Gasser HotRod Forums banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New project for this old guy after I told myself I was too old, too broke & too tired to take on any rough projects. I actually tried for 3 days NOT to make a deal on this car. The guy selling it kept pestering me with lower & lower price and throwing in more & more parts to the point where he even delivered it to my shop. And I have a soft spot for vintage drag cars that ran back in the day when I was a young pup going to Lebanon Valley and Connecticut Dragway and watching them run. First a bit of history on the car. I'm searching for more info and pictures of it from back then but so far no luck. It ran at Maryville Dragway here in East Tennessee with a Chevy V8 and a 4 speed and was parked and left to die in about 1970 when the track closed it's doors forever. Has a 57 Olds rear end with 5:38 gears. The biggest drawback of these 36 & older Chevys is the inner structure of the body & doors is wood and it's all rotten. That will get replaced with steel. Floor pans are pretty much non existent but the rest is surprisingly solid with the exception of one side of the chassis where the home built traction bar ripped out of the frame. Lots of vintage bits still in the car but they are all junk from sitting too long. I will try to locate good used replacements to keep the history of the car intact. My only concession to modern technology will be front disc brakes for safety but in my mind I justify it by the fact that disc brakes came out as an option on most cars in the mid 60s. And a T5 5 speed trans so I can keep some fairly steep rear end gears in it but that will be disguised by the addition of a vintage Hurst shifter handle. Enough rambling. Here are the pics beginning with the car as found and the progress I've made so far. Engine is an early 70s 350 disguised to look a bit older.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
752 Posts
That is gonna be cool when done!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,419 Posts
Great looking car, and a classic body style. It will be a challenge, but looks like you've got the shop and tools to take it on. I couldn't help but smile when reading your description of how the seller kept pushing the car, and lowering the price until he finally delivered it to you. It sounded almost exactly like what I went through 18 months ago when I took a casual look at my '39 Chevy coupe, and the seller began at a higher price, but continued to reduce the price, and show me more and more parts that went with it. He finally offered to deliver it to my house, and I bought the rust bucket. Yours actually might be a little better shape, but pretty close to mine when I bought it. At least mine didn't have any wood to replace, so that was a bit easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Step 2.. Making stuff pretty. Engine & trans temporarily installed for mockup to make sure everything fits. Engine finished minus rebuilding the carbs. It's a 350 .030 over with flat tops, Comp Cams Big Mutha Thumper cam, 462 double hump heads with Milodon guide plates, screw in studs, Comp Cams roller tip rockers & pushrods, vintage Edelbrock C26 intake modified for a PCV valve so I don't have to hack the original Corvette valve covers. Disc brake conversion made for 47-59 Chevy half ton pickup modified to fit the 36 straight axle because nobody makes a kit that fits the light duty 33-36 spindles. That's it for now. Currently de-rusting the chassis and repairing it as needed.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great looking car, and a classic body style. It will be a challenge, but looks like you've got the shop and tools to take it on. I couldn't help but smile when reading your description of how the seller kept pushing the car, and lowering the price until he finally delivered it to you. It sounded almost exactly like what I went through 18 months ago when I took a casual look at my '39 Chevy coupe, and the seller began at a higher price, but continued to reduce the price, and show me more and more parts that went with it. He finally offered to deliver it to my house, and I bought the rust bucket. Yours actually might be a little better shape, but pretty close to mine when I bought it. At least mine didn't have any wood to replace, so that was a bit easier.
I hear that. One year newer and there wouldn't be any wood to deal with. The hardest part will be completely rebuilding the inner structure of the doors. Everything including the latches, window regulators, etc is screwed to rotten wood. It's easy to figure out why so many Fords from these years survived while many of the GM cars are gone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
So cool! Take one little step, then another, and you'll be happy (happier) you did! Disk brakes are a smart move. Rowing through the gears with the T5 will be fun! Cheers!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks guys. And I agree doing something every day keeps up the motivation level. Especially when you begin to see progress. Today's adventure is the rear axle. 57-58 Olds 9.3 rear end. Man that thing is huge. Makes a Ford 9" look like the rear in my riding lawnmower.. Axles out and will need bearings, seals & new studs. ALL RH thread studs too since I broke 3 when I took the wheels off before I realized the drivers side was LH thread like an old Mopar. Center chuck out.. as expected from doing the turn the yoke & count thing, it's got 5:38 gears. And.. does anyone need one of these extremely rare posi units made by Bubba & Sons Welding Shop and Moonshine Distillery ? Got an unmolested one legger carrier to replace that because I haven't got an extra 2k laying around for an original posi unit. Anyone got a spare set of 4:10 or so gears they want to swap for some 5:38s ? This ain't gonna be a trailer queen. I plan to drive it. For the traction bars I'm thinking they can stay but adding another square tube bar from the top of the bracket on the rear housing to the end of the bar that's there with some cross bracing added like a true ladder bar. If anyone sees anything they would do different don't hesitate to comment. I tend to do my own thing but second opinions from guys who have been there are always welcome. For example I'm on the fence about adding a heim to the front of the traction bars. It might be more street worthy but then my brain starts asking if heims are "period correct".
 

