Corvette Body Lift Method

I am doing a complete body-off restoration of a 1962 Corvette with fuel injection and R.P.O. 687 heavy-duty brakes, steering and suspension. One of the problems I had was to devise a way to lift the body off of the frame by myself, and in a way that no damage could occur while being lifted or held. I wanted to use a method, which would not place excessive strain on the fiberglass body. I needed to build a device, which would allow me to tilt the body forward and aft, and from side to side easily. This would allow me to remove the body or replace it with precision and the shims could be carefully placed at the body mounting points while the body was being held steadily just an inch or so above the frame. 

I am fortunate enough to have an overhead crane device with which to lift the body, but actually, since the body is not very heavy it could be lifted by a similar method, in an ordinary garage, by placing a 4 x 6 wood beam across several rafters to distribute the weight.

I decided that the best method to hold a Corvette body was the same way they held it in the factory when they built the car. I have seen pic- tures of the body being prepared to mate with the frame and I was impressed with the device, which was used. It held the body from the rocker panels, and no part of the lifting structure touched the body except the portion under the rocker panels. One of the pictures is on page 242 of The Complete Corvette Restoration and Technical Guide Volume One by Noland Adams. 

In my adaptation I used steel tubing and de- signed the structure you see in the pictures. I made a cardboard template of the shape of the rocker panel and took it to a local sheet metal shop where they formed the parts for me for about $20.1 used spray adhesive to glue the 1/4 inch thick foam rubber to these parts so the body would not be scratched. The body support hangs from three chains. There are turnbuckles in two of these chains which allow the body to be tilted in any direction. 

Full access to the underside of the body is another advantage of this method, and the body can be placed on a roll-around-type dolly, or on saw horses after the frame has been rolled away.

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