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BF AUCTION: 1956 Chevrolet 210 Handyman Wagon

Asking: $999Make Offer

AUCTION ENDING SOON! – Reader Charles E has found himself in the situation of having too many projects and not enough time to work on them all. Which just so happens to be the opposite situation that many of us currently find ourselves in. Getting out to the garage, carport or barn to work on a project car is a great way to social distance, maintain some sense of sanity, and to build something you can be proud of. Charles has decided to move this 1956 Chevy 210 Handyman rat rod project on, and while it’s a big project, it would sure be a cool machine when finished. So, if you’d like to beat the boredom with a new project, be sure to bid on this Tri-Five!

This wagon had been sitting in his neighbor’s yard for a number of years and he really liked the look it had and the idea of driving it. The neighbor was the one that attempted to chop the top, unfortunately they didn’t do a great job at the task, which is likely why it was parked in their yard. Charles finally decided to make them an offer for it and he ended up buying it. Once he got it home, he decided to focus on getting it running and driving first, then he was going to tackle the rust and roof. He bought lots of parts for it and started rebuilding the suspension, but other projects got in the way and then he lost steam on it.

The list of new parts includes new 2.5” drop suspension with new control arms, shocks, front and rear sway bars, disc brake conversion kit including hubs, drop spindles, rotors, calipers, brake lines, and dual cylinder master cylinder. He also found a new steering box and had a few original parts, such as the radiator support, bumper fill in piece, and the inside of fenders media blasted and epoxy primed. He installed the new front suspension components prior to getting sidetracked and it rolls for easy loading onto a trailer.

As you can see, this is a pretty rough chop job. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed, but there will be lots of time spent grinding and welding. I won’t pretend to be an expert on metalworking or the art of chopping a roof, but from my limited experience, this doesn’t look like an impossible job to finish. To me, the real task will be getting glass for it, as it was all missing when Charles got the car. The side windows shouldn’t be that difficult, but the windshield will definitely be a big task. Does anyone here have experience getting custom glass for something like this?

Besides fixing the chop job, you’ll also need to fix some rust issues. Now, if you go the rat rod route, which is what Charles was planning on doing, you could get away with just treating the exterior rust. Whichever route you go, you’ll definitely want to repair the floors. We’ve seen lots of rat rods with license plate floors, but I’d want to weld in new floors to make sure it’s solid.

Charles realizes the challenges of finishing this car, but he really does hope it will go to someone ambitious enough to complete it. At the very least, he hopes it can be a good parts donor, rather than him parting it out and scrapping what’s left. He has over $4,500 just in parts, his reserve is a fraction of that, so it would be worth buying just for the parts and original trim. At the end of the day, I hope it finds a good home with an owner that can finish it, it sure would be a cool machine! Please leave any questions you have for Charles in the comments below or email us at to arrange to view the car in person. And be sure to take a close look at this project and bid!

  • Location: Kansas City, Missouri
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $500 (Reserve Not Met)
Make An Offer
Ended: Apr 14, 2020 4:00pm MDT
Top Bidder: w8n4fri
Buyer Premium: 5%
    w8n4fri bid $500.00Apr 14, 2020 5:24pm
    MCLEQUIP bid $200.00Apr 9, 2020 3:41pm
  • bid $100.00Apr 9, 2020 9:08am


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Ever heard of the Night Welder? Looks like he still lives and worked on this car. Besides 2″ too much chop good luck finding a windshield. Build around a cut down stock piece of glass and then head south. This one’s in the dollar three ninety eight price range on a good day… which this one hasn’t seen in quite a while.

    Like 9
  2. Sam61

    What’s the difference between a bad chop and a bad haircut….your hair will grow back. I know, argh, bad joke.

    Like 18
    • jerry z

      But so true!

      Too bad the car is chopped, would have been fun car to redo. Then again maybe not!

      Like 3
  3. Glenn Schwass Member

    A body guy can finish it but I thought the same thing about the windshield. Saw one where he cut out the cowel and made a trough for the bottom of the windshield. You couldn’t tell.

    Like 4
    • RNR

      The side glass, being compound curved as well, will be every bit of an expensive challenge as the windshield. My advice: fill the side windows to turn it into a panel delivery (equally cool), and concentrate on getting the windshield right.

