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by Steve Temple  More from Author

When You Need it Right Away, the Winged Express Really Hauls

Man, if only UPS trucks looked so good as this ’59 Sedan Delivery! You wouldn’t think twice about wearing those funny-looking brown shorts and picking up packages all day long. You’d actually look forward to firing up that supercharged Chevy under the hood and hauling all sorts of cargo around town. And just think how quickly you’d finish your route! You’d be the first to roll into the parking lot at your local diner for cruise nights.

Of course, Larry Weiner had nothing so ordinary in mind when he built the Winged Express. No, he wanted to build the ultimate wagon, a vehicle that exemplifies an era in America when everything was over the top, when we were big, bold, and unstoppable. That attitude showed was obvious in the designs of the day, an extravagant mix of flamboyant sheetmetal, brilliant chrome and protruding tail fins. And one more, essential thing—unbridled power, stampeding ponies loosed from their reins.

To bring back this feeling of unfettered excess, Weiner started with a stock 1959 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery and infused it with the latest high-performance parts. Under that expansive hood bristles a supercharged and intercooled Chevrolet LS2 engine pumping out 700 horses. This ferocious mill churns through a slick-shifting, six-speed Tremec transmission form-fitted by Keisler Engineering. An Air Ride suspension ensures a perfect stance and balance at speed, while rolling on large-diameter MC2 alloy wheels and low-profile BF Goodrich tires.    

Preserving the look of the time was a key component during the development of the Winged Express. Longer, lower and wider was the mantra in Detroit in the 1950’s. It was an exciting decade, one heavily influenced by jet aircraft and rockets. Legendary designer Harley Earl no doubt felt that influence in creating the 1959 Chevrolet.  As the leader of General Motors Styling, the ‘59 Chevy set the benchmark for audacious American design with its, humongous hood, incredible interior, and extreme wings.

So it follows that no automotive enthusiast with a reverence for the unique would alter the exterior of a 1959 Chevrolet. How could you improve on it? With that thought in mind, the body of the Winged Express was carefully restored and lavished with PPG Automotive Finishes Platinum Metallic.  

Inside, however, subtle modifications abound that both preserve and improve upon the period treatment. For instance, a set of vintage 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS bucket seats, along with a matching center console and shifter, add to the aura of the era captured by the Winged Express. Accented with chrome trim, the seats are swathed in luxurious leather from the artisans at Katzkin, complemented by an interior trimmed in matching fabrics and carpeting by Auto Custom Carpets. The dashboard follows the same theme and is accented with Impala bright trim, as are the windshield garnish moldings. 

Concealed inside is a comprehensive audio and video system by Sony, and no matter how hot it is outside, the Winged Express will always be cool inside thanks to a Vintage Air Performance Air Conditioning System.

Adding to the performance impact of the Winged Express is MagnaFlow’s MagnaPack high-performance dual-exhaust system exiting through a pair of four-inch polished stainless steel exhaust tips under the rear valence. 

While no original ’59 Chevy never had so much modern machinery, the Winged Express accelerates you back to a time when life was less complicated. The pace may have been fast at times, but the consequences more benign. We cruised the drive-in, stopping to fortify ourselves with cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes, at an age when we could work off the calories with our sheer exuberance.

While reminiscing is great fun, the powertrain and chassis of the Winged Express are pure 21st century G-Machine. The Chevrolet LS2 engine, built by Turn Key Engine Supply and fitted with a twin-screw blower from Kenne Bell, is a marvel of modern engineering. And the Tremec harnesses the power of the engine smoothly and efficiently, with the kind of stamina it takes to survive speed shifts after dropping the hammer at the stoplight.

Those who relish the act of driving, of manually releasing the horsepower at the optimum moment, who learned early how to listen to the song of the engine and carry that tune, will thrive in the cockpit of the Winged Express. With the addition of a Centerforce clutch, the Winged Express stretches out in long strides, covering mile after mile of endless asphault.

As low as the stance of the Chevrolet Winged Express is, it can be lowered almost to the pavement, thanks to an Air Ride Technologies Cool Ride suspension system. Complementing this versatile suspension are Hotchkis Performance Sport Sway Bars, a set of 20-inch MC2 Custom Billet Wheels and BFGoodrich low-profile directional tires. The appearance is nothing less than spectacular, in addition to offering the kind of smooth ride and great handling essential for high-speed motoring. And bringing those alloy rims to a clenching halt are calipers with—get this—eight pistons, using Stainless Steel Brakes’ Force-10 V8 system, which clamps down on 14-inch slotted and ventilated rotors.

The Chevrolet Winged Express revives the power and strength of the late 1950’s, a time before the “less is more” concept emasculated American autos to generic, appliance-like, compact conveyances. The Winged Express is the absolute antithesis of these virtually nameless and faceless commodity vehicles. It beckons you to pack your bags, fill up a large cooler with green-glass bottles of Coca Cola, turn up the volume on some golden oldies, and get ready to “See the USA in Your Chevrolet.”   

