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Old 06-28-2007, 11:19 PM   #1
chevyrestoguy
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Chevyrestoguy's '55 build

I've been a member for awhile, and I figured that it was time to post some shots of the truck. It's a '59 with '55 front sheetmetal. I've had it for 14 years, and for most of that it sat dormant due to buying and remodeling a house, starting a family, and 50+ hour workweeks. I did the chassis back in '94 (Camaro clip, boxed rails, step-notch, Ford 9"). I have been hearing it from my buddies for years about how it just sits in the garage, but for the last 6 months, I've been back on it solid. It's been good for me, as I'm finally back to being excited about hotrods again. I got so caught up in the work and family (which is good), but I needed to do something for ME. I do all of my own work because I'm a cheapskate and I refuse to pay huge shop labor charges. Here's some pictures, I hope you like 'em.
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Last edited by chevyrestoguy; 02-18-2011 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:31 PM   #2
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Re: What I've been working on....

More pictures....
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:44 AM   #3
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Re: What I've been working on....

Pretty nice work you are doing there. Its not being cheap when you can do the work just as good or better than most body shops. Plus no one cares about your ride as much as you. So good luck with it
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:51 AM   #4
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Re: What I've been working on....

What you are doing and have done looks great! Keep it up.
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Old 06-29-2007, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: What I've been working on....

Lookin' good ...

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Old 06-29-2007, 11:41 AM   #6
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Re: What I've been working on....

Thanks for the comments, guys. I wasn't in the typing mood yesterday, so I'll tell a little bit about what I've done so far and what I've got planned. To date, I've done:

Chassis: I grafted a '71 Camaro clip and boxed the entire frame from front to back with 3/16" plate. I built an 8" step-notch in the rear,so there's plenty of room for the rearend to travel. The rear is a Ford 9" out of a 1978 Lincoln Versailles, which I had narrowed by Currie Enterprises. The center section is a 3.70 Trac-Loc with 31 spline axles. The rear housing brace was built by me. The gas tank is a '55 Chevy car unit and is located behind the rearend. The wheels are 15x6 in the front and 15x10 in the rear. The rear wheels have an interesting history. They are magnesium (1963 vintage) and were one of the original sets on the Greer, Black, and Prudhomme Top Fueler. They later went to a different rear axle, which made the bolt pattern on my set useless for their set-up. I bought them in 1993, before the big Torq-Thrust craze.

Body: I bought it from my neighbor in 1993. It was originally an Alta Dena, California School District work truck. It has zero rust. It was hot-rodded when I bought it. The previous owner swapped the front sheetmetal to the '55 style. Before I got it, it had a 396 (gone), 4-speed (gone) and an early '60s Old rearend. I was told the previous owner street raced it, and looking at how he butchered the floor and the bedsides, I believe it. I had the hood louvered (68 louvers), and welded all the trim holes shut. I shaved the front marker lights and now have a '57 Chevy grille bar as the center grille. I have modified the headlight rings to resemble a '57s, but I still need to do some work on them. The front bumper is a 3-piece bumper from a '55 Nomad I bought off of ebay. I still need to build bumper mounts and a front valence to fill the void between the bumper and the front sheetmetal.

Engine: I'm in the mock-up stages now, but it's a 454/TH400. The picture with the tunnel ram is only a mock-up to see if I have hood clearance (I do!), and if you notice, it's one of my small block manifolds. The headers are Hedmans (2" primaries/3.5" collectors) from a 67-69 Camaro.

Firewall: I got tired of welding holes in the stock firewall (I counted 68(!) holes), so I decided to build my own. Plus, with the stock firewall, the passenger side valve cover is real close to hitting it. So I cut out the stock firewall, but I left 1.5" all the way around to give the new panel some rigidity. The firewall is made from .063 sheet metal. The setback is 3.5" deep for adequate distributor clearance. The entire panel was glued in place with a badass aerospace adhesive designed for bonding wing skins together. For added insurance, I spot welded the backside every 3". Due to the subframe being installed high in relation to the stock chassis, the transmission actually sat higher than the stock floor, so I had to build a cover. I like the idea of having a removeable cover, so I utilized the factory hole and built a new panel with .080 for the base and .063 for the sides. I utilized Nut-Serts and button head Allen fasteners for the attach fasteners.

