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1933 Chevy coupe restoration chronicle

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by john56h, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    I've posted pictures to chronicle the restoration progress so far on our 1933 Chevy coupe stock car on a thread at "Vintage Rods".

    http://www.vintagerods.ca/showthread.php?p=201#post201

    This seems to be a newly formed forum, but it looks like a good place to post threads that detail the actual build because it offers sub-categories to make it easy to post it in an appropriate location.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. TomH
    Joined: Oct 21, 2003
    Posts: 1,253

    TomH
    Member

    Thanks for posting the link. Look like your using '53-'54 frame. Did you have to narrow it??
     
  3. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Yes, it's a 1953 (I think) Chevy frame and No, We didn't have to narrow it. The frame is slightly wider than the cowl though. We plan to cut away the side of the cowl to allow the frame rail to "slice through" the sheetmetal body.
     
  4. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    I'm afraid the vintagerods.com site might shut down soon (due to lack of traffic), so now I'll post some pictures of our current project here too.

    It's a 1933 Chevy 3 window coupe that was raced as an oval track stock car back in the 60's. It was wrecked around 1968-69 then stripped of useable parts and left on "the back 40" of the farm for 30 or so years.

    Here's the car as it sat when we found it:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had to do a bit of "logging" to get it out of there. The wheels and suspension were long gone, so we had to come-along it onto the trailer. We placed two steel pipes instead of ramps, and dragged it onto the trailer. The car was buried almost halfway up the doors in years of forest accumulation.
     

  5. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    We brought the car home, set it on top of a 65 Chevelle frame we had and just gathered parts and "ideas" for a year or so. These pictures give a little better look at the "unrestored" condition:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It was sitting on the original frame rails, which had been damaged then plated and then completely mangled in the wreck that ended this car's racing days. Then the frontend and all other "component parts" were removed before the car was discarded and forgotten about at the back of the property where it had been worked on.
     
  6. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    After gathering some parts and doing some research, we determined that the body was decent enough to bring back to life as a vintage race car. But, since it was also an early 30's coupe, we thought it would make a cool Hot Rod as well.
    What to do? We decided to do both! Perform a "restoration" of the race car, but also take some creative liberties with it and make the car street legal too.
    Once in the shop, the task at hand revealed itself to be quite "ambitious":
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It didn't take long to figure out that a new frame and roll cage would be required.
     
  7. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Removing the body from the remains of the frame revealed a crude roll cage that had been constructed of Driveshaft tubes and water pipe. Then it had been wrapped with padding and electrical tape...probably so no inspection of the cage by track officials would notice the poor design.
    The driver position had been relocated back and to the center of the car.
    [​IMG]

    We located a solid 1953 Chevrolet passenger car frame. These frames were popular with oval racers in the 60's because they were STRONG, due to being fully boxed. Most frames from 1937 to 1954 were similar.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    We shortened the frame both front and rear. We utilized parallel leafs in the rear, similar to what would have been stock, except we mounted the springs inboard of the frame rails (these frames are wide enough to accomodate it) so the car will be able to sit lower and the spring shackles will be concealed from the side view.
    We mounted a Frankland Quick-change rearend with Camaro leaf springs, shortened to use fabricated leaf spring sliders with jacking bolts:
    [​IMG]


    In the front, the frame was shortened quite a bit and a 2x4 steel crossmember added to mount the transverse leaf spring. This mount also incorporates "wedge bolts" for racing chassis adjustments.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    We fabricated motor mounts for the 327 Chevrolet engine and a transmission crossmember for the Saginaw 4 speed transmission. We also mounted a 1940 Chevrolet steering box.
    Inside we fabricated a completely new roll cage of 1-1/2", 0.095" wall E.R.W. steel tubing. We made the roll cage fit as tightly to the body skin as possible for three reasons. 1, it is replacing the original wood that gave structural stregnth to the body. 2, we wanted as much room inside the car as possible and less obstructions to vision out the windows. 3, structurally, the rollcage and body will be one with the frame, so flex will not be an issue.

    [​IMG]


    A bench seat (from the back of a 1982 Bronco) was mounted in the car. Since the driver's side door will remain welded shut and protected by structural roll cage tubing, access to the driver position will be through the pasenger side door. We thought that since we wanted the ability to have a passenger anyway...why not use a bench seat to make it easier to "slide" behind the wheel:
    [​IMG]


    By this point we had made some pretty good progress and the "vision" was present. But there was still a long way to go. We kind of got side-tracked for a couple of years and have just recently begun to put some serious work into this project again. I'll try to put regular updates here http://good-times.webshots.com/album/557521995prNDgp?start=0, as well as posting them on this thread.
     
