: Coupe deVille frame swap? Yeah or Nay?

09-24-11, 10:22 PM
I am working on buying a desert car to use for parts for my Caddy restoration. It is a complete rust free car but sunbaked and not worth restoring. Exactly what I have been looking for. My question is, if I pull the frame from this parts car and restore it while I drive my Caddy and come resto time, pull the body, get all the rust fixed and lower it onto the the other, albeit restored frame, is it still the same car? The reason I ask is I hate the vin swapping and rebodying that is going on in the classic car hobby, not to mention this car is a piece of my family's history so I am restoring it, but I want it to be the same car when it is done, not a car that looks like the car that I started with. Does this make sense to you guys?



09-24-11, 10:37 PM
Its the same car in my mind.

Mark 78 Coupe
09-24-11, 11:02 PM
It's funny you should bring up this point. My dad bought the 78 Coupe I have new, and gave it to me about 10 years ago. While it only has 45,000 miles on it, and it runs and drives new, with the still beautiful red leather interior, it is quite rusty. Next month, I am going to buy a mig welder and replace part of the frame that is rusted out. I already have western doors, and a rust free deck lid. I still need a hood, but I think I have found one. To answer your question, I still think the car is the same. Your car is like mine in that it has been in the family a long time, and always will be. Whatever you or I need to do to keep it running and looking good is what we will do, and nothing will change the heritage of our car. Good luck with your restoration!!

09-24-11, 11:28 PM
Thanks for the reply, my car looks pretty good underneath. The rust is only in the quarter panels behind the fender skirts, but it is migrating to where you can see it. The underside is rust free. Now the reason for a frame swap is that I always wanted a frame off resto, but I don't want the car off the frame that long so doing a frame up when the car is still on the road takes that out of the equation.


Robin Banx
09-25-11, 09:37 PM
When body swap time comes, you might find that you will have trouble getting some of the body bolts out at the rear crossmember and on the rear of the side rails due to rust on the "good" body. Historically GM did not take much care to protect the mounts from rusting consequently they would disintegrate upon trying to remove the bolts with a bar and socket. It might be an idea to check some of them now to learn whether or not they will come out without destroying the in-body part of the fastener. If you are successful, I would suggest coating the threads with Never-sieze and putting them back in until you are ready to switch. Just a thought. I have done this as well as cad plating all the body bolts in my 83 FWB just as a preservative measure.


09-25-11, 09:57 PM
It is my understanding that legally the car is the same if the cowl is the same. That you can replace pretty much everything in front of and behind the firewall, and the frame, but as long as the cowl, which has the VIN, remains the same you are ok. Although laws do vary by state.

09-26-11, 01:55 AM
Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

The answer to your question is a definitive "Yes, but...." When we talk about the car, we're really talking about the body, which is what makes the car unique, or at least what it is. Frames and drivetrain are interchangeable and absent the body, all look the same. But, if you swap the frame, the car will no longer be original, in that it will no longer have the frame and related components it had when it left the factory. But, considering all the rest that you'll likely be doing to it, it won't be original anymore anyway. So yes, it's the same car, but not the original car.

Up next, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

09-27-11, 07:02 PM
If your frame is rotted beyond repair " do it & love it" don't worry only we'll know.