I had originally planned on using a GM G Body (midsize – metric) as the donor for the front suspension. The 1st problem I ran across was that these cars were being eaten up at an alarming rate by the late model roundy round guys, then I got some actual measurements on the front end and found that it was 58″ give or take wide hub to hub. The ’56 Dodge was 60.5″ hub to hub the 2.5″ inch difference would have to be made up in the wheel offset. It was then I ran into another idea namely using a GM Full Size B-body chassis 78-96 which is 61″ hub to hub. The other neat thing about this front end is that it was used on the 79-81 Camaros which meant that there is a large after market of spindles, rotors, caliphers etc for this front end. The other good thing was that the sway bars for the 94-96 Caprice and Buick Roadmaster are bolt on items as well.
The best of all good thing was that I was able to get a 1982 Olds Delta 88 sedan to use as a donor for very little money. This particular car had been destined to be crashed in a movie. It’s engine and transmission were already pulled out and the springs had been heated to get it back to a reasonable ride height.
The 1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Donor Arrives in Show Low
It took a bit of playing around to get the Olds off of the trailer and on to the lift. It had been loaded (er… dumped) on to the trailer using a fork lift so I had to use a floor jack to raise it up to get jack stands under it, so that I could position the lift arms. After some fussing around I was able to back the trailer between the lift posts – it just barely fit – and then lift the Olds off the trailer so that I could get the trailer out of the shop.
Laser Measurement of the Olds’ Front Clip
Once I got the Olds on the lift and centered and leveled, I removed all of the front sheet metal and used my laser set up to get all of the measurements needed to make sure that when it is welded into the Dodge frame that it is oriented correctly so that the Dodge will steer and brake properly.
Removal of the Oldsmobile Front Clip
After making sure I had all the measurements, three times, I got out Mister Sawsall and cut the frame just in front of the body mounts so that I would have a decent amount of material to work with when it come to fitting the two frames together.
Once I had everything I wanted off the Olds, in addition to the steering column and power steering box, I kept the wheels and so called tires and both front fenders. What was left was loaded back on the trailer and hauled away to be scrapped. I figured the fenders would come in handy when I was renewing my body working skills and acquainting myself with HVLP spray equipment.