The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by touchdowntodd, Sep 30, 2018.
Let's see em ..... Need inspiration
Edit... No cut rear quarters if possible . Stock body please
This thing sure is getting a lot of air time lately!
My high school car about 1971.
First one that popped in my head was Project X.
Here's a '57 Chevy BA belonging to friend and fellow HAMBer, gmstuff.
Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
My very first 57 and what will be my very last 57, still under construction.
"PICS OF 57 CHEVY 60S RACE/STREET CARS"
I think touchdowntodd should have put this ^ in the body of his post.
*Note: These are not my photos.
Oh man.. that light blue fogged hardtop
Bought in 1990, "finished" in 2009. Tried to mimic a 60s build
Sent from my E6810 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
Like the first pic, I took that picture the day before I went to Vietnam!!!
My 57 Bel Air picture, spring of 1965
I had all but forgotten the joy of putting chains on a car.
Quick85 - Thanks for this one.
Notice the station wagon bumper, yet the tag is still on the trunk lid.
Keep the pics comin'
*Note: These are not my photos.
Splitbudaba I sold mine (post #7) before I left for Vietnam. Had no place to store it.
Gas class - open up the wheel wells,
Modified Production - Tires can't stick out past the body line, so stock quarter panels work. It wasn't a problem in the mid 60s since the slicks were limited to 7" width.
This was taken at Pittsburgh International Dragway way (PID).. Dig the extended shackles..
Looking back I can’t believe I even put them on! Must have been my dads idea!
I was lucky my dad had a tiny garage out back, we stuffed it in there. The 57 was our interest. We communicated thru out the year. He worked on it all summer. When I came home from Nam the 57 was sitting out front, new hood, wheels and tires, a 4 speed with Hurst shifter, GTO bucket seats and all newly replated front and rear bumpers and grill bar. I miss that man, he was the best!!! We had a 3” real to real tape recorder, we would fill the tape with car stuff, that took me away from reality of my situation! My dads name was Leo, but everybody called him Pat!
This is my 210 HT, black roll and pleat, four on the floor in about mid 63.
FI heads, Dontov cam, tri power, shift linkage in backwards to throw 2nd faster.
Ran in C modified production in mid 14's. Mostly street racer though, had to be to carful with the equipment. To much motor for stock clutch/pressure plate, got to where I could change one in 30 to 40 minuets, laying in my gravel driveway, rain or shine. Family car, grocery getter. Raising two little girls, both just starting school, (damned fool), working for Boeing as an assembly mechanic on the 707/727 forward cab section. Eventfully traded it in 65 for a cream puff '63 white stock impala ht. In digging out the pictures, I realize this is the one that should have never gotten away.
My brother was a couple of years older than me, so he had access to the “older” guys that were in the hot rod/cruising scene in high school and Bixby Knolls. As a young teenager, I would always ask about hot rods and drag racing after the weekends, because I knew he went to Lions or the hot rod scene in Bixby Knolls back then. All I could do was just sit around and read my hot rod magazines and build my car models. So, a little envy was always in place.
One time, my brother told me of watching a drag race with this 57 Chevy sedan on “Cherry Ave.” It was big because of who was racing that night. He was a spectator and not racing. The local drive in back row was always the hot spot to be, all through the generations down to our time during high school. This is where the hot rod banter went on endlessly all night. What was done to your car, new additions, a fast car is better, etc. all teenage hot rod talk that went on as more hot rods rolled into the parking lot.
He was impressed with the 57 Chevy sedan of Tom McEwen. It was a pure, stock looking 57 and could have fooled anyone about the power behind the simple look. Maybe that was the point. Get fooled once and lose to the king…ha! In those days, any simple modification away from factory stock, put you in the Gas Coupe and Sedan class, despite being a daily driver to school.
Only his closest friends knew of what was inside that 57 Chevy sedan. But, if he ran in the D/Gas class at Lions, some modifications had to have been done to push him from the pure “stock” classes into the “some modifications” Gas Coupe and Sedan Class. There was plenty of speculation on what modifications were done, but it did qualify for that lower gas sedan classification. It was fast.
Not only was he famous for tons of drag racing history all through out his career at Lions, but he was a legend in our cruising area of Long Beach and Bixby Knolls. In the early days of bravado and hot cars in the drive-in hot rod/cruising scene, he was the KING. First, it was the 55 Chevy, then a new 56, and finally the new 57 Chevy with all of the speedy stuff.
By the time we rolled into the drive-in scene during high school, those older guys had spent their time hashing out their builds and challenges. They were gone on to business, college and elsewhere. But, the history spread through the “hot rod” talk was legendary in our times. Almost every Friday or Saturday night was the gathering of the hot rod/drag racers at the drive-in restaurant. It was right after the night's events, either high school football /basketball or the Saturday night drags at Lions.
Who wouldn’t want a 1957 Chevy Bel Air hardtop sedan? A one of a kind design, cool tail fins, sleek, and with the modifications in the motor, the stock look goes a long way. One of the nicest 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtops was purchased by my friend from high school. It was a 3 speed stick, had stock everything and looked like it came off the showroom floor.
