Installing The Rear Bumper, Emblem, and Tail Lights On Our 1955 Bel Air
On our Project 1955 Bel Air, we have gotten the car out of paint jail and are excited to get this car back together! From our previous stories you can read all about building the chassis, suspension, brakes, etc. Now it’s time to make this car look more like a ’55 Bel Air!
Our first order of business was to do a little shopping at Classic Industries. They have a full line of Tri-Five parts available and being only an hour drive away, it was easy to go pick it all up.
One slick piece they had that we started with is a rear smoothie bumper. Now we could have done a stock bumper that use the capped carriage bolts and would have also had the bumperettes. We decided to go with something a little bit cleaner with the smoothie bumper. When installed, it will show no bolts or bumperettes – just one nice chrome bumper.
We opened the box and found the bumper was ready to be installed. The brackets that go to the frame are already welded on and ready to go. Where the carriage bolts would normally go, there’s a slot for a threaded plate to mount the bumper. Overall this looked pretty easy – but how well would it fit?
Before we test fit anything, we took some time to put some blue painter’s tape all around the edges on this car where the bumper would mount. You have to move these bumpers around a bit and we didn’t want to scratch the paint. A good tip for anybody installing any bumper.
With an extra set of hands we slid the bumper up into place and installed a few bolts through the frame and frame mounts to hold it in place. First impression was that this bumper fit great! Moving on we needed to get the outer bumper brackets installed and the final bolts installed. We installed all the bolts but kept everything loose until they were all threaded and installed.
With the bolts loosely installed we lined the bumper up to the body and were shocked at how well it fit! If you’ve ever installed a reproduction part, you know it’s common to have to do some adjustments to make them work. This meant that our car had zero body damage throughout the years and that Classic Industries has some great parts! Our last step here was to tighten down all the bolts.
The 1955 Bel Air is an iconic car, but one thing that really sticks out is the Chevrolet emblems. They have the red and white checker pattern and are encased in a beautiful chrome bezel. Many people shave this emblem off, but we wanted to keep it since it’s such a nice emblem.
The installation of this piece is quicker than it takes us to write this install. The chrome bezel comes complete from Classic Industries with the plastic emblem already installed. The bezel has studs with cutting nuts to install it. We just had to drop it in place and use the supplied nuts to tighten it down. Literally a two minute installation to get this installed.
The final piece we wanted to tackle was the tail lights – one of the easiest ways to determine what year Tri-Five this car is. Again, Classic Industries had every piece available to install these better than new. Our old lenses were extremely faded, chrome was pitted, and it was just decided to order all new and be done with it.
Installation begins by installing a rubber gasket on the base, then using four screws to attach the base to the car. Then with the screw kit we picked up, we installed the back up lens and tail light lens with a new cork gasket. After that we installed the divider bar that helps hold these lenses in place. The final step was to install the new outer bezels!
These new tail lights went together smoothly, but we took our time to ensure that everything was correct and we didn’t scratch the paint. With the tail lights installed we were pleasantly surprised to see the back end of this car finally looking almost complete! Now we need to start installing the trim and the front end – stay tuned for that!
For more information or to order up your Tri-Five parts, hop on ClassicIndustries.com or give their friendly techs a call at (800) 854-1280