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Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite
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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



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Posts: 184
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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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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


Expert

Posts: 3379
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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



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Posts: 184
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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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Attachments Patch Panel B.jpg (31KB - 143 downloads)
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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: 1409
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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



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Posts: 184
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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)



(Headliner_A.jpg)



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Attachments Headliner.jpg (39KB - 154 downloads)
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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



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
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: 184
100252525
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


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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



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Posts: 809
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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


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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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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



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Posts: 184
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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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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



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Posts: 184
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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



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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



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Posts: 184
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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: 184
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Location: Wisconsin
Work progresses on the passenger floor pan.



(29512960_10156218170534419_5527624696658395136_n.jpg)



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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



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Posts: 184
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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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+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



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Posts: 184
100252525
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


Expert

Posts: 3379
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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 5K+

Posts: 5400
5000100100100100
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)



(56DesotoSurfWhiteRoofAndSweepAndButtterflyBody_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



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
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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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-08-30 12:20 AM (#569246 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
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Location: Wisconsin
I started doing some more digging into the name of the dealer FCA provided me since I couldn't find much online. The Ada Public Library was able to send me an ad out of a newspaper that also confirms the address in 1956!



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ronbo97
Posted 2018-08-30 12:28 PM (#569259 - in reply to #569246)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite


Expert

Posts: 3379
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Location: Connecticut

David - You should have them pull the papers from the second week in October. That is right around when the new models were released to the public. A good chunk of the dealership's advertising budget is spent around that time. Translated, that means quarter page ads with pictures. Just what you want.

I did the research on Hub Motor Co. in Lubbock, Tx, where my 55 Desoto was sold new. Here's one of many ads I came across for the dealership.

Ron

 





(55 Desoto Ad Lubbock A-J 7-17-1955 small.jpg)



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Attachments 55 Desoto Ad Lubbock A-J 7-17-1955 small.jpg (248KB - 104 downloads)
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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-09-05 1:06 AM (#569613 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
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Location: Wisconsin
I did more digging today in old newspapers and was delighted to not only find more ads for the dealer (1956-specific too!), but also the franchise announcement, which was made official October 19, 1955. My car was built in mid-November making it one of the first DeSotos at Wheeler Motor Co!



(10-23-1955_A.jpg)



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-09-07 12:48 AM (#569736 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
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Location: Wisconsin
Another ad and also the end to a short-lived franchise.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-10-16 11:00 PM (#571833 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
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Location: Wisconsin
A few updates on the body work showing repairs to the driver's rocker panel, lower driver's quarter just behind the rocker, and floor pan access panel opening lip. The replacement rocker off my parts car had a crease that needed to be worked out before installing it.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-10-23 7:54 PM (#572249 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
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Location: Wisconsin
Fresh in from Australia - a pair for the '56 and a pair for my '59 Fireflite! Beautiful work as usual by George.



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Apollo 61
Posted 2018-10-23 10:41 PM (#572253 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Extreme Veteran

Posts: 424
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Enjoying your build thread. Where does one learn those kinda metal work skills? I'm about to start a 61 fury restro. Anyways , I'm getting in this 56 De Soto 4dr for parts if you need anything?



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Fireflite56
Posted 2018-10-23 11:14 PM (#572255 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin
I have the car in a shop currently (Stellar Antique Auto Restorations) for the body and paint work as that exceeds my space, equipment, and talents for the level I want. Most of the rest of the work I am doing myself and am still intimately involved with all the work that is being done in the shop.

To answer your question, one place to learn that kind of work is McPherson College in Kansas, which has a very strong automotive program.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2019-03-14 10:48 PM (#579358 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin
It has been a while since my last post, but work has been moving along again. Shown below are the last of the rust repairs required. The body should be completely rust-free now! There are a few finishing touches required, such as proper seams and spot-welds, but the main repairs are done! The photos of the roof emblem test-fitting were necessary for two reasons. One is that the roof was replaced on this car in the past with a cheaper model and did not have holes to start with. Also, the chrome rings I am using are limited-run reproduction and because the casting was made from actual parts, the resulting parts have casting shrinkage resulting in the pins being a bit closer together than the originals, requiring a slight adjustment for proper fit.

Shown last is some experimenting with undercoating since an exact replica of the original texture is not available to my knowledge. The stuff in the photos is an off-the-shelf option in parts stores. We are also going to experiment with a brand that was recommended on here from a place called Rick's Restorations. They appear to specialize more in muscle cars, but the sample photos seem to be about the closest of anything I have seen so far. I'm still open to undercoating brand suggestions with the goal being an OEM look/texture.



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Fireflite56
Posted 2019-11-12 1:16 PM (#590059 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin

It has been a while since I have had a chance to sit down and resize images in order to post here. I was able to visit the shop doing the body and paint work in July during the National DeSoto Club convention and saw it in roughly the state it is shown in in the last post. Since then, the inner firewall under the dash was sandblasted, some general clean-up on welds and patches was done, pinholes were located and fixed (notably the rear of the trunk floor by the tail panel), the roof trim was fitted (note this roof is a replacement off of a Chrysler and did not have the Sportsman trim holes), the rear quarter drain holes, notches, and factory weld markings were added, most of the side trim (which will be installed on the painted sheet metal prior to assembly) was straightened and rough polished, the frame was disassembled and blasted, the axle, suspension components, differential, and inner fenders were painted, and the current work is on fixing some minor frame damage (tweaked trans and body mounts, dents, etc.). Suspension components are arriving soon and then reassembly can start on the chassis before painting and dropping the body. The image showing the roof trim with arrows pointing to the edge is indicating a factory defect from the stamping tooling. With that mark being in a bad location to remove, a different part was procured from my parts car with no tool markings.



Edited by Fireflite56 2019-11-12 3:42 PM




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Fireflite56
Posted 2019-11-12 2:02 PM (#590060 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin

As a reference to anyone restoring one of these cars, there are a total of four wire covers for the floorboards. There are three on the driver's side and one on the passenger side. For a 2 door at least, there are actually only two different plates that are used twice each. The front and rear driver's side are 11.75" long. The middles for both sides are interchangeable/identical and are 14.5" long. There are also metal plates that attach under the heater box and retain the top lip of the carpeting.



Edited by Fireflite56 2019-11-12 3:27 PM




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wizard
Posted 2019-11-12 2:44 PM (#590061 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



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.jpeg doesn't work - photos must be .jpg
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Fireflite56
Posted 2019-11-12 2:50 PM (#590062 - in reply to #590061)
Subject: Re: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin

wizard - 2019-11-12 1:44 PM .jpeg doesn't work - photos must be .jpg

That makes sense - thanks for the tip!

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Fireflite56
Posted 2019-11-21 1:54 PM (#590493 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin

A little more progress. The frame is fixed, primed, and painted in the correct semi-gloss. Also, the leaf springs are back from the shop. Besides re-arching to factory specs, I also had an extra leaf added to each side to prevent the car from ever sagging out again. As long as the car sits at the proper height, I don't mind it being a little stiffer as a result. Anybody know off-hand if say the 300B or New Yorkers were 7-leaf springs? If they were, then that's basically what I have now.



Edited by Fireflite56 2019-11-21 1:58 PM




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Fireflite56
Posted 2019-11-26 5:31 PM (#590803 - in reply to #520208)
Subject: RE: Restoration of a Junkyard Rescue 1956 Fireflite



Veteran

Posts: 184
100252525
Location: Wisconsin

11/25/2019 - assembly has officially begun!





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