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Rick's Classic Cars Restorations

Classic Auto Parts Blog by Rick Rilling

With over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry, Rick Rilling has the expertise in knowing what vintage parts and accessories are required for Classic restoration projects.

Be sure to check Rick's blog frequently for Classic car tips and upcoming events.

I attended many car shows this year. The cars ran great, too great as QEII was expensive with my heavy foot.

My first car show was at the St. Albert mall in June. July was a good month, in Athabasca the 57 Chev won 'Best of the 50's' catagory. In Westlock it won the 'Peoples Choice'. Two new 1st annual Show-n-Shines were held in Legal and Red Water.

August brought the 36th annual River Run Car Show in Evansburg and the Alberta Beach Show-N-Shine where the 57 Chev and the 55 Pontiac won in the top 10.

The Radium Car Show was in September and it had a great turn out again this year.

At the end of October it was time to clean up the cars and get them ready park for the winter.


To remove the old box you will need a pitman arm puller.  The original pitman arm will be reused.  The steering column shaft is one piece on the original box. If you are using the the stock column the shaft will have to be cut as close as possible at the box.  A hacksaw or cut-off wheel works well, once this is done it is easier to drop the old box.

When installing the new steering box centering the amount of turns is important.  The new CPP Box is approximately 3 1/4 turns lock to lock.  Center will be about 1 3/4 turns.  If you do not line this up the splines on the pitman arm will not line up.

If you are using a stock column that has been cut from the stock steering box, a rag joint will have to be used to connect this, and it can take a lot of time. I find the best way to convert the steering is to use an after market column, such as an Ididit column or a Flamming River colum. A rag jount will also be needed.

The advantage of using an after market column is that everything is new and it will have tilt (if ordered) and 4-way flashers.  A support will have to be added to the column at the firewall.

May 12, 2013:  I took the 57 chev out of the garage yesterday for an early morning drive to meet the guys for breakfast.  Sandpoint is next weekend and there are lots of cars shows lined up for this summer.


500-Series-BoxesFor many years the way to change to power steering was to use a 605 power steering box conversion. This consisted of taking an old 1955-56-57 steering box and combine it with a 605 steering box, found in a mid to late 1980's midsize GM. This conversion was prone to leaks and flexing when cornering. Quality for the conversion depended on how good the 5-6-7 donor was. Try to find a good 5-6-7 steering box now.

Thanks to Classic Performance Products for developing a completely new power steering box for the 1955-56-57's. This box is a close ratio, all one piece construction and bolt in design.

When installing an updated power steering box in your 5-6-7 it is highly recommended to also install tubular upper control arms. The control arms give you 5° positive caster which is needed for better road handling. Stock control arms will not give enough adjustment to achieve this.

My love for Classic cars started in my early childhood when I rode in the back of my uncle's wagon.

I bought my 1957 Chevrolet 150, 2-door sedan in Jan 1971 with 32,000 original miles. The original car color was turquoise and was changed to white in 1973. Until 1976 the Chev was my daily driver. In the first years of owning the 1957 Chev I installed numerous V8 engines and transmission rear ends.

My 1957 Chevy

I started the last off the frame restoration with modifications in 2004 with 175,000 miles on the odometer. The restoration was completed in 2007 with a turquoise and white paint job. The paint and body work were done by professionals but I completed the re-assembly myself. Presently the car has a 350 engine, 700R4 transmission, CPP 5000 power steering box, upper and lower control arms and Hellwig sway bars. This car was built to be driven!!!

Classic Auto Parts and MachineThe 1955 Pontiac Pathfinder wagon was also an off the frame restoration project I started in 2000 and completed in the spring of 2002. A 1987 Pontiac Grand Prix front frame clip was installed. It has a 350 Chevrolet engine, 700R4 transmission, stock rear end, custom interior, a modified dash (glove box was filled in for the installation of gauges). The radio speaker was changed to a cubby hole. This car was also built to drive.

The 57 Chev and the 55 Pontiac have been to numerous car "Show and Shines" in Alberta, B.C, and Saskatchewan and each car has won many car show awards.


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