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post #1 of 140 Old 07-17-2018, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

I had been looking for a while to get a new project car as I haven't had one in 2 years. It's not that I don't have ANY projects because I have several tractor resto/upgrades going on currently, but the car projects are something I want to do with my kids too. I had been looking at 2wd S10's, Novas, and basically enything that had a good body and was around $1000-1500.

I had found a 1986 S10 that the body had been off, frame was painted, all new bushings, springs, and better rear end, was already set up for a V8, and was pretty straigh, rust had been 'fixed' already, but it was a 2 seater, and I really wanted something for the family.

I found a 2 door 1975ish Chevy Nova 2 door, straight 6, TH350 car, and my dad had looked at it a couple years ago, and said it had no rust and was solid, however, the paint looked good and the car was toast. Its gonna be reclaimed by the earth soon... Rockers were gone, leaf spring mounts were rotting off, floors were junk, trunk pan was junk, front control arms were paper thin... It was a turd, and had whole dead mice in the interior. NASTY.

After that one dropped off my possible list, I started looking at other novas, malibu's, caprice's, impala SS's, and couldn't find anything I wanted. Found a couple ratty vette's that had been sitting for 10+ years, so I know the frames would be junk...

Then I came upon an ad on Facebook Marketplace, and it was 1953 Bel-Air sedan, and didn't look too bad. Guy wanted $1300 for it, and after messaging back and forth several times, I find out the guy builds tube chassis frames and suspensions for all kinds of stuff including my cousins mud truck, and the guy said if I show up with $1000 cash and my trailer that would buy the Bel-Air. My wife said "If it's a bel-air or a Vette you can buy it" so the whole family piled in my truck and we went to look at the car.

The trunk pan is rotted, but not too badly, the floors need a little help, but they're fixable. The car looks like at least 2 people worked on body work on it over the years. Some of the body work was done well, some was done realllllly poorly. It came with just about all the chrome, has both bumpers, all the glass (couple windows are cracked though)

So what is my plan with this car? Kind of a hot-rod barn find patina look roadkill style build. So what will it be? a 1953 Sedan with a 305HO from a Monte Carlo in it, I have a 2 speed powerglide for it, and I need to get a rear end. It still has the original rear end with torque tube in it that won't work with the trans I have, so I am looking for a S10 4x4 rear axle from like a 2000's S10 and I think I have found one for a good price with springs, but it's 2 hours each way from me... I plan to maybe either put 2 bench seats in it from S10's or something similar, or I may put 4 racing bucket seats in. I guess it all depends on what I find that strikes my fancy on any given day.

It will be a very cool cruiser, not a speed demon, probably will ride like crap as I plan to raise the rear up about 3" and I will probably leave the front suspension in for now. The front springs are super stiff, but hey even in 1953 they had a sway bar! So it's legit...

anyway, here are some pics for starters...

I already have the whole nose off, the trunk lid off, and I am starting on ripping the rear end out of it too.
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Hugh-SS/16 fan #0001

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post #2 of 140 Old 07-17-2018, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

I also emailed Rustoleum to see if they would sponsor me for paint on this car, as I buy a lot of their paint anyway, and I plan to use it on this one as I did on my C10 many years ago.

We'll see if they get back to me...

I go my old sweet ansen sprint style wheels back from my cousin too, I had those on my hotrod C10 and my sonoma, and on my caprice too. So I have had these for a long time, and they are perfect for this build.

The car came with the fender skirts too, but I don't plan to use them. I may keep them, I may sell them, not sure.
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Hugh-SS/16 fan #0001

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1967 Sub 12 Diesel
1967 Super 12 Special
1967 Super 12
1966/68 Sub "Miss Emma Lee" Diesel
1968 Super 12 Hydrotrac
1970 Sub 12
1970 Sub 12
1971 SS14 Hydro Diesel
1973 SS16 Diesel
1973 SS16 (red)
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1976 SS18
1976 Roper RT16T with Loader
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post #3 of 140 Old 07-17-2018, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

heres a few more pics

I had made a comment to a buddy of mine that it looked like they put bondo on with a spatula, and they did... It was in the car...
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Hugh-SS/16 fan #0001

.

