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“Tech:” How to Create a Beautiful and Convincing 1950s Engine Compartment

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Bigcheese327, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387


    This post is great. I thought I would bring it back up in case anyone had other good ideas I could steal:D:D
  2. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,477


    This is almost certainly a stupid idea, but maybe there's somebody else out there with a similar warped mind:

    I'd like to graft a pair of '50s Thunderbird finned aluminum valve covers to a generic pair (or simply the mounting surface) for a 289 -- obviously with the intent of making a 289 resemble a T-Bird Y-block. I realize that the mounting surfaces are a completely different shape, as are the covers themselves, but is the Y-block cover big enough to cover the SBF rockers and stuff?
  3. I'm putting a GM batwing air cleaner in my '56 Ford (see pic - obviously still in progress but batwing sits atop junk yblock). It's an original '55 or '56 Caddy oilbath aircleaner gutted out & replaced with a dry filter, bottom is fitted to period correct Ford 4bbl carb off a 390/406. Very retro and era correct for early 60s rods, or so I'm told. I'm having the '55 Merc 292 V8 done up in period correct (to the engine) colors too. As clean and clear of chrome as possible. Hoping the engine compartment to be very close to what it would've looked like if a kid owned the car in '61 or so. .

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008

  4. Compare rocker cover gaskets.

    Most real parts houses will let you look a couple sets over and make a comparison once you tell em what you're trying to do.

    Barring that, buy a Y-Block gasket and compare it with what you have.

    You can do the same thing with header gaskets.

    That's how I found SBC headers - in particular the ones for Brodix heads, but the regular ones work - had just about the same exhaust port spread as my 455 Buick.

    Which means; a set of SBC sprint car headers with their flowing bends and one-piece primary pipe would be easily adaptable to the 455 Buick.
  5. Not exactly old school, just call it middle school.;)


    Aluminum finned rocker covers, a bunch of home-made aluminum stuff - some polished, some not - mostly paint as well as black powder on the intake and home-made aluminum air cleaners.
    I don't think there's any chrome on the engine.
    Throttle rods are stainless, but that's about it.

    Back in the good ol daze, a lot of stuff wasn't readily available and I watched my dad and his pals make what they needed.

    One of my earliest aluminum projects was in 1958.
    Needed a six carb fuel block, didn't know of any so I made my own from a block of rectangular aluminum.

    Kinda cool to have the only one of something there is.

    Still true today.:cool:
  6. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,477


    Perfect. Thanks, C9.
  7. Wildfire
    Joined: Apr 23, 2006
    Posts: 830


    I thought Larry's SBC in the 3W had a nice look to it. I don't have any pics, but there should be some on here.
  8. BTTT- C9's musings were always worth reading.
  9. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus


    I didn't own this when this thread was hot but I'll add to it to keep this thread going. There have to be more people that were not around then. I have a few aluminum valve covers for it but I like these steel ones. I just got a generator for this car. I was not satisfied with a modern alternator. I need to get out side and rebuild and detail it. It's a 66 352 but I want it to look like 1962-ish.:D
  10. 57belair
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 96

    Member Emeritus
    from Michigan

    90 per cent of this engine compartment was
    done in the late 60s early 70s, back when they
    would do inner fender panels and sheet metal.
    you could not buy much more than chrome covers
    and valve covers, so everything had to be disassembled
    plated and then made to work again.

    Attached Files:

    Roger Sundfors likes this.
  11. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,552

    from California

    Dammmm I had to get my sun glasses.
  12. Here is my contribution to the "Period Correct" 50s look. Went to GREAT pains to stay with in the 50s look, nothing on the eng or car for that matter is later than 57.

    Attached Files:

  13. slepe67
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,146


    Since this one's back from the dead...
    I've been looking all over the 'net for a good photo of a period correct Ford 260. Trying to hide my hideous carbureted 5.0 H.O in my '32. Anyone hook a brutha up?
  14. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    I hereby resurrect this thread.

