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Discussion Starter #1
New here and might shake some things up but here goes. We have a 57 that is in need of a full restoration but don’t necessarily have the means to do body ourselves and the cost of bodywork would leave nothing for the rest of the project. We have all the body and most of the trim but missing interior and power train.
So the new thought is getting a new chassis like AME or similar and throwing a crate LS in. Then put our beat up body on throw an interior in and just drive and enjoy it.
The reason we’re thinking new chassis is to get better suspension, braking, power steering, etc without all the parts searching and kits. Also if we do decide to “finish” the project and tackle the body years later at least we have the chassis still.
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Technically it’s not a survivor because it was painted in early 70s that blue. Same people painted the red interior black from what little was left when we got it.
 

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Car looks from the pics an easier restorer, the rot in the pictures don't look like its spread everywhere, chassis would most probably be in good condition. If you can source an interior locally jump on it, there have been folks that have resto mod their 57`s and used a completely different interior. Drive trains are a dime a dozen, SBC combinations are around and fairly cheap if you want to freshen one up.
If the body seems to be the sore point some folks have used tech schools to have body repairs, rust cut out etc etc at no cost, students practice to get experience, just make sure the instructor oversees the work.
Good luck with your progress, looks like a great starting point.
 

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your ride, do what will make you happy. my I would do.
 

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That would definitely be a sleeper. This is the dilemma many face. With limited funds, you have to decide were the money will be best spent. I don’t think your plan is a bad idea. You will truly enjoy driving the car and this may inspire you to keep progressing with the rest of the build. If down the road you choose to opt out, there will always be some value in the chassis and drive chain. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself and grow to like the sleeper aspect of the car as well.
 

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Limited funds and buying a chassis don't seem to mix well considering what a chassis costs today! If I had a limited amount of money, the last place I'd use my funds would be buying a full on chassis from a builder. There are so many suspension systems designed for Tri 5 Chevy cars that can turn the stock chassis into a corner carving ride, and for far less money.
I'm not a fan of rat rods, but I do appreciate a sleeper, and your '57 looks like a perfect candidate for that type of build. And the LS swap, with 4L60E trans, a newer rear axle, improved front suspension, and a 4 link with coilovers, would make a great car.
Toss in some decent interior, and you could drive and enjoy it for years, and later do the bodywork if you want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Started taking the front apart today. Bagging and tagging with help from the assembly diagrams.
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Plan is to get the front disassembled, clean up, and paint/undercoat all the non bodycolor parts.
Gives us time as well to research upgrading the stock frame. It’s a little overwhelming looking at all the “bolt on” options for suspension, brakes, and steering that it makes us consider a custom chassis because all that work is done and the package just “works”.
 

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It is tempting, but most of those frames with all the upgrades don't see much street use. Rebuild the front suspension with newer upper control arm shafts that give you more adjustment. Add front stabilizer bar. Upgrade to front disc brakes. Depending on the engine you want and the HP, will determine the rear end.

I have seen all to many projects go off the rails by spending way to much on things that are not much improvement but are fancy and shiney........

Mikey
 
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You're looking at $15,000 or more for a complete chassis, and for 1/3rd of that you can buy a complete front and rear suspension system to bolt in. And for about $2500 you can buy it as pieces and put it together. That leaves enough leftover to get the body well done, and maybe even finished.
Just a waste of money buying a complete chassis if you're on a budget.
 

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Look up RideTech, and check out their “Street Grip Suspension System,” a complete, balanced system, tuned for a Trifive, for a fraction of the cost of a AME chassis. Add power steering, and power disc brakes and it will handle, and ride like a modern car, will be a lot safer, and, a lot of fun to drive too.


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While it isn't a rat rod, it has rust and will likely never be restored....build want you want and enjoy it...

 

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I see the temptation; there are times I think that once I’d finished sheet metal I should have just put it in epoxy and called it a day. I am where I’m at and not unhappy, but I I think your idea is sound. I’m with the guys that said to use bolt ons rather than a full frame. Too much money for anything aside from a show car or max effort performer
 

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I found that not worrying about a show quality car makes it more enjoyable for me personally and I am less concerned about making changes. I appreciate show cars bc they are art, but for me it is to nice to worry over.
 

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There is something to that less than show quality that gives me peace of mind. When I first finished my old Austin gasser I put it in the Portland Roadster Show and it took first place in Nostalgia Hotrod class. I was afraid everywhere I parked it, as I figured sooner or later it's would get dings or scratches. Now a decade later, nd 14,000 miles later, it's got enough age on it I rarely even think about where it's parked.
Once I get my current project painted, I'll go through this whole period of worry again. But I still like painted shiny cars, and wont drive them forever in patina or primer.
 

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There is something to that less than show quality that gives me peace of mind. When I first finished my old Austin gasser I put it in the Portland Roadster Show and it took first place in Nostalgia Hotrod class. I was afraid everywhere I parked it, as I figured sooner or later it's would get dings or scratches. Now a decade later, nd 14,000 miles later, it's got enough age on it I rarely even think about where it's parked.
Once I get my current project painted, I'll go through this whole period of worry again. But I still like painted shiny cars, and wont drive them forever in patina or primer.
Yup...understandable. I think the fear of paint or cost of body work is what fueled the rat rod movement.
 

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It’s better to have it on the road enjoying it than in perpetual restoration. Ask me how I know. Lol.... I’ve had mine for 14 years and it won’t hit the road any earlier than May of next year
 

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the AME chassis will be more cost than a decent paint job, and really is not ratrod . save the $$ and modernize the stock chassis.
 

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myself...I think like the rest here....get a good 500 CPP powersteering conversion...disc brakes....some good tubular control arms...and front and rear sway bars....you WILL BE AMAZED how well it will ride....save the BIG bucks on the frame conversion....you`ll be able to afford a super nice interior,and possibly get the car in primer and enjoy it....for less than the cost of that frame.....however its your car,and your cash ….do as you wish my friend...post pics so we can all go for the ride
 
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