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My first car at 16 years was a 1955 Chevrolet Belair 2 Door Hardtop. It
was the Gypsy Red/India Ivory two-tone
with a 265 cu.in. V8 and a 3-speed on the column. That was a very nice car, but being a foolish teenager, I made
some changes to the car I would not be happy with today. I don't seem to have a photo of that car.
My second 1955 Chevrolet
Belair 2 Door Sedan was Harvest Gold/India Ivory. I bought it in 1974 without
transmission and found a nice 265 cu.in. V8 block, built the engine and coupled it with a 4-Speed transmission. This
was a very nice car with absolutely no rust anywhere. See photos below.
We sold that car in
1979 because I could not afford to finish it the way I wanted. It needed
paint and interior and
then of course were the most expensive main projects. So for over 25 years, I would always talk about getting
another one. Occasionally, I would get the bug to have another one, but only found ones that were basket cases and
it was very discouraging. I would let it go and another few years would go by and I would start the process again.
Finally, I started searching again in 2005 and finally found my perfect restoration project. I purchased this 1955
Chevrolet 210 2 Door Sedan. As seen below, this is what sold me on the car. It is complete and pretty original.
Everything works including the radio. It ran okay, but the brakes were not good.
I spent a fair amount of time on the car with rebuilding the carburetor, new
spark plugs and points. I worked on the
brakes to make them acceptable and made some changes to the interior. The photos below are from 2006.
Fast forward to 2010
and this is the year to get after the restoration project. I have been
gathering parts over
the last 4 years or so and this year will be the time to complete a frame off restoration. The plan is to strip
everything down and rebuild it as a 1970s era retro hot rod like I always wanted since I was a kid. The interior
and exterior will be Regal Turquoise/India Ivory. The third photo is very similar to what the car will look like when
complete. Keep in mind it is a Belair with different wheels. This photo is from Mike Oatman in Mississippi. Mike
did a beautiful job on his car and was kind enough to let me use his photo on my page so you can see the car that
makes the perfect model for my project. Thanks Mike! This will be updated as it progresses...stay tuned.
June 5, 2010 - The project has begun! We worked on it all day and removed
the engine, transmission, driveline,
exhaust system and radiator/radiator brace. We have been cleaning and bagging parts as we go so everything is
ready for re-install when it is time. As an example, the fifth photo is all of the throttle components from the gas
pedal to the rod to the carburetor. All of the parts cleaned up nice and are in excellent condition. Of course, the
throttle arm and carburetor rod will be changed out to V-8 compatible parts.
June 13, 2010 -
Continuing on to remove the grill, splash pan, park lights, headlights, fenders
and inner fenders.
is going to require some new parts here for sure. The fourth photos shows the headlight buckets and they are
beyond repair so replacements are in order. Because of that, the rust also is bad in the fenders in the headlight
area so it will require some patch panels. The park lights are also beyond reasonable repair and will be replaced.
June 20, 2010 - Continuing on to remove the passenger door. I removed everything including window mechanisms,
door handle, trim, etc. I will now rebuild and refurbish the wing window assembly laying on the front seat.
June 26, 2010 - Here I am at it again. The poor old car it looking pretty
pitiful at the moment. I have both
doors and all the dash and heater removed. I like the restoring and refurbishing as I go as I can bag and box
everything as I go as you see in the last photo in this segment. Tomorrow I will remove the rest of the interior
and deliver the doors and new fenders to the body shop - Stockton Street Machines. The original front fenders
are in too bad of condition and would require too many hours and patch panels to make them serviceable so I found
a different set from a fellow 55 enthusiast.
July 2, 2010 - Today, I removed the steering wheel assembly, seats, carpet, rear
side panels, headliner and all
interior trim. The floor pans are excellent and will not require any work to prepare for paint except one small area
near the driver seat rear bracket. As suspected, there is rusted out sections in the wheel wells as seen in photo 2
and 3. It is not as bad as I suspected. The 4th photo in this series is the heater assembled and ready to go back in
the car. And an update...today (July 5th) I finished my car hauler so it is now ready to haul the car around during
various stages of the project. I picked up a Carson trailer that needed a little work and a new wood deck. It looks
pretty good now.
July 10-11, 2010 - This weekend was very productive. Now the only thing
left is remove the gas tank. The car is
pretty much done as the rear is now stripped out including the taillight assemblies, bumper, trunk lid, etc. I also cleaned
the front of the frame so it will be easier to remove the steering box and front end pieces after we remove the body
from the frame. The last photo was taken through the trunk for some visual effects. I should be taking it to the body
shop on Sunday, July 18 to remove the body and bring home the frame for disassembly. The wing window assemblies have
been stripped and cleaned. New rubber seals are installed. Once the new glass comes in, it will be time to reassemble
as good as new.
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