Saturday, April 20, 2019

I had no idea...

That the 57 Chevy had such crappy leg room in the back seat and such a small trunk.

I was under the impression there was more.

1 comment:

Will said...

Sort of a blast from the past, for me. Had several of the '57 150's in the two door version, and one convertible. I generally paid $75 each, circa '68. I think I paid $150 for the ragtop. Most had about 70-80k miles, and burned a little or a lot of oil. Used to joke that I would check the gas and fill the oil in the ragtop. Carried a gallon jug of reconstituted oil for it. Had an aftermarket oil pressure gauge, and when it started bouncing off zero, I would dump the jug of oil into it, which would top it up. The other sign was if it stopped smoking, it was out of oil.

Those cars were that cheap because they were at the end of their service life. Engines needed refurbing, along with brakes and clutches and other things that were worn out or nearly. (Even in the 60's, engines were pretty much done at that mileage. My '65 v8 Mustang had three engines by the time I sold it in '73.)

The lack of leg room was due to the size of the car. They really weren't as big as people seem to think. Sort of a mid-size.

I stuffed a big block 396/427 into the ragtop, emphasis on "stuffed". The firewall had to be massaged with a sledgehammer for distributor clearance, and the Corvette exhaust manifolds were a problem. Eventually I had Hooker Headers make a set for it, to get clutch linkage clearance. Had to notch the bench seat to clear the Hurst shifter on the Muncie 4spd. Had to use an aftermarket engine mounting plate/cradle setup across the front, as the newer engines didn't use the same mount locations as the 50's did.
(Car could yank the front wheels off the ground shifting 2nd gear, and spin the rears in 4th well beyond the ton.)

Had a buddy with a '55 (Tri-Five, '55,'56,'57, same body) that he moved the front seat back and down so he would fit better. There were only a couple inches between the seats. He was about 6'5", 280 lbs, and looked like a little kid sitting in the car. Most people missed the fact his head was back at the door frame. Watched a guy hassle him at a burger joint, and it was comical when he got out and stood up and up... surprise, buster! His nickname was "Mountain" short for Man Mountain, IIRC. He ran a 409 in that car.