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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did the LA (California) plant build seam AND seamless frames? If so, what was the approx. percent per each and how we're they chosen? I am inquiring about the '57 but tri-fives in general. Thanks
 

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It is a common myth that seamless frames are "California" frames.

Fact is, the seamless and 2 piece frames were simply two different designs by two different approved suppliers, and they were not specific (or even favored) at any individual assembly plant.

There was a survey here a few years back that showed that more California assembled cars had 2 piece frames than 1 piece frames. And a similar one at chevytalk.com a few years prior to that with similar results. In fact in both surveys, there were more cars assembled at Norwood, Ohio with seamless frames than any other location. Keep in mind that those surveys were only a few dozen cars and may not be a large enough sample to show the real statistics.

The 2 piece frames were more common. I think by about 3 to 1, maybe more. But that's just my guess.

The other "California" deal is the one piece bumpers. That one is real. They were required for California. They were also required for Canada, and a couple of other states.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Rick! My son's recent '57 150 2 dr. purchase has VIN VA57L....... There were questions w/regards to the original VIN tag. We took the body off and ck'd the frame(seamless) numbers........they matched the VIN numbers perfectly. However, the frame was so modified(front clip Camero something), rear clip something. We couldn't really use it. We also bought, at the same time, an extra '57 frame because we knew the frame was heavily modified. Well, the spare frame is an Oakland(seam) frame. I did the next best thing.........cut both stamped sets out of the LA frame and am going to graft them into the Oakland frame. They are both CA frames so they are like cousins. Now, I really dought this will amount to a hill of beans, but at least his 150 will have a matching frame and will make us feel better since some PO destroyed the original frame.
Thanks again
 

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Thank you Rick! My son's recent '57 150 2 dr. purchase has VIN VA57L....... There were questions w/regards to the original VIN tag. We took the body off and ck'd the frame(seamless) numbers........they matched the VIN numbers perfectly. However, the frame was so modified(front clip Camero something), rear clip something. We couldn't really use it. We also bought, at the same time, an extra '57 frame because we knew the frame was heavily modified. Well, the spare frame is an Oakland(seam) frame. I did the next best thing.........cut both stamped sets out of the LA frame and am going to graft them into the Oakland frame. They are both CA frames so they are like cousins. Now, I really dought this will amount to a hill of beans, but at least his 150 will have a matching frame and will make us feel better since some PO destroyed the original frame.
Thanks again
Ok, wise ones, Somebody explain to me how switching the VIN number on a frame is somehow different than switching a VIN on a body tag. I can't see the difference. I realize there is no intent to defraud anyone, and I have made that point many times. Somehow it comes out as just semantics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Terry
The front clip had disc brakes(I suspect Chevelle) with side motor mounts. The rear clip had coil springs with torque bars (I suspect Chevelle).
Dennis
 

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Going from memory from a CCI article in the 80`s GM hired a Texas Co. to build 5000 frames each for the three tri-five run for back-ups and where distributed to different plants as far south as Georgia.
 

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Texas? I don't think so. I'll bet both were built in the Rust Belt somewhere. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York, or somewhere close to those.

And 5000 frames doesn't even come close to the number made.
 

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Texas? I don't think so. I'll bet both were built in the Rust Belt somewhere. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York, or somewhere close to those.

And 5000 frames doesn't even come close to the number made.
That was 5000 per year as I stated from memory.Maybe someone that has the proof will chime in.
 

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If you look in the assembly manual you'll find the part numbers for both style frames with the notation "optional". I believe that means optional inventory use by the assemby plant and might vary during the production year depending on inventories on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Terry
The frame was soooo wacked up we couldn't save it. The radiator frame would not fit, not even close, the front lower sht mtl wouldn't fit either. The inner fenders were hacked up to get the front clip on. The frame(rest in peace) went to the bone yard in the sky a few days ago. I'll attach a pic of that pitiful mess. And by the way, my '55 is a Kansas City build with a seamless frame. So, everything everyone has been posting is spot on. The frames were outside contractors and sent to various plants. Thanks again forum members, I learn new things on this site all the time !!!!!
 

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The seamless frames have also been called "Nascar" frames. i was told by an old guy years ago a story that in order to run the lighter seamless frame in Nascar , 1500 had to be put in production. I held this information to be gospel for years until i joined here and the myth was debunked.
 

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Are the California frames fully boxed in the rear unlike my lowly 2-piece with ugly c-channel rear section.

I found a one piece locally for 500 asking price with diff, springs, front suspension & rolling wheels on it. Anywhere I should look for weak points?
Can I identify a 2-door from a 4-door frame? Thanks for all input to this.

My 2-piece has some "surprises" and welds & scars from ladder bars, once coiled-over, trailer hitched & other aftermarket crap or yore.

:gba:
 

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I find this topic "much todo over nothiing" Just different suppliers. I have seen more rusted out box frames than C channel frames.
 

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The seamless frames have also been called "Nascar" frames. i was told by an old guy years ago a story that in order to run the lighter seamless frame in Nascar , 1500 had to be put in production. I held this information to be gospel for years until i joined here and the myth was debunked.
There is the same story in the new December 2013 Street Rodder magazine, pg 138.
 

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There is the same story in the new December 2013 Street Rodder magazine, pg 138.
Like most fables, it makes for a good story but Id gestimate its more 60% 40% in favor of the C channel frames.
 

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Are the California frames fully boxed in the rear unlike my lowly 2-piece with ugly c-channel rear section.

I found a one piece locally for 500 asking price with diff, springs, front suspension & rolling wheels on it. Anywhere I should look for weak points?
Can I identify a 2-door from a 4-door frame? Thanks for all input to this.

My 2-piece has some "surprises" and welds & scars from ladder bars, once coiled-over, trailer hitched & other aftermarket crap or yore.

:gba:
My one piece is fully boxed all the way back to the crossmember. (from California and real pretty too, what's left of it, scars and all)
2 and 4 door frames are the same, 55 and 56 are the same with some changes to 57, wagon and verts each have differences also.
I'm pretty sure about the above, but could have forgotten something.
Low areas where water could sit inside might have rust you can't see, like in front of the rear end.
Given the VIN on frame issue, it's worth fixing the scars on your frame if it's solid, those witness marks tell a story, JMO.
Pistoncan, maybe the box frames rust out more because they collect water?
 
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