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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After lots of time spent daydreaming, it is finally time to start our restoration thread on our very special ’56! My dad, Dean (Before My Time) and I have lots of plans, and while I am starting this thread, we will be working like a tag team with any questions or concerns that may come up. While other build threads on here are advancing pretty quickly…ours will be much slower, but that's okay with us! I know that on the “passing it on” thread that Bill started, that a lot of people helped make this happen, (for which we are more grateful than you can ever imagine) and I know that a lot may be interested in what we are doing, so here goes.

First about the car…it is an original 2 door hard top BelAir, and it is not only a V8, it is a Power Pack car, with a 3-on-the-tree manual transmission. It's a Twilight Turquoise/Ivory NY car that was born Feb 29, 1956! This is a very cool car!! It is not intact, and it shows signs of having been raced…or built to race. According to the conversations Bruce had with the seller, it had a 396/4-speed combo, fibreglass front fenders (the car came with two steel fenders), leaf helpers on the rear springs, etc….it would be cool to know more about this car, but that is all we’ll probably ever know. The previous owner to us was gathering stuff and getting ready to restore her…which is our plan as well! :)

It will need a lot of work, and while our plan is to restore it back to stock, we may make a few minor changes for safety. But first, the plan is to make it as safe as can be, and to try to pass inspection with it this spring. After it's on the road, we will slowly look for what we need, and restore it a little bit at a time over the next few of years, but we'll always drive it during the summer time :)

Couple pics of our '56 before it came to Montreal, and a few pics of a beautiful '56 we found online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Engine

Engine:

It is a Power Pack car, but right now it has what we are told is a very sweet running 305. We do plan to put a Power Pack 265 in it at some point, and we are very lucky that someone here with an extra, pretty much complete, 1956 Power Pack engine, has offered it to us at a great price, and we plan is to bring it home sometime this spring/summer. I’m not sure if I should mention who, but that is very VERY cool of them!! Not sure what then engine will need, and so it might be a while before it goes in the car if it needs to be overhauled, and as we restore the car, so in the mean time, we will concentrate on the sweet 305 we have in it right now. As per the hotrodhandyman, this is a low mileage 1993 truck 305 out of a pickup. The engine was stripped of all it’s 1993 stuff, and a two barrel intake off a 1962 Chevy was installed, along with a rebuilt 2 barrel carb, gen, and ram exhaust! What we are going to do for now, is clean up the 305, look for a stock 2 barrel airfilter housing to use with a paper airfilter. We will not be looking for a perfect airfilter housing, but something that we can clean up, and paint to look nice. The engine will be painted, and maybe we might look to see about getting some valve cover adapters to put some script valve covers on the center bolt 305…maybe…can you tell I’ve been listening to my dad a little =) We will install the rad and all new hoses, and just clean up the engine bay to drive her.

We also want to do a little exhaust work. First off, we are going to add two hi flow cats (or reg cats if the hi flows are too expensive) mainly because people are no longer familiar with the exhaust odors of these older cars and we do not want to get unwanted attention in that regards. We will be shortening the exhaust to the back bumper, 'cause as it is now, they stick out way too much for our liking. Plan is to just remove what is there, cut the pipe back a little and add some off the shelf tips we’ve seen at $10-$20 each. We’d like to find some original ’56 exhaust tips, but that will come with time.

Brakes:

We are not going to mess around here…my dad wants to change every single wheel cylinder, every pad, drum, spring, brake line and brake hose, so that everything brake is brand new! He said that for safety we will be going with a new 2 circuit master for a ’67 Camaro, but we will restore and store the original master.

Same thing with the parking brake, it will be gone over, and new cables will be going in. We were looking at the parts and prices on rockauto…are there any manufactures you would buy over another? Do they still make OEM… would it be worth going to GM to buy all this stuff?? We will be keeping the drums all around, but with the dual circuit master.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wheels and tires:

Originally, my dream was wide white walls, but I found out that at more than $250 each for nice www radials, they are not cheap, so here we are going to look for the least expensive option to get the car on the road. We do want to find at least one original 1956 rim for a spare, (and to see the nubs in person) but not sure where to look for one up here. Those slot mags currently on the car really grew on me, and we’d like to keep them, BUT, those rear tires are an odd size and may be harder to find off the rack…so probably more expensive, so here are our two options…we will go with which ever is least expensive for this year…

Option A: Find and buy the correct lug nuts and washers for these slot mags (the nuts on them now just look wrong) find four centers as they are all missing, and find some 225/70R15 for the back, and 215/70R15 for the front. The car had some really wide G60’s on the back, and they looked really cool!! The 225/70R15 do not seem to be a standard tire, so not sure if finding some will be all that easy…we’ll see.

Option B: Find four “modern” chevy steel rims…we’ve read off a mid 70’s MonteCarlo might be the best, but we need to learn more about which rims to ask at our local use cars parts place. So newer steel rims, and four 205/75R15 or 215/75R15 all around and four correct “driver” ’56 wheel covers. I do not know the difference between the older and newer tires, but my dad said we are going to get radials, and probably some white tire paint to paint on our wide white walls…that should be Ok until we can buy a set or real wide whites!!

Suspension:

Going to check the shocks, springs and all the steering and see what needs changing. We do not plan to drive very far at all for now, but we do want to make sure we are safe.
 