Attachments

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,419 Posts
If you plan to drive it a lot, it's currently not set up to do so with ladder bars and leaf springs, and no floater brackets at the axle tubes. The springs will be in a bind with the ladder bars, which is likely why the one side was broken anyway. The other option is a shackle up front to allow the springs to work, and let the axle move rearward as the springs compress. I went the front shackle setup like 4x4's use on mine, as I've done this a couple previous times, and it works.
As for heim ends, I'm not certain when they first saw use, but I use them often. A solid threaded rod end will do the same if you're against the look of heim ends. An adjuster on each tube at the axle end is a very good thing also, as you may find you need to adjust the ladder bar angle once the car is sitting on 4 tires. I've got adjustment on all 3 points, and it's a great help in setting the car up later. Mine are solid adjustable endss at the axle, and heim ends up front.
Might also consider a safety loop around the front attachment bolt point too. If the bolt ever broke the front of a ladder bar will hit the ground and launch the car into the air. NHRA requires them, but I put them on regardless whether I ever run down a NHRA strip or not.
These are mine I built and you can see the tabs up front where my bolt on safety loops go once they're on my car.



Another pic with the safety loops bolted on.



And the bars in place with front shackles angled back to allow spring/axle travel.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you plan to drive it a lot, it's currently not set up to do so with ladder bars and leaf springs, and no floater brackets at the axle tubes. The springs will be in a bind with the ladder bars, which is likely why the one side was broken anyway. The other option is a shackle up front to allow the springs to work, and let the axle move rearward as the springs compress. I went the front shackle setup like 4x4's use on mine, as I've done this a couple previous times, and it works.
As for heim ends, I'm not certain when they first saw use, but I use them often. A solid threaded rod end will do the same if you're against the look of heim ends. An adjuster on each tube at the axle end is a very good thing also, as you may find you need to adjust the ladder bar angle once the car is sitting on 4 tires. I've got adjustment on all 3 points, and it's a great help in setting the car up later. Mine are solid adjustable endss at the axle, and heim ends up front.
Might also consider a safety loop around the front attachment bolt point too. If the bolt ever broke the front of a ladder bar will hit the ground and launch the car into the air. NHRA requires them, but I put them on regardless whether I ever run down a NHRA strip or not.
These are mine I built and you can see the tabs up front where my bolt on safety loops go once they're on my car.



Another pic with the safety loops bolted on.



And the bars in place with front shackles angled back to allow spring/axle travel.

Great advice. Thanks ! I actually was aware of the trick of using short shackles on the front of the ladder bars. Speedway sells some that are inexpensive. The safety loop is a great idea and something I hadn't considered. Much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,593 Posts
With a shop like that you are never to old to stop building hot rods....I will say that is a big project...but a really great piece of history
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,423 Posts
Nice project. Love the 36. I have a standard 35 (looks likes a 34). Plan on a vertical support on each quarter from back window down to the floor. Those bodies were supported with wood to stop flex up and down which would crack the fatigued metal top of the quarter. Love the olds rear. If you need pics of my wood frame check my 35 Chevy Gasser Project Thread. I noticed your frame is already boxed. Great time saver. Also make sure you hang your doors and adjust before you do any floor work as the front cowl or firewall may need to kick back or forward at the bottom to line the door body lines. I’m looking forward to watching your build. Wish you the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks Mario and everyone else. I do plan to do a bit of reinforcing with metal where there previously was wood. 36 was a change over year for GM and thankfully they didn't use nearly as much wood as they did in your 35. No wood in the roof or the front door posts on the body. But from there back it's still mostly wood. I also plan to install a simple roll bar system (not a full cage) in keeping with it's drag racing heritage. That should help stiffen the chassis. It's actually not been boxed after the fact. That's how GM did them in 36 and called it a "top hat" type frame. I do have one area on the passenger side that needs serious attention. It appears they kept breaking the traction bar bracket and so they just kept throwing more & more chunks of heavy guage steel at it. That ultimately trapped water and caused it to rust out. ALL of that needs to go away and it will be repaired properly. Advice on how to address that is appreciated. By some miracle there is enough still there that the frame is still straight. The picture is how it is now after I grabbed a big section of 1/4" steel plate that was badly welded over the rust and pulled it off with my hands...
 

