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Station wagon into a hearse

SketchColor818
Speaking of Chevelles: I have a 1966 Chevelle station wagon that I’d like to convert into a hearse. I want to increase the length of the body by the length of its rear door.

My plan is to cut the body straight down behind the B-pillar and make a model of the body. Then, either heat-forming or vacuum-forming an extension. Care to offer any suggestions?

-Chris Magor
Adelaide, Australia
via email

Ken: Chris, to turn your wagon into an eye-catching hearse you might want to do a little more than simply cut it down the middle and add an extension. Do a Google Image search for “hearse” and you’ll see really ornate and creative examples that would make for a great model, including higher than stock – and even sloped – roof lines, filled-in side windows, fancy trim, etc.

The trick is to cut the body in a location where the ends of the extension would blend into the body with the least amount of effort. In my eye, that would be around the front of the rear wheel well and up to the window, and across the roof just behind the C-pillar, per the sketch above.

Ideally, you can pick up a second Chevelle wagon so you can easily extend the frame, fill in the gap in the roof and cut a section out of the side of the donor car to lengthen the body.

If that’s not possible, tack the cut body sections together with interior bracing and re-contour the space with pieces of styrene and putty. Another thought, would be to create new panels by carving a simple wooden buck and, as you mentioned, heat-form new panels to fill in the spaces.

This sounds like a cool project, let us know how you make out. If any of our readers have a favorite way to lengthen this body, we’d love to hear your ideas!

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