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65 IMPALA TO BEL-AIR CONVERSION QUESTIONS

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Posted · Report post

Going to build the RM 65 Impala as a Bel-Air. Looking at the roof.... what's the best doner replacement? Besides the engine, single exhaust, column shifter, wheels and bench seat, what else do I need to consider?

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Posted · Report post

It would be ALOT of work converting the fastback roof into the sedan you want. If you must do your own conversion, I'd start with the convertible, at least you wouldn't have to deal with flattening the trunk...

But for an easy BelAir/Biscayne, here's what I would do:

http://www.mcwautomotivefinishes.com/resin/resinlist.html

65biscayne.jpg

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Posted (edited) · Report post

So you got the BIS-65 Resin, right? Looks nice. I'm tempted to try the body work. I'm not sure I understand "flattening the trunk." The 65 convertible is easy enough to get with the recent release out there. If I go for it from scratch, what kit roof would be best? Some were saying the RM 64 Impala.

Edited by 006

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The pic I posted is the stock picture on MCM's website, not my build. When I say 'flattening the trunk', I mean that on the fastback the trunk plane is more upwardly sloped where it meets the roof than on the BelAir/Biscayne.

Hope that makes sense...

Not sure what kit would provide a donor roof worth using???

29725574011_large.jpg

8.jpg

Edited by jeffs396

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Posted · Report post

Simply put, there is no "donor" body shell out there from which to grab that roof, certainly not any GM 1962-64 body, as for '65, GM's bodies were completely new, inside and out.

The MCW body would be the best, and easiest way to go on this, due to its already being done for you. I mastered a '67 Biscayne 2dr from the AMT/Ertl '67 Impala HT in 1997, and it was a bear to do! I wound up creating a vacuum-forming master to vac-form the entire roof structure from A-posts to "tulip panel" and flattened out the fastback trunk lid to mate up to the roof I created. I then vacuum-formed that roof from .040" Evergreen sheet styrene, and grafted it into the AMT body. I then had to create masters for both the windshield and back window, and vac-form those as well. All in all, a good 6 months from start to finish (this was a master for resin-casting, BTW).

Some things to consider here, should you scratchbuild the body on your own: GM styling, as late as 1965 (and the '65-'68 full size Chevrolet's all used the same body shells, with only sheet metal facelifts--GM's practice of getting three years, whenever possible, out of a body shell--their legendary 3-year body practice which began about 1941 or so). In addition, GM A-bodies had two different windshields '65-'68--sedans and station wagons had a windshield that was both taller, and more vertical than the convertible/hardtop (both of which shared essentially the same windshield and A-posts then)--again a fairly long-standing practice at GM from 1941 onward. This allowed sedans and wagons to have a roof tall enough for your father (or grandfather) to get in and drive his sedan or station wagon while wearing a dress felt hat with its fairly high crown without knocking it off his head, while the lower roofline of the hardtops with their shallower-slanted windshields gave a much more "sporty" look which tended to appeal to younger buyers who tended not to dress as formally as their parents or grandparents when traveling. In addition, the roof stamping itself on the sedan has a noticeable upward "crown" to it, again giving more headroom which the hardtop roof, "aping" as it did the lines of the convertible, had a much "flatter" look to its sheet metal roof.

Frankly, the MCW '65 Biscayne 2dr sedan is as close as you are likely to come for this car.

Art

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Posted · Report post

Art;

Thanks for the education. I am very tempted to try this on my own by maybe getting a close roof match for the back and just cut and shape, putty, etc. I was successful in modiying a 70 Chevelle roof to a 4-door Malibu look. All I used was reference photos and believe it or not, I eyeballed my cuts and simply kept filing while looking at the reference photos. I enjoy that kind of work. What I hate is sanding bodies down for painting..... I dread that actually. I want to cut the roof where needed while preserving as much as I can and then go from there. I'd love to know if anyone has done it.

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