Reader’s Hardcore Project: Joe Clotfelter’s ’60s-Styled ’57 Chevy

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Joe Clotfelter of Poulsbo, Washington, believes that all cars should have a theme, not be haphazardly put together with random bits and pieces. He feels it’s worth taking a little extra time to make sure that the parts on your car complete the look you are going for. With that in mind, Joe is building a 1957 Chevrolet sedan delivery with an early ’60s look.

We are impressed to see the lengths at which Joe has gone to ensure that his 1957 Chevy is being built like it would have been in the '60s.

To that end, he doesn’t plan on using an LS drivetrain, digital gauges, disc brakes, or any form of upgraded suspension parts. “I want this car to appear as though it were built in 1962,” Joe told us. “It’s got the stock suspension, stock brakes, and steel wheels with dog dish hubcaps.”

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Although it was old and rough when Joe bought the car, the body had surprisingly little rust.

This 1957 Chevy sedan delivery was the cheapest of the cheap that year. There were no power options, the passenger seat was optional, and the car has – or doesn’t in this case,  more deleted items on the dash than actual options — a clock delete, a radio delete, and even a cigarette lighter delete.

He did replace the old gauges with new stuff from Danchuck, and he already bought new trim from them as well. “You can get the new stuff from Danchuck cheaper than you can find the original stuff.” Joe detailed, “When I call them, they just answer with ‘hey Joe’!” He is also using rechromed, original bumpers though, which he had done by Ricardo Loera at D&R Chrome.

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The drivetrain features a 327 cubic-inch engine that is built to the 350 horsepower L79 standards, a four-speed transmission, and the stock rearend. There is no power steering, power brakes, power windows, or power anything, he’s even using the vacuum-opersted windshield wipers.

These are just a few of the smaller pieces of bumper chrome that Ricardo did for Joe, and a pile of parts that he ordered from Danchuck!

The sedan is rolling on bias-ply tires from Coker that have a profile you just can’t get with a radial tire. Joe also used a trick to change the rear wheels, that was done “back in the day.” “The rear wheels are from and early ’50s Buick, and they’ve been reversed.” Joe told us. “They are wider, and pushed a little closer to the fenders.”

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One of Joe’s rear tires that’s mounted to the Buick wheel.

Joe has done all of the mechanical work on this car. It is a frame-off rebuild, as you can tell by the cleanliness of the undercarriage. When it’s finished, it will be a great tribute to the cars that people like Joe built when they were kids. It’s really cool to see this car being built this way because it’s the outsider in a world where an LS drivetrain is the popular choice. Don’t get us wrong, an LS is a good way to go, but it’s also good to see something different.

The only work left to be done is the paint and the interior. The interior is going to consist of front bucket seats, front door panels, a headliner, and the standard paint surfaces in the back. “There won’t be any bling on this one,” Joe told us. “It’s really easy to get carried away on a build.” He is taking his car to Keith Russel later this month for paint. Joe’s color of choice is black. Keith will have it for about three months, and it’ll be back with Joe to be put together.

What do you think of Joe’s delivery sedan– does it inspire you to work on your own project car? Let us know in the comments below, and if you have a project of your own that you’ve been slaving away at, share it with us! Send us an email at [email protected], and yours could be the next Chevy project featured in our Reader’s Hardcore Projects.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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