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1957 chevrolet "BLACK WIDOW"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 50mercfan, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. looking for info on the 57 black widow 150 2 door sedan. i had a magazine article years ago that was great, but can't find it now. i can't come up with anything on the web except for some clones for sale. about a month ago i bought a nice rust free two door sedan 210. i'm thinking black widow hot rod clone.also, is the trim on the 57 150 the same as the trim on a 55 or 56 150? can't seem to get that answered either. anyone have pics of black widows and black widow clones?
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 36,641

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    here are a couple pics from a book
     

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  3. what makes this care special? a movie?
     
  4. draggin ass
    Joined: Jun 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,920

    draggin ass
    BANNED
    from hell

    6 lug wheels ?? WTF truck axles?
     
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  5. Boones
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 9,539

    Boones
    Member
    from Kent, Wa

    light weight, heavy duty parts, go fast for its time
     
  6. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,005

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    Side trim is unique to the '57 150. And for some reason, the long quarter spears are impossible to find.

    Classic Chevy International sells a repro of the original "Build yerself a Nascar racer!" manual printed by Chevrolet. Fun to read, and lists the parts that were unique to the Widows.

    I've got a '57 150 2dr station wagon that was a factory Black and White. Was going to do a Widow themed car, but with a 2x4 intake instead...it's now on the way to being a 409-powered gasser, with fiberglass front fenders and doors.

    Brad

    I just read two additional posts while I was typing this:
    What makes them special? They were Chevy "skunk works" NASCARs built by Southern Engineering and Design Company in Atlanta. They were Fuel injected 283s. Among other things, they had a lot of heavy duty parts including radiator (with steel, spiral wound rod fan guard to keep the blades out of the radiator core in case of accident), truck front spindles, truck rear axle, vented hood (home heater registers cut into the hood to allow trapped air to escape), roll bar and race harness, big extra bolster on the seat to keep the driver in place when he went around corners, and the seat back on the passenger side was removed.
    In the trunk, the spare tire well was deleted from the factory, to fit a larger capacity gas tank in place of the stocker. I've seen pix of two extra gas tank straps added, going sideways instead of front-to-back.
    The fuel tank would have been illegal if caught, so the story is that GM went to the place that stamped out the rubber trunk floor mats and took a bunch before they had the cut-out for the spare tire well die-cut in them. This hid the absence of the tire well, which would have tipped off tech inspectors. (It's have been obvious with the hole for the well in the rubber mat)
    The frame was the lighter 1-pc box tubing frame (instead of two pieces of C-channel welded together), and one-piece California bumpers. (The one-piece frames are not unique to California; I've seen several cars made in Atlanta with the one-piece frame).
    The exhaust was routed through a gusseted hole in the frame (both sides) and exited in front of the rear tires. The rocker was clearance for this.
    Lower control arms were re-inforced with a piece of steel plate to complete box the control arm, and the spindles were reinforced as well, too (I think...I could look that up).
    An extra shock was mounted to the front control arms, with a tab welded to the side of the lower arm, and the frame. In back, a tubular cross member was added above the housing, and dual shocks were on each side. (Unless rules dictated only one shock).
    They also had an extension built on top of the single reservoir master cylinder, to increase the amount of fluid in the system, though it was still only a single reservoir.

    Fenton made headers for them, but those are scarce because they don't clear the later side motor mounts, so they were '55-'57 Chevy only, and weren't long in production.

    -Brad
     
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 36,641

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I found a magazine article on it, look here for the 4 pages. they're incognito, though.
     
  8. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,709

    av8
    Member

    The trim level depends on what type of '57 "Back Widow" you want to recreate.

    I went into considerable detail about my original Black Widow on the HAMB about a week ago. Do a search and you will probably have most of your quesitions answered, although there's some bad info there -- typical for something as significant as the '57 Chevy "Black Widow."


    We didn't call them "Black Widows" at the time, Jay. The common term by which they were identified, at least in SoCal where several dozen of them dominated A/Stock drag racing in the first part of the year, was "Duntov Chevys." Once the NHRA created the new Super Stock class to accommodate them and a few other factory-built hot rods from other manufacturers as well, the common term was then "Super-stock Chevy."

