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Projects 57 Chevy 2 door conversion pics/build thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Squablow, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,122

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    A lot of work, that really paid off..nicely done.
    lothiandon1940 and Squablow like this.
  2. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,480

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    Not the pantina look! Paint it, I know you can!;););) lol Lot more ambition than I have anymore. Might have to search through the storage trailers for my old tri five stashes and PM you . You might make use of them! Nice work. Larry
    VANDENPLAS and Squablow like this.
  3. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    I would like it better with paint. White would be easiest, it's easier to make bodywork look good in white and it wouldn't outshine the OK used chrome on the car, although I'd rather have it be all red.

    The problem will be, where do you stop? The windshield and rear window really should come out for a paint job, and the seals are old anyway. I would want a new windshield to go in with the new gasket, and that'd be the time to put a headliner in. Then, would I reuse the old side glass? The red quarter windows are cool, but they're fogged and cracked. With new paint, some of the old chrome is going to look poor, and probably need to be replaced, along with new door panels and repainted interior garnishes to go with the new headliner, and on and on like that, until I have 400 more hours in it and a fair amount of money into the parts and materials.

    I love nice paint, I just don't want project-creep to get out of control. I'll drive it around like this for a while, and hopefully sometime in the future it can get "round 2".
    Stogy, chopped, VANDENPLAS and 2 others like this.
  4. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    Also, if you've got anything 55-57 2 door sedan related, I'd be real interested in it, I've got enough donor pillars to do more of these, and I doubt this will be my last.
  5. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 819

    from Mt

    Thanks for this thread. This is awesome!
    Squablow and kidcampbell71 like this.
  6. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    This is the high school parking lot sticker that's still in the rear window. It's a long shot, but maybe someone will recognize it in it's old white 4 door format and I'll get to find out the history of it.

    Stogy, VANDENPLAS and kidcampbell71 like this.
  7. Greg Rogers
    Joined: Oct 11, 2016
    Posts: 443

    Greg Rogers

    Great job, I have really enjoyed your thread. Thanks!!
    Stogy, Squablow and kidcampbell71 like this.
  8. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,607


    You certainly are a tenacious sort, I'm not a 4 dr. guy and am lucky to own a 2dr. sed. You did well young man, I wish I had your enthusiasm now so I could finish mine.

  9. Good thread, the conversion is more involved than I thought.
    Stogy, lothiandon1940 and Squablow like this.
  10. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,426


    I did a conversion with a friend of mine years ago, I know the work involved. Great job.
    Stogy and Squablow like this.
  11. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,800


    Palatine High School is NW of Chicago. Just a little north of Schaumburg. There mascot was the Pirates. You may want to trace it through them with the number on the sticker. Pretty sure that was a parking pass for a student.
    1934coupe and Squablow like this.
  12. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,288


    Drive it, have fun for a while. If you pull into a cruise this car will get as much attention as any.
    When someone asks when youre going to paint it, give them a blank stare shake your head and walk away.
  13. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,466


    Great job, amazing how you matched the ''paint job''!
    My friend really wants a 2 door '55. I'm gonna show him this thread and hunt for a solid 4 door sedan.
    Brand new quarters are $800 each but include the complete window area and jamb. Doors are $800 each also for new ones. Hopefully half that for good used ones. Figure a new tail pan and incidentals. What a great way to build an affordable TLB style '55.
    Stogy, Squablow, scotty t and 2 others like this.
  14. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,066


    I was intrigued by the look where you blacked out the rear window post. Any thoughts on removing it and welding up the door? A back door remove the vent window style.
    Squablow likes this.
  15. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    It's not that tough. No tougher than welding up a real rotten 2 door, and that gets done all the time.

    Seems like used doors you can still find. They often need some patching, but I've done a few of these conversions and I usually cut the bottoms out of the original 4 door doors to use for patch pieces, works pretty good unless you need an entire bottom on both sides. The doors I used on this car were pretty rough, but I think I bought the pair for either $50 or $5, I just remember it was super cheap. For that price, I didn't mind doing the repairs.

    The full quarters with the window frames in place are intriguing, I'd really like to see a set in person. You wouldn't get the inner panel to mount the quarter window regulators to, but if you were doing fixed quarter windows you wouldn't need it anyway, just put some sheetmetal in there and a shelf to fit the glass into. I could probably come up with a set of those inner panels loose if you really wanted functional quarter windows.

    The upper area would be a bit different too, the section I took out and eliminated from the 4 door where the headliner rods go, would need to be taken out carefully and re-used, but no reason it wouldn't work.

    I'm saving pieces to do a '55 sometime in the future. Decent 4 door starting points are getting harder to find!
    VANDENPLAS, chevy57dude and Stogy like this.
  16. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    I did think about doing just that, in fact, one of my first ever attempts at photoshop was to see what that would look like. I still have the picture saved, it's posted below.

    The problem is, from a 3/4 angle view, it looks pretty good, because you can't see the length of the door vs. the quarter window. But from a dead-on side view, the door is way too short and the quarter window is weirdly long, the proportions are off.

