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Platforming a '57 Bel AIR[FRAME FLOOR SWAP]

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by choprods, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Hey,I know this is not what a lot of- RESTORO TYPE- guys are into,but sometimes conventional means of repairing a RUSTY automobile just plain costs too much.......
    This was the case here,
    I bought this car out of the Hamb classifieds here a while back so lots of you probably saw it and said no way.....:rolleyes:
    I am of the school that I can afford whats in my pocket but not what is in my daydreams,so I bought it =knowing all its ailments= and am glad I did even now.
    I priced the new repro floors amnd seein's it was around 2200 dollars less ship and tax I decided to "floor and frame" it instead....
    I had stripped this 1985 Caprice down for a customer on a 49 Mercury in the past who then flipped over and dropped off the edge of the planet on me,so it was just here for the taking.

    I looked both cars over carefuly and did a lot of comparo and measuring before deciding for sure this was viable at all.

    after the decision was made, it took one day to trim the Caprice to a close proximity of the '57...
    I spent another long day removing the '57 floor and frame and hoisting it up high enough to allow the rollout and roll in of the donor floor and chassis.....

    The compatibility of the two floor/chassis was remarkably similar in my opinion.

    less than 1/2" in length wheelbase and about same wider track width[Caprice has more offset wheels so actually about similar in track width]......

    I did make a little mistake or three on the cut to fit of the Bel AIR:eek: WHERE IT MET THE CAPRICE FLOOR SO i MADE A BIT MORE FITUP WORK FOR MYSELF BY THAT ERROR:eek:
    Oh well it is a floorboard,not a manned mission to MARS:cool::cool::cool::cool:........

    Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure, I am on no schedule here on this so it may be a while before it get actually to a finished state....My cars are always last on the work list here as this is my trade .....
    I thought some folks may like to see this for comparison sake

    ,and I do not really want to hear about what you closet Restorers think as this was a car most restorers would not have bought- muchless built.:)
    I AM NOT SUGGESTING a nice solid car is a candidate for this in any way -just for the fact it is a case of sensibilty on this old car......

    here is the Caprice floor/frame....

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  2. Here is the valuable classic I am destroying.......frame had about two feet ofseriously cheesed out rear rail:) on one side as well as what floor issues we see here......

    Attached Files:

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  3. Stroker McGurk
    Joined: Feb 17, 2012
    Posts: 292

    Stroker McGurk
    from Canada

    Hardly traditional, but cool...I have heard of others doing this.....keep the updates coming
  4. Here you can see how the two are fitting up, will need to weld in filler metal and seam calk everything- but hey.....

    its not hand rubbed Laquer in this department-.....:p

    Today I have it pinned/tacked in place - the doors are fitting well and shutting well,next step is about two days of welding up the:eek: miscut gaps:rolleyes:....and seaming that with some of detroits finest seam sealer/calk to make it look factory fresh.....

    Then after all is said and done=
    I will have power steering/ disc brakes /lots softer ride and parts available at Autozone for cheap!!
    total expenditure so far in work and materials=

    4 days labor=40 per hr= $1280
    150 dollar Caprice Donor car
    85 dollars welding/cutting supplies

    that is a savings of 500 less than new repro floors in a pile [uninstalled].....
    Do the Math, some cars are just not candidates for a total restoration, and can be improved drastically,when good enough is good enough!!
    I think the ride height is gonna be satisfactory and near stock '57 look.

    I still have to get a new set of rocker panels and install those but the frame rail is not gonna show in side view.
    I also think the Caprice seat may work in frt with the stock 57 rear seat.......
    I still have to make a front cowl mount for the firewall uprights to bolt to caprice frame.....

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
    Mtn Goat and kidcampbell71 like this.
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  5. Dynaflash_8
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 3,010

    from Auburn WA

    wow. That floor looks pretty nice in there!
  6. About the most serious flaw I see in this whole swap to date is the brake pedal is a bit high off the [lower] caprice floorpan.....
    I think the stock column can be mated to the caprice shaft at steering box fairly easily......

    Now to address the hardly traditional observation.....
    I was building cars for myself from 14 15 years old= about 1964 to 1976 before I opened my workshop....

    we did stuff like this on a regular basis,there were very few catalog stores and even fewer speedshops within a reasonable drive here in Missouri so we did with what we could find in the junkyards ,
    we did not have any advice or even in available info on how or what we could do to our cars at all. we had not heard of the kit car method of building cars as we know it today so seriuosly this what tradition was at that time in my past.....
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  7. Interesting..
  8. ffr1222k
    Joined: Nov 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,021


