1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Project or showroom for non-Minor classic cars

1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:57 pm

I bought this on 9th December as I wanted a family car to go to shows etc along with my Minors. British cars are getting expensive for what they are, so I turned to America for something. I've looked at quite a few, but standard american tin is similarly underpowered and possibly not for everyday use. That's when my eye was caught by this chevy - looked standard, but wasn't under the skin. It's powered by a 6 litre Chevolet LQ4 engine with LS1 heads and corvette cam fitted. It has an aftermarket management system installed and runs a GM 700r 4 speed auto box. Front suspension is mustang 2 with power rack and rear is a Ford 8.8 inch rear axle with discs all round. Interior is refurbed and it is rewired too. It drives really nice, but there are some minor issues to address - wipers, washers, horns not working, it has a leaky power rack, but I was given a replacement for it. It will also get a good dose of rustproofing injected everywhere, but car is amazingly totally unwelded and rot free.
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby Panky » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:23 pm

I say...Ding Dong 8)
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby Jingle » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:44 pm

Cracking family motor. Looks like the ideal mixture of class & haul ass!
If all goes to plan, I'll be following suit early next year with another Chevy, but with a few less doors and seats.....watch this space 8)
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:56 am

I think I've sussed out all the electrical glitches, the biggest being the wipers. It's fitted with an aftermarket kit which is frankly very poor, so I've started taking out the entire assembly. the motor works, but the rack doesn't move, so I guess it's stripped teeth. Hopefully it can be fixed, but it's an American kit.
Latest pics:

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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby old english white » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:03 pm

What a great looking car 8) . I agree with you that English classic cars are, in the main, becoming somewhat expensive. I am looking for something different myself and have noticed that everytime I check the internet, prices seem to have risen again! My money remains in my pocket for now.....
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby irmscher » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:21 am

Fantastic car one of my favourites did they call this the fleetstar??
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:55 am

The earlier models were called Fleetline and Styline, but in 1953 they appeared with a one piece windscreen and different trim with Bel Air being the top of the range. I can now recognise different years by the front grille treatment. I've had it out for a decent drive the other day - cruises easily and surprisingly quietly at 70 mph. Steering is rather light though and very quick, so a light touch needed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Bel_Air

PO
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby irmscher » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:15 pm

Thanks for that :D I like them so much I called my business Belair 36 years ago :oops:
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby TeHoro » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:19 pm

Nice ride PO.

When are you going to lower it?
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:34 pm

TeHoro wrote:Nice ride PO.

When are you going to lower it?


I'm sure it's lowered a bit already when I look at pics of others, but we'll see what the future holds. A mate has the same model on hydraulics, but with original engine etc, but it's chopped and 2 doored, another has a lowered 54 2 door again with standard 6 cylinder, and another guy in Edinburgh has a 1950 styline with full custom chassis and on airbags (sits on the sills on full drop) with LS1 fitted with a show interior and paintjob, so I've plenty inspiration :D . My one however looks totally stock, but isn't - just what I like :D

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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:27 pm

Bel Air is now MOT'd. I know i didn't have to, but it's new to me and I wanted it looked over. Wipers, indicators, washers, horn all now installed and working. Steering rack not so far as I'm investigating a pressure reducing kit for pump just now and makes sense to try on existing rack. GM pump puts out too much pressure for the Ford rack making steering very light and very quick to respond. Cutting pressure should help though, but for a part costing $16.07 in the US it will be nearly £40 for me to have it in my hand - rip off Britain :evil:

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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:58 pm

I decided to T cut, clay bar and polish the chevy today as the paint was a bit gritty. It's now nice and smooth, so went for a trip with son and grandkids between snow showers. Ended up at the beach in Broughty Ferry (only a mile from my house) and it was blowing a gale - and very cold.


chevyferry1.jpg



chevy ferry2.jpg
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby plastic orange » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:51 pm

I decided to start the underneath cleaning process on the chevy. As it has resided till recently in sunny California, the underside was unmolested, but had surface rust. Now this obviously didn't matter in the sunshine state, but I thought it prudent to protect it. I've started on the front end, doing the inner wings and front suspension . I firstly cleaned off the surface rust then applied 2 coats of neutrarust, then a coat of bonda rust primmer, then 2 coats of chassis black. Condition of the metal work is as new, something that couldn't be said of a similar aged car here in the uk.
My grandson Jack assisted with the process.

PO

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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby old english white » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:22 pm

That's the way. Start them young ;). I hope you didn't return him TOO grubby!

I am a great believer in Bonda Primer and have used it on my various cars for many years always with good results. I have never found anything better for the purpose.

Keep up the good work. Lets hope we can now enjoy our old cars in some good weather.
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Re: 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Postby ruairidh » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:32 pm

Looking good. :D
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