1967 Sub 12 Diesel
1967 Super 12 Special
1967 Super 12
1966/68 Sub "Miss Emma Lee" Diesel
1968 Super 12 Hydrotrac
1970 Sub 12
1970 Sub 12
1971 SS14 Hydro Diesel
1973 SS16 Diesel
1973 SS16 (red)
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post #4 of 140 Old 07-17-2018, 06:57 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Cool project! It's got nice style! Looking forward to seeing you bring new life into it.

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post #5 of 140 Old 07-18-2018, 12:02 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

That looks like it will be a fair bit of fun! Wheels look really good on it. I am curious though, why a 2-speed instead of something like a TH400? I've only ever driven one 2-speed car and it probably wasn't a good example (the whole car was pretty worn out), but it wasn't something I would have considered choosing.
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post #6 of 140 Old 07-18-2018, 12:46 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Looks like a nice fun build!! Not sure I would use a PG in these days, but heck... you use what you have. If the s10 rear doesnt turn up, there are a ton of 8.8 ranger rears out there, and some even have disc brakes.

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post #7 of 140 Old 07-18-2018, 12:49 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

I love the lines on these rides. I've often envisioned making one a poor man's two door. Great stance............those rear "fenders" are just classic!

Nice score, congrats!

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post #8 of 140 Old 07-19-2018, 02:51 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

nice my dad had a 50 my brother 52

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post #9 of 140 Old 07-19-2018, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodgeboy49 View Post
That looks like it will be a fair bit of fun! Wheels look really good on it. I am curious though, why a 2-speed instead of something like a TH400? I've only ever driven one 2-speed car and it probably wasn't a good example (the whole car was pretty worn out), but it wasn't something I would have considered choosing.
the 2 speed was available, and inexpensive. Fluid inside was still clean and sweet not burnt. The final gear in a Powerglide is 1:1 just the same as a TH350 or TH400, so highway cruising will be fine, just won't get off the line as fast. I'm not worried, easy enough to change if I hate it.

I got a rear end from a 1979 trans am with 3.08 gears, drums look new, brake shoes look new, hardware is still gold in color, and the brake lines and one wheel cylinder are new (although the line is crushed from the guy removing the rear end). I got a set of leaf springs from a 2003 ish S10 pickup, they look very new- still have the part numbers painted on them- they may actually be replacements.

Next I have to get wider spring perches and weld them on the frame so the newer springs will fit because the original ones were 2" wide, and the new ones are 2.5" wide (3" at the bushings).

I Need to get different motor mounts too for the frame and the motor.

Its slowly coming together.

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post #10 of 140 Old 07-19-2018, 03:52 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Looks like it'll buff up nice eventually James!..one of my late friends had a nice '50 Chevy with the original 235 straight six & 3 on the tree..

The PowerGlide is a rugged transmission,rail dragsters used them,so did circle track dirt racers,granted their not as quick off the line as a TH350 or 400 is,but they do have the lowest first gear ratio out of them too,believe it or not..
I've owned several of them and used to travel hundreds of miles at a time in the cars that had them,and never had a bit of trouble with any of them..they all had a cool whine in park or neutral,I recall..

I have a 70's vintage Th350 short tail that came with a 307 V8 I bought a few months back,I don't know if its any good,but the fluid in it is clean and doesn't smell burnt--it does have a small hunk of the bellhousing missing though ,it appears the dipstick tube jammed against it when the engine was hoisted out,and it lost the bolt hole above the dowel pin,but I think it would not even be missed if you went to use it..
If I knew it was "good" I'd be tempted to put in place of the 700r4 in my 4x4 Suburban,it'll bolt in if you use a spacer on the tail..



I kept a TH350 with a lock up converter for a spare for my van,that came from a '86 G-10,it has the 9" tail housing ..been sitting a long time now,worked good before I pulled it,not sure if it would now though..

I saved a TH400 from a '74 Monte Carlo I had ,that had a 454 factory,been holding onto it in case the one in my plow truck craps out,its a short tail,but I'm pretty sure the output shaft is a tad too long to bolt right up to the transfer case,it would probably have to be swapped for the 4x4 version..

