George's Wagon was a afterthought.
After I built my 1957 150 sedan
eleven years ago I thought I was through with building/rebuilding - although I
did harbor a desire to find and restore a 1962 Bubbletop Chevy. The sedan went
to Colorado for #3 daughter's wedding and it is still there today. I had a
hankering for a project, so about the fall of 2003 I asked my mechanic at ET
Automotive if he knew of a project '57 under construction or a finished '57 that
was available. As he checked he learned of a mutual friend that had a glass
paneled Sedan Delivery that he had worked on for two years. His interest had
burned out after he changed store locations and that was eight years ago. He
also had a parts wagon, which he had planned to use and both were for sale.
Ernie from ET and I went to visit and sure enough there in the corner of Richard's warehouse sat the project wagon in a coat of primer with no front end, doors, windows or tailgate on it along with no engine, transmission and interior. It sat on four wheels wearing gray primer PERIOD!
Richard had put disc brakes on the car along with new body bushings and urethane paint under the primer and then he put it to bed! I bought the pair of wagons which Ernie trailered back to his shop. Included in the deal were the outer front fenders, doors, hood and tailgate.
But there was a possible problem: the title of the sedan delivery had been signed on the front in 1988 with no signature for sale on the back of the title and the station wagon had been signed on the front in 194 again with no signature for sale on the back. AND in 1988 the signature for the sale of the vehicle had to be witnessed and notarized! Hmmm !
I called the bank of Italy, TX who had financed the purchase of the sedan delivery but the bank indicated the previous owner was dead. OPPPS !
Back to the station wagon: the lady owner was from Stephenville but when I contacted the local operator I learned this person no longer lived there. So now what do I do? I traced a second cousin down in the area and all I got was "Yep, that could have been her car, but we were not close and she moved out of town a while back Ö where to I donít know". Thanks to certain aspects of the law, titles that may have been signed by the original owner do not have to be signed after such a length of time if the original owner has relocated, died or otherwise become unavailable. Both titles were transferred to me.
After getting back to ET Auto, an assessment was made as to what was missing to create what was to become 'George's Wagon'. Everything was checked out and the body and parts were sent to Bernie Young outside of Greenville for paint. What was missing parts wise of a major nature were the interior fender panels, however a call to RD Wallace of DACC produced a pair.
As the car was being painted, the engine and rear axle were being created. The engine is a 383 stoker, 4 bolt main, eagle crank, eagle rods, JE pistons, Bullet Cam, Edelbrock intake with a Holley 750 all coming out at about 434 HP and 480 foot pounds of torque. The rear axle is from a 3.43 Camaro as the '57 positraction differentials are hard to find as are the required parts whereas the Camaro is a bolt up job. The tranny is a Turbo 350.
When the body came back from East Texas, the engine, tranny and rear axle were installed and some dash 'puttering' was done which included a new Painless fuse panel, the start of a Vintage AC system and an underdash windshield wiper system. After this was done, the car was back to Bernie for hanging doors, hoods and the like. Then back to Ernie for more 'putterings' like electric windows, power brake booster, 605 steering, and Ididit steering. Oh and if you think you need the horizontal stainless side piece for a '57 150 model ANYTHING, forget it - it's not being reproduced.
Just before Christmas of '04, the project went to Brunner Upholstery for it's interior of gray and velour and Dodge Dakota bucket seats. Brunner put the floor in the cargo area, installed the seats and the rear seat that had come from the parts car. Around mid July of '05, the wagon came back to ET for 'tweaking' and I got my wagon back on the Saturday of the Reliable Show on September 17th.
I would like to truly thank my suppliers of parts and those that helped with this project - Richard at Classic Parts in Arlington, CARS Inc, Danchuk, Classic Chevy International as well as Ernie (and Susie) at ET Automotive for their work, advice and conscientious effort, likewise Henry and Butch at Brunner's and Bernie Young. I can't thank these people and suppliers enough!
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