Here at Super Chevy we deal mainly with 1955-and-newer Chevys. That’s roughly 65 years of Chevy-branded cars, from classics to the modern rides they sell today. And while that may seem like a lot of cars, time has really taken a toll on the classics. Yeah, they made a ton of Tri-Fives, but between rust, rot, accidents, and other acts of man and nature those numbers have been whittled down quite a bit. It’s the same for other nameplates as well. Try finding a good starter first-gen Camaro that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Recently, a friend of mine was shopping around for a clean 1967 Nova for a project car. What he found were nice “done” cars for tons of cash or rusted-out messes that were still overpriced for what they were. I remember buying decent first-gen Camaros for a few grand. Well, in 2019 that isn’t happening. Even a messy roller will be well over 10 grand and that’s no guarantee that you won’t be doing lots of bodywork and panel replacement. Just as the aftermarket stepped up to help with parts when the OEM stuff started drying up, it’s doing the same with whole cars.
Yep, have a classic that’s really too far gone to save? Can’t find a decent shell to build your dream hot rod? Well, for some of the popular rides like Tri-Fives, Camaros, and Novas you can buy a complete shell, rust free and ready for bodywork and paint. Heck, the 1955 Chevy given away at last year’s Tri-Five Nationals was completely new, every piece! We were at Real Deal Steel in Sanford, Florida, last week building the 1955 sedan body for our next Week To Wicked project and it was amazing how they took a stack of Golden Star Classic Auto Parts sheetmetal and, using fixture jigs, turned it into a car. Yeah, it wasn’t a “real” classic born in the mid-’50s, but how many ’50s Chevys have had nearly every panel replaced? If you’re building a hot rod and can’t find a decent starter or you have a rotted-out donor car, it’s the way to go or at least a solid option. It’s also a great option for race car when you don’t want to cut up a classic. The supply of classic cars use to be a finite number, albeit dwindling, but thanks to the aftermarket the classic styling of the ’50s and ’60s Chevys will be available to builders for a long time to come.
Photography by Steven Rupp