Whats next:

1: Mount the column
2: Fix a hole in the floor done by the previous owner
3: Smooth the dash
4: Mount the seat
5: Figure out a shifter (probably Lokar)
6: Pull the cab off and detail bottom and final paint/reinstall
7: Respray the chassis

and the list just keeps going...........................

Last edited by chevyrestoguy; 09-01-2011 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:45 AM   #7
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Re: What I've been working on....

Nice touch on the grill and front bumper. I like the firewall and trans cover, do you have sheet metal tools or like the rest of just a 6" vise!!!
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: What I've been working on....

It is nice to get "Guy Time" . I completely understand about time to yourself. The truck I am working on now is my dad's and we are finally getting back on it after what seems like 25 years...lol. With kids it is hard to get enough time to work on projects. It is looking great and soon enough you will have it driving again. Good luck and keep posting pictures.

Bernie
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:23 PM   #9
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Re: What I've been working on....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevyrestoguy View Post
I shaved the front marker lights and now have a '57 Chevy grille bar as the center grille.
This is the idea I have and want to do, Did you weld the grillbar to the 55 grill or to other parts of the sheetmetal? How stable is it?

Nice.

Last edited by Tri5Nerd; 06-29-2007 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:22 PM   #10
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Re: What I've been working on....

Solidaxel- I work in aerospace, and through the years I have accumulated a fair amount of sheetmetal tools. I'm always shopping for more, but the ones I want take up alot of shop space (shrinker/stretcher, english wheel, brake and shear). I basically use my bandsaw, an upright 3" belt sander, bench grinder, 100 amp mig welder, 175 amp mig welder, and straight and angle grinders. If I need a shear or a brake, I call one of my buddies who owns a shop that build racecars and use his. I really enjoy doing metal work.

Tri5Nerd- The grille bar has taken alot of time to fit right, although it doesn't look it. The width of the bar is actually about 2" wider than the grille opening, so the original '55 grille outer shell has cut-outs on each side to account for that. The backside of the bar has 1/4" attach studs about 8" apart, and the end studs go through the apron of the fenders and are attached with nuts on the backside. I still have to attach the other studs, and I may use internally threaded rods because the grille bar has a peak and the space behind it is about 3-5" and the factory studs are 1.5" long. Another thing to note is that the bar is made of potmetal and cannot be welded.

Last edited by chevyrestoguy; 09-01-2011 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 06-29-2007, 06:08 PM   #11
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Re: What I've been working on....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevyrestoguy View Post
Solidaxel- I work in aerospace, and through the years I have accumulated a fair amount of sheetmetal tools. I'm always shopping for more, but the ones I want take up alot of shop space (shrinker/stretcher, english wheel, brake and shear). I basically use my bandsaw, an upright 3" belt sander, bench grinder, 100 amp mig welder, 175 amp mig welder, and straight and angle grinders. If I need a shear or a brake, I call one of my buddies who owns a shop that build racecars and use his. I really enjoy doing metal work.

Tri5Nerd- The grille bar has taken alot of time to fit right, although it doesn't look it. The width of the bar is actually about 2" wider than the grille opening, so the original '55 grille outer shell has cut-outs on each side to account for that. The backside of the bar has 1/4" attach studs about 8" apart, and the end studs go through the apron of the fenders and are attached with nuts on the backside. I still have to attach the other studs, and I may use internally threaded rods because the grille bar has a peak and the space behind it is about 3-5" and the factory studs are 1.5" long. Another thing to note is that the bar is made of potmetal and cannot be welded.
There is a method of welding pot metal now, a friend of mine says he know how to do it but it's very tough to do due to the makeup of the potmetal.

The idea is to cut the ends off (45* angle) just after the light sockets on the Grillbar to make it fit inside the outter grill then attach a flat piece with studs that goes into the sides of the 55 grill, all the joints on the 55 grill will be weldedto make one uniform piece with studs in the top and bottom as you've noted.

