Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite
Fireflite56
Posted 2016-08-30 11:20 PM (#520208)
Subject: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Creating this thread is something that I've been intending to do for some time now. I am hoping that by posting as progress is made, I can use it as an opportunity to both ask and answer questions. I know quite a bit about 1956 DeSotos, but there always seems to be something to learn. My goal with the car is to do a nut-and-bolt restoration on the car back to 100% factory original, with the one exception being a set of glasspacks. It came white/yellow as shown in the photos with the white/black/silver cloth & leather interior. The car was very stripped down for a Sportsman, coming with mostly only what was standard for the model. I will not be adding a bunch of options and intend to stick with the factory colors and options.

History of the car:
According to FCA, the car was sold new at Wheeler Motor Co. in Ada, OK. The ten years following are still currently unknown as I have not found a way to track down the original owner or owners. Nevertheless, the car did not have an easy first ten years because by about 1966, the car ended up in an Oklahoma junkyard. From tearing down the engine later on and finding a badly bent crank and a broken main cap (shown below), I would have to say that someone was really beating on the car and that's why it ended up in a junkyard. Anyhow, after only about a year of being in the yard, a fellow named Bob Merritt from Kansas bought the car (amongst other salvageable cars) and stashed it in a building. The car sat until sometime in the late seventies/early eighties when the building collapsed from snow on the roof. Several cars were totaled while others only suffered minor damage. The DeSoto ended up with a crushed roof and a large dent across the hood and passenger fender. At this point, the car was sold to a fellow in Indiana, just outside of Chicago. He began the process of restoring the car, doing some minor body work and paint on the rear of the car, including replacing the roof. He also had the seats and door panels re-done, the bumpers/guards/parking light housings re-chromed, and a Firedome motor partially re-built. He also located another fender and hood to replace the dented parts. At this point, he lost interest in the car and put it up for sale. In November 2002, my father purchased the car. After sitting for a while and me wanting a DeSoto, he sold me the car. On July 4, 2004, I officially began purchasing my first car at the age of 12. I didn't have much money at the time, but we decided to have the original engine rebuilt by a fellow who had done many early hemis and was starting to slow down in the number of motors he was rebuilding. We weren't in a hurry, so he worked on it on the side over the course of about a year and a half. He discovered the bad crank and broken main cap. Luckily though, the block was not cracked and I have since confirmed (I was 99% sure before) that the engine is original to the car. After that, the car sat virtually untouched for a few years while I was in high school. As I started college, I still didn't have much money, but I did have my summers free. So over the course of the 4 or so years going to school for engineering, I started to finish the motor. After progressing a bit, I discovered some things I wasn't happy with internally, such as lack of assembly lube and seized/dirty rockers. I can only chalk it up to the builder's declining health and memory because I know he had quite a reputation. After reversing some of my progress (I tore the engine down to the internals), I started assembling again. After graduating from college in February 2015 and paying off student loans, I started saving for body and paint work (I fully admit I cannot do this work and wouldn't start on this car even if I learned). As of now, the car is scheduled to go to have this done this coming winter. In the meantime, after about 5 years of working on free weekends and evenings, the engine and transmission are nearing completion and almost ready for starting on the stand.

Enjoy the photos below showing everything up to now and I will post more as progress is made!

Edit: I am considerably older now (24) and the car has been stored inside for a number of years.

Edited by Fireflite56 2016-08-31 12:08 AM




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soiouz
Posted 2016-08-31 2:41 AM (#520213 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Great work, nice pics and car!
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ronbo97
Posted 2016-08-31 9:20 AM (#520226 - in reply to #520213)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Great colors. Yellow/white has always been a favorite combination of mine. Enjoy the journey.

BTW, the red Fireflite lettering for the spark plug covers is available as decals from a vendor on ebay. If I find the link, I'll post it.

Ron

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SavoyPlaza
Posted 2016-08-31 2:31 PM (#520243 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Excellent work thus far, David. Good story, too! Keep us updated with your progress.
This looks like it will be a lifetime car for you!

