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Hot Rods 55 Pontiac V8 (287?) and Transmission - Keeper or Boat Anchor?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lake_harley, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 951

    lake_harley
    Member

    A friend of mine is cutting up and getting rid of a REALLY roached out '55 Pontiac. Believe me, the body and trim is nothing but beat up and rust. Neither he or I cull too much to not hold on to for future use or to make available to someone in need, but we're wondering if there's enough merit to the engine, transmission and rearend to justify holding them back from a trip to the scrap yard?

    I found a few threads that talked a bit about the 287 engine, and found a video of one running. Sounded GREAT! So, is there anyone on the HAMB that has such an engine in their hot rod? What is the transmission likely to be? Hydramatic? I'm not at all versed in mid-50's Pontiacs.

    Thanks, in advance, for input.

    Lynn
     
  2. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,214

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I'd take it and put it away in a heartbeat.

    Cool thing is they don't eat much sitting in a corner.
     
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  3. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,075

    wvenfield
    Member

    I'm a big Pontiac fan so my vote is obviously going to be to save it. There is no easy swap if you have a late 50's Pontiac so the factory engines are an easy obvious choice if you find a car missing the engine.

    Yes, a Hydramatic. Keep the linkage with the trans. Rear end isn't all of that (unlike the ones to follow) but then again, I'm saving everything Pontiac.
     
    Old wolf likes this.
  4. The engine isn't particularly desirable. Of course, maybe to a restorer, it would be worth something.
    A 59 389 will just about bolt in, in it's place, hence it wouldn't be worth hopping it up.
    This is the reason why a 326 or 350 P never got much love. You can bolt a 455 in it's place.
    The Hydramatic has a bit more valuable to the vintage guys. I prefer the modern transmissions, but that sounds kinda un-HAMB, doesn't it?
     
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  5. MO54Frank
    Joined: Apr 1, 2019
    Posts: 275

    MO54Frank
    Member

    The 55 Pontiac has an interesting engine mounting setup.
     
  6. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,225

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    55 Pontiac's had stainless side trim that customizers loved! The stainless around the windshield and backlight are the same as 55-56 Chevrolet's (and rear 57 Chevrolet's), so that may be worth something there. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
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  7. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,224

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Old Pontiac stuff is always worth saving, especially the Hydro starter, driveshaft, yoke, shift and throttle pressure linkage. The old 287 is like a 303-324 Olds or 264-322 Buick, they were solid workhorses and still make an interesting choice to power old cars.
     
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  8. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,746

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    My 40 Pontic coupe litterly had a 287 Pontiac engine and trans laying in the engine compartment when I bought it. I was told it was a good engine and I new of the parts to put a Muncie 4 speed behind it. I started it up on an engine stand and the carb even sorta worked! It did not smoke or push stuff out the breather so we gave it a try. We put about 10,000 miles on the car before I did the super duty update! That 287 was a good and reasonably peppy engine. Save it definitely! Gary:)
     
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  9. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 448

    v8flat44

    As a Ford guy, i'd say save it! Pontiac & Olds....coolest G M cars ever made !
    Well, maybe the 1958 Vette that i had was....AWESOME too !!!!
     
  10. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 951

    lake_harley
    Member

    Sort of a slow reply, but here's a bit of an updated on the 287/Hydramatic.

    My neighbor made me a deal too good to refuse on the engine and transmission, so I hauled it home today hanging by ratchet straps off the front end loader of my little tractor. I plan to pull the engine apart a bit to have a peek inside to see if it's even worth trying to rebuild. The engine was in a car with a hood and an aircleaner on it, but there's no harmonic balancer to seal up the front of the engine, and there's a hole that appears to have been punched from the outside-inward in the forward part of the oil pan. Hard telling what I'll find when I pull the pan, much less the heads!

    If the 287 turns out to be re-buildable, I have thoughts to maybe put it in my '31 Ford Coupe. The Coupe has been in a holding pattern for almost a year and I am considering taking it in a complete different direction from where I was heading. I had the drivetrain done with a 2.5 S-10 4-banger and a 4 speed but have been thinking of ripping it all out and putting in a SBC. I have a 350 (freshly rebuilt) and 327 out of a nice, running '65 Chevy that are ready to go. I also have two Powerglides which I'd be OK with one though many don't have a very high opinion of them, and a T5 and a Borg Warner 4-speed (looks like a T5), so I have a abundance of choices there with the SBC route.

    But....... somehow this 287 Poncho is tempting me to go a route a bit of the beaten 350/350 combo found in so many Model A's. If the 287 is re-buildable what direction would the suggestion(s) be to use for a transmission? Try to use the Hydramatic? Purchase a high $$ adapter to use a more "modern" automatic? Look for a manual transmission bellhousing and clutch for the Pontiac, even though I have the feeling those a really hard to find and really expensive? The 287 is out of a '55 Pontiac and I guess the bellousing pattern was changed about 5 years later to those like a 389, etc. That might make transmission selection a bit more challenging. So....what to do if the engine is a builder?

    I'll say "Thanks" in advance for suggestions and input.

    Lynn
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  11. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,075

    wvenfield
    Member

    Chevy is used a lot and it's understandable as to why. Easy to find, parts are accessible and as cheap as anything you can use but it's always cool to use something else.

    Manual stuff isn't generally very expensive, it's just finding it that is the problem. While rare there aren't all that many people wanting it so it keeps the price down.

