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Technical ‘57 Chevy 2dr conversion questions

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by lewk, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 754

    lewk
    Member
    from Mt

    I’ve been flirting with the idea of a tri five Chevy project for a while. I’ve come across a ‘57 Bel Air 4dr that’s potentially really cheap and I know where the back half of a ‘55 2dr is. The question is can that ‘55 be a door jam and quarter window donor for the ‘57 or are they different. We’re generally talking about the window area and side sheetmetal ahead of the wheel well.

    This 4dr was a good car that smacked something on the left front. There is a spare frame and a pile of spare crap, and most of a front clip. No straight hood. A few bumpers. If I can get it all for maybe $500 and the 55 fits, I might do it.


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  2. Dan in Pasadena
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Posts: 853

    Dan in Pasadena
    Member

    I don't know the answer to your questions but I am REALLY interested in hearing them.

    At 17 I didn't want my Dad's purchased-new black '55 two door hardtop Belair he bought to bring home his newborn son (me, the moron at 17). Now I would give anything to have that specific car - and I've done a search via DMV but it turned up nothing.

    Anyway, 2 door hardtops are SO expensive in almost any condition I've just about decided I will have to go for a post car and I've wondered about a 4dr to 2 dr conversion too. Though 4 doors are getting hard to come by cheap now too.
     
    lewk likes this.
  3. the rocker area is unique to a 55 Chevy, they have a little kick out flare that 56-57 didnt have. The doors all interchange in terms of a 2 door. either in hardtop or post. Pontiac doors will also swap so the jamb should be the same as well as the inner structure for the quarter panel.
     
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  4. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 754

    lewk
    Member
    from Mt

    The rocker area seems like something I could work around. I should clarify that the 55 is a 2dr post car.


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  5. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,245

    drtrcrV-8
    Member

    Although the Sheetmetal might be different, the concept is no different than the people who make 32 3window coupes out of 4dr sedans: yes there will be problems, but sounds "do-able", so GO FOR IT!!! (& please post pictures!!)
     
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  6. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,226

    manyolcars

    There are many posts on the hamb and YouTube's covering this. I am changing a 55 Chev to a 2 door. Coldwarmotors (YouTube) is doing it to a Plymouth but he didn't cut out the rear door jamb, this created a pocket to hold water
     
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  7. There are lots of threads and U Tube videos of the conversion. yes it could be done with the 55 parts. I have a real solid 56 chevy more door that I have given serious thought about doing the conversion on.
     
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  8. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 3,754

    1934coupe
    Member

    I can't add to what every one else said except for you can always buy the 57 2dr. rockers. That said do it and good luck. I don't know why more 4dr. owners don't do it.

    Pat
     
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  9. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 754

    lewk
    Member
    from Mt

    I’ve been pouring through those threads and others. I’ve had my eyes on a 56 4dr that a friend of a friend is selling but we haven’t agreed on a price. That’s why I found the ‘55. Then this 57 4dr came up and I wasn’t sure if it would all fit.


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  10. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,578

    redo32
    Member

    "55 and "57 frames are slightly different. All the body mounts are the same, but the frame horns are different. Nothing a little cut and grind couldn't fix. The '55-6 cowl has the air inlet in front of the windshield, '57'a are in the headlight doors. Firewall and of course the dashes are different,. If I remember correctly Australian '57's had '55 dashes, the right hand drive worked out better. So you can build a '55 with a '57 dash. Hell put a '56 nose on it and confuse all the citizens.
     
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  11. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,961

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Cough up the dough and get a real one. It will come and the price will be right....

    You just have to be patient and ready for it.
     
  12. I have a Ok 55 2 dr wagon. and around back have a 55 2 dr sedan. and two 56 2 dr sedans and three 4 door 55,s. and a 4dr 55 wagon. However those 2 drs I have would be more work to fix them than to convert the solid 56 four door I have. there dosent seem to be any ready willing and able buyers for the 56 more door? Rusty Chevrolet 010.JPG Rusty Chevrolet 009.JPG Rusty Chevrolet 011.JPG Rusty Chevrolet 001.JPG 56 chev Bel Air 004.JPG 56 chev 4 door 034.JPG
     
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  13. In the area your working the body contour is the same. 2 door post doors are all the same shape. Molding holes is all that will vary. Now door locks and strikers for 55 I'm told are different?
     
