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Old 08-10-2010, 08:50 PM   #1
55chieftain
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Default 1955 Pontiac gasser build

I'm in the process of building a traditional gasser as much as I can from this 55 Pontiac that I have. For starters i'm using a 389 Pontiac mill bored to a 400 w/ 670 heads, Th400/2800 stall and 3:73 gears.
I picked up a differant frame from a Hamber and got down to work. My old frame needed much more work so I started from scratch.

For my axle i'm using a 50 F1 along with a disc brake kit from Speedway. I also got the springs and hangers from there also. The F1 already used a 1 3/4" wide springs so everything matched right up. The track width was very close to the stock front end.

Here's the springs mounted in, btw the Hamb is an invaluable source of information for a build like this.






Than from there I decided to leave the outer rails on the frame and remove the engine crossmember. And also instead of removing the front radiator crossmember, leave it as it's the mounting point for the front sheetmetal. But since it's doing double duty also to sustain the front suspension I boxed it in with 1/4" plate which also served as a mounting point for the front perches.




Last edited by 55chieftain; 02-03-2012 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

My reason also for removing the engine crossmember was to use the Hurst front mount I have, along with the 60' cover that was needed to use to bolt the factory bracket in between. I didn't want to use an aluminum cover for this. This was the last year of the steel cover and first for standard cooling. 55-59 had the timing cover plumbed to each cylinder head.



My next step was to have the local metal shop bend me up some 10 ga and box the front rails in similar to how they were already boxed in from the factory






Last edited by 55chieftain; 03-05-2011 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Here's a few more of the frame






Last edited by 55chieftain; 08-10-2010 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:51 PM   #4
55chieftain
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Better picture of the car, before



Last edited by 55chieftain; 08-10-2010 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:00 PM   #5
mart3406
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Thumbs up Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Very nice work!

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Old 08-10-2010, 09:13 PM   #6
55chieftain
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Things to do list still on the frame..

I have a few of the rear legs on the x to replace, flip the frame over and box in the bottom of the frame rails at the front.

Than finish the brake conversion so I can figure how far out to mount the steering arm for the cross steering, than the drag link attatchment. Did I mention my wife has grown very tiresome of my grinder.

Than build my supports for the Hurst mount and rear trans mounts, I picked up the rear trans mounts from speedway, it's a 2 piece setup that also uses the biscuit mounts. Than clean and paint.

My body is still on my old frame. I'm using it for a jig and replacing inner and outer rockers and using a section of good floor from my other car. More to come , thanks for looking, Bill..

Last edited by 55chieftain; 08-10-2010 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:17 PM   #7
55chieftan
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Wow! NIce work! Look forward to seeing the progress. What was wrong with your frame?
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:19 PM   #8
Larry T
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

NIce looking job.
What kind of steering box and pitman arm is that in the first picture?
Larry T
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
55chieftain
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Thanks
My old frame the x-section was much worse and wasn't rebuildable. Plus I tried moving the frame rails in for a mini-tub and didn't like it.

Larry T , thats the factory manual steering assembly . Another reason for keeping most of the frame intact so I could reuse that. I have a bitchin nice 55 Chieftain steering wheel with a stainless? Indian head in the middle. The configuration is quite differant than a Chevy frame, I didn't just want to hack the whole front end off for 2x4 tubing.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Quote:
Originally Posted by 55chieftain View Post
Thanks
My old frame the x-section was much worse and wasn't rebuildable. Plus I tried moving the frame rails in for a mini-tub and didn't like it.

