Despite his car’s pure show appearance, Jon Bateman enjoys driving the ’64 Bel Air everywhere he can. We’re not talkin’ grocery runs either. During the 1999 Hot Rod Power Tour, Jon and his Bel Air traveled across the country from California to Oklahoma.

Jon has years of show experience under his belt and knows what it takes to build a distinctive ride. Achieving the Bel Air’s current look required four separate remodelings. In 1998, the Bel Air joined the Bateman family as a simple project. Butch Jeter of Redding, California, straightened the body and applied a single stage of PPG ’86 BMW Cinnabar Red paint. Jon re-covered the stock interior, and a 350ci crate engine found its way between fenders filled with 22-inch Weld wheels—these would later transform into a 454ci Rat engine and 18s. Once Jon felt the torque of a stock big-block, he decided it was time for more.

The ’64 now sits on Intro wheels with 20-inch rears and 18-inch fronts courtesy of 3-inch dropped front springs and 2-inch dropped rears. Of course, then it was time to go through the engine again. Jon bored the Rat 0.060-over to deliver 468 cubic inches along with 10.25:1 compression matched to a new set of Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum heads. A pair of Crossfire valve covers allow you to see the Crane roller rockers in action. An Edelbrock intake is matched to an 850-cfm Speed Demon carburetor to help produce 530 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque. With that kind of power, the Bel Air is no slouch. At Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California, Jon’s show car has run deep in the 13s at a tire-spinning 108 mph.

With a thumper big-block and a smooth look, one would think that there wouldn’t be much room for improvement, but that’s when Jon turned his attention to the interior.

First up was a set of four ’87 Acura Integra bucket seats. Custom Classic Upholstery covered the inside in black, graphite, and opal tweed. Every door handle, turn signal, trim piece, and knob has been replaced in billet aluminum. The center console is made of fiberglass and extends from the dash to the rear window. Constructing the console to house two monster JL speakers and eight additional speakers took over 400 hours. When the Batemans aren’t listening to their favorite tunes, they have the option of watching a movie on one of the two Alpine DVD players—one located in the glove box and the other in the trunk.