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Projects Bad Banana Resurrection - 55 Chevy Gasser

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bad Banana, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    OK guys and gals.. If you want to know a little bit of what I am about to post here you may want to check out my intro thread here:


    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5525517#post5525517

    </O:p
    First off, I want to make a few things clear to everyone. I am NOT looking for any input into how to put this car together. There are only two people in this world who can say how it should be built. My dad and me. So, please don’t feel offended if I don’t respond to your suggestions if you post them. I will read all posts but I will choose to ignore any that are not to my liking. I will not get into any arguments from someone who “thinks they know how it should be done”


    That being said, you should understand that I have a very clear short term goal in my sights right now. It is to put this car into run able condition as soon as possible… period. It will not be “period correct” right away and many of you may disagree with some of what I am about to do with this car but that doesn’t matter to me. I need to be able to drive this car at least around a parking lot or the pits of a drag strip as soon as possible. You see… if you read the story about the drag race win I had a few years ago in my Vega, you will already know my dad has some serious health issues. He has battled those issues and has been very lucky to have beat most of them back. However, in the last year he has had even more set back health-wise and he just suffered a minor stroke a few weeks ago. To say that I should have built this car years ago is an understatement. But.. as he once told me when I made huge mistakes in my life growing up “you can’t unring a bell”. My dad is in his 70’s and is not internet savvy so he likely will not see this thread nor contribute directly to it. He probably won’t be able to work on the car either but you never know. He lives 400 miles from where I will be working on it and doesn’t travel well anymore.


    So.. since I can’t go back and start on this car a couple years ago, I am going to jump headlong into it and try to get this thing running again so my dad can see it melt the tires again. I don’t have an unlimited budget but I feel I can come up with whatever I need within reason to get this car running. I have already received some help from a long time friend of mine from Pennsylvania who knows what I am trying to do. He has graciously willing to lend me an all aluminum 427 ci small block Chevy complete with Crower injection. I’ll have more detail on the engine later when I bring it to my shop. I eventually plan on building a 327 like the car had for most of its life but for now this will work. I’ll give it back when I am done with it and have a more “correct” engine for it. I also have a modern racing Powerglide and converter with a trans brake that will easily handle the power of the 427. I was left over when I sold my Vega this spring and has already seen duty behind a 540 BBC so it will be fine. This ‘55 was always 4 speed and my dad isn’t thrilled about it having a glide, but I have it , it is “free”, and it will work, so we are going to use it for now. I can make it stick again later (I will leave the third pedal in the car … don’t worry) ;)


    So with the engine and trans handled, I have a short list of obvious items that I will need for sure if anyone knows where I can find some of this stuff:
    The moon fuel tank (2 gallon with 3 spoke cap). I know they make them new but I would really like as much vintage stuff if I can get it.


    Rear leaf springs and lower shock mount plates under the springs - Dad says about 10 leaves in each side but they are long gone. I can use blocks and stock 55 springs to get the stance where I want it if I need to. Plates are stock ‘55)


    Dana 60 spool – It has a posi in it now but I want to put a spool in it because I don’t want to break the posi.


    Fenderwell headers for small block


    I would really like a Vertex magneto. The car was set up for that. I have a complete MSD ignition system from my Vega I can use but If someone has a Mag set up out there at a reasonable price I would be interested.

    I have already bought a video camcorder and I will be visiting my dad for a few days in Pennsylvania at the end of August. I want to video tape him answering questions and just talking in general about the car’s history. My uncle (his brother) and his lifelong best friend who helped campaign the car back in the 60s may also be there and my hope is that I can have all 3 of them tell stories about racing the car when I was too small to remember. I plan on getting a You Tube account and I will post the links up here once I get the video downloaded. We are also in the process of gathering historical pictures and scanning them to share on here as well. I’ll post them as we gather them and I have time to caption them.

    This is going to be an emotional project for me. I hope everyone can appreciate it.

    img001zc8.jpg img002ds3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    crashfarmer and catdad49 like this.
  2. Blacktop Graffiti
    Joined: May 2, 2002
    Posts: 961

    Blacktop Graffiti
    Member

    I dig it! Keep the centerlines and scoop. I LOVE IT!
     
  3. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,004

    rick finch
    Member

    Great story and history, wish you all the best.
     
  4. chris55
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 1,085

    chris55
    Member

    Sounds cool, please keep us updated.
     
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  5. redlinetoys
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,302

    redlinetoys
    Member
    from Midwest

    Sweeeet pics. Loving this one. Good luck with the project, and looking forward to updates!
     
