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Old 12-22-2009, 10:17 PM   #1
Scotch Buzzard King
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Default 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

55 Chevy Bel Air. Two-door sedan. On a 92 Roadmaster/Caprice frame. Would it work? What are the dimensions between the original frame of the 55 chevy and the Roadmaster/Caprice frame? Before you ask why, my 55 body is rusted completely through with a bent frame. I can fab everything up for way cheaper than buying replacement o.e. floorpans and original frame. Is the Caprice frame too wide? Is the wheelbase too short?
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:28 PM   #2
T.W.Dustin
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Seems like it would be a lot of work vs. doing it right. I know some guys in Denver that use Caprice (Police cars they get at auction) chassis under early 50's customs and it is a lot of fab work but they use all the running gear, floors, etc... I wouldn't tackle it, but it's likely been done. No clue on whether width/wheelbase is close enough.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:28 PM   #3
converseandbowlingshirts
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

I am not a big fan of the modern frame. Tri-Five frames are abundant due to how many pro-street guys are having tube frames made.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:28 PM   #4
3onthetree
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Here's a thread on another forum where they did it
http://www.trifive.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19546
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:59 PM   #5
Sauli
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

The Caprice wheelbase is 116,5". The 55s is 115".
The Caprice frame is a full-perimeter -type where the rails between the axles take a curve to the side fore and aft of the rear-and front wheels, respectively, to tuck in beneath the rockers, to bring the floorpans down lower. Whereas the 55 floor rests on top of the actual frame going straight from crossmember-to-crossmember deeper in towards the middle of the car directly below the floorpans and the seats on top of it. Furthermore, the whole mid-section of the Caprice frame is a mere "L" -profile, as opposed to the full-box -profile on tri-fives. For the purpose of saving weight, I suppose, as the Caprice -frame is of 1970s design originally. As a former Caprice -owner, I can tell You it does flex somewhat, but I guess thats how it was designed to work, at least under a Caprice body.
All that I guess would necessitate fabbing the entire mid-frame from scratch. Which would be a ton of work/fabrication. Plus Youd also have to worry about all the components on the fr-part of the frame lining up properly in relation to the fr clip/engine compartment/body with whom they were never designed to go with...All of whom Im not saying You cant handle by any means, but to me all this sounds like a lot of work and hassle for absolutely nothing. Especially considering the cost of a GOOD, NICE, RUST-FREE, DRIVING donor Caprice that would be there to provide all the parts Youd need...Verse the cost of a straight, used tri-five frame, repro floorpans, and power steering box/disc brakes You could just as well install on the tri-fi -spindles anyway...(using NEW parts...?) and what with the track -widths possibly not matching up and the wheel back -dimensions Youd now be limited to only, and at the end of the day, after all this time, work, grief, cursing and smokes, Youd end up with a car whose possible future value would most likely be deducted by at least the amount that went into this whole undertaking (including the donor Caprice), because its a "bastard" car now, or so they all quietly think anyway...
This is not to tell You to not do what floats Your boat by any means, but personally I never cared much for frame-swaps for the reasons just mentioned and Id just strongly advice You to weigh Your options carefully...
Good luck,
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Last edited by Sauli; 12-23-2009 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:04 AM   #6
THE_DUDE
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Go for it man. Its work but anyone can restore a car. It will work get to weldin. there was a thread on here today about the same thing 65 impala frame merc body. Lots of great info.
I live in Washington and most of the cars I build are long gone frame swaps are a cheap way to make er low and go.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:26 AM   #7
Captain Freedom
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Yo man, word on the street is that a tri-five body will go down nicley ontop of a 80's Monte/Cutlass/Regal/etc frame.

This dude near me did a '55 vert like that.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

There was a guy in Canada building turn key fiberglass 55 Chevy convertibles on Caprice frames,...however the pre 91 model ( square body ) is the one to use as the rear axle is narrower ( closer in size to the stock 55 rear axle ),...post 90 Caprice and all wagons have a fairly wide rearend.
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Last edited by McKee; 12-23-2009 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:45 AM   #9
Johnny Hotrod - BC
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Ive seen on of these cars done and it looked Ok . By the way as far as I know the post and pre 91 cars have the exact frame. Id suggest using the G body malibu monte ect
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

A friend just bought one of those Canadian 55 convertibles ...fiberglass kit...and a Caprice for a donor...........I looked at it a few days ago..........not exactly my cup of tea, but seems that it will work ok...........but he has quite a few 55 type frames around........I would use one of those.............will see what happens after he attempts this job himself............the last one wound up at my shop .......one of those Auburn Boattail replicas............it turned out pretty nice and he was very pleased with it...but I think the price left him a little bit "winded"..............I told him to bring the entire project over.................not after he starts ripping everything apart..........

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Old 12-23-2009, 06:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Here's a link to a post that may be helpful to you.http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...ght=very+rusty
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:31 AM   #12
RacerRick
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

It fits surprisingly well actually - but you need to use the narrower cop car or box caprice rear axle. Its 60.8" wide and a bolt in on the later chassis. If you look around you can find a 8.5" rear easily. You also will be cutting the frame horns much shorter on both the front and back.

The engine ends up being a little far forward in the engine bay, but there is plenty of room to scoot it back 2-3" and make more room at the front if you need it. If you run the radiator in 6 cyl position, you could probably leave the engine where it is. I am going to be running a big block, so I am moving the engine back. My car is currently at stock ride height, but I am going to put some taller springs in the front to give it a little gasser flavour.

I have done a few of these conversions and think the only time you are ahead to do something like this is if the bottom of the car is rusty, and your existing frame is toast.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:38 AM   #13
Scotch Buzzard King
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

I agree completely. The entire driver side floor pan is gone, and the frame is toast.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by McKee View Post
There was a guy in Canada building turn key fiberglass 55 Chevy convertibles on Caprice frames,...however the pre 91 model ( square body ) is the one to use as the rear axle is narrower ( closer in size to the stock 55 rear axle ),...post 90 Caprice and all wagons have a fairly wide rearend.
My folks had one of these cars (won it in a raffle) only kept it for a year or two, looked good from a far, drove and ran good. Builder was in Colborne ON.
I worked full time in a body shop at that time and I could not stand looking at the car, it had a good 10lbs of shims in the front end, just insanity.
(I know I'm a newbie to the forum and should not talk smack but these post just brought back my loathing for that car)
The Caprice frame worked real well under it, sorry I don't have any info.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:07 PM   #15
ratboy1956
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Talking Re: 55 Chevy on a Caprice frame

I stuffed a 87 caprice frame under a 56 2dr post. My car was really rusty underneath and it came to me orphaned from its frame. This was my first attempt at building anything and I was just happy it passed safety. The track width works barely even with the fender lips rolled. The stance looks a little funny, but it rides along pretty good considering... chicks don't know the difference either.
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