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54fins

Modified 54 Skylark

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1953 and 1954 pontiac convertible frames were made with thicker steel than the closed bodied frames were. i would think that other GM makes offering convertible models would have followed the same practice. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

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That may very well be. The roof adds a lot of support, convertibles are very problematic. I'll check the steel, somehow the X member just looks lighter on the sedan frame.

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1953 and 1954 pontiac convertible frames were made with thicker steel than the closed bodied frames were. i would think that other GM makes offering convertible models would have followed the same practice. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

That is also true on '57 Buicks. - Dan

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frame is done. Riviera 3.08 posi with a 4 link triangulated. Dual master, rack and pinion front end, coil overs and 11" disk brakes. 5 on 5 pattern with Riviera drums in the rear. The 425 and SP400 are ready to settle in. Can the body be transferred in the next 30 days? we shall see.:confused:

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dressing up the 425 to look like a 322. The valley pan on the 322 is 1/4" longer, but the heads appear to be interchangeable. :rolleyes:

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The engine is in. After a test run and a driveshaft it's time for a body. The ac compressor takes over for the generator and everything fits like it was meant to be. Going for 400 hp and it looks like it will bold the road- solid!

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Have you test fit your inner sheet metal with the AC bracket and alternator in place? I was unable to use that bracket as it placed the alternator to far outboard on my 57'.

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Edited by 421-6speed (see edit history)

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yes, did not need much trimming. The 54 is a bit more bulbous than the 57. Only needed a light trim on the upper control arm.

The 57 is a lot tougher, they lowered the car and lowered the profile. You had quite a project there, a lot less room to work with. I can see all sorts of issues you had that were not a problem on the 54. I do have a problem with the brake master under the car. Dual exhaust isn't easily done so I'm going to a single outlet. Not a problem, I'll use a larger dia pipe and now I only need to worry about 1 run. Then using a super quiet muffler but adding a bypass when I want to be obnoxious. The 3 deuce is very cool.

Ultimately I'm trying to keep the mods as unnoticeable as possible. I also have another issue in that I want it possible to put the body back on the original frame. That way the car can be returned to OEM. Not that I care to have it stock, but it negates the argument of "how could you ruin a Skylark?" Well, I'll have the original frame and components stored away so anyone that doesn't like my concept can simply buy it from me and put it all back to original and put it in a museum or storage of their choice. If they can't afford it, then I guess they will just have to deal with it!

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It will be interesting to see (feel) how the a/c works in a mid 50's convertible. I can't keep heat in my 55 if the temperature is below 50*...very surprising since closed cars were comfortable at -30*.

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I'm going top do an insulated headliner. Not worried about winter, it's stored anyhow. But 100 plus heat is hard to deal with in full sun.

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The insulated headliner would certainly make the car quieter, with the top up, as in later model factory tops built that way. If it would not cause too much build thickness, a silver mylar layer in the headliner might offer some additional radiation reflectivity for the top (kind of like they spray on the underside of house roofs for the same reason). Using a plastic bubble-wrap kind of watershield for the door panels and such might help limit heat intrusion, too, just as the popular DynaMat can do for the floor pan and/or the Lizzard Skin ceramic spray-on coatings can do for the underbody areas.

As for the exhaust system (single, large pipe), the earlier-1970s Chrysler Imperial application used a normal Chrysler-sized muffler with 2.5" inlet and outlet pipes. Same restriction as the famous Street Hemi muffler, but quieter. Not sure if the sizing might fit your chassis, though. I suspect that Walker Exhaust still has that muffler available (NAPA used to re-package Walker Exhaust items with the Walker part number on them).

Sounds like the project is progressing nicely!