The 1959 Chevrolet Winged Express is a perfect expression of the elegant excesses of the Fifties.  It makes no pretense or excuses for what it is, nor pretends to be politically correct. It’s brash and arrogant, confident and ambitious, like the generation of Americans who inspired it and appreciate what it is today. This Sedan Delivery really delivers the goods.

 

 

SOURCES:

Acoustishield
6507 Pacific Avenue Ste. 334
Stockton, CA 95207
Product: Vehicle Insulation and Sound Deadening
209-942-4777
www.quietride.com

Aero Collision & Fabrication
975 Ransom Road
Lancaster, NY  14806
Service:  Body Restoration, Paint and Fabrication
716-685-AERO

Air Flow Research
10490 Ilex Ave.
Pacoima, CA  91331
Product:  Aluminum Cylinder Heads
818-890-0616
www.airflowresearch.com


Auto Custom Carpets Inc.
1429 Noble Street
Anniston, AL  36202
Product:  Carpeting
800-633-2358
www.accmats.com

Air Ride Technologies
350 S. St. Charles St.
Jasper, IN  47546
Product:  Air Ride Suspension
812-482-2932
www.ridetech.com

BFGoodrich
P.O. Box 19001
Greenville, SC  29602-9001
Product:  Tires
864-458-5000
www.bfgoodrichtires.com

Classic Tube
80 Rotech Dr.
Lancaster, NY  14086
Products:  Stainless Steel Brake and Fuel Lines,      Stop Flex D.O.T. Stainless Steel Braided Brake Hoses
800-882-3711
www.classictube.com

Competition Cams Inc.
3406 Democrat Rd.
Memphis, TN  38118
Product:  Camshaft
800-365-9145
www.compcams.com

Covercraft Industries Inc.
100 Enterprise Blvd.
Pauls Valley, OK  73075
Product:  Vehicle Cover
405-238-9651
www.covercraft.com

Designer Mat    
2031 E. Via Burton,  #M
Anaheim, CA  92806                                        
Product:  Carpet Mats
310-650-2205

Hotchkis Performance
102035 Burke St.  # 13
Santa Fe Springs, CA  90670
Product:  Performance Sport Bars
562-907-7757
www.hotchkis.net

Katzkin Leather Inc.   
6868 Acco Street
Montebello, CA  90640
Product:  Custom Diamond Tuck Leather Interior
800-842-0590
www.katzkin.com

Keisler Engineering
2216-B West Governor John Sevier Highway
Knoxville, TN  37920
Product:  6 Speed Transmission Package
865-609-8187
www.keislerauto.com

Kenne Bell Inc
10743 Bell Court
Rancho Cucamonga, CA  91730
Products:  Supercharger and Intercooler System
909-941-6646
www.kennebell.net

Magnaflow Performance
22961 Arroyo Vista
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  92688
Product:  Cat Back Exhaust System
949-858-5900
www.magnaflow.com

Mr. Gasket Performance Group
10601 Memphis Ave.  #12
Cleveland, OH  44144
Product:  Hurst Roll Control
216-688-8300
www.mrgasket.com

Performance West Group Inc.
5256 S. Mission Road  # 703-214
Bonsall, CA  92003
Services: Vehicle Design, Marketing & Communications
760-630-0547
www.performancewestgroup.com

PPG
Urban Paint
428 Oliver Street
North Tonawanda, NY  14120
Product:  Custom Paint
716-694-4444

Raceware Inc
168 S Tamanend Ave.
New Britain, PA 18901
Product:  Custom Radiator, Shroud and Fan Assembly
215-345-7297
www.racewarecentral.com

Sony Electronics Inc.                           
16765 w. Bernardo Road
Attn:  Mail Zone:  11-330
San Diego, CA  92127
858-942-7966
www.sony.com

Spectrum Glass Coatings
801 W. Lambert Road
Brea, CA
Service:  Window Tinting
714-529-3300

Stainless Steel Brakes Corp                              
11470 Main Street                                                 
Clarence, NY  14031
Product:  V8 – Eight Piston Big Brake Kit
800-448-7722
www.ssbrakes.com

Street & Performance
# 1 Hot Rod Lane
Mena, AR  71953
Product:  Motor Mount Plates
479-394-5711
www.hotrodlane.cc

Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909
Akron, OH  44309-0909
Product:  Billet License Plate Frame
800-230-3030   
www.summitracing.com

Syndicate Automotive Concepts
5620 Kearny Mesa Road  Suite A
San Diego, CA  92111
Service:  Custom Audio, Video and Interior Installation
858-505-4600
www.syndicateauto.com

Turn Key Engine Supply
2620 Temple Heights Dr.
Oceanside, CA  92056
760-941-2741
Product:  Chevrolet LS2 Engine, Headers and Chrome Engine Accessories
www.trunkeyengine.com

Vintage Air Inc.
18865 Goll St.
San Antonio, TX  78266
Product:  Air Conditioning
800-862-6658
www.vintageair.com

Year One Inc.
1001 Cherry Drive  Suite One
Braselton, GA  30517
Product:  Restoration Parts
800-950-9503
www.yearone.com

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