      Like 5
  4. Claudio

    Wow a 2 door wagon !
    Too bad there is no windshield cause where i live , i have never heard or seen anyone that can do it !
    And if , it would certainly be way too much $ to make any sense

    Like 3
  5. Paolo

    The moment when you realize you went too far. Junk.

    Like 8
  6. local_sheriff

    One of those ‘just because you own an angle grinder doesn’t mean you have to cut everything’ projects. OK; I’m able to weld two pieces together but I can’t excactly brag about being a good welder or fabricator and this fella doesn’t seem to be much better than me. Maybe then try a little less comprehensive job before considering a roof chop…?

    At 6ft5 I’d have to sit on the floor to drive it. Waste of a wagon. At this stage I’d say best use of these remnants would be to install a regular windshield and finish it as a permanent drop top ’56 Elky beater…

    Like 5
  7. Howard A Member

    I suppose I’d rather see this than that foolish shorty stuff. Certainly, a chop isn’t on everyones list, and a 2 door wagon is pretty rare. No offense to the seller, but I don’t see anyone taking this on in this day and age.

    Like 14
  8. mainlymuscle

    Good cheap start to a Nomad Restomod conversion.Yes,thats a thing,as Nomads still command big bucks.

    Like 1
  9. John S.

    Just a little off the top please… ohhh… never mind… call the scrap man.

    Like 6
  10. oldcarfamily

    I actually own one of these I plan to build when I finish my 57 Chevy. My first thought was this might make a good parts car but after looking at photos, not so sure. I don’t see $4500 of new parts here, only some new brakes and A-arms. If the reserve is even half that amount, it’s still too much as too much damage has been done to this car. I feel sorry that they owner has money tied up in this and wish him well in trying to recoup some. One of these with a similar chop job was for sale locally some time back, never sold. I thought this might be it until I looked at the location.

    Like 3

    “pretty rough” is an understatement. A blind man could have welded better.

    Like 3
  12. ceisenmann ceisenmann

    Parts that were purchased: Upper/lower control arms, dropped spindles, rotors, calipers, obviously wheel bearings, rear disc rotors, calipers, all new brake lines, master cylinder, drop springs for the rear, front and rear sway arms, steering box. No, it’s not cleaned up which is why it’s on here and not ebay. The reserve is set much, much lower than the money ive already spent. I paid 1300 for the car and the reserve is even below that. Clean title in my name.

    Like 5
  13. Duaney Member

    All I can see is a parts car

    Like 4
  14. vintagehotrods

    It would not be worth the work it would take to save it. I agree with the earlier comment that it would be a good donor for a ’56 El Camino project as long as you could find a used cowl and doors to unchop it. I own a ’56 Handyman two door wagon and they are a beautiful car without hacking them up.

    Like 1
  15. Steve RM

    Even looking past the rust and goober welds that chop is just too much. The proportions are never going to look right.

    Like 3
  16. Marty Wilke Member

    Please stop the hate on this car. It’s a special case. Un-chopping the top is not impossible. There are tens of thousands of rough farmyard tri-five cars that the windshield posts and door posts could be cut from and used toward making this right again.

    By the way, just to digress for just a minute, for those who would be so inclined, there are YouTube videos about how to cut windshields. I ain’t sayin’ it’s easy, I’m sayin’ it’s possible. It probably won’t see Pebble Beach anytime soon, but stop calling it junk. There is still plenty of possibility here for the guy with the right ideas about how to handle it, and it doesn’t sound like the price isn’t too far out of line.

