1956 Chevrolet BelAir Car Restoration Project — Part 3
We now have the body of the car disassembled and everything has been "tagged and bagged." We put
most all of the parts into large plastic storage containers. All of the nuts, bolts and fasteners
were placed into plastic sandwich baggies. We used to write parts on the plastic bags with a
permanent marker, but the markers tend not to be permanent. So, using a tip we picked up from
Second Chance Garage, we now write a description of the parts and where they were used on paper and
place it into the baggy also.
We placed every part into plastic containers. They are convenient because they are stack able and are much more durable than cardboard boxes.
It's a good idea to mark the headliner bows so they are placed back in the original position. Mark them from front to rear or rear to front (make a note which one!)
Removing trim parts from old cars is often confusing if you are not familiar with how they are
attached. I know from experience that it's real easy to bend a good trim piece if it doesn't come
off easily. When removing trim take your time. If it proves difficult to remove and you get
frustrated, take a break and work on something else for awhile. Come back to it and think it
through carefully. When possible, check shop manuals or any other information that describes how
the pieces is attached. Stainless trim is getting harder and harder to find and aftermarket trim
just doesn't fit like the original trim.
This is what the side trim snap clip looks like. You have to gently pull and pry to release them from the holes in the car.
The side trim was carefully removed using a putty knife to pop the clips from the holes in the
body. I covered the end of the putty knife with masking tape to protect the trim. You will need to
pay special attention when removing side trim because some of the fasteners are bolted or screwed
to the body. On this car each end of the door trim was bolted and also the front of the quarter
Typical threaded clip used on the ends of the door and quarter panel moldings.
The rear glass upper trim corners are fastened to the body with a threaded clip and the nut is
hidden under the rubber trim on the inside of the car. A special trim tool was used to remove the
stainless trim at the top and bottom of the rear glass. The tool gently releases the clip from the
trim allowing the trim to be carefully pulled off. The glass rubber seal was very brittle so we
decided to cut the rubber away with a razor blade to remove the rear glass.
This is the tool needed to release the clips holding rear glass tirm.
The windshield trim is a little different from the rear glass trim. The bottom windshield stainless
is attached with one center clip on the cowl, one threaded clip that has a nut under the dash and a
clip on the lower corner. You first remove the nut under the dash and then carefully lift the trim
and slide each end off of the clips. Once each lower piece is removed you can access the screws for
the corner trim pieces. After the corners are removed, the screws for the upper trim are exposed.
The top stainless trim is attached to the rubber seal and can be removed along with the glass.
When removing the headliner, it's a good idea to number the headliner bows from front to back so
that they can be re-installed into the correct positions. They are usually different lengths and
it greatly eases the installation if they are in the original order.
This is the center clip that holds the ends of the lower windshield stainless.
This is the threaded clip that holds the lower windshield trim. The nut is under the dash.
This shows the clip that holds the end of the lower windshield stainless and also the corner trim piece. Once this is removed, you can access the screws for the upper molding.
When we removed the headliner and seats we found some mice nests. So before proceeding to do
further work on the car we decided to roll it outside and spray it out with the pressure washer.
We found a lot of critter nests in our 1956 Chevrolet project car, so we decided that before continuing, it needed a good washing.
The doors, hood, front fenders, glass and interior have all been removed from the car. The engine
is still in the car and will be removed later. After we had everything taken apart we started
carefully looking over the body and noticed that the right rear floor had a metal patch installed
at one time. Both front lower quarter panels had been replaced and the left rocker had a slip-on
rocker panel riveted on over the old rusty original. The right front floor had more rust than
expected so we will be replacing it as well. The rear tail panel and the rear-most portion of the
trunk floor also previously had major rust repair.
Our next step will be to repair the structure of the car before it is placed on the rotisserie. We
made a list of sheet metal parts that are needed for the repairs and the car's owner agreed to pick
them up for us. More to come!