The frame-off rebuild of a 1957 Chevrolet 210 sedan

September  2004 May  2005

       I've always loved the '57.  I've owned a couple of '55 Chevys in my younger days but never had the opportunity (money and a good deal) to purchase one. Now that I'm going through my 3rd mid-life crisis, I've decided that it's now or never.  I already had other car projects in the works which have their vital parts  strewed all over my garage so starting another project car could send me over the edge. But the desire remained strong so my quest for a running, drivable, possible future project car, a car that I could just buy and drive started. As luck would have it, my good friend, Bob Spencer (Spencer Fabrications) had started restoring a pair of 1957 Chevy 210s  for someone who  decided to sell one. Of the two cars, this one was drivable, had a rebuilt stock 283ci motor, new tires.....  a car that had a lot of potential, but alas, it needed a bit of cleaning up and a paint job. September 18, 2004, I purchase the car.

the car in Bob's shop rebuilt stock 283 interior needs some work


   The plan was to "throw on" a paint job, do some simple upholstry work and just drive the car. Some day, when I had more time, more money, I would redo the car.  Bob, who was already working on the car for the previous owner, agreed to tidy up the car and do the paint. 

So, Bob talks me into having the car media blasted, a good idea I thought, for a car this old. The next day I show up and much to my surprise, the car has been completely taken apart and is sitting in a trailer ready to go to media blasting!!  I didn't think anyone could take apart a car that fast and ..........what have I done???!!!

the car in Bob's trailer motor out, fenders off, etc. the rest of car


So now that the car has been taken apart and with the car back from media blasting and is in such good condition...... it would be a shame to put the "old" parts back on...........Can you see where this is going?  

back from media blast body taken off of frame. body on rotisserie


This build only took 9 months, partly because I felt guilty about the car taking up Bob's limited space, so I spent just about every night and weekend at his house working on the car. When I wasn't there, Bob continued to work his magic on the car. I was always amazed on how much Bob would accomplish between my visits. Because of the fast pace and lack of a real plan, I had to try decide on and obtain what parts we might need with only a few days lead time. The result is a car with mostly bolt-on accessories,  sometimes replaced later with something "better". If the schedule had not been so hectic, if I had the room at my house, I would have had more time to think of what I wanted, maybe be a bit more creative.........but then, like other projects I've started (not finished), this car probably would still be a dream.

When I came across the 1963 Corvette 327, 360hp motor and the HD350 transmission for a good price, the goal became clear.......this was the dream car I would have built in 1965 given the resources. Yup, now it's a full frame-off "Retro Mod"!  Thanks to Bob and Linda Spencer and my patient and supportive wife, Robin. 

 I've documented the progress with pictures which you may view by clicking on the following link:    
click on 57 Chevy above to see
Is a car ever really finished?  I eventually replaced the stock 16 gal. gas tank with a CPP 25 gal. tank. 
click on picture to see installation 


-------------------- FAVORITE LINKS ---------------------
Marc Buehler's historical Cal-Look 1951 VW  The Legendary Der Rennmeister VW car club
Bob Spencer's Projects Randy Branford's nostalgic AA/Fuel Altered