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Projects Finally My '26 Chevy Roadster Build

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Six Ball, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I've been hanging out here for years and seeing what others build. I've been gathering parts since before that. Jimmy B's '25 Chevy, Clayton's '26 T, The Malcolm Model A and Matt's '29 all roadsters along with several others that I follow are inspiring my '26 Chevy roadster build. I got my first car, a '38 Ford coupe, in 1959 when I was 14. My brother bought it from a friend for $15 and gave it to me. The summer before that he and I took his '39 Standard coupe from Texas to Northern California where he was moving. He was barely 18 and I was barely 13. We slept in the car and worked on it beside the road. I got to drive in some lonely stretches while my brother rested. A trip like that in a hot rod at such a young age will mess you up.:eek: The '38 was my introduction to all of this and first of several coupes, sedans, pickups, panels, sedan deliveries and woodies I've ruined. The newest of which is the '53 Chevy pickup I still have. I've never owned a roadster.
    THE PLAN
    After high school in '63 I was working part time at a Montgomery Wards auto center and going to JC. Still driving the '38 and a '40 Chevy Pickup. I came across a '25 Chevy roadster that was an circle track car. It was in pretty good shape but I could not afford the $125 the guy wanted for it. That included a 153 Chevy 4 cylinder the guy was building. Pretty new stuff back then. I had to pass up a straight running $100 '40 Ford Woody once because I had just bought a $75 very straight '40 Ford sedan delivery. Prices were low but so were wages. Cars were everywhere!
    So several years ago I was able to buy a very complete '26 Chevy roadster body that had come out of the Bill Harrah collection when it was sold. It sat around a while and I started gathering parts. I have always liked the looks of the early versions of the Spurgin/Giovanine roadster. I don't want to copy anything but I'm thinking of building this like I might have rebuilt that '25 in the early to mid '60s. It will retain the parallel leaf front springs and have a 4 link with 1/4 elliptics on the rear.
    THE PARTS
    Besides the body there is a .040 over 153 Chevy four in pieces. Pieces include a 181 crank & rods, .040 forged Ross pistons, head with lumps, screw in studs, roller rockers, 1.84" intakes, 1.60" exhaust shaved .030" 70cc chambers. There is a custom ground Erson cam, a modified Offenhauser 2X1 intake, two Zenith down draft single barrels, a modified Fenton Black Widow SBC header, a modified Mallory Pontiac V8 Dual Life distributer with the old 2 piece cap. There is a custom rocker cover in the works. There is a Borg Warner T-86 three speed OD soon to have a floor shift top plate from a T-90 from a Jeep. I have a Dana 44 limited slip from a GMC with 4.27-1 gears from a '54 Studebaker wagon. There is a complete dash panel with SW gauges from a '55 Studebaker Speedster and a '47 Chevy 1/2 ton front axle. There's a couple of '20s radiator shells and one good honeycomb radiator. Also there is '30s Oliver tractor nose piece and a stainless grill insert from a '30s Dodge or Plymouth. I have a '25 Chevy frame and hood. I have a set of 19" Chevy 6 lug wire spokes and tires to go on them. Plus lots of other little stuff lights, windshield, jeep steering box………
    THE PROBLEMS
    The problem is that while planning this I have gotten older and require more motivation than I seem to be able to muster. Also things have changed in hot rodding or maybe reverted. There is now TROG and the Colorado Hill Climb. The 153 would not allow participation in such events.
    The SOLUTIONS
    Perhaps by starting this thread I'll find a way to make progress and update it here. You know the shame and guilt thing. On the other problem I have a couple of '28 Chevy engines that could be built to give a Ford banger a run for it's money. I might even do the build with a easy swap in mind. The problem with that is that to build one properly might require Ford parts which as you see I have gone to great lengths to avoid.:rolleyes: Sorry this is so long.:( What do you think?:)
    Some pictures:
    100_1935.jpg 100_1851.jpg 100_1852.jpg 100_1875.jpg 100_0647.jpg 100_1836.jpg 100_1714.jpg 100_1919.jpg 100_2137.jpg 100_2140.jpg 100_1393.jpg 100_2414.jpg 100_0917.jpg 100_2036.jpg 100_1836 2.jpg 100_0867.jpg 100_0903.jpg 100_1394.jpg 100_0862.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,701

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    sounds like fun! I just got a 28 and am building a very cheap speedster out of it...not sure what all parts I'll change, but for now it's keeping the original engine. Brakes will be a challenge for me, sounds like you have some good parts saved up to solve that problem.

    Do you know how much power you can get out of the 28 engine without having to do all the internal modifications? You might consider leaving the bottom end stock. Also you might not want to put a whole lot of miles on it if you go this route, so you could build it a little more on the edge of reliability, and maybe have a spare motor ready to go if something happens.

