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Hot Rods 32 cabriolet that was in same Spokane family 75 years now DRIVING with 425 GS Buick engine!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hamtown Al, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    Just got word that the seller put a new fuel pump on the running GS clone and fixed and bled the brakes.;):) He said the test drive around parking lot brought back memories... he hadn't driven a car that big in a while!:eek::D
    The shipper is picking both cars up this evening and they should be in Smithfield, VA tomorrow.
    I've already got tags for the one that runs... the low powered 401... with 2 4s!:D
     
  2. I sure like your car the way it is. Changing to that Buick engine would be, in my opinion, a giant step backwards. You would spend a lot of time and money only to end up with a car that you wouldn't enjoy as much as the way it is now.

    Charlie Stephens
     
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  3. you got to much stuff already, ill just head down there and get that dog 401 Buick from ya. I could use a another Riviera anyway....:)
     
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  4. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    Loaded 20181101.JPG They were loaded tonight.

    Charlie, I hear ya about keeping the banger... and I might but I came across the opportunity to get at least one engine that I've been thinking of using and I'm getting all of the somewhat magic pieces as well.
    Rivieras are growing in popularity so I should be able to sell them if I decide not to change the engine in the 32.
    This buys me time to: 1. Find out if the relatively rare true GS engine is good 2. Further research what options are as far as installing the also rare switch pitch turbo 400 trans which I hope at least one car had in it 3. Research what parts can be found or purchased new to change it to either retain and use the 5 speed that is in it which I now think is from a Ford; or 4. Go to another 4 or 5 speed... or go nuts and get a 6 speed!:eek::D
    These cars give me time and a chance to revisit a cool old running classic. I've already got guys snooping around and asking about "helping" me with my Riviera "burden.":D
    I'm finding a quickly growing group of friends like Jason and Don and other locals that like the Buicks.
    These cars are just a good excuse to meet and have fun with other car guys.:)
    That is the best part of the sport to me.
    To compound the issue, one guy from out of the blue wants to buy the 32 cabriolet as it sits!:eek:
    I wasn't sure what my long term goal was with the car but it has certainly grown on me to the point that I won't price it because it could be gone!:eek: I lost a 40 pickup before I was really ready to let it go one time like that so I'm trying to avoid having that happen again.
    Since the cars are coming from MA, I thought of a modified broadcast long ago from horseback up that way...
    "The Rivies are coming!
    The Rivies are coming!"
    :D:D:D
    Updates to follow... I hope!
    Don't worry too much, Charlie. At least not yet.;)
    Charlie, you will be pleased to know that before this I did pursue several boat leads that had Mercruisers and went to see two of them. But my old 32 gasser keeps coming back to mind and the sheer fun it was to drive with the wicked Buick 401 and 4 speed.:)
    CoupeDayGerryCrop.jpg
    The tires had just quit smoking in this shot. Note the trunk lid of a Sheriff's car barely visible on the far right!:eek::D
     
  5. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    BillStanleyfromHAMB20130906.jpg RodsIllusOct59p15.JPG
    RodsIllusOct59a.JPG
    Here it is doing the same thing with an earlier owner as printed in 1959.
    My shot was taken in front of the house of the same guy that was driving the car in 1959.
    Yep, I took the car back to show him and 5 other previous owners... that reunion was priceless!
    I offered but he wouldn't drive it. I said he could drive it any way he wanted, period. Just motor around or really nail it!
    I'm quite confident that part of a GA road had seen the coupe doing that many times!
     
