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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1951 Plymouth Cranbrook 2dr hard top, blue with white top, given to me by my mom because it thru a rod, took it to auto shop at the high school and put a 303 4bbl. olds drive train in it that I bought using my paper route money, raised the front to look cool with little wheels up front rally wheels in the back, loved it thought I was hot shit cruising the main in Richmond California, My Dad took it away from me when he found out it was up and running stashed at a friends house......he sucked... got away with it for a month, but the auto shop teacher we had Mr. Ken Blanchard has a all out car guy and really put his time and some times money to help us out, we had a 4 bay with lifts shop, he would stay after school and let the few of us that where there because of are love of cars work on our stuff and sometime teachers cars, Thank You Mr. B,
 

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Much to the disappointment of my mother, I hot-rodded my '57 Chevy Belaire! It was my mother's car previously, and in my junior year of high school my parents sold it to me with just 65,000 miles on the odometer. It was a metallic dark green bottom, and the mint green top, which was a popular combination in 1957 Chevys.
At first I simply bought a set of chrome wheels, and red line tires. Then I swapped the 2 barrel intake/carb for a 4 barrel setup. Then I decided it needed even more power, so did my first major engine work by swapping in the old solid lifter Duntov 30-30 cam, and a pair of 1.94 camel hump heads, and headers. Still didn't bother my mom at that point, but the next step sure did! I tore out all the suspension, and put a late 50's Chevy truck straight axle in it! Then relocated the rear axle under the springs, and swapped out the chrome wheels for big and little American Torq Thrust spokes in 4" fronts, and 9" rears. A pair of TDI recapped cheater slicks on the back, and had a buddy do a panel pinstripe job all over the pretty green paint!
I still had the old worthless powerglide trans in it, which really was a horrible performance trans. So I decided to gather parts, and do a 4 speed swap, as funds allowed. The 4 speed made things really come alive, but emphasized the lack of a posi rear axle! So next step was to find a posi third member, and drop that in too.
My mother's reaction was a bit surprising, as I didn't realize how attached she was to the old '57. But my dad's reaction was to tell her it was my car, and my money, and I could do what I wanted to it now. I kept the car from 1967-71, and then on a trip home on leave from the USAF, I found a nice '67 Chevelle, and traded the '57 in on it. After all the money I'd stuffed into the '57, I got $500 trade in for it, which was exactly what I gave my parents when I bought it in '67! Stupid kids. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great story Vall, yup stupid kids, but what memories. and Happy 4th every one
 

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Back then a Tri 5 Chevy was the car to own, but still dirt cheap. Lots of them under $1,000 and even drivers for as little as a couple hundred bucks. I gave $150 in 1971 for a '55 Chevy 150 business coupe, and drove it home with a 6 cyl., 3 speed! Another gasser project! It was the car that I planned to do everything right on, and not make some mistakes I made on that first '57 Chevy gasser!
 

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I got my first hot rod in 1965, I was 16, it was a 55 Ford. As I have mentioned in a prior post my dad was on the LAPD. He acquired this car through a lean sale with the police impound storage yard. It had been towed as a deserted vehicle. It was really clean. No body damage, interior was good and newer recap Firestones; the problem was it wouldn't start. My dad thought he could fix it and sell it for a few extra bucks. He messed around and couldn't get it to run. In an act of supreme generosity he told me if I could get it running it was mine and so started my life time of dicking around with cars. After many, many hours of trying to figure out what was wrong it was discovered the engine had a flat cam. This was a 272 cubic inch, two barrel, single (cross over) exhaust, Fordomatic two speed and 6 volt system car. I went to the bone yard and purchased a 312 from a totaled T-bird with one of those old style Ford 4 barrels. As I found out later when the motor blew up it had had a Clay Smith cam installed. After getting it running I think one of the first things I did was reverse the rear shackles followed by killing the front coils from installing about 12 coil spacers, 6 on each side of the spring, to raise the front end. I dumped the old Ford 4 barrel and installed an Autolite (I think it was) 4 barrel I bought from a neighbor and had to use a 1" spacer so it would work; the butterflies on the carb were to big for the ports on the manifold and at that time I knew nothing about air flow so there was no enlarging of the carb ports to match the adapter ports. I installed a, I think, it was an old Drag Fast floor conversion shifter for the automatic. I purchased a pair of used block hugger type headers that bolted right up to the head pipes I had put on for my dual exhaust to go along with my junk yard glass packs. Cut a hole in the hood and put on a fiber glass bubble hood. I also put in some bucket seats, chrome wheels on the front and mags with cheaters on the back. As a matter of fact the buckets and mags that can be seen in the photos of my Falcon came from this car. Oh yeah, one other thing. I put a pair of coil springs in between the frame and rear end housing and thought that they would be held in by the weight of the car. I found out how wrong I was about half a block from my house when I went to turn onto a main street in town and one of them popped out...Learn from your mistakes right. Oh man were those fun times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another great story, shows what lengths one would go to to be fast and cool on a budget when young..... forgot all about recap tires... we would go to the junk yard and buy may-pop tires to burn off on the back, must have been nice to have a dad kick in on the car,,,,,,,,,, you think the companies that made coil spring spacers loved us kids...... you bet they did
 

