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Old 02-03-2011, 08:12 AM   #1
Larry T
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Default Larry T's 55 Chevy build

I ended up with this 55 project a long time ago and it sat around for a while before I decided to work on it. I just tinker with it, but it's far enough along that I figured I'd start a thread about it.
I'm kind of dislexic, so I decided that instead of building a street car with a tube axle that I'd build a strip only car with stock front suspension. LOL
Here's how the project looked when I first got it. The quarter skins, roof, and cowl are metal, everthing else is fiberglass.
Larry T
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Last edited by Larry T; 02-03-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:20 AM   #2
HOT ROD BILL
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Being the early drag car guru you are, what class are you building for? ( m/p, gas, etc )
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

55's RULE!

Keep the updates coming. One of these days I will have me a 55.

Thats what I wanted when I bought a 57 2dr ht back in 95
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:23 AM   #4
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

I'm not building a 7 second car and didn't like the TF Dragster sized tires that were on the car when I got it. So I narrowed a 9" Ford to run 10.50 X 30's. The slicks are on 10" wheels with 3 1/2" back spacing. Yea, I'm gonna get a little more nostalgic looking wheel when I get the car going. As a bonus, I can run up to a 14" slick on wheels with more back spacing if I want. But I don't see that ever happening.

While I had the rearend out, I mounted my fuel cell.
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Last edited by Larry T; 02-03-2011 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Bill, I guess, as much as the term is overused, it'll be a Gasser, since it has a lot of fiberglass (fenders, hood, doors, trunk lid), the firewall is modified and the engine is set back a little. I'm actually trying to set it up to be legal in one of the slower NHRA Heritage Series Gas class. But it's just something to go play with.
Larry T

BTW As far as the guru stuff goes, I never knew very much and as I've gotten older I've forgotten more than I ever knew.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

When I got the car back on 4 wheels, I decided it was time to see how the engine fit. It didn't, the harmonic damper hit the front crossmember. So I reworked the frame mounts, moved the engine up and back just a little. Then you couldn't pull the distributor with the engine in the car. I notched the top of the firewall out for clearance, but you can't see it when the cowl piece is in place.
With the engine in place, the forward struts of the roll cage were installed low enough that no "store bought" fenderwell headers would fit, so I built some.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Then I made another problem for myself. When I bought the car, they said they were gonna put Mustang rack & pinion on it. The steering arms were swapped side to side so that they were to the front. The problem there was that the r/p unit had to sit WAY out in front of the crossmember and spindles. The steering arms on the rack would have had to come back at around 45 degrees. I guess it would have worked, but I didn't like it. So I decided to use a rear mount r/p unit on it. I swapped the steering arms back to rear steer and built the r/p mounts and welded them to the crossmember. This is when I built the headers.

Now the problem. I looked at the car and thought the r/p had no place on an "old style" build. So I decided to install a regular steering box. Problem is the stock 55 box kinda mounts above the frame rails. There would be no way of running fenderwell headers and even under the car headers would be a clearance headache. Also the steering column is made onto the box and the steering wheel didn't end up exactly where it needed to be with the new driver location.

So I decided the smart thing (yea, right) to do would be to mount a Vega box in the car. It'd be more compact and weigh a lot less than the stock unit. So I rounded up the stock steering pieces, a Vega box and got started. First I positioned the center link so that I could reverse engineer the mounting location of the box. Then I set the box up at the same angle as the the idler arm on the other side to get the location.
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Last edited by Larry T; 03-29-2011 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Lookin' kool!! Git er done!!
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:10 AM   #9
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Now I had to fit the Vega box to the 55 centerlink, since the Vega pitman arm used a taperer hole and the 55 centerlink was setup for a ball.

I cut the ball out of a stock 55 pitman arm. It wasn't too hard, the ball was a press fit and peened on the end. The I reamed the Vega arm, pressed the ball in, peened it, welded it and pinned it. Now the box was ready to put in.

Did the steering box mount up in the stock mounting holes? Keep dreaming. (G) I drilled the new lower mounting holes in the frame, cut a relief on the inside of the frame for box clearance, installed new crush sleeves, and built a new upper mount to weld on the top of the frame.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

When I got all of that finished and filled about 20 holes in the frame it looked kinda like this. Then I installed the box and bolted up the centerlink. So far so good.
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Last edited by Larry T; 02-03-2011 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Dropped the mockup engine back in and checked for clearance. Installed the steering shaft and headers. Looks like everything might work. I think I might have gotten it close to right since it looks like everything just bolted up in about 15 minutes. LOL
Since the engine is sitting in the car, I'll probably install the radiator next, but it might be a while. Customers are getting kind of restless, since I'm not getting any work done with the shop frozen up right now. (G)
Larry T
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

That came out nice and clean. I'll trade the Ulgy old blower for a Pretty X-ram I have.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOT ROD BILL View Post
That came out nice and clean. I'll trade the Ulgy old blower for a Pretty X-ram I have.
Bill,
I'd trade ya, but you'd be mad. The "blower" is one of the plastic one's that someone sells. A buddy of mine bought it when we were setting up his 38 Chevy with a blown 502 in it. It sure is easier setting the plastic one on and off than the real one. I just dropped it on my engine when I was checking distributor clearance and it just kinda got left there.
I'll probably pull the "street" engine out of my Anglia and drop in the 55, if I ever get it that close. It's a pretty good engine, early LS-6 style short block with Brodix heads and a Comp Cams roller cam. If I do it, I'll probably run the Brodix intake and single Dominator I have on the engine until I get a "competition" engine built. I'll leave the Nitrous off and use the older looking valve covers and engine accessories on it.
Larry T
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Last edited by Larry T; 02-03-2011 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

hahaha i just noticed the top of the blower isnt opened up.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:07 AM   #15
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

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Originally Posted by gasser300 View Post
hahaha i just noticed the top of the blower isnt opened up.
Yea, I don't really know why but it fools a lot of folks. Even with the top closed up I've had people grab the front pulley and try to spin it. (G)
Larry T
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Shit, never mind!!!!
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:32 AM   #17
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Subscribed.....doin' good for a retard. Oh, sorry you said dyslexic.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:34 AM   #18
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Well, any potential buyers got kind of froggy when the looked in the window and saw the shop floor. So I decided I'd do some interior work. Since the body is just a gutted outside skin, there wasn't anything but a big open space where the floors were supposed to be.

First thing was some seat/seatbelt crossmembers. The 1/8" strap that was welded to the framerails when I got the car just wasn't getting it. I looked in the NHRA rule book and it said 2" tubing minimum, so that's what it got. I figured out that the front seat crossmember could also work as a transmission crossmember/transmission loop/shifter mount. But I wanted to be able to drop the transmission out from under the car with pulling the whole drivetrain. So this is what I ended up with. There is a small drop out transmission mount that I can set up for a Powerglide or Turbo 400 (which I'm gonna use right now).

BTW, I used the stack of plywood panels to set the seat position and height. (G)
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:35 AM   #19
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick finch View Post
Subscribed.....doin' good for a retard. Oh, sorry you said dyslexic.
Rick,
Now that I thought about this for a minute, lets be adult about the situation.
TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE.
LOL
Larry T
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Last edited by Larry T; 02-03-2011 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:37 AM   #20
Larry T
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Default Re: Larry T's 55 Chevy build

When I got the front and seat crossmember in they looked kinda like this. You can see the homemade driveshaft loops that will also be the basis for my transmission tunnel. The shifter will mount off of the front loop.
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