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History HELP! History needed on this 57 Chevy gasser barn find

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Von Hartmann, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    I was lucky enough to purchase this car over the summer at an estate sale in Sterling, IL. For anybody who may be familiar with my Henry J, “The Abomination”, well... this 57 was almost the Abomination. I first saw this car when I was about 12. I was already looking for a gasser project and was out and about with my dad when we spotted this 57 in the weeds next to a barn. I managed to chat with the owner and look the car over, but it wasn’t for sale and the “let it go price” was steep. I never saw the car again, nor did I have a picture. 2 years later I bought my Henry J.

    Fast forward 16 years and my buddy Neighborkidswillys texts me a picture of this car. The owner had passed away and this car along with a field of others went up for auction.

    Here’s what I know about the car from it’s context clues. It was originally raced with a parallel leaf tube axle and was painted gold. The fronts are 15x4 cragars and the rear wheels are 16x10 steel slots with the old gold paint still under the primer. The front clip, doors, and trunk lid are fiberglass. The floors are aluminum. The rearend is a Chrysler 8 3/4. All of the windows are lexan. The front clip has no traces of gold which leads me to believe that it went under a transformation from the gold version. The next version appears to have been painted bronze, has a heavy engine set back, and looks to have possibly run a supercharger with a big catcher cut into the windshield.

    After that, the blower motor must have been removed, the hole in the hood was patched, the windshield replaced, the car was painted gray primer, and run with a dual quad setup. The leaf springs were removed and the axle was solid mounted to frame and a rack and pinion steering added.

    ANY information would be greatly appreciated.

    578936EF-01BC-45B8-B665-57B932EE8BF4.jpeg
    0B426043-6C53-47FE-8E30-A20E5C5192FE.jpeg 640AFFC5-4519-45E4-975A-985E286AC09C.jpeg F858E45E-5315-45E3-AA46-B298138BAA34.jpeg
    E1800BBD-65E4-41D1-8796-BC5AF9ECC1E9.jpeg 1AD1A20F-D31B-4E3F-965D-145D53DA5980.jpeg 434A745A-5BE7-4585-9501-94F83EEAC281.jpeg 3BA087E9-F97E-4124-8751-FB87C5AC13E5.jpeg 924DE66C-CF5D-4461-B971-6F43D8EBA703.jpeg D26B0BDD-21A2-4CCE-ADE8-B7EEE7FD7531.jpeg
     
  2. wheeltramp brian
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 523

    wheeltramp brian
    Member

  3. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,488

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    unsafe at any speed...
     
    spiffy1937 and studebaker46 like this.
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  4. Fuck that’s awesome! I can’t help with history but I’m infinitely jealous!


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  5. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,118

    manyolcars

    Agreed
     
  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,488

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    if you can't weld good, weld a lot.

    weld.PNG
     
  7. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    There’s some good stuff going on, but there’s some spooky stuff going on too. No reason to ever solid mount a front end... ever. Haha. Whoever originally built it, did a decent job for the time. Then some idiot in the 70s must have picked it up.
     
  8. Ryan,...glad you "finally" got that 57,...I'll ask around over my way to see if we can get any info on it,..you'll make that into a cool car,...is that your new shop?
     
  9. cactus1
    Joined: Apr 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,396

    cactus1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Man that's neat!
     
  10. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,549

    KoolKat-57
    Member
    from Dublin, OH

    Solid mount front end prevents bump steer with rack and pinion steering!
    Yeah Great idea!
    KK
     
    spiffy1937 and 49ratfink like this.
  11. paul55
    Joined: Dec 1, 2010
    Posts: 2,521

    paul55
    Member
    from michigan

    Cool hot rod!
     
  12. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    Great! Thanks Sam. Yes that’s my new shop. Stop by sometime
     
  13. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,824

    56sedandelivery
    Member

    LOTS of potential there! Looks like a Parkinson's disease affected Mr. MAGOO tried his hand at stick welding (sorry). I thought you were only kidding about the solid mount front axle until I looked closer. Is that an axle that's been flipped over? I see some brackets for the former front parallel leaf springs; take it back to that style. Typical older race car that has probably gone through several owners, each with their own idea of what needed to be done. I have seen much worse at the track over the years actually making passes; amazing what some tracks will look the other way on. Since it has a MOPAR rear end, why not keep it all MOPAR with a big wedge and torqueflite, and call the car "Christine's Cousin". Like I said, LOTS of potential, and a cool car. Does it still have a VIN tag on the drivers side A pillar, and is it really a post Bel Air (VIN tag would have a "C" in the beginning for a Bel Air)? I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  14. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,864

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Tri Fives can be mean looking Hotrods...Congrats @Von Hartmann and look forward to the resurrection.
     
