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Talk me out of (or in to) cutting my car up.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Indychus, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Indychus
    Joined: Jun 9, 2010
    Posts: 134

    from Irmo, SC

    Here's my '52 more-door:


    It's in rough shape... inner and outer rockers were replaced by a previous owner, and they need to be done again. Trunk is rusted out pretty good...

    I need a push in one direction or the other. I want to keep 4 doors, but I am considering a section, chop, or both. The car will be bagged in the rear, static suspension up front. I have gotten it pretty much roadworthy and reliable, so now I'm itching to cut it up.

    I have never undertaken a project as large as a chop or section. I have body dropped a few O/T trucks (basically a channel job where the entire floor is raised), swapped tail lights, shaved handles, nosed/decked stuff, rust repair... basically a lot of minor jobs.

    Getting a windshield to fit scares me. No idea what to do there. I want to keep the stainless trim as well, and I'm not sure how to accomplish that. I have read every thread I can find on chopping these chevys (both 2 and 4 door). I have watched hours of video.

    So, some of you experienced guys talk me into (or out of) doing my first chop. I'm open to any suggestions/criticism/advice.
  2. lawman
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,665


    I like it just as is !!!!!! My 2 cent's.
  3. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,676

    from Diablo Ca.

    Be honest with yourself. Are you up to the task? I have known many skilled builders, who were afraid of themselves and thir abilities, for large tasks, and have seen many cars "built" by enthusiastic guys, who have gotten over thir heads, and either sold cheap or scrapped. Chopping is(relatively) easy, but the windshield, and trim tend to be harder. My personal opinion on all the exposed weld, lexan windshield no side or rear glass cars at the shows is that the guys don't have the skill to finish.
    That said, as it sits that is a pretty sharp looking car as is. I'd put the front bumper on, and drive it as is.
  4. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,250


    Properly fix the rust. Get a front bumper. Paint the body and the wheels. Put trim rings on it. Hold your head high, and drive the hell out of it.

  5. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    I reccomend that you do a little research and find HAMBer "flop" s posts on chopping a '50 Pontiac. Lots of good stuff there. After you have gone through all of that post, reading closely, you will be able to answer your own question.
  6. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Chopping and, especially sectioning, are not for the faint of heart. While I would personally tackle a chop, I don't think I would ever attempt a section job.

    If you have the equipment and you feel you can successfully pull it off, go for it. But a lot of people get half way doing those jobs and suddenly realize "Oh s*** !!!"

  7. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,250


    I cut cars for a living. All day, every day. It should not be considered an easy thing to do, by anyone. Even I get frustrated, and I have a few decades in this. I have ruined a few cars in my time.

    I am not saying don't do it. That is not for me to say. Consider your abilities, and what the end result will be.

    If you do decide to cut it, you have to go balls-out. You will have at-least one, if not many "Dear God, what have I done?" moments. You MUST push through them. There is only one way forward. Don't give up, or accept failure. You will never figure this out, or get good at it, any other way.
  8. Do you have something else to drive,,a custom or a hot rod if the project stalls or money gets tight,,easy to lose interest.

    I suggest just fix what needs fixing and enjoy a good looking car. HRP
  9. inliner2318
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 355


    buy something else to spend your hours on. a 4 dr will always be a 4dr. Just put the bumpers back on and do some minor mods. drive it and be cool.

    Spend the fab time on something that doesn't run.
  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,262

    from California

    that car definitly has something odd going on below the doors. I say fix that the right way, then see if you like sheetmetal work enough to continue.
  11. Always gonna be a 4 door hater,,:confused: HRP
  12. Normal Norman
    Joined: Aug 9, 2006
    Posts: 510

    Normal Norman
    from Goshen IN.

    I like the car just as it sits. I would just fix the rust,hang the bumpers on it and mabey rechrome the parts that need it. It would be a fun car and one to be proud of. N.N.
  13. 53fordcustom
    Joined: Jan 3, 2011
    Posts: 412


    I say chop it... Gotta learn sometime
  14. GREASER815
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 973


    Just drive it. Why open up a major project like that on a running car right before spring? Looks fine as it is, a little to "R*# Rod" to me, but I think its just the colors. If anything put the bumpers on it, have some fun and then decide. Like you said, just got it roadworthy, I think once your out having fun you will realize it is fine the way it is, at least for a while.
  15. chubbie
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,318


    Do it! but first, i would find a build tread on the HAMB by a guy from canada. user name huitink (sp). he pulled a '50 chevy out of the grove. chopped sectioned the HELL out of it ! I ran down the big road with him once, he drove the hell out of it!!
  16. b-bob
    Joined: Nov 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,097