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OK Lash, you used a term I'm just not familiar with, "may pop" tires. Did that mean that they were recaps that "may pop" if they got to hot. I know different parts of the country have different terms for various things. One of my friends when I was in the Army was from Texas. He told me that when the Beach Boys released Little Deuce Coupe that down in Texas they thought the Beach Boys were singing "there's one more thing I got the big slicks daddy"; not the correct "I got the pink slip daddy". As I found out, the certificate of owner ship isn't called a "pink slip" in Texas so they weren't familiar with the term. As for the spring spacers, you're right; the manufactures no doubt loved us but I learned my lesson. In the one photo of my Falcon you can see the front end is lifted. In the same machine shop class I made my tap wrench, one of the many car parts I made were a pair of 3" tall spacer inserts that I installed between the top of the coil spring and the top perch; so that this front end had some actual up and down movement. I also made the shock extensions that I discovered I needed after installing the upper inserts.
 

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Wow Steve! I had completely forgotten the coil springs stuffed on top of the axle trick! I did so on one car also, but was lucky that a friend told me what I needed to keep them in place, or I'd have just stuffed them in too! And screw in coil spring spacers! I remember going to the wrecking yards and taking them out of springs, as funds were low and the yards gave them to us for .25 cents each if we removed them! Good memories Steve! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We used to go thru the wrecking yards and look for wide tires cause we could not afford them new, old tiger paws, fire hawk gt's and would sort thru them ...........good ones, the yard wants to much, these are ok I can afford them, and these MAY POP while doing a burn out or racing, we bought a lot of may pops cause they where at a give away price, and most if taken to a tire shop they would not mount them.........but one of us always seemed to be working at a gas station so it wasn't a problem, We figured they where cheap slicks, Stupid kids.........I would like to take this time to apologize to the public for putting you at risk, back in the days..............signed stupid kid...................any body remember Grand Auto Stores
 

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Hey, I love the idea of these early hotrod posts! I wont apologize for all the risky things I did then, since nobody got hurt, including me and my buddies! ;) I still think there must have been some divine intervention, as some of those combinations just screamed danger, and in my younger days, I surely didn't take it easy until whatever I built proved to be OK!
I remember wearing out the clutch in my '67 Chevelle SS, and putting a brand new clutch and pressure plate in. Then pulled out in front of my house, and did a 5,000 rpm clutch dump to impress my buddy. Blew the 4 speed trans up, and never moved an inch! Embarrassing, and more money out, plus a few more down days to find a trans and put it in. Of course the new 4 speed got a good hard launch to prove it also was strong enough to take my abuse.
Times sure change with age. Now I putt around like an old lady for at least 2-3 minutes before I really test my repairs! ;)
 

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I can't believe that with all the people on this site there have only been 3 replies to this post!!! Everybody here started somewhere; let's have some sharing guys!!!!!
 