Larry T , thats the factory manual steering assembly . Another reason for keeping most of the frame intact so I could reuse that. I have a bitchin nice 55 Chieftain steering wheel with a stainless? Indian head in the middle. The configuration is quite differant than a Chevy frame, I didn't just want to hack the whole front end off for 2x4 tubing.
Thanks,
That steering box would have taken care of a multitude of problems I had on a 55 Chevy. Something I'll remember for next time.
Wait a minute!
No more projects, no more projects, no more projects. (Inside joke)

Could you use the Chevy kit that mounts the rear springs inside the framerails for more tire clearance?
Larry T
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Nice!
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Larry T-no, the Chevy frame is straight all the way back and the springs are on the outside f&r. The Pontiac leaf springs are on the outside at the front mounting than the frame gets wider and the frame is aligned up with the springs at the back.

The Pontiac pitman arm is alot straighter than the Chevy. But the pitman arm splines are the same internally and each will swap over, but the draglinks will be differant lenghts because of the position of the ball stud with the gearbox centered. The chevy curves around some and has a larger ball than the Pontiac pitman arm. And the Pontiac is rear steer where the Chevy is front steer, doesn't really matter on cross steering though, just take the drag link to the front or rear of the spindle. The Pontiac frame also has a recess for that gearbox, it's not flat underneath.

I'll add in another picture later to show the differance .

Last edited by 55chieftain; 08-15-2010 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Looking forward to this build. I always wanted a '55 Chieftain Gasser painted competition orange, radius rear wheelwells and cheater slicks. Getting kinda tired of the old '55 Chevys.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:59 PM   #14
Larry T
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Quote:
Originally Posted by 55chieftain View Post
Larry T-no, the Chevy frame is straight all the way back and the springs are on the outside f&r. The Pontiac leaf springs are on the outside at the front mounting than the frame gets wider and the frame is aligned up with the springs at the back.

The Pontiac pitman arm is alot straighter than the Chevy. But the pitman arm splines are the same internally and each will swap over. The chevy curves around some and has a smaller ball than the Pontiac pitman arm. And the Pontiac is rear steer where the Chevy is front steer, doesn't really matter on cross steering though, just take the drag link to the front or rear of the spindle. The Pontiac frame also has a recess for that gearbox, it's not flat underneath.
Thanks again for the info. I ended up using a Vega box (drag car) with a 55 Chevy ball installed in the Vega pitman arm to hook to the stock crosslink. Or I guess I should I'm hooking it up that way, not finished yet.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

awesome build so far!! im gonna be watching this one like a hawk!

this '55 is getting a chevy 454 at some point. gonna kick around the idea of a straight axle front but it wont be as high as a gasser, gotta be streetable and moderate if we go through with it



also, take lots and lots and lots of pics!!!
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Very, very nice! Gotta love the Ponchos!
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

I like the build, keep it coming! The Pontiac in a Pontiac rocks!! I to am building a Gasser and had Sid of www.droppedaxles.com "undrop" a 47-54 Chevy PU axle from the factory 4" drop to a 1" drop and drill it, will post pics when it arrives. I don't know the attitude of yours but thought I would mention it as an option.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:02 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

I always wanted to build a 55 pontiac gasser. My car would have straight axle, drop the front bumper, moon tank between the split bumpers and open the rear wheel wells for slicks! Pontiac power of course! Dude keep it coming on pics! I like it!
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:06 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Very cool, you are putting a Pontiac in for power that makes it that much cooler. Nice work on the front end.

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Old 08-12-2010, 07:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Thanks for the positive feedback. I'm leaving the rear 1/4's alone. I don't want to have this axle straightened, that would make it too wide , thanks for the info though. I do have the factory springs I rearced 4" if these don't work. I was worried if they would hold up compared to these springs. I found a 4x4 place that sells machined caster wedges up to 10 degrees, I don't want to stack them or use the aluminum ones from speedway. I'm going to get it to 6 degrees since this will be street driven.

I have an extra set of 2" tube perches from the speedway kit if anyone needs them.


I need to make a correction, my earlier comment about the Chevy pitman ball stud is smaller than the Pontiac is incorrect, it's vice-versa. Here's the 2 side by side.


Last edited by 55chieftain; 02-03-2012 at 06:22 PM.
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