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Projects 1949 Olds Rocket

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by spacecowboy81, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    Here is my project. I bought it in '09 from a guy who had it since high school which for him was the late '60s and his Dad bought it used in 1953. I have the title which his Father signed in 1953 which is pretty cool. The last registration was 1969 according to the stickers on the license plate. The seller told me he thought it had been parked and not run for 20 years but I think time flew by kind of fast and it was more like 40 years. Fortunately for me they put oil in all the cylinders when they parked it and the engine turns free. I tried to start it and got it to pop and nothing more. I checked the compression and it was only 50 some pounds in each cylinder and 0 in one. Pulled the engine, pulled the heads and did the upside down water test and the water ran through in minutes. More to come. Ideas, advice welcome, anyone working on similar cars let me know.
     
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  2. Congratulations and welcome to the HAMB! Lots of knowledge and Olds fans who will share it. Looks like you've also got a '57. Both cars are my favorite Olds. If you know of another '49 fastback please PM me.
    Thanks,
    Chuck
     
  3. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
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  4. Look for a 324 with a dual range hydro. Buy a 4 door and steal the engine, if you have to. You will love the car. All the horsepower you need and a fun trans that you can't break. Craigslist is your friend. There are a few Olds social groups on the HAMB. The search will be work, but there are a couple of very informative threads that will be helpful. Looks for posts by Don_Wow and Yorgatron.

    It is lots cheaper to put a small block Chevy in that car. But, the '49 Olds is a Certified Milestone Car because of the Rocket V8 and it deserves to remain a true Olds. Keep the Kettering Engine, please. The blocks are good steel and they have room for lots of over boring. Good luck with your 88.
     
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  5. lawman
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,665

    lawman
    Member

    Very nice project !!!
     
  6. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,127

    sololobo
    Member

    Good luck with this cool car. I had a 49 coupe and wish I had it back. The fast backs are THE coolest. ~sololobo~
     
  7. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,843

    CGkidd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Awesome project. Love the 49 bodies.
     
  8. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    Thanks for the interest and the advice. I've done some stuff to the car since I got it and I'll get some photos up in a few days. I just started really moving along with it in the last month. It kind of sat sleeping in my shop for a while..
     
  9. Stick Shift
    Joined: Oct 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,558

    Stick Shift
    Member
    from LENA IL

    Love those old Olds. Looks like you got a kool car to start with. I might keep the 303 and put an Edmunds 2X2 on it or go for the 324. :)
     
  10. NickJT
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 640

    NickJT
    Member
    from S.E. PA

    Nice Olds! The above advice sounds like the right way to go with it.

    Since '49 is the year I was born I really need a cool '49 something sometime soon.
     
  11. Sweet car. Please stay with the Olds power! If you are looking for a sweet intake, there is a Edmunds 2x2 on Ebay at the moment.
     
  12. Sent you a PM on a Olds engine.
     
  13. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    I found out this engine and transmission don't go in the same as cars built after the early '50s! Since the engine has only one mount in the front middle behind the crank pulley and the transmission has no mount near the tail shaft the tail of the transmission will just hang if the engine isn't attached and so you have to support it or at least I felt I had to! :rolleyes: And if the transmission was removed then the engine would have to be supported from below with blocks. There are also exactly 30 small bolts that seal the fluid coupling between the engine and transmission. Yeah, not as simple as a torque converter! And the seal must be carefully installed so that it doesn't leak. There are pegs between the ring gear and the fluid coupling on the trans as well as pegs between the engine and transmission casing. And of course in the center of the transmission there is a large shaft that had to slide into the back of the engine. They all only line up one way. To slide it all together I had to pull out all the tricks and have a jack under the tail of the transmission and the engine hoist on the engine and go up and down slightly with each and jiggle the engine and use a board to push and coax them together getting all the pegs to slide together one by one. Not to mention the car has to be raised as high as possible to get the transmission under and lowered to get the engine over the radiator support (because its so tall) and raised again to get under to mate the two.

    Lots of fun and it went together pretty easy considering. 3 hours on a Saturday and 3 hours on a Sunday for the engine. But the transmission took about 4 hours on a seperate day. That was tough its own fun considering I don't have a transmission jack. I used a come along thrown over the barn joists and hooked to the top of the bell housing to pull it up into place and that is about when I found out it wouldn't fit between the dog house and the cross member. So once I took the cross member out and attached it to the transmission and then raised the whole assembly into place it was all down hill from there. :D

    I had help on both ends but actually lowered the engine in myself one night. Thought I was going to just get everything ready and before I knew it I was opening the valve on the hydraulic ram to lower it with the left hand and pulling a chain with the right to guide it down. It went straight down onto the mount very nice and easy. That was the only easy part.
     

