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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: 833

    Bad Banana

    In the pic in my avatar, it is a 331" tunnel rammed 2x4, muncie 4 speed with 5.57 gears. It also went 11.30s.
    catdad49 likes this.
  2. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    Time for some update pics. I have had the body on and off the frame a couple times. Welded the outriggers for the cage with the frame upside down after I had it mocked up as in the previous pics. The body is now on the frame for good. These first pics show how I was able to weld the top of the cage. I dropped the frame down about a foot and was able to get at all of the joints with ease. I blew some paint on the top of the pipe since once it is against the headliner, getting paint on it is pretty much impossible.



    I went and got the doors and bolted them on to see where the body is. I figured I might have to do some shimming to get the doors to line up. It went pretty good and the doors open and close with ease.


    Next I started cutting out all that old angle iron that was supporting the body and got serious about seat mounts.


    Steering box and mid-plate are in.


    After I had the seat mounts mocked up, I went and dug out the original firewall and dash.


    Stuck them back in along with the original trans tunnel and steering column to see how much of it I had and how much of it I could still use. I discovered I have just about all of it. There are a few small minor pieces missing or damaged beyond repair but I can easily make do with what I have and reproduce what I don't have. I think I can make most of it work. The trans tunnel is multi piece and I can replace the top pieces with the big holes to fit the shifter I am using and still retain much of the original structure.





    Stuck the quarter window in just for giggles. I plan on using them. Some old decals here. Who remembers the National Dragster Championships? Anybody know what year and what track that was? I am pretty sure it was only held one year. This car was there.


    More old stickers from the rear bulkhead. I think I can use this piece too. It still fits between the rear cage supports.


    It was snowing all day so I figured it was a good day to stay in the shop. The last few pics below is where I ended up this evening. I got most of the old dash supports back in and the pedals mounted. I need to add some bracing yet. Stuck the master cylinder back on. It is so cool as all of the holes are just lining back up and it is going together nice.


    I do have one issue I need to address. When I had the engine in it for mock up previously, It looks like the rear two injector stacks on this manifold are going to hit the top center of the firewall. I shifted the body back as far as I can without making bigger problems but I think I am going to have to cut the cowl a bit. I talked to dad and he says "cut the body and do whatever you gotta do to get it in there."

    You heard the man so I'll probably be notching the top center of the cowl a bit. I don't think it needs much and the hood will cover it once it is done. The firewall cover won't be one piece anymore if I do that, but ya gotta do what you gotta do. This ain't no show car.. it will be a runner/driver.. ;)


    Got the passenger seat mount mocked up as well. This seat is important because there are a couple folks I want to take a ride when it is done. :D;)

    Anybody want to ride in this thing? :eek:

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  3. 29ToyA
    Joined: Oct 29, 2010
    Posts: 413


    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I take a ride!
  4. Zack Methvin
    Joined: Jan 1, 2010
    Posts: 297

    Zack Methvin

    That is really an awesome car with priceless history. I would like to be there and see the look on your dad's face when you are able to melt the tires again. I am sure that will bring back a lot of good memories. Good luck on your project and i hope you are able to find the parts you need. I will keep a lookout for those items as well.
  5. twotoejoe
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 268


    Great post. Can't wait to see it finished and your dad taking another ride!
  6. roadtag
    Joined: Nov 19, 2007
    Posts: 8


    Best story of two men and a bitchin' machine, good luck to you.
  7. cooljunk
    Joined: Dec 18, 2007
    Posts: 423


    Great progress Rusty. I believe you can make the show at Bever Springs.
  8. lowkroozer
    Joined: Jun 1, 2006
    Posts: 601


    Great car even greater story.Keep it coming. The picture in your avatar definitely looks like Quaker City Drag Strips old timing tower at the top of the hill by the start line .Good memories...
  9. AA/Fuel34fordpu
    Joined: Mar 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,266


    Ride? Hell I want to drive!!!
  10. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    You are correct sir. Circa 1979.
  11. What a great feeling it must be to be getting it back together.
  12. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    Not a whole lot to take pics of lately. Got a call a few days ago that dad was in the hospital. Said he may have had another stroke. By the time I found out, he was pretty much on his way home. Looks like it may have affected his optic nerve and he may be losing his vision. He said it is hard to read magazines (which he loves to do). Looks like he may be done driving now.