  15. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,721

    catdad49
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Careful stripping of the primer may yield more clues. This one should be a good one! Please keep us updated.
     
  16. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,404

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Agreed. A careful wet sand with #600 or so in all the areas that typically might reveal a drivers name (door sill, roof above door) or car name (door, upper quarter, lower trunk lid) which was popular at the time for track as well as street cars.
    I wonder if the car was strip only or also haunted the streets (before getting a solid mount front suspension), though I'd lean towards strip only. There's no license plate bracket on the trunk lid.

    I'd say it's home built. Stick welds, no bead roller used on the aluminum interior panels, bolted together brake pedal, unfinished sabre saw wheel well cutouts.
    All of it's crudeness is what makes it cool.

    I'd put leaf springs and a dropped or straight axle under it, a hot SBC, matching set of Cragars and drive it to work just as it sits!
     
    catdad49 likes this.
  17. Right on, Kool place to start. My first thought was it's never made a pass on any Track that lives up to NHRA rules. That sure wouldn't stop me from getting into it. I'd be thinking early injection on a small block.
    The Wizzard
     
    catdad49 likes this.
  18. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,313

    oldolds
    Member

    The chrome ladder bars hint at a build that had some quality when first done. The quality of the welds is typical of welding done in the 60's by a local welder of construction equipment not a trained industrial welder. That is why the more is better welding. The aluminum work also is of that time period. Only the real big buck builder did bead rolling. If you look at it the aluminum is thick to make it rigid. I would guess it was home built by a guy with more money than most but not pro built. Then somebody bought it with no clue about building a car.
     
    catdad49 likes this.
  19. ididntdoit1960
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 790

    ididntdoit1960
    Member
    from Western MA

    I remember seeing a car just like that in a magazine 20 yrs ago - It was photos from an older dragstrip.......It was an older black and white photo then - the caption was centered on another car in the foreground, but then it noted - The '57 behind it is just plain nasty........don't know why I always remembered that - but the image of that mean stance always stuck with me.....same car? who knows? wish I could remember the mag.....rod and custom maybe?
     
    catdad49 likes this.
  20. NWRustyJunk
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 123

    NWRustyJunk
    Member

    Bad ass just as it sits! Good find!
     
  21. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    It is a real bel air. There just isn’t much left of what they originally started with. It has definitely gone through several owners and once upon a time saw some severe track use.
     
  22. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    Those are the same conclusions I came to. This car has some crude welds, but I have to admit, the design of its construction is superior to most garage builds of the time. They started with a roll bar kit and modified it from there. This car has more chassis crossmembers and cage bracing that any other period tri 5 I have seen. The passenger side ladder bar broke at some time and was rebuilt with heavier hardware. The car saw track time for sure.
     
  23. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    It was definitely run. Like I said, it was originally parallel leaf front suspension. The old mounts are still there. Once upon time, I believe this was a serious machine. Crude by today’s standards, but typical of the time. This is a lot more cage and structure than you see in most 60s cars.
     
  24. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,864

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Von any idea were it ran I've snooped a bit already but Strip names help...
     
  25. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 39,953

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Question. Am I missing something? Rigid front end?

    Like the stance, but maybe its an altered, seems like lots of setback.
     
  26. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    You’re not missing anything. Somebody took the springs out, probably in the 70s, and mounted the axle to rails.

    Just to clarify, there isn’t a single person on this board, including myself (even my 12 yr old self), that thinks a rigid front end is a good idea. Just trying to get history on the car.

    And yes, it does have insane engine setback. Looks to me like more than 10%. I believe the car was run in Gas originally, and potentially run as an altered or match racer later on.
     
  27. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    I have no idea. I wish I knew, but the only guy that would have known, was the previous owner... and he’s dead. There are no stickers on the car. The primer is thin and there are no traces of lettering underneath to be seen yet. I would sand it to double check, but I’m not ready to do anything with this car, so I would rather it sit in “as found” condition.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  28. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 39,953

    porknbeaner
    Member

    I was just asking, sometimes I miss stuff. I actually like the nose down stance. Maybe not the solid axle but the stance wouldn't need to change much and still have springs. ;)

    Neat car, needs a little help but that's what we do isn't it. You'll get it just perfect before you're done. ;)
     
    Stogy likes this.
  29. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    The nose down stance was always my favorite part about this car. Honestly, if I build this thing, the chassis is getting thrown away and I’ll build a proper chassis based off the original one using the original axle. Something that can handle the blower motor from the Freakin A. We’ll see. First things first... get some history before any clues are erased.
     

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