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Projects Building a 54' Chevy Sport Coupe Kustom

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Merge, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    I will be logging the progress of my 54' Chevy build with this thread. I have had quite a few cars in the last five years, but most were to do some work on and resell for something else. This car is different for me, this one wasn't bought to resell. Luckily, I have worked myself to a point where I have a place to work on a project and build it to keep.

    Knowing that winter was ahead, I had been looking for a project for most of fall when a friend who has a lot of projects offered me this 54' Chevy for $2000. I went and took a couple of good long looks at it and thought it was a fair price for a running hardtop. It also had a recent brake rebuild on all four corners, all lines replaced and the major steering components had been replaced as well! The biggest issue on this car is old shoddy patch panels and rotten floor braces that need attention. He just didn't have the time to do the car justice since he has other projects, so it had to go.

    In the two months that I have had it, I have concentrated on making sure all mechanics are in order. I have added a two pot master cylinder along with adjusting all the shoes to work properly. I've also been chasing typical leaks and some other issues that are expected of a car that hasn't been on the road for a while. A brand new fuel tank and sending unit were also in order to eliminate the rust that was coming out of the old tank. I've also been giving it an altitude adjustment along with adding the missing trim mouldings. A one piece front bumper and some extra grille teeth have cleaned the front up as well.

    That is about it for now, I've really been restraining myself from starting in on the body before the mechanical issues are sorted out. I enjoy sheet metal and body work WAY more than turning wrenches, but want it to be mechanically sound and road worthy before anything else!

    By the way, I'm looking for the outer floor braces for a 53/54 Chevy that I can use to replace the ones in my car. I did see that brand new ones are offered, but I am not against using OEM pieces if they are in salvageable condition and financially justified.


    Here is a picture of the way I bought it, progress pics, and three other hardtops that appeal to me. All three have a similar stance to what mine will be, since it won't be bagged. I feel a chop will be a must! Last one I chopped was a 53' 2 door sedan, so I am looking forward to the 54' Hardtop chop!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope
    Member

    The '53-54 hardtop is an easy chop, the pillars are parallel so the roof just goes forward and down without stretching at all, just needs the pillars canted to meet up. Good looking old Chevy, by the way.
     
  3. kennyg1931
    Joined: Sep 14, 2009
    Posts: 58

    kennyg1931
    Member

    Nice 54 ' Was wondering what you did to the front end to lower it ? I like the way it sets . Keep up posting please ? Kenny G.
     
  4. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    Thanks for the tip, I have been reading a lot on this chop and looking at numerous pictures. I'm not decided yet on which way I will go with the rear window. When I chopped my 53' sedan, I used a 52' Chevy rear window as a donor. It worked well with the existing beltline moulding, but I do like the looks of some of the factory rear window chops I have seen.
     

  5. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    Kenny, I cut coils to lower the front. I don't think it will stay this way though, I am leaning toward the Fat Man or Buffalo dropped uprights with coils that arn't cut as much as these.
     
  6. 66slabside
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 43

    66slabside
    Member

    Nice looking car. I'll be watching as I think my next car will be an early Chevy.
     
  7. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422

    cosmic12
    Member

    Cool! I will be watching this one. I wanted a 54 HT when I found my 52 and someday will do one so you can show me what it takes. Keep the pics coming please.
     
  8. kennyg1931
    Joined: Sep 14, 2009
    Posts: 58

    kennyg1931
    Member

    Thanks Merge : I have a 54 sedan 150 and thanking about cutting a coil and dropping the lower control arms as I seen as I saw here on the HAMB . Looks like it will work well . I have 3 inch blocks in the rear . Thanks ' Kenny G.
     
  9. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member



    In my opinion, SNEAK UP on lowering the front when cutting coils. Try one coil first, then a half coil at a time until you get it right! It is kind of a pain to put it all together and then take it apart over and over, but you can cut off too much in a hurry!
     
  10. schaefer
    Joined: Aug 8, 2003
    Posts: 187

    schaefer
    Member

    '53-'54 Hardtops are not an easy chop! Doing the sheet metal work isn't to bad, depends on what you do for a back glass. I chopped one with a buddy and we sunk the stock back glass, not to hard to do but it was the first time had done it so it took awhile, then all the stainless that surrounds the back glass has to be modified. Then there is the cast vent windows that need to be cut down, these are a pain in the ass that I'm working on now. You also have to cut down the rear quarter windows, part of them are cast and the rest is steel, again not to hard to do but time consuming. There is also a bunch of stainless bits that need to be cut down and modified.
     
  11. chevy54man
    Joined: Feb 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,683

    chevy54man
    Member
    from NC

    Sweet looking car, looking forward to seeing your progress on her!
     
  12. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member



    One must always consider all of the "little" tasks that add up when chopping a top. From the couple that I have been involved in, the lowering of the actual lid is the quick and relatively easy part. It certainly is a project in itself that you must be devoted to if you plan to see it to completion! By the way, I prefer the 49'-52' Chevy rear window as a donor when chopping a 53/54 Chevy. I used one on my post car it worked out nicely, I didnt get to finish that car but did have the window welded in and the stainless worked well with it. Ronnie James also did this on his Chevy and it was the first I saw in person that I thought looked factory.
     
  13. Epy
    Joined: Sep 10, 2008
    Posts: 122

    Epy
    Member

    Any updates on this project?
     
  14. Big Mac
    Joined: Sep 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,567

    Big Mac
    Member
    1. Utah HAMBers

    I'm curious how this one's coming along as well...
     
  15. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    It is coming along...


    20150627_192833.jpg
     
  16. 08racer
    Joined: Jun 13, 2005
    Posts: 830

    08racer
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Gilbert AZ

    hell yeah! looking good!
     
    60 Belair and Merge like this.
  17. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    20151024_095923.jpg 20151024_095909.jpg

    Been a while since I had time to work on the 54, but the last two days I got the top finished welded and the old paint stripped and ready for filler work.
     
    60 Belair, spinner and Scrappydoo like this.
  18. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    Made quite a bit of progress the last two days. Admittedly, I'm not building a metal finished show car here, just something different to take the family rides in and enjoy. I did however get everything within an 1/8" of shape so there is mostly a skim coat going across the roof of filler to get it straight. Very pleased with the contour of the new shape of the top and donor rear window.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,727

    oldrelics
    Member
    from Calgary

    Looks good. I like filler too. 1/8" is good. Some day when I have a bazillian hours to spare I'll take up metal finishing......
     
    Merge likes this.
  20. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    It's been a while since I've posted, but I have made some progress. The car got a fresh coat of satin black just to get all the panels looking the same for now. I've been working on cutting and trimming the stainless to fit the new roof lines. I'll be cutting the windshield down and getting it put in. Hoping to take her on it's maiden voyage this fall!
     

    Attached Files:

    Quintin likes this.
  21. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    Another
     

    Attached Files:

  22. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    Had her sitting outside a couple weeks ago when a quick rain shower snuck up........it's a long time down the road but it'll look great gloss black!
     

    Attached Files:

    Surfcityrocker likes this.

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