1957 Chevy Powered by 24 Cylinders of German Engineering

Published May 25, 2016

As ten to fifteen year old 3 and 5 Series BMWs continue to depreciate to zero, they are becoming increasingly popular candidates for Chevy small block engine conversions. In fact, you can buy kits online with all of the specialized parts to complete the job in your garage. However, the job is not for year beginner shadetree mechanic.

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Something that you never really hear about is a BMW engine swap into a classic Chevrolet. How about two BMW engines into a 1957 Chevy? Better yet, what about two BMW V12 engines into a 1957 Chevy?

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Well, that is exactly what we have here.

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Gary Kollofski likes difficult projects. He is putting two BMW V12 engines into his 1957 Chevy for a total of 24 cylinders. You might think that this is a huge project that Gary is taking on, and you are right. However, this is not his first project transplanting V12 engines into classic Chevys.

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Gary’s first foray into transplanting German precision engineering into classic Chevys consisted of a BMW V12 engine into a 1955 Chevy two-door body. Gary added some unconventional body modifications to the vehicle to go along with the wild engine conversion. He added suicide doors, and an articulated forward tilting hood. Gary went so far as making the engine look like that of a Chevrolet.

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The 1955 Chevy project came out looking very good and it whetted Gary’s chops for something along the same lines but on a whole new level of complexity. Enter the 24-cylinder 1957 Chevy project.

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Still in the build phase after four and a half years, the project started as a result of parts collected over the years including doors from a 1957 Pontiac and of course a body of a 1957 Chevy. The roof from the Chevy 2-door sedan is all that remains.

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To say that the conversion requires some modifications is a huge understatement. Extensive modifications are involved with about 95 percent of the work done by “master builder and fabricator, Dale Pelvit” of Pelco Metalfab. The frame started with Alston’s Chassisworks tubular front and rear suspensions connected with 2 and 3-inch tubing, reminiscent of the Funny cars of yesteryear.

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To make the project a reality a wide assortment of custom parts are being utilized including a 9-inch Ford rearend with 4.56 gears, a Detroit Locker and Strange 35-spline axles housed in an Alston Fab-9 housing suspended by a drag race style parallel four-link with wishbone track locator.

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Additional parts include a cantilevered QA1 Aluma Matic coilover shock absorbers protruding through the rear shelf.

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Stopping power is just as important as acceleration. Braking is supplied by Willwood 11-inch disc brakes front and rear.

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Completing the list of unusual features is a double a-arm front suspension that functions with pushrod activated QA1 coilovers.   Steering consists of Alston Mustang II 2-inch drop spindles steering a Mustang II rack and pinion steering box via an idiot column.

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Each V12 BMW engine is 328 inches for a total 656 cubic inches of displacement. Fuel is fed through four Holley 4160 four-barrel carburetors mounted on a custom-built single plane short ram style intake manifold. The two BMW engines retain the internals that they left the factory with.

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Synchronizing the power from both engines is a custom-built combining transmission built by Atlas Tractor and power to the rear wheels is through a custom-built 700-R4 transmission.

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The finished product is going to be an engineering marvel and a sight to behold. It will be far outside the bounds of what the engineering teams at Chevrolet and BMW had imagined when they first designed the 1957 two-door sedan or the V12 engine.



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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