  10. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Here's a view of the roll cage and dashboard. We've removed the steel plate that had been weded into the roof to replace the fabric. We made a new steel insert from a mid-80's GM roof panel, but we're trying to get some other interior things done before closing the top up again:
    [​IMG]
    Here's another view, but without the dashboard panel. We still don't have the steering column figured out completely, swinging pedals are from late 60's Ford pickup:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Here's a couple more pictures of the frontend. The spring is one of the originals from the parallel setup. We fabricated the weld-on mounts and the steering arm. Tie rod is in front just temporarily, until we finish fabrication of the radiator cradle.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Track style "nerf bar" is fabricated of 1-1/2" tubing. "H" is for Hager, our last name. Lots of H's in racing....Hildebrandt, Hillegas, Halibrand, Hilborn.....
     
  12. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    We are going to need a "lip" for the window glass rubber gasket, so we've made these thick sheetmetal pieces to weld into the body. They're going to stiffen up the area around the glass and provide that lip. The center bar will be removed before glass is installled, it's just there now to keep the window opening from sagging:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    All those years lying in the dirt took their toll on the lower regions of the body. Here, we've cut off about 6" or so and fabricated a sheet metal repair panel. This is when it comes in handy to NOT have a door opening:
    [​IMG]
    The new panel clamped in place. We used a bead-roller to duplicate the body line at the front of the cowl. Along the bottom we've bent a piece of 3/4" light wall conduit, then split it down the middle on one side so it can slip onto the sheet metal. When finshed with a little plastic filler, it makes a decent "fake" stock body line. Plus, it helps to stiffen and hold the panel to the shape desired:
    [​IMG]
     
  14. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    The passenger side will have an operational "door", although the top part where the window frame was will remain welded into the body.
    We needed to make a new rocker panel/cowl side. To get the curvature, the top edge was "shrunk" in a shrinker/stretcher tool, the bottom gets the curved conduit treatment:
    [​IMG]
    In this picture you can see how we split the conduit so it will slip onto the sheetmetal:
    [​IMG]

    Bottom of the trunk lid required a patch too:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    The back panel was very rough and we needed to provide clearance for the leaf spring jacking-bolts too:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We decided to replace it completely with a new panel that we fabricated. In these phots, you get a good view of the Frankland Quick-change rearend and the parallel leaf springs:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    We fabricated the rear panel and again used the stretcher/shrinker to get curvature:
    [​IMG]
    We used the conduit trick along the bottom and the notches for the jacking bolts are made from 3" exhaust pipe:
    [​IMG]
    Here are the "splash aprons" we made from heavy gauge steel. We used the bead roller with a custom large diameter roller die to create the ribs:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    The spring eyes are going to get cut off. The shackles have been replaced by "slippers" that the spring will bear on. The slippers can be adjusted up and down with the threaded "jacking bolts" which will allow chassis adjustments.
    Using the slippers and jacking bolts was common on oval track cars of the era (mid 1960's). The shackles limit the amout of travel that the spring can lengthen. This system allows for plenty of travel regardless of what height the spring is set.
     
  18. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Here is a vew of the 1-1/2" square tube transmission crossmember, which un-bolts for tansmission removal from beneath the car. Also the welded in 1-1/2"x2" tube crossmember behind the transmission which has an offset center to allow for driveshaft clearance and also it doubles as the driveshaft sling:
    [​IMG]

    And here is the start of the rear floorboard and rear firewall:
    [​IMG]
    I'm using all sheet metal that I got for free. It is really "old school"...as in old school lockers and shelving. The bare sheetmetal came out of an old school metal shop classroom and even the rounded drivshaft clearance piece is made from a old school bus exhaust part. That's OLD SCHOOL huh?
    [​IMG]
    The roll cage has a straight cross bar at the bottom of the seat and one with curves on the ends at the top of the seat. The bars will be the locating mounts for competition seatbelts.
     
  19. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    The car looks like it was done up a lot prettier than most stock cars of the era. It was white on top with lots of thin red pinstriping highlighting the stock body contours. The bottom was a metalic goldish color with the red and white number lettering.
    We plan to finish the car similar to the original paint scheme. And, yes....with any luck the paint will come out shiny.
    I think I'd like to paint a black checkerboard on the center of the roof where the cloth insert would have been originally. The front I'm envisioning with some scallops. I think gold around the entire radiator shell, then scalloped to white about halfway back on the hood.
    Interior will be black and wheels probably raw magnesium.

    Front wheels are 6-pin Sprint car pattern, with real knock-off hubs. Rears are wide-five (36-39 Ford) Frankland safety hub pattern.

    I plan to use these 15x7 wheels on the front:

    [​IMG]

    And this picture shows another six pin, but I have wider 15x10 matching wide-fives for the rear:

    [​IMG]


    These are magnesium two piece wheels made by Safety Racing.



