Corvette Central

Concept 57 - Fitting

MATING BODY AND SOUL ON OUR PROJECT '57

The process of building a car from literally nothing is quite a daunting task. We've been working together with Street Shop, Inc. and Corvette Central, who've been providing the necessary hard parts as a foundation for P-57.

We covered the chassis and the newly fabricated body in parts one and two (January and March '05 issues of CE). and in this installment, with the help of Walden & Younger Corvette Restorations, we'll cover bringing the two together, giving us a glimpse of what P-57 will finally become.

Street Shop, Inc. .
1. There are several ways you can lift body from its supplied dolly and set it on the new frame. Enlisting the help of several friends will get the job done, but keep in mind that there are some areas that will need clearance (trimming).. How long will your friends be able to hold the body above the frame as you create dust, trimming the body?
2 We didn't want to move the body around too much, so the chassis for P-57 was placed on a set of car dollies and slid sideways under the body. Lowering the body slowly and watching that nothing catches as it is lowered, Adrian Walden and Charles Younger begin placing P-57's body on the frame for the first time.

3 The one area that needs trimming for a proper fit is where the upper control arms go through the inner wheel well. Here Adrian and Charles have marked how much material needs to be removed, and marked the edge with masking tape. A vacuum can help keep the dust down considerably when cutting fiberglass and, as always, wear a mask and long sleeves when cutting fiberglass.

4 A small section needs to be trimmed from the front
of the spare tire well to provide clearance for the tie rods. On a stock straight-axle chassis, this is typically not necessary. Street Shop, Inc. has tightened up the chassis to keep the necessary trimming to a minimum. A new flat panel will be inserted in place of the removed material to seal the trunk from the elements.
5 With the trimming complete, the engine nestled nicely up into the engine bay. The LS-style engines look great in the engine bay of straight-axles, and they run great too!

6&7 The body kit comes with mounting hardware to secure the body to the chassis at all the original locations. Proper alignment and shimming of the body is imperative before any final fitting of body panels can be done. One thing that you will immediately notice is the increased thickness of Corvette Central's Concept '57 floor. It's consid-
erably thicker than an original for more strength and sound deadening, both a plus when building a driver.

8 Much like original Corvettes, door alignment and body shims go hand in hand, so the next step before we could proceed was to install the doors onto the body and check the gaps.

9 The doors come pre-drilled and fitted for the hinges. They are bare, with no latches, trim or window tracks. We'll be addressing that in a future issue.

10 Once the body is securely fastened to the frame and the doors are properly aligned and gapped, the operation and fit is as good as (if not better than) the originals. Exact final shimming of the body will be done when we get the windshield frame and door window post trim installed.
11&12 The steering assembly is another consideration when positioning the body on the chassis. P-57 is using a rack and pinion steering in place of the original steering so we have more flexibility than an original-style installation. Either way, a hole needs to be drilled through the firewall to allow for the column to get into the engine compartment. We used the metal column support bracket as a template for drilling the holes.
13 The dash was temporarily installed for installation of the steering column and held in place with clamps. Again, the removable dash will be a huge asset when it comes time to install all its components and the accompanying wiring.

14 Flaming River has all the U-joints and shafts necessary for any application. The shafts are available in various lengths, but before cutting and final fitting, make sure that the column is exactly where you want it. That is best done with the steering wheel and seating arrangements in the vehicle so you will know the best placement of the wheel for driver comfort. We'll be handling that task a little later.

15 This is P-57 so far. Even at this point, the car looks great.

Thanks to Corvette Enthusiast - Written by: Andy Bolig / Photography by: Walden & Young Corvette Restoration
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