Chevy Tri Five Forum banner

Project "Return To Tubby's": Dave's '57 2dr Sedan Resto-Mod

437887 Views 1726 Replies 134 Participants Last post by  55Madman
5
Project "Return To Tubby's": Dave's '57 2dr Sedan Resto-Mod Build

I named this build, Return To Tubby's, because as many of you trifivers may know, Project X was featured in the movie The Hollywood Knights. Back in the day, I had seen that car in Hot Rod magazine a few times, but when I saw it roll into Tubby's Drive-In, with the sound of the blower whine, and the general look of it, I was instantly hooked on '57's. That movie came out the year I graduated from high school. Full disclosure, I was a Mopar guy for most of my life, so those are the cars that I had built. My last project was something entirely different, a custom, ground-up build of a 1989 Jeep Wrangler. My wife said that was my last project car, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Well, to be honest, I couldn't leave this Earth with a Jeep as my last build. I needed to make the last build a classic hot rod. So, I wore down the wife and she finally gave me permission to do one last project. She's a Chevy gal, so convincing her to build a '57 Chevy wasn't too difficult. The only caveat was, I had to sell the Jeep to help fund the '57 build. No problem, since I needed the garage space for the '57 anyway. I immediately put the Jeep up for sale, and began my search for a suitable '57 roller.
I didn't want to buy a complete running car for three reasons. One, it would cost more. Two, I would be paying for a bunch of parts that I would be replacing anyway. And three, generally speaking, a stripped down body is much easier to inspect for rust issues.
I found this roller on craigslist. Compared to a pair of rust bucket '57's that one shady character had outright lied to me about regarding their condition, this one is incredibly solid, with zero rot. Here's the back story on it:

It lived almost all of its life in Alabama. It has 80,006 original miles. It was built in Flint, MI. It orignally was painted Sierra Gold with Adobe Beige roof. It had the Delray interior with imitation leather upholstery in tan and copper. The gentleman who sold it to me had tried many times over the years to buy the car from an old lady that owned it and drove it just twice a week, but she didn't want to part with it. Somehow, several years later, the car landed in a restoration shop in Chattanooga, TN. While it was there, the body was put on a rotisserie, had new floor pans installed, and the body was blocked straight and given a coat of black epoxy primer. The frame and suspension parts appear to have been media blasted, epoxy primed and painted, and new bushings and ball joints installed. However, in the middle of this restoration work, the shop went belly up for unknown reasons. The contents of the business were auctioned off, and the seller was finally able to buy the car he wanted so badly, and its parts. He kept it for about a year, and eventually realized that he didn't have the time to work on and finish the '57, so he put it up for sale. I purchased the car, all of the parts, plus the rotisserie that it was on, for $7,500.

The basic build theme is to restore the exterior to original. The interior will be mostly original, except the front bench seat will be replaced with a pair of bucket seats from a '63 Pontiac Grand Prix, and a Lokar automatic shifter living between them. Underneath will be a 480HP LS3 crate engine, rebuilt 4L80E automatic with a 3,000 stall converter, and 9" Ford rear with 4.11 gears...because, "with 4.11 gears, she can really get lost!" :)

This is my first tri-five build, which means I've got a steep learning curve, but I'm up to the challenge. I really enjoy the build process. When I was a kid, I loved building models, and this is just a big model to me. I'll be asking lots of questions from you guys as the build progresses. So, with that said......let the fun begin!!

How she sits at the moment.









See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
1681 - 1700 of 1727 Posts
INTERIOR UPDATE:

The interior guy sent me some pics of the center console, wrapped in leather. Still needs the shifter boot made for it. That aluminum sliding door shown in the pics has now been covered in leather. After seeing the console all together, I don't like the mix of chrome and black, so I'm going to change out the chrome AC vents for black ones, and when I get the car home, I'll send the cup holders out to get powder coated satin black.

I had a 45 minute phone converstion with them today. They are confident that they will finish up the job sometime in March. As of today, the following parts of the interior are done:

  • Front bucket seats
  • Rear seat
  • Center console
  • Headliner
  • Carpeting
  • Windlace

The door panels and inside panels are constructed, but they still need to be covered. The speaker kick panels and the steering wheel need to be wrapped. The package tray panel has not been started on yet. Today, he was making panel templates for the trunk area, which is a bit more challenging than most trifive trunks, due to the battery location, the master cutoff, and the exposed fuel tank.





