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Technical 52 Business coupe Build, What would you Do???

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 1twisted1, Feb 6, 2021.

  1. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm building a 52 Chevy business coupe and I would like it to be as close to what someone would have running around the streets in the late 50's to mid 60's.

    Here's my question to all the guru on here, what would be a period correct street racer be running? Hopped up inline? Big inline(302)? hemi? blower? hillborn? 4speed, 3speed, Auto? Stock or modified suspension?

    Lets hear what you guys think would be a great combo or the ultimate combo of that time. If we can get a majority of people that agree on a great combo I will start a build thread and start sourcing parts to complete the build

    Thanks in advance. being born in 75 I got to experience the cars from the late 60's and beyond but my knowledge base is lacking when it comes to the 50s to mid 60s
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  2. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,460

    lumpy 63
    Member

    301 sbc, 4spd , Old's - Pontiac rear end.
     
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  3. sdroadster
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 385

    sdroadster
    Member

    I knew a boy in high school that had a 371 Oldsmobile motor in his Chevy Business Coupe. His car was nose high, and had a junk yard straight axle in it. It was a really popular car in 1965. ​
     
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  4. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,460

    lumpy 63
    Member

    In San Diego?
     

  5. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,849

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    olds or caddy motor, manual and BOP rearend.
     
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  6. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,620

    gene-koning
    Member

    Around here, the guys with money would have bought the biggest motor with a trans out of the newest wrecked car in the junk yard.
    The guys that were broke used whatever they could scrounge. Often times the guys that did the scrounging ran as well as the guys with money.
    At least that was the story I got on the time period your talking about. I turned 7 in 62. Gene
     
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  7. Although only a little older than Gene, I think he captured it pretty well. Budgets were tight for most folks, and hopping up original engines highly favored. Engine swaps with SBC, Ford Y blocks and FE motors came next, as they were more plentiful in the salvage yards. Caddy, Olds, Pontiacs, and Nailhead Buicks also used as they became available. Guys with resources bought new cars.
     
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  8. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for all the great replies guys. I should have mentioned the car has no drive-line bought with no motor or trans, Car would have came originally with a 216 that made a whopping 92hp. So would have to assume it would be swapped out. Had have a 10bolt out of a 68 cameo that can be used or sold to acquire a more correct one. Also already have a straight axle out of a 48 1ton truck just not sure if the gasser high nose was correct for the time on a street car.

    There is a 283 for sale by me at the moment so a 301 is very doing able. Also like the Olds 371 idea because its not as common, keep them coming. Better yet lets go a step further what combo would you build the motor with? Bottom end, heads, intake, carb\carbs, distributor,valve covers.

    As for transmissions what would be a correct manual for it.

    On a side note I enjoy hunting for rare and hard to find parts that guys that know will appreciate when the hood is up at shows.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  9. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,899

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    You do not specify if the axle is ford or chevy (Or something else). The chevy 1 ton would never have been used as it is heavier and the brakes (huck style) were barely ok with the original motor. Remember the top speed on a one ton was about 40 mph. Get a 1/2 ton axle, you can then install either disc brakes or swap to 5 lug chevy drum brakes for
    more period style. These axles used different spindles on the 1/2 ton vs the larger 3/4 ton/1 ton so the brakes do not
    interchange. If you really want to emulate the high school car look from the early 60's keep the stock front end, perhaps lifted a little.
     
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  10. If leaning toward the wow factor looking under the hood and up to mid 60 s, 409 Chevy with a 4 speed comes to mind. Or 401 Nailhead (lots of dress up stuff). You need a deeper wallet for each.
     
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  11. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Only have the axle no spindles or brakes and its from a GMC
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  12. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Not sure where you got Packard from?
     
  13. I think a OHV V8 like an Olds, Buick or Cadillac would be a pretty neat choice and a likely 60s swap out of a junkyard donor. A Hemi would be nice, but that would be tough swap with the width and for your desire what a typical kid in 60s could do, I think Hemi is too far for a street car. The bigger the engine the better, and you will need to swap to an open drive rear as you know. The Camaro 10-bolt can work, not the strongest, but what you have. I think the Olds/Pontiac rear would be the logical choice, it will be tougher to find. The 57 Pontiac is the one to find as it will be nearly bolt-in. Others can work, will need some fabrication and maybe narrowing depending on the donor. I would leave front susp stock, upgrade the brakes is good idea, but probably not done in 60s.
     
