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Projects Not Your Average Coupe Build: 37’ Chevy Unearthed

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by oneratfink57, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Alright Ladies and Gents, this 1937 Chevy Master DeLuxe Business Coupe (or what’s left of one) came into the family around 2009 (body and chassis separately) and soon after that I came accross leadsleadmerc's 37 Chevy custom first online on fotki, then in person at a local Ty Rods show in mass! Needless to say I fell in love with the car.

    Despite the body of this car spending 30 years in a swamp I was hooked! It didn't take long for me to start acquiring parts with the intention of buying the project off my dad and start my own custom build. The problem was, life happened! 4 years of college, two kids, move half way across the country, start a career and build a life for my family.

    Finally things started to settle in last year and I decided it was time to buy it off my dad and bring the basket case out west!

    I've been picking away at it for a couple weekends on some basic rust repair, but I'm starting to take some bigger bites such as my first channel job. Since there's no floor I figured why the hell not!?!?

    This will be a long and bumpy road, since I've started out with less than a bone lol, but I'd love some feedback, and take the opportunity to to use the H.A.M.B. for its intended use, learning from fellow hot rodders!

    I'll start you guys off with the first picture taken of the body back in 2009

    [​IMG]





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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  2. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    You can see the extent of the work ahead of me, but at least it was a blank slate! About all I had done at this point was weld the cross tubes to keep the body square

    The chassis has some minor rust issues, but is more or less a healthy roller with 57 Chevy rear, and a grafted 69 camaro front clip


    [​IMG][​IMG]


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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  3. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    One of the first components purchased, was this leaded 37 lasalle grille shell attached to 36 ford fenders for $100 at the Amherst NH swap meet.

    The fenders were beyond saving and are long gone (which says a lot considering my enthusiasm to save the coupe lol)

    But the lasalle grille and shell remain a serious option for this traditional custom build. That grille alone has kept me committed to the build

    [​IMG]


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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  4. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,416

    David Gersic
    Member
    from DeKalb, IL

    You're starting out with nothing, and you still have most of it! Curious to see how you're going to blend the grill shell in. Custom hood?


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  5. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    As you may have noticed, the car already has a nicely done 2 1/2" chop that was leaded.

    This traditional chop is the the only thing that's kept me tied to bringing this car back from the dead. Someone took the time to do such a beautiful chop, I committed myself to putting in the time to make sure it can be enjoyed

    Originally there was a 283 and powerglide which I had to pull in order to pull the body forward. They put some hokey ass motor mounts that not only looked horrible, but positioned the motor too far back.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


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  6. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    One of the biggest scores was the hood, front and rear fenders, doghouse, and two factory grille shells for $400. Took my dad and I 4 years to find them, but it was time and money well spent! Package deal baby



    [​IMG]


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  7. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

  8. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,390

    brigrat
    Member
    from Wa.St.

    Love the '37 Chevy Coupes, a must have if I was younger! You had me till the Lassalle grill though, not a real big fan on a Ford or Chevy but that's just MO others will love it!
     
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  9. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    As stated in the original post, I was ready to bring the 37 out west in November of 2016. So I drove 22 hours straight to rhode island, and spent a day getting the car ready for transport and packing.

    To ensure the body didn't fold in on itself, my dad and I welded a square tube structure to the body and chassis, and bolted down some 2x6's so I could stuff the car with fenders etc, since it'll take some metal work to get them mountable

    At least they were pressure treated!!!

    [​IMG][​IMG]


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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  10. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    So I packed up the dodge and the coupe and was on my way west with hopes and dreams of creating a traditional custom 37 Chevy coupe

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]


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  11. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    My wife wasn't thrilled, and I wasn't positive that it would work, but I told her I'd make both the 37 and 57 fit, and she could still park inside for the winter!

    [​IMG]


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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  12. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Stay tuned! Scored a 37 Chevy grille too! so it'll have a Chevy grille at least at first!


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  13. I've seen some gorgeous customs built from 37-38 chev coupes. With a little lean-back the Caddy grille should be a prize part of your car.
     
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  14. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    So the car made it home. But the big question was. Where the heck do I start? So I started small.

    As luck would have it. I was walking through the summer iola swap meet and scoped a roasted 37 Chevy dash, knowing mine was in rough shape. It turned out, that the dash was roasted in opposite places!

    So for the most motivation for my time. I grafted the donor dash into the coupe.

    I learned very quickly that I will definitely be putting more into this coupe than taking away lol


    [​IMG][​IMG]



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  15. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    As stated early on. I've been acquiring parts for almost a decade prior to actually starting this build. One key component I got was a busted $50 56 packard wheel that I restored (partially).

