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Written by Ray Mahoney


Owners: Bill & Gloria Wheeler

ENGINE: G.M. Z383, comp. cam, Trick Flow Aluminum Heads, Holly 750 Carb, Pertronix Flame Thrower Ignition.

REAR END: Currie 9” shortened w/posi 3.50:1, Ladder bar w/coil over rear

TRANSMISSION: T- 400 with 2600 Stall Converter, B & M Shifter.

EXHAUST: Sanderson Headers, 2 ½ pipes into Flow Masters.

SUSPENSION: 2” drop spindles with reworked ‘A’ arms.

WHEELS: Weld- 15 x 5 & 15 x 10 TUBBED

STEERING: IDIDIT with Grant Wheel  GAUGES:  Autometer

PAINT: Coral (pearl) over Black                       BRAKES: Four Wheel Disc.

Nothing ages your car as much as the sight of your neighbor's new one.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips and Quotes

Those wee hours of the morning when everyone is tucked away sleeping between sheets pulled up tightly around their chins, dreaming, snoring, Then….

4:00 a.m. The phone rings you out of a sound night’s sleep.

Never a good thing at this hour.  Thoughts of your children in ‘Harms Way’; a policeman on the other end telling you what you don’t want to hear or what you fear is the worst.  Your sleep will forever be a tortuous affair.


“Bill. What are you doing?’

“I’m sleeping. What do you think I’m doing?”

“Bill, you’ve got to come and see this bitchin ’55 Chevy for sale here at the Derelict Donut Cruise.”

Yep.  It’s your car crazy cousin, or, in this case Bill Wheeler’s car crazy cousin.  Your mind eases back and you blood pressure returns to normal. Either way it’s still hard to get back to sleep after that and the thoughts of that ’55 linger.  After waiting a couple of days, Bill gives in and drives down to see the Chevy.

Bill prefers the ’56 year over the ’55, having sold his ’56 a few years before, bought a boat and wasn’t sure if he’d really be interested.  But off he and his lovely wife Gloria went.  Once greeted by the seller he leads then to the car. The fact it was the only car in a three car ‘immaculate’ garage; sitting on an angle, with all the lights shining on it as if on the showroom floor, helped with the sell.  Quite a salesman, Bill thought.

The car was built for racing, something Bill has been doing for most of his life.  He would race at the San Gabriel Drag Strip in his youth and is a member of the NHRA.  The only change Bill did after he purchased the ’55 was to put in a 2600 rpm stall converter and remove the 3500 rpm stall converter.  Now he can drive on the street without everyone at a signal thinking he wants to race them.  The only thing left he wants to change is to repaint the Coral color.

One of the neat things about writing articles for our Cal Rod web site is the opportunity to meet club members and get to know them along with their life’s journey and listen to the passion and zeal for our hobby.  It reassures myself that there are still great people out there who share our interests.  Bill and Gloria Wheeler are affable, amiable and a very approachable couple who have just that kind of passion for our hobby.  They are new members to Cal-Rods but a long way from being new to the Hot Rodding scene, Bill was 15 when he plunged into the hobby.  Racing everything, it seems, that had wheels or could float on water.

Bill began working for Surveyors Service Company in 1954 before leaving to go into business for himself with 6 speed shops around So Cal for years, then selling and getting back into the surveying business and eventually retiring.  Gloria worked and retired from the El Monte School district at the Ramona Center as a teacher.  Bill and Gloria are also into boat racing; floating a 22’ Day Cruiser with a 468 Chevy.  He’s a licensed pilot and loved his Harley Davidson Motorcycles.  Oh and they did find time for 3 sons and a daughter.

Sometimes a 4:00 a.m. wake up call can be a good thing.

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