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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Even though my 55 is is still a rough draft of what I want, I managed to get it on the road from an empty shell to a driver in 12 months. It has totally surprised me as one of the best cars I have ever driven, including many late models. It is so much fun, and I haven't even put the sway bars on yet. Using a RR Frames C4 conversion chassis with stock 96 C4 Grand Sport front/rear suspension, 13in fronts brakes, etc., that just bolts right in. Stock LS 5.3, 4L60E, 3:45 rear, and American Racing 17 x 9.5 wheels front/rear with a +38 offset, and 275/40-17 Nitto NT01 sticky tires on both ends. The car currently weighs 3275 stripped down, and the stock motor has more than enough power without too much to do anything really stupid.
I will hope to be the quickest try-five in the Valley, or at least in the one where I live.
 

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Nice work and upgrade. Here in Calif , a few Tri-Five C4 conversion are often at the Goodguys events. Most Tri-Five owners aren't up to the task to convert to C4 suspension. Today, saw a 57 Bel Air with the C4 suspension conversion at a small car show in Martinez. . See photo. Also money is a factor. I'm guessing $18-20K for rolling chassis from RR Frame. Best to buy a C4 and cannibalize it, buy the custom frame from RR, and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I spent $5500 for the finished chassis, and $2500 for all of the suspension and just bolted it up. It was almost too easy, $1000 for the engine, and $575 for the tranny. The rest of it was what added up to more than I hoped for though.
 

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My next build will be with a NerdRods frame that uses a C4 front and rear.
 

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I got a great deal on my C4 parts including the wheels and the preferred Dana 44 rear end at $1300. Bought a used 55 Nomad frame from my neighbor for $150. And built my own frame so I probably have about $4500 to $5500 in the whole conversion. If you buy a frame like RD did your going to end up in the 10,000 to 12,000 range. Still much less than one of the aftermarket frames like the Art Morrison. Ride, handling & stance will be comparable. The one downside of a C4 set up is you need wheels with lots of positive offset which means Corvette wheels which may not be the best stylewise although the Vette wheels Hutchen has on his 56 look pretty nice. The other option is custom wheels which are going to be north of 500 to 600 per wheel.
The conversion does require a good bit of fab work to make it work too so it's not for everybody. I am very happy with mine though and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
 

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Even though my 55 is is still a rough draft of what I want, I managed to get it on the road from an empty shell to a driver in 12 months. It has totally surprised me as one of the best cars I have ever driven, including many late models. It is so much fun, and I haven't even put the sway bars on yet. Using a RR Frames C4 conversion chassis with stock 96 C4 Grand Sport front/rear suspension, 13in fronts brakes, etc., that just bolts right in. Stock LS 5.3, 4L60E, 3:45 rear, and American Racing 17 x 9.5 wheels front/rear with a +38 offset, and 275/40-17 Nitto NT01 sticky tires on both ends. The car currently weighs 3275 stripped down, and the stock motor has more than enough power without too much to do anything really stupid.
I will hope to be the quickest try-five in the Valley, or at least in the one where I live.
What gas tank are you running?

Also, just out of curiosity, which C4 springs do you have (I mean, what RPO numbers are they)? There were a ton of different ones available.

As a fellow owner of a C4 tri-five (at least on the front end), I think the reason is that most people aren't pulling the bodies off the frames. I know that's kind of lame, but it's also the reason I didn't do a full C4 conversion on mine. I don't have a lift or the space to do it. My car was mostly done and I took out the motor/trans and front sheet metal to do just the front end. It was worth it, but a lot of guys just want to go the bolt-on route with the stock frame.

Does RR Frames use the stock tri-five frame and retrofit it or is a totally new frame?

I need to weigh mine...I'm guessing it's a little heavier than yours because I have a Ford 8.8 out back, but at least that weight is in the right place.
 

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I raised the body off my 55 Chevy 210 back in the 80's. The garage rafters were exposed. Supported the rafters with 4 x 4's. Used four pulleys to raise the body. Then lowered the body onto a different chassis. Two gantry cranes would have been safer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The RR frame is similar to the Newman chassis, in that it uses all stock suspension components, including the shocks, and the composite traverse springs front and rear, with mine being the stock 96 C4 GS. It uses a stock frame, with a fabricated front stub, and 2 cross members in the middle section. Didn't have to do much more than bolt the 2 complete front and rear suspension assemblies to the mounts. LS mounts were right where they needed to be, along with the transmission mount. It had the mounts for a 22 gallon Rick's tank. The AR torque thrust wheels are the only aftermarket wheel I could find without going custom. They designed them for the C4 corvettes long ago with a 38mm+ offset, and they fit great with plenty of clearance all around. Best part is they were only $150 a piece. The rack/pinion steering on it feels nice and tight, and only 2 turns lock-to-lock making it very responsive. I'm currently at the stock C4 weight, and the car rides/handles/stops, and goes great. It's like driving a really big Corvette.
I was able have a new rolling chassis for $8000, that I spent a couple weeks in my spare time bolting together, without having to fab, or modify anything. I would have easily spent more time/money/fab work trying to put the bolt-on and fab stuff on a stock frame, and not been satisfied with the results for my goal.
 