NTX5467

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The lift just arrived, so it is time to transplant the body, then paint. The original frame can someday be restored, but for now black Betty is going to become Betty Boop in red. Why not black as the trim tag defined it? I am not going to wash and detail the car for a week to drive it for a day. Now I must choose the matador red or a metallic, single stage or a deep candy. I like the idea of buffing out scratches since it will be a driver. Guess I have a week to decide as I strip the front clip and the bling. The Buick red would keep the sleeper aspect, but with a deep clear, cut and buffed to look wet in a dessert. I'm more concerned with the stereo and the drink holders for now. I saw a 55 speaker cover made into a drink holder. Decision time. Carbs or fuel inj are also up for debate. Then rims, not sure if the kh rims can take burnouts. Probably have the kh wheels for show and a road set.

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I want you to hurry and put the air conditioning in it...curious about the efficiency if a/c in a mid 50's convertible :D

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I have 2 Riviera AC units. The old ones are huge, but cool. A newer compressor will be much more efficient, but I might try out an old one just to see how well they work. I'm pretty sure that most old cars do not seal up the engine airflow, so at a crawl the engine heat just goes round and round the radiator. Not only is that vapor lock, but the AC condenser must cool the Freon or it wont work. Likely to add an electric fan and I have a plan to put a seal above and below the radiator. 100 F air is plenty cool, but 150F air from the engine is too hot. I had the same issue on my dodge truck, no ac at idle. Once I improved the airflow on the ac condenser it works great even at idle. I also think it's why we get parade overheat syndrome, but we shall see

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I have 2 Riviera AC units. The old ones are huge, but cool. A newer compressor will be much more efficient, but I might try out an old one just to see how well they work. I'm pretty sure that most old cars do not seal up the engine airflow, so at a crawl the engine heat just goes round and round the radiator. Not only is that vapor lock, but the AC condenser must cool the Freon or it wont work. Likely to add an electric fan and I have a plan to put a seal above and below the radiator. 100 F air is plenty cool, but 150F air from the engine is too hot. I had the same issue on my dodge truck, no ac at idle. Once I improved the airflow on the ac condenser it works great even at idle. I also think it's why we get parade overheat syndrome, but we shall see

All those issues can be worked out, I'm talking about keeping cold air in the convertible at highway speeds. Right now mine has trouble keeping heat in at an outside temp of 50*, whereas a sedan heated well at -20*. Most available units will put cold air in your face, everything else is hot.

Willie

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good point! I am going to beef up the insulation, But a 50's convertible isn't very tight. No, it's not as tight as a Mercedes! I have some ideas for the top but this will be a challenge. Plan b will be a cooler of ice cold beer and an ac hose hooked to my shirt

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Plan b will be a cooler of ice cold beer and an ac hose hooked to my shirt

I like Plan B.

I would personally opt for a modern AC unit vs. the Riv unit. I realize free is good.

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frame done! Body transfer time. Body gets picked up, undercarriage and cowl painted and dropped on theoretically next week. Body was already blasted so should not need much prep. Time is running out, Portland is a month away...

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Keep us posted on the brake situation.

There is a guy asking about a 55 on General right now.

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The scarebird setup is neat, but I used the original lever and pivot. The adapter was hand made to mount it to the non power brake position on a 54. The original power booster goes way in the back but modern setups are much smaller

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No more flat black primer

the body requires virtually nothing for bodywork. lots of yellow brass work.

They went nuts with the dum dum, it's everywhere. going back to red oxide primer, given the car is going red.

30 days and counting!

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Edited by 54fins (see edit history)

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Getting the body on makes me a lot more optimistic that it will make Portland.. Certainly some loose ends, but if its a running, driving painted car it should be good. The frame lined up perfect, now it's a race. It sits solid, 2" lower and I can adjust a couple inches either way, but looks like we got the ride the way I wanted it. Low, but not too low. Car was skinned assembled, the gaps and lines are all right on. The matador red will get a very deep clear and a wet look cut and buff. Steering wheel goes in, with a smaller tilt wheel. Have a few more custom surprises, but everything is old school (well, except the rack and pinion) Staying with a carb and analog instruments.

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