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Projects 1955 Pontiac gasser build

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 55chieftain, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. 55chieftain
    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
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    1,730
    Location:
    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  2. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  3. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    1,730
    Location:
    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    Here's a few more of the frame

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  4. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    Better picture of the car, before


    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
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  5. mart3406
    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
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    Location:
    Canada

    mart3406 Member

    Very nice work!

    Mart3406
    ===================
  6. 55chieftain
    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
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    Location:
    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    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: Aug 10, 2010
  7. 55chieftan
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
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    Location:
    Maryland

    55chieftan Member

    Wow! NIce work! Look forward to seeing the progress. What was wrong with your frame?
  8. Larry T
    Joined:
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    Location:
    north central Texas

    Larry T Member

    NIce looking job.
    What kind of steering box and pitman arm is that in the first picture?
    Larry T
  9. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    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.
  10. Larry T
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
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    5,601
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    north central Texas

    Larry T Member

    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
  11. rocknrollratfink
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    SoCAL

    rocknrollratfink Member

  12. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    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: Aug 15, 2010
  13. GassersGarage
    Joined:
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    4,833
    Location:
    Torrance, Ca

    GassersGarage Member

    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.
  14. Larry T
    Joined:
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    Location:
    north central Texas

    Larry T Member

    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.
    Larry T
  15. UnsettledParadox
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
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    1,112
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Ca

    UnsettledParadox Member

    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

    [​IMG]

    also, take lots and lots and lots of pics!!!
  16. Old Gold
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    Location:
    Bay City, Michigan

    Old Gold Member

    Very, very nice! Gotta love the Ponchos!
  17. oldguard
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
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    1,937
    Location:
    Waterloo Community, North Edmond , Oklahoma.

    oldguard
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    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.
  18. SOLO
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
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    Location:
    Kirkland,Wa

    SOLO Member

    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!
  19. Falcon Gasser
    Joined:
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    Great Lakes

    Falcon Gasser Member

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

    Jon
  20. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    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.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  21. Falcon Gasser
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    Great Lakes

    Falcon Gasser Member

    You plan on racing this also correct? This is going to get some much more positive feedback because of the brand and powerplant.

    Jon
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  22. Kiwi Kev
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ventura, CA Hotrodders Paradise

    Kiwi Kev Member

    Looking good, awesome project!
  23. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    Yes it will get to the track. There is no other possible choice for me than a Pontiac engine in this car. I'm hoping to get in the high 12's for now. Maybe down the road build a 455 or bigger.
  24. 55chieftain
    Joined:
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    Canton IL

    55chieftain Member

    Thanks alot , your 55 gasser build thread gave me alot of inspiration.

  25. Falcon Gasser
    Joined:
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    Great Lakes

    Falcon Gasser Member


    Hey 12's is moving just fine, looking forward to watching this come together.

    Jon
  26. Butch M
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    Oct 14, 2008
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    Location:
    Wichita, KS

    Butch M Member

    looks like a fun build. can't wait to see that one done...
  27. uwonamos
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
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    Location:
    Omaha, Ne

    uwonamos Member

    Pontiac, Chevy, Gasser it up! We'll be watchin'.
  28. PORKCHOP76
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    Location:
    iowa

    PORKCHOP76 Member

    its awesome your staying with the pontiac engine!
  29. applekrate
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    Maricopa & St Johns, Arizona

    applekrate Member


    DITTO! Looks like a cool Pontiac project. Keep us posted.
  30. Johnny Gee
    Joined:
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    2.7 miles East of the Broiler on SR42 Downey, Ca

    Johnny Gee Member

    I'm like'n this one :):cool:. Can't wait to see more.

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