Classic car body on modern everything else?

chrysler

#1

Does anyone have an idea of how much it would cost to have this professionally done? Specifically a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Convertible body on really any decent modern car.


#2

Totally pulled out of the air but can’t believe it would be less than the $30-40,000 category.


#3

With enough money you can do anything. It’s a very large car so a pickup truck chassis with cab an box removed would be a good start. The car was also an aerodynamic disaster, so don’t expect good mileage. With a $35,000 truck as a start, and $10,000 or so for the Chrysler, throw in $20,000 in labor and you’ll have your “classic”.

Designing the chassis from the ground up would be prohibitively expensive and fraught with problems. You could also not get it certified, whereas the truck would already be certified.

Many classic recreations have a modern running gear with only the fiber glass body the classic part.

If you think this is a good idea, think again. Not even Jay Leno has been that foolish. He did install a modern V8 and transmission in his 50s Buick Roadmaster.


#4

a topic like this makes me wonder why some car makers do not use the bodies of older styles but make a modern car. In this way, you could have a caddy that looks like a caddy for example


#5

It’s a pretty common thing to see car restorers put a modern engine and transmission into the original classic body and frame, perhaps making some suspension improvements; but I’ve never heard of what you are proposing. It does sound like a good idea though. Rather than a New Yorker, me, I’d do it with a 1964 1/2 Mustang. What a sweet ride that would be, the original Mustang styling that makes it looks like it is going fast even if it is sitting still in the parking lot, combined with a modern electronic fuel injected engine with decent mpg, front wheel drive, and a modern strut suspension.

BTW, Ernest Hemmingway’s 1950’s Chrysler New Yorker is currently undergoing a complete restoration in Cuba. You can probably Google it to find out the current state of affairs. It’s going very slowly b/c it has been difficult to get American-made parts into Cuba to fix it.


#6

There are shops that can make modern, more robust chassis with all modern components for classic vehicles such as the one you’ve referred to. Fat Man Fabrications, Chassis Engineering, and Morrison are only three, Fat Man being perhaps the best known. Visit their websites. A frame with rolling stock will run you probably upwards of $8K, but understand that that’s just the beginning of getting your “roller” on the road. There’s most of the braking system, the electrical system (“Painless” is perhaps the best bet there), the engine, the powertrain, the gas tank and fuel system, and on and on and on. You’ll need to have some seriously deep pockets to do this… but many have.

And then there’ll be the cost of restoring the interior and the body…

Be aware also that this has to be a labor of love. Don’t plan on making money on it.


#7

A late model drive trains shoe horned into classic chassis is the definition of a “street rod” isn’t it? A barely literate shade tree mechanic near me supported himself well building everyday drivers from old cars. He built many late 30s touring cars with small block Chevy engines and power trains. He installed tilt wheels, AC, multi link front suspension, disc brakes, etc. The man had a great talent and had a waiting list of customers.


#8

Oops. I missed something in the original post. The OP wants to know how much it would cost to “have this professionally done”.

My response? If you gotta ask, you can’t afford it. Get estimates anyway, but be prepared to sit with a shop to work out all the details, such as the engine and drivetrain, the interior, the body restoration, etc. etc. etc. Do your homework. Any professional shop is going to want to know exactly what they’re starting with and exactly what you want in the end. And even then they’ll want to work with you as the project progresses to work out all the countless details along the way. And expect to pay progress payments. Usually that’s done at key points of completion, such as an agreed-to progress payment when the body’s pulled and assessed, a payment when the chassis w/engine is up & running, another when the body restoration is done, etc. etc. etc.

If you have the budget and decide to go forward, keep us in touch and post photos. I, for one, would love to follow the progress. I’m sure others here would too.

Oh, and I strongly urge you to keep an album with dates, descriptions, and photos of the work as it progresses. You’ll get to relive the fun for many years to come.


#9

$50,000-$100,00 and up. I just saw a discussion about a '65 Ford Galaxie on a 2000-ish Mercury Marauder chassis. The modern dash really clashed with the rest of the car, and the modern engine was a let- down. I’d rather go the ‘resto-mod’ route, with all systems being upgraded and modernized.


#10

This is like the salesman’s responce to someone asking how much the yacht costs.

If you have to ask you can’t afford it.


#11

Besides the cost to develop and the small market, I bet it’d be just about impossible for a major manufacturer to meet crash standards and pedestrian protection with all the chrome.


#12

I agree with @texases

Restomod is the way to go

Provided the New Yorker body and frame are in decent shape, upgrade the ignition and fuel systems, modern brakes, suspension, steering, tires, etc.

Maybe even drop in a fairly modern complete crate motor

Still a lot more do-able than dropping a New Yorker body on a completely different and modern frame

I wonder if OP is just daydreaming, or is fairly serious about such a project

Nothing wrong with daydreaming :smiley:


#13

A '55 Chrysler New Yorker in the convertible body style should be left clean alone. If it needs to be restored then keep it original due to its rarity.

If the car is original and halfway straight my guides shows it to be worth about 20 grand as a No. 3 car. Double that for a No. 1. Add even more for “all depending…”.
Values can be a bit subjective but a '55 convertible is not scrap metal…

It would be cheaper to clean it up and have a more valuable car rather than a butchered original.
That butchering is also going to run some serious money; mid 5 digits at least.


#14

“This is like the salesman’s responce to someone asking how much the yacht costs. If you have to ask you can’t afford it.”

That response was actually attributed to “Commodore” Vanderbilt, the fabulously wealthy American tycoon. Whether he really did say it is in question, but it is a good story, nevertheless.


#15

I remember the local used car lot usually had a few “beaters” in the back row. “Run and Drive Your choice $50”. One was a 1955 New Yorker 4 door sedan with 331 cu in Hemi. I was about 17 years old and was thinking it would make a “killer” demolition derby car. This was 1969.


#16

Agree with the last few posters… If the car is relatively nice, straight and rust free, it is better to keep it as a “survivor” car with cleanup and mechanical service.

If the car is rough, a resto-mod is a great way to go. You can fix things as you need without worrying about originality, drop in a complete modern transmission and engine with fuel injection and electronic controls and update the chassis with disk brakes and better suspension. The sky’s the limit here. You can spend whatEVER suits your taste and budget but plan on $40-50,000. Also plan on not getting your money out of it when you sell.

Mecum and Barrett-Jackson and others auction these type of “project” cars all the time for 30 cents on the dollar of what they cost to build. Better to attend an auction and buy it.


#17
"This is like the salesman's responce to someone asking how much the yacht costs. If you have to ask you can't afford it."

But if you don’t ask how do you know what to write on the check? :wink:


#18

Why bother? A real 55 New Yorker will break the speed limit even in Texas where it is 85 by al least 30 mph. Just get it mechanically sound and enjoy it. It will be a little heavy on gas, 16-17 on the road but you would never recoup the cost of what you propose in gas savings.


#19
55 New Yorker will break the speed limit even in Texas

Yes, but it will take a Texas football stadium to stop a tank that size with faded 4 wheel drum brakes. And they will fade halfway from 85 to zero! That’s why people do resto-mods.


#20

“And they will fade halfway from 85 to zero!”

Even “younger” cars from yesteryear suffered from that type of problem.
As much as I liked my beautiful '71 Charger overall, in a panic stop from expressway speeds, the brakes had very little stopping effect by the time that I had gotten down to…let’s say…35 mph, or so. I soon learned that the brakes on that car were not very effective.

For those who crave “The Good Old Days”, it is important to remind them that most of the things that we take for granted nowadays weren’t really very “good” in the '50s, '60s, and even the '70s.