1959 Chevy mild custom

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    1959 Chevrolet Bel Air


    • Clean Virginia title
    • 2 door sedan
    • 1978 Chevy 350ci and TH350 automatic trans
    • Tune up June 2022 (cap, rotor, plugs, wires)
    • Edelbrock Performer intake and carb
    • Ceramic coated block hugger headers
    • Glasspack mufflers
    • High torque mini starter
    • Lowered 3+” with Coil Spring Specialties springs
    • 1959 Pontiac fender rockets
    • 1960 Mercury grille
    • 1967 master cylinder and 1964 brake booster
    • 1964 fan shroud, I think
    • 1965 Mustang 15 gallon tank with matched sender and gauge
    • Autometer gauges and original reconditioned speedometer
    • Chrome spider caps with inner and outer trim rings
    • Pertronix electronic ignition in a 1970 distributor housing
    • Green dot reverse lights (not blue dots, GREEN dots!)
    • Painless Performance wiring harness
    • Interior door trim from some car I found in an old salvage yard and I don’t remember, but I think it was a late 50s Mopar
    • Custom pin up girl pillows
    • Marine-grade vinyl interior
    • MP3 player with single in-dash speaker
    • Doors close with a nice thunk

    The Good

    I’ve been driving this car for about 20 years. I built it and can tell you just about anything about it.

    Starts easily and runs great. I haven’t had a single problem since installing the Pertronix ignition. I’ve driven this car from Chicago to: Texas to Maryland to Pennsylvania to Virginia and all over the Midwest and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. In other words, it’s not a trailer queen or strictly show car. It’s a road warrior built to drive… but it looks good like it could be a trailer queen.

    Rides beautifully, like riding a couch down the highway. The ride does not feel harsh like air bags or hydraulics, but more like the stock suspension, just 3+ inches lower. It floats.

    It has never overheated, not even on hot days stuck in traffic. I had the radiator rebuilt with an efficiency core and added a shroud which has probably made the difference.

    This was originally a 6 cylinder car, so it has, I think, a 3.36:1 gear ratio. That means it cruises beautifully on the highway and gets 15-18 mpg, but you won’t win any burn out contests or drag races. It easily kept up in Chicago traffic doing 80 mph.

    The dark green metallic paint is Cadillac. When not in bright sun it appears to be black. The light green is House of Kolor candy metal flake. It’s hard to capture in photos, but it really sparkles and glows.

    Pretty much everything works including the gauges, speedometer, wipers, cigar lighter, heater & blower, lights, reverse lights, horns, etc. What doesn’t work is listed below.

    Steers and brakes easily. 4 wheel drums work well, but you shouldn’t tailgate.

    The wiring harness has all the wires in place to connect to air conditioning, electric fans, or any other electric thing you want to add.

    I hid a mini amp under the dash that I can connect to an MP3 player. The single speaker in the dash makes it really sound like an old car, which is what it’s all about, right?

    Suspension bushings, wheel bearings, brake and fuel lines, etc. were all replaced about 20 years ago.

    All rust was addressed by a professional body shop around 20 years ago. That means that floor and body panels were replaced or patched with new metal. There is some surface rust under the car where the paint has worn away, but no problem rust.

    There are aircraft style chrome lift latch seatbelts for 5 people. There are 2 sets of lap belts in front, and 2 sets of shoulder belts in the rear with a lap belt in between them. I used to take my kids in their car seats to car shows, so they needed shoulder belts.

    The seats are very comfortable even on very long drives. Despite being white, the seats wipe clean easily, which is a real benefit when driving kids around.

    The Bad and the Ugly

    Some of the dash lights do not work, and the fuel gauge seems to be only truly accurate from ¾ to full. Probably a ground issue. Included is a Painless wiring loom for the dash that I just never got around to installing. This would likely solve those issues.

    The wiring is a bit untidy under the dash. Essentially, I didn’t trim wires when I installed it and never got back around to it.

    The windshield washer sprayers don’t work. The radio does not work.

    There is one problem with the paint. Above the right rear wheel is a spot of “solvent pop”.  Basically, there was a chemical reaction with something when we were spraying that caused some bubbles in the paint. It looks like rust, but I’ve had several professional painters confirm that it is solvent pop, and it has not changed at all in 20 years (rust would have grown). I also scratched the paint and made a repair in the same area, but did not have a way to properly buff out that repair, so there is a patch that appears duller than the rest of the panel.

    The only rust in the car is in the trunk above the rear axle. It needs to be cut out and replaced, but it’s been like that the whole time I’ve owned it.

    The glass in both doors is cracked.

    That’s it for the bad stuff. The car runs, drives and looks great. More pictures and videos available. I hate to let it go, but I want to start a new project.


    • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by Joe. Reason: text format correction, add more photos
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