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  14. Bitchen. Keep it up.
     
  15. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    Chili Phil, I like the way you think about the history. I chose to use the original engine for a couple reasons - history like you mention, first OHV V8 in an american car, nascar winner for like 3 years, etc. Also, from what I read the 324 doesn't have a whole lot more hp without doing a serious build and what I was and still am thinking about building a 371 or 394 Olds engine for it. I stuck with the 303 for now because I was able to keep it original and I only rebuilt the heads, the cylinder walls and bearings appeared to be in great condition. Got my fingers crossed. If I have to build something I'm going to go for big horse power and keep it Olds.
     
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  16. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,799

    48fordnut
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Use a set of 52 up 1.8 ratio rockers for a big boost. Mill your heads .125 for even more. I have hotrodded several early olds in the 50s and they were great. If you mill the heads you will also have to shim up the rocker stands the same amount.
     
    olscrounger likes this.
  17. Keep your eye out for some #8 heads from a '56 324. It's a bolt on 50 hp. Most likely they'll come with a 4 bbl manifold. Look at the center exhaust ports on your 303 and you'll see what I mean. I have some rebuild specs from the late, and dearly missed, Don_Wow. I'll find them and pass them along.

    Post more pics of the car.
     
  18. propwash
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,858

    propwash
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    bought a dead-stock 49 2dr fastback in HS for $125 from a good friend who just used it for transportation. Kind of a poopy beige, but it ran very well. All I did was install dual exhaust, lower it a little bit, take off the hubcaps and paint the wheels shiny black. I was a nice car and I always loved that body style.
     
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  19. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,979

    Paul
    Editor

  20. bigdaddylove
    Joined: Jun 6, 2012
    Posts: 129

    bigdaddylove
    Member

    That is so cool!
     
  21. ZZ-IRON
    Joined: Feb 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,964

    ZZ-IRON
    Member
    from Minnesota

    looks like a nice Olds pretty complete keep up the good work
     
  22. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,506

    belair
    Member

    great car, love the engines, miss my 55. Phil, I think the 56 heads were #10? I have a newly machined 324 short block if someone is interested.
     
  23. Belair, you're correct, #10.
     
  24. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,095

    Marty Strode
    Member

    You will have fun with that Olds! This is a shot of the 49 I had in 1965, It was a 76 Model, I installed a 54-324 and Hydro, ran "cheater slicks", it was quick off the line.
     

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  25. fxcomet
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 75

    fxcomet
    Member

    Love it. One of my bucket list cars for sure.
     
  26. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,843

    CGkidd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Any updates for this?
     
  27. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    CGKidd - good timing, I just came back on here after being away for a while. Its cold out and that gives me the itch to be out in the shop with a heater on. It feels like a lot more than a year since I touched this car but I got the engine nearly assembled now in the last 2 couple weeks. If it stays cold through January I hope to have it running and driving :D. Once that heat sets in its patio bars and the lake! May be I'll be able to take this. The next hurdles are going to be to find out if the transmission is okay assuming the engine fires and runs well. Then I'm going to have to build my own wiring harness or shell out $700 for a replacement, because mine is ate up by mice. As long as that goes smooth I'm on my way.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
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  28. spacecowboy81
    Joined: Dec 9, 2012
    Posts: 67

    spacecowboy81
    Member

    I'll get a couple pictures of the rocket engine re-assembled in the week. I'm doing it all original as long as that engine is solid which I think it is - I had the heads rebuilt and I've resealed most of it but I didn't touch the internals other than to inspect. I found the original red color that was on the wheels from the factory because I didn't want the common rustoleum red. Its available online after a lot of searching.
     
  29. 79mbu
    Joined: May 3, 2011
    Posts: 39

    79mbu
    Member
    from australia

    Back in the days of the 'little pages' hotrod & custom car magazines, some notable custom car builder created a sectioned Olds of this vintage. Anyone got any pictures of it? It was absolutely beautiful and might be the inspiration for a lot of Olds owners out there?
     
  30. terryble
    Joined: Sep 25, 2008
    Posts: 541

    terryble
    Member
    from canada

    Love those Oldsmobiles from that era, makes me want to work on my delivery.
     

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