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Projects Project 55' Chevy B Coupe Gasser

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 31hotrodguy, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Although I have had this for a few years I thought it would be cool to finally share. Mainly because in my mind today should be a new Holiday because I was finally able to get the 55 B Coupe titled and registered through CA DMV (the car was missing it's vin plate and had no title) Here is the car currently. We pulled out from the side of the shop to hopefully start work on it sooner than later. I'll post more as I get a chance.
    p.s. I'm relatively new to the HAMB and this is my first thread so I'm asking for a little grace in the computer posting part if things don't look quite right at first.
    Thanks

    20171027_155847.jpg


    20171027_155804.jpg

    20171027_155820.jpg
     
  2. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,199

    AHotRod
    Member

    It looks perfect to me brother .... just add air to the slicks and lets go ! .... or maybe a fresh set of tires first.
    Love the rear quarters.... that's the way we really did it .... show me more.

    HotRod
     
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  3. Todd553
    Joined: Feb 16, 2005
    Posts: 453

    Todd553
    Member

    very cool. Do you know the history of the car?
     
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  4. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Here is a few pictures of the 55' before I got it where it had been sitting for about 30 years. As you might imagine it took a lot of work to get it out of the old building. I think just trying to air up the tires took a few hours!!!

    Front End.jpg

    If I remember right the Mopar A833 4spd was buried somewhere underneath the car! Now that was fun to try and move out of the way!!

    Driverside Rear.jpg
     
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  5. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Todd553, So there isn't too much on this car. I think it would fall under never quite got there but this is what I know. The car is an original 55' 6 cylinder stick Business Coupe from the San Fernando Valley. It was converted to a small block and raced at some point by Larry Ofria from of Valley Head Service in the San Fernado Valley. More than likely the car ran at Los Angeles County Race Way. (Larry currently or at least last I checked runs an A Gas white 57 Bel Air Hardtop in nostalgic racing) And last I heard he was unaware that his friend sold it because that was part of the deal so I hope he is not on here somewhere ;) Anyways, sometime in the 80's it was purchased by my buddy who wanted to upgrade from his 12 sec 57' 150 B Coupe and recreate the Tabasco 55'. This is when most of the Gasser modifications were made. By todays standards a lot of the modifications seem out of date but keep in mind this was done before the "traditional/period correct thing" had taken off and these were real drivers who's ultimate goal was to race and not just show.
    Fast forward to the 90's when I was a teenager I had offered to buy the car but was turned down. I then tried to buy this Gasser from a mutual friend which.....
    Toms 55 Chevy.jpg
    is a big block car that ran 9's back in the 70's here on the west coast. The original idea was to finish both cars as Tobacco and Chili Salsa as match race. Fast forward to 2010 I once again offered to buy either car as they were both sitting. I was initially more interested in the Gasser shown above because it has a title and was more street able but once again my buddy said no. I even offered to pay him what he paid for it...$1200 and that was a no go. I again asked my other friend if he would sale and as it was with LA County Raceway having just closed and nowhere to run he agreed. The bummer was that this car was not titled and had lost it's vin plate during it's "Gasserization." My goal was always to make it a race car but I still wanted to at least license and insure it which did not happen until today. With other projects and a few set backs with the engine the car had once again been put on the back burner for about 7 1/2 years.
    Thank you for the interest. I'll post more as I go.
     
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  6. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,228

    partsdawg
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    Nice car,have fun.
     
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  7. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 4,760

    chevy57dude
    Member

    Bet the tires are hard as rocks! I'd love to see the inside.
     
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  8. All right then, get ‘er done...


    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
     
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  9. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    When I bought the car way back when my original plan was to make an American Graffiti 55 clone for the street since that was one of my "hero cars" but........ a few things changed that. First off this car had been taken a little bit "too far" for the street and was more race car. Plus some would say that the rear wheel wells are a little big. Second my daily driver is this black 57 210.... Chevrolet Driver Rear A.jpg
    and I really didn't want another black car especially a race car. So with that being said I'm still trying to "theme" the car as far as paint and wheels go since my taste have changed over the years. One thing is for sure is it will be a race car with a license plate. :) IMG_0065.jpg
     
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  10. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Oh they are! Plus they pretty much are flat and won't hold air anymore. They came off a FED and were well used when my buddy got them years ago. We had thought they were too big for the car but in the spirit of hot rodding my buddy was going to run what he had. . I plan to put pie crust slicks that are a little more era correct on. As for the rear wheels I'm not sure yet and open to suggestions.

    Sent from my SM-G550T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  11. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    I'm not sure if the fiberglass front end will stay. It was pieced together from different front end parts. Whether I go steel or keep the fiberglass it will be a one piece flip front end. It just makes everything
    easier to get to.

    20171027_160741.jpg




    20171027_160016.jpg I'm not crazy about the fire wall. It is a bit crude but then again it is a race car right???? :)

    20171027_155957.jpg
     
  12. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Because of the one piece front end brackets being where they are just behind the grill opening it is not possible to put the factory grill in place. I'm open for suggestions for a period gasser grill??? Any pictures out there??? :)

    20171027_155837.jpg
     
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  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 41,993

    squirrel
    Member

    you can use just about anything for a grille. But it wouldn't take long with a mig welder, sawzall, and some scrap steel, to modify the front end mounts so the stock grill will fit.

