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Customs 1959 Bel Air 2 door hardtop build.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 110mike, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    I know I know; "there was never any 2 door hardtop BelAirs." Well,,, not in the USA.

    Up here in Canada, land of the free, home of the cheap, we had 1031 Bel Air 2 door hardtops made. Basically a Impala with Bel Air trim. Body style #1537.

    Mine started life in Manitoba in late 1958 and it's still here today.
    Originally bought by a nice lady near Brandon, Elanor as I recall, and used as a daily driver for her and her family on their rural farm till 1974.
    "car developed a knock" and smoked a bit" I was told as it was winched onto my trailer. "So dad parked it on the yard to fix later". WAY later as it turns out as it sat there for the next 42 years. 59 og.png
    59 as found.png
    Took my "new" car home as it's 2nd owner.
    Slid the car into my shop to access the condition.
    Paint; original.
    Accident damage; NONE.
    Pieces missing; ZERO full set of hub caps AND poverty dishes {in trunk}
    So far so good. Car was originally a 235/PG {yawn} so I pulled it to look and there I saw "the knock" that was mention on pick up; Hole in the oil pan, destroyed piston/connecting rod. Car was driven last on only 5 cylinders. Hell of a knock!
    Ignition wiring was also very fried explaining the smoke mentioned.

    Originally planed on a "patina" ride BUT although it's OE paint and never hit, Mother Nature bitch whipped it over the 42 years on the yard. Inner and outer rockers gone. New full floor pans from tow board to tail lights. Rear valance and licence plate bucket had pin holes {not terrible but bucket had to come out}. Lower quarter patches. Worst of all the rear window channel.
    Doors were mint! front clip was mint! Count my blessings I guess.
    Most painful of all this was that there was a farm implement shed {one car deep but 10 cars wide} a mere 100-150 feet away from where that car was parked. I would have pushed it there for no other reason than to make mowing easier.

    Alas, it is what it is. That is what welders are for!
    Body was braced, floor removed. I had an industrial blaster come to my yard to clean up the exposed rust.
    Floors and truck are straight forward, fabricated inner and outer rockers. Found a 1960 Caddy coupe de vill in the salvage yard {WTF right!} and cut out the rear window channel parts I needed. All 59-60 GM "bubble tops" are the same chevy, Cadillac and BOP.
    59 drivers side.jpg 59 front trunk.jpg 59 rear trunk.jpg

    Once the body was structurally sound it was popped on my rotisserie. I made the rotisserie some years ago
    59 on rotisserie.jpg 59 under body.jpg

    I'll have to dig up more pictures

    Cheers!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Straight Axle Guy
    Joined: Oct 21, 2018
    Posts: 49

    Straight Axle Guy
    Member

    Nice, keep it going!
     
    loudbang likes this.
  3. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,485

    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Good job, nice work!
     
    loudbang likes this.
  4. Straight Axle Guy
    Joined: Oct 21, 2018
    Posts: 49

    Straight Axle Guy
    Member

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  5. Just another 59 {yawn} lol. Jk nice project.
     
    NashRodMan and loudbang like this.
  6. chargin03
    Joined: Jan 8, 2013
    Posts: 444

    chargin03
    Member

    Very nice!
     
    loudbang likes this.
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,145

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Cool, It looks like you have been seriously busy since you got it home. Love those 59's My best friend had a blue impala with a 348, tri power 4 speed when I was 18.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  8. MOTOV8N
    Joined: Mar 20, 2015
    Posts: 387

    MOTOV8N
    Member
    from Manitoba

    Nice find! It’s a fantastic start! ... just curious if there were any other pieces in good condition on that 1960 Cadillac coupe in the salvage yard?


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  9. pumpman
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,651

    pumpman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Great back story, liked the way you presented it, love the car! Now, let’s rock and roll on it. Thanks for sharing.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  10. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    Very nice looking car. I like the TPI engine. They were always a good looking intake.
    Did he build it or purchase as is?
     
  11. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    The Caddy was completely screwed. Roof caved in, completely stripped. Only good part was a drivers door shell. I didn't even feel bad cutting it up it was so bad,
     
    loudbang likes this.
  12. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    Coming from a guy with a tri 5,,, LOL just kidding too. My father owned a 56 HT in 1961 so I have a soft spot for em. cheers!
     
    chevy57dude and loudbang like this.
  13. Funny story about 59's and being young. I hated them, know I love them.
     
  14. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    20180109_191118.jpg 20190523_211001.jpg

    Trunk, doors, hood, small parts were all in FANTASTIC shape so they were stripped, body worked, sealed, primed and blocked to 400.

    Main body here. Lower quarters were patched front and rear. All butt welded. Inner structure and inner wheel wells were done as well {minor}.
     