  6. GrouchySS
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 101

    GrouchySS
    Member

    good luck with your project, nothing can replace a fathers smile.:D
     
  7. roughneck424
    Joined: Jan 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,084

    roughneck424
    Member

    Godspeed to you on this project!!!
     
  8. fasttimes
    Joined: Sep 15, 2008
    Posts: 181

    fasttimes
    Member
    from NC

    Great History and Story. Good luck and keep us updated. Do you know what # axle splines you need for the spool I have a 35 spline spool for a Dana 60. Pm me.
     
  9. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    They are actually Crager Super Tricks and I still have them. The scoop was hand built by dad. I will keep it but might have to take it off when I put the injection back on... we'll see once the engine is set back in it..
    :D;)
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  10. Original Gangster
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 33

    Original Gangster
    Member

    My Uncle had a '66 Chevelle in '66 and he campained it on the East Coast as the Bad Banana. It was all painted up, big block, 4spd, chrome reverse wheels and what you would expect from a mid / late '60's drag car.
    I am restoring the car currently, it should be completed in '11.
     
  11. Ramblur
    Joined: Jun 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,101

    Ramblur
    Member

    Go man go. I remember the Bad Banana at Quaker City Dragway when I
    was a kid. Your dads a bad influence...I painted my first 57 Chevy that
    color and dreamed of running that hard.
     
  12. Baron
    Joined: Aug 13, 2004
    Posts: 3,299

    Baron
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wishing you the best of luck and hope you are able to get it up and running soon. This will certainly give your Dad some happy thoughts and memories.
     
  13. dragrcr50
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,865

    dragrcr50
    Member

    you are a lucky man, a dad is a wonderful thing , cherish your time with him and the car.........good luck and i would like to see it drive as well for his sake and yours.............
     
  14. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    Dug these pics up. The date on them is accurate. That was the day I moved the car from Pennsylvania to Michigan. My dad posed with the car as I left.





    These pics are the same day 400 miles later in my driveway in Michigan. The angle iron was installed by me just before I left. I had to move the car and had a small window of time to do it in. I was afraid that the car being a hard top and so much of the floor and firewall gone that it would not survive the trip. I had very limited time and resources to quickly come up with some way to hold the car together. I had a 110v mig and a chop saw. I ran down to a buddy of mine and he gave me the angle iron. I did the best I could and it worked. The car survived the trip fine. I can easily remove that and begin putting it back together.

    I have the doors. They rode in the bed of the truck. I also had to weld pipe in place of the rear springs since they were gone. I'll take some pics of that later and post it. Not fab work I am proud of but sometimes you do what you can with what you have. It was all just tacked in enough to hold for the trip. :D

    I have most all of the interior and firewall aluminum. Not sure how much of it I can use but I am going to try to use as much as I can.



     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  15. chris55
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 1,085

    chris55
    Member

    The more I look at that 55, the more I like it. Please just get it running, and don't change a thing on it. IMHO its perfect just like it is, good luck with your build.
     
  16. Shade Tree McGhee
    Joined: Jul 7, 2010
    Posts: 75

    Shade Tree McGhee
    Member

    Great story, awesome ride. I can't wait to hear that this thing is killing at the drags again.
     
  17. redlinetoys
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,302

    redlinetoys
    Member
    from Midwest

  18. ckustoms
    Joined: Mar 3, 2005
    Posts: 63

    ckustoms
    Member

    i grew up in WASHINGTON PA. back in the 50's-60's time period, got pictures of your car back in those days. either from PITTSBURGH raceway or DRAGWAY-42 in OHIO. some good shots on slides if your interested i'll dig em. out for you...dave--backstreet kustoms
     
  19. 56oldsDarrin
    Joined: May 9, 2009
    Posts: 396

    56oldsDarrin
    Member

    I cleaned one picture up a bit.
    That car is the real deal, do what it takes to save it.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    Are you kidding?? Interested isn't the word!! Please.. Pretty please!!:D:p

    Thanks a bunch for the pic clean up! That pic was used on a 1979 or 1980 calander. My dad has the only copy that I know of that is left. I am going to pick it up when I go see him in a couple weeks.

    Love the '56 Olds. Dad had a 98 HT he sold a few years ago. He now has a '55 98 Convertible. I'll post some pics of it soon. He saved it from turning to dirt sitting behind a guy's house for 25 years. He still drives it when he can.
     
    catdad49 likes this.
  21. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    Update... I move the car from storage to my shop this evening. Here are the pics of the move. First pics are of the corvair steering box, vintage NHRA windshield saftey sticker, etc...