Post more pictures if oyu have them.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:25 AM   #12
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Re: What I've been working on....

looks pretty nice man!!!!
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:56 AM   #13
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Re: What I've been working on....

I love it! Nice stance, especially with those fat meats in the back. Glad to hear your back to it.......keep it up....and don't forget about your camera. We loves pics and your work is easy to look at
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:33 AM   #14
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Re: What I've been working on....

Nice project you have. I really like the 57 Chevy grill thing you did and the 55 bumper look's great. Keep those progress picture coming.
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Old 07-04-2007, 03:18 AM   #15
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Re: What I've been working on....

Love the work you've done to it, gonna be badass when you're done.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:23 PM   #16
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Re: What I've been working on....

Alex, trucks looking good! In the process of grafting in my sub frame........
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:33 AM   #17
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Re: What I've been working on....

Very nice workmanship. I like the grill too!
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:42 PM   #18
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Re: What I've been working on....

The next project to attack is this ugly hole in the floor that the previous owner hacked up to install a 4-speed shifter. I could make a new piece from scratch, but I figure that getting one from a donor cab would be the better way to go. Does anybody here on the site have a junk cab that they would be willing to sell me the section I need? If so, I'm interested. I've looked all over my area for a cab in the wrecking yards, but the oldest one I could find was a '67.

Alex
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Old 07-13-2007, 04:56 PM   #19
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Re: What I've been working on....

let me see if that spot is still good on my junk cab.
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:24 PM   #20
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Re: What I've been working on....

I really appreciate you checkin' for it!
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Old 07-15-2007, 12:50 PM   #21
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Re: What I've been working on....

The column parts finally arrived, so I got to work. The column I have was a freebie, and being a low-buck guy, I decided to run with it. It's a GM column, and I believe that it's from a 67-72 GM truck. It's non-tilt, no keys, and it has a very clean simple look to it. I measured it, and the diameter was 2". Great, I thought, and ebayed a 2.5" drop and a Billet Specialities floor mount, all for a 2" column. I get the parts, and attempted to mock-up them up only to find that GM had crimped the column tube in a few places for reasons that must have been for it's original application. Just my luck, the area that I initially measured was about the only area on the column that was truly 2". I completely disassembled the column and cut off the end of the tube where the turn signal fairing attaches. I got a 30" section of mild steel 2" .065 wall from the scrap bin of the local steel yard ($4 total) and welded the end to it. I even Scotch-Brited it with some WD-40 for a trick look and sandblasted the fairing. It'll all get painted eventually, but it looks cool for now. Now the 2" column parts fit perfectly, so it was time to mock it up and determine where the hole in the floor was to go. Once I got it where I liked it, I drilled the 2" hole. I still have to cut the steering shaft to it's final length and install the u-joints. I'll probably do that today. I also need to make a drill template for the lower column mount because it's held to the floor with 3 allen-heads that secure from the engine side. Gotta keep knocking these little projects out! Next project....Gas pedal
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Old 07-15-2007, 01:12 PM   #22
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Re: What I've been working on....

Nice job on the column! At first I thought it was a flamming river stainless column.

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Old 07-16-2007, 06:20 PM   #23
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Re: What I've been working on....

Very nice work keep the pics coming.
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:00 AM   #24
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Re: What I've been working on....

thats a really nice truck. i like it alot. i got a question: how hard was it to put that bumper on?i know u said u have to make mounts, but did it just fit into place or did u have to persuade it? i like that idea, and my friend has a spare bumper like that, and i would like to do it to my truck maybe.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:23 PM   #25
chevyrestoguy
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Re: What I've been working on....

So far, the front bumper is just mocked up. I have yet to build brackets, but it looks like they could be a challenge to make. It's really tough to get the big heavy bumper in it's final position and then try to make brackets. I have to make relief cuts on the bumper to spread it slightly to fit around the front fenders, and I also have to make a lower valence that covers the gaps between the bumper and the existing front valence. It's going to happen soon, and I'll post pics.
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