Project LowRider

Introduction: Project “Low Rider”

By July 18, 2020No Comments

Introduction

So, on a spur, on Independence day weekend, I found saw a for-sale AD, for a 1964 Chevrolet Bel Air

The original Facebook AD.

Now, having been looking for an old American piece of sheet metal, this car spiked my interest, as it would make a wonderful old-school Family car.

After thinking on it for a day, I decided to go and pick up the car.

Task #1, Getting it legal

So, when I picked up the car, and got the title, I forgot to check if the title was actually notorized (it was not….).

Unfortunately, after purchasing the car, the seller completely ghosted me, and refused to provide any assistant locating the ORIGINAL seller who had signed the title.

After going to the local tag-office, my options were…

  1. Get the title properly notorized. This would involve tracking down the original owners from a title, dated 1992.
  2. Petition a judge, With proper paperwork to prove the car is not stolen, and is now owned by me, I could petition a judge, who would be able to provide an order, to allow the tag office to register the car in my name.

I then visited the local tag office, and filed a form, costing 1$. With the new information, I was able to validate the car was not stolen, and to get the most current names and addresses for the vehicle.

After a bit of googling, and trying many different phone numbers, I was able to get in contact with the original owner’s wife, who was able to get me into contact with the original owner.. After talking, we scheduled a time to meet up at his house, on the following Saturday.

The following weekend, I started my one hour drive, to BFE, Oklahoma.

Upon arriving me and the original owner talked for a bit, and exchanged our dislikes for the seller. After this point, he indicated to me, that he actually had a lot of the spare/original/replacement parts for the car.

I left with a notorized title, a box full of replacement parts for the front-end of the car, and a 700R4 transmission, (Which, was supposed to be the original power-glide, however, neither of us noticed this detail at the time).

Free of charge replacement parts, and 700R4

Overall, dealing with the original owner was a great experience.

For those confused between seller, and original owner-

  1. I purchased the car from the Seller, for the asking price of 2,000$.
  2. He had purchased the car from the Original Owner for $800

Both me and the original owner, are not huge “fans” of the Seller at this point, especially after I learned, when he originally brought the car for 800$, there was also a full set of wheels in the trunk, along with a new Edelbrok intake.

However- what has happened is done, and this project will continue on. I do definitely believe the value is in this car after a bit of elbow grease, and some more hard work.

Task #2, basic cleanup

The first task I took on, was doing some basic cleanup… Running a vacuum through the car, and hitting some of the rusty floorboards with a wire-wheel.

Air-Ride

Assuming you have noticed the odd contraption between the front-seats, this is the custom air-ride solution that came on the car.

While, not pretty- it is functional.

While- this wouldn’t have been my ideal solution for implementing air-ride, it is functional and does work.

However- the car does not have an on-board compressor… So, if you decide to lower the car while you are away from your air supply, you better ensure there is enough pressure left in the tank to restore ride-height!

The car will go pretty low with its current setup.

Slammed down. The trunk is lower then the height of the normal-sized tires currently on my truck.

The Plan / Goals

Originally, my thoughts were to pick up this car, restore it, and make a 4-door family crusier with the engine out of Project Racecar.

However- after doing a bit of research (which I should have done BEFORE acquiring the car), I learned from around ’59 – ’64, Chevrolet used an ‘X’ frame for these cars.

For those not familiar with an ‘X’ frame, it is exactly what it sounds like.

An ‘X’ frame is exactly what it sounds like.

Why is that an issue?

Well- I have learned in the history of Project Racecar, when you have a ton of power…. well, anything which can move, bend, or break, will move, bend or break.

I have broken drive shafts in half. I have bent leaf-springs. I have shattered rear-ends. I have cracked transmission bell housings.

For most all of the above issues, the resolution is pretty simple. Put in a bigger, beefier replacement part.

The reason this is an issue on the Bel Air- due to space constraints with the ‘X’, I cannot simply put in a bigger driveshaft. As well, I am worried about the frame having stability / twisting issues under high torque.

One way to rectify this issue, would be to install a full roll-cage. This would have the benefit of tying back to the frame in the critical mounting places, giving the needed rigidity.

I have not completely wrote-off this idea yet, However, I am going to approach it cautiously.

Current Plans

My current plans for this car is to…

First- Replace all of the rusty floor plans, and stop the existing corrosion. While replacing the floor plans, I also plan on installing Dynamat/Killmat in the interior, to allow for sound deadening, and insulation.

Regardless if this turns into a race car, a weekend getaway car, or a old-school family car, Insulation to cut down on noise, and keep the interior cool is a good idea.

After the corrosion issues are resolved, I plan on sanding down the exterior of the car, and bringing the car to a uniform primer shade, to await future projects.

Once the car looks nice, it will be a great platform to build on. At that point, I may sell the car, or, continue to build it.

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