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  14. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,149

    goldmountain

    In regards to a 60's era build, that would be like my '47 Plymouth which I bought in 1971. It was definitely done in the sixties. It had an engine swap (slant six) with a 3 speed tranny with floor shift. The car was nosed and decked with a bullnose strip on the hood. There were 5 spoke mags on the front and chrome reverse wheels on the back. A comparable Chev would probably have a 283 and related drivetrain from something like a '57 Chev. Other era touches would be things like dual exhaust with a chrome exhaust cutout behind the front wheel openings, tach on the dash and a frenched antenna. A gasser front axle would be rather rare.
     
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  15. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,422

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    For some reason I assumed Ford. Then someone said Packard. I had to look at your profile. Okay... nice little 52 Chevy coupe.
    Pictures help. We like pictures.

    425 Buick nailhead all dressed up with a 6X2. 4-speed.

    e026734ffc54326334294db19335c3e0.jpg
     
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  16. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,899

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    GMC and Chevy axles/spindles etc would have been the same. My advise stands.
     
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  17. If it was me I'd want a 354 or 392 or, maybe a 348 or 409. Either way would be cool and a lot more interesting than a small block Chevy, and certainly in line with a mid 60's build.
     
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  18. Find a 261 Chevy six the two ton truck version of the 235 (used from 54-62. 58-62 are full flow oil filter)

    I was born in 1981 and have found that a fair number of hot rodded Blue Flame have been incorrectly identified as G.M.C.s over the years.


    My 261-
    This is the engine in my 53-

    58-62 style 261

    Vintage Edelbrock intake

    Fentens

    Isky C-4 cam
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    yes edited to add Chevy not remove Packard. did it so there wouldn't be any confusion as to the make.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  20. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,278

    dan c
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    a buddy had a '54 chevy. first thing he did was install a 6-cylinder corvette exhaust setup. glasspacks sounded bitchin!
     
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  21. Friend of mine had a 51 Chevy convertible, inline 6, split exhaust, 2 carburetors, J C Whitney flipper hubcaps. it was just a mild custom by today's standards but it was the coolest car in the high school parking lot. HRP
     
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  22. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,045

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    What do mean by no driveline at this time? Is it just pulled out of the car and in the shop floor? Is it Gone gone, like hauled off?
    If the original driveline and engine are indeed gone, there's no need to go with a 6 cylinder.

    Keep it simple...
    SBC preferably a 283 or a 327.
    Automatic...My preference would be an Aluminum Power Glide. Sometimes you can find a good running 283/327 PG combo from an idiot doing a LS swap.
    TH350 is a good transmission as is the 700R types.
    Measure, you should be able to use that Nova axle. You may have to relocate the spring pads.
    The front ends were fine on these.
    This is what I would do...

    52 Chevy
    stock front end, steering, suspension and brakes....
    283/327 engine
    Aluminum PG transmission
    Nova Rear axle (10 bolt?) with 3.00 to 3.73 rear gear, since I had it.

    If the 6cylinder stuff was still around I would consider hopping up the 216 or finding a 235-261.
     
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  23. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    Member Emeritus

