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Old 03-10-2011, 11:47 PM   #1
Maximus
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My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Hello,
I guess its time for me to try and show the resurrection of a 1955 2nd Series shortbed stepside I found that a friend of mine had. $400 later and it was trailered to my house.
Here are some photos from when I first went to get it.
Summer of 2002







The truck was pieced together from about 3 different trucks, the VIN matched the frame and it is the 20919th truck from Oakland in 1955.

After clearing out a few hundred pounds of junk out of the bed, I disassembled the truck slowly through the next year or two (I was still in highschool and was also at this time modifying my 65’ Mustang so work on the truck was very slow)
My friend who I bought the truck from also came across the front end of a 1957 pickup that he gave me. Here are some pictures from my yard in 2005 after everything was in pieces





At this time I also spent a few months during weekends completely disassembling a 1978 Firebird Formula, which would feed the entire drivetrain of my truck
Here is the Subframe removed from the bird



Time passed and I think in the summer of 2006 me and my father got together and cut the ’55 frame and sectioned in the firebird frame. Also during this time I cut the rivets on the rear leaf spring perches and flipped the rear leaf spring perches. Also removed two springs and cut down a few of the other springs.
After this I cut the leaf spring tabs off the firebird 10-bolt rear end I welded some 2” spring mounts and installed on top of the springs.








After I got the rear end squared away I trimmed the inner frame about ˝” and moved the rear cross member to make clearance for a 1969 Mustang Gas Tank



Here is the Formula Firebirds powerplant.
1978 400CI Pontiac

About a year passed, I got new bushings and ball joints in the firebird control arms, reassembled the front suspension.
After this I had major issues with rust and metal so I found a 1959 pickup that was in a front end collision.
I bought the ’59 for $500. Since my cab was rusted and had no glass, I installed the 59 cab on my truck, using the doors (all glass was okay) and the bed. Sold extra parts on craigslist
I regretted that decision until recently because soon after this I moved and lost my storage areas. Had to slim down my parts inventory. Thus all the extra doors went away, and I was only able to keep my extra set of fenders, so I had to get rid of my original cab.
I regretted it later because I found out the hood hinge points were different (not that big of a deal) but also knew that the new cab didn’t have any rust, but has a bunch of dents and holes cut in various places.
It seems like if the previous owner had ANY reason to cut a hole, he did…

Here is a few shots of the new cab on, and me installing the 400 Pontiac and Super T-10 that both came from the Formula
Oh yea, Also used the firebird steering column. It works out okay but I just got the truck on the road and found out I need to get 2 u-joints between the steering box and the column and lengthen the shaft that connects the column and box a few inches…









After the engine install life took over. School, work, buying a house, getting married… all the while the truck sat.
For about 4 years very little progress was made…
Then I got my new property and at my first possible chance built a carport so I could haul my truck to its new home.
In the meantime, I bought an aluminum radiator, electric fan, fan relay, had my original seat reupholstered, replaced my intake with an aluminum one, and installed an ‘EZ Wiring kit’ I got off ebay. Installed a floor mounted power booster, 10 lb proportioning valve for the drums and 2 lb valve for the discs





Last year I found a set of original SOLID 1955/56 fenders (I don’t know which because the emblem holes were filled so good years ago that I couldn’t tell from the back side where the holes used to be…
Installed the fenders and now this is pretty much how my truck is sitting…






Now, I said earlier that I regretted getting rid of my original cab…
That was, until now.
I finally decided since my drivetrain is complete and I am about to begin body work, that I would kick myself down the road if I don’t build it the way I want…
Now I know there are a LOT of fans of the small window cabs, and they look cool… but I LOVE the big window cabs…
So I halted progress until I could locate one…
And I did…
This weekend I am going to drive 2 hours down the freeway and pick up a original 1955 cab.
It took 9 years to get this far, hopefully I will be able to get the big window cab on the truck and driving this summer…
Thanks for looking,
Ill post pictures of the big window cab after I get it home.
That’s it for now,
Thanks for looking.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:07 AM   #2
blackdiesel
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

very nice. I like your perservence. Alot of guys start something like this when they are in school and never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there I hear the train acomin.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:52 AM   #3
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Glad to see someone else is taking decades to finish. I started mine in 99 after driving it 25 years. Like you said, life gets in the way. Looks good and not the standard SBC.
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:01 AM   #4
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Cool build. I think it's neat your using the 400 for your engine.
I've got you beat on time though. I got my 57 in 1992 and it's still got a long ways to go.
Kim
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:48 PM   #5
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

As of today, I'm now working on a 1955 2nd seried BIG WINDOW Shortbed Stepside
Ill spend the next month or two (only on weekends ) fixing and prepping the new cab for primer/paint. After it is painted ill dissasemble my '55 and put the new cab on, while dissasembled ill prep and paint the fenders and hood and put it all back together. Hopefully I will have the bed work done too and by the end of the summer it will all be in paint. hopefully...
Here are pics of the cab I brought home today. Was originally a '55 so my hood hinge holes are correct... (my current cab is a '59 and the hood bolt spacing is larger)



