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What is traditional for a mid 50's car?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Sir Woosh, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    Most cars weren't hot rodded till they were nearly 10 years old. That makes for decades of different ideas to cover cars from the 20's to the 60's. So 20's buckets, 30's roadsters, 40's coupes and shoeboxes are going to display quite a span of different engineering and styles.

    I've got a 55 Olds 2 door sedan and Spring is coming so I want to put the finishing touches on it. The seats are already done in solid white pleats (ala tuck and roll?). Balance of interior will be done to match by the same shop. Tube grille. Plans are traditional crab claw flames on suede black. Red steelies on it now, Chrome reverse waiting in the wings.

    I know there's some Hambers that were rodding the 10 year old cars during the early 60's. Since you were really there, what was going on? It's as nice as a 10 year old car would have been in the early 60's since it only has 34K on it and the total rust in the car could have been covered by a tea cup. So I really don't want to hack the rear wheel openings like the American Graffiti 55, but would retain the stance............

    I've really appreciated the feedback and friends I've seen support one another better than any other hot rod/custom group ever seen.

    Thanks in advance for any tips and ideas you can offer.........
     

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  2. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,923

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    In this part of the pacific northwest it would have had solid color shiny paint, 6.70 / 8.20 whitewalls, black wheels with baldy hubcaps, 2 coils cut in front, stock height rear, dual pipes, 3 bolt cutouts in the wheelwells, a tarp over the back seat, a green pine tree in the heater housing, a club plaque in the right side of the package tray, & a fifth under the seat.
     
  3. You might find something like this cruising the streets back in the 60's.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. VA HAMB
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,372

    VA HAMB
    Member

    In Those days cars like yours would definately had shiny paint. Only Hot Rods has primer. Suede paint is not primer so if you say you want period correct then suede is OUT. Guys in those days that wanted a full bodied car like yours were a little more picky than the Hot Rodders. Everything had to be perfect including the paint. They did everything over the top.
    Pick the year that you want your car to represent, then go buy a stack of mags from that year. That will tell you everything you need to know.
     

  5. 55ChevyArmyKat
    Joined: Jan 16, 2009
    Posts: 13

    55ChevyArmyKat
    Member

    Sir Woosh, do you have any bigger pictures of the front of your ride? I like the way yours looks but it's hard to see, and am trying to get new ideas as to they way i want to go with my 55 Chevy. thanks
     
  6. Hit a swap, find someone with 60s Car Craft, Rod & Custom, Customs Illustrated, etc, buy some if you can afford them, thumb them if they'll let you. Some of the smaller mags featured a lot of everyday cars, I seem to recall one I have even has about a '56 Olds 4-door hardtop custom.
     
  7. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223

    F&J
    Member

    I was given my dad's 57 2dr post Olds 88 in maybe 65. I wasn't old enough to get my license and had little money. Black wheels with 1-1/2" whites with no caps. I painted mine Gold to look like a local guys slick 57 2dr htp. I spent what money I had on adjustable rockers & chrome factory valve covers.

    I never saw one with flames or red wheels :)

    Here's the bad news; those cars were outdated and undesirable by 65 due to factory muscle cars coming out.
     
  8. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    Army Kat:

    The avitar pic is bigger in the album on my profile if that helps. Good luck on your 55 Chebbie!
     
  9. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223

    F&J
    Member

    Sir Woosh, I need to add in case you think I don't like the 50s Olds... Back then I really liked that 57 and was pretty proud of my efforts, but like I said, muscle was what we dreamed of or better yet, a Cal hotrod roadster or coupe. I went through that stuff later in life and still wish I had the Olds back :) I do have the entire drivetrain for a 55 Olds going in a rod.
     
  10. dvs
    Joined: Nov 19, 2008
    Posts: 63

    dvs
    Member

    What F&J said about the cars suddenly being out. Everybody wanted a new muscle car. Us poor guys wanted one too but we made do with what we had. In my case it was a '55 Ford Custom with a bar grille and a Hurst Mystery shifter, dog dish hubcaps on black rims, and a single chrome exhaust. In my town it was very cool to have the front end jacked up and if you didn't have small hubcaps wide whites were the bomb.
     
  11. chevyshack
    Joined: Dec 28, 2008
    Posts: 950

    chevyshack
    Member

    Do away with the red wheels!!! Looks horrible. Like a demolition derby car. Atleast paint them black and put some beauty rings on them. I personaly like the polished aluminum wheels you have on the front of the car in the one picture.
     
  12. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,003

    rick finch
    Member

    Do not paint it suede anything and/or primer! We all wanted our cars to be "pressed" out & finished to the best of our abilities. (Primer was temporary until we could afford paint.) Like guys said before, do the research in old magazines from the period you desire to emulate, and go from there. By the way, you have a really nice little Olds, keep it simple, simple never goes out of style!:cool:
     
  13. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    F&J:

    I've been on the Oldsmobile kick for awhile now as I've come to appreciate their quality. I've had a bunch of tri-5's including several Nomads and enjoyed them. I just always come back to the BOPs...

    Had a 2 door sedan 57 once and still know where it is, but my most recent was a very original mordoor hardtop super 88 with 46K, original paint, A/C, 6 way power seat for only $4700.

    I can't resist putting my own touches to anything I buy, so I found someone else to own it that would leave it as nice as it was. Would still have looked pretty good with the car crowd all along, don't you think?
     