  6. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    Well, the cars were not delivered Friday but they were delivered Saturday about 9:30 AM.
    Mixed emotions at first as the Gran Sport was in much worse shape than I thought and was missing the passenger seat and had old Cragar wheels instead of the Buick wheels I was expecting. The clone looked really forlorn with all the paint and trim removed but not real rusty. Overall the clone body and interior looked pretty good and the electric windows worked. It also seemed to run quite well and it sat idling for some time while the shipper was jockeying the cars around and getting them into my building. The brakes on the clone, which the seller had just tried to fix on Thursday, were failing once again which was a bit of a bummer because couldn't drive it.
    IMG_5160.JPG This is the clone engine. Code LT which is standard 401.
    IMG_3872.JPG
    Here it is with the air cleaner removed. I discovered that it already had a Pertronix unit in the distributor and a matching coil. That was an unexpected blessing and had to help with the car running so well.
    IMG_3875.JPG This is the engine in the Gran Sport. Engine code LX for 425 cu. in. with two 4s; 360 HP.
    IMG_3876.JPG Another angle. Note the coil behind the back carburetor... that was one heck of an "opportunity" to remove!!
    After removing the plugs Saturday and loading the engine up with some Marvel Mystery Oil. I went to get new plugs and an universal ignition switch as this car did not have a key. I also got some more MMO and other stuff to hook up the battery I borrowed from my trailer and included a master cut-off switch.
    IMG_3898.JPG Using the original ignition switch as a guide, I made up a harness to hook the new universal switch to the original wiring plug that went on the original ignition switch. That seemed to work well except the starter solenoid wouldn't engage so I rigged up a bypass after spending some time under the car turning the car over one full revolution by hand after adding a lot more MMO to the cylinders and the carburetors. Then I used the starter engagement bypass to spin the car over... Marvel Mystery Oil everywhere!:eek::D
    Tracked fire to the coil but got none out so replaced points, etc. with new unit from Pertronix along with matching coil. That distributor had not moved for a very long time and took a while to persuade to rotate at all and them come out for the upgrade. Removing the old coil was a pain but I eventually got it off the engine... and it ain't going back in that location!:D:D
    Hope to finish the ignition upgrade tomorrow after an eye doctor appointment in the morning.
    I'm hoping the 425 is going to be useable in the 32... it is looking promising so far. I'm anxious to hear it run; now that it seemed to turn over without any complications.:)
    I'm going to need some help determining what year Buicks had the factory headers that were on my gasser... seems pretty obvious to me that the cool Gran Sport 425 inch only factory 2 and a quarter inch output headers are not going to work.:(
    I want to use stock headers of some kind if I can... another "opportunity!":D
    Thanks for your interest,
    Tired Al
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  7. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    DSC_0908.JPG
    DSC_0911.JPG Does anybody have any idea of what these exhaust manifolds came off of? Better yet; anybody got any they would be willing to part with? I think these are my best hope for using stock exhaust manifolds in my cabriolet. I'm in touch with Mike Thompson, who put the Buick in the gasser, but we're still playing phone tag!
    I'm hopeful we'll figure out what we need and manage to get them.
    I did get the 425 Gran Sport engine to finally fire a few times yesterday afternoon but ran out of time.
    I can say that it is quite impressive when an engine backfires out of TWO 4 barrel carburetors!:eek::D
    Thanks for the continued interest.
    Al
     
  8. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    IMG_3912.JPG I'm pleased to report that I started the 425 cu in original 1965 Riviera Gran Sport engine for the first time today.:)
    Of course, there were a few issues to overcome beforehand. The dang oil filter would not come off!:mad: I bought a special tool that allowed me to use an extendable ratchet wrench to finally get it to let go.;) After changing the oil and installing a new oil filter and also cleaning the new spark plugs to remove any Marvel Mystery Oil residue; I managed to get it to start and run but only briefly. The carburetors didn't much want to cooperate after the starter fluid brought it to life. The engine sounded OK for the brief time it ran. I hope to take the carburetors to a local carburetor guru tomorrow.;)

    I just realized I didn't update this thread with the news that I believe the exhaust manifold on my gasser came off the driver's side of a 1962 Buick Invicta. The Electra and LaSabre might have also had the same manifold.

    Here's a close up of the gasser manifold:
    DSC_0908 (2).JPG
    Here is the engine in the 1962 Buick Invicta; followed by a close up of the manifold.
    ref 401 1962 Buick Invicta    same as on gasser maybe based on seeming thickness third bolt.jpg
    ref 401 1962 Buick Invicta    same as on gasser maybe based on third bolt (2).jpg
    Looks like it to me. I've appealed for help on the School Me on Buicks thread but nobody has verified my thinking that this is a match for the manifold on the gasser.
    The key identifying feature of the gasser manifold is the top bolt under the 3rd spark plug back. That bolt goes through the whole thickness of the manifold and not just a flange like used for all the other bolts.
    The Invicta manifold seems to have this same design.
    Thanks for your continued interest,
    Al
    PS Anybody got an 1962 Invicta, etc. setting around to check?
     
