Hot Rod Forum banner

1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hoping this will be a good home for my build thread. I started in 2015 so I will add to this thread until I get it up to date.
I drug this 1954 Chevy 210 out of a pasture in 2015. I had been searching for a cheap one for a while and this particular car had $600 worth of steel left here and there between the rust. Perfect. Went back with a trailer and got it home. This was January of 2015.
524052


524053
524054
524055
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
In preparation for my new project I purchased a wire feed welder from harbor freight for the low low price of $99. I quickly found that with my skill level, I could only burn holes in sheetmetal. No problem. For only $1000 more, I got a decent Lincoln mig. I knew at this point that I would be driving my hot rod in a few months and I couldn’t wait.

I had a vision for this project and ordered the extreme air ride kit from Alex Gambino including his taildragger rear 4-link and Little Dave’s small block motor mounts. I can’t say enough good things about Alex and the excellent customer service he provides.

I decided to start with the rear suspension so I dove into the trunk. The front and rear of the trunk floor were all rusted out with a few areas still holding on the sides. Not knowing anything, I decided it would be best to just hack everything out.
524056
524057


I should mention that this car no longer had the original torque tube. It had been replaced with an open driveline and an early 70’s GM 10 bolt.

524058


Getting started on the frame notch which will allow me to be cool.
This was April 2015
524059


A sharp eye will notice that in my excitement, I welded the inside of the notch where the section of frame needs to be removed. No problem as I also purchased a harbor freight sawzall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Glad to see you here, what are your plans?
Thanks,
I’m working on getting the car running. Hopefully this coming summer. I plan to chop it and French the headlights/taillights. Probably try to graft in a flat rear glass from like a 52 or something similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
May 2015
With the frame notched, I pulled the rearend and started on the 4-link.
524060
524061
524062

I used some rectangular steel to mount the front of the lower bars.
524063
524064

Couple more slices of rectangular steel to mount the upper bars to the frame.
524065
524066


May 31 2015 wrapped up the rear 4-link. Couldn’t have been any happier! Wife was supportive but I’m pretty sure it still looked like a rusty turd to her 😆

524067
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
June 1st 2015
Time to start on the front suspension and steering. The car had a Buick 300 small block and auto trans. The engine was seized and needed to be removed for the front end work. Alex’s kit uses a Fatman Fab mustang II setup.
524068
524069
524070
524071


June 3rd 2015
I was able to get the stock front suspension out. I read that this same setup was used on the corvette and I should have vette restorers beating down my door. Sadly, they didn’t show up.

524072


June 5th 2015
Looks like I didn’t take many pics but I got the Fatman mustang II and manual rack in.

524073
524074


4 wheels back on. Another landmark day!

524075
524076
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sept 2015
I welded up my Gambino Lil’ Dave’s engine mounts and got them in the car. Also removed the stock K-member which was probably the most miserable part of this project. If only I had removed the body.
524077

524079


At this point there’s was no longer any flesh left on my shins. I decided enough is enough and finally pulled the front bumper/cattle guard off.
Started to clean up the firewall.

524080


Whoever put the Buick 300 in did their trimming with a torch so a few areas we’re pretty hacked up. I had zero experience with bodywork so I didn’t really do it any favors either 😆.

524081
524082
524083
524084
524085
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
October 2015
Finally, a little help.
524086
524087
524088


I found a decent deal on a 350 sbc out of a camaro. Instead of doing compression test I opted to rattle can it orange and put a set of valve covers on. Probably added 25 horses!

524089
524090
524091


A quick review of the engine stamping indicated that prior to it’s life in a Camaro, it resided in a 72’ C10. I had recently purchased a rebuilt Saginaw 4 speed and bellhousing from a local trans shop and used my truck engine to hold it in place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
Outstanding! Great build and well documented! For just starting out your welds look pretty darn good. I'm building a '54 Ford the same color as your Chevy. Maybe the cars are distant cousins. I too started with a 'field car'. I've got the buildup on 2 other websites....you just gave me inspiration to post it on here also. For now.....here's a link.....

Keep the pics and info comin'!!
 

·
Slow but willing learner
Joined
·
5,244 Posts
Great project. Not only am I building a '53 Bel Air, I lived in Vancouver, Wa for a little over three years.

Let us follow along as this old girl comes back to life! 👍

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I had been reading a lot of hotrod magazines for inspiration and my wife made sure I didn’t get distracted from my project.
524092
524093
524094
524095
524096


Since I had removed the stock K member, I needed to fab up some sort of new trans crossmember. At some point in it’s life, my 54 had the rusty floor repaired. The technician apparently laid down cardboard and poured bondo over it. Over an inch thick in some spots. It was a shame to undo that work but I thought it would be easier to make my mount with the floor removed. A couple of stomps did the job.
524097


This gets worse before it gets better so please, stick with me.

I envisioned a trans crossmember with a center section that would unbolt and allow my Saginaw to drop straight out of the car when I grenade it. I remembered how heavy the original k member was and chose 1” square tubing hold up the rear weight of my trans Andy small block. I even painted it. Beauty A ?!?

