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Projects NEW RE-BUILD FOR 2017 - EARLY CHEVY COUPE WITH A HEMI

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 31chevymike, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. I came upon this hot rod back in 1995 while driving a school bus in Brentwood, L.I. New York, a very unlikely place to find an original and complete late sixties hot rod...

    At one time or another, I always let anyone who I confront, how much passion I have for hot rods and customs! And that day I was having a typical conversation about my love for hot rods with my matron on the school bus. He then mentioned If I would be interested in his brother's hot rod that was in storage at his garage on Long Island. He says to me, it's a 1931 Chevrolet coupe with a rumble seat, and is for sale for $2,000... You can just imagine how excited I was to get the chance of owning an early '30's hot rod! I almost could not think about anything else and had to see this rod that very same day!

    So I get over there right after I dropped off my bus at the yard only 15 minutes away. This car was stored in a illegally built garage which had to come down before the house was in negotiation to be sold. So this put the pressure on my matron to sell the car fast! If one word ever leaked out about this amazing find, my chances of buying this car would be impossible to say the least. You always hear stories about finding vintage steel tin rotting away in some farm or in some vast piece of property, but complete hot rods? Next to none my friends!

    There she is, a 5 window coupe with its 1976 N.Y. registration still stuck proudly on the windshield! That was 19 years in untouched storage to the day! Look at my pictures below to prove it! Under the hood is a '61 283 Chevy backed by a Turbo 400 trans, mated to a '63 Chevy Impala 4:11 posi rear! She was rolling on genuine E.T. aluminum mags all the way around. The coupe had this disgusting beige vinyl top and wide beige pleated interior with its original bench seat still intact. Even more awful was that the dashboard was covered in vinyl as well... All that **** came off in three days immediately following its new permanent home!

    An interesting and frustrating point: I did not have the cash at the time, so I had immediately put my Hyundai for sale, which eventually sold in three weeks... Can you imagine? I begged my matron not to sell the car to anyone till I come back with the cash. I even asked to trade him my car and he wouldn't budge at all. I drove by his house every single day, nervously wondering if the coupe had been sold. I even caught an ad in the Buy Lines, a tiny ad at that - but miraculously, no one must have noticed it!!!

    So I grab a local tow truck to haul my new prize and a local neighbor who knew about the coupe and was pursuing the car as well, approached me and offered his 11 second '70 Chevy Nova race car to trade even for my coupe. You don't have to guess what I told him, although a 10 to 15 thousand dollar race car was an excellent trade offer! Two more offers on the way home and while the coupe was on my driveway, could not allow my prize to leave my possession!

    A friend of mine Louie, who I've known since I was only 11, offered to help with the re-wiring of my coupe. I couldn't afford to buy a Painless Wiring kit, so Louie fabricated a custom project box from Radio Shack, even equipped with LED lights under each fuse to easily identify a blown fuse! His wiring is outstanding to say the least - could not be happier! I handled all of the cosmetic chores, removing three days and 3 tons worth of bondo from the roof which was filled in before I bought the car. I stripped the body completely down to bare metal, using a liquid metal stripper that really made a God awful mess! I couldn't do the quick restoration in my garage because I was working on a 7 year '67 Nova SS project that was taking up the needed space. By the way, as much as I loved that Marina Blue SS, the car completely left my head for the coupe! I put the Nova up for sale immediately!

    After three months of thrashin' on my coupe, with other friends helping on the way, she finally hit the streets wearing rattle can Black primer, red steelies and a white firewall to give the car that bad *** primered nostalgia look from the '50's! The car was always an instant hit wherever I cruised! Realize that primered hot rods were few and far between (in '95) like it is today. So it created quite a stir showing up with 99% painted and pretty hot rods and classics! I loved to piss off these $100,000 street rod owners as they watched many onlookers gawking at my $7,000 nostalgia hot rod over their checkbook trailer queens!

    Over the next 9 years or so in 2004, a friend Joe Varney here in Florida suggested that I re-create the GASSER look, which completely dominated the look that I've had until 2006 or so. Before my last red primer job (a mistake that continues to haunt me), I bought a '32 Ford truck grille that I painted a huge black Iron Cross in the middle of the mesh grille that Joe fabricated for me on a white background. It was killer! I installed a straight axle which jacked the car up just right, whitewall slicks from Mickey Thompson and rolling on Astro Supreme mags. Flat White headers, 6 Holley 94 deuces just screamed GASSER and I can personally tell you guys that my hot rod inspired many people to come! When I arrived in south Florida in '99, almost no one owned primered hot rods or customs, especially West Palm Beach - I could not believe it at first! Now, I'm anxious to tear her down again to remove all of the surface rust that I left on the chassis with POR-15 and add some super nice upgrades in new parts!
     