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cool car happy for you and your dad! its a fun thing to get to do some thing like this with your dad. I have been doing dads for the last few years and we did the same thing buy a part here and there its fun to do it like that and drive it too. just remember too have fun!!! good luck keep us posted:pics-1:
 

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Good luck with your project, You know I will be watching this thread closely and I'm only a phone call away if you have any questions. :tu
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interior:

The turquoise and white interior had been dyed black at some point, so the whole interior is black, with some blue showing here and there due to wear…it will be washed, and it will stay like this for the time being. If you look at the old pictures Bruce took, it had a small steering wheel on it…I am so glad it now has an original ’56 steering wheel that Bruce had stashed away, and while this new steering was not from this car…it is an original turquoise steering wheel that had also been painted black at some time…how freaky is that, that it would match this car so perfectly! The driver’s floor has a big hole in it, so we will need to address that right away. Lucky for us, the hotrodhandyman had a spare piece of floor and it looks like my dad and I can find a quick solution to fix this and make it safe. Other holes will be quickly patched up and a new floor will be a project for farther down the road.

We are going to wash the interior, find some generic or better fitting seat covers to put on the seats…we’ll worry about new seat skins when we redo the interior later on. We will get all new seat belts for all 6 positions, and we will look for a black carpet for the floor…it won’t need to be new, but hopefully not something too destroyed…we might even just buy a piece of black house carpet, and cut that to fit for the time being.

The door liners are in rough shape…not sure what we are going to do. We will try and steam or wet them and see if we can dry them a little straighter…they look pretty bad, and I think the inside door handles may be missing.

The plan is to clean it up, and make it look okay for now, and so we won’t get dirty and stuff, and hopefully make it look ok, but that’s it for now.

Exterior:

I think she looks great as is!! It is very very dirty from being hauled on an open trailer, so the plan is to give it a very good cleaning, polish up the chrome and stainless a little, and try to get a rattle can of a matching white to clean up some black paint that had been sprayed on it at some point. Then a quick wax and that's it!

There is obviously a lot more to it than that. The gas tank may need to be changed…I hear it has vacuum wipers, and my dad says we’ll need to find some electric ones as they were an option in ‘56…the trunk floors will need some work, but we will just make it safe for now while we patch any holes and worry about making it pretty later…need to find a jack…and find a radio (one of those vintage looking radios with new electronics and an mp3 jack would be the best, but they are not cheap)…maybe a new windshield (I have to ask my dad), some trim for the back window, etc…and more stuff like that.


So…what do you guys think? Are we wrong to go this way? We feel that restoring our ‘56 like this will be better than seeing a car in parts for a few years and it should give us time to enjoy and drive the ’56 right away this summer! Did we miss anything that you think we should look at?

This is going to be fun…slow, but fun!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
cool car happy for you and your dad! its a fun thing to get to do some thing like this with your dad. I have been doing dads for the last few years and we did the same thing buy a part here and there its fun to do it like that and drive it too. just remember too have fun!!! good luck keep us posted:pics-1:
Thank you so much! :) I will :p
 

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Congrats, nice car and you have definitely thought it through! I agree, brakes, tires and correct lugs come first! Because when you are tuning the engine, you're gonna want to drive it! Brake parts are very common. You can get wheel cylinders for about $12 each from autozone or similar parts stores. Shop around, some places charge 3-4 x as much for small parts. Shoes can range from 20-40per set. Rubber brake lines are about 12 too. You need 3, driver front, pass front and one that connects to the line on the rear diff. You can always throw some used tires on till your ready to spend $ on the WWs. For the tank... If yours is shot, you can find them for ~$100 bucks delivered off eBay, be sure to get a new send unit for ~$37. Danchucks sells a great gasket that helps with gas leaks commonly incurred with the provided gasket ~10. Change the fuel filter, add gas and fire the car up. Check the charging system to make sure it's charging. Then start tinkering with smooth idle, performance and drive it!!! Congrats and good luck!!!

Oh and after all that... Retro sound sometimes will clearance non iPod style radios that still have the 3.5mm stereo jack plugs for ~125 on eBay..
 

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Hey Lexi, my son and I just finished up our 55 HT project and now working on a 55 Sedan together. Hope you and your Dad have as much fun and enjoyment as we do working on these old cars... sure beats hang'n out on the couch watching TV...

So best of luck to you and your Dad, that's a great look'n 56 you got there, take care and be safe! BDR..:tu:tu:tu
 

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Thanks for the update Lexi. I look foward to reading this thread. Sounds like you and your Dad have a good plan. Have fun with the build and enjoy the ride.
 

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Well it looks like Lexi did not have enough posts, yet, to keep adding pics, so here are a few more.

The sweet running 305. Oh, btw, I was corrected earlier, it is actually from '96 pickup...my mixup :ashamed0005:
Also the temp exhaust tips we plan on using for the time being.
 

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Here's a pic of a front mag...those lug nuts sure don't look right...going to have to figure out which ones we need...and which centers will fit.

And finally, a couple of interior pics. You can't see the door liners too well, but they will need a lot of help to try and get straight. It looks like it will clean up OK, so fingers crossed that we don't run into any real major problems with the interior...nor an really problems finding little bits here and there to help clean it up! :)
 

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BTW...thanks for the nice words guys!

Don't be in a rush with this one...it will take some time to get it all done, and this may be the slowest thread on here, but as they say, the trip is just as much fun as the destination, and so little by little, we are looking forward to getting this '56 restored!! :)
 

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Congratulations and best wishes with your 56 buildup Lexi. Look forward to seeing updates and lots of pictures.
 

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Lexi Nice car. Glad that you like it. Thanks for the photos . Mike
 
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