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Old 03-13-2011, 01:12 AM   #6
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Looks like you got yourself a pretty decent cab.
Kim
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:02 AM   #7
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Diggin the build and the picts. the big window is the way to go. looking good.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:37 AM   #8
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim57 View Post
Looks like you got yourself a pretty decent cab.
Kim
Any cab will have its problems, but i would probably have to look for a long time to find one with less rust than this one, and if i did I'm sure the owner would want $$$$$ for it...
I have to replace one rear cab corner and im thinking about smoothing out all the firewall holes...
I only need one hole for my harness and unsure on the pattern of my aftermarket heater but it doesn't match the holes on the firewall now...
other than that its sealing and filling some 'small' dents
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:57 AM   #9
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Looks like you really lucked up. Good luck with your build.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:37 PM   #10
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Good score on the cab, great work so far, keep going forward and you will have a really nice truck when you're done.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:04 PM   #11
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Didn't get too much done this week. was raining too hard to begin body work so I started my search for some replacement rims to get the snowflakes out of my life...
I spent the last 3 weeks looking for some stock chevy rally wheels that were 15" and all i found locally were 5X5 pattern or 6-lug truck rims...
with some dumb luck though, i stumbled across a set of 15x7 Pontiac Rally II's.
I thought that these were the PERFECT solution, so that I can keep the pontiac heritage visible from the outside of the car, and also get rid of these horrible snowflakes (not bad rims, but they ONLY belong on a trans-am... NOT a truck...)
I just mocked the wheels up to make sure they fit okay, even though they came off the same type of car i tore apart for the build... (1977 formula firebird... my donor was a 78 formula...)
Here are the rims i bought...
will look great after some sanding, paint and new rubber... also may replace the rings and caps but details for later...






Also, when the clouds dissapeared for a minute i jumped under the truck and drilled some holes to install my new battery box from ebay...






Its a cool box, very functional...
drops off the frame for easy access to battery...
but the paint is very thin, scratched off easily...
but its under the truck, i don't care if the paint is perfect...
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:45 PM   #12
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Nice rims and battery box.
Kim
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:47 PM   #13
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Finally some update pictuers!!!
I have the new (old) pontiac rims installed that i sand blasted and rattle canned. They look a TON better than the snowflakes
Also tracked down and primered some decent rear fenders
and recently got around to finally priming the new big window cab and getting it on the truck!

Also tried my first attempt of automotive painting. Painted the firewall and interior in a satin polyurethane dupont black not the best quality spraying in the world but it doesn't look bad for a first try!
enjoy!














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Old 09-10-2011, 12:24 AM   #14
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Looks good to me.
Kim
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:52 AM   #15
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

thanks for the kind words, luckily my camera on my phone has just a low enough resolution so it looks better than it is. Its not BAD but the polyurethane paint was thicker than i anticipated and it came out a little spattery even after thinning... luckily its all pretty even so its almost a very very mild 'hammered' look and works pretty good on the interior. I imagine if i decide to paint the exterior of the truck if my paint came out the same way theres really no reason why it couldn't be wet-sanded out... however i'm not too worried about the interior and firewall being glossy smooth.... hence the satin paint to begin with
heck... ive never seen a fresh auto spray job so maybe its not far from normal before a wet-sand...

here is a little better focused pic of the inside..the auto-focus was bad with setting sun.

Last edited by Maximus; 09-10-2011 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:44 AM   #16
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Keep up the good work, I like the idea of the Pontiac power plant.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:09 PM   #17
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Me too I am building a 52 GMC with a 400 Pontiac and t10
I am driving my wife crazy with storys of my 66 GTO
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:47 PM   #18
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Had some extra paint from the firewall so I decided to pull the radiator off my front clip and paint the inner fenders and back of the radiator support before I had to worry about all the wiring and other stuff being in my way... Getting closer to getting the truck back on the road.









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Old 09-15-2011, 12:40 AM   #19
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Looking good.
Kim
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:14 AM   #20
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Continued working today, reinstalled my Griffin radiator, electric fan, fan relay, and reinstalled my 21-circuit wiring harness and began rerouting the harness. got a basic mockup done, need to wrap the relay wiring and tie it into the harness. I bought them a while ago,but I think the relay is from a company like "too cool" summit carries their parts, nice simple relay, also have an aluminum overflow tank for the radiator from the same company as the relay.

As a side note, I installed the fan switch in the radiator and it WOULD NOT come on in time, reinstalled the fan temp. switch in the intake manifold and everything worked fine. My tip... DONT use the radiator ports as a fan switch or a reliable temp. sensor... it cools too much to get an accurate reading, use either a head port or manifold port for the sensors... (most of you already know this.....)





Hopefully by the end of the weekend I will have the basic wiring completed, the steering column/linkage reinstalled and get moving on repairing the door hinges to rehang the doors
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:26 PM   #21
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Got more work done today, mostly little details but did make alot of progress none-the-less. Finally got most of the basic wiring harness replaced, reinstalled the starter, installed the battery under the cab, installed steering column and linkage, fixed issued I was having with brake pedal and clutch pedal clearances, and was able to hook up the ignition again and run the truck for about 15 minutes to see my electric fan still properly turning on via relay...

photos are not very exciting, just a custom bracket to hold the 1978 firebird column and some cleaned up wiring... alot of work to come! next step.... repair door hinges and think about front/rear glass...




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Old 09-17-2011, 08:33 PM   #22
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Looks good I wish mine were that far.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:57 PM   #23
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Coming along nicely. I too wish mine was this far. Very cool!
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:11 PM   #24
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

spent the weekend with glass on my mind. fought the rear window, got it generally in place but still have not gotten the glass in all the way. its bulging out and I have not been able to persuade it in yet... but I took a brake on the rear to do the front windshield. Because my cab is pre-drilled for the rear deluxe trim i thought I would replace it as well as adding the deluxe trim to the front windshield. after fighting and fighting I got the aftermarket deluxe trim in trim and on the glass. then put windshield in. surprisingly the front didn't fight me as much as the rear.

again, the rear still has alot of fighting to go but at least it IS in place and the rubber is holding it in all the way around the glass.

Also installed aftermarket accelerator pedal and movin to get the doors hung










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Old 09-26-2011, 11:16 PM   #25
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Re: My Build - 1955 2nd Series Short Bed Stepside

Got the doors hung, still need adjustment but at least I can get my seat in the cab and keep it protected from the elements





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