Thursday, March 10, 2011

All-New Steel Replacement Bodies for classic cars from 50s & 60s

The market for restoration meets the modern day manufacturing....You can now buy brand new bodies for 1st Generation Camaros, Mustangs and some other cool rides like 1957 Chevy Convertibles....Take an old car, buy the new body, marry the two and now you have a " new " classic that is manufactured to original specs and will continue to allow you to drive an original beauty.....pretty cool as far as I'm concerned.

All-New Steel Replacement Bodies for classics
HOT ROD Magazine

None of this occurred by accident. Dynacorn and the other players in this business didn't just fall into it. They researched the market carefully first, studying their customers as well as their product. For instance, Dynacorn's Mustang replacement shell ($15,500 plus $495 crating fee) comes standard with FE big-block shock towers-correcting a notorious trouble spot on the early Mustang unibody.

Goodmark takes that good old hot rod thinking one step further with the Retro Rides concept. Starting with a first-generation ('67-'69) Camaro or Firebird as the donor, Goodmark will essentially blow the car apart and then totally reskin it with new sheetmetal, while dropping the whole assembly on a fourth-generation ('93-'02) F-Body floorpan and chassis. Prices range from $16,500 plus donor car for a bare unibody in epoxy primer (Phase I) to $27,500 for a roller with all exterior sheetmetal (Phase III). Turnkey cars are also offered to your wildest specifications. The Gen I/Gen IV hybrid approach has two benefits. First, you get old-school musclecar style with late-model comfort and performance. Next, the finished product can be titled and registered under the VIN of the '67-'69 donor car. It's a win-win deal. With the Goodmark/Retro Rides deal you can even have your choice of dashes: period authentic or late-model high-tech.

Can you spot the original '57 Chevy convertible? Actually, both of these bodies are newborns created by Experi-Metal in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The company's core business is creating prototype and other special low-volume sheetmetal components for the OEs.The '57 Chevy convertible restoration body manufactured by Experi-Metal of Sterling Heights, Michigan, contains a whole lot of new and just a little bit of old. The cowl and firewall are cherry, original 1957 stampings, so EMI is quick to point out their body shell is not a replica or a reproduction; it's a restoration body. But the rest of the components from stem to stern are brand-new steel, all several hundred of them. And, the company is proud to point out, the body is made and assembled right here in the USA, and sold by EMI's distributors: CARS Inc., Cross-Canada, and Sherman and Associates. The price is around $35,000, and if the demand is as expected, EMI plans to have a '55 Chevy convertible ready soon as well.

For having the foresight to jump in and lead the charge, credit should go to Rich Roberts of Promax Corporation with his Vennom cars. He spotted the street-rodification of musclecars as early as anyone. In 1999, recognizing the interest in what he calls "the late-model street rod" (flat nailed it, he did) he began building his Vennom '66 Novas. Constructed from fiberglass and composite rather than steel, like many modern street rods the Vennom is designed for style and function more than exact authenticity. The nose is stretched, and the greenhouse is laid back with a '69 Mustang windshield, while the floorpan can accommodate any gearbox including a Lenco. However, Roberts says his bodies are hardly bare race car shells; these are the real deal, carefully engineered for Pro Street or Pro Touring use. "I spent 11 months perfecting the body seals," Roberts told HOT ROD."It was by far the most difficult part of the project." Along with the '66 Chevy II-styled car, Vennom recently added a '70 Mustang to its line and currently has a '70-style 'Cuda in the pipe.

So we can see that like hot rodding itself, this whole trend in restoration or replacement body shells-whatever they need to be called-has a bit of an identity problem. It's both new and old, depending how you look at it. Just like hot rodding, this is about taking the best of both the old and the new and creating something unique, something that can be more than the sum of its parts. With a difference: These cars can be built without paying gold-chain prices or searching the nation's junkyards for rusty, overpriced junk to resurrect. Really, we can't say these cars are old or new, so let's just call 'em what they are: hot rods.


The Goodmark Retro Rides and the EMI '57 Chevy bodies shown in this story use some structures of an original car, so they have a manufacturer-issued vehicle identification number (VIN)-but in the case of Dynacorn's all-new Camaros and Mustang there is no traditional VIN. Each body has a serial number stamped in four places on the body shell and comes with a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO). According to Jim Barber at Classic Auto Restoration Services (CARS), most states will register the car using the MSO and as a '69 Camaro, '67 Camaro, etc. But there is a bundle of complications in regard to this and differences between states. We're putting together an in-depth story on the subject and will bring it to you soon

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