    I was planning on going to visit over the holidays and I was considering leaving early but dad talked me out of it. So.. I went back to the shop and kept diggin' on the car. It takes my mind off the reality of what he is going through. When I am busy on it, my head is into what I am doing and not thinking about the bad stuff. But sometimes I just stop and stare at this old car...

    I had to reproduce a brace on his home-made line lock. I pilfered part of it for a bracket for something else I needed years ago. As I was making it, I was thinking about how I learned to do this stuff. I wasn't taught this in school. I was taught how to do this in the garage as a kid. I don't even remember it happening back then but I know how to do this kind of stuff. It is pretty easy and basic for me but I am amazed at how many people wouldn't even know how to lay out a simple brace like this.

    Remember, back in the '60's there wasn't fancy line locks. If there was, dad didn't have one. Since this car had three pedals and he only had two feet, this is what he came up with to hold the car on the starting line. Not all tracks in the day had starting lines as level as Norwalk. You had to hold it from moving. This was his way of doing that. Also note that the pedals and were swiss cheesed as well.





    Yea.. someone could make something much nicer, quicker, and easier with a CNC, ect ... but doing it like this manually is much more gratifying. No matter how it turns out. It looks just like it did 40 years ago and that is what matters to me.

    Merry Christmas.. :D
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  13. Falcon Gasser
    Joined: Aug 29, 2007
    Posts: 940

    Falcon Gasser

    Looks great Rusty, just keep plugging away. Thought with you and your family.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Years

  14. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,969

    from Oregon

    This is a really great rebuild! Hope to see pics of it running soon!
  15. bakes
    Joined: Feb 17, 2009
    Posts: 136

    from albany NY

    I think a better question is... who WOULDN'T want a ride in it? :D Absolutely great story/thread, love seeing an old car being brought back - good luck the rest of the way!
  16. buds56
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 188


    As I started reading this story, I thought the car looked familiar and as I read I realized I used to buy some parts from your dad at his yard and remember you driving a 62 then a 55 chevy in the early 80's in Butler.Your Dad always treated me good at his yard and he must be proud of your restoring his car.
    Its looking good and I wish you and your Dad the best from one of the guys that used to stand in front of Woolwoths on Main st. Bud
  17. ftroop
    Joined: Sep 22, 2006
    Posts: 352

    from Detroit

    Rusty, Looking good. I realy hope your dads health improves!!!

    Merry Christmas
  18. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,892

    from Napa

    Wow- how things come around... When I first saw this thread, I immediately flashed on the "Bad Banana" name- in '67 or '68, our neighbor's son, a body shop owner and hot rodder, picked up a '63 split window that had been whacked in the front, rebuilt it with a new front end, painted it black, Americans, etc. Went pretty good, too, as it had an injected 327 in it that he said he bought from the owners of the "Bad Banana" drag cars that ran at Niagara. Something didn't seem right, as I remembered wagons, more than one car, and there was no mention of Niagara in the race history- sounds like it may have been the "other" Bad Banana(s) that the engine came from...
    Might ask Joe if he remembers selling a 327 to Danny Reed from Franklinville, NY around that time?
    That 55 looks a lot like Bob Bunker's old 55 Pro Gas car that ran at Sacramento, same style car with wide rear end and radiused wheel wells, up in the front, "old style"- another old race car that kept getting upgraded, ran the 9.50 index with Riolo's 55, Torkleson's T-Bird, etc. So cool that you still have most of the original parts and can put it back together like it was back then
  19. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    OK... last update before Christmas. I rechecked a couple times and looked at it. I also called and talked to dad one more time. No way I could see to get around it so I cut the front of the cowl to fit the injection. It really didn't need much and I will weld some finish pieces back in to firm it up later. It really didn't hurt it that much.





    I have all the major pieces I need to get the car together now. Moon tank arrived yesterday (Christmas present to myself... :p) Thanks for everyone's help in locating everything. Still a bunch of small stuff I need to get but I feel like there is nothing left that I am worried I won't be able to find. It is all about time now... When the snow melts, I am hoping this thing will be done enough to do some testing. I have a 300+ foot test track in front of the house (dead end road and cool neighbors..;):D)

    I decided to mock up what I have under hood to make sure there isn't any other major stumbling blocks. Nothing under the hood from what I see now looks to be an issue. Here is a sneak peek on what it will look like.