    Easy is the transmission you have. Does the guy have the linkage? You are way ahead if he does. They are big and heavy though.

    You are going to spend more money most likely using the Pontiac but it will draw my attention over a SBC. (Or a 4 cyl.)
     
    Old wolf likes this.
  12. Bird man
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 552

    Bird man
    Member
    from Milwaukee

    Engine could be board to '56 specs but the ports are small so maybe some port work would be in order?
    Happy wrenching!
     
  13. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 951

    lake_harley
    Member

    wvenfield....I helped pull the engine and made sure we kept all of the linkage from the carb to the transmission. I may post a ad in the wanted section for manual transmission parts. I don't know anything about the old Pontiacs, but wonder if they used manual transmissions with the same mounting pattern as old Saginaw 3-speeds? But, then again, trying to find everything to switch to a manual might just be complicating the whole process.

    First things first I guess, and that is to find out if the engine has any potential or if it's scrap metal quality.

    Lynn
     
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  14. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,875

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City


    Hi Lynn, I'd take if off your hands . Let me know if you guys want to get rid of it. Thanks
     
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  15. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,746

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    I Still have the bellhousing and stuff for the 287. It fits up to a 1960 389 and I have a rebuilder 389. I would sell the whole works if you are so inclined. Gary
     
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  16. Poncho60
    Joined: Jan 23, 2011
    Posts: 234

    Poncho60
    Member
    from N Illinois

    The 55 (56 & 57) bellhousing won't accept the modern transmissions....i.e. Saginaw, Muncie, BW t10, etc. The 58 -60 bellhousing will accept those trannies. Just fyi.
     
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  17. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,243

    George
    Member

    Would be better than the bellybutton engine!
     
  18. It is all valuable to someone like me. But I like that old chit. I actually could use the rear end today. (or tomorrow got a cool build for a guy coming up). I am in Browning by the way. ;)

    Ooops thought your location was Unionville. :oops::oops::oops:
     
  19. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 951

    lake_harley
    Member

    porknbeaner....although the engine and transmission are in my shop, they still belong to my neighbor. The rearend is still in the '55 chassis. I know he want's to get rid of everything and after a look inside with a borescope yesterday I've decided against trying to rebuild the 287 engine. The engine, hydramatic and rearend could be had really cheap if you're willing to drive. Just talked with my neightbor this morning and I'm pretty sure it's all going to steel recycling in 2-3 weeks. I hate so see that happen, but I know neither he or I want to keep the stuff forever.

    Lynn
     
  20. Well the hydromatic is the '55 desirable. I don't need the engine or transmission but the rear may be something I could use. I can't come immediately but if the price was right I could send cash if it could set for a while. I don't remember (guess I could find out) if the '55 was open drive or torque tube. Open the drive shaft would be handy too. ;)
     
  21. Poncho60
    Joined: Jan 23, 2011
    Posts: 234

    Poncho60
    Member
    from N Illinois

    No torque tube on 55 pontiacs
     
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  22. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,366

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    I'll add this as an endorsement , my parents had a 55 pont wagon ,drove the wheels off it , lived through a year of two of my older brother as well , only trouble I remember was one valve job and a transmission rebuild , ran the 700 mile round trip to the lake 6 or7 times a year with 6 passengers , loaded to the roof ,also a roof rack plus a 16' wooden (heavy) boat on behind , also loaded !!
     
  23. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 931

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    That has the good Hydro..
     
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  24. The 55 truck stick bell has the standard GM trans pattern. They came same with the 318 muncie trans that the chevys had. the 55 and 56 stick cars had a different trans. Ive got a few old pontiac engines and trans in my hoard.
     
  25. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,931

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If the engine is rebuildable and if you find a suitable bellhousing, go for it.
     
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  26. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 951

    lake_harley
    Member

    RichFox.... Lots of rust when we looked at the cylinders with a borescope yesterday. I haven't pulled a head, but I would be surprised if it would clean up at .060" overbore, even if it's standard bore now. I would think though, that there would be some parts that could be salvaged for use, but it would likely be a Pontiac aficionado who would be interested.

    porknbeaner.....I'm sure if you're interested the engine, transmission and rearend (or any combination of them) could be stored for some reasonable amount of time if you were interested. It would be best to talk to the owner (Terry (573) 788-2147) if you're interested, or send me a PM or call and I'll be the non-paid middleman. Here I go sticking my neck out, but I plan to be at the Springfield, MO swap meet and the HAMB drags in August. If you're attending either event or have friends that are, I could bring stuff along. Maybe you could buy me a hamburger or something for my efforts :rolleyes: One thing I won't do though, is separate the engine and transmission. If I understand how they're put together it's a royal pain when the engine is locked up.....and I'd be stupid to think it isn't.

    Lynn Winter
    (573) 788-2574
     
  27. That's what I thought but every time I remember something from that era I get it backward. ;)
     
  28. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,746

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    My bellhousing that fits that 287 fit a Muncie 4 speed.
     
  29. Poncho60
    Joined: Jan 23, 2011
    Posts: 234

    Poncho60
    Member
    from N Illinois

    No doubt that bellhousing does bolt up to the 287. The issue isn't bolting up to the engine, it's the bolt pattern for the trans that's the issue. The stick bellhousings for 55 thru 60 will all bolt to any of the engines for those years, but only the 58-60 bellhousing (the same part) will accept the later modern trannies.
     
    Elcohaulic likes this.

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