I've still got a '62 Belvedere I bought in 1989, I just drove her to breakfast this morning.
Pete
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wizard
Posted 2016-08-31 3:53 PM (#520251 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Nice work and good to see some young guys in this hobby!

I'll be watching the progress and so will many more...
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DepsilonD
Posted 2016-08-31 6:46 PM (#520269 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Great story and excellent work. I will be following along with your build.
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57desoto
Posted 2016-09-01 7:13 AM (#520296 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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As with everyone else, I say "WAY TO GO!!!"
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oldwood
Posted 2016-09-01 9:57 AM (#520309 - in reply to #520296)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Glad to see a youngin keeping these cars alive!!! Now, get back to work. lol
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moparsteve
Posted 2016-09-01 10:59 AM (#520312 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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excellent work man! drivetrain looks good correct and clean... how is the interior? push

button 2 spd powerflite no less! 55 had a toggle lever shifter on the dash...do you have

any extra trim/emblems like "powerflite"? what options does it have? order away! put the drive

train in and get it running.... prob brakes exhaust are def. needed.... good to see you young

guys pick up where you dad or grandfather left off!

i was born in 54 so this car is 60 years old if a 25 yr old guy bought it new hed be 85 now!

a few fwd look members here have left us so a few o us nd to teach the young depending

how many cars survive and availibility of parts. good job... a lot of desoto fans here esp

doctor desoto! be sure to see a 1956 marx bros desoto show/commercial!
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FIN ME
Posted 2016-09-01 4:29 PM (#520323 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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I thought that big smile looked familiar.

If he's the David I think he is, he comes by his talents naturally, growing up in a real tried and true DeSoto family.

Great family, and a super great young man who is very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable.

Happy to see you here, David, and to see the work that you've been doing on your wonderful '56! It's going to be classy!

David putting the final touches on his parents' perfect '58 Adventurer just a few years ago:
.


Edited by FIN ME 2016-09-01 4:36 PM




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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-09-02 12:08 AM (#520347 - in reply to #520323)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Thanks everyone for all the kind words!

Rosy, you are absolutely right, I am a 4th generation DeSoto owner (though a slight correction here is that the Adventurer is actually my aunt and uncle's car).

As requested, the car came with the following:

Power steering (standard on a Fireflite)
Power brakes (standard on a Fireflite)
Standard AM radio with single manual antenna (standard on a Fireflite)
Windshield washer
Cloth/leather interior (standard on a Fireflite)
Visor windshield trim (standard on a Fireflite Sportsman)
E-brake light (optional)
Solex (tinted) glass (optional)
Prismatic (day/night) rear view mirror (optional)
Rear license plate frame (this is the 3-piece unit)

I don't have the paperwork in front of me, but I believe it also came with a rear speaker. Also, the options list calls for "exterior mirror" which is indicated that on a Sportsman or convertible would be a passenger mirror because the driver's is standard. However, I have found no signs of the car ever having had one. The car will get the two that it's technically coded for during the restoration. Overall, the car is very stripped down for a Fireflite Sportsman considering the clock, radio, interior (leather), antenna, power windows, power seat, and other such options the car could have come with.

Edited by Fireflite56 2016-09-02 12:09 AM
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FIN ME
Posted 2016-09-02 9:42 AM (#520361 - in reply to #520347)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Fireflite56 - 2016-09-02 12:08 AM
...the Adventurer is actually my aunt and uncle's car...


Oops...I forgot that detail...
Even David's extended family are DeSoto folks!

Very nice car you have there; I'm hoping to see it in person one day.


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60 Finatic
Posted 2016-09-02 12:05 PM (#520372 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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David, Not showing off the other treasures while still trying to corner the market?
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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-09-02 11:04 PM (#520399 - in reply to #520372)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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I think Dan is referring to the two cars I just bought in July. They had been sitting on a driveway since 1987.



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Viper Guy
Posted 2016-09-03 9:28 AM (#520424 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Wow! And I thought I was a "dyed in the wool" DeSoto Guy.

