Chevy High Performance
Click here to find out more!

'55 truck bodywork

Chevy High Performance
1 |  2 |  3 |  Next   | Last 
Item Posts    Sort Order

'55 truck bodywork

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/21/12
09:15 PM

Hello once again, Chevy lovers!  Cool

Got another Chevy job to fix and I'm gonna share it with you as I go ... again if you don't mind. I have a cool job and like blabbing about projects on the net. I've made many friends here, and posted three Chevy bodywork and paint jobs previously. Add another to the pile. Ignore or follow along, ask questions or give suggestions, hell I'm easy. If you like a good 'junkman post go get a drink, pull up a creeper seat, and I'll get you up to speed while we look it over.

Our hero showed up like this:

IMG 7742 Zps3c4540b5
IMG 7741 Zpsa7f94550
IMG 7739 Zps20c36571
IMG 7737 Zpsa4a4cd98
IMG 7749 Zpsba30c783

The project is ... as far as I know at this point ... a blue '55 Chevy short narrow bed truck that was wrecked. It had the small back window. Although that cab was repaired, during the process this '57 cab was located. It has the big window, and this is the one the customer ended up going with.

The project as I know- comes to us (Hagar's) from R&R. Apparently R&R is doing the chassis as we get the body ready, then it goes back to the cat who loves it but had an accident, all repaired and upgraded in the end.

I was working on a 65 GTO ragtop before this (did I mention I am a Pontiac nut and Grand Prixs are all I own? lol Chevy is next, had my share for sure), and just now got it in primer so I may be bouncing back and forth at first. After that cab showed up, then came a pile of parts, new and old. Then a frame. Not our hero frame, but one we can use to mock up the body panels. Two good dudes bolted together what you see, and spent a certain amount of time aligning the panels as best they could without bending anything. They did pretty well, I think.

IMG 7806

The aftermarket parts fit each other OK, but not the cab. The doors are old replacements that were fitted to the '55 cab. They fit OK, but where cab corners and rockers have been replaced there are problems. Parts for these old trucks are only about this good, if you see a nice-fitting one, somebody did a lot of work on it or it is original. This one will be better than new, at least.

But not without a lot of work! While this truck isn't a show truck it will be a nice one, and my job right now is to make gaps happen, install a bear claw type door latch conversion and some trick flush door handles, and get it all smoothed and primed so the paint shop can have at it. I'll be doing some slicing and welding and taking it the rest of the way, but some has already been done. The shaved cowl vent and drip rails, and rocker and lower cab corner replacements, etc. I sanded around on just the cab today, found many dents. All this green tape shows areas that need work. Wish me luck and bear with me, I'll get back with more pics of the steps as I go.  

IMG 8310 Zps9e199315

IMG 8319 Zps697772ad

Here are some of the problems to start with. If you look closely, you can see that while the side gaps of the hood are not bad, the front corners are. Passenger side touches the fender, driver's side is way too short. Work required.

IMG 8273 Zps81543e68

Back of the hood fits the cowl OK across the middle (but rubs underneath), but the contours are way different from the cowl out towards the end. Both sides. Of course I will make an effort to further align the panels by scooting stuff around, but lots of massaging will be needed to make acceptable gaps all over.

IMG 8277 Zps0eca74e7

IMG 8289 Zpsd13c4030

Door window frames need work but not too bad, I did a '62 Ford that was a mess after the drip rail shave, these are nowhere near as bad. Stay tuned if you like bodywork. Its all really a piece of cake, you can do it too.

IMG 8281 Zps9f0064ff  

redneckjoe69 redneckjoe69
Addict | Posts: 2337 | Joined: 03/10
Posted: 09/22/12
05:44 AM

i enjoy your posts Matt.  its nice to see a pro at work.   ill be following this thread.   BTW, i saw that g.t.o., its looking mean. Cool  

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/22/12
10:00 PM

Anybody else here installed any aftermarket replacement body parts on one of these 1955-57 truck bodies? Confused I reckon I should research that on one of the truck sites, see how everybody else solves the cowl problems.

Thanks for the reply, flag-man Joe!  Grin  Yeah I don't know just how much I'll be involved with the truck, I gotta try not to spend a whole lot of time on it, and heck we may or may not get to put it together after paint. I just know its a Chevy so here I am. The door handles I'm supposed to put in it are a product I don't really like, same as on the GTO but the truck may be harder to make them work good, you'll see.

As I think about it, theres some adjustments I want to try on that front end. Fitting it up on a different frame freaks me slightly but its better than no frame at all, for mock-up.

BTW-BTW, I dig the Goat too man. Looks mean because I put that GR-RRRaffiti on the masking paper, lol.

Dig this trick fabbed carbon fiber and aluminum bed floor the owner made for his "unibody" truck that I bodyworked. Thats the air-ride tank up front. Amazing truck, he owns a fab shop. It got "Preacher's Pick" at Goodguys in KC!  