  15. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    20180627_155550.jpg
    Roof was jumped on after this picture was taken.
     
    Surfcityrocker likes this.
  16. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,768

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    Don't let my wife see that car! She was born in 59 and has been snooping around for one! Great job! Gonna be a nice one. Lippy
     
  17. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    Body was rolled over to the paint booth. Sealed primed and under coated with Raptor canalized bed liner. This was a factory/dealer under coat car AND I plan to drive it so it was a no brainer.
    bel Air 1.jpg bel air 7.jpg bel air 3.jpg

    bel air 2.jpg

    I decided to just "jam" paint the car which will allow me to put it together first THEN paint it as a whole.
    I have done too many cars where they are painted in pieces and things happen upon reassemble. Something needs tweeking, body is bolted down and something flexes or cracks, scratches when bolting shit on, scratches from stuff around the car or leaning on it to work. Alot can go wrong with a pile of painted pieces.


    bel air 6.jpg bel air 4.jpg

    Color is stock,,,ish. Far more pearl, metallic then stock obviously.
     
  18. Johnboy34
    Joined: Jul 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,245

    Johnboy34
    Member
    from Seattle,Wa

  19. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    20191104_200120.jpg
    Using my stock column and wheel because they seem to fit the car perfectly like they were made for it....


    20191104_200133.jpg
     
  20. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,648

    jnaki




    upload_2020-6-18_9-4-54.png
    Hello,

    Nice project on the 59 Chevy. That original photo has a couple of Moose clearing horns on top that would probably knock down a giant Moose standing on the highway. Nice accessory add-on item. Another photo was of the center hubcap on the old Chevy rim. It made me step back and remember my search for something for my 1958 Impala, instead of chrome reversed rims.
    upload_2020-6-18_9-5-29.png
    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/pics-of-58-chevies.951592/page-24#post-13490151
    1959 Chevy small center hubcap
    upload_2020-6-18_9-6-10.png upload_2020-6-18_9-6-23.png
    My rims were 14 inch stock Chevy and I could not get the look I wanted with what money was there, so I opted for just the center hubcaps from Chevy. Then I was able to get the beauty trim rings for a full chrome style wheel look. Since there was no money for actual chrome reversed wheels, this took its place.
    upload_2020-6-18_9-7-13.png

    Your project is going nicely and that body style is just classic. Keep it up and hopefully, we will all see it finished in a few months from now.

    Jnaki

    Here is a favorite film of mine. This was a fun ½ time intermission activity with the local drag racers. Besides having relay tag events with the top drag racing teams, there was the Lions Dragstrip version of the famous leman race in France. That 1959 Impala had a 335 hp/348 motor while being the consistent class winner and it was the factory 4 speed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY0N8clWemY
     
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  21. pumpman
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,651

    pumpman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Really like that color. Moving along nicely.
     
  22. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,601

    NashRodMan
    Member

  23. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    Moose horn were never affixed to the car. LOL They were just set on top for some reason. I did not get them with the car.
     
    jnaki likes this.
  24. mcnally351
    Joined: Apr 12, 2011
    Posts: 423

    mcnally351
    Member
    from boston

    Awesome build!! Love this!!
     
  25. Nice it was complete.....1959's aren't easy.....lots of 1958's parts which is surprising and the 1960's Chevy's seam to be a lot of down here.....I have a 1959 sedan delivery that went to the paint shop and it's parts seemed to disappear.
     
  26. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,576

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Torkwrench likes this.
  27. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,029

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    I always wanted a 58-59.
    Painted that medium Blue or Plum. In the rear I'd have reversed 15 x 8 black steel wheels with chrome lug nuts and 5" of back space. Up front chrome wheels.. I would change the front control arms or move the mounting boss at the frame to give me 6 degrees of positive caster. I would try to use all stock parts except for Howe ball joints and Delrin bushings. I would also use a big front sway bar maybe a Hellwig but paint it black so's not to stick out..

    I would use a stock 454 with trips and a Turbo 400 with some nice streetable 2:87/3:08 rear end gears.. A pair of Porter mufflers on a full rear end would make it sound nice..
     
  28. Sting Ray
    Joined: Mar 24, 2012
    Posts: 936

    Sting Ray
    Member

    What will the drivetrain be? I see a hole in the tranny tunnel; three pedal car?
     
  29. 110mike
    Joined: Aug 14, 2017
    Posts: 26

    110mike
    Member

    I think I have seen this car on HAMB before. Owner said he wanted a tri 5 convertible instead?? Was mentioned on another HAMB thread concerning 59 Bel Air HTs.
     
    JOHN H EDGE likes this.

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