Nice - keep us posted with your progress.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-09-07 12:35 AM (#520677 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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I took advantage of a 3-day weekend and made a lot of progress! A friend had fabricated a mount for the transmission tail so that we can run it on the stand and we attached that early Saturday morning. Other progress included plugging the hole for the power brake vacuum line, tightening the carburetor-intake studs and installing the carburetor (tightening of nuts pending a repaint of a bracket this week), installing the distributor (not bolted down), attaching the by-pass hose, and doing some miscellaneous bolt head touch-up. The starter was also re-installed after I re-painted the solenoid that was scratched during installation of the trans cooler lines.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-10-10 10:38 PM (#523120 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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I have been putting a lot of time into this the past several weekends and I think this coming weekend may finally see the engine running! As you can see, I now have a coil and plug wires on (still need to be trimmed) with the correct style and color boots. The push-button cable is also re-installed, as are a few other small items. This past weekend, I turned a wrench on the actual car for the first time in several years. I wanted to pull the dash anyways and figured I could hook it up to the engine to monitor oil pressure when the motor is being broken in. I won't be reusing the harness as it is very dry, but I wanted to label the ends just in case I need to reference them later. This week, I'm taking care of a few final items, such as exhaust pipes, that should help get the engine ready for the weekend!



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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-10-17 11:12 PM (#523701 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Once left for dead, this motor is running for the first time in half a century! This video was the first shot at starting it and it fired up with authority! Not so much as a sputter and we didn't even have to touch timing or carb adjustments after starting it!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5fqV46uVt8
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60 Imp
Posted 2016-10-18 6:35 AM (#523716 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Oh Yeah. That looks and sounds good. Nice work. Looking forward to the next installment.............

Steve.
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oldwood
Posted 2016-10-18 11:42 AM (#523726 - in reply to #523716)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Ya done well. Since your close to being finished with that one you'll need another Sportsman. This one is For Sale here in Arkansas.

Edited by oldwood 2016-10-18 11:51 AM




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wizard
Posted 2016-10-18 3:29 PM (#523743 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Great progress! Very nice video, the engine sounds good and strong.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-10-23 8:40 PM (#524177 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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This weekend, my '56 saw the light of day for the first time in over 8 years. We have since removed most of the front clip in preparation for temporarily installing the engine/transmission. I am doing this so that it can be transported to where the body/paint work will be done so that the completed engine/trans can be installed before the front clip.

Edited by Fireflite56 2016-10-23 8:42 PM




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DieselJeep
Posted 2016-10-23 9:53 PM (#524184 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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That is awesome.

Congrats on getting her running, and into the sunshine again!
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FIN ME
Posted 2016-10-24 11:31 AM (#524233 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Great progress! It's going to be soooooo awesome....


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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-11-02 11:59 PM (#525137 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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The engine is temporarily installed (for transportation) and the car is pretty much ready for the body/paint work. This is the one major part of the restoration that I know I can't do myself at this time. I would like to learn, but not on this car.



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FIN ME
Posted 2016-11-03 7:37 AM (#525150 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Ahhhhhhh...the "what did I get myself into stage"...

I can't wait to see her all painted up and shiny, being the bling junkie that I am.

Sorry if you've already commented on this, but how's the body? Need any straightening? My car needed a very slight adjustment by the blocker.

Good work!


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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-11-03 7:52 PM (#525207 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Rosy,

Fortunately most of the car has never been touched as far as body and paint go, so I know nothing's hiding. Because a building had collapsed on it back in the '70's, the hood that is on it will replace the original, the passenger fender will be replaced, and the roof has already been replaced. There are a few small dents and creases (you can see one at the bottom of the fender). There may be a few pinholes in the front floor pans from water getting in and sitting, as well as a tiny amount of filler in the dog legs. Other than that, the car is super solid! The photo with the trim inside the car is a good illustration of this.
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FIN ME
Posted 2016-11-04 7:23 AM (#525255 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Solid, brother!



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Fireflite56
Posted 2016-11-21 7:49 PM (#526794 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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I am excited to announce that the car was picked up for body/paint work this past weekend! This will be a high-quality, frame-off procedure. Here are a few photos from my own documentation of the car before it departed.

