The '55 hardtop that is the subject of this story has had a rough life since leaving the St. Louis assembly plant. Despite spending most of that time in South Florida, it's not seen the road under its own power since Reagan's first term in office. In that time, things deteriorated and rusted, so to get the car back in shape and roadworthy, there is a lot to do.
One area that needs attention is the door mechanicals. Over the decades, they decayed to the point of needing replacement. When you get a good workout just rolling your windows up and down to a symphony of hellish squeaks and rattles, that's a good sign the door internals need attention. One call to Danchuk and we had everything we needed for our portal rehab.
Danchuk was one of the first companies in the Tri-Five restoration parts market, starting with '57 parking light lenses in 1976. Since then, as the popularity of restoring, rebuilding, and customizing these classics has grown to enormous levels, Danchuk's catalog of parts has expanded accordingly, to almost 400 pages worth of '55-57 Chevy parts.
With the age of the car and the assumption that nothing had ever been replaced, were ordered virtually everything that went inside the doors. The one thing we didn't get new was the scissor lifts for the windows. When we did the power window conversion on our '57 hardtop in last year's Chevy Classics ("Roll 'Em Up, Lock 'Em Down") the lifts we pulled out of that car were in excellent condition and could easily be reused since all two-door hardtops '55-57 shared the same window lifts.
After getting our parts, we hauled the '55 over to Lloyd's Auto Restorations in Bartow, Florida, so restoration expert Jeff Brekke could give us a hand with the installation of our new parts. Jeff has his own '57 Bel Air four-door sedan, and his father Lloyd owns a gorgeous all-original '57 hardtop.
Follow along as we show you how to get your doors' internals back to factory new condition in a day's time. For this story we'll be going back and forth between the passenger and driver's side doors to illustrate the process, but don't worry-everything's the same for both sides.