  9. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    Took the carburetors to be completely refurbished. Two to three weeks.
    Now to focus on getting the engine prepped for getting the carbs back and finding at least the needed exhaust manifold for the driver's side!!
    Thanks to all that are looking for it.
    Al
     
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  10. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    ref 1962 Buick invicta seems it dumps to rear.jpg
    Dang! Apparently a 1962 Invicta driver side manifold dumps to the rear!:eek:
    I thought this was the manifold used on my gasser but it is not.:(
    Here's the passenger side manifold but not clear where it dumps... could it be used on driver's side?
    ref 1962 Buick invicta  pass side not clear where it dumps.jpg
    Could this be the manifold on the driver's side on the gasser?
    We need to find a 1962 Buick Invicta to find out.
    Keep looking!
    Thanks,
    Al
     
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  11. What side is the starter on, on a Buick? If the passenger side, there's a good chance the manifold dumps in the middle, to drop the exhaust ahead, and under, the starter...
     
  12. Hamtown Al
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    Starter is on driver's side.
     
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  13. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    ref 1962 Buick invicta  pass side not clear where it dumps.jpg
    ref 1962 Buick invicta  pass side not clear where it dumps (2).jpg
    Above is the 62 passenger side and a closeup.
    Below is the passenger side on a 61 Invicta:
    II ref 1961-buick-invicta-pass side.jpg
     
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  14. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    I guess it is safe to conclude that the 62 Invicta pass side manifold is not what was used on my gasser.:(
    Back to the internet for more hunting of Buick manifolds.
    Also, I got the clone back today with the brakes fully repaired along with being fully serviced for the first time in many years... the oil filter on that car didn't want to come off either!:D
    Rain was trying to sprinkle when I picked it up so I rushed it down to the storage area and then wiped it down.;)
    Didn't want any standing water on the bare metal.:eek:
    I'll have time to look over the clone more closely while waiting for the carbs for the 425.
    Probably should take the carbs on the 401 to the carb guru, too. I'll think on that while studying that car to better determine just what I have. Opportunities!;)
     
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  15. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    ref 60 electra 225 driver side 1.jpg ref 60 electra 225 driver side 2 exits forward.jpg
    I think I've found at least one car that has the same exhaust manifold as I had on the gasser.
    This is a 1960 Electra 225 and it appears that the exhaust dumps toward the front on the engine like the gasser and I have an underneath shot of the same car that shows the exhaust pipe coming down more toward the front.
    I believe I found the same manifold on a 1960 LeSabre. I think the 1959 and 1960 passenger side manifolds match the one on the gasser or at least could be used. I have certainly spent considerable time chasing these needed exhaust manifolds. Now that I think I know what we need, all we have to do is find some.:eek::D
    The local Mr. Buick guru is on the trail with his nationwide team of contacts so I hope they'll find some somewhere.:) Anybody got a 59 or 60 big Buick sitting around? If so, give me a call at 757-334-5618. I'll buy you an ice cream.;)
    IMG_3933.JPG I'm pleased to report that the non-GS Riviera now starts and runs smoothly without initially coaxing it with starter fluid so I spruced up the air cleaner and put it back on the car. When I manage to get the brake lights to work, we can go cruisin'!!;):D
    One week down on getting the carbs fixed... hopefully only one or two weeks before we get them back.
     
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  16. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    IMG_3939.JPG
    IMG_3940.JPG
    I got the carbs back Monday night and they look great to me!
    Wednesday I took a bunch of stuff off the 425 engine and installed the new fuel pump which was hidden below the alternator. BTW, I also got the new compact 60 AMP alternator I plan to use a few days ago. It will go on there somehow.;)
    Before:
    IMG_3941.JPG After: IMG_3942.JPG More to come.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.
    Al
     
  17. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    IMG_3943.JPG
    IMG_3947.JPG
    IMG_3951.JPG As you can see, I cleaned the manifold and painted it. Then installed and hooked up the carburetors.
    It is nearly ready to try to start it with working carburetors.:)
    A few more things to hook up and then to be sure gasoline supply is good, clear gasoline and we should be ready to give it a try.
    I'll keep ya posted.
    Cross your fingers.:D
    Thanks for your continued interest.
    Al
     
  18. Hamtown Al
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    Hamtown Al
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    Finished hooking everything up yesterday and primed it with gas but it didn't start and run. I pulled the distributor cap and bumped starter until got a reading on the timing and tweaked that a bit but by then the battery was getting weak so left it to recharge overnight.
    I also think I'm not getting full 12V when trying to start because not using the start position on key because original engine wiring harness fails for that function. I have a hot line to spin the starter but it occurred to me that I may not be getting the full 12V for starting because usually on kicks in when in the start position. I'll figure it out... I hope!
    Also probably need to pull the plugs and clean again with brake cleaner to eliminate any remaining Marvel Mystery Oil residue that might have gotten back on the them.
    Opportunities!
    On another note, I might have found the needed exhaust manifolds in MN... I sent pictures and they are checking them now before pulling from the car. Cross your fingers!
    Hope to get back on it later today.
    Thanks for your continued interest,
    Al
     
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  19. farmer12
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
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    farmer12
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    Fingers crossed! Great story so far btw!
     
