Chevy Tri Five Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

A little story...

I have not done very much with my 57 210 4dr since I bought it except I bought a few things I wanted to upgrade, brakes, raingear, etc.

Just last weekend I bought another 57, but a Belair 4dr sedan, Canyon Coral, oem power steering, originally V8 & powerglide car. But swapped with a new TH400 and a 350cid motor. For the price I was really buying the driveline, knowing full well the cab was crap. Front clip is in better shape than the 210 car I have, but front/rear bumpers are tweaked from a fender bender I presume. Picked it up to possibly use it as my main car and the 210 as a parts car. Original V8 car & Bel Air seemed to cooler to have to me :)

Anyway back to topic, Looking into the cars I have, I really needed to have major floor pan work. Particularly the Bel Air since there is a 6" hole in the passenger floor and the trunk pan on the very end is rusting out Looking underneath the shock mounts are a pothole away from giving way. So I researched floor pans. Based on posts here full floor pan w/trunk pan is the best way to go with the brackets welded on....for approx $2500 for the part....$3000 for install. A good chunk of change. Thought about trying it on my own, as I do have access to nice welders, but no experience, no time and total worry of welding and messing up the gaps or destroying a $2500 floor pan was turning me off. It didnt help when I asked for quotes from a few body shops that I knew did some custom hot rods, either A) Would not quote or B) quoted outrageously high ($40k, just for paint, car would be delivered sand blasted roller without trim/chrome, etc). I was getting discouraged, but undeterred. I thought I just would have to save a bit more than planned by a few years. I really wanted to drive either car now though!

FYI The 210 is closest to being a driver in its state, I need to do the brakes, add a carb to it and flush the tank, add the raingear & horn. The electrical works as I worked on that, but its a 50fter looks wise and cancer growing on the outside sheet metal (inner pans/structure is good shape from what I can tell).

So today I was bored, I was searching the internet. I found a 4 door Hardtop for sale. It was "restored" in 1980, and according to the ad, only some rust near the usual front fenders on the bottom and a bit near the trunk. It looks good otherwise. It appears to be loaded...Original 283 2bbl Bel air, original power windows & power seat, original power steering, a/c (not functioning), powerglide, seems like everything is there, most importantly it was a driver. It is also a lot more than I have paid for my two 4 door post cars combined, but based off quotes for repairs of my vehicles I think I may be better off. The car is $10k range listed

I'll be honest, I'd prefer not to have a unbearable money pit, just a small one :) But the hardtop version does look a lot nicer visually, but my major concern is the availability of 4 door hardtop parts / reproductions. Otherwise from what I see in the ad, it seems to be a better base vehicle to start with for what I want "my" 57 to be. ( I eventually want a Tropical turquoise / India Ivory car & like interior, but modified brakes, powder coated frame, motor, R&P, etc I'm not looking for numbers matching 100% factory car. In my 1 year into the restomod hobby, I have yet to see one for sale, unless it is $50k and restored already). Looking Eckler's, Danchuk, Cars, Classic Industries, etc I see a good amount of specific parts for these hard tops, but its what I dont see that scares me, because they dont come to mind and my experience with 57s in general is only skin deep.

In short:

1) Rather than frame off restore one of my current 57s right now, should I buy a 4 door Hardtop which runs, minimal rust, looks decent and restored 30 years ago, and restomod as a driver (with a teardown later on)?

2) Is parts availability really that bad for 4 door hard tops to keep away from them financially (particularly for a restore)?

It seems a little clearer to me now what I should do, but I would really like some opinions before I take plunge and/or spend more money needlessly....the vehicle purchase would take away of my intended saved up "paint" money.

Sorry for the long winded post, I am just so tied up inside over what to do with what I have. I have chicken and the egg syndrome bad with my two current cars...dont know if I should sand blast the body now to see what I have to work with or just leave the body alone (since I have some idea, but unsure of wheel wells, inside structure, etc) and work on the frame/driveline/suspension/steering/wiring and sit on a car with a blasted/primed condition for a few years.

Thank you all in advanced...

Happy 4th of July!:flag6:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,731 Posts
Which one of the three would you want as your final car? I'd guess the 4DHT. So, buy that and have it as a driver now. And since you want to have something to drive while another is being built, get which ever one of your others is closest to roadworthy sorted and then drive that while you are tearing down and building the 4DHT. Sell which ever one is left. Then when the 4DHT is done, sell the temporary driver.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
I would go with the 4 door hardtop. I think they look so much better than a sedan. I have a mate restoring one at the moment. He has struggled with some parts, but usually finds something very close, or modifies sedan parts. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
Personally I prefer the 4D sedan for the roofline and overall look. My least favorite is the 2D HT, which always looks too short IMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67,743 Posts
I would get the 4dr ht driver (my sig says the way I feel). latter you can make a decision about the two you have. :anim_25:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,172 Posts
I have a 57 4 door hardtop which is 96% restored.
Parts are a little difficult. I had to restore my stainless, but some pieces are available repo. However, I was able to get good used parts from here and there. I am seeing more and more repo parts out there which I take as the model becoming more popular. Save all your door parts.
I would drive one as you restore the best other one. A long wait tends to get you discouraged.
JohnMc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Which one of the three would you want as your final car? I'd guess the 4DHT. So, buy that and have it as a driver now. And since you want to have something to drive while another is being built, get which ever one of your others is closest to roadworthy sorted and then drive that while you are tearing down and building the 4DHT. Sell which ever one is left. Then when the 4DHT is done, sell the temporary driver.
Good advice. That's exactly what I would do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,793 Posts
A lot of guys have too many projects. They spend money on one and then on the other. They'll never finish either one of them..unless they are wealthy. My advice..condense, condense, condense!! I like the 4dr hardtops
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,068 Posts
A lot of guys have too many projects. They spend money on one and then on the other. They'll never finish either one of them..unless they are wealthy. My advice..condense, condense, condense!! I like the 4dr hardtops
I agree ,,,:tu
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
887 Posts
I was looking for a 2dr ht and ran across a fairly nice 4dr ht at the right price so I bought it. I really like the 4dr ht. I like the openness when all the windows are down, love the fact that someone can get in and out of the back seat with plenty of leg room.

I say go for the 4dr ht if it is worth the money!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all for the replies/suggestions/reassurance!

When I was writing the post, it became clear to my what I should do too. It helps to write out everything...!

So, I've contacted the seller and hope to take a look at the car soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
Good luck with the Sport Sedan. I have had mine since 1969.
Parts can be a challenge, but availability is improving. A number of 4 door hardtop-specific parts have recently become available. Long center floor brace, roof rail weather stripping, dog legs and more. :anim_25:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
66,133 Posts
Thank you all for the replies/suggestions/reassurance!

When I was writing the post, it became clear to my what I should do too. It helps to write out everything...!

So, I've contacted the seller and hope to take a look at the car soon.
Take someone with you, emotions & excitment get in the way of looking the car over :anim_25:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes, I plan to.

Seller got back to me, plan to take a look tomorrow morning. I'm sure I wont come home with it, as the seller has another individual lined up for viewing next week, but may leave an offer if its as good as it sounds...

I guess the interior is well worn & it was parked in a barn for a few years the rear seat literally was a rats nest. But sounds like better than either of my current vehicles....
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top