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I only did cosmetic stuff, mainly wheels and tires, until I got a crazy idea to put a 283 in my daily driver Chevy LUV in the late 70's. It had a Powerglide behind it at first with some bad gears or something (it whined like a gear drive) and then I changed to a 3 speed w/overdrive. the V8 w/overdrive got better highway mileage than the stock 4 cylinder and it scooted pretty good, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Very nice Gary, and they are still very popular today both stock and modified, Prices are pretty high for a nice one..............Lash
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ol'blue there are a lot of lurkers but dont want to be on multi sites thinking there breaking some kind of commitment to another site Herd Mentality............Lash
 

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My first car, I was in hi school the car...a 67 barracuda I had replace with a 440 and a 4 speed in it..the car was a blast to drive on the street..it would pass everything on the road except the gas stations..burns out were common after school. Sitting at a red light next to a field about 5 minutes from my house, this suicidal bastard deer is running out of the field to my right, smashed the front fender and damage the headlight assembly before bouncing back up and taking off. Little f…..ker caused damage the car. My parents did not believe me until the art teacher at school behind me at the traffic signal confirm the story. So odd.
 

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Lash,
I never see them around here anymore. They've all rusted away.

This was my actual 1st car. Wrecked it before I could do anything to it. 289/C4.
 

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I`ve been so busy with my car and projects for other people I really don`t get to read all of the parts of the forum. I`m setting here waiting on my buddy from work ,so we can finish his late father-in-law`s El Camino . That way his mother-in -law can enjoy it again. My first car wasn`t much of a hot rod ,it was a 63 Galaxy with a 260 & 2 speed automatic . I did the split exhaust and all the gauges , My dad told me I didn`t need a tach ,cause it wan`t fasten enough to need one. Well I put one on it anyway. I hid it with a stocking cap I wore . Well one day dear ole dad`s car was broke down ,so he borrowed mine . He said he about broke a hand trying to get my cap of the dash ,so that kind of let the cat out of the bag on my tach. I caught hell about for a week or more . My little sister ended up owning it when I went into the Marines. She got stopped more for loud pipes that I ever did. But it was fun . Now my next car really got me into a lot of trouble ,but that`s for a later date. Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Barracudas I love them I saw the hemi under Glass at Fremont Drag strip way back never stopped loving them since
 

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The first car I hot-rodded was the '57 Chevy I got from my parents. But it wasn't my first "car". My first car wasn't a car either; it was a 1947 International panel truck that I bought from my uncle. I was 13 years old, and worked for my uncle on his farm each summer. The old International sat beside his field for quite some time, and I finally asked him why? He said it started leaking coolant from the block, and he parked it, and bought his new Ford pickup.
Since I was making the big bucks! ($10 a day!) I asked if he'd sell the truck to me? He referred me to my dad, and said only if he OK'd the purchase. He said OK, and my uncle told me I could have it for $25, but needed to get it running. No battery, no front seat (the mice had eaten it) and numerous little issues. I found rubber soft plugs at the parts store that allowed me to replace the rotted ones, and not have to pull the engine. Got a free bench seat from a Simca that fit inside, and was blue, so went with the dark blue truck well. Picked up a carb kit, and did my first carb rebuild by the instructions. After getting a battery, and some fresh gas, I gave it a shot of ether, and she came to life! I immediately jumped in and drove it around the perimeter road of the fields until I ran it out of gas! I went home on weekends, and each Sunday I brought another 10 gallons of gas back with me! Every night when I finished the day's work, I drove the old International around the fields, until I got the call for dinner!
Two years later I got my permit, and the International finally came home. A year after that, I got my license, and it was my school vehicle. Little did I know I'd get so much harassment from some of my peers for driving a panel truck! Of course there were the guys who didn't have a car, or had something worse, who loved it. I didn't care, and it seemed my truck was the vehicle often chosen when a bunch of guys all wanted to go at the same time! I often had a dozen guys in the back, and charged every one of them for gas, so had some extra funds for my own driving!
Never got any pictures, but this is very much like mine. I sold it to the neighbor across the street for his sheet metal business, and got $285 for it!
 
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