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Thread: Dragsix 57 bel air sedan 6 cylinder

  1. #1
    Registered Member Dragsix's Avatar
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    Dragsix 57 bel air sedan 6 cylinder

    On my 16th birthday, summer of 77, my parents gave me a key to their original second car that they had purchased in 65. It was a little rough but my parents got it repaired, running and inspected. The rest was on me as they had actually intended to send the car to the junk yard but thought better of it with a 16 year old in the house. It was black and white. I really did not know much about the car except that it ran and That I now had a set of wheels to drive. Learned pretty quickly from my classmates that I had a pretty popular car. So I must Have compounded and waxed that car 30 or 40 times in that first year. It was missing trim, paint was peeling and cracking and failing off but I cleaned it up a bit, took my drivers test in it a couple of weeks later, and drove it.

    by summer of 78 I decided to take it Apart and strip down all the paint jobs on the body. Learned pretty quickly from the body shop that I could not afford a black paint job, well one that looked decent anyhow, so I opted to paint it 78 corvette red. It’s still 78 corvette red.

    First photo is 16 year old me stripping the paint off the car. Second is after I got done. The third is a few days after I got the car back probably October 78. The last photo is probably late 80s or early 90s at maple grove raceway.

    Last edited by Dragsix; 07-12-2020 at 04:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered Member Dragsix's Avatar
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    By 1998 or 99 the car was in pretty poor shape. Northeast rust had taken its toll and the structural rust made the car unsafe to drive. There was hardly anything left of the trunk and to this day I am not sure what was holding the gas tank up. But I had little kids at home, career changes, school, and thus no money. The car sat in the garage from that point onward.

    i don’t follow sports, golf, nothing really. I like to play with the cars. So in 2011 my wife asked me why I was not working on the car and I told her that there was too much damage that I did not have the space, knowledge or tool box to fix.

    So, bless her heart she said something along the lines of you don’t drink your paycheck, it does not go up your nose, you don’t gamble, you don’t run around, You don’t follow sports, is there not someone who can fix the problems. So that is what I did. I Really took the car apart To nearly a shell, and sent it to some professionals (ol 55 east coast chevy) who agreed to fix the structural rust damage that I was not capable of addressing myself.

    My two boys who were both teenagers at the time (the youngest at 15) helped me take the car apart. It was a pretty sad day for me to see the car in such bad shape. I was excited to see it go for repairs, but the more then a decade in the garage had not been especially kind as everything looked worn out and used up. I was just sad that it was in the shape it was in.
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    Last edited by Dragsix; 07-13-2020 at 10:26 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered Member carls 56's Avatar
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    good read and cool story. know there is more to the story, will be following.
    ARMY NAM VET, very proud!

    56 210 4dr

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

  4. #4
    Registered Member Dragsix's Avatar
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    So the Plan was to leave the body on the frame and make repairs. Yea right. Too much undercarriage rust so they took the body off In 2012 and gave me back the frame.

    About that time I learned that Chris Sondles was thinking of having a trifive nationals event, something akin to the old classic chevy conventions. I actually called him and we discovered that we were both at the 1980 Cherry Hill New Jersey national convention. Me as a teenager, Chris as a youngster with his parents. He asked me if I would come to the show In 2015 if he put it on. I told him yes, but that it was in a million pieces and that it was not a show car, or even all that nice (it’s a 30 yard car to be sure) but that I would do my best to get the car back together in time.

    So I rebuilt the frame and then when the structural rust was fixed, Gave them the frame, they put the body back on the frame and gave me back my beloved car to finish. I literally had to fix, repair, rebuild or replace nearly every mechanical part of the car, the wiring, some trim, and most of the interior (velour seat covers from 1980 stayed and remain. My boys won’t let me change them. Hey, no laughing, velour was the cats meow In the 80s, lol) and repair damage I had done to the front fenders as a teenager. every thing I took apart to fix lead to something else that had to be fixed, cleaned, repainted. The list kept going and going. My wife told my youngest son (the older boy was in the Air Force at the time, still is) that I was going to have a heart attack if he did not help so the conversation with his mother being unbeknownst to me, he jumped in to help.

    He was my right hand man from that point on and helped me for the next two years getting the car back together.
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    Last edited by Dragsix; 07-13-2020 at 10:31 AM.

  5. #5
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    you`re the koolest, dragsix! told ya that for a few years! i`m sure ya bought stuff from, "chop your e.t.", K & G !

  6. #6
    Registered Member Dragsix's Avatar
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    We finished literally the night before we left for the 2015 trifive nationals. I had broken in the motor that I had built for it, but absolutly 0 miles on the motor. I had no time to test the transmission I had rebuilt. All I knew is that it would start, idle, go into first and reverse. So we polished it up, cleaned and cleaned and did our best to make it look presentable.

    We got to Kentucky and trailered the car to the front gate, backed it off the trailer, and I drove my car for the first time in 15 years. Truth be told, I could hardly believe I was behind the wheel of my high school car again, and with my son to boot. The car ran great, motor did not blow up and and the transmission did not scatter all over the place. Not terrible for a couple of backyard hackers. Even drove it down the drag strip, very carefully of course. I was elated.

    Here we are driving into the show that morning. I was nervous and excited.

    https://youtu.be/vG2YQrfJT2A

    My youngest son was very introverted, did not talk much. Hardly anything really. And that was the case right up to the time we got to the nationals and then all these folks started asking him questions about the car when I was off talking. He knew the answers and was talking more then ever. I had to take a secret video just to send to my wife, lol. Now he is off and running, lol. That first year was magical for the two of us. A real roadtrip with my boy.

    We thought the car looked pretty good for a couple of backyard hackers
    Last edited by Dragsix; 07-13-2020 at 10:36 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered Member Dragsix's Avatar
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    So here it is, vintage mis-matched paint, scratches, dings, my teenage body work, peeling roof paint, old velour seat covers, all my high school era speed equipment, old Cragers, not a single gap the same, nothing really lines up, but it’s mine and it’s been mine for 43 years.
    Last edited by Dragsix; 07-13-2020 at 10:37 AM.

  8. #8
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    You are a little yougger than me but I am sorry 4drs are for parts and not safe for familys.

  9. #9
    Registered Member Dragsix's Avatar
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    Dave, there were days when I would just take my little high school paycheck and drop it off at K&G. The tach, gauges, cragers, and valve cover, along with god knows what else came out of that shop. I am lucky, a really good friend of mine runs that shop now and so yes, I still buy my parts there. Believe it or not, I still have a chop your et water decal in my stash of stuff. That was some operation at one point. All kinds of famous east coast racers hanging around. for example, it was not all that unusual to spot Jim Liberman either at the retail shop or at the machine shop. All kinds of well known racers from the day. Jimmy Fox (Frantic Ford fame) and Radar (John Henry) did my machine work and taught me how to build a motor when I was still in my teens. They got a kick out of my six motors.
    Last edited by Dragsix; 07-13-2020 at 10:39 AM.

  10. #10
    Registered Member BamaNomad's Avatar
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    4-dr sedans are probably the safest of all the models~ :_

    Mike: Thanks for posting the updates... I think your car (and your straight 6 approach) are FAB...

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