    It all depends on what you want to do with the car...which probably depends on what you feel like doing with it after you get it driving. catch 22!
     
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  3. What do I Think?....

    I think you got plenty of cool parts waiting to be put together.
    You know it, and just need a little boot in the pants to crank it up a notch.
    So..... shame and guilt it very well may be buddy, cause I'll go get the guys over on the Rusty Bowtie forum to help motivate you. ;)

    The only reason we wanna see you on here, from now on, is to update this thread.
    The rest of your spare time needs to be spent building the Roadster you've always wanted. :D
     
  4. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Thank you Jeff. That is what I was hoping for. :cool:
     
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  5. Ghost28
    Joined: Nov 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,116

    Ghost28
    Member

    Sixball. You have quite the collection of parts, and I'm pretty sure you have enough to get the job done. As I have been told a little at a time is better than no progress at all. After all it's a hot rod of sorts and for the most part there are no mistakes as long as you like what you have done. GET AFTER IT.
    John
     
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  6. Kume
    Joined: Jan 23, 2010
    Posts: 805

    Kume
    Member

    Pleased to see you have finally started a build thread for this one sixball. Looking forward to following the build.
    Kume
     
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  7. Good collection of parts! You should build it so you can enjoy it for more than two weekends out of the year though! Don't get me wrong those events are great but if you keep changing directions it may never be finished? Best of luck and I will be watching as a member of the Chevy hot rod club!
     
  8. I'm watching and happy you are getting the build under way. I am glad my roadster has been of some inspiration.
    I feel the 153 is the better option, especially if you are doing a lot of driving. Though if you think you'd be happier with the '28 engine than go that way.
     
  9. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Jim, sorry I didn't see your post. Not sure what you can safely and easily get from a Chevy 4. A friend has a '28 pickup that is capable of moderate highway speeds 60 or so. He is also rebuilding a 20s Chevy race car. It has a counter balanced crank, Durant rods, a 3 port olds head and much more. He uses '25 blocks because they are stronger. Do you know about the '28 Chevy engine thread here? http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/1928-chevy-4cyl-motor.463465/
    Thanks to the rest of you too. This is already more encouragement than I expected. I think the 153 is the best choice for me because I want to drive it a lot. I've got a lot invested in both time and cash in the 153. I also have some of the makins' for a 1919 Essex powered vintage racer/Gowjob to take to special events. I'm pretty confident about everything except putting the body together. Most of the wood is here and some is in very good shape. I may keep some where it shows and is not a structural issue, maybe not. Here are more body pictures.
    100_1840.jpg 100_1853.jpg 100_1872.jpg 100_1849.jpg 100_1848.jpg 100_1865.jpg 100_1856.jpg 100_1862.jpg 100_1863.jpg 100_1854.jpg 100_1855.jpg 100_1841.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  10. CNC-Dude
    Joined: Nov 23, 2007
    Posts: 766

    CNC-Dude
    Member

    Six Ball, i'm glad to see you get back on this project. Keep the motivation going and think how fun it'll be driving it to events like "Hot August Nights" and other places.:cool:
     
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  11. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Thanks Scott. Baby steps, today I drilled and tapped the crank snout. Things were not going well this morning so I did an unusual thing for me. I quit before I really screwed it up and came back later and it came out just fine. While regaining control I sorted drill bits (never found the 25/64) and found most of the parts needed. I'm using the engine assembly to also clean the shop under the assumption that an assembled engine takes up less space than if it's pieces are scattered all over. If that proves to be true I'll test the theory on the transmission next.
     
  12. HRK-hotrods
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 922

    HRK-hotrods
    Member

    Very cool... Looks like a pretty sweet body to start off with. Amazing how simplistic the body's are on these. Good luck with your build. I'm slowly starting a 29' roadster build with much less than what you're starting with...

    Can't wait for updates!
    Joe
     
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  13. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I started with just the body. Bill Anderson who built the Ponderosa Ranch of TV fame at Lake Tahoe also had land in Dayton, NV where the livestock from the TV ranch/tourist spot spent the winter. Little Joe's pinto and the rest. Bill was a collector of all kinds of stuff, lots of antique cars and parts, much of which was stored in Dayton too. Some still is. When the Bill Harrah car collection was sold a lot of stuff found it's way the Anderson's property. I looked at this roadster body sitting on the lot for several years. It had a price of $1,200 on it and he wouldn't budge. One day it was gone. About 5 years later a guy wanted some V8 60 blocks I had so I asked what he had to trade. He showed me the long lost roadster body and a '40 ford rear end. I gave him the 3 rusty blocks and a little cash for the body and the rear end. The blocks were given to me by an old racer. One had a Clay Smith cam. That was at least twenty years ago. I've been building this in my head and gathering parts ever sense. It's time.
     
