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Old 10-23-2010, 02:35 PM
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Body Removal - 1989 Corvette

A couple of years ago, a thread was started here about removing the body from a 1989 (C-4 series) Corvette frame. The thread was closed before detailed information was given, but several responses and a diagram submitted by "lets cut it up" indicated that the "frame" is a form of a uni-body.

I recently purchased a 1989 Corvette which has a State of Florida Certificate of Destruction and would like to use the frame/unibody as the basis for a street rod. My thinking(?) was that it would be cool to base the project on a car that was designed to handle really well. At this point, I'm open to suggestions on what type of street rod would be most compatible with the 'Vette frame. It looks like lots of cutting and welding will be required to get the frame ready to take another type of body, and this whole idea may prove to be impractical. Oh well, I don't have a lot of $ invested in this thing, and it looks like the engine, trans (THM700-R4), IRS and other stuff will be worth more than what I paid for the whole car.

I obviously need all the help I can get and would appreciate any responses regarding personal experience, manuals pertaining to the situation, or just plain ol' personal opinions.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:06 PM
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Love the transmission stand!
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bigdog7373
Love the transmission stand!
I just noticed what that was he is using. Going to get me one of those. Oh did you do a search on here for the thread ?



Cole
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:54 PM
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Being a unibody, its going to be very difficult to use the frame, there isnt one......Looks like you are disassembling the car already.....You would be much further ahead to just use the Vette components on another frame, most likely built from scratch to accept the components.

Keep us posted .
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:00 PM
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Cole,
Yes I did a search of the forum for the 'Vette body removal, that's how I found the diagram submitted by "lets cut it up". I think that thread was prematurely cut off before the Bulletin Board group could really get into it.

Poncho,
I'm working from a standpoint of relative ignorance here, since I haven't yet started to strip the body panels from the frame/unibody. I've tried to copy the diagram that "lets cut it up" had previously posted to the other thread, but, so far, have been unable to do it (technology is great when it does what ya want it to). I may well wind up doing as you suggest and just use the 'vette components on a custom frame, but I'd like to see what there is to the stock unibody before I go that route. At present, the C-4 series of 'vettes is relatively inexpensive, especially a "dinged" one like I found; consequently, I think that there must be someone out there who has already used a 'vette frame/unibody to build a street rod.

Regards,
Grog
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:06 PM
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Here is an idea, buy a new Dynicorn 69 Camaro Convert body ($11,000)

Use the corvette interior, for the new Camaro or Firebird and the front vette cradle, will need to be lengthen about 4 inches.

Been done, one is a firebird and one is a Camaro.

Pretty cheap build if doing it yourself, even with the $11,000 bill for the new body, although to make the body gaps perfect you will have about 40 hours into that and best bet is just cut out the tail panel and glue in a new one, takes an hour and new panel is less then a $100.

This way you can use the vette rear-end, front cradle, engine, transmission and interior, waste not want not!

Nice part, you are not F---k-g with rust and you will have a $100,000 car when done.
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:07 PM
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Since yesterday, I've done a lot of web-searching for info on the C-4 Corvette and have found that the frame/unibody is somewhat unique. There is quite a bit of discussion on a couple of the 'Vette sites about the frame question: at one end of the spectrum, some call it a unibody, while at the other end, some consider it to be an X-frame. Somewhere in between, I've seen the term "unit-body frame" used while the Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant folks call it a "space frame". I guess the bottom line is that it's something of a hybrid frame.

Anyway, as I strip all of the concealing parts/body panels off of the "hybrid" frame, more possibilities as to what it can be turned into will hopefully be revealed to me. I guess I won't really appreciate what can and can't be done with this frame until I've done the disassembly. Well, the only things needed to strip this thing down are: blood, sweat, tears, cussin' and some honkin' power tools.

Barry,
I looked at the Unicorn bodies and found that the coupe and convertible are available for $13,500.00 each. That's a bit steep for this project wallet although the '69 Camaro has long been one of my favorites. You said that some folks have built this Camaro using 'Vette parts. Do you know of any links or blogs that might detail the build process?

Regards,
Grog
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:33 PM
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Yeah I think a better description of the Corvette would be body bonded to a frame. It HAS a "frame", but then all the body panels are bonded to it.



I have replaced panels that are bonded to it in collision repair but have never striped one. I would think you could simply remove one panel after another until all you had was the frame.

Structurally I don't believe the body is doing a whole lot so the frame should stand alone as a frame.

Brian
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Old 10-24-2010, 04:17 PM
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Barry,
I looked at the Unicorn bodies and found that the coupe and convertible are available for $13,500.00 each. That's a bit steep for this project wallet although the '69 Camaro has long been one of my favorites. You said that some folks have built this Camaro using 'Vette parts. Do you know of any links or blogs that might detail the build process?

Regards,
Grog

----------------------------------------------------------

Did not mean to wipe out the budget, just an idea.

The two cars I'm talking about were done by the same shop for customers, and like any good Restoration shop, hundreds of pictures are taken and when done they give the Cd's to the owner of the car.

You may have already figured out, professional shops that are doing high dollar cars for either customers or for resale, don't do blogs.
If the customer wants to, that is his business.

I did a real high dollar car and sold it was a 1 of 18 about 10-12 years ago, I had over a 1000 pictures from frame up and gave the buyer two Cd's, still have copy's but to this day I would not feel right to ever post.

The car is going on the auction block next month with R+M and I still would not post, kinda like going on vacation with your best friend and posting a picture of his wife in a bikini, not good.

I do know of about six like this that were done, using newer vettes as donor cars, interior fit just great and if the interior is nice, that alone will save you about $8000, give or take.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:51 PM
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Barry,
Thanks for the response and giving me a heads up on the Unicorn products. Who knows, one day I may have the budget for one of those great lookin' Camaros. I also appreciate your explanation of why there will probably not be a build log "out there" on the Internet. I guess it's sort of like when a publisher buys the rights to a book ... they call the shots on printing, distribution etc.

Brian,
Do you have any helpful hints on removing the 'vette body panels that have been bonded to the "space frame"? Is there finesse involved here, or is it just a matter of a bigger hammer and a longer pry bar?

Thanks for everyone's input and help on this project. It's the first for me of this type, and I need all the help I can get!

As I get into the destruction of this once beautiful Corvette (breaks my shriveled up ol' heart) I'll post pics and comments, hoping for further input. If this 'vette wasn't under a Florida Certificate of Destruction, I'd try to repair it, but maybe its heart will beat again in some weird street rod.

Regards,
Grog
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:53 PM
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Heat, pure and simple, heat. An inductor works GREAT but a torch will also do the trick.

With a little heat they will come right off no fighting at all.

Brian
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:21 AM
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Brian,
Thanks for the tip. I wasn't even thinking about heat! Thanks again.

Regards,
Grog
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