Pontiacman2 Pontiacman2
Moderator | Posts: 8956 | Joined: 09/08
Posted: 09/23/12
06:29 AM

My favorite style of chevy truck.
That thing is going to look great when your done with it.  

Professional Hi-performance engine builder

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/23/12
02:14 PM

Howdy Pman  Smile  They sure are good lookin trucks. Thanks!  

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/25/12
06:48 PM

Sanded Friday, mudded Monday and today. Roof is roughed out (has more mud now than in this pic), it was pretty dented up. I did an hour or so of hammer and dolly work first:

IMG 8322

This cab corner is on crooked, and the rocker ain't much better. Parts of it didn't get welded up, I'll have to put some spot welds on the bottom flanges at the back. But I got this door gap going. I still haven't talked things over with the customer so several decisions about the repairs are up in the air.

IMG 8333

Can you kind of see the bad gap between the windshield post and door frame? In the upper left corner of this pic.

IMG 8291

The pillar sat much farther in than the door but the difference was small enough to fix it with filler rather than a complicated time consuming slice and weld job.  

IMG 8330

IMG 8342

Somebody else done started sanding on the GTO ...  

76Skylark 76Skylark
Guru | Posts: 854 | Joined: 12/11
Posted: 09/26/12
01:39 PM

To me the Sanding is the part I would NOT want to do, I guess I could mess up sanding because the only time I worked in a body shop I was helping the Painters and the Owner of the Place saw me and started Cussing out the Painters for letting me Near it. I know I am 'tupid but really not even let me Sand? S'all Good.Hey Matt I can get a 65 GTO body to put on the wagon Frame If you will do the work ( wagon is tube frame remember) Just Kidding!I can't afford a pro Like yourself.Oh yea the truck will be Outstanding I'm sure.Not Going Green are they,the last green truck turned out Great though.  

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/26/12
05:27 PM

You DO need to do something with that dragon chassis, John!

Thats the trouble with sanding ... it ain't that easy to tell a guy who is messing it up from one who is doing it right! You just never know until its shiny time. The color is going to be a nice burgundy. This one, actually- (I liked the blue, though!)

5 23 10%20083

The customer came by today, answered all my questions. The little seam at the front of that windshield post is getting welded up (to the cowl). Most of my questions were just repair suggestions in need of approval or a choice. This is a slick, bagged truck (roof at eye level), but not an ultimate show ride. So he mostly opted for thick bondo and minimal slice-and-weld, to make the gaps nice. We just flushed out his wallet on a Model A, so I can understand.

Started the day on this crooked cab corner-

IMG 8351

Whooped that by lunch-

IMG 8356

IMG 8360

When I got back from lunch the door latch converion kit was laying on the hood. Hot diggity, I did the first door in about an hour. Its pretty easy, look:

Chop out this area as indicated in the photo instructions-

IMG 8370

Bolt in this plate with a latch in it- (yes theres a trim panel missing, I don't have it)

IMG 8383

Bolt this striker plate in place of the old-

IMG 8380

... and BAM, yer done. Works good. That kit is from Trique, called an Altman Easy Latch. Pretty damn easy!

Now for the flush door handle install. These are made by Kindig-it. I see they have a more squared style available now.

Heres one installed on a '65 GTO. Check out the HPP forum for details of that install if you like, the "My first GTO job" thread. A little less detail here, but the making it work part may be tougher on this than on the goat. Stay tuned.

IMG 8042

IMG 8034

Yeah I don't like 'em because they don't open very far. Mine is not to question why, mine is but to do or die.

Anyhow, away I go on the installation-

Heres the handle hole. The inner wall is a handle brace tack-welded to the door skin. See the shiny silver lever on the new latch, through the hole in the door shell?

IMG 8375

Heres that old inner handle brace, and the inner housing of the new handle. You simply make a proper hole in the skin then weld the thick piece in.

IMG 8388

But the new hole has to line up with the latch, and that leaves some old handle hole to fill in. I put a piece of masking tape over the housing then traced the hole. Then peeled the tape and stuck it to the door, visually positioning the handle in relation to the lines of the vehicle, and ahead of my clearance mark. My mark should position the handle in the correct front to rear position to work the latch. If I missed I can fix it but it should work right here.

Once I had the position nailed down, I cut the tape on my trace line (where the tape wasn't covering a hole). Then I outlined that with a Sharpie, on the paint.

IMG 8386

Rough cut with a cutoff tool-

IMG 8389

Cleaned it up with a carbide burr and a stripping wheel, cut me a little patch and clamped it in-

IMG 8392

Then I went to put a new spool of wire on the welder and when I looked up, hell it was five already so I quit working. There will be more cutting on the inside of the door shell, to clear the swinging handle. That will be the more interesting and profanity-oriented stuff there!

