Car Owner/Driver: Monty Berney
Hometown: Danville, CA
Home Track: Sacramento Raceway Park
Car Year/Model: 1955 Chevrolet 210 Sedan
Car Name: Bertha Too
Sanction/Class: PSCA/Pro Street
Best ET/Speed: 6.93/204.36
Number of Years Owned: 7 years (2 as a racecar)
Builder: Jim Berg
Type: Back-half/Powder coated
Front Susp: Stock A-frames and ball joints
Rear Susp: Four-link
Tires: Hoosier, 4.5X15 front/39.5X17X16 rear
Brakes: Aerospace front/Strange rear
Rearend: Tom’s Differentials
Axles: Strange 40 spline
Builder: In house
Type/Size: Chev 526 c.i.
Heads: Alan Johnson billet
Crank: Sonny Bryant
Oil Pump: Titan wet sump
Oil: Pennzoil 60W
Injectors: Enderle Hat
Power Adder: Mert Littlefield 14-71 blower
Headers: Jim Dunford
Tinwork: Jim Berg
Seats: Jerry Bickel carbon fiber
Steering Wheel: Momo
Gauges: Auto Meter
Seatbelts: Crow Enterprises
Data Recorder: Racepak
Driving Suit: Simpson
Fire Suppression: Safecraft
Parachutes: Chute Metal
Maas Brothers Powder Coating
Significantly, there’s no rollcage bar crossing in front of the dash because Berney wanted to preserve its stock appearance. He received special dispensation from NHRA to instead upsize the tube size and run it behind the dash. The chassis is certified to six seconds over the quarter mile.
Additionally, along with modern Auto Meter gauges to keep track of his engine’s vitals, Berney’s ’55 retains its original dashboard layout. “I even cut the back off the old AM radio and stuck it back in there,” he says. The interior also features a full headliner, door panels, carpeting on the floor, and all interior tin is powder coated.
Berney also wanted to avoid the screwed-in-windows look
of so many racecars, so he installed 3/16-inch Lexan all
around because it allowed the use of original rubber weatherstripping
instead. Both driver and passenger windows can be rolled
up and down with stock handles, but the winders for the
vent windows are missing and the vents screwed shut because
Berney found the Lexan was not staying rigid enough for
them to stay closed properly.
Externally, the ‘55 has all period-correct chrome trim and only the hood and trunk lid are fiberglass reproductions on the 3,200-pound beast. Even the factory-original steel inner fenders remain in place because Berney says he doesn’t “believe” in being able to see a car’s suspension through its wheel wells. Amazingly, his car also carries its original heavy chrome bumpers fore and aft, though Berney concedes, “we did cut and section them and moved them in just a tiny bit to get them a little tighter to the body.”
Finally, all lights work with the exception of the back-up lights, but that likely will be remedied by the start of this season, Berney says. “We might even put a dome light in it over the winter.”
After about a year and a half of construction, Berney debuted the car, still cloaked in primer, at the Pacific Street Car Association’s 2004 season ender at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he qualified in Pro Street with a 7.137-seconds pass at 195.62 mph. The car has since run a best E.T. of 6.93 seconds at California Speedway in Fontana, CA, and top speed of 204.36 mph at Sacramento (CA) Raceway Park.
Last year, Berney finished third in PSCA Pro Street points, trailing only Clint Hairston and Ed Thornton, who nailed down his third straight championship. He then capped off his season with great success, earning his first big win with the car in November at Las Vegas, defeating Heath Johnston in the Heavy Street final at the inaugural non-points PSCA Street Car Super Nationals.
Berney is justifiably proud of his latest ride, which he campaigns with the help of Berg trackside and Dunford calling the shots as crew chief, sometimes long distance via the telephone. “I don’t know that there’s another stock-bodied, full-size car with chrome mufflers that’s gone 204 miles an hour before, or a 6.93,” he says. “If there is, it’s very, very few.