    Some great info here. Anyone have anything "old" to add?
  15. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,671


    I'm in the process of backdating a '65 Mustang I6 to look like a '60 Falcon I6. I'll try to remember to post pictures when I'm finished.
  16. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    The first thing if you have an Edelbrock is to remove the dreaded RED logo it comes off by placing a screw driver behind it and pulling ,the rivits remain.
  17. 32Rules
    Joined: Mar 17, 2007
    Posts: 203


    Couldnt be more wrong

    295 hp 350 came with chrome scrpt vave covers.
    I believe the 270 hp 327 did also.
    The 67 350 was a small journel motor also with a draft tube port.
  18. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,671


  19. wutnxt
    Joined: Aug 2, 2009
    Posts: 318


    I just bought some cheapy smooth chrome valve covers for my 302 then bought some repro Y-block T-bird decals. I actually overheard a couple of dickheads looking under my '46 pickup hood say: "This here truck's got one of them thar Y-blocks in it."
  20. I'm bringing it back up again.
    With the Hamb changes in mind ....
  21. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,922


    You try to make it look like a Y-block then call people dickheads when they think it is? :rolleyes:
  22. dirtbag13
    Joined: Jun 16, 2008
    Posts: 2,540


    heres my smallblock ford , not really all that traditional but it does the job for me ,aluminum heads painted for camo, machined adapters at work to run fe valve covers , gutted an old oil bath and made it paper element , I wanna change the plug wires to black and maybe paint the pulleyd semi flat black , I have no idea why people always say that's a sweet y block other than they associate the t bird name with one !

    Attached Files:

  23. Wow...

    I remember when this came out!

    This should be on a mandatory bump each year.
  24. Canuck
    Joined: Jan 4, 2002
    Posts: 1,029


    Changing the appearance of a late model Nailhead. :cool:

    Early 50s valve covers and plug wire covers and a modified valley cover to incorporate a oil fill and hidden PCV valve and a pair of vintage Offy breathers to complete the PCV system.

    Added a modified oil bath air cleaner. Used the original Buick base to drop the cleaner down over the carb, hiding the modern Q-jet.


    Thermostat cross over changed out for a earlier one as well. Real copper fuel line to the fuel pump. Fan tips painted just because. Smooth rad hoses because I think the ribbed ones look terrible. Alternator a upgrade a rodder would have done in the 60's.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  25. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,671


    Great follow-up to this thread, Canuck! Thanks.
  26. ZachB
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 30


    Lets not forget about the cars made before 1955 with a 235 or in many cases 216s. A friend of mine is actually talking about trying to make some valve covers with no fill hole. This would be an interesting thing because I'm not sure how you would get oil in it but it gave me ideas. This would work well with a Chevy car made before 1949 but for cars made from 49-54 you have to think hard. The best ideas for that would probably be an early 60s small block. I don't know much about other makes but that's my two cents. Also on an Oldsmobile from 49-60 I would find a rocket V8 and just do a lot of work on it.
  27. ZachB
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 30


    Did not see Canucks post. Lol. That is a cool idea. Next thing we see will be 4 cylinder overhead valve covers making the engines look like flatheads.
  28. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?

    Hey, I forgot about this thread! I have a bit of an issue with my T-buckets small block Chevy. I am running an Edlebrock carb, and I am in need of running a fuel pressure regulator. What the heck was the norm back in the early sixties for such a situation? I have one of the Holley type units, and I'm kinda sure they go back that far, but what else as around then? Anybody?
  29. landseaandair
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 4,386

    from phoenix

    I'd bet the Holley regulators were more very early 70s. Any dial type regulator is pretty close to the old Filt-O-Reg version. Think I'd have more faith in the Holley though.
  30. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,671


    I hope not. The idea was to apply a period aesthetic to a later mill, not build a Potemkin village in your engine compartment.

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