    I had a 51 Chevrolet Business Coupe that I gave to my nephew and we built it into s Street Gasser of sorts. SBC, one of my own built aluminum Powerglides, a 56, 4.88 Chevrolet Positraction rear end, Tri-Five Chevrolet traction bars, blocked the front end up, coil overload shocks on the rear, big and little Cragar SS/tires. He lost interest due to starting a business, gave it back, and I sold it because I already had too many projects; sorry I sold it to this day. What do you want to build. Back in the day, most would have kept the stock 216 or maybe a 235, built it up, kept the stock 3 speed, and did whatever was popular back them. The 60's, most would have probably gone with a 265 or 283, a Muncie 318 3 speed or a BW T-10/Muncie 4-speed, and a Tri-Five rear end. Those all are probably the easiest to fit and find parts for, at good prices. The V-8 engines some of the guys are suggesting are harder to find now, cost more, parts cost more for, go-fast parts really cost more, and the early sixes are basically the same. So, if you want good, dependable, cheap then it's a SBC all the way, pick your trans manual or automatic, and find a rear end roughly 60 inches wide drum to drum. Then look up what's involved in swapping a SBC into a 49-54 car right here on the HAMB. A 394 Olds, with a B & M Hydro-Stick, and a 57-64 Olds/Pont rear would be nice, but cost a lot, be harder to do, way harder to find the parts for, and take too much time. You really have to think about all of that. JMO, of someone who has actually done it.
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery. F-ONE ^^^ agrees.
     
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  24. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER


    Yes no drive-line bought the car as a roller.
     
  25. In my area, street runner/driver/cruiser and street racer were two different things in the late 50’s to mid 60’. The “street racer” term was not common “hot car” or “hottest car” was popular.

    Here is what it was for me. Ok, it's 1960, I'm cool on the street with my channeled 34 Ford 3 window with a hopped up 3 carb 53 Merc flathead but at the usual night time stop light battles it was gettin harder to get around them damn Chevys with their hopped up V8's or those few 50's Ford with their Police Interceptor motors or them other hot rods that dumped their ancient flatheads and boat anchor Caddie and Olds motors for one of them Chevy motors. Shit, every junkyard within 50 miles of Milwaukee had a waiting list of buyers for the next wrecked V8 Chevy.

    Building hot rods then was about FAST, not comfort, not tradition but FAST, with whatever it took and that Chevy V8 was junkyard cheap FAST. If the wreck had a 4 speed and you got your hands on it and into your car, watch out now, time to cruise the streets and hunt down anybody with a 3 speed and find out it if your extra gear makes a difference. Junkyard 4 speeds were few but you could get a new one over the parts counter at the GM dealer, you saved your bucks to get that 4 speed just to see if it made you FASTER.

    But, hell I liked my flattie powered 34, let's just use it for drag racing at Great Lakes Dragaway. Alright here we go, what ? Altered class! oh yeah, channeled, ok let's race. I got lane 1, wait! wait! the chopped, fendeless 32 in lane 2 has one of them damn Chevy V8's, ok, here we go, make sure I double clutch that 39 Ford gearbox going into 2nd, flagman waves us off, go, we're gone, he's gone, yup he's got a 4 speed and some big ass rear end in that 32, good thing my suicide doors latched good cuz I just got my doors blown off! Oh well, back on the street?

    Where I lived, the late 50's and early 60's saw things change fast on the street for the majority of the 30's-40's hot rods and early 50's cars. In the late 50's, with a big inch flathead and some really quick and smooth shifting or with a Chevy V8 and a 3 speed, you could hold your own most of the time on the street, but you watched out for those 348's and 389's.

    Early to mid 60's brought out the big inch factory cars 409, 406, 413, 421 etc. by that time your 30-40's hot rod or early 50's car better have a really strong sbc or big V8 and some gear to battle at stoplights. Those factory muscle cars ruled street racing.

    By the mid 60's, any serious street racer had a huge horsepower late model or current year V8, a 4 speed, rear tires to hook on the street and a fuel tank full of
    whatever could give that extra edge but watch out for them damn Torqueflites. Most of those cars were heavily modified factory 60's cars. 30's-40's hot rods were just cruisin with shiny paint, full upholstery, chrome engine dressup etc. Most 50's era cars kept street cruising but their street racing was a rarity.

    Yeah, there were the rare guys still on the street with built cars left over from past days, hopped up ohv and flathead inliners, Buick, Olds, Cad. A Hemi motor swap in a 50’s Chev usually was a lotta effort for minimal “go fast results” due to the extra weight, occasional steering and braking issues etc. (technology wasn't what it is today.) Maybe, they were street racing but being competitive took big money in those ancient motors, they could be fast but not fast enough otherwise they would have dominated on the street and at dragstrip races with your average fast street driven car.