    Using JB weld to fix the cracked wheel, and silver solder to repair the snapped horn ring, I got the wheel to presentable condition. It's not in the car, but it's one of the first custom accessories I plan to install.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  16. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    By far the biggest score was the stuff in this picture

    I just happened accross some dude in Illinois this summer that was moving accross the country that week, and was going to throw away whatever he couldn't sell that week. Within 4 hours of my first phone call, I was on my way home with a custom louvered hood, perfect OEM grille, window moulding, and some misc other stuff for 1/2 of what the grille was worth By itself. SCORE

    Although I've got the lasalle grille in inventory. The factory 37 Chevy grille is one of the prettiest made. So I'll likely save the lasalle grille shell fabrication last. But now I've got an extra good and grille shell to accommodate that project!

    [​IMG]


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  17. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    If I was smart, I would buy a new set of doors. But I'm stubborn, and dedicated to make my doors work. Especially since I have to chop them anyways to fit the car.

    Basically the inner skin and outer skin need some work. But what connects them was completely gone!

    To ship the car I had to go demolition derby and weld the doors shut because the hinge mounting locations were completely trashed.

    Since the floor doesn't exist, and the rockers basically fell off after 8 years of storage, I had to hang the doors to see where the floor should land. So I started on the drivers door


    I cut the hinge mounting portion from the door so I could rebuild it from the inside out


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then I moved on to the inner door skin bottom

    [​IMG]


    And finally I hung the door on the car for likely the first time in 30+ years.

    Door still needs a ton of work, but it's close enough to let me start working on the floor and rockers


    [​IMG]

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  18. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    The inside wheel wells are pretty well toasted on both the driver and passenger side. So although it's pretty simple and dirty, I butt welded some patches for that as well. I got lazy with the patches so I wound up with some bigger gaps than I expected, but itll do!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


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  19. Wow....ton of work there.....you're more man than I........you asked where to start.....I started my '36 chevy build by taking the body off the frame(14 bolts on mine) rebuilding the chassis and then throwing the body back on.......however looks like you'll need some structural work on that body first. Good luck with it...I'll be watching this one.
     
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  20. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    The last post of the night to catch you guys up to speed was just a little patch I did for the last part of the dash that my donor dash didn't cover. Most of you guys are probably way better than me and have better techniques (please share if you are/do!) but there's probably some guys that could benefit from seeing the process in its simplest form.

    Use paper to layout the true flat layout size of the compound curve patch.

    [​IMG]

    Trace the paper, and cutout the flat steel to the proper size. This method is best for us simpletons that can't predict the bend deduction in formed/ shaped material

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This piece was small enough to not worry about shrinking or stretching to shape, so I simply used my snap fab mallet and sand bag to pull the right compound curve. Of course some straightening is necessary when I get over zealous

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Test fit the piece to ensure curve continuity

    [​IMG]

    I then just used the edge of my bench (followed with some hammer and dolly) to form the hemm to match the rest of the dash

    [​IMG]

    Before and after shot before weld

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



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  21. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Yeah there was a 38 on CL like 20 miles from my house for not much more than what I've got into my car, relatively rust free. But if I don't save this one, it was likely no one else would. We need more hot rods on the road!

    You're right with making it structurally sound. I'm onto the floors next, that way it'll be a whole car again


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  22. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I'm going to save the grille for last. I think I can make it work so I can conform to the factory hood, I'm just not sure how it'll look. Otherwise, yes cut the front of the hood clear off and graft it to the grille shell


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  23. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,390

    brigrat
    Member
    from Wa.St.

    You have obviously seen leadsleadmerc's (Kieth here CannonBallTaildragger05-vi.jpg 396632546f0a2eabeaaa9b6acfd31965.jpg 690809eb0abd6cbd8b546cdaf9810738.jpg on the HAMB) '37 Chevy Custom?
     
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  24. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

  25. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 2,685

    nunattax
    Member
    from IRELAND

    you are doing great
     
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  26. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,390

    brigrat
    Member
    from Wa.St.

    I contacted LeadSledMerc, Keith, about his color codes for a flat bottom boat I was painting, he is very approachable, just sayin! Not that it looks like you need any help or direction...............................................
     
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  27. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,091

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm impressed with your ambition. The welding process would be a lot easier if you started with clean metal. I'd sandblast that body before doing any more patching. You might also find pinholes where they didn't show up before, and need to make the patches even bigger.
     
    COCONUTS, Frankie47, Texas57 and 2 others like this.
  28. cool build, good luck to you.
     
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  29. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 725

    oneratfink57
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Thanks for his user name! I've got some questions already he could probably clear up


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