Edited by Fireflite56 2016-11-21 7:56 PM




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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-01-28 4:35 PM (#532542 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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I got the first batch of photos today! The car has been at Stellar Antique Auto Restorations in Kansas since right before Thanksgiving for the body/paint work. So far the only bad news is a cracked windshield (an accident during removal) and some rather unusual rust on the underside of the trunklid as shown in one of the photos below. I am working on getting wiring, battery cables, and a few other odds and ends on my end for when the work in Kansas is completed.

Edit: The photo of the body is on arrival back in November.

Edited by Fireflite56 2017-01-28 4:37 PM




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firedome
Posted 2017-01-29 12:53 PM (#532594 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Great work, it's going to be beautiful!
I had inside trunk lid rust similar to that in a '61 Belvedere and a '58 DeSoto - it seems mice like to hide out in the winter in the stamped inner panel channels especially in the corners and their urine does a real number on the steel. They can be incredibly destructive buggers, I bet that's what happened here.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-01-29 5:18 PM (#532617 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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A mouse getting into the trunk at some point is also my leading theory because the car is very clean otherwise.

I meant to post this quite a while ago since I've had it since June, but this is my build card decoded from FCA. I had been able to decode all the options on my own already, but in addition to confirming what I decoded, it provided two additional pieces of information. It gave me the motor number (the only other way to obtain this is if you have the original owner's certificate that was stuck in the cover of the owner's manual), which I was able to match to the engine and confirm my strong suspicion that I had the original motor. It also gave me the original dealer's name, which I did not previously have.



(FCA Historical - 1956 Fireflite.JPG)



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-02-03 12:31 AM (#533065 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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A few additional photos from today showing the holes in the underside of the trunk and an unidentified trans leak (engine has not been run since October). Some small weak spots were also identified in the rockers, particularly where the door seal interfaces.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-02-23 7:19 PM (#534594 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
I am a bit behind on posting, but the body came off the frame last Friday!



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-03-02 10:39 PM (#535059 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
I received a fresh batch of photos today showing the progress of the body and paint work on the '56! The replacement passenger fender (to replace the original with the huge dent) was a good fender, but had an older, poorly done repair where it appears an antenna hole (should not have been on that fender) was once drilled. Tim removed the old patch and repaired it properly, using lead filler for final smoothing. The gas tank had 50+ year gas (chunks), but seems to be otherwise good! I had suspected the front floors may need a little attention from water retention at some point in the past. The photo of the passenger floor with the screwdriver through it confirms that.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-03-25 10:53 PM (#536660 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
While my car is off getting the body and paint work done, I am tending to a few other projects for the car. The headliner sample sent from SMS was not correct, so I sent them a sample of the original headliner from the car, which I have included a photo of below in hopes that it may help someone else who does not have a good reference for a Fireflite Sportsman 2 Door. These are the small details that can normally be impossible to find in photographs on the internet. I also, with the help of a friend who repaired sound systems for a living, took apart the radio to test the different components as it was not working on the bench. I will be needing a new vibrator, light bulbs, and speaker wires. All of the mechanisms operate as they should and all of the tubes work! I will also need to polish up the dial arm and re-paint the white backing plate (made of tin) for the numbers. The chrome is extremely nice on this unit, so even for a rotisserie restoration, I won't be re-chroming it. Once the surround is re-painted and the car is back, it should be ready to pop into the dash and hook up!



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The Chrysler Kid
Posted 2017-03-26 7:58 AM (#536677 - in reply to #536660)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Location: Ocala, Florida
Wow, great car and great work!
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RUSTORICHES
Posted 2017-03-26 12:08 PM (#536701 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


Extreme Veteran

Posts: 456
1001001001002525
Location: Alberta
This Desoto is my favourite , I just sold one like this at Christmas after removing the 354 Hemi someone had transplanted under the hood. If I was your age I'd probably be doing the same as you now. There's a lot of car here by the pound and well designed I was always attracted by the shift lever on the dash. I'm curious why the thermometer hook into the radio?
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Viper Guy
Posted 2017-03-26 7:14 PM (#536727 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 1211
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Location: Branson, MO
Only the '55s had the shift lever on the dash. The '56 was the first year for the push buttons but, they too, were on the dash.
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RUSTORICHES
Posted 2017-03-27 10:05 AM (#536753 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


Extreme Veteran

Posts: 456
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Location: Alberta
Here's a photo off the net if you're like me I spend a bit of time just admiring someone else's workmanship from time to time [full time]



(55-desoto-hh-1.gif)



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Attachments 55-desoto-hh-1.gif (107KB - 61 downloads)
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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-03-27 10:54 PM (#536786 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Randy - thanks!