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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    nunattax, chryslerfan55, Tuck and 8 others like this.
  2. Here's what my car looked like after thrashin' on her after the first 3 months of ownership...
     

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  3. This is where I am at the moment. Had some friends finally come over and help me pull the body off and onto a professional body cart.
     

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  5. Here is my '58 Chrysler 392 Hemi, started in 2007 and will be installed in the original '31 Chevy rails:
     

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  6. I purchased a strong paint remover/stripper from POR-15, which is in a gel form. Made it easier to use on vertical surfaces, stayed on without spraying yourself. This stuff BURNS your skin, eating through gloves. etc. Figured I'd try it since I'm stripping the Black POR-15 on my chassis rails and use on the body as well. Whatever is left, I'll use my orbital sander, drill mounted steel wire brush, etc. I have 4 layers of paint on the body - Veraprime over bare steel, DP-90 primer sealer, rattle can Black primer and rattle can Red primer - which I regret today. I was pissed off at a local hot rod club here in Florida and painted the car red, being in black primer most of the car's ownership. Things didn't go well after that, believing I placed a bad hex on my car. I haven't touched my car since 2007, since taking her off the road because my original steering box was failing badly, becoming too dangerous to drive.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  7. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 18,338

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    chryslerfan55 and 31chevymike like this.
  8. Thanks guys, appreciate your enthusiasm! Should be a very satisfying build, knowing that my new mig welder is coming this week and will learn how to weld FINALLY! I will plan to use square box tubing to be welded on the top and bottom inside the C channel, covering them with step boxing plates, hopefully with SPEED holes...
     
  9. Love it !
     
    31chevymike likes this.
  10. Thanks Bob - have an all-chromed Ford dropped and drilled axle with hairpins to replace my original Chevy front end. Also have a new Winters QCR going in with a chromed rear suspension kit from Speedway with adjustable coil overs and hairpins. Backing up the hemi will be a 700R4 trans, looking forward to having overdrive finally when cruising the streets once again!
     
    chryslerfan55 and mad mikey like this.
  11. kidcampbell71
    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 3,222

    kidcampbell71
    Member

    This is too cool. Also ..... where the heck is @tb33anda3rd , and @themoose ? Sleeping maybe .... ( bowtie dreams ). Present, teacher Mike !
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  12. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 11,949

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    i'm awake and watching!
     
  13. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 804

    J. A. Miller
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Central NY

    Well that hemi should shake the toothpicks out of that Chevy body.:rolleyes:
     
  14. cactus1
    Joined: Apr 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,992

    cactus1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very cool Mike! Hotrods rule!
     
  15. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 2,263

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have major respect for anyone doing that level of work in such a small space. Fantastic!
     
    Tim_with_a_T and 31chevymike like this.
  16. Thanks kidcampbell71 - seems like you know tb33anda3rd pretty well.
    Appreciate your following too!
    Your response made me laugh... Actually, the supercharger is no longer with me, as I lost it from my engine builder, because of financial issues... Bought a vintage Weiand low mount dual quad manifold, planning to run dual Carter AFB's. But the supercharger WILL end up on this mighty mill eventually! Cutting the firewall back to the cowl band to allow the pulleys on the supercharger to clear the radiator, which I already measured with the PAYIR mock up block.
    YOU KNOW IT MIKE!!! Appreciate your enthusiasm too!
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  17. Tell me about it Billy! It's a garage I'm renting from my apartment complex - But yea, it's REAL TIGHT in there. Hell, the main office doesn't know I'm building the car in there! Once I get the chassis up in the air, remove the front and rear suspension, I can move the chassis closer to the right side. Now I can begin to learn how to weld and roll around on the stool at almost eye level. REALLY looking forward to this!!
     
    chryslerfan55 and mad mikey like this.
  18. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 2,263

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Crap, that takes me back about 24 years ago when I was renting an apartment before I married Mrs. Bandit. I built and painted a resale red 68 SS Chevelle in that little garage. The neighbors complained about the smell to the manager who made me do some body work on his pick up truck and put it in primer as punishment.

    Funniest part of that paint job was that when I sprayed catalyzed enamel with no eye protection in that small space it glued my eye lids open. I was in agony. My wife, girlfriend at the time, had to use nail polish remover and a Q-tip to unglue them. What a moron (me not her).
     
  19. Dude, I thought I was crazy... Yea but didn't the nail polish remover burn your eyes as well?
     
    chryslerfan55 and Stogy like this.
  20. It's great to be back on the HAMB from finding out from Ryan that the site crashed, taking a few days to fix. Went ahead and pulled the entire front end out of the chassis. Shooting for taking out the rear this weekend. Seems like it's taking forever to strip the four layers of paint on one side of the body.
     
