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55 Chevy 2 Door Hardtop, Resurection

#1
So, my Dad moved to South Carolina from Hackettstown, HJ in 1966 to attend Clemson University. He brought along his 55 Chevy that he had "built out of a junkyard." Before he left home he and some friends has finished getting the car all fixed up and painted. Numerous coat of Olive Drab Green and Clear coat covered the car from front to rear, he was proud.

Not long after being on campus he was strolling through R6 parking lot and a girl backed out and hit him in the right door and rear quarter. She wasn't found at fault because he didn't have the correct parking pass to even be in that parking lot. So, he replaced the door and quarter panel using Pontiac parts because "the bodies are all the same, body by Fisher" as he likes to tell. After that he decided in a "screw it!" attitude to paint over the entire paint job with an almost black primer.

He and my mom drove it that way up until 1972 when they decided to park it in their newly finished basement which was designed with storing the car in mind. I've never ridden in the car, I've only watched it sit there as I grew up. Year after year it sat there in the corner with the typical basement junk all around it, on it, and under it. 42 years!

Two summers ago I decide to go ahead and drag it out because it was time to get started on the LS swap that we had been talking about since about 2005. I had to pump the tires up, and actually put the spare tire on the front left. I hooked the winch to it to drag it far enough to get a chain on it and drag it up the driveway. basement.jpg spare tire.jpg basement 2.jpg
 

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#3
Here are pictures of it as Dad drug it out of the garage and up the driveway. First time in the light of day since 1972. Dad's neighbor, seen in the burgundy shirt, is an old time Ford Mustang collector, has several mustangs including a Green '67 Shelby GT350 convertible, and just sold a fastback Shelby that wasn't finished. He's also a long time friend.
pulling.jpg pulling 2.jpg out.jpg dad.jpg
 
#4
Here we are with it loaded on the ramp truck and headed to our shop. It was neat to see all the heads turning to see the "barn find" as I drove down the highway. loaded.jpg rolling.jpg
 
#5
Here it is at the shop before we unloaded it and then as we began washing it. My friend Wayne was doing the honors of spraying it while I was scrubbing. The black primer was washing off and letting the Olive Drab shine through along with the red door and blue quarter from the donor Pontiac. The last pic is after I spent some time cleaning all the windows and cleaning out the interior just to see what I was working with.
right rear.jpg
first wash.jpg
cleaning windows.jpg
 

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#6
The plan is to take the body off, and replace the floor pan because its rusted around the entire perimeter because its from NJ. We are going to use the rear floor pan that comes made with wider wheel tubs so that we can get large and wide tires in the back. I decided to, without Dad's knowledge, that we are going with AirRide because I know he and I will NEVER agree on a ride height. We might as well be able to adjust it :) Also, vintage air, 8.8 rear with 4 link and big brakes, big brakes on the front as well and a cam in the LS. I want it to sound good but not be a paint to drive. I'd like to get it done so that dad can enjoy it for a while--hey, he's getting older just like all of our parents are! As for paint......he wants it to be ready for paint but never completed, to have the "anticipation of being done" look. I want the frame to be pimped out and the engine bay to shine. I'd like to do the hotrod flat orange with a shiny cream colored roof but who knows where we will end up. We are quite a ways from that for now.
 
#8
We are going to use the 4L60 that comes with the LS. The floor pan has been on back order for 5 months, I need to call and check on it. I've got a guy that is going to do the floor work and he's been tied up so I haven't been in a hurry yet.

One of the other chores will be for Dad and I to agree on wheels. He is satisfied with a 15" but you guys know "that ain't gonna work." I'm gonna have to tell him that minimum is 17" just because of brakes. Then I hope to sneak 18 & 20 on it.
 
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#12
I was wondering about this the other day. Glad to see its still moving along. 55 is my favorite year of the tri-fives, before they get real finny and still have some curve to them.

Are you planning to put trim back on it?

With the 8.8, are you planning on cutting the housing to center up the differential or you have other plans? Not even sure if it's really even necessary but a few cars I worked on that got an 8.8 swapped in we cut the long side down and switched the axles around to center it up.


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#15
I was wondering about this the other day. Glad to see its still moving along. 55 is my favorite year of the tri-fives, before they get real finny and still have some curve to them.

Are you planning to put trim back on it?

With the 8.8, are you planning on cutting the housing to center up the differential or you have other plans? Not even sure if it's really even necessary but a few cars I worked on that got an 8.8 swapped in we cut the long side down and switched the axles around to center it up.


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We haven't made plans for the trim yet. The Pontiac side has holes we would need to fill, the other side doesn't have any holes, I don't think.

As for the 8.8, we were going to cut the long side down to the same length as the short side and get a short side axle shaft for it. Then buy wheels according to the dimensions we are left with. A fat lip wheel would be nice. Dad's old school mindset steers him towards torque thrust style wheels but that seems too typical these days. But, I don't know how he would feel about wheels like Matt just put on the LS/SS either. I can understand it was HIS car and all the memories that would go with it but dang, times have changed.
 
#19
So last week we made some more progress. One of the guys that hangs out at my friends chassis shop took last week off and came over to my shop and got a tone of work done on the new floor pan install. As he dug deeper we found more rust and ordered a few more pieces.

Installing the temporary bracing so the floor can be cut out.
 
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