Club coupe body swap

i am resurrecting mine and my dads 51 Hornet Club Coupe that I rolled back in the 90’s. It’s a solid car no rust and has extreme sentimental value. I am going to do the swap myself. My idea for the swap is to separate the door pillars and posts from the frame rails and also separate under the package shelf area, and doing the same on the very rusty donor car. Any thoughts, advice or constructive criticism??? imageimage


  • Jon B
    Jon B Administrator
    You might want to give your approximate location.  Possibly one of our forum members, who has some experience in body work, might live in your area and be willing to come over, size up the situation, and offer some technical advice.  It's a long shot, but worth a try.
  • Rocket
    Rocket Senior Contributor
    First of all if you are willing you can save any car I would like to see some pictures of the rear of the car to see how much damage there is in the rear. question how is the total floor from front to rear including the frame rails in the rear (at this point you do not have to concern your self about the front sub frame) that would be the main starting point to tell you if it is wroth fixing I have done a lot of work on unit body cars and I know this is the first point to start with after that it just takes a lot of time and work to get it done I know if it were mine I would go for it. When my dad was alive he was not into cars at all but not once did he complain when I filled up his garage and had cars all over his yard I was building I wish he was here to see my next car this time I have a club member building it for me (old age catching up) but this is the car I have dreamed of for over fifty years I wish you the best with yours.
  • my one little bit of advice is to not cut a part off the nice chassis, until you are sure that same part is not rusty on the donor car.

    I expect it will be a long tedious job. Lots of measuring and bracing will be involved, along with test fitting. But you can do it.

  • Abandon this idea.just buy one as close to it as you can. Paint it the same color , put that engine/trans in it . Then drive it like you learned a lesson and count your lucky stars you survived a rollover like that , No seat belts , non collaspeable steering column. Keep that monument of stupidity as yard art. But don’t waste your life trying to restore it.
  • Kdancy
    Kdancy Senior Contributor
    It will take a lot of perseverance and time/money to make that car right. Anything can be restored if you have the time and money. I would advise, really advise you to take  supersix's advice. You'll be glad you did.
  • I have done this.  I had a decent platform and a rotted body and another car with a salt rotted platform and a decent body.   All the interior of the body to be saved was reinforced with square tubing . I mean everything. Doorframes ,side to side ,front to rear. You DON'T want the body to rack once the foundation has been cut out. Once that was done, I got a sawzall and cut the bodies from the platforms on both cars. The good body and platform were welded together and it worked like a charm. Take extreme care in supporting the good body as you do not want it to rack once it's off the origional platform. Call me if you want. 704 792 911 zero
  • A lot of good comments guys thank you, I am committed to not letting this car die, I have all the time in the world and can’t let this car go by the wayside, money won’t be an issue as I will be doing 90% of this myself. I do understand about forgetting this one and moving on, but I am way to attached to cars so onward I will go. As you can see no rear damage and no twist anymore to the body after I used a Porta Power, just the roof sagging. I wanted it as straight as possible before separating and for sure will have everything bracedimage
  • It sounds like you have the determination to get it done. I did a similar save on a 51 Hornet, ended up with about 2000 hours in it so far. Please do a build thread on it with pictures, and keep us posted. You can see my build on this site, just search 51 Hornet project with pictures, or try this link,,maybe some of the pics there will help. 
  • Kdancy
    Kdancy Senior Contributor
    edited August 2019
    See if there is a local frame shop that will laser shoot the body for straitness. The measurements are in the shop manual.
  • Triman, I remember seeing your tread last year, holy cow, lol I need your skills but that’s also part of my motivation on my Hornet is to learn on it and also some patching on a ‘49 Super Six sedan I git when I got the donor coupe. Both from Kansa City, so plenty of rust. Hone my skills on those cars so I can really do great work on my 49 Convertible, 52 Hornet Hollywood and 54 Hornet Hollywood. 
    Kdancy, I do have a frame guy in the lurch to help with keeping the car square and true. Thank you guys. Not sure how to do a build thread, would like to, plus post a thread about my 50 Super Six w 16,500 original miles I git recently. Sweet original car, but has fire damage on right side from vandals, also from Kansas City. imageimage
  • Cheyenne7172, Thanks for the kind words, your car looks a lot better already with the roof pushed up a little. 49 Super Six looks like a worthwhile project as well. Post up some pics of the coupe parts car if if you get a chance, we can't get enough of the old Hudson projects around here.