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  14. DualQuad55
    Joined: Mar 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,377

    DualQuad55
    Member
    from Epsom, NH

    Pick up a copy of Andy Southards customs cars of the 1950s. You will see a bunch of different style build ups, including some suede paint jobs. Some are more custom, some are more hot rodded, some are inbetween.

    Personally I like it as it is, just don't care for the raised white letters.

    I am a whitewall man, but black walls would do just fne. You could pick up a set of Fiesta caps for it over the red wheels. Very common back here for street cars back in the late 50s-early 60s.

    I like the setup 302GMC describes. Aside from the fact that I run chrome reversed instead of steelies and baby moons, it is just about how my 55 Buick Special is setup.
     
  15. The styles really evolved more as a gradual thing. The decades weren't divided in exact 10 year increments.
    The cars in the northern states really rotted out fast if you drove them in winter. The metal then, didn't have the coatings they have now, and they still rust.
    Did I mention that we hated rust, we didn't idolize it as they do now.
     
  16. It ain't a 55 but it's an OLDS.
    How's this for traditional?
     

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  17. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    Well rounded group! But I realize now that to be traditional from all the good feedback I've received, I'd have to run 4 different wheels on the car to cover it. One red steel, one black with trim ring, one chrome reverse and one fiesta hubcap. So traditional is much more varied than a cookie cutter idea that would have all cars looking the same except different paint colors.

    So I'm going to be building a traditional Rebel Rod meaning a little bit of Gasser, Street fighter, Cruiser and Hot rod. Viva La Difference!
     

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  18. Goozgaz
    Joined: Jan 11, 2005
    Posts: 2,556

    Goozgaz
    Member

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  19. VA HAMB
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,372

    VA HAMB
    Member

    Oh yea I forgot. East coast guys were always about 5-8 years behind the West Coast. What was in style there in 53 was just getting here by 59ish. Plus us South East guys didn't have the money they had either. Of corse this is if you really want to be picky about your impression.
     
  20. pacemaker
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 153

    pacemaker
    Member

    Horseshoe pattern/ tuck & roll /piping / chrome window frames
     

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  21. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,562

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    Put the chrome back on, no suede paint jobs, steel wheels with beauty rings and small hubcaps or three blade fiestas. Cut the coils in front and scavenger bel mouth pipes out the back. That was the SoCal look back then.
     
  22. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    Pacemaker: Got that exact interior in my custom 1955 Olds. Same pattern and all. Just gray and white instead........ Thanks!
     
  23. chevyshack
    Joined: Dec 28, 2008
    Posts: 950

    chevyshack
    Member

    Why be like everyone else? A custom hot rod is supposed to be about what you like. Why does it matter if it was done that way back then? Just means it was already done before. Id rather stand out, not blend in. I can see it if your trying to sell the car in a hurry and want a majority to like it. But what do you like? Chrome? Brite red wheels? Black ones? Mags? Im sure back in the 50's the kids where just popping off the hub caps and spraying the wheels red because it stood out and was a cheap fix. But im sure there where other styles as well. Im no where near a pro on this subject. Just thought id give my .02 cents for you to think about.
     
  24. MERC 55
    Joined: Mar 26, 2007
    Posts: 277

    MERC 55
    Member

    Traditional !!!
     

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  25. MyEvilTwin
    Joined: Jan 22, 2009
    Posts: 59

    MyEvilTwin
    Member

    He wants to build a car to emulate a by-gone era. That is what we on this board try to do. Thus the whole 'traditional' mindset.

    I can see that this may be unchartered territory for someone who needs to make sure the world knows he drives an 81 cutlass with a stroked chevy-because you know-it is different-its a cutlass.

    Red wheels were very common. Actually, just the part of the wheel lip that showed with the hubcaps on. maybe an inch or so is what the bucks-down guys did. Ever wonder why a set of wheels at a swap meet only had the outer lip painted? That was all that showed once the full wheel covers were installed.
     
  26. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    I hear ya Chevyshack and agree. I screwed up the thread title by saying traditional instead of traditional hot rod. I have a Traditional custom cruiser 55 Olds that most of the feedback seemed to lean toward.(need wider whites) But the one I was asking for is going to be hot rod for sure. Thanks for your 2 cents!
     

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  27. chevyshack
    Joined: Dec 28, 2008
    Posts: 950

    chevyshack
    Member

     
  28. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh
    Member

    Ouch Twin! But I see what you mean about the Cutlass being here. At least he's got an Old Chebbie too! The feedback has been helpful even though I should have been more specific. But I can see you know where I'm going. Cool part about your post is that I have those black rims with the red edge in my shop. Plus, that's the way they were on the 57 Olds I recently had. Thanks again!
     
  29. MyEvilTwin
    Joined: Jan 22, 2009
    Posts: 59

    MyEvilTwin
    Member

    Umm, you have pics of the car in your album section-so that jerks like me can see what you are into.

    When someone asks what would be an authentic style to build-'do your own thing' isn't the info they are looking for. They want stuff like some of the pics posted such as the interior, stance, tire/wheel combos etc...
    this is why they ask for information-to get information. Kind of like research...
     
  30. MyEvilTwin
    Joined: Jan 22, 2009
    Posts: 59

    MyEvilTwin
    Member

    If you are looking for the HotRod look, I think 32GMC has it down from what the guys back east were doing.
    Rubber rake, twice pipes, either sneaker plugs (two bolt shorty lakes pipes, usually dumping right behind the front tires) or the three bolt 'pro style' dumps, a couple of carbs, decent interior. I like the look now for the outside. Not too shiney, but not all ratted out either.
     

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