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  14. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,610

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    if you have the time, skills, tools, $ to do why not try - have seen Tri Fives that people just shortened whole body to make clown cars - my guess is that there are plenty of unfinished projects like this laying around, like people thinking chopping a roof is easy - friend went out his way to buy a '56 four door hardtop - easier for friends to get in back seat. 20190811_115610.jpg
     
    lewk likes this.
  15. You can do it!!

    9577242B-E056-49CB-9CC1-6BF9444EF154.jpeg 3300BA02-79EF-4F5A-BDED-DDAD1E472B85.jpeg 9C3C83D2-1DBF-4751-AC13-238AA0412E6D.jpeg
     
  16. Wow!!
    That makes it look relatively "easy"...
    Any more pics, Scotty T?
     
  17. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,766

    40Standard
    Member
    from Indy

    outstanding work, Scotty
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  18. I can’t take credit for the work, I dropped off a nice quad cab and a two door carcass. And picked up a painted two door. I don’t have any more pics that are any better than these.
     
  19. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,267

    Squablow
    Member

    20190729_223435.jpg
    20190730_191413.jpg

    I've done a bunch of these and I'm working on a '57 right now that is using '55 doors and donor sections. You don't end up using any of the rocker panel anyway, and the wheel opening areas are different but again, if you make a filler panel none of that is going to matter. Here's some poor pics of my '57, one with the '55 quarter chunk in place and another with the filler panel made from the old back door skin. It'll work fine. I have detailed pics of where to make all the cuts and what pieces to use, was going to write a build thread at some point but I can share them with you.

    It's not all that difficult. Time consuming maybe, but not that hard. I figure this one will take me about 100 hours to do, and that's including a lot of work on the bottoms of the doors that I'm using (they're rough) and welding up a bunch of unused '55 trim holes.
     
  20. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,267

    Squablow
    Member

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  21. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,322

    belair
    Member

  22. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,030

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    1) Buy the 56 4dr.
    2) Buy the 55 2dr. back half
    3) Splice the 55 2 dr. back half onto the 56
    4) Source 55 front clip (sell/trade the 56 front clip to finance it).
    5) Buy 55 bumpers and if it's a 210 or Bel Air, add 55 side trim, dash trim, etc.
     
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  23. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 754

    lewk
    Member
    from Mt

    Thanks guys. There’s some fantastic info here. I’m glad the relevant parts cross over between all 3 years.


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  24. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,398

    chevy57dude
    Member

    The 57 is a sedan, right?
    HT would be harder.
     
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  25. miller
    Joined: Aug 5, 2006
    Posts: 474

    miller
    Member
    from New Jersey

    ...I have a question....how do you change the title from 4 dr to 2 dr?..miller
     
  26. Tell the person at counter, that someone made a mistake a long time ago, and it's supposed to be 2 door.
    Had one number off on VIN years ago, and they were hand written at the time. Worked for me, then.
     
  27. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,267

    Squablow
    Member

    I've asked at the DMV counter and had them change body styles before, never got any pushback, although my '57 title does not list the body style, just 1957 Chevrolet Car and the color. Also, the "VIN" (which isn't really a VIN but it's the body number that's referred to on a '57 Chevy title) only decodes the year, whether or not it had a V8, the trim level (150, 210, Belair, sedan delivery or Corvette) and a sequence number.

    Of course, the trim tag will denote a 4 door, but my trim tag also says the car is gold and a 6 cylinder. The title and tag are really no big deal.
     
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  28. Bullit68
    Joined: Sep 16, 2009
    Posts: 91

    Bullit68
    Member
    from Verona, PA

    I have a 65 Dodge 2dr sedan, the title has the VIN, but reads Dodge sedan. Vin identifies it as Dodge and V8 engine. Was a more-door originally. I have another receiving the same treatment eventually....(3rd in line of projects!).
     

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