    Also, the amount of work it would take to do it properly isn't much less than doing the full on conversion. It would require custom cut window glass and new window channels, and a totally re-engineered window regulator setup, or just fixed glass. The rot in my door jamb would still need to be addressed before the doors were welded, and custom interior garnish moldings would need to be made. The side moldings would have an awkward gap in them too where the door gap was eliminated.

    By the time you're done trying to make it look smooth and factory-like, you'd have as much time in it as the regular conversion, and it'd still have the awkward proportions. But it certainly crossed my mind.

    VANDENPLAS and Stogy like this.
  17. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,206


    Impressive. I don’t know anybody in my circle of friends or acquaintances that would attempt. Great job
    Squablow, lothiandon1940 and Stogy like this.
  18. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,752

    from Nebraska

    Wow, quite impressive! Huge props to you for saving a car most would walk right past. And it seems quite low budget, too. Well done!
    Squablow and Stogy like this.
  19. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    Swapped out the whitewalls from the rear with the other redlines I had. The whitewalls were pretty dry cracked and unsafe, plus the redlines were taller and fit the rim better. It sits a lot nicer now. Still working bugs out of it (hoping my new trans dipstick seal is working , manually adjusting brakes a little at a time, etc) but I've been driving it. It drives really nice.

    I know once I've got the detail stuff worked out this is going to be a really nice driving, usable car.

    j-jock likes this.
  20. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 6,167

    A Boner

    Fantastic work! Lots of clever stuff. Watched a YouTube video of another 4dr/2dr conversation. It was by DD Speed Shop. Another approach, proving there is more than one way to skin a cat! I agree as long as the paint is protecting the metal, there is no reason to rush into a fancy paint job. Your car will be enjoyed as is, by many people!
    Squablow likes this.
  21. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379


    Excellent thread, thank you for taking the time to post it. I just bought a running driving more door 56’ that is in about the same cosmetic shape. A conversion to 2 door is on the project list for next year.
    Squablow likes this.
  22. I used to wonder why the hell i was only successful some of the time, welding nuts to a broken bolt. The key, i've found, is the flat washer. Weld that down first, then get real good penetration on top of that
    j-jock and Squablow like this.
  23. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    Sweet! Let me know if you need B pillar donor car cutout pieces, I've got some extra ones I could sell if you don't have any yet.

    The washer is especially good if the stud is snapped off flat, what I also found is if you quench the weld with water while it's red hot sometimes it'll harden the weld and the bolt will twist out without breaking off. The most frustrating part of this one is it would come out at least a half turn every time before breaking off. I think the bottom of the bolt was just a ball of rust, and there's no access to the underside, so I had to just keep forcing it.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  24. buick bill
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 584

    buick bill
    from yreka;ca

    cool project ! the 3 door idea would really blow minds . you could tell the fans it was a factory fuc%up or marketing tool ,oh the poss.
  25. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 4,803


    At the R&C Americruise in Peoria (early/mid 90's???) there were two in attendance.

    Late 30's GM cars iirc. Built, or at least driven there, by brothers/cousins/neighbors or something.

    One of my central Missouri friends got so stoked up about them that he made me an offer I couldn't refuse for my '39 Buick 4-door. He never got around to building it into a 3-door and now I'm really sorry that I sold the car. I had bought the 4-door specifically so I could take the kiddies (very young back then) in it.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  26. Awesome job!
    Squablow likes this.
  27. Great work! It's amazing how much the cool factor increases once those extra doors have been properly removed.
    Squablow likes this.
  28. it was 10-15 years ago, I saw of a pic of an orange '55 3-door in... Super Chevy? Hot Rod? Chevy Hi-Performance? It was well done and didn't necessarily draw attention to itself unnecessarily. Might easily walk by it at a show since you can't see both sides at the same time. Kind of like a tri-five mullet o_O

    Edit: I found pictures...

  29. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,229


    I've seen these pictures before. It's neat for the sake of being different, but it's not for me. When the high school kids had my '57 they did their best 2 door conversion by bondo-ing the back doors shut, shaving the handles and using the 2 door Belair quarter trim, I like to think that I just re-did their original custom job properly. If I ever repaint the car, I'll likely make it white with red tape pinstripes, the way it was painted then. Some of the pinstripes still show.

    Plus, my '57 would have been the wrong car to make a 3 door out of. As you can see in post #8, my rear door jambs were rotted all the way up to the door strikers, my passenger rear door was pretty rotten, and my roof also had some mouse piss rot on the passenger side that was much easier to fix with the spot welded roof structure cut apart. Fixing those issues to maintain the 4 door sedan doors on the passenger side would have been more work than just completing the conversion.

    I put about 1200 miles on the car this past summer and it drove great, was my only functional car a couple of times. It's stored now for the winter but I'll get it out in spring and it'll be my semi-daily again.
    VANDENPLAS and scotty t like this.
  30. Squablow,

    for the record... I wasn't suggesting you do a three door, just included the photos for entertainment purposes since it was mentioned above.

    Squablow likes this.

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