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1955 to 1957 Buick Street Rod ?


Guest BJM

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We all know the popularity of the 1955 to 1957 Chevys as original restorations and street rods (technically speaking I believe the phrase is street machine) I always thought it was strange that the other GM lines did not see at least some traction from this association.

Overall I guess the 55-57 Chevy's are the best styled of the period and because of thier shear numbers, interchangeability and relatively small size, they continue to have demand and whole cottage industries built up around them. In fact, as some know, you can build a 57 Chevy with nothing more then a cowl tag. You can buy a brand new 57 Chevy convertible.

I had a friend in high school that had a 55 Chevy 2 door "street machine". It was Polo Green with the rare hyde of the nauga interior.

Does anybody on this forum, or does anybody know somebody who has done a well executed 1955 to 1957 BUICK street machine?

The problem I is I am trying to visualize just such a machine. But I love the stock looks of these Buicks. Now, let me say that the 55-57 Chevy's are popular becauseof interchangeability. You can drop a Chevy small block in a 55-57 Chevy from 1955 to present. I think you can bolt up Crager SS wheels and if all else is stock, then you essentially have a Chevy "street machine".

But what about BUICK? Do most of the Crager SS and other aftermarket wheels bolt onto the Buick hubs? Do you really want to try and slow a mid fifties Buick street machine down with stock brakes? frown.gif

So what disc brake set up would work with the front suspension of the Buick? You know I have to admire hot rodders because they have to incorporate steering, braking, and technology upgrades into these cars that weren't made for it. I know we cringe sometimes, but I am trying to work through these issues and I think I have answered my own question about WHY the rest of the GM's are not done like Chevys.

Whole companies are based on providing aftermarket upgrades to these cars.

Is the BUICK Special an apples to apples body and frame to the Chevy Bel Airs?

PART 2 - What modifications would you make to a 55-57 BUICK street rod? I would drop in a 455 and a TH400, aluminum driveshaft and 12 bolt rear axle but that sounds easier said then done. Chevy's had leaf springs if I am not mistaken.

I can not weld, so my modifications would be limited to what I could bolt in.

Now, on the interior. I like the mid fifties GM interiors for their period look. I don't see a lot of the Chevy guys going crazy with modifications to the interiors, but then again, I don't buy HOT ROD magazine so I am not 100% sure of the latest trending. I only see a few at car shows.

On the bodies, for street machines purposes, I would remove the sweepspears to give it that smooth look. No change to the grilles or rear ends. I would want the car lowered without using those super skinny tires. I want Crager SS or similar aftermarket wheels and a cool color.

Any ideas on this topic? From your own BUICK street machine photos to what might work on an otherwise stock Special.

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Jake,

Any car can certainly be turned into a street rod. I've seen a few 55's that were very well executed. A mild custom usually shaves the front bombsight and smooths the hood. Removing the sweepspear would make it look very slab-sided in my opinion. There is a company that makes a prebuilt chassis for a 55 set up for disc brakes. I think it is in the $7k range. I think the biggest problem alot of street rods have is mixing of different styles ie. fenderless primered old school 30's car with independant front suspension and alloy wheels. I also hate seeing Chevy pickup steering columns from the 80's in any hot rod. As far as designing/ engineering for every one "problem" you solve, you generally cause several others. That's why there are so many "project" cars on ebay. I would suggest starting with a hardtop and doing (mild) customization. Lower it. Put some chrome baby moon hubcaps on it and progress from there. Whether restoring or customizing, it takes a lot of money and time. You really need a plan either way, even if you are buying the brand new turnkey 57 Chevy. And for God's sake...do not put a tweed interior in it!

Good luck

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Guest imported_Thriller

Last year there was a customized '56 41 (Special 4 door sedan) cropped up around here. I can't say that I saw it this year though.

It had custom two tone paint in the style of the original, but it was a custom colour (primarily dark green metallic). It had a modern set of chromed wheels on it. I'm not sure what the drivetrain was, but it was definitely not a built Nailhead. As far as the exterior went, other than colour and wheels, I wouldn't say it was modified (i.e. no chopping, significant lowering, frenching, etc.)...at least not to my recollection.

Seeing this car, Ewing thought it might be an interesting way to work on my '56...dress it up a bit, maybe hop up the driveline a bit, etc.

I looked for photos...I know I saw the car at two events - MSRA show at the end of April and our club's swap meet, but I don't have any photos from those events. Perhaps Ewing has a photo or two of the car.

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Guest imported_Thriller

Here's a lightly customized '57

It has Lake pipes, disc brakes, and newer stereo system...and is for sale. The engine shot shows some customizing as well, but it appears to still be a Nailhead. It's about a 2 hour drive from here in case someone wanted it checked out.

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Guest imported_Thriller

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BUICK RACER</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Waiting to hear from "the truck driver, Harold" who hooked me up with a guy named Jeff in the area this car is at, I think this is my old car, now if it is? what did he do with the nailhead, dynaflow and rear axle torque tube, cause I got people that need that stuff!

</div></div>

Not to mention wheels and seats....

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Thriller</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BUICK RACER</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Waiting to hear from "the truck driver, Harold" who hooked me up with a guy named Jeff in the area this car is at, I think this is my old car, now if it is? what did he do with the nailhead, dynaflow and rear axle torque tube, cause I got people that need that stuff!

</div></div>

Not to mention wheels and seats....

</div></div>

Your right, etc. Not a word, I guess I should email Jeff and see if it is the car what he did with the '56 good stuff.

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