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Projects Onging '58 Chevy Delray resto in Wichita

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by KTFlory, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. KTFlory
    Joined: Jul 24, 2014
    Posts: 4


    My grandfather was a jet engine maintenance man in the Air Force for 22 years, and was an expert mechanic. From the time he was 16 he was working on Ford flat head V8s and hot rodding with his high school buddies in Bakersfield California. He completed restorations on several cars including a '62 Chevy pickup, a '49 Ford, and had started on several more projects including a '54 Packard and a '47 Mercury.

    Unfortunately in 2003 he began to show the early signs of Alzeimer's disease and began selling off all his project cars with the exception of a still running and mostly complete '58 Chevy Delray. It had previously belonged to his brother and was sitting in a barn for almost 15 years. For the following 5 years he often drove the Delray doing only minor mechanical repairs, not willing to take the car off the road because he wanted to have as much fun as he could while still mentally sound. In 2008 he willingly gave up his driver license, parked his car in a storage unit, and signed the title over to me.

    I am not a mechanic, coming from the generation of laptop computers and smartphones, but somehow I'm going to keep this car running and hopefully finish restoring it someday. Since starting my own work on it 2012 I have been struggling with time, finances, and my own limited abilities just trying to keep it running.

    Photos from 2003, getting it going and out of the barn:

    [​IMG]5538600008_large by, on Flickr

    [​IMG]5538600007_large by, on Flickr

    [​IMG]5538600006_large by, on Flickr

    Circa 2006, height of my grandfathers restoration work:

    [​IMG]000_0475 by, on Flickr

    [​IMG]000_0469 by, on Flickr

    Now/right after puling it out of storage (again):

    [​IMG]10574400_10202402159917728_4533238174705465792_n by, on Flickr

    [​IMG]395323_2676900044132_1397579233_n by, on Flickr

    [​IMG]10447505_10202380604298851_1629597410080849167_n by, on Flickr

    ( I blew the waterpump driving around town, finally replaced it after several months of making excuses and avoiding it)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  2. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,443


    Experience is the best teacher -- always...!!! That's nice looking Delray, not a lot of them left around...ask questions, there's a ton of Chevy experts hereabouts..

    Welcome to the real world, everyone has those kinds of problems in their at it and you'll learn...good luck with the car...!!!

  3. KTFlory
    Joined: Jul 24, 2014
    Posts: 4


    My current list for the car, going forward with grandpa's plans:

    Replace all 4 completely shot coil springs (I'd like to do this myself, but do not have them or the right tool)
    Replace rear suspension bushings (same as above)
    Complete new front suspension kit (tie rods, ball joints, etc. Not going to attempt this on my own.)
    Steering box (I actually have a new one ready to go, but figure I'll have a shop do this with the front suspension.)
    All floor/trunk panels need replaced (Again, I'm not ready or able to do this and don't have parts yet)

    Fenton 2x1 intake (Have intake, and total of 3 carbs but need matching carbs)|
    Fenton headers, dual stainless exhaust, 30" Smithy glass packs (Have headers)
    3 Speed overdrive (I have two complete extra OD transmissions, but no clue where to go from here and the transmission is the car is worrying me right now.)
    The engine will need rebuilt, it only has 60K miles but is a little tired.
    I still have not decided if I want much work done on the head like milling it for higher compression, a port and polish, and a warmer cam. Those decisions are a few years off.

    I'm not looking for a race car, a hot rod, or a show piece. I do want it to make those steep highway on ramps without struggling and have a little more motivation than it does right now, and I want a nice clean interior.
  4. Welcome aboard!That IS a real nice Del Ray.Let everyone know where you are(intro)I'm sure you will find many folks willing to help.I love the 58's.

  5. If I may offer a suggestion... you will find people here who will want to help you with information, etc. 35 years ago, I was where you are at now. I wished I knew someone who might give me hands on help & guidance. I tinkered largely on my own. I found helpful people 10 years ago when I joined a local Chevy club. I found some club members who were eager to help/teach someone. You might have a look around your area for a club you think you and your car will fit in with. Some guys will want to help you in part because their cars may be done and they enjoy wrenching. You will probably have some real fun participating in club events with your car and make a circle of knowledgeable, helpful friends.

    Good luck and have fun! Grandpa gave ya a honey,

  6. chstitans42
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 715

    from Anna, TX

    Gotta love 1958 Chevys, no matter the body style or trim level.!!
  7. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    from Central Ky

    I would just insure that its safe to be driven (brakes etc.) and drive it now and then, doing only one thing at a time, do not blow it all apart and try to do everything at once, especially If you dont have the money to do it that way and not much mechanical ability, It will never get done or enjoyed by you as it probably could be enjoyed in its present state.
    The only thing I would do for now is make sure its safe, drivable, clean it up, and then something like this or some chrome reverse would look good.
    It may just be me but I would never replace coil springs unless something were very obviously wrong with them but I might cut a coil or two off to get it a little lower like this one.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  8. KTFlory
    Joined: Jul 24, 2014
    Posts: 4


    Well the old man made sure to put new brake shoes on all four wheels along with cylinder kits and a new master cylinder so the brake pedal is solid as a rock.

    The coil springs on the other hand are sagging a good 3 inches on the drivers side, and 1.5 on the passenger. There are about half a dozen coil spacers on it right now and that's why I was thinking about replacing them next. I don't really want to lower the car, there are a lot of bad potholes and steep driveways here. Its more for driving and less for show.

    I was driving it about once a week until the water pump let go last winter. Other than the clutch chatter the only engine issues I am aware of is that it misses when warmed up and running. I think it might be related to the carburetor having a very thin insulator instead of the stock one, and the manifold heat control valve being stuck open. I haven't touched the ignition/timing other than taking the distributor cap off and making sure it was clean, and cleaning all the plugs.

    Oh and the exhaust is shot. The pipes are rusted out completely from front to back.
  9. RamJet1
    Joined: Apr 9, 2012
    Posts: 343


    Very cool car, looking forward to your progress. Are any of your Grandad's car buddies are still around, maybe they would be willing to help out.
    Be careful with those coil springs, changing the steering linkage would worry me less than those springs.
    Of course, with the right tools (or a similar facsimile anyway), the springs aren't that bad.
    Have fun, ask questions, enjoy the ride.
  10. I think your story about your Grandpa is great and I think it is fantastic that you are going to continue where he left off. I look forward to seeing your progress.
  11. KTFlory
    Joined: Jul 24, 2014
    Posts: 4


    I just moved all the parts to a new storage unit this week, and found a buyer for my spare 235.

    I'm now looking for a 261 to start rebuilding. Any tips or leads on where to look? I already have a craigslist ad out, and I'm thinking about calling a few of the older junk yards around the area.

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