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The RR frame is similar to the Newman chassis, in that it uses all stock suspension components, including the shocks, and the composite traverse springs front and rear, with mine being the stock 96 C4 GS. It uses a stock frame, with a fabricated front stub, and 2 cross members in the middle section. Didn't have to do much more than bolt the 2 complete front and rear suspension assemblies to the mounts. LS mounts were right where they needed to be, along with the transmission mount. It had the mounts for a 22 gallon Rick's tank. The AR torque thrust wheels are the only aftermarket wheel I could find without going custom. They designed them for the C4 corvettes long ago with a 38mm+ offset, and they fit great with plenty of clearance all around. Best part is they were only $150 a piece. The rack/pinion steering on it feels nice and tight, and only 2 turns lock-to-lock making it very responsive. I'm currently at the stock C4 weight, and the car rides/handles/stops, and goes great. It's like driving a really big Corvette.
I was able have a new rolling chassis for $8000, that I spent a couple weeks in my spare time bolting together, without having to fab, or modify anything. I would have easily spent more time/money/fab work trying to put the bolt-on and fab stuff on a stock frame, and not been satisfied with the results for my goal.
Even though my 55 is is still a rough draft of what I want, I managed to get it on the road from an empty shell to a driver in 12 months. It has totally surprised me as one of the best cars I have ever driven, including many late models. It is so much fun, and I haven't even put the sway bars on yet. Using a RR Frames C4 conversion chassis with stock 96 C4 Grand Sport front/rear suspension, 13in fronts brakes, etc., that just bolts right in. Stock LS 5.3, 4L60E, 3:45 rear, and American Racing 17 x 9.5 wheels front/rear with a +38 offset, and 275/40-17 Nitto NT01 sticky tires on both ends. The car currently weighs 3275 stripped down, and the stock motor has more than enough power without too much to do anything really stupid.
I will hope to be the quickest try-five in the Valley, or at least in the one where I live.
My 57 convert. was pretty much a blank slate to start with. I ordered my chassis from CHRI in B.C. They use all C4 component. It drives very nicely. I am running an LS3 6.6 l and 4L60 E. It’s all GM parts, so no guess work looking for replacement parts. And I like the stance.
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There may be many people running C4 suspensions. Just look at the number of companies offering C4 upgrades and complete suspensions. Personally, I went with the Nerd Rods frame primarily because it uses a complete C4 cradle. For those of us that also want LS engines or in my case a LT4, it was 2 birds with one stone
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Nomads 55-57,69Z28-RS,72ElCamino, Corvette(5)
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C4 stuff is obsolete now ,step up to c5 and later they are even making after market spindles for the c6 set up
C5 and C6 are now 'obsolete' also, if you mean no longer manufactured... :) But that's what 'hot rodding' is all about, utilizing obsolete parts from newer model cars to upgrade our even older cars... :)

My chassis has rebuilt C4 suspension/brakes/steering from a '96 Corvette (in my '57 Nomad), so that's a 39-40 yr upgrade in design and components!... obsolete or not! :)
 

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C4 stuff is obsolete now ,step up to c5 and later they are even making after market spindles for the c6 set up
Lol...in 1984 they were getting 1.01G from the C4 on shaved tires and tweaked alignment settings. Imagine what could be done with modern sticky rubber on the same car...1.1, 1.2G's? It's hardly obsolete. Do you have a '56 gasser running a straight axle front end with 15" wheels/tires?...just asking, you know, since we're talking about obsolescense ;)

No one is saying that a C5/6/7/8 isn't better than a C4, but in a tri-five, I think you're hard-pressed to find a better platform given the cost. No bolt-on will come close to the C4 swap and a C5/6 swap...I don't buy that it would be much better and it's certainly more complicated. The C5/6 brakes are definitely an improvement, but you can adapt them to a C4 spindle.
 

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I used flatout engineering crossmembers and plan on boxing the whole frame. I have, purchased some suspension mods for the corvette that should make it even better. Coilovers are a big upgrade in the C-4 world also. I used the power rack.. next is a 454 gen VI not sure on the transmission yet.
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IMO coilovers is a 'buzzword' that people want because they think they are supposed to! My '56 Nomad has front coilovers on it (QA1) which I do not like. I see NOTHING that they do for me... and as soon as I find a decent set of factory front springs, they will get swapped out.
 
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