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Updated on May 06, 2012
'55 150 2-door Wagon Project - "The Tin Rocket"
I'm going to give this project a name - I think I'll call it "The Tin Rocket"! My brother Rick and a friend had a Pontiac-powered '55 150 2-door that they raced back in the 60s that we called "The Tin Indian" so there's a precedent!
The listing for my "fleet" (under Page for '67 Nova "Bluebelle") shows the 2-door 150 Wagon Project buried in a snowbank in my backyard a few winters ago! (Classic Chevy World tells printed another picture I took the same day in December 2004 issue!)
It is an old gasser I bought about 20 years ago with a really solid (though butchered!) body and un-streetable modified frame. I sold the frame to a guy who wants to build a nostalgia gasser last spring but refused to let go of the body. I had a nice-running (but rusty) '74 Olds Cutlass 4-door with the same wheelbase as the Wagon and wanted to try a frame swap.
I got the Wagon body on the frame last summer by means of a truckload of concrete blocks, a couple hydraulic jacks and a lot of elbow-grease and it fits pretty well! I think I can make-up body mounts pretty easily and the only really challenging fabrication work will be a radiator support that will fit the Olds frame and radiator and mount the Chevy sheet-metal on the front.
The floors on the body are pretty holey but all the braces are in good shape. Doors have had internal sheet metal removed but not too rusty, and the firewall was hogged-out for major engine set-back. (I have firewall from another '55 that will replace most of the missing metal!) There is no glass except the windshield but I will find a way to take care of that...
Here is another shot of the wagon body on the Olds frame: - Note that in this picture I have uncovered the old "Wild Heritage" lettering on the door, how cool is that? Like archeolgy, man!
You can see the hogged-out firewall with the red "patch" roughly in place and the wiring harness from the Cutlass piled on top of the Air Cleaner. At this point I am able to connect a battery, plug the harness into the Steering Column and start and run the engine on whatever gas I pour in the carb! No fuel tank or lines or brakes yet and no mounting bracket for the steering column but that will just take some time.
You can also see the wide raduised and flared rear wheelwells - it is going to take some real big tires to fill this space up! The guy I bought the old racecar from thought it was a Nomad - it must have been those wheelwells...
I have the body mounted to chassis at rear with a piece if 1 1/2-inch "Kindorf" perforated steel channel and 2 5-foot pieces of channel are bolted to the top of the frame rails under the doors. I have used the original Cutlass body mount cushions between the channel and the frame in two places at the rear and in two places on each side but still need to fabricate brackets to extend in from the channel on sides to the '55 body mount holes in the floor supports. I thought at first that the body was sitting a little high relative to the frame with this mounting scheme but I don't think you can see as much of the frame below the rockers as you can on my '82 Monte Carlos... Kindorf makes all kinds of nice "fittings" for the channel to attach crossing braces, etc. I intend to use the same stuff to build the radiator support and a second rear support for the gas tank.
Because of the "5 mph bumpers" on the Cutlass there is a lot of space between the rear pan of the wagon and rear bumper and I expect to have the same in front. It looks like removing the crash-cylinders on the bumpers and fabricating brackets to move them in closer to the body should not be too hard, but that's "cosmetic" stuff - I'm a long ways from that kind of work yet!
UPDATE: 7/2005 The body mounts and radiator supports are coming-along well, steering column is attached to the Chevy dashboard in driveable location and I intend to order an 8-gallon fuel cell from Summit so I can get the machine moving under its own power again soon!
Got the Fuel cell in and plumbed-up and had the Olds running last month! Rear brakes are "frozen" though and could not get the vehicle in motion and have not had time to work on them - looks like it will be Spring for that! Over the winter I am going to see if I can get it registered with NY DMV so I can have a transferrable registration to sell it with. I have bill of sale I got with the wagon 20 years ago and think all I need in addition is a picture of the VIN tag and insurance...
I am advertising the project for sale locally - it would be nice to have time to concentrate on just one or two projects and clean-up the yard a little bit! Check back for more info later or jump to my Geocities personal webpage to read about my other past and present automotive projects: Da Fleet
And here's "Mr. Scopes" - drawn by my son Matt! (Ha!Ha!)
IT'S ALIVE - IT'S ALIVE!
The monster moved under its own power yesterday for the first time! Seems I overheated the tranny last year trying to move it with rear brakes "frozen" - when I fixed the brakes it still wouldn't go because it "belched" all the tranny fluid and was low. I jacked it up and checked-out tranny, added fluid, and it is rolling! I have a lawn-mower cable for throttle, a pair of vice-grips on the shifter tube to select gears, and no brakes but it is moving now. I have also installed the front seat from the Cutlass 4-door (nice seat cover on it) and some guages, instrument cluster and radio speaker grille in the dash, and done a lot of clean-up. Will post more pictures soon - check back later for them...
Oh, yeah, I discoverd it already had a name! Under some primer on the driver's door is painted "Wild Heritage" - how cool is that? I've gotta check the webiste with al the old gasser pix - maybe somebody knows this car from its past life.
It is still alive and getting nearer to completion!
I finished running brake lines and installing throttle control, master cylinder, repairing some of the windows and installing inner door panels, and stripping more paint last summer. Hopefully i will get a chance to upload some newer photos soon!
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BRING IT BACK! Gotta love a GASSER WAGON! 3 stars wanting to be 5
more photos would be great! Enjoy
I wouldn't mind seeing more pics of the swap. Every one I have seen has had the frame hanging way below the rockers and looked odd.
Hey Mark when are you gonna sell me the old girl so i can put her back on the dragstrip?? Good luck and hope you "Git Ur Done".
Please join us at the Tri-Five Chevy Group.http://groups.cardomain.com/groups/15610/pages/16696
i had one of these wagons and they are great for travel make sure you put a bb chevy in her!!!
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