Glen - I was confused about your thermometer comment at first, but what I assume you are taking for a thermometer is actually the front glass cover with the station numbers on it. I removed it to access the light bulbs in the front, but left the wires connected.
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FIN ME
Posted 2017-04-02 10:12 AM (#537209 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Location: USA - KY


Looking really good, David!

Looking forward to seeing this masterpiece in person some day.


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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-04-17 11:16 PM (#538285 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Rosy - thanks! I look forward to having it at some of the NDC conventions when it's finished!

Last Thursday (April 13), the shell made it to the media blaster and should be done sometime this week. The fenders, doors, and other sheet metal previously stripped have had all the necessary metal repairs and are on their second coat of primer. I think I finally have a solution with SMS for headliner (original sample is the triangular piece) after a couple letters back and forth, so that should be ordered by the end of the week. The wire harness has moved up the queue and is scheduled to be made in the next week (YnZ's) and should be here by late next week or early the week after. The radio is all ready to go with new speaker wires, light bulbs, and everything cleaned and tested, except for the vibrator. That should be finished by the end of the week and I'll post an update at that time!



(Media blasting.jpg)



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-04-19 12:26 AM (#538342 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
I received a few more photos from the restoration shop that's handling the body and paint work. Nothing too exciting until the shell comes back. The passenger fender was a spare to replace the original, which had a very large dent across the top, and required holes to be drilled for the trim.



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FIN ME
Posted 2017-04-19 9:32 AM (#538370 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 2791
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Location: USA - KY


Kilgore: "Smell that? You smell that?"

Lance: "What?"

Kilgore: "Primer, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.

I love the smell of primer in the morning.

You know, one time we had a car spray bombed for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dent.

The smell, you know that solvent smell, the whole garage smelled like......VICTORY!

Victory. Someday this resto's gonna end."



(Looking good!)


.



(PRIMER.jpg)



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-04-27 10:55 PM (#539028 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
The shell came back from being blasted yesterday! Here are a few photos showing the spots that will need attention. Everything was pretty much as expected except for the dent (filled) on the passenger quarter panel and the pinholes on the bottom of the driver's quarter. There are definitely spots to address, but it's nice to finally see the car stripped down and giving up its secrets!



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-05-02 7:52 PM (#539319 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
The radio is fixed and working well! I am too young to remember the CONELRAD emergency plan, so I had to do some research to figure out exactly what the little circle/triangle symbols meant on the glass window.



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56D500boy
Posted 2017-05-02 8:31 PM (#539324 - in reply to #539319)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Fireflite56 - 2017-05-02 7:52 PM
The radio is fixed and working well! I am too young to remember the CONELRAD emergency plan, so I had to do some research to figure out exactly what the little circle/triangle symbols meant on the glass window.


I means that in the event of a nuclear war or tornado or flood, tune to these channels for instructions on how to kiss your love ones and your ass goodbye.

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FIN ME
Posted 2017-05-09 6:40 PM (#539797 - in reply to #539319)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 2791
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Location: USA - KY
Fireflite56 - 2017-05-02 7:52 PM

...I am too young to remember the CONELRAD emergency plan...


Oops, that's right! And you're way too young to remember this either:

"Apocalypse Now" -1979: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRp7tYWnJJs

(You must have wondered just what the heck my previous post was about. )

Great job on the radio, David! The radio in my car is iff-y, so I am envious.

I really like the "duck and cover" sticker. A real "blast" from the past, if you'll pardon the "pun".