It was driven with care and was a surprising purchase since it was only a couple of years old. But, as teenagers, it did not matter what it looked like in the beginning, the most fun part of owning a car was ahead of us. The body was white and the interior was almost brand new. Even though most people smoked during this time period, the previous owners did not smoke and the inside smelled like a new car from the dealer.
The first thing we did was to turn the whitewalls inside out. Now, the blackwall tires made the Chevy Bel Air have some attitude. Plus, not many had “custom whitewall tires on the inside.” But a couple of months during the winter driving, covered up those “custom inside whitewalls,” until the next full set of tires was installed. My friend was a mechanical person and loved to speed shift his column shifter. We all took our tries to get the best/fastest shifts in the process. When my brother and I had a spare 4:11 gear third member sitting around our backyard garage, it got installed in this 57 Bel Air.
No A/C, so the cruising times were with all of the windows rolled down and the wind blasting everyone in our drives. He coined the term, “up sails” to tell us to roll up the windows when it was necessary. He must have been a sailboat racer at one time in his past life… Ha! The 283 motor had a 4 barrel and now we began to spruce up the motor compartment with shiny this/that and aluminum valve covers. After a year or so, we installed a set of Hedman Headers that were built into the existing muffler system. He had down tube cut outs with caps coming off of the collector portion of the headers.
We loved going to the Lion’s Dragstrip, but racing in the classes was not his thing. Stock, he could have won in his class, but once we started modifying his motor, now it was delegated to the Gas Coupe and Sedan Classes. He was a cruiser kind of guy with the want of a powerful sedan for his needs, when they arose during the local road trips and cruise nights.
One of the things we installed was a pair of Traction Master Bars and they helped him get off of the line much better. Then the next thing was lowering it just enough so those bars did not hit on acceleration or being overloaded with a car load of teenagers. No one told us that what it looked like sitting by itself would be a few inches lower with his girlfriend and another couple sitting in the back. But, through trial and error, the lowered look could satisfy those that called it a Cal Rake look.
The last two things we did were to exchange a 4 barrel for a dual quad Corvette set up. A Duntov Cam was installed with care and it made some good performance for the 57 Bel Air. We also put in a 4 speed stick trans with a 59 Impala curved stick lever. Now he had the car with the most modifications for better performance of any car(s) in our group.
We cruised anywhere and it did not falter on any challenges we found or were called out. The one thing it did not or could not do was to win a race over the 58 Impala on our darkened Cherry Avenue Dragstrip. No one could, until the red 409 Biscayne showed up to put an exclamation mark on its performance.
We were a couple of teenagers with wants and needs. One weekend, we exchanged cars from Friday after school to Monday morning. It was the most fun I (we) had in a long time. He like my Impala interior because it did not have a 4 speed floor shifter right in the middle of the seats. (and he loved the powerful acceleration with the C&O Stick Hydro) But, his car had the lever that did not bother me as it was moved to the 3rd gear lever place, out of the way.
We did not count the miles, but we were ok with the other friend, driving anywhere they wanted. The 57 Chevy took a coastal cruise to 1000 Steps Beach in Laguna Beach, a daytime beach adventure in Balboa, and of course a nice movie at the local drive-in theater. It was pretty awesome driving the 4 speed along the Highway 1 down and up the coast. (4 speed manual vs C&O Stick Hydro? Still a good question and comparison)
Although the 1957 Bel Air was pristine, my friend did not worry about scratches or marks on his roof top during a Christmas break at his relative’s Christmas tree lot. The lot was right in the middle of Bixby Knolls and everyone knew his 57 Chevy parked next to the small trailer on the lot. We sold a lot of trees and delivered most nearby. My 58 Impala was parked behind the trailer, with a cover on it and I did not want the white flocking to get on the black paint. It was artificial snow and would damage the black paint. We used an old beater truck for most local deliveries, though.
So, one late night a well-dressed older lady stopped by and wanted a 7-8 foot plus white flocked tree. She said she also wanted it delivered to her house in Belmont Shore. We had Belmont shore as part of our cruising grounds and knew of the house on the Peninsula Beach. It was one of the only houses that survived the last remnants of the tropical storm/hurricane that wandered up the coast in California history. That is why that beach was empty except for a few remaining houses. This was one of them. She brought out her purse before we could say it was a long-distance delivery, so late at night.
We told her we normally close up the lot around 11:00-11:30 pm. So, she paid us a great tip to deliver it after closing. The Friday Art Drawing explains the story. Two teenagers delivering a white flocked Christmas tree around midnight to a historic beachfront house. 4 speed and all… Ho Ho Ho.
If I could have any 57 Chevy Bel Air, today, it would be this one with all of the memories and experiences that it gave us growing up as teenagers. Experimentation, sure, but we learned a lot and it gave us a good background for being mechanical, while being in a group of teens, loving hot cars.
Separate names with a comma.