Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
I have had this picture in my mind for years now. Two tone, all the trim, tuck and roll interior. Lowered just right, no rake. Lakes pipes. Maybe change up the grill to make it mine, but don’t stray too far from stock. Wide white wall tires on the stock wheels.
The engine will have to be an inline 6. For me it is a sickness… I love those damn sixes. I have had a bunch of them over the years, Chevy, Mopar, and Ford – the Ford was only ever on a cart in the garage, though. I dig the way they sound especially when they have straight pipe exhaust… or just a glasspack.
I am well on my way to making my vision reality. Finding my 1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe was the first step.
Now I just needed to collect everything else!
When I sold my hopped up 1963 Plymouth Valiant to the guys from Bubba’s Garage in Indiana, part of the deal included a beautiful 250 Chevrolet L6 from an early 70’s pickup. With split exhaust, 2 Holley glassbowl carburators, shiny black and finned aluminum side covers; real mean looking.
I had originally planned on using this engine mated to a 2 speed Powerglide transmission in my 1929 Model A roadster pickup project. Once I decided to let the Model A go, the 250 became the perfect candidate for my ’52 Chevrolet. No Powerglide, though – I needed an overdrive.
More research. I needed to figure out the perfect rear end and transmission. Internet searches, talking to friends and a lot of reading pointed me at a late 80’s 700R4 transmission.
Early one morning I got a call from my friend Jason… Craigslist had a new posting for a 700R4 pulled out of a ’87 Camaro. I called the guy – turns out I knew him (and trusted him). I was over at Farrin’s house picking up the transmission in less than an hour. It’s good that I rushed, he was getting calls about the transmission while I was there. $250 and he had already cleaned it up and replaced all the seals! Kick ass.
Now I needed a rear end. After more searching and questions I started digging for a unit from a 4x4 S-10. The stockie in my car was 60” across from drum surface to drum surface. A 4x4 S-10 rear end is 59 inches – and they usually come with perfect gears for freeway driving. There was a posting on Craigslist for the right rear end right around the block from Jason’s in La Mesa. Mario and I rolled over there to check it out.
The guys house was kinda trashed, broken cars and trucks filled the front yard. The side yard was full of rusted out parts. Mario and I wrangled the rear end onto a dolly and I started to pull it to the front.. The only mishap involved backing into a cactus. In the side yard the guy had a couple of floor jacks – and I was going to ask if he wanted to sell one until I noticed that it was covered in dog sh!t.
Nice guy though, he told us about the articles he had written, asked if we knew anyone selling a p.o.s. Model T fiberglass body and offered his engine building services if we ever needed it. I guess he had all the tools to machine cylinders in his garage.
Once we finished loading the parts into Mario’s beater truck, Jason pulled up. We were finally able to get out of there. $75 including the driveshaft. Pretty damn good!
We rolled over to Jason’s to check out his ’51 Styleline project. He is well on his way to having a full custom, chopped car with a Desoto grill, custom taillights and a smallblock Chevy. Mario was knocked out by all the quality work on Jason’s custom.
One of the other tasks on this project will be re-wiring the car. I’m pretty sure that 1955 was the first year that GM cars and trucks had a 12 volt battery, all the vehicles before that were 6 volt. To run my late model engine, I’d need to update the wiring. Because all the original wires in the car are crunchy, I decided to swap the entire harness.
I talked to another friend while we were at the Santee Drive In seeing Inglorious Bastards to get some help – Bob is a mechanic and also does a lot of the re-wire jobs for the other guys in his club, The Lifters. Bob was willing to help me out, as long as we could do the work in my garage… ug, at least I have a good excuse to clean the damn thing. I picked up a wiring harness from Rebel Wire, including the lockup kit for my 700r4 transmission.
The ball is rolling!