I have an extra 3rd seat for my '85 Suburban that might fit that car,if your interested too..

You can buy new spring perches for the rear axle at speed shops,also I have seen them for trailers at Tractor Supply too,that might work..
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post #11 of 140 Old 07-24-2018, 09:53 AM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Nice to see some pics of it. I'm sure you'll have a blast working on it. Is that the first year of a curved one piece windshield? I used this one in my 54. Cut ends to fit and weld. Really easy. Might not work in your case.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Trans-Dapt-...LH_TitleDesc=0
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post #12 of 140 Old 07-24-2018, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Robert, stinks that TH350 got dinged up- it may be ok for a easy drive now and then, I wouldn't put it in anything I was gonna thrash on...

Rick, I got trans dapt motor mounts for the 53 coming. it slides over the frame, and you drill 3 holes per side, and it bolts on, and you can weld it as well. I will probably just bolt it with three 3/8" grade 8 bolts per side to hold it on, and it should be fine.

I got a whole lot of work done this week. trunk pan s almost all fixed, I got the brake booster and master cylinder bolted in the to the frame, got the factory rear end out (for sale cheap with springs and everthing if anyone needs one), got my new spring mount parts in and working on mocking them up, and I ordered all the parts I need for my motor assembly- The block was a little disappointing because my buddy that I got it from, I knew had a bit of work done to it years ago, and it was done by a few guys in their teens- so the lower end was put together by a shop, so the bearings and everything are fine, but the heads had 2 different brand bolts holding them on, the motor has a 280H comp cam in it with stock valve springs, so I am replacing those, new keepers and locks, new pushrods (cause I didn't have any), and should be a decent motor.

The lower cyl walls have some visible scoring, but not enough to catch your finger on, so I plan to just run it for now- It is a 305, and I don't want to bore it out, as that adds much more money onto it. My buddy that I got it from has a 350 in pieces I can have, but it would be the same deal, I would need better pistons, and the cyl to be gone through, so that adds $700+ easy to any build. My plan on this build is to try to put it together for under $3500 total cost, and I think I can pull it off. I sold one of my tractors to help pay for it, and I have another for sale, maybe one more after that.

heres some more pics...
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Hugh-SS/16 fan #0001

.

1967 Sub 12 Diesel
1967 Super 12 Special
1967 Super 12
1966/68 Sub "Miss Emma Lee" Diesel
1968 Super 12 Hydrotrac
1970 Sub 12
1970 Sub 12
1971 SS14 Hydro Diesel
1973 SS16 Diesel
1973 SS16 (red)
1973 SS16
1974 SS16
1976 SS18
1976 Roper RT16T with Loader
1978 Roper RT16 (pinky)
1978 GT18
1991 Craftsman with loader

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post #13 of 140 Old 07-24-2018, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

heres a few more pics... despite the scoring (again I say minor minor) the lower end of this motor is immaculate. I'm super excited to get this thing back together once I get the rest of my parts in
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Hugh-SS/16 fan #0001

.

1967 Sub 12 Diesel
1967 Super 12 Special
1967 Super 12
1966/68 Sub "Miss Emma Lee" Diesel
1968 Super 12 Hydrotrac
1970 Sub 12
1970 Sub 12
1971 SS14 Hydro Diesel
1973 SS16 Diesel
1973 SS16 (red)
1973 SS16
1974 SS16
1976 SS18
1976 Roper RT16T with Loader
1978 Roper RT16 (pinky)
1978 GT18
1991 Craftsman with loader

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post #14 of 140 Old 07-24-2018, 02:01 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Not knowing much about complete motor vehicle engine rebuilding you said the cylinder walls had minor scoring and you were going to run it for now; does that mean you are going to hone them or leave as is? Just curious as this is a very interesting project. Thanks and good luck with it.
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post #15 of 140 Old 07-24-2018, 02:19 PM
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Re: New toy - 1953 Bel-Air sedan

Those Torque tubes were pretty weird. My 54 had that too. I think that time frame 53/54 was at the end of their usage. Looks like you're having fun and getting a lot done. I'm subbing this one!
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