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I have an family 57 4-door hardtop bel air in need of restore
I am looking for a company that can help me restore my dad's 57 chevy (he left me) He is the original owner. It has some rust on the chrome but the paint looks fine, the interior needs to be completely redone and the trunk. Engine is not original but a mid-1970's engine. I would like to fix it up nice - not to the n'th degree but atleast back to a lot of the original as I can afford. My question is how do you find a good company anywhere between florida where the car is and Mass where I live. How much should i anticipate (i know it all depends). Would love to keep in our family for years to come. (He also has the original 57 engine he took out but it is very rusted can it be restored?) Does it matter if I have the original title in his name and put in my name?
posted: July 28, 2013
  Answers (5)
Couple more photos. I would love some advice on where to find a good company.
posted:  July 28, 2013
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I have a '57 Chevy 4 door sedan that my dad bought brand new, I refurbished it as a driver-car during the late-80's in high school, so I know a little more than most probably of 57's specifically. Your choice to do it as a restore is probably wise, because 4 door sedans OR hardtop 57 chevy's seem to get the highest resale value as original restores. This is important because it should play into the budget you're willing to spend, you wouldn't want to put $20,000 that had a resale value of only $10,000, but putting $20,000 into something that had a resale value of $35,000 would be all in your best interests. You had no initial outlay, so you can afford to put a little more into the overall restoration budget, like me. Original 57 Chevy "hard parts" are pretty easy to find on the used market (eBay, etc.), because most people do not want them (like the original 283's, cast iron Powerglides, etc.) I recently sold a 283 engine, running condition, with torque converter, and cast iron Powerglide (had sticky clutches, needed rebuild), everything bolted together as one unit for $125, all OEM for my 57 chevy. Your original can probably be reused if not cracked, get magnafluxed by an engine shop. Original reproduction OEM interiors can be purchased as one package from CARS, Inc. (http://www.carsinc.com), and you can have them installed locally by an auto upholstery shop. Carpet is very easy to install, as are door panels. A lot you can do on your own, or farm out cpmponents (seats, etc.,) WITHOUT having to pay someone to do EVERYTHING, an enormous amount of labor. I would probably budget $12,000 to $16,000 to restore, and do as much of the piecewortk aws I could on my own. Go to my website, http://www.che57vy.com and decode the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see what it originally had and where it was assembled. If the rusty engine you have has a match to the original numbers in the engine compartment all the better, Paint it the same color as ID's on the cowm
sources: http://www.carsinc.com
Photo of nicest 4 door H/T i've ever seen, it's in the che57vy website...
posted:  August 6, 2013
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I dont believe that any 4 door car is worth more than a 2 door..especially the Tri 5s..the market for 4 doors is slim..but since you have it and like it then just put enough money to get it to be a street legal driver and just keep it..it would be a gamble to restore it as a gamble that you might find a buyer who will pay the price you have into it..
posted:  August 6, 2013
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Thanks for your feedback. I am looking for a company in Boston area (ma, maine, nh, ri) that can help be rechrome, paint and then get the interior redone. I appreciate you feedback.
posted:  August 7, 2013
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Rechroming - Make sure that the chrome shop you go to is NOT a "production rechroming shop", as used by the body shop industry. DO NOT attempt to rechrome the scoops under the hood bullets, I was told 30 years ago by a seasoned custom chrome shop that the 57 "hood scoops" were made of pot metal that was seemingly swept off of the assembly line floor, and NEVER can be successfully replated. The proper rechroming method is to strip, copper plate, nickel plate, then chromw plate. It will shine like a plate glass mirror if done that way. ALSO, if you're going to replate anything made of pot metal (front hood trim, grill bar, headlight trim, etc.), make SURE that the plater knows how to properly strip the old chrome off of pot metal. The proper method to avoid pot metal rippling is to strip a little, let the piece cool down, strip a little more, etc., in this iteration. If not done this way, the pot metal overheats, starts to warp, and after plating, the piece is wavy like the ocean... If any of the original pieces are replatable, I would use them hands down, and get them replated, as opposed to off-the-shelf new reproductions. Although they look nice, I don't think any reproduction mfr. plates as good as custom chrome shops would do with an original piece. Given the price of labor, metals (copper, nickel, chrome), etc., chrome plating isn't cheap, don't skimp on the chrome plating.
posted:  August 15, 2013
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