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  20. Hamtown Al
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    MN didn't have the manifold. A HAMBer found what looked like one of the manifolds in Canada but it was already gone when I contacted him. Another HAMBer in SD has a pal with bunches of Buick stuff so he's going to check with him. I texted him pics of the desired manifolds for reference.
    In other news, I cleaned the plugs again and rigged a 12V bypass directly to coil while starting to cover that situation but it just wouldn't run. Bought new distributor cap, rotor, and another set of new plugs for it today.
    Maybe tomorrow but I've got my doubts.
    The carbs seem to be working great. I've been working with the timing and think it is close but it ain't running.
    I'll check compression and verify getting fire to each cylinder tomorrow if I get the time... working at a remote location is a pain; even if only a few miles away.
    I'm going to try to get a pal that is very skilled at checking out and running down electrical stuff to take a look at it, too. I'm missing something but haven't found it... yet!;):D
    Thanks for the help and continued interest,
    Al
    IMG_3926.JPG The clone is still starting and running well. Based on the above, I guess it is a numbers matching car... for now!:D
    If the 425 won't go, this puppy might be getting the new carbs and then be relocated to a certain 32 Ford cabriolet.;)
     
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  21. Hamtown Al
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    Still haven't found the exhaust manifolds but a bunch of HAMBers are looking. :) Thanks.
    I replaced the cap and rotor today, along with installing the correct factory fuel filter---it has a bypass outlet that keeps from overloading the carbs. The one I was using did not have that provision so was overloading the carbs and thus the engine.:eek: That change seemed to help as it got closer than ever to running but not quite there. Also pumped a fair amount of gas out that bypass line.;) Should have done it that way from the start but was thinking my 32 won't have a place for the bypass gas to get back to the tank so just eliminate it... DUH! No wonder the carbs seemed to be getting too much gas!:eek:
    Living and learning Al
    PS Metal prep stuff arrived today so hope to get started on making the clone Riviera look better after we properly treat the bare metal. Overall car is very good except the hood. It is good and solid but not sure how it got so banged up and then repaired. We plan to use the hood from the GS and patch that one with parts from the clone.;)
    More "opportunities!":D
     
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  22. Hamtown Al
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    Well, the 425 now has new wires to go with the new cap and rotor and I ran a compression test on all cylinders and carefully wrote down the numbers... but don't have them right now! All cylinders ranged from 120 to 160 as I recall.
    I was disappointed that it didn't start with the new plugs but it got so very close.:( Timing seems to need to be refined next but I need a couple more hands to pull that off. I can report that the fiery blasts from both four barrels is much more impressive with the new updates!:eek::D
    As for exhaust manifolds, I believe I can use the existing passenger manifold. We're hunting hard for the one for the driver's side but haven't found it yet. You can follow the details of our hunt over on the "School me on Buicks" thread if you wish.
    Also we moved the clone over to another shop to get started on getting that body treated, repaired, and covered with primer.
     
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  23. ..................................Yeah, Al just took my "School me on Nailheads" thread and completely turned it into a treasure hunt for an exhaust manifold thread!........Just messin' with you Al. I'm still learning from both of these threads.:D;)....Carry on. All in good fun........Don.
     
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  24. Hamtown Al
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    ^^^ Don is exactly right... I did somewhat hijack that thread but it was only after he encouraged me!;)
    Y'all know by now to be careful when that happens.:D
    I know it is all in good fun and that makes being a HAMBer even better.:)
    I thought about making the manifold hunt a new thread but felt that whatever we find should be helpful to anybody putting a Buick in a hot rod and I thought "Schooling on Buicks" was a good spot for that information. Helping others is one of the many rewards of being a HAMBer. Sometimes we're telling others what to do and other times we're telling them what NOT to do.:eek:
    I just wish we could definitively determine just what exhaust manifolds will work and clear steering boxes, etc.
    I'm sure we'll find at least one option and then can expand that based on casting numbers, etc. to cover several years and models of Buicks with various single or dual tailpipe equipment.
    As to the 425, I verified this morning that I'm getting fire to each plug and it seemed pretty hot but am wondering now if I need to revisit the Pertronix installation to see if I should shim the pickup closer to the module to possibly increase the spark. I've got help coming from one of the technical wizards in our car club one day this week.
    I hope work starts on the clone this week, too. I'll keep y'all posted.
    Don, I'm working hard to get that 425 to run successfully so I can invite you and Jason and others to come to Smithfield, VA and put it in the cabriolet!:D:D I'm willing to share in the fun.;):D
     