The attention to detail that you're putting into your car's restoration is really going to pay off. It's going to be a beauty.






Edited by FIN ME 2017-05-09 6:41 PM
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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-08-07 11:29 PM (#545800 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
It has been a while since I last posted an update, so here are a few photos of the rust repair in the rear quarter. In other news, the harness showed up about 2 months ago now from YnZ's and I am still working with SMS to procure the correct headliner.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2017-08-23 1:13 AM (#546799 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Here are some older photos I have of the seats and door panels that were re-done by the previous owner before I bought the car. They are mostly correct, though the door panels are missing the screws in the myrolene (I have the missing trim pieces to install) and the white insert on the top of the seats dips down too low. Because of the level I am restoring this car to, I am strongly considering re-doing the tops of the seats after the car is finished. The screws will be easy to add with the rest of the door panel trim. For reference (because these types of photos are EXTREMELY helpful to someone attempting to do a correct restoration), I am also including a few photos from another car that has never had the interior re-done and has the same trim code as mine.



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57desoto
Posted 2017-08-23 6:12 AM (#546804 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 1356
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Location: New Castle PA
Awesome, David! Not many folks would notice the extra "dip length" in the material. My hat is off to you for getting it right. It's a shame that someone went to all the trouble of making the seats over but didn't take the extra effort to do them correctly.
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ronbo97
Posted 2017-08-23 11:07 AM (#546821 - in reply to #546804)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Posts: 3146
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Location: Connecticut

This will be a stunning car when you get done. Good job !

Ron

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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-01-17 12:49 AM (#556430 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Work has been slow, but here are a few recent photos of the bodywork in progress. Again, the body and paint work is being done at Stellar Antique Auto Restorations in Kansas. I have kept myself busy working on getting patch panels cut out of my parts car and working with SMS for the last 9 months to get a correct headliner. The second attempt is in the mail this week, so fingers crossed it's finally correct.



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57desoto
Posted 2018-01-17 6:22 AM (#556435 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 1356
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Location: New Castle PA
She'll be a beauty when done, David!
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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-01-23 11:24 PM (#556839 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Thanks Ed!

Headliner Update: After 9 months since the original order placement, one wrong headliner sent in July, 20+ emails and phone calls, detailed photos sent, one original sample sent to SMS, and 2 sets of reproduction samples sent to me, to SMS's credit, what I finally received last week is a 100% identical match to the original. Assuming it fits, I couldn't be any happier with the final result.



(Headliner.jpg)



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-02-27 9:12 PM (#558949 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Some photo updates from the shop this week showing the dent(s) being pulled out on the passenger rear quarter ahead of the wheel well.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-03-09 12:57 AM (#559490 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
I took a trip on Saturday down to Kansas where my car is to check on the progress up to this point and to deliver more parts that will be needed, including all the patch panels out of the parts car. Here are a few photo updates from that visit plus a few of the trunk with the new corner patches welded in. The end goal is to have all body, paint, panel alignment, sweep trim (because of access and panel alignment), glass, rubber, headliner, roof mouldings, and chassis work completed here and then to bring the car home for the rest of the work. What is being done in the shop is either stuff that I can't do myself (at least not up to a level I am happy with) or makes sense to do along the way.



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60 Imp
Posted 2018-03-09 5:48 AM (#559495 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


2000500100100100100
Location: North Australia
Some nice work. I am liking the updates Mucho! I like 56 Desoto's a lot. I have seen exactly two.



Steve.
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ToMopar
Posted 2018-03-09 6:01 AM (#559496 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Elite Veteran

Posts: 687
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Location: D-70199 Heslach
great to see the result of your sweaty work
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-03-09 6:47 AM (#559501 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


Expert

Posts: 2802
2000500100100100
How are you paying the body shop guy? by the hour? How many hours so far?
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1956DeS
Posted 2018-03-09 7:48 AM (#559505 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Posts: 774
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Location: Atlanta GA USA
Glad to see another one getting restored.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-03-09 9:18 AM (#559507 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
Thanks everyone.

