A project car can take a turn in scope for numerous reasons, Bill Kniffen’s 1957 Chevy 210 is a great example of this phenomenon. Kniffen originally planned to build his ’57 Chevy in a traditional way, but after a friend totaled his C5 Corvette that changed. The “C57” that Kniffen created is a cool car with a lot of history.
Kniffen was introduced to cars and racing by his uncle who raced a 1957 Chevy at a local dirt track. Kniffen’s helped keep the car clean, knock out dents, and took care of other tasks around the shop. When Kniffen was given the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat and start the car for the first time, he was instantly hooked on horsepower.
“I’ve had this car since I was 15 years old. I bought the car, put it together, and drove it all over when I was young. I got married, and had kids, so the car sat for over 15 years while we built a life. When I got time, I started slowly putting the car back together, but I never planned to mix in C5 parts, it just happened. I originally had a 454 cubic-inch big block that was going to be put in the car and it was going to go on the stock frame. The C5 thing turned the project into something special,” Kniffen says.
The C5 had a built LS3 that was designed to handle all the boost its ProCharger could muster. Kniffen built the chassis for the C57 himself. He added rack and pinion steering, a 9-inch Ford rearend, and a 4-link rear suspension. The car rides on an Accuair air ride system that Kniffen got from Checkered Racing. A custom crossmember was also added to the chassis to prevent any twisting.
The Corvette had plenty of parts that Kniffen could use on the ’57 to give it some extra flare.
“We took everything from the C5 and tried to utilize it in this car. This car has mirrors, door handles, dash from the C5. The dash going in the car actually started as a joke because I was just trying to find a place to sit it down. I put it in the car and it had the perfect curve to match the windshield. So, we put in the car permanently and gained all the modern HVAC and other technology from the C5” Kniffen states.
The C57 is a special build for Kniffen because his friends and family were so involved with the process. Kniffen enjoys the special touches the C5 brought to the build too.
“My favorite part of the car is the interior and dash. It makes the car such a pleasure to drive with all the modern tech and HVAC. You could blindfold somebody and they wouldn’t know they were in a 1957 Chevy. I don’t build cars for a living, but myself, my son, and some friends do this stuff on the nights and weekends. I did have someone come in and help me with spraying the paint since it was a complex paint job. But, overall, this was a family and friends project,” Kniffen explains.
Bill Kniffen’s C57 is a cool build that found a way to turn a negative into a positive. The way he incorporated the C5 parts into his build is really cool and allowed his friend’s car to live on.