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  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,701

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    gonna be fun! yeah, the early motor would not give you the car you want, the "modern" one should do nice
     
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  15. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I think this was the dilemma Jimmy B found himself in that led to a total rebuild of his almost finished Spurgin/Giovanine roadster. I think he decided to build two, one to drive and one to drive a lot.

    It's funny to think about the 153 as a modern engine ,which compared to a '28 171 it is, but when the first Chevy II with a 153 came along the '28 was only 34 years old. The last time one was in a Chevy II was 46 years ago. A lot of GM fours have come and gone since then.
     
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  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,701

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    yeah, we live in a different world than normal folks! My Chevy II was one of the first ones made, in early October 1961. But it came with the six, not the four.
     
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  17. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    There was a bone stock '63 Chevy II with a 153 here that I tried to by for years. It was a family treasure and never to be sold. When granddad died grandson hacked a big block into it, broke it, and sold it. I just wanted a blown 181 in there.:rolleyes:
     
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  18. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I'm working on getting the engine together. I got the crank snout drilled and tapped. I drilled and tapped two holes in the crank timing gear for removal if needed and got it pressed on. The freeze plugs are in. The Mains are in and plastaguaged, It is tight with standard bearings but turns freely with a little effort. End play is right on the money at 0.006" I had the wrong rear main seal. The right one will be here tomorrow. I didn't know that '62-'67 was a different rear seal than '68-'70. I hope to get the rods and pistons in Wednesday. I read that in the early 181 #2 rod had a notch in it to clear the fuel pump lobe on the cam. None of my 181 rods have a notch. What I read said that if the rod is changed the cam had to be changed too. The fuel pump lobe in my Erson cam is a little thinner than the 153 cam. I may have to do a little cam grinding. I may use an electric fuel pump but the rod has to clear anyway. It's the most progress I've made in a long time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  19. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I got the new rear main seal yesterday. It is all rubber with tabs that fit into the rear cap. So, that's done and the cam is in. I put Rod & Piston #2 in to check clearance with cam. It's 0.016". I can easily get it to 0.030" and feel better. I was thinking it would be a side clearance issue but it is pretty much the full lobe width with the rod and bolt.

    I noticed that the piston was sticking out of the hole. I put #3 in so I could get a better measurement. It seems like 0.016" is the number for today. I'll stick the other two in tomorrow and use a dial indicator. There is plenty of meat on the piston so it can be turned down. I have a 0.040 thick copper head gasket, and I have another 0.040" over block that may have a taller deck. It'll all work out. Just a reminder of what parts are being used. BLOCK-153 Chevy 0.040 over,CRANK & RODS 181 Mercruiser, PISTONS- Forged Ross Flat tops for 250 Chevy six.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Just saw this today, don't know how I missed it! If I didn't live on the other side of the country I'd stop by and give you a hand and a kick in the ass to motivate you when needed :D All kidding aside, glad to see you started this thread so we can keep an eye on you. Keep us posted!
    Tom
     
  21. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Thanks Tom! I'll try and get this piston issue sorted out. I hate to take the pistons back off the rods but don't think the belt sander is the tool I want to use. o_O I don't think a big thick head gasket will do either so chuck 'em up, cut 'em down, and get on with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
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  22. Go man go......
    This is great progress, that 153 will be singing in no time.
     
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  23. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Thanks Jeff! My friend that works at the Virginia & Truckee Rail Road said we can turn the pistons in their shop. My lathe won't hold them easily. HAN swap meet tomorrow back on this Saturday.:) I am expecting 175 + HP in a 1500 lb car.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
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  24. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    The V&T guy has a new girlfriend on his mind. I'm taking the pistons to my son's place tomorrow. He is home from work in southern Cal for a few days so maybe we can do it on his mill. With all four in the holes the measurements were from .020" to .023" too high. Taking off .025".
     
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  25. PINEAPPLE
    Joined: Aug 26, 2012
    Posts: 207

    PINEAPPLE
    Member

    subscribed!
     
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  26. r2c1
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 95

    r2c1
    Member

    Really glad you are getting some work done on the roadster. Looking forward to the build. And it's about time.:D Ron
     
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  27. a boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,306

    a boner
    Member

    How about an update?
     
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  28. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Ok, so it's been another year. Nothing real done on the roadster. I have lots of excuses but not any good ones. Last winter kicked my butt but I'm almost ready for another one. New tractor, new backup generator, stove pipe back on the shop, two miles of road repaired, better drainage around the house and shop, and getting the propane truck in to fill the tanks this week. Start back on the engine again. I see most pic are gone . Google/Picasa doesn't let me post them anymore. I'll get them back on here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
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  29. With Winter coming in the hills of Nevada, time to huddle up in the shop and get to work on that engine :)
     
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  30. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,319

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    It snowed here a little bit today. I'm not ready to go there yet.
     
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