He charges by the hour, but typically I make payments in chunks preceding the work to be done. I had a ballpark estimate for the cost of what I was having done and knew the car wouldn't have any major surprises (the front end was original paint yet), so I knew pretty well what I was getting into ahead of time.
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PolaraPaul
Posted 2018-03-09 9:36 AM (#559508 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Posts: 293
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Location: California/Wisconsin
Great work David! Fun to see it come along and your organized approach.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-03-09 12:23 PM (#559525 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
Thanks Paul! Hopefully I'll get it up to Iola after it is done and you'll be able to see it in person!
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christine-lover
Posted 2018-03-09 1:22 PM (#559528 - in reply to #559525)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Expert

Posts: 2826
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Location: Sept. 1958
Very nice work David!
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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-03-16 12:00 AM (#559976 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
Thanks Matt!

The firewall patches are welded in (we suspect a leaking heater core as the culprit). The passenger side came out of a parts car and the driver's side was a simple flat piece of metal. Work has also been started to repair the passenger floor pan. The patch from the parts car required only a small repair whereas that area of the pan from the car was very thin and littered with holes from years of water sitting. The last photo is the pressed cardboard for the underside of the trunk lid.

Edited by Fireflite56 2018-03-16 12:10 AM




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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-03-22 10:24 PM (#560332 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
Work progresses on the passenger floor pan.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-04-05 10:07 PM (#561207 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
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Location: Wisconsin
The passenger floor pan patch is completely installed. The other floor photos shown are of a few pinholes on the driver's side that will need to be addressed. The first of the paint also arrived this week, so I will need to compare it to original parts, paint chip charts, and the color and upholstery book.



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1956DeS
Posted 2018-04-06 9:11 AM (#561213 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Posts: 774
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Location: Atlanta GA USA
+1
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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-04-16 9:11 PM (#561752 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
The passenger rocker had some pinholes, so it was cut out so that the inside could be exposed to make sure that all the rust was addressed. A few pinholes on the backside of the rocker will need to be fixed and then the replacement rocker off the parts car will go on instead of the original since it was cleaner.

I also received the first paint samples from Tim! The white matches all the cars we have here, but the yellow was a little dark. We have a car with original yellow in the door jam and a spare yellow fender that has an unexposed spot under the sweep insert. The color and upholstery book seems to be pretty close to the door jam color. It's hard to convey the exact shadings in the photos here. He'll try mixing in a little of the white in and see if that lightens up the yellow to where it needs to be.



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ronbo97
Posted 2018-04-16 10:12 PM (#561756 - in reply to #561752)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


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Posts: 3146
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Location: Connecticut

David -

Have that large paint chip in the color and upholstery book scanned and get the exact formula based on that. Then have that formula mixed up.

Another question: Any idea why there are those two lightbulb-shaped holes where the removable floor panel attaches to the floor pan ? I had the same ones on my '55 Desoto and considered cutting them out and welding a patch to accept the coarse-threaded sheet metal screws that are used elsewhere to attach the panel. But I left 'as is' and used a small bolt, washer and nut to secure.

Ron

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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-16 10:59 PM (#561761 - in reply to #561752)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Expert

Posts: 3226
2000100010010025
Location: Lower Mainland BC
If your 56 Desoto was a Canadian car, the yellow and white combinations would have been Code 11 Surf White and Code 24 Butterfly Yellow. I am guessing that the interior would have been Code 85 White leather and Black and Silver Cloth. In Canada.

See below:



(56DesotoButterflyYellowRoofAndSweepSurfWhiteBody_small.jpg)



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-04-19 10:42 PM (#561943 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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Posts: 126
10025
Location: Wisconsin
Ron, I am not sure what those cut-outs are for. The insert would mate up there, but the insert is just thru-holes. Maybe they are alignment slots for easy installation? Perhaps Tim knows. I hesitate having the book scanned because I am afraid that color may not be 100% correct after all the years of aging. The white was noticeably aged. I simply used it as another point of comparison with the door jam and the loose fender.

Dave, I don't think I have seen that image before. My car is Detroit-built so it is Sunny Yello, just like in the photos I posted.
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