524098

524099


I added some diagonals from the frame to the mount but I was concerned about the shear strength of the bolts on the center section so I solicited advice from a car forum. Thankfully, the guys there basically said this “crossmember” would be lucky to survive it’s first drive 😂.

At this point I was overwhelmed, disheartened and outta cash!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Outstanding! Great build and well documented! For just starting out your welds look pretty darn good. I'm building a '54 Ford the same color as your Chevy. Maybe the cars are distant cousins. I too started with a 'field car'. I've got the buildup on 2 other websites....you just gave me inspiration to post it on here also. For now.....here's a link.....

Keep the pics and info comin'!!
Hey Man! I checked out your Ford build and it looks great! Not only did your floors, braces, and rockers give me deja vu but I have the exact same color metal flake wheel for my 54 😂
I bought it last year and plan to do a complimentary green on the car, hopefully with too much metal flake haha. Awesome!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Great project. Not only am I building a '53 Bel Air, I lived in Vancouver, Wa for a little over three years.

Let us follow along as this old girl comes back to life! 👍

John
John,
When I saw your comment, I almost fell off my couch!:LOL:
You’re the reason I joined here and started this thread. Back when I first bought my 54 in 2015 I also picked up the hobby of searching the internet for 53/54 projects. I've been following yours for the last 5 years. That page does not get closed on my phone. There have been several times where I felt like I was in over my head and didn't know what to do next. I would end up leaving the project for weeks or even months. Then, you would update your build showing how you worked through a particular problem and it would be an absolute epiphany for me!! So many times I thought I was dead in the water until I could buy this or that and you showed how a guy can make progress even if he doesn't have an unlimited budget and access to a body shop haha.

THANK YOU for the years of knowledge, entertainment and information!

Not to mention, your car is absolutely beautiful!!!

You the man!
 

·
True Hotrodder
Joined
·
1,450 Posts
Very nice! I know it takes time to snap photos during any part of the project but the information that it shares is priceless. You never know who you'll end up helping down the road somewhere. I imagine it's gone already but I think the trans crossmember looked good to me. I have something very similar in one of my cars although it spans about 25" from side to side and it supports a Powerglide. Never any issues with it. Best of luck with your project and welcome!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Squint Greasewood

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
The end of Oct 2015
At this point I didn’t feel very confident with my trans crossmember. I had crawled all over that car and found more rust than I thought possible. I really didn’t know what to do next and the rain would soon be back for winter. I stuck the front sheet metal back on and got my first pictures of it as a car again. After that, I wheeled it back into the garage for hibernation.
524115
524116
524117
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I spent that winter looking at the car and decided the rust was beyond my capability. It was bad. I could see daylight all along the front curve of the roof which was also pretty dented up. All around the trunk and tail pan was gone. Even if I bought every replacement panel made, there were still areas that I felt were out of my league to repair like the roof. I decided to hunt for another car.

May 2016 I found another $600, slightly less rusty 54’ 210 about 4 hrs north of me.
524118
524119
524120
524121


I bought the car and made a deal to come back in a couple weeks with a trailer.
May 15th 2016 my new car made it home. It was absolutely incredible what the rain did to revive all that mouse pee. PHEW! You could smell it from 10 ft away.
524128


I bought this car without a title which I’ve gone through before and hoped that worse case scenario, I’d just be out $600. I got the info for the last registered owner from the DMV and couldn’t believe it. The car I bought 4 hrs north of me was last registered to a guy right in my city! What’s the saying? Even the sun shines on a dog’s *** some days.

I didn’t want to do any work on a car not registered to me so I sent the registered mail to the last owner and explained the situation. Turns out he was a true car guy. We spoke on the phone and discussed the car a little bit. He went as far as going to the DMV and signing the release paperwork so I could apply for the title. Really nice guy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
August 2016
I finally got started on my body swap. I bought $40-$50 bucks worth of lumber and made a sawhorse for the front and some kind of gantry crane setup in the rear that I hung a come-along from. I made the front stand just tall enough that I could roll the 215/75R15 tires under it so I wouldn't have to pull them and drag the frame around. I managed to snap the heads off of every single body bolt and get the body free.

524134

524135
524136
524137
 

·
Slow but willing learner
Joined
·
5,244 Posts
LOL, Gee Squint, I knew I was going to like you when you started this thread..........🥰

Thanks for the kind words and keep posting your progress. You have our attention. 🙂

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
So...all this happened 4-5 years ago? Is the car mostly finished now? I'll bet you have a hard drive full of pics and you're just trying to find time to post them all.
I'm waiting with bated breath!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
So...all this happened 4-5 years ago? Is the car mostly finished now? I'll bet you have a hard drive full of pics and you're just trying to find time to post them all.
I'm waiting with bated breath!!
Yes,
This started 5 yrs ago. I had a thread on another site but my modifications didn't jive with the guidelines and it was deleted. I got my little feelings hurt and sat on the pics for a while. The car is a long way from running but I have accumulated most of the major parts at this point and I plan to dive back in this fall.
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top