the car, Randy did a fine job explaining that. “The LS engine is not nearly as nice looking as the old school ones with fancy valve covers and Holley carbs, so you have to try to make them look good,” He said. “I found a company in Texas that makes engine covers out of aluminum and shaped them as I wanted—it covers the coils, fuel runners, and injectors. My good friend, Dan Duffy, from Georgia, had the metal trim pieces made after I decided on the name of the car, Blueit. The name comes from the fact the car is blue with lots of blue accents, and that when people asked me where my money went I would tell them I blew it.