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Technical to chop or not to chop,.. that is the quandry........

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by twenty gallons, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    Acquired a 53 chevy Bel Air 2 dr hardtop, need a couple quarters replaced, tailpan, a little piece of the trunk lip. Worst repair it needs is the area above the drip rail on both sides about half the length of the top, Mouses got inside and made the headliner their abode.
    Moisture retained by all the cotton out of the front seat has caused substantial rust to develop about 2 " above the drip rail.
    Which brings up one of my favorite things to do. Possibility of chopping it.
    So, I tried searching the internet as to suggested methods and things to watch out for, to absolutely no avail. there ain't nuttin out dere! I have cut well over 200 different cars over the years, but never did one of these. I know there are as many ways to do it as there are finished projects. but listening and watching is how you learn.
    Searching HAMB got me no where either. HELP !
    ...are there ANY threads here that I have missed in my search, dealing specifically with chopping the 53-54 Hardtop?
     
  2. gas & guns
    Joined: Feb 6, 2014
    Posts: 370

    gas & guns
    Member

    A couple guys on YouTube have an 11 min video. Don't know how to do the link, but was titled "chopping a 53 chevy belair".
     
  3. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    securedownload-1-1.jpeg This is my daughters 53 Bel Air, 2dr sedan, I did this about 2 years ago. it was a fun project to do for her, but the Bel Air I have now is a hardtop, way different from this and the one on you tube, I do appreciate the suggestion though. I KNOW there has to be a pictorial somewhere. IMAG0177.jpg
     
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,217

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    lower windshield & rear glass into body and build around that. use open channel to support and lined with strong rubber, or even use stock rubber.
     

  5. gas & guns
    Joined: Feb 6, 2014
    Posts: 370

    gas & guns
    Member

    The big challenge looks like the curved glass. Maybe sink the back window into the trunk.
    Nice job on the sedan, she should be proud driving that.
     
  6. gas & guns
    Joined: Feb 6, 2014
    Posts: 370

    gas & guns
    Member

    Joker beat me to it.
     
  7. If you must chop it, please use Duane Steck's Moonglow as your inspiration. It's a very well proportioned car, stock. Not every car has to be chopped.
     
    Hnstray likes this.
  8. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    Yes Chili, The Moonglow has been a favorite for me ever since it was first done IF I chop it, That is the only way to do it.
     
  9. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    I'll play.....our situations are similar. I had a 53 sedan prior to my 54 hardtop. I too had chopped the sedan and you are right that the hardtop is a different animal. My car also was rusted badly at the drip rails. I did extensive work to repair and retain them. I hadn't originally planned to chop it, but since I did so much other grinding and welding on the roof I thought why not a little more. Proportionally, mine is inspired by Moonglow but with a different twist on the rear window. I've got a thread going on the progress of the chop and here are some current pictures:
    So very glad I decided to cut it. 20150605_203450.jpg 20150605_170913.jpg 20150605_170855.jpg 20150605_203432.jpg
    20150627_192833.jpg
     
  10. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379

    Merge
    Member

    I don't know why I can copy/paste the link right, but search "My 54 hardtop" and the thread will come up.
     
  11. I have a 53 Chevrolet 150, stock roof. I am ave. hight.

    I am looking out the top half of the windshield and have to bend down to see lights.
     
  12. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,961

    choptop40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Looks like ill be cutting this bad boy soon.... image.jpg
     
  13. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,432

    'Mo
    Member

    Wow! 200 is a lot of cars!
    Your daughters Chevy looks great!

    Chevy hard tops don't have to be chopped to look nice. One of my all time favorite Chevys is the un-chopped, Barris built, "Golden Galleon". (The one of a kind headlight rims and grille on this car are true works of art.)

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    Another thing has become apparent to me. with this side view of the Moonglow, , I notice that there appears to be a slight "bubble" effect at the top of the rear window, I think maybe the rear window needs to be slightly raised at the front and the sheet metal roof slightly de crowned to make a smooth top loft. I am NOT complaining in any way. just an observation.
    also
    another question arises with this view, the rear window upper channel is 'ahead' of the front door glass. so what happens? does the door glass get cut in a "slanted B post" effect? and if the front glass is cut at that angle what happens to the rear? it will have to get cut at the same angle and all the glass frames will have to be modified to that same angle. will the rear glass then be able to roll down? And if it does roll down, won't the part that is added and makes up the forward slant be above the window garnish molding?
    Why can I not find pics of any of the 53/54 hardtop chops with glass rolled up? (probably not looking in the right spot) I am pretty sure that IF there are any of the glass rolled up pics available, someone here will be happy to show me.
    These are the kind of questions I would like to have answers to before I start any cutting this car up...... 1954-moonglow-chevy-bel-air-passenger-side-1.jpg
     
    gas & guns likes this.
  15. B1gDaddy
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 264