    Making a Chevy coupe as a mid 60's fast street car, typically it would have a sbc, 4 speed, Chevy or Olds rearend of the era, traction masters. big rear tires (maybe wheel wells radiused), no front bumper, back end lifted for tire clearance, (if necessary). Straight axles weren't around in my area, an early Ford or Chev car axle wasn’t a good fit in a 50’s car, an Econoline axle was the start but I don’t recall that catching on until “gasser imitation” cars and “street freaks” gained popularity later than the mid 60’s. SBC wasn't a definite, some guys tried any big inch early to mid 60's motor they wanted. Major front, rear suspension and brake changes were rare, there wasn't much of an aftermarket at that time and home garage changes were limited.

    A 50’s Chevy coupe could fall into the "sleeper" class especially in appearance, so the changes made at that time would not want to make the car look fast, customizing wasn't typical to building for FAST. But, if you wanted to be the fastest on the street that coupe best have huge horsepower, serious exhaust system, tires and suspension so the car hooks up and the car should appear with attitude, so much for "sleeper." Every area in the USA had their own versions of "hot cars". Were there blown, injected hemis? somewhere" oh yes. Blown, injected, inliners? sure, somewhere. As many variations as you can think of, it was on the street somewhere in the USA. Building a fast street driver in the late 50’s to mid 60’s that ran on average a low 15, a 14 second then into a 13 second drag e.t. was good for the street, 12’s and you were kickin ass.

    Early 60's to mid 60's car magazines will tell what racing stuff was available during that time and will show how the cars were equipped.

    Building a period “hot street car” or “street racer” ain’t got shit to do with “traditional”, it was all about, “what newest, latest speed part do I buy today so I’m faster tomorrow”. Building a "period correct" late 50's to mid 60's fast street 50's Chevy coupe, brings up the question "how fast?", “as fast as your money allows". That old 60's speed equipment stuff ain't cheap no more.

    (oh hemi guys can unbundle their undies, we all know how wonderful them hemis are, save your fingertips and keyboard keys)

    I like your idea of a build, it should be fun to build at the edge of the HAMB box.

    Good luck with your build.

    Curt R
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
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  26. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,123

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    ""I'm building a 52 Chevy business coupe and I would like it to be as close to what someone would have running around the streets in the late 50's to mid 60's""

    I say it would be close to stock since they were still relatively new. shave the hood and trunk. 3 carbs and dual exhaust on the six and a cool interior. and maybe a paint job. later 60's would see V8's and cut out rear wheel wells.. there was a few 49- 52's in my town with fat tires and cut out wheel wells in the early 70's that I remember. I figure a lot more mild customs than hot rods. these cars were not all the rage until about 20 years ago, now you can't swing a dead cat at a show without hitting one.
     
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  27. rgclouse
    Joined: Apr 30, 2014
    Posts: 199

    rgclouse
    Member

    I had a 51 coupe. I blew up the original 6. Replaced it on the cheap with a freebie GMC truck straight 6. Don't remember how many cubes it was 59 years ago, but it made a reliable driver.
     
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  28. 1twisted1
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 167

    1twisted1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Curt thank you for probably the best response I've ever received to a question, detailed, informative and full of firsthand experiences. I was stated to lean towards building a 283 and had started researching them but after reading your response am 100% sure that's what I'm going with. 283 with a 4speed, some gearing out back and maybe just maybe a SV57
     
  29. sdroadster
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 385

    sdroadster
    Member

    Ya, Hoover High 1965. He worked at a wood chipping cutting firewood company on University ave about 40th street or so...
     
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  30. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 928

    finn
    Member

    Your time frame is too broad to narrow down the correct period powertrain setup.

    Mid sixties implies, to me, 1954-56. The SBC would have been too rare to be in common use on an early fifties coup. Not many in the junkyard yet. That leaves a 235 or a 302 GMC, so a Buick, Olds, or Cadillac.

    mid sixties means 64-66 to me, and a 283 or 348 would be more common
     

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