1957 Chevrolet 210 Hidden For Decades Is An Amazing Survivor With A Drag Racing Past
Whenever I hear about cars being dragged out of long-term storage, I usually think about dusty carcasses consumed by rust. But I’m happy to admit it’s not always the case. Fortunately, some oldtimers take long-term isolation better than others, even when conditions aren’t all that great. Then we have classics that have been well-maintained while sitting for decades.
The 1957 Chevrolet 210 you see here is one of those lucky cars.Built from 1955 to 1957, the Chevy Tri-Five is quite the common barn find nowadays. That’s because GM built millions of them back in the day. And like most cars that have been insanely popular in the 1950s and 1960s, most of them ended up in junkyards or barns once more modern vehicles became available. A sad fate for what is now considered a design icon of the 1950s.
But luckily enough, not all Tri-Fives were forgotten once retired from public roads. This 210 four-door hardtop, for instance, is one of those so-called barn finds that enjoyed a good storage life. And that’s probably because it’s not your run-of-the-mill Tri-Five. It’s not a fancy Bel Air or a rare optioned-up example either, but it’s quite special thanks to the fact that it spent a few years at the drag strip.
And I’m not talking about a regular car that the owner used to take to track on Sundays. This 210 went professional and became a Junior Stock class champion in 1970. Sure, Junior Stock cars were almost factory-stock when compared to the gassers of the era, but hey, they still ran high-performance carburetors and burned through wider rear tires.
This Tri-Five was raced by Don Kirkland under the name “Carrot Cart” and it was backed by important names in the drag racing business, including Mr. Gasket and Rocco & Cheater’s Speed Shop from Birmingham, Alabama. Speaking of Mr. Gasket, check out this cool replica, also based on a 1957 210, for more info on Joseph F. Hrudka and his successful business.
But why was this Tri-Five put into storage in the first place and how much time did it spend behind closed doors? Well, when the NHRA changed some rules in the early 1970s, the owner opted to retire the car instead of modifying it to become eligible again. And according to our host, “Carrot Cart” didn’t come out of storage until “a few years ago,” which means the dragster spent at least 40 years off the road.
But unlike most racers who left their unused cars to rot away forgotten in backyards, Don made sure his Tri-Five got all the attention it needed while in storage. And that’s why it emerged as an outstanding survivor, still wearing the decals and the hand-painted lettering it got in the late 1960s.
Of course, it’s no longer sporting all the drivetrain components that helped it become a championship-winning Tri-Five in 1970, but it’s still running a period-correct carburetor setup and vintage-style wheels. It’s not astoundingly fast down the quarter-mile, at 15.03 seconds and 90 mph (145 kph), but it sure is great to see it back in action at events like the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals. Check it out in the video below. Look close enough and you’ll also see a 1955 four-door wagon (either a 210 Townsman or a Bel Air Beauville) in the other lane.