76Skylark 76Skylark
Guru | Posts: 854 | Joined: 12/11
Posted: 09/27/12
08:00 AM

I Know a lot of Really Good Bodymen,Matt is at the top Of my list.  

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/27/12
05:43 PM

Well thank you sir. Have some more-

OK I got the Clarke 135 loaded up with a fresh spool of .025 wire and off I went. Patched the hole and drew the rest of the outline using my tape template.

IMG 8425

Tacked it in place, did a little grinding and installed the handle. Position still looks right:

IMG 8433

I was sweating for a little while whether this was gonna work. Kept grinding on that D shaped hole above the big latch cutout ... the phillips screw heads are on the back of the handle, see 'em?

IMG 8439

Ah! Finally got it whittled out enough to swing the backing plate on the handle through the door shell-

IMG 8446

Crossed my fingers and installed the latch plate- yep it covers the D hole.

IMG 8458

Holy smokes this one works great! The door unlatches as soon as you poke your thumb in, and you snag the handle to open the door. Trick!

IMG 8434

Welded and smoothed-

IMG 8455

While I had the welder going I welded up a bunch of small areas that needed attention. Didn't get a pic of the windshield post seam weld but heres some others-

Lower A pillar patch edge didn't line up by a long shot and wasn't fully welded so I re-bent the edge and finished that up-

IMG 8482

Finished welding the bottom edges of the cab corner patch in-

IMG 8485

IMG 8486

IMG 8481  

76Skylark 76Skylark
Guru | Posts: 854 | Joined: 12/11
Posted: 09/28/12
09:28 AM

Matt you remember me saying a neighbor  put a 59 Impala dash in a 67 chevy truck well I just saw it and the truck looks awsome,Pics at,truck is 69 camaro orange and has matching orange Houndstooth seats,really nice!  

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 09/29/12
07:29 PM

I tried but that seems like a "gotta be logged into yahoo" deal. I was imagining it while I scoped out a '60 Imp today though. Man thats gotta look wicked. I gotta start throwing dash swap ideas around, hmmm ... lots of the later models are bolt-ins and I bet they swap easy ... how about a 70 Chevelle SS dash and horseshoe shifter console in a '69 Grand Prix for example?  

76Skylark 76Skylark
Guru | Posts: 854 | Joined: 12/11
Posted: 10/01/12
12:16 PM

Yea, ugh huh, Guess the 69 I was floor console, Rosewood everywhere and some tuck and roll to tie it together,Console would have to be on the roof.I like those year bodies,but thinking about it is that on the A Chassie? I don't know If the  Dash would Fit but the dude widened the Impala dash to fit the truck,so you Guys know what to do.  

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 10/03/12
05:08 AM

Actually GM was gonna call the new intermediate size 69 GP (and 70-2 Monte Carlo) platform the A+. Because it is simply an A body frame stretched at the doglegs and all the parts are same. They ended up calling it "G". Same dimensions as GTO except for wheelbase ...

Speaking of those, I may get back to the '55 this week but only Friday at the most. I'll post updates when I get back on it.

idrivejunk idrivejunk
Addict | Posts: 5117 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 10/05/12
03:36 PM

And here we are- update time.  Smile

Another pair of hands (Taylor) became available, and he started by filling the dents on the cab's rear panel then moved on to the front bumper filler which was cracked and dented-

IMG 8748

I started working on the front end gaps. The right fender wasn't too bad, but there was a bolt hole for the left one that had stripped threads. I needed to repair that before adjusting the panel gaps. Took the left fender off to access it. This is the top rear fender bolt hole. Its on the cowl, just ahead of the door at about door handle level.

Somebody had already been here and done ... something, not sure what. Fine threads, stripped. Look:

IMG 8708

I'm here to fix! Lets chop it open with a cutoff wheel and look underneath-

IMG 8709

Oh crap whats this? Let me grind off that bottom flange-

IMG 8710

Gaping rust hole! Alright, well that would POUR water into the cab.

IMG 8721

Well, you know where this is going. I not only don't like the rust hole, but also that really stretched and pecked looking metal just below the mount. Since I don't want or need to fab a whole new bracket, and because I want to preserve the positioning of the nut, I won't cut out a big section. Just these cuts and a carbide burr tool enabled me to do my work. I bent the bottom part out and flattened it with a hammer and dolly.

IMG 8722

Bent it back into place and welded that part back up then smoothed the welds.

IMG 8730  

Patched the upper hole and smoothed the welds with the burr. This is just partially tacked in place, and yes I got the pinhole on the left.

IMG 8737

Made the little strip with a new regular thread nut on it-

IMG 8739

IMG 8744

Primered it all to avoid a repeat-

IMG 8756

Then it was time to clean up the shop and take off, Friday is a short day. I'll zap it together Monday and then move on to an interference problem between fender and cowl, about two feet straight down from this problem by the bottom rear bolt. THEN I can try to fit up the left fender properly.

IMG 8759  

1 |  2 |  3 |  Next   | Last