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Art & Inspiration do's and don'ts for a 50's high school car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by derbydad276, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. dan griffin
    Joined: Dec 25, 2009
    Posts: 505

    dan griffin

    I did my 51 Studebaker in early 50s high school parking lot technology. Nosed,decked. lowered in the back,skirts stolen hub caps, split manifolds and primer paint. A/C optional.

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  2. reality check: nobody wanted a four door if they could help it but a first car is a first car. high school kid on a budget took what we could get. I remember guys taking the rear door handles off to give it the look. I don't car what "era", looking back at high school parking lots, there were lots of 4 doors.
  3. daliant
    Joined: Nov 25, 2009
    Posts: 689


    Here's my list of things that I would do to that nice little '53

    1: leave it alone
    2: leave it alone
    3: leave it alone
    4: leave it alone
    5: if there's any money left in the budget after 1 -4 I'd leave it alone.

    It's not my car so take my advice with a grain of salt, it survived this long without someone monkeying with it so why spoil it.
  4. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,162

    from Oregon

    Pull the stock hubcaps. Paint rims and add baby moons and beauty rings. Hang a high school graduation tassel from the mirror. Dual exhaust and lower in.
    loudbang likes this.
  5. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 6,874


    Another thing I had forgotten about until I read the above comment. Remove all of the paint from the top radiator tank and polish the hell out of it with "Brasso". It looked great (for a while).
    Elcohaulic and loudbang like this.
  6. Proud of you guys, so far. Nobody suggested one.:eek:
    a boner, A_Burly_Wind and lurker mick like this.
  7. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 6,432

    Speed Gems

    MO_JUNK and loudbang like this.

  8. Thank you,

    MO_JUNK, loudbang and tb33anda3rd like this.
  9. Wayne looney
    Joined: Nov 24, 2019
    Posts: 27

    Wayne looney
    from Roanoke va

    Lancer hubcaps ,or 57 caddy sombrerro caps . drop the tail end a bit.. Split manifold , dual exhaust , smithy mufflers . And drive it . Remember high school ? We saved pennies and didn't have the money to do every accessory in the book.
  10. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,212


    Pull the wheel covers and put chrome lug nuts on it. That's all I would do.

    Glass packs on 6 cyls sound terrible. Keep the stock muffler, those cyls with solids have a real nice tone to them, don't try to make it something its not..

    I would look into a small V-8 swap in the future... Would the small Mopar 273 fit without too much trouble...

    So in the mean time, I would tune it up, grease and adjust everything so it runs like a top. I would also pull the brakes and double check everything..

    Set the alignment to 1-2 degrees positive caster, 1/2 degree negative camber, 1/32" toe in..
    ffr1222k and loudbang like this.
  11. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,789


    Mirror needs a garter.
    loudbang and Murphy32 like this.
  12. dan griffin
    Joined: Dec 25, 2009
    Posts: 505

    dan griffin

    4 Doors beat riding the school bus.
  13. Spyder caps if the young man was a hot rodder.
    Next would be a split or better yet if he could have found an export package intake and exhaust but highly unlikely. Shave the head, hang a shrunken head off the mirror. Maybe drop the front end a little bit.
    dirty old man likes this.
  14. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 6,201


    If you could afford them full lenght lake pipes
    dirty old man and porknbeaner like this.
  15. And they shouldn't be attached to anything just hung there. LOL
    302GMC likes this.
  16. Never2old
    Joined: Oct 14, 2010
    Posts: 737

    from so cal

    Narrow whitewalls were in style then.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  17. With my first car, I installed exhaust cut outs, spinner hubcaps and removed the hood and trunk emblems, filled in the holes with filler and rattle can painted over the "customizing" I then saved up and installed an EL Cheapo floor shifter that rotated when I shifted into second and busted my knuckles on the dash.
    jimmy six and loudbang like this.
  18. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 653

    from Sparks, NV

    I didn’t have a car in the ‘50s, but in the early sixties I think most “fixed up” cars at my high school appeared pretty simple; lowered or raised, painted wheels with baby moons and thin whites or chrome wheels. Not much, if any added JC Whitney accessories.

    As far as two verses four doors, there were some pretty nice four doors. I had three of each in high school. One four door was a mint ‘51 Chevy, gasser style. No self esteem problem with that.

    As far as the ‘53 Dodge in question a lowering with big and little whitewalls or chrome wheels and blackwalls, dual exhaust (how does someone think those don’t sound good?), and maybe paint the roof black.
    loudbang and Mark Yac like this.
  19. Really? On a hot rod forum?
    Nice car, but it's plain stodgy looking, as is.
    My 5 (some already mentioned)
    1: Narrower whites and give it a rubber rake
    2: Lose the fog lights, bumper guards.
    3: 55 Lancer caps over black wheels
    4: Nose , deck and color match the hood , deck lid and top , all black.
    5: Dual exhaust (split manifold and straight through mufflers..I disagree with the other guy..They sound cool on a six popper..Rap off really nice)
  20. derbydad276
    Joined: May 29, 2011
    Posts: 1,336


    Boom ! Yes ! Thank You !

