I've slowly been making some progress on my car and realized, even though I've posted some pictures of it on this site at random times, I don't have a specific thread showing the restoration process. Some of you have seen some of these, but others haven't. I'll post more pics later.
I bought it like this, on a farm near Ottawa, KS., April of 2008. It had the original paint, interior, top, and transmission, but the motor had been replaced at some time with a '71 block and '69 heads.
I didn't do much at all on it for the first year, but eventually I did some of the body work, got it road worthy, and drove it some, just to find out what all needed attention during the restoration. It hadn't been on the road for the past 5 years and the transmission promptly started slipping badly. I bought a book and rebuilt the TH400, then I drove it a little more.
Patrick, that '57 is our 2nd Belair 2 dr hardtop. I got my first one when I was 15, in 1975. I bought 2 identical bodies for $15, and built the best one for my high school car. I kept that one for 26 years. We also have a '57 Nomad and a '57 210 DelRay Club Coupe. It's a disease.
Jared, I can think of 3 other members on this forum that also have tri-fives.
One afternoon, after an extensive search, I finally found the build sheet for the SS inside the rear seat, while I was taking it apart to paint the springs and install new covers.
The car has a good amount of options. A title search showed it was shipped from the Van Nuys, CA plant to the Leeds plant in Kansas City, MO. From there it went to the Pappas Chevrolet dealership in Kansas City, MO in June of '70. It was not sold until June of '72, and the first owner kept it until July of '95.
The title search was cheap and it's pretty interesting information. I encourage others to get one, if they don't have the history of their car.
I've restored the dash, steering column, console, shifter, pedal assemblies, etc.
Like so many other SS454 Montes, the level ride system compressor and mounting brackets were missing when I got the car. Everything else for the system was still in place. I was able to buy a set of original brackets and a compressor from Germany and with parts from another compressor I bought on ebay, I was able to repair the compressor.
I used the original brackets as a pattern to make more sets of brackets, like the ones below, to sell and help fund the restoration.
Also, I bought a NOS inlet filter for the same system and without opening the package, I used it as a pattern to make filters for the same reason. That was an expensive little filter to buy!
A forum member that lives locally needed some of the other level ride system parts and got me started making them for others.
Making the die to be able to reproduce the shock protectors was one of the more interesting things I've done during this project. I made the one in the pic.
Dave C. 70 400 BB 4spd Monte Carlo 71 350 4spd bench seat Monte Carlo 71 SS 454 Monte Carlo (waiting in the wings) 72 350 Monte Carlo 68 SS396 Camaro 70 SS396 Chevelle 70 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 86 Grand National 02 SS conv.
A couple weeks ago, I raised one side of the car up high and I've been scraping all of the undercoating I could reach from the bottom side.
Also, I've cleaned the inner wheel houses. The metal behind the undercoating looks real nice. Using a small propane torch to heat ahead of a putty knife helps alot.
Finally, today I was ready to lift the body off the frame. I jacked the body up just enough to roll the frame out the side. It was easy to do. I had time to remove all of the rear suspension and the rear axle from the frame. Also, I removed all of the steering parts and all of the front suspension on one side.
I'll be building a body cart and I've bent some 2" rigid conduit to bolt to the cart, so I can roll the body on its side. It'll make the final cleaning and painting of the underside much easier.