    I also have one of these 15x8 Halibrands, but I haven't found a match yet:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. so.ill.
    Joined: Feb 24, 2007
    Posts: 311

    so.ill.
    Member

    That Has Got To Be The Single Coolest Thing I've Ever Seen!
    Hope I Can Locate A Find Like That Soon.
    Your Gunna Keep It "the Rust Ole Number Seven" Right.
     
  21. The Hager Brothers are hard at it again :cool: . Do you guys have full-time jobs :confused: :confused: . Ya' must live in the garage.

    That's a nice build up documentary :) . AND ........... I remember when you guys were nuttin' ;) .

    Did ya' make a fixture to split the conduit for the sheet metal? Going the full length of the tube with a hand held ZIZ wheel would be agonizing.

    I like the authentic front end with pivoting spring mount and dead perch. The Chevy frame is a nice piece. I have a '37 in the yard and the rails are straight. I used one like yours for my first modified. The rail kick-out is working great for your project.

    Whatcha' gonna' use for brakes?
     
  22. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Hi Frank, thanks for the comments (I think?).

    As far as splitting the conduit...no jig, we use the air powered cut-off wheel. It goes pretty quick. The nice thing about this method is that you dont need a perfect edge on the sheet metal as the inside of the conduit gives about 1/2" lee-way.

    We got lucky with that frame. Bought it for $40 bucks and it was on top of the pile, so it stayed really solid because it wasn't laying in the dirt.

    We have the stock mid-50's Chevy pickup front brakes, but we converted the spindles for the knock-off hubs. Rear brakes are vintage Ford hydraulic backing plates with Safety-Racing aluminum hubs. We're using a 64 Cutlass master cylinder and a Ford pickup swinging brake pedal assembly.

    Did you ever use those door skins for the 37 Chevy, that we sent along with the 36 body?
     
  23. Those were positive comments ;) . I'm so used to handing out negative ones that sometimes folks don't take me seriously :rolleyes: .

    Yep, I still have the '37 door skins and the '36 body.
     
  24. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    Saw this 36 Chevy coach body at the Lebanon Valley swap meet in November...almost thought yours had come back North. Could've had it for $400 with the 37 hood thrown in.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. xderelict
    Joined: Jul 30, 2006
    Posts: 2,477

    xderelict
    Member Emeritus

    I'm watching this build with interest.I'm accumulating a lot of simular parts. 51 chevy frame 32 chevy body.Those old chevy frames are really kind of neat all boxed and everything.I like how you shortened it from both sides.Keep up the cool work,your making good progress.I have a question,your front spring is running just one set of shacklels,Could you give me the what,why,and wheres of that?I'm interested in learning from the different combinations i see here.Thanks for your posts.
     
  26. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,251

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    This is a really cool build!
    Xderelict...thats called a dead perch and it takes the place of a Panhard bar to prevent side sway of the frame in relation to the axle.
    John also has a rocking perch mount with jacking screws AND height adjustment at the shackle and dead perch.

    John is a maniac...and that car is gonna kick some major ass!!! :)

    More of the East coast Modified guys need to start posting about this stuff.
    This is some interesting and hardly used tech that should result in a vintage car that kicks CORVETTE butt in the corners...using junkyard parts sources.
    Doesn't get neater than that!!!
     
  27. KIRK
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 384

    KIRK
    Member

    That is a beautiful piece of work. To me that is the ultimate hot rod. It is nice that you are bringing back a bit of history. Pleas keep us posted.
     
  28. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

    I'm not 100% sure...but I think Ford's design for the "wishbone" frontends figured on the opposing angles of the wishbone supporting the front axle to compensate for the fact that the double shackles allowed some side-to-side movement.

    Since we are running hairpin radius rods (and I guess split wishbones would be about the same), we don't have much opposing angle to keep the axle centered. Instead of adding a panhard bar, we are using one solid shackle to control side-to-side movement of the axle. There will be a slight movement of the axle as the spring length on the solid end changes through bump...but a panhard bar would result in a similar situation.

    Since the car is designed as an oval racer, we have located the solid shackle on the left side....because the car will make more left turns than right, compressing the right side suspension and extending the left side.

    I can't take credit for the frontend design...it's been around forever and I've seen it on many old race cars. We just copied and adapted it for our use.
     
  29. flatoz
    Joined: May 11, 2003
    Posts: 3,201

    flatoz
    Member

    At first I thought you were mad!!!

    but looking at all the photos, I'm glad your doing it. It will be a cool piece of history when its finished and different. I'm not a chev guy, but will be watching with interest on what you do.

    my hats off.
     
  30. To be a real nit-picker, I think that's a '35. Don't think they had suicide doors in '36.

    I would've glady given $400 for that body. Think it's still up for sale?

    Frank


     

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