Unless it's been kept in a bubble or climate-controlled garage since new, most 55-year-old cars are going to have some rust. In the case of our project '55, we have more than just some. Over five decades of living its life outside have given our hardtop a decent case of cancer in the usual areas where Tri-Fives like to rot.
Fortunately, the continuing popularity of '55-57 Chevys means the aftermarket has plenty of new steel to fix the ills of any ailing shoebox. The first and most well-known company in the Tri-Five aftermarket, Danchuk, has almost everything you need to bring your Bel Air, 210, or 150 back to factory-fresh condition, and that's who we went to for our '55 two-door hardtop.
After inspecting the car stem to stern, we raided the Danchuk catalog for the sheetmetal needed to get the Bel Air fixed up. With metal in hand, the crew at Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists (CARS) broke out the cutoff wheels, air chisels, and welding equipment and got to work while we snapped the pictures. Over the next several issues, we'll show you step-by-step how to repair the metal on your Tri-Five. Even if you don't have a '55 like ours, a lot of what we'll show you can carry over to the '56 and '57s, too.