Is this console made by TMI or did you fabricate it? I purchased one that is very comparable from TMI. Since I raised the tunnel to get the T56 tranny in, the cup holders needed to be adapted. (not deep enough because of the tunnel) Getting some Toyota Supra buckets reupholstered now and should have something to show in a month or so. This looks nice!
Is this console made by TMI or did you fabricate it? I purchased one that is very comparable from TMI. Since I raised the tunnel to get the T56 tranny in, the cup holders needed to be adapted. (not deep enough because of the tunnel) Getting some Toyota Supra buckets reupholstered now and should have something to show in a month or so. This looks nice!
I built the center console. I don't know if its comparable to anything on the market, because I had to do major surgery to the dash in order to make the radio receiver sit that high on the console.
I built the center console. I don't know if its comparable to anything on the market, because I had to do major surgery to the dash in order to make the radio receiver sit that high on the console.
I had to find a receiver that was shallow in depth to fit my console because seating it high on the console as well. Not upholstered yet but will send pics when completed.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I had to find a receiver that was shallow in depth to fit my console because seating it high on the console as well. Not upholstered yet but will send pics when completed.
Yes, please DM me the pics.
I spoke to the interior shop yesterday. It sounds like I'll be getting my '57 back by the end of next week!! Woo-hoo!!

One of my car guy friends who happens to live right around the corner from me has a nearly new 32 ft. enclosed trailer and a 2019 Dodge Ram 2500 dualie diesel pickup truck to pull it with, and he volunteered to drive his rig with me in the passenger seat and do the 300 mile round trip to bring home my '57. The enclosed trailer solves two concerns that I had with bringing it home on an open trailer: I don't have to worry about hitting rain on the way home, and I don't have to worry about the headliner coming loose from the highway speed winds blowing through the car, due to the missing windshield and back glass.

I purchased four of this style Vintage Air AC vent. They're made of CNC machined aluminum, and black anodized. They'll replace the chrome plated plastic AC vents.

See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Today, I earned my windshield and back glass gasket installation merit badge.:)

Also, I bought a box of 3M Strip Caulk. You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I put it in the freezer........:LOL:

See less See more
  • Haha
Reactions: 1
I got a call today from the interior shop. They said its done, come pick up your car next Tuesday! Stay tuned, folks!
  • Like
Reactions: 5
The interior reveal and pick up day has been rescheduled to Thursday, the 6th. Reason is, he wants to make a set of custom floor mats, and finish up a couple of small details.
...nothin' like making you stew for a couple more days. I bet it'll be worth it!
  • Like
Reactions: 1
2
The interior guy sent me these pics of the panel he made for the package tray.
The long thin recess in the back is where the third brake light will live.



See less See more
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 2
Looks extraordinary! Can’t wait to see more.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
That looks fantastic, the trimmer is doing an outstanding job
  • Like
Reactions: 1
8
I'd been waiting exactly ELEVEN MONTHS to post pictures of the new interior, and that day has finally arrived!!!!

Loaded up for the ride home!


The man watching me tie down the axle housing is the interior guy, David Leon of Tops Inc.


After seeing just an open area of nothingness inside the car for the last seven years, I'm still adjusting to this!












See less See more
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5
I knew it would be worth the wait. Congratulations Dave!
Looks like a great interior!
  • Like
Reactions: 3
Beautiful !!! Love the color with the black.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Dave your interior looks great. Great color choice to go with the black exterior. The black details in it looks great and I love how it looks contemporary but so clean,simple and uncluttered. I'd even use the word elegant.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
looks awesome but I am worried about the headliner wrapping around the rear window flange. I have tried that in the past and it caused huge fitment issues for the back glass and trim. it is supposed top be on a tack strip just inside the window flange. Love the color combo and textures. and its not to busy, jus clean and classy
  • Like
  • Helpful
Reactions: 3
Absolutely stunning..(y)(y)(y)
Well Worth the wait..:):):):)
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1681 - 1700 of 1727 Posts
Top