    14.jpg

    15.jpg

    Next... we pushed it out into the light of day... First time it has been outside in many years..

    18.jpg

    Next... we gave it a bath..

    20.jpg

    21.jpg

    23.jpg

    Got the car on jackstands and pulled the rear axle out of it. I'll post more pics in a few days. Called and talked to my Dad tonight. Told him the car is in the shop and the work has begun. He sounded pretty excited. We talked about some changes that need to be made and how I should do it. Some folks from the HAMB have already helped me get some of the stuff I need. I have some parts here already and more are in transit. I'll update later with some thanks to those who have helped. ;):D
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  22. 55chevr
    Joined: Jul 12, 2008
    Posts: 959

    55chevr
    Member

    Well you wont have to concern yourself with cutting out rotten floors and floor braces ...
     
  23. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,317

    AHotRod
    Member

    Enjoy each and everyday on this speedy-project with your Dad...... Trust me.
     
  24. mtrhead
    Joined: Jul 17, 2006
    Posts: 253

    mtrhead
    Member

    wow...great story and build.. good luck. can't wait to see the updates:D
     
  25. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    Took the body off the frame today. I am going to blast the frame and make some repairs and additions for safety sake. Discussion with dad we have decided I need to install a real roll cage in the car. I am also going to beef up the rear suspension some. Dad never had a welder way back when he built this car and any welding he had to get someone else to do. Much of the bracketry on the frame is bolted on. I am going to weld most everything he had bolted just to make it safer. However, I will try to make the car appear as close as possible to the way he had it. Most anything I do change won't be visible to most anyone looking at the car once it is done.

    Here are some of the pics from today

    25.jpg 26.jpg 27.jpg 28.jpg 29.jpg 30.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  26. Nik
    Joined: Nov 12, 2005
    Posts: 584

    Nik
    Member

    Awesome thread!! I can't wait to see how fast you move on this.
     
  27. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 772

    Bad Banana
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Oklahoma

    OK.. not much visual stuff to take pics of for the build so I'll post some of the earliest pictures we have of the car. Mostly been organizing and gathering parts and cleaning up the frame, etc..

    These are from late 1964 and early 1965. My dad bought this car off a friend of his for $50 to save it from the junkyard. It had a blown up small block in it at the time. He towed it home and found a junkyard 265 from a '56 Chevy and put it in and got it running. Drove it for a while as a daily driver. He then found a wrecked '61 vette and was able to buy the engine/trans/shifter/mounts, etc and transplanted that into the car before spring. The pics at the track are of it with the '61 vette 270 hp 283 4-speed. These pics were taken at a now defunct track in central Pennsylvania called "Green Pine Dragway"

    I'll keep feeding you historical pics between build pics to keep the thread going. I'll try to keep all of the history in order to show the evolution of the car from this stage up to the pic in my avatar which is one of the last times my dad ran the car.

    31.jpg

    32.jpg

    This is the only interior shot I have of it in this configuration.

    34.jpg

    Note the high tech traction bar and fender skirts. :D


    33.jpg

    35.jpg

    You can see the towbar mounts here

    36.jpg

    37.jpg

    Flagman starts and hash marks on the track for handicaps!!!


    38.jpg

    39.jpg

    Some of the grille bars are gone now (make it lighter... dad was all about making everything as light as possible... you will see more of that later ;):D) The red '57 was the tow vehicle during this time. I have some other pics of that car I'll post later too.

    ;)


    40.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  28. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,317

    AHotRod
    Member

    Gotta love the old pictures, great memories.
     
  29. scarliner
    Joined: Sep 3, 2003
    Posts: 623

    scarliner
    Member
    from Macon Mo.

    Some of the best descriptive pictures, Ive seen lately, of how it really was in the early days. Love the 55, makes me want one and brings back memorys of how many me and my brother had and treated like crap, pedal to the metal at all times, changed engines weekly or as needed, under a hickory nut tree, of course! Your dad not having a welder, reminds me of our youth, I can remember, when a guy in our small rural town got the first Lincoln stick welder, that was like a high tech miracle for us to see used! And it was an expensive machine too! $99.00 But you know, I still miss those days. Please update this post as often as you can.Keep up the great work.Thanks for the memorys!
     
  30. fitzee
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 2,863

    fitzee
    Member

    I will be watching this one.love story's like this. Good luck.wish I was closer I lend a helping hand.
     

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