    B1gDaddy
    Member
    from aladambama

    ^^^^^^^

    Stop, drop, and roll.
    If you can come even close to replicating this, I'm not sue how you can improve on this,
     
  16. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,432

    'Mo
    Member

    Search Cole Foster's Chevy. Windows are usually up.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    thanks, I knew someone would be able to find one
     
  18. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,072

    Torchie
    Member

  19. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

  20. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,326

    anthony myrick
    Member

    7ad1cac4.jpg
    this car was built by Tony Inman
    he has a shop somewhere in Alabama
    maybe you can look him up
     
  21. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,986

    Gotgas
    Member
    from DFW USA

    Even if it's not a perfect 'flow' I would say that Moonglow had one of the most eye-pleasing chopped tops in history. It balances the rest of the car perfectly.
     
    CHUCK50DODGE likes this.
  22. Driveway builder
    Joined: Jan 17, 2013
    Posts: 510

    Driveway builder
    Member

    I chopped my 52 Chevy and took a bunch of photos if it helps at all... I don't know how to put up my thread though. I think it's called "chopping a 52 Chevy". You can find it I'm sure. I also experimented with sinking the windshield on it. Good luck, it's worth the work... I love how mine turned out. image.jpg
     
    CHUCK50DODGE likes this.
  23. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    I agree with you, moonglow is an extremely iconic kustom. I have absolutely no complaints, just an observation.
     
  24. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    Thanks Driveway Builder,..... Your car looks GREAT, a good chop is something to be proud of.
    A Hardtop is a whole 'nother thing altogether.. I have cut several coupes and sedans, lots of different makes and models, but this Hardtop has MANY different conflicting 'things' as compared to a sedan.
    As hard to acquire as these things are I do not want to screw it up thinking I know everything there is to know. Hopefully I am not that stupid.
     
    Driveway builder likes this.
  25. I would chop it, some cars need to be chopped to look good like my Dodge, your car is nice as is but I just think stock is nice but chopped is better and who doesn't like better? Good luck which ever way you go.
     
  26. Moonglow2
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 658

    Moonglow2
    Member

    Moonglow is the reason I got interested in customs 57 years ago at the age of 16. As stated above, it is the quintessential chop for a 53-54 hardtop Chevy. I have studied every photo I could lay my hands on of this car many many times in hopes of replicating it on mine. I disagree with the comment that there appears to be a bubble in the rear window. I think that when Duane chopped it, he dropped the entire top 3 1/2 inches but when he added the Plexiglas window there was a one inch misalignment of the profile. To correct that (IMHO) the rear window should be cut separate and dropped only 2 1/2 inches at the rear and then pie cut the roof to realign everything. I think this is what Ron Hepding did with his maroon 53 except Ron only chopped his 3 inches instead of 3 1/2. I have waffled for some time on whether to go with Plexiglas or to try to retain the original glass by sinking it into the trunk as the Jimenez brothers did for Cecil De Aro's burgundy 54. Both cars are gorgeous with only slightly different profiles, Ron's being slightly more aesthetically pleasing. Ron Hepding\'s 53_4.jpg Cecil De Aro\'s 54.JPG ]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    vwdave30 likes this.
  27. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons
    Member

    What you are saying about changing the rear glass and pie cutting the roof is exactly what I meant. but you say it much better.
    I like the one on top with the packard taillights, which is what I have in a box out in my garage and will be the ones I will use for this project.
    Packards are also the same as I used for my Daughters car at the top of this string.
     
  28. ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148625.184157.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148651.140721.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148677.187030.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148698.030421.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148723.912453.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148741.835907.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1436148758.210903.jpg

    This car was built in Virginia by my Dad in the mid 90s. Chopped it and 56 Packard tail lights. It was sold and is now in Holland. The copper color was applied by new owner but he left the body just like we built it. I recently been in contact with him and he was happy to get pics of the build.
     
  29. Moonglow2
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 658

    Moonglow2
    Member

    Yes, I have Packards for mine too. I blew up the photo of Ron Hepding's 53 and noted that he added a hood over the top of the lenses that appears to extend about 1 inch past the lens itself. I got in touch with Ron and he sent me photos of the building of the taillights and are based on the lower portion of a 55 Chevy taillight housing that has been widened to fit the larger Packard lenses. Also note the curvature of the body line along the top of the fender. A lot of guys who add Packards extend the fender in a straight line which in my opinion takes away from the appearance.
    Ron Hepding\'s 53 5797166809_72c5b3273c_o_closeup_retouched.jpg
     
  30. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,432

    'Mo
    Member

    [​IMG]

    The completed chop looks nice. Was the decision to cover it purely stylistic?
     

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