What’s it like to drive a 1955 CHEVY BEL AIR?

You wouldn’t know it, but Dave Mercer is famous. If you’ve been lucky enough to drive the canyons in Malibu in a cool car, you’ve probably seen his house — the one with the fake gas station out front. 

But what you may not know is that inside that station is a massive collection of cool. Visiting Mercer was a chore. Why? Well, because I didn’t listen to his directions properly and took the long way around to see him. 

Luckily for me, I’m always driving something awesome. But when I arrived at Dave’s pad, I was treated to his gas station memorabilia collection that bordered on classic epic.

As an ex-real estate consultant, Mercer managed to keep his collection going. And along with all the cool doodads and knicknacks, Mercer also snagged a superfast Lister and a 350hp ‘55 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop. The ‘55 has a Muncie M-21 four-speed with gear vendors overdrive and Halibrand wheels on disc brakes. 

“I’ve owned the car for 29 years,” Mercer said. “It was restored for me 28 years ago with original paint code and correct interior. I have always owned ‘57 Chevys, but always wanted a ‘55.

Mercer said the best part of the car is its original colors and condition. 

“This is a cruiser and can run all day with little effort,” said Mercer, who has taken many trips up and down the coast over the years, which always reminds him that you must drive these cars regularly or they will protest. “The most fun I have is when older folks see the car. It brings back fond memories for them. But driving around Malibu is great with [Pacific Coast Highway] and beautiful mountain roads to take in through the windshield with a dashboard and hood in front that acts like a window to the past.” 

But Dave’s super-favorite road in the world is the Corniche in Monaco, he said.

The Lister Replica is by Lucra Cars. It has a full Carbon Kevlar composite Bodyshell, 4-inch tubular chassis with C-4 Corvette suspension. It has a 385 Fastburn Chevrolet V8 engine with 425 horsepower, Tremec five-speed manual transmission, fully independent Corvette rear suspension, Halibrand-style wheels by PS Engineering and a curb weight of only 1,900 pounds.

“I have owned this car for about seven years and drive it at least once a week,” Mercer said. “It looks similar to my favorite car — the Mercedes W196 Grand Prix Car — and this Lister replica is as close as I could ever get to the Mercedes unless I won the lotto big time. Then I would create a bespoke replica.”

The best part of this car? Its unbelievable acceleration at approximately 0-60 miles per hour in three seconds flat. 

“Power to weight is everything, baby,” Mercer said. “The first time I drove on Malibu’s ‘snake,’ I caused crotch rockets to pull over and let me pass when they couldn’t lose me. Driving in Malibu is perfect for this car as it begs to be driven fast over so many mountain roads.”

Chances are, if you head to Wheels and Waves this Father’s Day, you’ll get a glimpse of Mercer’s rides. And if you pull the right strings — or you happen to be cute — then Dave might give you a spin. 

ALEXANDRA PAUL on the Vlog – FMV296

FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 296! A quick run in beautiful Malibu leads to a Wellness Seminar with Actress ALEXANDRA PAUL (Christine, Batwatch). Then Fireball meets up with Car Guy Dave Mercer for coolness. SHARE Today’s Vlog!

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Christine