    I think you have a few more important things to worry about, first :)

    what does it look like inside?
     
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  14. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,076

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    "B"? "Coupe"?
    I understand that sometimes the 150s like yours are called a business coupe in slang,
    (If thats what you mean by B-Coupe) but they are actually a "A" series 150 and were called a utility sedan.
    The only tri five chevy "post car" that was called a coupe is a B=210 Del Ray "club coupe"

    Just a heads up in case you didnt already know.

    Cool project! Glad someone is finally gettin back around to it.:cool:
     
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  15. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,199

    AHotRod
    Member

    Well ..... the wheels that are on it look 'spot-on' to me.
    There are tons of vintage race car pictures out there in interweb-world.
    I wouldn't change much if mine .....

    Maybe consider this for the grill opening.
    11397228-Full-frame-silver-metal-mesh-screen-with-holes--Stock-Photo.jpg
     
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  16. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Thank you Low Budget, yes I was aware. It was meant as the slang term. But nonetheless always good to post for other tri 5 owners who are not in the know.

    Sent from my SM-G550T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  17. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Squirrel, totally true! I was just throwing it out there regarding the grill. Basically to be race ready the entire car has to come apart. I'll get some interior and or lack thereof pictures posted soon. P.s. the last time I went down the race track was over 20 yrs ago. Hopefully sooner than later that will change.

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  18. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Thanks Ahotrod, is that late 50's Ford T Bird?

    Sent from my SM-G550T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  19. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,199

    AHotRod
    Member

    No ..... just round hole expanded metal sheet .... like we did back then .... just looked around at what we could find or use and did it.
    No Rules to follow, no one to "critic" what WE did or wanted to do, no 'era-correctness' ....
    Personally .... I wouldn't change the front suspension either.

    You mentioned piecrust slicks, curious why?
     
  20. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Here is a few pics of the inside. I'm probably going to change a few things around. With the firewall set back and me being 6ft leg room is an issues. I mean, I know it is a gasser but I'm not sure I want the gas pedal over on the passenger side..... although I have considered it. :)


    20171027_160112.jpg
    I plan to make the side bars removable. Getting is not to bad, but getting out is another story.



    20171027_160125.jpg
    I'm not crazy about the steering having been relocated. I believe the reason was to make more room for the driver due to the outer part of the cage. Plus I think there is 3 u joints in the steering shaft and it just seems "weak" to me. While I still have the stock front suspension I'll probably convert it back to a stock steering shaft. However; then the steering wheel will be off center from the driver due to the seat location which is again part of the cage. You change one thing and there is a ripple effect!!!
    20171027_160215.jpg
    The MSD and timing control will go or at least be relocated.

    A little more roll cage than I would do but I think at this point the car was being built for a blown Big Block. Plus my friend was doing stock car racing then and I think he got carried away. :) I would love to move the entire driver's section back a few inches to make more room for the driver who is me :) but that would entail a lot of extra fabrication if not a new cage. Then again, what is the point if I don't fit in the car! We will see. 20171027_160234.jpg
     
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  21. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,363

    Fogger
    Member

    Bet Larry Ofria would like to know that your sedan has survived. Maybe he has more info/history on it and the vin plate.
     
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  22. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    Thanks for the encouragement. I was thinking about running 2 set of tires. Actual racing slicks for the track and something a little more "pretty/nostalgic" for local shows. Why do you ask? What sayith you?
     
  23. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    It's been well over 30 years ago and Larry ain't getting any younger. ;) Either way I had to have HWY Patrol put their own plate in since it was missing. P.s. Fogger, I'm originally from the Valley. If you know Larry an any of the other 57 guys in the Valley you might know who I was talking about in the History. Then again maybe not. The Valley does have a few million people. :)
     
  24. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    The 55 came with this front end that came off a 60's 57 Nomad Gasser that sadly became a pro street car. This thing is pretty scary looking. I've pretty much just kept it around as a pattern if I ever decided to go straight axle. Currently that is not the plan.

    20171027_160820.jpg 20171027_160830.jpg
     
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  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 41,993

    squirrel
    Member

    It looks like the door bars are kind of high, at the forward end. Might see about just moving them, but be sure to follow the rules if you plan to run it at a sanctioned drag strip.

    Hopefully you can figure out how to fix everything, without having to totally rebuild the car
     
  26. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    In was thinking they were welded pretty high but then again I have never had a car that went fast enough to require them. The plan is be able to past tech so I'll have to find out if I can modify the cage and have it still pass inspection. If not I'll have to change a lot which means even more down time. This is all new territory for me.

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  27. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 41,993

    squirrel
    Member

    my door bar. Not a problem to get in and out, I've put a lot of miles on it. The NHRA rule specifies where your elbow is relative to the bar.

    progress75.jpg
     
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  28. 31hotrodguy
    Joined: Oct 29, 2013
    Posts: 696

    31hotrodguy
    Member

    That helps, thanks. I'll probably be picking your brain with some more of the race stuff later on.

    Sent from my SM-G550T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  29. sometimes it seems everyone has a tri five or at least had one or is gonna get one. Im kinda partial to them myself. Yours is a great example of how one should look. I would just cut and weld on the roll cage until it suited me. Of course I only race a George Rays . And the only rule is keep your beer hidden in a cozy! Keep the glass front end and put a piece of plexiglass with round holes drilled in it for a grill.
     
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