    I like where you are going. You're saving something in a way you can afford and it looks like you have the skills.
  9. reece
    Joined: Apr 27, 2004
    Posts: 351

    from NC

    Awesome! Looks like it is working out nicely.
  10. I hear a lot of talk that swaps like this and subframing were not traditional at all.....
    Nobody told us midwest guys that in 1968,we jst knew our c ars drove better when we di those things and it was what we could afford.
    I remember doing the first "frame clip" I did in 1968 on my brother's 37 chevy coupe
    we did not think what we were doing was new or even innovative at the time,we just knew we had a loos assed frt axle car we could not drive after we installed a V8 in them....
    we did these things like welding on a complete '63 Impala fram at the firewall on his '37 and we installed a nailhead Buick engine with auto tranny at that time as well... we were not concerned with the approprieteness of anything we did it was just how it was when you were w poor kid with very little money and few skills and wanted a car to hotrod around in!
  11. anteek
    Joined: Feb 27, 2009
    Posts: 394


    I like it! When younger fixed several rustbucketswith a floor/frame swap. felt better to ride then being a walking purist.
  12. Ohhhhh=I forgot to mention this.......
    The Caprice floor was sufficiently narrow even with leaving it's rocker panels on and they still fit behind and between the '57s rocker panels when I replace those.
  13. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,311

    Model T1

    Looks traditional to me. But I'm just an old do-it-yerselfer too! More traditional than picking up a magazine or laptop, a cell phone, and check book to build a "PERFECT' restoration !
    Just don't paint it red and white! There must be a million of those around.
    rtp likes this.
  14. quit apologizing, and start welding! lookin good
  15. subscribed! keep the pic's coming!
  16. Dog Dish Deluxe
    Joined: Dec 23, 2011
    Posts: 779

    Dog Dish Deluxe
    from MO.

    Looks like a good excuse to build a way Kustom '57 to me.
  17. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,008


    Most economical way to save what most would not even use as a parts car! Lookin great!!
  18. JackdaRabbit
    Joined: Jul 15, 2008
    Posts: 445

    from WNC

    The essence of hotrodding right there.
  19. Got some of the joint seams welded up and applied some seam sealer/calk.......
    Witin overnite for it to dry before painting the sealer black for temporary /appearances sake and keep it from getting watersoaked if it rains on it .....

    I also made up a shaft and connected the '85 Caprice steering box to the '57 column.......seems to be a decent angle.......
    I can't stand a project/roller and not being able to steer it when you know ya have ta move it around a bunch:cool:.
    As these sort of projects go- this swap seems to be about as well matched up on fit as it possibly could have been.......

    sorta suprised me how similar in dimension/ and location of both car's components ended up being.....

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
    Mtn Goat and kidcampbell71 like this.
  20. c57heaven
    Joined: Feb 22, 2008
    Posts: 534


    he said it...nice work.
    Mtn Goat likes this.
  21. RacerRick
    Joined: May 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,753


    I used an 85' caprice frame in my 55' wagon. The only gotcha I found was that the front steer gets in the way of the rad support, and you have to trim the front of the frame back as far as you can.

    I am going with a flip front end, so I decided that I would just fab a core support,
  22. RacerRick=
    I sorta followed your posts on your55 wagon,seemed like a good idea so I saved this frame floor and finally got a car that was in need......
    I trimmed the horns back to 57 length already....
    I figured on the radiator support and will use a narrower aluminum radiator to fit better......
    I did not channel my car hardly at all it wwill set more like a stock or possible gasser project actually......

    Hows your project doing now,I had not seen it posted for a while.

  23. madwrencher
    Joined: Mar 2, 2007
    Posts: 77

    from ohio

    I used g body front suspension (84 monte) on my 54 chevy (front steer) made my own radiator support and used a alum rad from speedway made the rad support to fit the rad been running it that way for 5 years with electric fan never gets hot.
  24. pug man
    Joined: Apr 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,010

    pug man
    from louisiana

    I think if you could "bottle" what you are doing you could make a million bucks. I don't see a thing wrong with what you are doing. I love it when somebody tells me, "you can't do that"......WATCH ME!!!!!!! Great job, keep at it......
  25. Roger53
    Joined: Aug 8, 2010
    Posts: 383


    Well the only thing wrong is that ya have an 85 to use .That would be just as rusty here. But all joking a side your savng it . So keep the posts a comin. Roger
  26. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 839


    You obviously have too much free time on your hands. I thought being the Mayor of Elmer would take up that time. How you been Kenny?
  27. Zed
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 952

    from FRANCE

    Thanks for sharing pics my friend . very usefull ;)
  28. Great swap, i like it.

  29. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    man i think your doing great!!! takes alot of work to do what your doing.and alot of smarts.... keep at it, they dont make them anymore so what not do what you have to do to keep it on the move!!!!!!!!!
  30. Kustm52
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,982


    I think you should turn it into a '57 el camino... :)

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