1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

Motor Trend magazine gave the Bel Air top marks for handling. Popular Mechanics reported acceleration for a V8 Bel Air with Powerglide as being 0-60 mph in 12.9 seconds, plus a comfortable ride and good visibility. On the other hand, the horn ring blocked some of the speedometer, regular gasoline made the engine knock and the first V8 engines off the line burned too much oil. A new option for V8-equipped 1955 models was air conditioning, with outlets on each side of the dashboard; a heavy-duty generator was included on cars equipped with this option; in 1955 and 1956, air conditioning could be installed on cars ordered with the standard three-speed manual transmission, overdrive or Powerglide, but from 1957 onward, an automatic transmission (or minus that, 4-speed manual transmission) was a pre-requisite option.


Before...

The client brought in this car to have it converted with an LS3 engine. It is in a rough place right now but we will be able to make it look like brand new again. Maybe even better then before!

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During...

We began tearing down the car today, that's the easy part. Watching them come apart is always something interesting to see. This is going to be a fun project!

The Bel Air is about to head out to the media blaster. When it comes back we will be able to how much work the body will need.

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This is the original upholstery that the car came with. The turquoise will become red and there might be a different pattern rather than the original pattern. The two chairs on the end aren't the original seats but that is what the customer wants as the front seats.

Just got this back from the media blaster, as you can see in some of the pictures, there are some areas that have very thick body filler. We will have to take all the body filler off and replace the patch panels that are on there. There are also some rust spots that have eaten completely through the metal. 

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Got the Bel Air coated in epoxy except for the passenger and driver rear panels that will be replaced.

 

This is a look at the new upholstery, a bright red! 

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Got the rear passenger quarter panel cut out to replace with new metal.

 

Driver seat is almost done, our upholstery department got the seat covered. Now it is time to get the buckle and belt to match and it will be a finished product.

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We have the replacement panel on and waiting for the tail light to come in so that we can finish welding this piece in. 

Here are the rear body panels and arm rests. The interior is coming along, can't wait to see the rear bench seat done.

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Working on the drivers side rear panel. Getting it welded on and replacing the old rear panels since they had so much body filler.

Our upholstery department got the rear bench seat completed. We are proud of what our department can do.

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The car is on the rotisserie so that the paint and body team can get the car done easier and faster. 

Due to the old tail panel being badly rusted, we had to replace this piece with a new one.

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Body work is now done on the truck lid, going into the paint booth to get primed.

Got the body primered, soon the color will be put on the car.

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The trunk lid and doors have gotten primered and are ready for paint.

The frame arrived today! It looks magnificent, the frame will be heading to the powder coater.

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Got the polyurethane body mount bushings in and in the correct places.

The client bought a new smooth firewall, it has a four inch recess in order to make room for the new engine. We have cut out the old firewall and will be mocking up the new smooth one to be fitted in.

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Mock up of the body and frame to make sure they fit perfectly. Once they are sure they fit together the frame will go to the powder coater and the body will go back to the paint shop.

Needed to cut out transmission tunnel due to the old one not being in good condition. 

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The new transmission tunnel has replaced the old one due to it not being in good condition.

Just got the frame back from the powder coater and the engine mounted on the frame.

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Fuel and brake lines have been connected on to the frame.

The body is back on the frame for the final mock up.

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Interior parts have been primered.

The engine, third-member and drive shaft have been painted black cherry candy.

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The engine has been installed on the frame. 

Final mock up of the fenders and core support.

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Installing the new vintage air system.

Working on getting the wiring harness in the correct places.

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After...