    Like 5
    • Claudio

      I agree with you Marty
      This is a 2 door wagon
      Someone with patience , passion , timeband a welder can bring this rare longroof back in service

      Like 1
      • vintagehotrods

        No, it really is junk, that is why the highest bid so far is $200 and that’s the price of scrap iron. Of course nothing is impossible, but if you’ve never attempted a project as rough as this one, you’ll soon realize that the number of man hours to put this junker back together will make it a very expensive and intensive one unless you work for pennies an hour. You are a rare breed if your time is worth nothing and want to spend a lot of money and hours of your life on a car that won’t be worth your investment, go for it. Tri-Fives are expensive cars to restore, all the trim pieces, rubber parts and hardware add up fast. Start adding up the prices in a Danchuk catalog and you’ll see what I’m saying. It cost me $30 just for the four little rubber parts for the side window divider strips when I put all new glass, rubber and weatherstripping in mine, which ran about $2000. There’s no way I’d want to start cutting up an expensive set of glass for this wreck. There are plenty of cars rarer than this one that deserve your time and effort. Since I own a 1956 Handyman wagon, I always watch what comes up for sale, from projects to finished cars, and they aren’t all that rare. I did a quick search and found plenty of them from $2500 to $60,000. Nice projects with nice bodies are out there, like this one that could be driving in weeks and its been for sale for $12,500 for months.

        Or this one that’s already set up for LS power and has the body work done.

        Wouldn’t you really rather start with a good car rather than this one, that would probably still be a pieced together mess?

        Like 5
    • Well said, sir. I was thinking this might be a way to make quirky, but fun convertible pickup. I don’t have the skills for it myself, but I think it would be a blast to drive around in.

  17. ceisenmann ceisenmann

    The parts alone are worth 5x what my reserve is set at. Although I can appreciate your honest valuation of my wagon, this as even a parts car would give someone a great head start on restoring a vehicle that is more worthy of restoration, (in your words).You said yourself that the parts are expensive for these and I have a ton of brand new parts.
    If you don’t like the deal, don’t bid, but constantly saying what a piece of junk it is isn’t taking the whole picture into consideration.

    Like 6
    • Claudio

      Ceisenman, i agree with you
      I guess the timing for your posting is just off,
      Too many depressed computer mechanics letting off steam…and you are getting the agressivity…
      Yes , some other cars may be better but for a gear head with talent, time and no spare change , your car is good , hope all is well for you and your loved ones

      Like 3
      • ceisenmann ceisenmann

        Thank you, Claudio.
        I am lucky to be able to still work at this time as is my wife. I can appreciate honest comments and have a thick skin, but constant negative comments detracts from the value of this project and might shy away would-be buyers. I got in over my head with this pre-chopped car, but I have too many projects and lack of space for this.
        Timing is everything and it just so happens that my need for space falls during this pandemic. I really do think this car in the right hands would be an amazing project.
        I’ve seen the guys at Ring Brothers do some things that make this chop fix look like a walk in the park. Maybe the people posting negative comments just don’t have the experience. Not for me to say.
        Stay safe out there, Claudio.

        Like 6
  18. Marty Wilke Member

    I consider myself to be fortunate enough to see both sides of this argument. And yes, I have had the experience restoring a car that was more or less as rough as this one (not a tri-five). It’s do-able. I’ve done it, and plenty of others have too. So many of the incredible looking 1930s street rods we see out there have been built from cars that weren’t any nicer than this one to start with.

    That said, I know it isn’t for everyone and realize many people would never consider starting with a car this rough. Fair enough, but that doesn’t make it junk. Our old car hobby is rich with asymmetrical opportunities like this – you never know what kinds of cars or parts somebody already has laying around that will work just fine with this project, or what their time frame is. Depending on those things and what the plan would be, there may not be too much need to wear out the Danchuk catalog to make this car happen. I’ve seen other people buy really nice cars to start with, and then wear out the credit card and Danchuk catalog anyway! (Those buyers are great people to get take-off parts from…)

    It’s not for me either, but calling it junk kind of misses the mark.

