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Thread: My Wife's '56

  1. #1
    Registered Member Tabasco's Avatar
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    My Wife's '56

    When I posted about several maintenance items I was doing on my '57 wagon, Chevynut said "At least your "might as wells" didn't result in a frame-off." Well...that is because I already have another one under way on my wife's '56.

    I decided to start a build thread. I have been working on my wife's car for a while. I was working a job until I retired the end of last year. Now I have more time to work on it and hope to finish it soon. I took pictures and made notes on progress so far. I thought I would share what led to this and what I have done.

    My wife bought a í56 convertible from a friend of ours on 1981. He had the car for a few years. He bought it without engine or transmission. Since it was originally 6 cylinder and power glide thatís what he put in it. It was never restored, but it did get a new paint job, new custom interior and a new top in about 1978. Everything else was original 1956 parts. Every spring I have to work on it to make sure everything is in working order for the summer cruise season.

    One thing that needed fixing was that the radio quit working. You canít cruise in a convertible without oldies music. Radios last us about 10 or 15 years. In the past I would go to the big box store or an auto supply and buy a new one with a knob on each side and the dial in the middle. With a homemade bracket I designed I could make it work in the dash. Now you canít locally find universal radios with the two knobs. There are radios available on line that will fit the dash without modification, but for the same price I can buy a radio that has all the modern features we like in our new cars.

    I didnít want to cut the dash so I decided to build me a console to mount a new radio. It is hard to mount stereo speakers in a convertible, so I could mount a couple of speakers in the console too. Plus it would be nice to have cup holders.

    I started to fabricate a pattern for a console. I did some planning, made a cardboard pattern that I liked. Then I made both sides from plywood, connected the sides with 1x2s. But for some reason it wouldnít sit level. Then I realized that the problem was that the carpet pad for the 40 year old carpet was deteriorating. So I took out the seats and pulled up the carpet. I thought maybe I should just buy new carpet and new padding. The carpet was getting pretty faded. But if I buy new carpet it would look out of place with our 40 year old interior. So I guess we should plan on getting new interior.

    The top was looking old and tired. Some of the stitching was coming lose. Maybe I should just get a new top while it is in the upholstery shop. But the old lacquer paint is showing its age and will need redone someday. If I get a new top then it would be hard to protect it during paint and body work. Maybe I should just paint it now.

    So that is how a new radio turned into a frame of restoration.

    The Before Picture

    147954497.jpg

    To be continued.

  2. #2
    Registered Member BamaNomad's Avatar
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    A pretty car as it was... (but I really like sierra gold / adobe beige cars)...

  3. #3
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    Isn’t it interesting how one thing leads to another? How far along are you in the restoration, Tabasco? Any current pictures?

  4. #4
    Registered Member carls 56's Avatar
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    looks good even before the frame off.
    ARMY NAM VET, very proud!

    56 210 4dr

    drive and enjoy them while you work on them, life is to short.

  5. #5
    Registered Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by carls 56 View Post
    looks good even before the frame off.
    Agreed! Look forward to hearing more on your project!
    - 1957 Chevrolet 4 dr hardtop Bel Air Sierra Gold/Adobe Beige - Purchased July 5th, 2013
    - 1957 Chevrolet 4dr sedan 210 Larkspur Blue/India Ivory Sedan - Purchased Aug 6th, 2012 (not running)
    - 1957 Chevrolet 4dr sedan Bel Air Canyon Coral/India Ivory Sedan - Purchased June 30th, 2013 (not running)
    - 2017 Chevrolet SS Sedan - LS3 - TR6060 - Nightfall Grey Metallic - Purchased April 2017

  6. #6
    Registered Member busterwivell's Avatar
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    I'll be watching this one closely!

  7. #7
    Registered Member Tabasco's Avatar
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    Repairs have been done and I am at the body work stage. When I get a little time I will show pictures of how I got this far.

  8. #8
    Registered Member Tabasco's Avatar
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    After disassembly and sanding off all the paint I found that the car was in fair shape. Some small rust was repaired in the lower quarters when it was painted in the 70s. A little more rust had formed in the same area in 40 years. The body was a little rough and several areas needed some work. There were a few scrapes and dings that had been covered up on the previous paint job. The hood was fair and the front fenders were excellent. Doors were good. Trunk lid was full of bondo. I traded it out for a good used one I had.

    CP2.jpg

    CP3.jpg

    CP1.jpg

  9. #9
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a really solid and straight car.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

  10. #10
    Registered Member Tabasco's Avatar
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    After cleaning everything to bare metal I sprayed everything with SPI epoxy primer.

    CP22.jpg

    The replacement trunk lid needed a little work but it was much better than the one that was on the car.

    CP5.jpg

    New tail pans were not available in the 70s. The tail pan was made out of flat steel, pop rivets and fiberglass reinforced bondo. That was the worst part of the body. I installed a new tail pan, tail pan brace, rear section of trunk floor and new spare tire well.

    CP6.jpg

    CP7.jpg

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