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Projects 1956 Pontiac Wagon Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 56PonchoWagon, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. Well I guess since everyone has one, this will be mine. I bought this beauty about a year ago. Fairly unmolested, mostly rust free and cheap! Unlike most wagon hunters I wanted a 4 door not a 2 door because I plan on driving it everyday and hauling the wife and kids to creation and back because that's what wagons do best! 56poncho001.jpg 56poncho002.jpg 56poncho003.jpg 56poncho004.jpg 56poncho005.jpg 56poncho006.jpg 56poncho007.jpg 56poncho008.jpg 56poncho009.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  2. After stripping out all the interior and inspecting the whole car the only rust issues were the floor pans (which I already knew) and a spot on the rear driver door. Body work commenced! 56poncho0013.jpg 56poncho0012.jpg 56poncho0011.jpg
  3. After I sprayed a nice thick coat of primer/surfacer it was time to remove the boat anchor and prep the firewall. 56poncho0014.jpg 56poncho0015.jpg 56poncho0016.jpg 56poncho0017.jpg 56poncho0018.jpg
  4. With that old 316 out of the way I started the hand sanding 56poncho0030.jpg 56poncho0031.jpg 56poncho0032.jpg

  5. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,464


    Looking good...but please tell me where 'creation' is...I might want to visit there...!!!

    PS, your kid's tuff, pulled that all by himself, eh...???

  6. Now the question of the hour, save the 316 and dual range hydro or scrap them for a better combo 56poncho0019.jpg 56poncho0020.jpg

    Its kind of hard to tell in these photos but the baked on sludge was about a quarter inch thick. Looked to me like she was driven to death.
    56poncho0021.jpg 56poncho0024.jpg 56poncho0025.jpg

    The previous owners had most likely run pure water for years and the bottom of the water jacket was an inch deep in rust scale. Time for a new engine!
  7. No way man, I was there... beer in hand telling him he was doing it all wrong! :)
    hans mercman likes this.
  8. After about 2 or 3 months of looking I found a worn out 400 out of a 74 Firebird. After a trip to the local machine shop (and enough money to start wondering if I should open my own machine shop) I got it back for final assembly 20140509_132515.jpg 20140512_142427.jpg 20140512_142439.jpg 20140513_105003.jpg 20140513_105019.jpg 20140519_103250.jpg 20140519_103304.jpg
  9. awww geez... don't stop there, things were just gettin' good! I like the Pontiac motor choice for a Pontiac. More pics/story, por favor...
    OahuEli likes this.
  10. KLGreen
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 17

    from Kansas

    Nice! I love Pontiac wagons. I'm interested in seeing you how you mount that 400. Been thinking about doing the same with my '55
  11. big57daddy
    Joined: Jun 25, 2013
    Posts: 80


    I agree - great story, and I too am glad you opted for a Pontiac in a Pontiac.
    I 'm sure your kid already has figured out how to get the 400 mounted in the existing frame.

    cheers, Ray
    OahuEli likes this.
  12. Well that has been the most current hold up for me as well but I think I got it all figured out. I took some quarter inch flat stock and made some plates to bolt up to the engine and sandwich the frame rails, then I went online and found some high misalignment threaded rod ends(left and right hand thread) and made some tabs. I plan on mocking up the engine exactly where I want it and then its as simple as welding the tabs to the plates and using inside thread radius rod to connect the rod ends on the engine and frame. Bam! Fully adjustable motor mounts! At least in theory. 20140808_163831.jpg 20140808_163941.jpg 20140808_164029.jpg
  13. Anything but a Pontiac in a Pontiac is sacrilege.. and he let me come up with it on my own.... such a good boy!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
    OahuEli and loudbang like this.
  14. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 38,666


    Looks like you started with a good one. Nice work keep it up.
  15. BSL409
    Joined: Aug 28, 2011
    Posts: 595


    Very Cool Looks great
  16. KLGreen
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 17

    from Kansas

    I like it, I can't wait to see it in the car. Are you keeping the Hydra-Matic?
  17. henry's57bbwagon
    Joined: Sep 12, 2008
    Posts: 677


    Great family wagon. VERY glad you are keeping it all PONTIAC. subscribed.
  18. Great build, keep the updates coming.
  19. No, as far as I can tell the two aren't compatible. I picked up a new TH400 to compliment the 400 and my power goals. I am still trying to figure out how to keep the column shifter but worst case scenario I will just pick up a floor shifter from Lokar.
  20. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,095

    from Hawaii

    I just found this thread and really like the direction its going. Those mid-50s Poncho's are pretty cool!
    Many moons ago I had a chance to buy a '55 of '56 Safari but passed because I was told there were no parts available for it. Still regret that day. Subscribed.
  21. I love those Safaris, I will get one when the kids are all gone and its just me and the wife!
  22. Ok so I finished up the front motor mounts so now I just need to finish the trans mount and its off to paint. Here I am just mocking up where they go 20140901_111129.jpg 20140901_111150.jpg
  23. I had raise the engine up a little so that the ram air exhaust manifold on the drivers side would clear the steering gear box. This caused a little clearance issue with the trans hitting the tunnel, nothing a cut off wheel cant solve though. In hind sight thought it was just the pinch flange that I needed to get rid of. 20140901_111101.jpg 20140901_112922.jpg
  24. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188


    Nice work, i've had my engines mounted in a few ways, built side mounts to frame and also both styles of the Hurst mount. Now using the later style Hurst that uses the side mount holes and extends to the front with biscuit type mounts. Keep in mind the angle of the engine to rear pinion so they match and not have vibration issues.
    Lokar makes a column mount cable shifter kit, may want to look into that. Not much room for a floor shifter in front of the seat, almost hardly room between dash when in park.

    That flange at the firewall I bent flat on mine.
  25. After I got the engine to sit where I wanted it I welded up the passenger side engine plate and then used some tie rod tubes to position the bottom tabs and weld them up 20140901_155313.jpg 20140901_155333.jpg
  26. Thanks for the advise, I had to shift the engine around a bit but I was able to keep the 5 degree tilt back and the trans tail shaft looks to be about the same. Like I mentioned earlier I am running a TH400 so its not in the same "exact " spot.
  27. The bottom mounts are welded in and now I just have to spend some quality time with the grinder to clean them up.
    20140906_184249.jpg 20140906_184319.jpg 20140906_184413.jpg 20140906_184548.jpg 20140906_184359.jpg
  28. 20140907_112104.jpg I ordered some swedged radius rod tubes, to replace my temporary tie rod tubes. Next thing its to pop the engine and trans back in the car and finish up my trans mount
  29. Interesting build. The solid mounted engine may transfer engine vibration to the car...I don't know as I've never done it.
    My last 55-57 Pontiac [have had 11 of them through the years] was a 55, 4 door wagon. When I got it someone had already installed a later 301 Pontiac with a 350 turbo. The new motor/trans were so light compared to the original 316/hydro that I ended up trimming off 3 complete loops of each front coil springs to get it as low as i wanted it.
    Great cars! Have you picked your colors yet? The dark green on mine was an AMC color and I forget what the mint green was. 55WAGON.jpg
  30. I love that wagon! Your right the solid mounts will transfer all the motion to the frame but that's what I like. I love rocking the whole car with my right foot :) Just a big kid I guess. Do you have any pics of the 301 in the car? That is very unique! I have picked out a lime green for the body and a pearl white for the roof.

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