Friday, January 28, 2011

Rob Riley's Custom '55 Altered

Still more from the "Mind of Riley". Today's post is a very cool Altered '55 Chevy! Thanks again to Rob Riley for sending these cool pictures and background story!
I have always liked the old altered wheel base drag cars, but no one was making any models of them anymore. You could buy resin bodies with altered wheelbases, but they are pretty expensive. I took a model of a stock wheel base 55 chevy and altered the wheelbase myself.
The first thing I did was to determine how far I would need to move the rear wheel wells forward to get the right look. After I figured that out, I cut both 1/4 panels off the body with a razor blade and cut a section out of the front of them. Using a razor blade to cut a plastic model car body is dangerous but it leaves a nice clean cut without removing any of the plastic (like if a razor saw is used). I moved the 1/4 panels forward and then used the section that I cut out, to fill in the rear of the 1/4 panels.  I moved the wheel wells forward  about a 1/2 inch. I glued the 1/4 panels and the section peices back onto the body with superglue, and then I went over the seams with bondo. I removed the side trim from the body but I left the door handles on. I also left the rear wheel wells stock instead of radiusing them out.
Once the bondo was dry and sanded smooth I sprayed the body with gray primer, a silver base color, and then candy blue lacquer paint. I put a couple of coats of clear lacquer over the blue paint.
I had to cut the chassis to move the rear axle forward. I cut a section out of the chassis right in front of the stock leaf spring mounts and moved the rear section of the chassis forward. I glued and molded the rear section of chassis to the front section of the chassis. The chassis also had a single stock exhaust molded into it so I had to cut all of it out.
Now that the chassis was chopped and the rear axle was moved forward, the interior pan would no longer fit. The rear axle was now where the back seat was at. I cut out the back seat and made a tonnue type cover to go over the back seat area. I made a roll bar out of steel coat hanger and added a single bucket seat to the front.
For the front axle, of course I went with a chrome straight axle, but I moved it forward without moving the front wheel wells forward like I've seen on a bunch of older real a.w.b. cars. I left the front bumper off, but kept the rear bumper on. At this time in drag racing, it was all about weight transfer and a stock 55 chevy rear bumper would help put some weight at the rear of the car for more traction.
In the front, I left the grill out, and in it's place I put a nice chrome moon tank. The engine is a big block chevy with hilborn injection, backed by a 4 speed. I made some new engine mounts and set the engine back a little bit. I tinted the windows with some blue film just like they did in the 60's. The fender well headers are from a Tom Daniel beer wagon model kit and they are sprayed flat white. I built this back before I started adding plug wires and fuel lines, so that's why there aren't any on this one.
 Come back tomorrow for another "altered" creation from the mind of Rob Riley.