    Like 4
  19. vintagehotrods

    Sorry if I offended you, but sometimes the truth hurts. Your best bet is to part this car out and you may even make more than you paid for it, but even that will be tough with the present crisis. Or hold on to it until you can find a better body in any style to put on your chassis and use those parts. You even said “I got in over my head with this pre-chopped car” and that is a true statement and an acceptance of the reality with this car. Most of your your prospective buyers feel the same way. It is just too expensive in time and money to try and save it and it will never be worth what it will take to fix it. As someone who has made mistakes like this in the past 25 years, I’m trying to pass this hard earned experience on to others and I didn’t mean to sound harsh. I know what you saw when you bought it – the finished product. We, as car guys all have that same affliction of seeing what we want a project to be like in the end, but the cold hard reality doesn’t set in until we tackle it and see what it is going to take to finish it. I’ve bailed on projects and lost money once I took a good hard look at what I had gotten myself into. Been there, done that so you’re not the Lone Ranger! The market for projects is changing along with the old car hobby, even before this pandemic, the market was getting very soft for projects because the great majority of us are getting older and have come to the realization that we will never be able to finish them all. Like yourself, a lot of us have decided to sell our tougher projects because we have finally realized that. That’s why you are seeing a lot of unfinished projects coming out of the woodwork. Save your time, money and energy for the ones you have a good chance of completing. Good Luck!

    Like 2
    • ceisenmann ceisenmann

      I could’ve parted it easily, but instead of send it to the scrap yard after parting it, I want someone to do it justice and rat rod it or restore it. I see so many cars just thrown away. If it doesn’t sell here, that’s probably the route I’ll take and will be upset doing so. I’d rather lose money and give it to someone that will take care of her than recoup most of my investment by tearing it apart, you know? If it doesn’t sell I may just cut a few inches of one whole side and hang it on my garage. I love the car and want to see her go to a good home is all..

      Like 3
      • local_sheriff

        That’s a great attitude ceisenmann! 👍 Too many vehicles have been scrapped because they’re found not ‘worth’ the effort. People are thinking too much $ in this hobby now, however in this price range there really shouldn’t be much to loose to give this ’56 at least a try.
        Definately not a project for everyone, but we should all realize there will not be more TriFives as years pass by

        Like 3
  20. vintagehotrods

    Its going to be tough to sell anything for quite awhile, so keep it and watch for another one that has the bottom rusted off it or the front end smashed and you’ll have what you need to save it. Also putting a complete unchopped top back on it will make it an easier project and a much more valuable car in the end, plus you won’t you won’t have to cut any of the glass and chop all the garnish moldings. In my opinion Tri-Five Chevy’s just don’t take a chop and look right anyway, and it kills their value anyway.

    Like 3
  21. Tom Bell

    Another “designer” thought he could create a car better than the builder and another bit of automotive history history bites the dust. Cutting torch practice material.

  22. Alan Brase

    One of those links provided by “Vintagehotrods” The seller mentioned “Easy 6 figure car when complete.” Really? That’s like more than $99,999, right? Have a lot of tri-5 chevy wagons sold for more than that? To WHOM?
    I guess major auction results are public, but private sales ads are are just asking prices and I think only a few people with funny money are really buying cars that cost more than our forever homes a few years back.

    • vintagehotrods

      I think he must have been counting the pennies too! I doubt if it would be worth half that, especially in today’s market. Even those two projects have been on the market for 4 to 5 months so its a buyers market long before the present crisis.

  23. vintagehotrods

    One thing about keeping it chopped that I failed to mention is that the roof will have to be lengthened several inches in order for the rear lift glass to line up and be at the same angle as stock to work correctly. Chopping a Tri-Five is a labor intensive project where you’ll spend many hours welding it back together again. That’s another reason why I would suggest putting it back to stock height.

    Like 3
  24. Alan Brase

    I have to say, I like it. I’d probably just unchop it. Perhaps some of the posts are still there. The A and B pillar posts are like any 4 door sedan and you will be the only person this month in the USA wanting to buy them , so the price should be reflecting demand.
    Rear posts are gonna be harder.
    6 post and 4 door frames to fix.
    The rest of the car is pretty decent.
    Look at it as a learning experience. Every thing you do, makes your skill grow.

    Like 4
    • Alan Brase

      I do also like the idea of making a 1956 El Camino. That what they were, you know, 2 door wagons with a few different panels.
      I’d still unchop it if it were mine.
      I had a 56 Chevy BelAir 4 door wagon back about the time I was 22 years old. Brown and white, 265 2bbl. Automatic.
      Fond memories of that car.

      Like 1
  25. ceisenmann Charles E Eisenmann

    Thanks, Alan. I think i’m going to give it another go on ebay. I’d really hate to scrap it..

    Like 1

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