    Thank all of you for your Ideas

    I've been thinking seriously about buying Lancer wheel covers...
    I guess Speedway will be getting my Christmas Bonus Money

    Ive done the split exhaust on a 6 with glass packs and loved the sound ...
    but I actually like it quiet ...

    I LOVE the Ram Hood Ornament .... its Staying
    I use the Fog Lights as day time running lights ...(safety thing )
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    loudbang likes this.
  21. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 33,718


    At the most, lower it two inches on each end throw some flipper hub caps on it and call it done. They don't all have to look like they came from the other side of the tracks and they damned well don't need a bunch of primer spots unless you are actually working on it a bit at a time until it can have proper paint.
    joeycarpunk and loudbang like this.
  22. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,710


    My vote as well.

    However, answering the OP's question, I personally believe what a self-respecting high school kid would have done in 1959 would depend on the part of the country where he/she lived.

    In rural north Missouri, we just considered ourselves fortunate to have any car of our own in high school. Typical modifications would be dual exhaust (split manifold if a six cylinder), chrome reverse wheels, rear seat speaker (with reverb if one could afford it), and Atlas Bucron tires for the rear.

    To the above, I personally added a record player (45's), and a pair of spark plugs in the dual exhaust tips connected to a model T Ford coil and a switch.

    EDIT: had a customer, and had to cut off the post. There were about 250 in our high school, and maybe 6 owned their own cars. To the list above, there were a couple of J.C. Whitney specials, with fuzzy dice (or a dancing girl) hanging from the rear view mirror, and curb feelers. Glass packs were used, until the town appointed a new marshall, and one got a ticket every time the car was started, so the glass packs rapidly became history. Blue dot brake lens were still legal, and were "in".

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    loudbang, dirty old man and upspirate like this.
  23. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 6,874


    Remember, the O/P asked : "What would a High School Kid do to it in say 1959 as a first car ?"

    Back in the fifties, if that had been mine, I probably would have done just about everything mentioned (except for the J.C. Whitney accessories). Now? I'd leave it alone (except for maybe the '56 Chrysler hemi I have stored under the stairs for just such an opportunity):cool:.
  24. Back then, you'd sell it and buy a Ford, Chevy, Olds, or Buick, now put a big hemi in it and make it a sleeper.
  25. If they had the money a column or dash mounted tach, heck Lee Petty had one! An under dash dash gauge panel was a must as well.
    upload_2019-12-6_12-23-5.png upload_2019-12-6_12-24-3.png

    upload_2019-12-6_12-20-32.png upload_2019-12-6_12-22-2.png

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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  26. You guys are all LAME! High school boy's car? If he had a girlfriend, the FIRST thing to do was get the glove box door chromed! Girls wore skirts...........
    Torkwrench and loudbang like this.
  27. enigma57
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 246


    X 2!! That car is too cherry to screw up. Leave the body and interiour alone! If you really want to have it as a high school guy would have had it where I grew up...... Make it look as if it were a serious runner......

    Don't lower it. Don't raise it. Lose the wheel covers and whitewalls. Paint wheels red. Add '50 Ford beauty rims and some chrome lug nuts, no hubcaps. Firestone 500s up front and widest Atlas Bucrons you can fit on the rear. Blackwalls out.

    Put your money where it counts....... 3/4 race cam, dual carbs, shaved head, split exhaust manifolds, dual pipes (straights, no mufflers).

    Nothing hanging from the rear view mirror. (Gentlemen never tell.) If you want folks to think you're a cocksman...... Put a couple small pillows on either side of the package tray. And for G-ds sake...... No outside visor, no half covered headlamp lenses, no curb feelers, no lakes pipes and no phony 'patina' nor unneeded primer spots. A kid with a car that nice would take pride in her appearance. Compound and wax the paint and polish the brightwork till she shines so brightly the guys on the space shuttle can see her from outer space!

    Happy Motoring,


    P.S. >>> I had an older buddy who had a Confederate gray '49 Plymouth 4dr sedan in '59. His Dad was a deep sea diver working off the oil platforms in the Gulf. For his 16th birthday, his Dad had a speed shop in Morgan City, Louisiana work over the flathead 6 and I can guarantee you it was fast and not to be trifled with. None but the fastest of the newer cars on the road back then could touch it. It had a rep and none of the girls cared that it had 4 doors rather than 2 nor 6 cylinders rather than 8. Made the 'built' flathead in the Thunder Road moon car sound tame by comparison.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
    ffr1222k and Robert J. Palmer like this.
  28. In the late 50's and early 60's the raked look was cool, it was more hot rod but not unheard of on customs.
    upload_2019-12-7_7-17-5.png upload_2019-12-7_7-17-38.png DSCF0101.JPG upload_2019-12-7_7-28-31.png upload_2019-12-7_7-29-13.png

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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
    Torkwrench, 302GMC, a boner and 4 others like this.
  29. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,522

    Gary Addcox

    Hopefully, it's a 241 Hemi. If so, raise the hood and watch the observers drool !
    loudbang likes this.
  30. Sell it to me. I know exactly what to do with it!
    I had a '54 Royal Hemi 241 in the '60s.
    I always wanted a 2 door! and still do!

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