It's a long way from Nova Scotia to Daytona Beach, and an equally long journey from the tattered remains of a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible to this gleaming beauty that now winters in Florida. Many of us have dreamed about restoring an old car, whether to original condition or modified to personal taste like this one, but few of us really know what's involved in doing it. Let’s follow the process performed at the very professional shops of Alan’s Upholstery and Auto Restoration in Liverpool, NS.
Fresh off the flatbed trailer, minus a top and stripped of trim, the Bel Air is ready for media blasting to determine which parts of the car had suffered the most from demon rust.
The floor was eaten away by rust so the process begins of constructing a new one. Which involves bracing and properly locating the front and rear portions of the car.
The trunk was also in need of some TLC so the rebuilding exercise starts there as well.
Here's the trunk after a new floor and other components had been built and welded in place along with the fenders. Hundreds of spot welds ensure proper position. They will be ground down during final body work.
The lower portion of the fenders had been eaten away so new panels were formed and welded into place. The old leaf spring suspension and drum brakes seen here will be replaced by a coil-over independent suspension and big disc brakes.
Alan prepares for some of the work necessary to switch from the original “Stovebolt” in-line six-cylinder engine to a big-horsepower LS1 V-8 crate engine. This image shows the aluminum radiator and custom braces.
The convertible frame and mechanism has been painted and installed. It will be altered later to create a lower profile.
There is a bit of wiring to do, especially since the final product will have power heated seats, power windows and locks, automatic climate control, cruise control and a built-in navigation system. The new centre console is already in place.
Some of the original trim was salvaged and polished before being re-installed.
The completed trunk – Alan’s background and expertise in upholstery becomes evident!
It’s all about detail. Here a leather-covered steering wheel mount.
The completed interior with custom seats, steering wheel, column-mounted shifter, instrument panel and console with navigation system.
All done, after approximately 4,000 hours of work. www.Alansupholstery.com
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