    Merry Christmas everyone!! Thanks for all the support!! :D



    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.
  20. Rich1028
    Joined: Jul 12, 2008
    Posts: 222


    Merry Christmas Bad Banana!
    this is such a great thread to read.
    I hope all goes well with your father.
    keep on posting pics up.
  21. good
    Joined: Dec 24, 2010
    Posts: 1


    WoW! I love this story I just joined the H.A.M.B. few hours ago and read this whole thread. Like when you start a good book and its hard to put it down. I have a 55 chevy race car that I purchased off the guy who built it in 1964. He raced it from 1965-72 thats the year he blew up the L88 427. It was yellow and the frame, front and rear susp painted green. 1960 Olds rear with homemade 54" ladders, etc..... I'm just glad I joined if only to tell you, this is awesome what your doing and I pray you get to give your dad a ride in his 55 again........Rich
  22. Joe-405
    Joined: Aug 30, 2010
    Posts: 58

    from Oklahoma

    I'm just glad I joined if only to tell you, this is awesome what your doing and I pray you get to give your dad a ride in his 55 again

    This quote right here about sums it up. I wish for you and your dad to ride in it again.
  23. Eightydeuce
    Joined: May 10, 2007
    Posts: 302


  24. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    That picture was taken at the National Dragster Championships at York in 1979. That was the same year the pic in my avatar was taken at Quaker City. We were pitted right by the fence near the tower adjacent to the staging lanes.

    Thanks for the link. I recognized quite a few of those cars in those albums.
    catdad49 likes this.
  25. Aging74
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 1

    from Georgia

    Here are more pictures of your dads 55'. My dad took these at Numida Dragway back in 72' or 73'. I hope these help.


    If you want I can send the pictures to your e-mail.
    Good luck with the restoration
  26. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    Awesome pics!!! I don't have any underhood from this era. I have some of it with that wheel and tire combo. You are off on the year I believe. It had to have been about 1975. Could have been late '74 maybe but in 72-73 it didn't have those wide tires on it yet and the car was still fuel injected in 1973. I am still trying to determine if it went to the tunnel ram in '74 or '75. Anyway, it is great to see them!! :D
    catdad49 likes this.
  27. Put me down for one ride...

    Don't know when I'll get out there... but when I do, I'll want a ride. :D

  28. redlinetoys
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,301

    from Midwest

    Looking good! Love those vintage pics!!!
  29. Bad Banana
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 833

    Bad Banana

    Haven't posted any vintage pics for a while so I'll add some today. I don't have many from 1969 but have quite a few from 1970. The car didn't change much between '69 and '70 as you'll see.


    These first couple are from home.


    One above was from early in the season. No leaves on the trees. Looks cold. Dad, my dad's brother Jim, and me. Dated April 1970. Dad has his pockets inside out as if to say he is out of money. It is all sitting in the driveway. :D


    This is almost the same pic but in 1969. Pic is dated Aug but it is obviously spring because the apple tree is in full bloom.



    This one and the one below are taken at Keystone Raceway near Pittsburgh, PA. This track is now known as Pittsburgh Raceway Park (PRP). I'd like to run it there again someday.


    These next couple are taken either at a stop along the road somewhere or at Numedia, PA.


    Leaf spring wheelie bars, Olds/Pont rear, pipe for rear bumper, there was a big battery and battery box in the trunk. Over 60% of car weight on the rear axle without any engine set back.


    Wonder what that kid is thinking about??.... :confused:



    One above and one below are at York US30. Dad and Uncle Jim in the above photo.


    Five amber tree... :cool:

    I will try to update current pics over the weekend. Not a whole lot of visual stuff but I am getting close to being able to fire the engine in the car. I am thinking about lighting it off to see if there are any leaks in the cooling or fuel systems and see if I can get it to idle. I need to pull the engine trans back out one more time but I am trying to get everything under the hood roughed in so when I put the engine back in the last time, we can pretty much do it in one day.

    Firing it up and seeing it running would also be really, really cool too. It hasn't had a running engine between the frame rails for almost 30 years. We'll see how things go in the next week or two. Stay tuned :D;)
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
    catdad49 likes this.

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