1956 Chevrolet BelAir Car Restoration Project - A First Look
Steve Nicholson has over 20 years' experience in the body and paint field and started Classic Body Works in 1992. He and his crew will be working through the restoration of this 1956 Chevrolet BelAir and has agreed to share their experience with Second Chance Garage readers. For car restoration tips, be sure to visit Steve's tech tip blog, AutoRestoration101.com
We are beginning a full, ground-up restoration of this 1956 Chevy BelAir. It's not going to be a 100% original restoration, though. We want the car to maintain the original look, including the original paint color scheme and trim. But we will be making some modifications that will make the car more enjoyable as well as safer on the road: upgrading to disc brakes, adding seat belts and air conditioning.
The engine is not original to the car. The car's current owner was told that the engine came from an early sixties Corvette. We will check the numbers to find out. The body of the car is in very good shape considering that it's 52 years old. The stainless trim is in excellent condition and is almost dent free.
We put the car on the lift to look at the underside and the floorboards are in good shape. The car has obviously been kept in a garage for most of its life. It does have the typical rust in the floor braces and in the front fenders over the headlights. The shock mounts in the trunk floor show no signs of stress cracks. Both doors still shut very easily with just the slightest push.
After going over the car carefully, it became obvious that some body and paint work had been done at some point in the car's long life. It appears to have had some repairs made to the quarter panels in front of the rear tires. The repairs seem most likely to be rust repairs and there was no evidence of collision damage. Overall the car is very complete and in good shape.
We think this car will be a great car to own when we're finished and we are anxious to get started. We'll keep you up to date as we progress. Stay tuned!