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  25. ................Sounds like fun, Al. Just catch me before the snow flies!:eek:;)
     
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  26. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    Discovered today that number one cylinder for 65 425 is on passenger side!:eek::D:D
    No wonder the dang timing seems off!
    Don't remember the last time I was this glad to find out I was wrong.;)
    Hopefully it will be running soon... as soon as I back out all of my "enhanced adjustments!":D
    Just waiting on the weather and having a longer block of time to work on it.
    Opportunities!
    Stay tuned.
    Contacted a great guy in Jesup, GA that is going to check his old Buick parts car for the driver's side manifold we're hunting. Maybe this will be it... fingers crossed.
     
  27. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    IMG_3978.JPG
    I am very pleased to report that after reversing some of my enhanced adjustments, the 425 engine started right up and ran smoothly! I almost didn't believe it. After trying for almost two weeks, off and on, to get it started; it was so easy. No starting fluid, nothing. Pumped gas one time and hit the starter and it came right to life and had 45 lbs of oil pressure per the mechanical gauge that was already attached to the engine when I got it.
    Idled great and responded quickly to blipping the throttle. The second carb came on just as intended and smoothly. I'm having a beer.;)
    Now to start figuring out how to mount the new small alternator and begin removing the stuff that won't be used in the 32 cabriolet. Clean up is going to be a major challenge but will also be rewarding to see the engine progress toward installation.
    IMG_3979.JPG
    IMG_3981.JPG
    Looks like the engine is 30 and one half inches from the back of the distributor to the front of the pulley for the fan. I measured the cabriolet to have 31 and one half inches from the back of the radiator to the firewall. Might be a bit tight but I'm sure gonna do my best to put in the little Ford; switch pitch turbo 400 trans and all.;)
    Since the car already has a clutch on the firewall, maybe I could rig an electrical switch to it for a sort of manual override for passing gear!:D:D Then again, maybe not.
    Thanks to all that have offered help and encouragement. This is a major achievement to firmly determine that the engine seems to be good to go. This means I'll be able to sell the other Riviera WITH it's engine!:D Two 4s and all. Wasn't Ryan lamenting about selling his old Rivie? Such a deal...
    I hope y'all can tell I am
    Happy Al!!!:):):)
     
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  28. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    I am pleased to report that after adding 4 quarts of ATF, the transmission works correctly and smoothly in both directions! Yea!!
    IMG_3985.JPG
    Couldn't resist the urge to remove the Gran Sport emblem from the back of the car and set it on the carbs for a picture.:)
    I also hooked the power steering pump back up to make the water pump work and topped it off with antifreeze. Warmed the engine up and it seemed to circulate correctly and tested good for protection down to -20 degrees or so.
    The next step will be to pull the engine and trans and get it over to my garage for some sprucing up.:)
    Now to order some motor mounts and find that dang driver's side exhaust manifold.:eek:
    Opportunities!
    Call me
    Still Happy Al:D:D
     
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  29. The Good News continues!:)
     
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  30. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    IMG_3997.JPG It is slowly getting ready to come out of the Gran Sport Riviera. Oddly enough, trying to unbolt the back of the driveshaft from the rear end is giving me a fit.:eek: I have it soaking in penetrant oil and hope it lets go today. I need to get that done before I remove the engine and trans or else I can't use the transmission, in Park, to keep the rear end from rotating.;) In rotating the rear end I did confirm that it does still have a positraction rear end as both wheels rotated in the same direction.:) Per specs, it is supposed to be 3.42 ratio if my research is correct.
    I opened up the front of the engine area considerably in hopes of making the extraction go more smoothly.
    Opportunities! I'd prefer to sell the Gran Sport body, etc. as one fairly complete package, in one piece; but I'm going to get that engine out if I have to reduce the Gran Sport to a large pile of small pieces!:D:D
    More later,
    Working Al
     
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