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57 Bel Air Two Door Sedan Build


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FYI Most of this will be copied over from my thread over on TriFive.com but I thought I'd share with the SSS site as well!


Well this will be my thread for the restoration of my 1957 Bel Air 2 Door Sedan. First off here's some of the history.




-Bought from Second owner (1969-2011), June 2011.

-Car was originally from South Dakota but was shipped to Alaska in the 80's.

-In the early 70's a BBC 396 was retrofitted along with a four speed that was later changed to a Turbo 400.

-I believe in the 80's the car was used daily for a short time during the winter as it came with studded tires in the trunk.

-The car was parked in about 90 and has sat for years since due to it being rear ended and a shady body shop bondoing in a quarter panel and over random rust areas. shakehead.gif

-Anyways that's about all the history I know about it on to the first part of the restoration I'll be starting.



Here's the state it was in when I bought it:















Lots more to come....:)

Edited by Matt* (see edit history)
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Next step was to clean out the interior and pressure wash the entire car extensively underneath, engine, transmission, underbody, ect and wash the outside. I also installed a new set of Torq Thrush II's I had got for my 55 Wagon that I sold. This was the result of some buffing on the old crappy paint for fun!


The original color was Coronado Yellow with white top and black and silver interior. It was repainted this current gold color sometime.


Here's the 396 after a new carb and plugs it runs pretty good and has a healthy Crane fireball cam.


Edited by Matt* (see edit history)
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After driving the car a couple of times I started to realize just how rusty the floor was underneath the 70's carpet so I decided it was time to get to ordering new parts. Also keep in mind I'm 21 and only have a part time job and go to college so trying to order these parts orders is going to be interesting. closedeyes.gif


Here's the first order:


The first order of parts:

-New full quarter panel for the passenger side

-Front quarter panel section for drivers side

-Both front floor pans

-Inner rockers (high quality)

-Outer rocker (replacement type) NEVER BUY THESE! (Reordered the correct factory stamped type from Resto world and that should fix that problem.

-4 floor supports that need to be replaced

-Tail panel and rear part of the trunk floor

-American Eagle Aluminum radiator from ebay (I used one in my 55 wagon and it seemed to work good so I figured I would use one in the 57 too!)

Edited by Matt* (see edit history)
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Now that I had all the sheet metal that I mostly needed it was time to dig in!


Started with removing the seat and wow does it weigh alot!



There's the old carpet.... what's lurking underneath....



Uh-oh signs of major a major hole.....:s:




Removed the layer of carpet and found a dime from 1970. Then I removed what I think was the factory sound detonating that was original to the car??


Then I noticed what was on the transmission hump.....



A Minnesota license plate from 1971! I guess the po deiced to run a number of different shifter positions or different 4 speeds at one point in time. After I removed the license plate there was another piece of metal under it covering another hole. After removal of these two piece there was basically nothing left of the driver side of the transmission hump not to mention the majorly rusted out floor.... happysad.gif

Edited by Matt* (see edit history)
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Here's the latest update and how the car is sitting right now. I started cutting out the front floor pan and removed the front body brace under it and sand blasted and por 15'd it. Then I aligned the front floor pan and started welding it in. Then I spot/plug welded the floor brace back to the new floor pan and I made my own side of the transmission tunnel as well as some toe board patchs. I know its not perfect but its very solid and useable. Then I removed the rear brace rear that was rusted out as well as the front of seat brace and taced it in place. I also had to fab some metal around where the front of the seat goes and along part of the edge. Here's what it looks like right now, still need to grind down the welds.




Original rocker removed in hopes of install new rocker...



Inner rocker spot welded to the floor brace/body mount.



Old and new rocker panels next to each other, major problem. The "new" rocker panel has issues doesn't fit to bottom of door at all because of a poorly formed angle on a break and the side you see measures 3" and my original measures about 2.75 so it hangs low. SO to fix this I ordered the factory style reproductions with the fender brace and everything instead of some junky ones made on a break. Hopefully this will fix this issue.

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I got some more accomplished on the car today, removed the old rusted out seat floor brace and installed a new one. Then I took my new rear floor brace piece and sand blasted it and painted inside and out with POR 15. Just waiting for it to dry and I will cut the old brace and patch this one in. :)







Edited by Matt* (see edit history)
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Did a quick POR 15 job on the front floor section after I ground down the welds to protect it, as well as painting the inner rocker section so it doesn't rust once the new rocker is installed. Also good news the very nice fully formed rocker panels with fender brace came in the mail today! :)



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Sorry guys for the big gap in updates, I decided to bite the bullet and replace the quarter panel section on the drivers side since it was so gone already. Anyways here's the pics of the replacement:




I wire wheeled out all the rust and dirt and POR 15 this inside area heavily to prevent future rust as well as PORing the inside of the new patch.



The old and the new....




^ Before ^





Turned out pretty good and the door gap is the same as when I started which is good and the door aligns and closes perfect and I've never taken it off or adjusted it! Pretty cool.

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~ Big update I just placed an order for close to $3,000 worth of new parts for the car that its in need of. It all trim, exterior and interior stuff that will make it very very nice once the body and frame restoration are complete. I'm excited to say the least! :)


Also it might be getting a 6.0L swap.... more on that later...ph34r.gif

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More updates I advertised the 396 Big Block and I'm getting a good for me price for it selling it to a guy. So it's getting pulled for something better!!! :bowtieb:


Here's the pullout pictures, came out really easy.














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Pushed the 57 out of the garage and pressure washed the engine bay of all its years of nasty grease. I also found a hole cut in each inner fender both located in the exact same spot on each one, about 8x8 inch roughly, and there patched back over with some hacky sheet metal screwed over by the PO. Been on there so long they blended in with all the dirt. Anyways from the looks of them it looks like this car had fender well headers at some point in its life!!! Pretty funny. peelout.gif

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Update today I bought my 57 a new modern engine! 2003 Cadillac Escalade LQ9 6.0L (AKA a nice LS series engine). I'm not sure on my plans for it yet but I do know for sure that it will at least get an LS2 intake manifold and possible different heads such as maybe LS2 heads so it would make the exact same power as a 6.0L LS2. Anyways more on that later heres a pic of it on the engine stand:


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Here's some more progress pictures, I'm really tearing into this thing. Windshields out starting to remove all the stainless trim and other pieces. I'm going to do my metal work to the passenger side and then prepare for body from frame removal! Here you guys go!











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