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1957 Chevy Bel Air - Project American Heroes, Part 5
This Month We Do A Bare-Metal Mock-Up To Ensure The Final Vehicle Will Be Perfect
Dec 4, 2007
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1957 Chevy Bel Air - Project American Heroes, Part 5
The American-made Flaming River tilt columns feature all new components and GM wiring. Ours was complete with stainless steel dress up kit (tilt/turn signal levers and hazard knob), GM wiring (4 1/4-inch connector) and all-new canceling cam.
This triangular-shaped swivel floor mount makes installation of the new tilt column in Project American Heroes simple and attractive. The machined aluminum ball swivels for easy positioning of the column at virtually any angle.
The column features a 2-inch tube for direct bolt-in fit with the OEM dash bezel. The Roadster Shop's Doug Leetzow fabricated this slick column support bracket.
The required length for the steering shaft is measured from the inside of the U-joints and cut to length. The Flaming River steering shaft is one inch in diameter.
All Flaming River columns are made from 304-grade stainless steel, in paintable mill finish or polished. Project American Heroes gets one with the paintable mill finish, which will be sprayed to match the interior.
Dakota Digital builds this 1957 Chevy digital instrument system, which features speedometer (0-255 mph or km/h), tachometer, oil pressure, water temp, voltmeter, and fuel level gauges. The instrument system also includes odometer, trip odometer, resetable service odometer, and an hour meter.
The Dakota Digital Instrument system fits perfectly into the stock 1957 dash bezel. In addition to the already stated features, the dash is capable of supplying various performance calculations, including 0-60 mph, quarter-mile timer and speed display, high-speed recall and high-rpm recall.
Installation is simple, and promises to keep the pilot of Project American Heroes well-informed with an automatic transmission gear indicator, as well as turn signals, high beam, and parking brake indicators.
The Electric-Life 99022 power window kit used in the '57 allows control of all four windows in one four-button panel located on the driver door panel. Each passenger area is equipped with a single switch. Keeping wiring to a minimum, a sedan-specific harness is also included.
Electric-Life power window regulators for front and rear windows arrive with the motors attached. Detailed instructions make installations and conversions a simple bolt-on procedure.
The front door Electric-Life power window regulators simply slip into the factory opening.
Studs fit through the factory holes in the rear passenger side panel, and hardware is attached for installation of the Electric-Life regulator.
Roadster Shop fits metal into the existing Cars Inc. doors for a clean, uncluttered shaved door handle look. Eliminating the door handles requires the use of Electric-Life's 99000 shaved door handle kit that includes all necessary parts and equipment, including remote.
Electric-Life billet wire looms for their shaved door handle kit allow for a clean installation for running wires from the door into the post by employing a simple billet collar and set screw. Insulated with a Teflon lining, the billet wire looms provide radio frequency insulation and waterproofing.
The kit comes with two high-powered 60-pound solenoids operated through a power driver 4-channel keyless-entry control module. It comes complete with relay pack, wire harness and mounting hardware. The Electric-Life billet emergency kit gives an added sense of security for manual entry into the ragtop should the power fail.
Classic Auto Air will keep this car's future owner nice and cool. There was a day when convertibles didn't come with air, but in our day, A/C is a necessity in any street machine build. Classic Auto Air has kits for a wide range of classic cars and trucks.
Doug Leetzow lifts the Classic Auto Air evaporator assembly into position.
Classic Auto Air supplies a firewall plate for running the lines through to the compressor and condenser, along with a provision for the heater core inlet and outlet pipes.
With the A/C mocked up, attention shifts to the convertible top mechanism. Cars Inc. supplied the entire bow mechanism, which is absolutely flawless in quality and fit.
All 1957 Chevy guys around the world owe Cars Inc. a huge note of gratitude for making the entire convertible top bow assembly available to restorers. Jim Taylor of The Roadster Shop works on the installation of the convertible top bow assembly.
The Cars Inc. convertible top header is bolted to the bow assembly, and, once again, the fit is perfect.
The convertible top hydraulic cylinders are inserted into position, and bolted to the top and bottom brackets.
The convertible top pump is mounted directly under the rear package tray and is first hooked up to the hydraulic lines from the two cylinders, and then fastened to the car.
With the convertible top bow assembly and related parts bolted in, Project American Heroes provides a silhouette of its top-up profile.
Finishing up some items under the hood, Tom Gottschalk attaches the Flex-a-lite dual electric fans to the radiator using the supplied nylon stud and fasteners for the simple, yet effective "through core" installation.
The hydraulic lines are attached to the cylinders and run back to the pump.
An extremely low profile allows the lightweight Flex-a-lite dual electric fans to fit where others don't. The combination of ease of "through core" installation, increased horsepower, extended water pump life, and improved gas mileage make this package unbeatable.
The Flex-a-lite radiator features the Flex-a-fit side tank, which makes for simplified installation of the radiator. T-channels in the side tank allow the radiator mounting brackets to slide up and down each channel. The radiator can be repositioned, both vertically and horizontally by simply loosening the bolts provided.
Flex-a-lite radiators are all aluminum with 2-row core, 1-inch/26mm tubes, and three different core sizes with inlets on either the left or right side of the tank (inlet 1.5-inch and 1.75-inch outlet). Suffice it to say, the 717hp Smeding Performance big-block we built for this Tri-Five will have no problems staying cool on both freeways and fairgrounds.
Using the same mounting hardware as the Flex-a-lite fans, the A/C condenser and trans cooler are attached to the radiator.
On the way out the door, the boys rolled in the spectacular Intro wheels and Nitto tires that will be mounted on the '57.
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