    "Black Widow" was first applied to the 8 or 10 (the number is in question) SEDCO-prepped '57 150s Chevy’s Vince Piggens ordered for NASCAR competition, and the term didn't filter down to SoCal drag racing until well into the model year. Even then, it wasn't as definitive for drag racers as was the term "SS Chevy."

    The success of those early SEDCO-built Black Widows earned Chevy a ton of orders for a "mass-produced" version from both NASCAR and drag racers, which the factory met as quickly as possible. I've heard that there were perhaps as many as 1100 built, but it's not certain how many of those were the true kick-ass cars. I ordered mine in late Winter 1957 but didn't receive it until early Summer -- about 10 weeks after order. Chevy was more concerned with filling orders from NASCAR racers than they were those from young no-name drag racers, and while I can't fault them for that now, it sure pissed me off at the time!

    All the '57 BW/SS/Duntov Chevys (after the SEDCO cars) were built in Flint, and included all the modifications incorporated in the SEDCO cars, plus some further refinements, plus tailoring to application. They were all two-door post bodies, although they were not all 150s. I ordered mine as a 210, initially requesting a two-door hardtop. That was rejected which cost me at least a week, but probably more when it was clear to Chevy that I wasn't a serious roundy-round racer. I relented on the body configuration but was firm on trim level, which was clearly no problem for Chevy because most of the SS cars that showed up in SoCal for drag racing were trimmed as 210s. Also, more than a few of those "Black Widows" were delivered in red, with several in the handsome Sierra Gold that Chevy had intro'd in 1956.

    For my 50-percent premium for the "performance group" over the base price of a 1957 Chevrolet 210 two-door sedan I received that wonderful solid-lifter, select-fit and assembled Duntov 283 SBC with a pair of WCFB carburetors, trick 12:1 heads, 2-1/2-inch rams-horn exhaust manifolds built expressly for the sedan, three-speed close-ratio transmission, HD LSD differential, HD radiator, HD suspension, special frame reinforcement, six-lug HD hubs and brakes, quicker steering ratio . . .

    All very cool at the time, particularly for a dork.



    If you need additional clarification and expansion on specific points, PM me and I'll try to help.

    Mike
     
  9. thanks fella's for the good info . A-V8, do you have any pics of yours? heres a shitty pic of the one i just bought. it's driver. all original panels. never rusted. i'm going to make the outside of the car look like a black widow 150. the inside i'm going to use the black and silver bel-air interior. and probably going to put american racing "hopsters" on it. they kinda remind me of halibrands.
     

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  10. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,005

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    That's a cool story Mike. I was born in the wrong decade!

    I think when most people talk about the '57 Chevy "Black Widows," they're thinking of the special black and white 150 fuel injected sedans. That might be where some confusion comes in. Much like the one-piece "California" frames. Confusion has come in with the one-piece California bumpers, and now everyone thinks that if it's one piece (frame, bumper, it doesn't matter), then it was the "California" only deal.

    I have heard of the special-order cars being called "Duntov Chevys" (or Duntov Corvettes for those special-order cars).

    I was lucky enough to interview Crane Cams' Ralph Johnson a couple years ago. He was a college student Co-op'ing with Chevrolet when they were developing the Small Block Chevy. AWESOME stories! Talk about a guy who has literally been there and done that! He went to work at SEDCO as the fuel injection specialist and was assigned with making them work.
    I've also been able to talk a bunch with Lamar Walden about 150 Black Widows. He restored the one that's in the NASCAR museum, and got a lot of NOS parts for it from Smokey Yunick. Smokey helped clean out the SEDCO operation when they closed the doors. Lamar got the gas tank, headers, special rubber trunk mat and a bunch of other stuff I'd give favored body parts for.

    Yup...several decades too late.

    Brad
     
  11. anyone else have pics?
     
  12. Never been a real fan of the '57, but I have always liked these.
     
  13. Spaulding
    Joined: Mar 16, 2006
    Posts: 197

    Spaulding
    Member
    from Wichita

    Saw this setting about a block from where I work and had to get a pic. Don't know anything about this car except it was in Wichita.
     