  21. jgrohio
    Joined: Aug 11, 2011
    Posts: 51

    jgrohio
    Member
    from NE Ohio

    This makes me feel better about my build, not much Chevy stuff around to even look at when I go to shows. KEEP POSTING!
     
    31chevymike likes this.
  22. 31 B'ville
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 212

    31 B'ville
    Member
    from SE Pa

    Didn't see your build thread until now, but I'll be watching as well, as our builds are similar.
     
    31chevymike likes this.
  23. Kona Cruisers
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,069

    Kona Cruisers
    Member

    building a very similar car..
    32' chevy 5 window with a 392 blown hemi.
     
    31chevymike likes this.
  24. Great build, congrats . I know all about working in a small space. LOL. Looks like you are doing just fine. The hemi looks fantastic. Going to be one bad mill with the boost put to her. Have fun, and be safe.:)
     
    31chevymike likes this.
  25. You're right about our Chevy stuff being unique at car shows. In fact, most car guys think our cars are early Ford's, with the abundance of them. This is why when we're finished with them, we'll be one in a crowd, show more pride showing them off and more importantly, DRIVE EM!!
    I'll most likely never match the quality and workmanship that you have in your Pontiac, but the pride in knowing that we built our cars from the chassis up is the most rewarding end to our dreams.
    EXTREMELY similar - don't remember seeing your '32 Chevy here, start a thread on here man - we have a dedicated Chevy thread here on the HAMB called Bowties & Termites if you haven't already checked it out! Do you have your '92 finished or is your mill in the machine shop - LOVE TO SEE IT!! Another member here PBRmeASAP is finishing up his '32 Chevy 5 window coupe too! Let me know if you need any suppliers, etc. - owned my car for 22 years.
    Thanks Mike - it'll be a really neat build once she's on the street once again. Been 10 years for me and haven't touched my car until 2 month's ago... Just for the record, I do not have the blower in my possession. But will hopefully strengthen the chassis enough so when I DO add the supercharger, I'll be hopefully prepared for it. For now, I'll be running a vintage Weiand dual quad low profile manifold with Carter AFB's. Having some trouble finding the right vintage air cleaner setups. Wanted the Cal Custom four barrel "scoops", but they're hard to find in GREAT shape.
     
    mad mikey likes this.
  26. Came back from the garage and continued removing 4 layers of paint that's been on the body for 22 years. The Veraprime as suspected is really tough to get off. The POR-15 paint stripper is only removing 1 sometimes 2 layers of paint at a time. Been scraping it off by hand. Trying to be as careful as I can, because the body revels are in mint shape and don't wanna gouge them with the mini orbital sander. Once I get the rear end out of the car later today, I could start on some drawings to send to a step boxing plate shop and start preparing to weld them in - once I learn how...
     

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  27. cactus1
    Joined: Apr 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,992

    cactus1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That body looks to be in great shape!

    I may have missed it but what plans do you have to secure the frame while welding in the boxing plates? All that heat on just the inside of the frame will make the metal do some crazy things.
     
    31chevymike likes this.
  28. Glad you asked Mike - I am planning to weld in 1-1/2 or 2 inch square steel tube to run on the top and inside bottom of the C channel, welding in the boxing plates on the inside against the square tubing to "step" box them. I want to use the square tubing just in front where the new early Ford cross member will be welded in and end before where the chassis starts to bend over the rear. I'll run the boxing plates as far as they can go to the rear of my chassis. And yes, this body IS in great shape - a number of years ago, I purchased every piece of body patch panels I could find and had a local hot rod shop weld in all of the new panels along the entire bottom of the body. The only correction besides the botched up passenger door I need to re-do is cut out that flat piece of steel on the roof insert and re-do with a new insert from a Model A or '32 Ford, etc. Any ideas or advice?
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
    Fern 54 and cactus1 like this.
  29. Finally was able to remove the rear from the chassis. Those original style leaf spring shackle bolts were giving me a tough time to remove at the very rear of the frame. Used my faithful GIBBS lubricant, hoping they would just slide out from using a sledge hammer - was not budging. They've been in there for 22 years, so it might have been the reason. So I took my sawzall and cut the shackles. Took the leaf springs off in a jiff with the impact wrench. Tilted my chassis on its side to bring the rear and front axle to the front of the garage so its convenient to sell to some hot rodder who needs a nice rear and dropped axle. Now I can get to those original rivets to cut off and get rid of items that are no longer needed and get to work cleaning up the frame down to bare steel. Nice to have some more room in that small garage!
     

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    Tim_with_a_T, PBRmeASAP and cactus1 like this.
  30. Wanted to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving!
     
    PBRmeASAP likes this.

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