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If you haven’t tried to find a “project” ’57 Chevy convertible, you don’t know how hard locating one can be. It came as no surprise that a friend’s tip led Mike to one with an owner who didn’t want to sell. However, birds of a feather flock together, and he pointed Mike to another derelict stashed in a barn. The car was covered in dust and lost civilizations of mice. As a bonus, it was rusty in all the usual places and then some.
To speed the project along, Mike decided to do something he had never done before: Let his buddy Don at Don’s Hot Rod Shop handle the panel replacement.
The frame was updated with QA1 coilovers, stainless tubular a-arms, big Wilwood brakes, and a Ford 9” with a four-link. A ZZ502 and a TH400 from TCI were set into the rails and connected to the rear with a polished aluminum driveshaft.
The rejuvenated body was treated to rear wheel tubs widened for the anticipated rolling stock. A set of 18 and 20” Stilettos from Billet Specialties were chosen as a perfect blend of modern wheels and classic “five-spoke” looks.
Turning to the exterior - smoothing the hood bullets, shaving the trim and handles, and making the bumpers one piece did the trick. He used a station wagon rear bumper and fabricated his own taillights. Keen eyes will notice the roof’s slimmer new profile is similar to a hard top. Mike shaved 1” off the top bows to reduce the puffiness. The talented Dean Fowler painted the car right in the shop.
The interior received more of Mike’s fabrication. He shaved the dash speaker, heater controls, and glove box before adding a custom trim panel and gauges from Classic Instruments. A center console was created with a special compartment for the window switches, cruise control, ignition, and push button controls for the electronic gear shifter.
The completed car was then given the same treatment all of Mike’s cars get: It was put into service and driven whenever possible.