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  14. Spaulding
    Joined: Mar 16, 2006
    Posts: 197

    Spaulding
    Member
    from Wichita

    Oops! Let's try again.
     

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  15. brandon
    Joined: Jul 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,186

    brandon
    Member

    there was one in cincinnati .....not sure if the guy still has it.....name is george swartz....also has one of those el marocco 57 as well.......the black widow cars are neat pieces.....i read stories about people pulling them out of sheds out in the woods....crazy stuff......anyone have any pics of the black widow drag car.....think it was called the jester or joker ...?? brandon
     
  16. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,005

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    I remember that feature--it was called The Rochester Jester. Had an evel looking laughing skull with a jester hat on it. I kept the article, but have no idea where it is.

    Brad
     
  17. John Copeland
    Joined: Mar 11, 2002
    Posts: 350

    John Copeland
    Member Emeritus

    Chevrolet hired a couple of motor coach companies to produce a limited number of airport limos in 1957, the front and rear suspensions and six lug configurations that was utilized on the limos, was used on the Black Widows. The parts were not from Chevy trucks. The "widow" utilized the parts from the limo which could be easily purchased over the counter at any Chevy dealership in that era. The large fuel tank was from a 57 Chevrolet Taxi and the ceramic brake shoes were commom the the Black Widow. You can clone a 150 sedan pretty easily, but some of the one-off pieces would be impossible to find.

    One of my friends here in Columbus, Ohio, passed away recently. He had a huge collection of cars and he was very fond of the 57s. He had two 150, dual quad cars and the only green (clone) 150 fuelie car that was like the only one ever produced. That car came out of the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. His wife is selling the collection, if anyone is interested, shoot me a PM and I'll give you a phone number.


    John
     
  18. tanker1
    Joined: Apr 18, 2004
    Posts: 24

    tanker1
    Member
    from OK

    Check this site for a pic. I never saw a real one, only clones.

    http://www.57heaven.com/BlackWidow.html

    Chevrolet's Black Widow: The First Factory Hot Rod?
    Back in the mid-50s, as stock car racing started to leap in popularity, Chevrolet offered a Spartan "utility" sedan, built specifically for Nascar competition.
    The "Black Widow," as it came to be known, was merely a two-door version of the same plain-Jane sedan Chevy sold to police fleets and to the US Army, only with a surprise: a fuel-injected 283ci V8 straight out of the Corvette. (Ironically, Nascar eventually disqualified it because it didn't have carburetors). Very few of these sedans were made, and all were painted black and white. Because they're nearly impossible to find today, a mint-condition specimen would fetch beaucoup buckeroos.

    Color: Black & White - only color available
    Model #: 1512
    Factory Base Price: N.A.
    Shipping Weight: 3,168 lbs. plus modifications
    Production Total: "Not Available" - very few
    Engine: 283 ci V8 horsepower, fuel-injected
    Transmission: Three-speed standard, column mount
    Interior: Stock utility sedan with roll bar
    Convertible Top: Power - white
    History: These cars were built strictly for racing. On February 20, 1957, Nascar ruled that since late model convertibles and short track cars were limited to engines with one four-barrel carburetor, they could not be raced in Nascar races after that date.

    Jim
     

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  19. thats the article i had years ago also. spaulding, thats what i want to do to mine. i'm not trying for 100 point clone. i just want the overall look.

    the 57 chevy goes back a long way for me. in grade school in the 70's my best buddys dad built three two door hardtops. i helped him every step of the way. the best a ten year old can, anyway.

    being a poorboy i was never able to obtain one until now. it's two door sedan, but it'll work.

    the problem is when you've seen one 57 chevy, you've pretty much seen them all. so i think the best way to remedy that is the "black widow". it's different but still looks great.
     
  20. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,005

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga


    CCI sells a reprint of the "1957 Chevrolet Stock Car Competition Guide." It goes over what SEDCO did to these cars, and uses photos of the actual cars in the manual, showing what they did. Solid motor mounts, plates welded to that open area on the frame in front of the control arms (where the front bumper mounts), special heavy radiator hose and clamps, and the list goes on.

    If you dig the Black Widows or any kind of vintage racing, it's a good read.