Attachments

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,419 Posts
If I was making this repair to the frame I'd start by reinforcing the top of the rail first. The top is likely the most solid part of the frame, so I'd tack a piece of 1.5"-2" box tubing across the top before beginning any repairs. Then I'd cut out the bottom of the frame first, and cut it back to where I found solid steel. I'd cut equal thickness plate to replace the piece removed, and make it identical to what I cut out. Then before I welded it back in I'd plug weld plates on either end inside the existing frame. This will give the plate a place to clamp too, and the doubling plates will strengthen the repair.
I'd also drill holes to plug weld the filler plate to the doubler plates. And then simply weld it in at the plug welds, and butt weld the joints. Once the bottom plate was in, I'd cut out the two rusted sides, and bend up some metal to duplicate the two sides. These two sides could be bent up slightly short to slip under the saved top plate, and then a weld done on the top mating corner. Like the bottom plate I'd drill holes every few inches along the bottom L shaped edge to plug weld the side to the bottom plate. Then use doubler plates at each end as done on the bottom to make the vertical side joint also stronger when it's plug and butt welded. Once it's done you can cut the box tubing off the top and grind the welds smooth everywhere. Should be an invisible repair at this point.

I'm sure there are other methods, but that's how I'd do it. It will add a little weight, but very little. And should be stronger than an original frame when done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If I was making this repair to the frame I'd start by reinforcing the top of the rail first. The top is likely the most solid part of the frame, so I'd tack a piece of 1.5"-2" box tubing across the top before beginning any repairs. Then I'd cut out the bottom of the frame first, and cut it back to where I found solid steel. I'd cut equal thickness plate to replace the piece removed, and make it identical to what I cut out. Then before I welded it back in I'd plug weld plates on either end inside the existing frame. This will give the plate a place to clamp too, and the doubling plates will strengthen the repair.
I'd also drill holes to plug weld the filler plate to the doubler plates. And then simply weld it in at the plug welds, and butt weld the joints. Once the bottom plate was in, I'd cut out the two rusted sides, and bend up some metal to duplicate the two sides. These two sides could be bent up slightly short to slip under the saved top plate, and then a weld done on the top mating corner. Like the bottom plate I'd drill holes every few inches along the bottom L shaped edge to plug weld the side to the bottom plate. Then use doubler plates at each end as done on the bottom to make the vertical side joint also stronger when it's plug and butt welded. Once it's done you can cut the box tubing off the top and grind the welds smooth everywhere. Should be an invisible repair at this point.

I'm sure there are other methods, but that's how I'd do it. It will add a little weight, but very little. And should be stronger than an original frame when done.
Excellent advice. Pretty much what I planned on doing so it's solid while not being "in your face" obvious. Much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Got the pieces made to repair the frame at a local metal fab shop. Had to put that on hold because my buddy doing the welding is out of town. So I concentrated on the rear end. When I bought the car it had welded spider gears and 5.38 ring & pinion. Since I plan on driving this car on the street that's not a good option. Found an unmolested carrier from an Ebay seller and a set of 4.10 gears on the HAMB. Being a 58 Olds 9.3 rear I had to get a few things from Fabcraft. Ordered new brake stuff, axle bearings & seals, Moroso 3" wheel studs, etc and here we are. If anyone knows of a good source for 57-64 Olds rear drums or what else might fit please let me know.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,423 Posts
That’s great. I love that olds rear. Great buy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Did you try one of the C10 drums and it didn't fit?
OK so here's the verdict but it's not a 100% positive result. They fit and would work fine most likely. No rubbing on anything and the center hole is a good fit. The offset from the face of the drum that seats against the axle flange to the outside of the shoes is 1/16" less on the pickup drums. So to explain it more simply when the drums wear instead of there being a lip on the outside edge of the drum the shoes hit all the way to that edge. The drum does not overhang the backing plate to keep dirt out like they do on the truck either. The Olds drums have a fairly good size "bell" that goes over the backing plate. I think I'm going to continue looking for the right ones for now. If I can't locate any I can use truck drums but I'd rather not. Clear as mud eh ?
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top