Ouch, sounds like someone was doing some speed shifting. Unless you are really lucky, this won't be a quick fix.
A picture would be nice.
It is not difficult if you are mechanically inclined, take your time, and have someone and/or a manual to refer to.
If memory serves me correctly, pieces from 55, 56, or 57 columns are interchangeable.
Killeen used to have a thriving hotrod community. It's time to make friends with those local hotrodders as they may have your pieces laying out in the junk pile and willing to give you a hand. Most oldtimers want to encourage and teach the next generation of hotrodders.
Now, it would take a long article (or short book) to go through the steps to R&R and refurbish a column. And, it has been quite a while since I've had one apart. I would have to have a car in front of me and walk through the steps before I would write a how-to. So, find an old Motors Manual with the 55-57 Chevys in it. (Preferably a 1957 manual) It will have details of the steering column and possibly R&R instructions.
Disclaimer: Always follow all safety procedures when working on your car. Block the wheels so it won't roll and use jackstands when working under the vehicle.
It is sometimes possible to get the trans in neutral by moving the shift levers on the end of the steering column under the hood. If that doesn't work you will have to get underneath and manually move the shift levers to find neutral.
There is a drive pin that holds the handle in the column. You can drive that out and simply pull the handle out of the column. Looking into the hole, you should be able to see a couple of blocks with slots. This is where the end of the handle fits. When the two slots are lined up in the middle, your trans should be in neutral.
If you get the slots lined up and you are in neutral, (heave a big sigh of relief) you can insert the new handle, replace the pin, and go merrily down the road.
The most common problem is the column cover is cracked, usually at the drive pin boss. You will have to replace it. It is made of pot metal and doesn't take to welding.
You will have to disassemble the column so, I would look for a complete steering column and refurbish it. The car is over 50 years old so there is wear and tear. Plus, if it has been banged around hard enough to cause the boss to split, other damage may/probably will be present.
This will get you started. More to come
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