    "Twenty-gallon tank has increased fuel capacity. Unit is complete with necessary filler neck, hoses, clamps and straps. Mounts same as standard tank..." Group 3.001, PN 3744079
    In the photo, it shows two additional mounting straps going side-to-side.

    Rear Axle. The rear end is is the drop-out carrier style, and has a removable back cover. It's also been braced, with a piece of tubing or solid rod going under the housing, side-to-side.

    Axle Unit, Rear
    Group 5.386, Part No. 3744020
    "Unit is interghangeable with standard rear axle. Existing attaching parts can be used. Shop Manual overhaul procedure for the 1/2-Ton Truck axle is applicable."

    "Proper ring and pinion gear adjustment is very important. Shop Manual procedure for 1/2-Ton Truck axle should be followed carefully."

    If anyone has a Chevy part numbers book from the era, I'd love to know what the applications are for the following parts from the Guide. I'm intrigued by the front suspension/taxi cab angle.

    Group 5.809, Hub and Drum Assy, Front Wheel. PN 3725816
    Group 6.020, Knuckle, Steering, with nut. PN 3725025
    Group 6.103, Arm, Steering Knuckle, LH PN 3729295
    RH 3729296
    Group 6.307, Hub, Front Wheel, PN 3744428

    They also give part numbers for tie rods, tie rod sleeves, clamp, inner and outter wheel bearings, Pitman arm, steering relay rod, steering idler and "lever assy" for the steering idler.

    The manual says "Stronger steering knuckles, wheel hubs, brake drums and associated parts offer greater durability and safety in competition. Most of these parts are shot-peened for extra strength. Steering Knuckle Unit inclused special hub, brake drum, wheel bearings and other necessary related parts. Procedures in Shop Manual are applicable as these stronger parts are similar to standard. Enlargement of holes for new ball studs is necessary--instructions are included. Within standard limits, wheel bearing adjustment must be loose rather than tight. Other special front suspension modifications are described on page 13."

    Brad
     
  21. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,031

    k9racer
    Member

    Hugh Babb [atlanta] was a consultant on the project. Paul McDuffie worked at the skunk works.. Bradley Dennis who still lives in Dunwoody Ga was the shop foreman.. He now inspects houses..In Smokey Yunicks book Smokey said that Brad Dennis was the only person he ever learned any thing from.. Mr Dennis was//is a wizz on carburators.. I knew of 2 of the cars One was bought by a bootlegger in south ga. I dont rember his name and the other was bought by Birmingham Alabama businessman Cosby Hodges..I think it was wrecked at the beach.But I know it was wrecked and not repaired. About the same time Rex White [who still lives in Atlanta] and Tom Pistone also built cars two identical cars that were backed by general motors.. This is all I can recall as it was a long time ago..OH yes you might catch them at the Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville. If so they we will be at the Georgia Auto racing hall of fame booth.. I hope this helps....Bobby..
     
  22. brad54, k9racer, and everyone else thanks for the in depth info. it's great.
     
  23. 50 Mercfan, Please rethink your wheel choice if your gonna do this. The rim you mentioned made me wince bigtime and I have only had three beers tonight. Go with the steelies like in the pics. You will be a hero. My 2 cents. I love the overall concept on this. Make a plan and follow through. These cars just plain get me going.
     

  24. curbspeed, i was already thinking in that direction. the more i stare at those white wheels the cooler they get. i was just trying to think of a wheel that had an old "feel" to it without going with the torq thrust. i've searched for a set of halibrands ,but, damn i'd have to sell the house to get them. i can't find the 150 trim anywhere.
     
  25. Here's FLAT-TOP Bob and I drooling over a set of Fenton Black Widow exhaust manifolds.
     

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  26. holly shit, those are bad ass. so it had 4 exhaust pipes comming off the engine?
     
  27. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 6,149

    noboD
    Member

    Not just the headers, the whole project is bad assed.
     
  28. painkiller
    Joined: Feb 10, 2005
    Posts: 128

    painkiller
    Member

  29. Even if you just used a white painted 5 lug wheel it would give you the same cool feel and be a helluva lot cheaper than some of the others you mentioned. Good Luck with the project and go for it!
     

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