    I agree with the above posters who say just spend your time and money to fix it up and make a nice cruiser out of it.
    First if you don't have another car, be prepared to walk for a while. If you aren't experienced at this type of work, don't expect to have this for next summer, finished anyway.
    Four doors require a lot more work than a tudor, and not just because of the extra doors.
    I know it looks easy in the magazine how-tos, but there is a lot of work and time that isn't mentioned.
    One idea might be to keep this one the way it is and buy a tudor to work on while you drive this one. And in the meantime, find someone who can trim down the w/shield for you.
    I don't mean to discourage you, i just would hate to see you cut this up and not be able to finish it. Best of luck, what ever you decide to do.
  17. Indychus
    Joined: Jun 9, 2010
    Posts: 134

    from Irmo, SC

    Well it definitely needs door lowers and rockers... the previous owner did them, but it looks terrible. There's about 3/8" of bondo in one spot, which just isn't acceptable. I have done rockers before so that's not a big deal. The panel under the deck lid is all bondo, with some screen sandwiched in there to hold it's shape. Other than that, I think it's pretty solid. I guess there's no way to know without knocking the paint off.

    I'm going to start in on rust repair and minor stuff (nosed, frenched headlamps, etc.) soon.

    I feel like I can pull a chop off...I have done some pretty extensive stuff to some O/T vehicles (I'm a recovering mini-trucker), so I'm not afraid to take a sawzall to it. The car is my daily right now, but I plan on picking up a beater to drive while I bag this one and do whatever else.

    And I know it's "just" a four door, but I purposely sought out a more-door, and passed up a nice 2-door while I was looking. I like the longer roof on the sedan, and I have kids so it's easier to haul them around with the back doors.
  18. Indychus
    Joined: Jun 9, 2010
    Posts: 134

    from Irmo, SC

    And that's a good point about spring coming up... Maybe this is a project for next winter...
  19. black 62
    Joined: Jul 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,895

    black 62
    from arkansas

    drive it for a while --- then next fall you will have had plenty of pre-planning and you can jump on it...aren't two door and four door roofs the same?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  20. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    from PNW

    My wagon is a 4 door - only way they made them - 4 doors is twice the work in a chop. I would get a traditional grille in there - a bumper - do the other mods you mention - but keep driving it all the time.

    Save the chop and section for another project while you drive this one...

  21. Indychus
    Joined: Jun 9, 2010
    Posts: 134

    from Irmo, SC

    They may indeed be the same, I'm not sure... mine certainly looks longer with the vent windows in the back though... maybe it's just an optical illusion.

    I have the bumpers, but they need some work before they go back on... they are 3-piece, so welding them up, smoothing bolts, etc. Not sure what I'm going to do with the grille yet. I think the RR look is due mostly to the black paint/red wheels. It will be fixed.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  22. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,519

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    CHOP IT !!!

    It is only metal ... and that model 4 door is not exactly rare :rolleyes:

    It will be a learning experience. You may mess it up but then again ... you may knock a home run. :D
    You will never know unless you try.
  23. patrick english
    Joined: Feb 15, 2008
    Posts: 806

    patrick english
    from La puente

    Always chop 4 doors..Duh
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 435


    i say don't chop. fix the crummy body work, then do minor mods, nosed, decked, louvers, flake the roof, fix the handle situation (add two back or shave the 2 fronts). i like the way it sits
  25. papajohn
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 894


    Go for the chop! If you don't already have the skills, you may by the time you are done. Worst case scenario, you end up with a phaeton.

    Its a (as you described) rough condition four door. What do you have to lose?
  26. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,864


    x2 this is exactly what i was going to say. wait for a 2 door. then chop it. maybe find a old car going to scrap and practice on it.
  27. Photoshop from a while back. Works as a four door I think.

  28. Indychus
    Joined: Jun 9, 2010
    Posts: 134

    from Irmo, SC

    ^^ Now THAT is what I'm talking about. Everything looks easy to me except for around the rear.

    How do you guys ensure that the stock windshield can be cut down? I found someone who can cut glass, but I'm not sure how to go about the chop so that all the glass needs is trimming... It seems like tweaking the A-pillars any would screw it all up.

    Is it possible to slide the entire A-pillar down and just cut the bottom of the glass? Seems like the top would be too narrow for the body then... I know you can split the roof and add a center section, but that seems like it would mess up the windshield opening.

  29. If you don't have a donor roof you will probably need to lay the A pillars back. It doesn't affect the front glass much and the glass has to be cut anyway.

    If you are in a position to drive it now and your weather is good enough to not want to lay it away while it is being reworked then driving it for the time being is your best bet. Spend your time planning and deciding exactly what you want to do.

    I think that a mild chop and mild section would be pretty slick. You could actually go with a concept car theme/idea. If you do everything in moderation you can pull of a very subtle custom that looks like it may have come that way of Harley Earl didn't have to deal with the bean counters.
  30. I say fix/mod the easier stuff now. Enjoy it for the Spring and Summer. Then chop it next Winter. I'm not sure I would section it. This would also give you some more time to plan things out and think about it real well so your absolutely ready when it's time to cut.

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