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Thread: 1955-1957 wagon roof?

  1. #1
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    1955-1957 wagon roof?

    so i just bought a 1957 handyman wagon. the roof skin is so bad that a whole skin will have to be replaced. i have watched videos on replacing the roof from the pillars up but this seems like a lot more work then needed. also to find a 2door wagon roof is a lot harder to find.

    my question is since i have read that the 57 windshields are different at the cowl then the 55 and 56's. Are the roofs different between these years? also is there any difference from a 2 to 4 door? or are the roof the same like the hardtops and the sedans. like what i see for new roof skin replacement on the hardtops and sedans 55-57 they fit all?

    thanks in advance Andrew K.

    also am i thinking about it wrong by cutting the old roof skin off, fix the inner structure then spot the knew skin on or do i need to go about as if i were doing a chop and cut pillers as i have seen someone else do it. seem like more engineering and measuring doing it like a chop.

    thanks again. later.
    Last edited by 57sailplane; 02-27-2023 at 12:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Above the pillars, the roof on any non-Nomad 55-57 wagon is the same. It's also the same as the front half of the roof on all 55-57 sedans.

    Removing the rusty skin and repairing the inner structure is a hard way to do it, but probably the "right" way. This is no job for a beginner, no matter the approach.

  3. #3
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    It would be infinitely cheaper and better to start with a different car, unless you are a professional restorer.

  4. #4
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the roofs of all wagons, 2-door or 4-door are the same as noted. If you're intent on restoring it I would find a good roof from a 4-door wagon and graft it on. It will take some metalwork but if you know what you're doing it shouldn't be that bad. The only difference is the location of the door openings, as the A and C pillars should be the same. I would cut it somewhere in the center of the pillars and weld them back together. Alternatively try to find a 2-door wagon roof and just graft it on at the center of the pillars. I would build a "jig" that would locate the new roof exactly where the old one was. I might know where you could find a clean western (CO or WY) roof if you're willing to travel for it. Where are you located?
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
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    1962 327/340HP Corvette
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
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    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax
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  5. #5
    Registered Member MP&C's Avatar
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    Here's where having your location posted helps out as someone could point you in the right direction. Jay Hammond Chevy Parts in Delaware normally has a donor roof or two. (If you're on the east coast) Plenty of Boneyards still out there with rust free sheet metal, southwest corner of the US or high desert plains of Oregon, etc.
    Robert



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  6. #6
    Registered Member Custer55's Avatar
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    Pictures of the current condition of the roof would help as they best way to repair the roof depends on what the damage is. If it is because of collision damage/dents etc. you may be better off attempting to straighten out the existing metal vs replacing it. If it is because of rust then the rest of the car may have a lot of rust as well and you may be better off finding a better car as stated above.
    If replacing the roof is the best option it will be a lot of work. Replacing just the skin means getting it off at the factory seam or just above the factory seam. Easier to cut it off just above the factory seam but you will be spending a lot of time welding and finishing out the seam. Not an easy task taking the roof off at the seam/rain gutters either but easier to weld back on and finish out.
    The way I would go is to do it like a top chop as you will have much less welding to do (only at the posts). Not to bad to make sure it all lines up correctly when your done either. Just get the doors lined up as best you can before cutting the old top off, and they you can use the properly aligned doors to make sure the new top is lined up right before welding in back in place.
    Whatever route you decide to go take your time and get help from someone who has done a job like this before if you can. Like Rick stated, not a job for a beginer.
    Good luck
    Brian

  7. #7
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    If you were to choose the method where you splice the posts, keep in mind that all the posts have double layers of metal, possibly even triple in places. Making sure you have fully penetrated weld joints on the inner layers will be important.

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    Well guys, thanks for the help. First off im from Nebraska and I got 2 4dr tops found but both have one tiny hole from rust in different places im still looking for a rust free one but in my neck of the woods pretty tuff. My top is rusted near the cross brace on both sides and rear corner. The exterior and interior sheetmetal is real clean on the quarters and door areas, the outer rockers are pretty clean the inner rockers have some rot and the floor pan were you put your feet has rot the under floor braces look good and feel strong. The floor from shocks back still factory paint. The rear around the gate is clean. The firewall at the factory pinch weld up is clean.

    I just bought a floor with inner rockers and braces welded on. This should take care of most the rust down below. I am by no means a pro at bodywork but know enough to get in trouble and I am determined. My dad was a body man for 30+ years and our body shop was in my back yard he's around to give me pointers.

    I am looking to fix this up as a driver probably either leave original paint on most of the body or hotrod black it.

    I am still contemplating on wich way to do the top still learning on cutting at the drip rail.

    Anyways later Andrew K.

  9. #9
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 57sailplane View Post
    I am still contemplating on wich way to do the top still learning on cutting at the drip rail.
    Personally, there is no way I'd attempt that kind of repair. Anytime you weld, you get shrinkage at the weld. That causes warpage. There is no way to straighten warpage in that area. I would definitely find a good roof and graft at the posts. Much less welding that way.

    If you're interested, I might know where there's a good roof in Wyoming. PM me.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1962 327/340HP Corvette
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax
    2019 GMC Sierra Denali Duramax

  10. #10
    Registered Member WagonCrazy's Avatar
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    1957 Nomad- LS1/T56 on C4 chassis
    1959 Fleetside Apache 1/2 ton, shortbed, big window, 327ci.

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