1955 Chev 210 4 Door Sedan

55 Chev as it was

55 Chev when I first got it

I owned a 55 Chev 210 4 door sedan for about 6 months in 1976. I bought it from a little old lady for $100. The 55 had a straight 6 with an oil bath air cleaner, 3 on the tree, 4 flat tires and lots of rust. She was driving it one day and it got stuck in 2nd gear. She drove it into her garage and forgot about it for 5 years. She decided to rent out the garage and needed the space. It was a rust bucket and everything was seized.

I shaved the chrome off the car and painted it flat black. Put on baby moons and gave it a nice rake. This sounds like I was cool and knew what I was doing but in actually, It was totally luck and lack of money. It was missing chrome which because I couldn't afford it, I left off all the chrome and patched the holes. I used Tremclad antirust gloss black paint cause I couldn't afford a real paint job and it turned out looking like black primer. The rear springs were sagging so I put on longer shackles to level the car off then I found some 15" wheels on Ford rims in better shape and replaced the rear Chev's 14" wheels. Somehow the Ford rims fit on the Chev and I ended up with a nice rake.

55 Chev as it was

Here's what it looked like after I finished messing with it.

The nice part about this car was that all I had to do to get it running was to take everything apart (engine, tranny, brakes), take off the surface rust with emery cloth, oil it, install new gaskets and put it back together. All the mechanical worked like a charm. I painted the engine block and heads orange (left over from the 67 Ford), the valve cover, air filter, side covers and oil pan black. It sat so high off the ground that I took the tranny out without jacking the car up!

I had problems buying parts for it in 76, as it was 21 years old and too young to be a collector's item and too old for parts stores to carry replacement parts. As the clutch was slipping, I took the clutch in to the local parts store and found a clutch that was close to the same size. Put it in without replacing the pressure plate or turning the flywheel as I was unemployed and had virtually no money. It worked okay, as long as I didn't try to spin the tire (not posi).

I found some early 60s rear brakes shoes that were almost the same size except that they were wider than the 55's. I hand filed the shoes to fit and you could only hear them rubbing on the side of the drums if you turned a corner sharply! I replaced the oil bath air cleaner with a paper filter on the one barrel carb.

I decided to tackle the body being a glutton for punishment. Another 2 gallons of fiberglass, old water heater tank galvanized metal pop rivetted into place and 16 spray bombs of tremclad black antirust paint. The original color was grey. It ended up looking like it was black primer. I had 14" tires on the front and 15" tires on the back that I found in the basement storage area. I bought new baby moons for $30 and painted the inside with antirust paint so that the rock chips wouldn't rust.

The interior trim was painted black and I made new door panels in a dark brown vinyl. I installed brown seat covers that looked pretty nice cause even though the seats were trashed, the back of the driver's seat looked like new. The interior looked very good. Here's a tip, do not do vinyl upholstery work when it is close to freezing cause when it gets warm out, the vinyl upholstery stretches and sags!

The nicest parts of the car was the back of the driver's seat and the trunk. I don't think the trunk had ever been used never mind openned. It had the original spare tire with sticker still on it and a sticker on the trunk lid. The rubber matt was like new. It looked like the day it came out of the factory.

I was moving to Alberta Canada from Montreal and felt that it wouldn't make the trip and wasn't worth keeping. I sold it for $800 which is about what it cost me. In hindsight, it was really a running parts car and not worth $800 as all four doors and fenders were rusted out. This was the car that really hooked me on rebuilding/customizing cars. I didn't have the right tools, experience, space, time or money to do a good job then but now I do 25 years later.

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Copyright May 2011 Eugene Blanchard