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Projects My new love... 1956 Caddy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by PinstriperGirl, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. WhiteZombie
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 652

    from Denton TX

    My experience with SBC in Caddy was on 1958 Caddy. Exhaust and big ass steering box is a pain too. We tried 4 sets of headers and different engine locations trying to get around the steering box eventually going with power rack and pinion setup that gave us the room around the worn out old box. Steers better and room for exhaust. Don't know if you will have the same problem in a 56...just throwin' it out there.

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  2. PinstriperGirl
    Joined: Jun 6, 2010
    Posts: 24

    from Michigan

    Most of the cars in this condition I was looking at had an asking price between $2k and $4k. The ones that were more money even in rough condition were Eldorado's, Coupe DeVille's and Convertable's. When I found my car he was asking $2500. I got it for $1350. It needs a lot of work but it is 99% complete.

    Good Luck! :)
  3. Ramblinwagon
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 29

    from illinois

    I just bought a 1948 Pontiac and picking it up in Allendale, Mi. this weekend but keep thinking about that Caddy. Love them. Good luck with yours.
  4. robber
    Joined: Nov 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,886

    from Colorado

    I'm glad you got her home! I am happy for you... it sounds like you got a good deal on your very cool Caddy! Have fun and keep us posted...robber
  5. xxzzy999
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 143


    Great project... GO FOR IT!!

    If you didn't already have the 307 SBC, I would suggest going with a 383 SBC. These stroked motors are known for their extra torque. Torque is what gets weight moving... and the '56 Caddy is a load at ~4800lbs. And, more torque would probably translate into better gas mileage in this case. So, a SBC 383 would be a better fit for the Caddy if you are determined to use a SBC.

    Depending on which '56 model you have... the Caddy came with ~300 hp and ~400 ft/lb torque. The stock Caddy motors are known for their torque... thus great hotrod motors.

    So, your 307 may not get the mpg you are hoping for... and it's not going to perform as well as the stock big block (i.e. get-up-and-go).... but should work and you'll have fun!

    Best of luck!
  6. 60widewhitez
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 421


    Neat car! Love 4 door hardtops!
  7. 52RustRocket
    Joined: Nov 3, 2006
    Posts: 263


    I shoe horned a 454(BBC)/TH400 in my '52 Cad. If there's a will there's a way. Don't listen to the people telling you it's blasphemy to put an SBC in a Caddy. If they are so worried about it, tell them they are more than welcome to buy you an original engine and have it installed instead. It is YOUR car not theirs.
  8. lazyworker
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 17

    from Tulsa, Ok

    Congratulations on the car.

    If you can afford it, put in a 700R4 (or any other overdrive transmission of your choice) since you plan on putting in a newer engine.
    The lower gear ratio's of 1st and 2nd will help get your car moving and overdrive should help with the gas going down the highway.
    A guy I knew who dragged raced using a straight six once told me, "A lot of the time it's not what ya' got, it's how ya' got it."

    The trick to enjoying these old cars on a budget is knowing what you can accept to live without (for the time being at least). Make it stop, make it start and make it go down the road.

    Never skimp on making it safe. That's rule number one. Number two is enjoy.
  9. coolbreeze1340
    Joined: Aug 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,340

    from Indiana

    Great car and good luck! I drive a land yacht myself (1952 Lincoln Capri) and they are a joy to roll out down the interstate. Check out the original brakes before ou jump into the disk set-up. My lincoln is 4400 pounds, uses the stock drums at the wheels, and stops really well. It does have a newer brake booster and dual mastercylinder but luxury cars of the fifties were designed well. It might save you some cash.
  10. PinstriperGirl
    Joined: Jun 6, 2010
    Posts: 24

    from Michigan

    I spent the weekend cleaning out the Caddy. There is a lot of cleaning to be done. I discovered there are numerous mouse nests. I vacuumed the whole interior wearing a respirator and sprayed a commercial grade chemical that you can't buy in stores. I have a neighbor and friend that is a certified operating room cleaner that has been helping with the clean up. He brought home cleaner that has an organism in it that will eat organic material until there is nothing left to eat, then it dies off. He says after a few applications this will get rid of the mouse smell and sanitize it. I will get back to working on cleaning the car further this weekend if the weather is good. The car is still too dirty to bring into the garage. As you can see I will need new floor pans, padding for under the carpet and a new headliner as the mice have nested and chewed holes in it. The dash is in great condition and just needs a little cleaning. The upholstery needs to be cleaned and the driver side seat to be repaired. Also I found 3 original Cadillac logo floor mats that came with the car when it was new. It is missing the driver side floor mat. After the inside is cleaned out then its on to fixing her up and making all the repairs. I can't wait!

    Attached Files:

  11. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,593

    Atwater Mike

    Keep after it, PinstriperGirl. That front bumper, grille, and hood make it worth it!

    Offer some beer and treats when you get ready to do your floor pan repair (after you clean it out real good)
    Local HAMBers in your neck of the woods LOVE a repair party. Have some of the guys over to do the repair and barbecue.

    Consider an automatic transmission behind the SBC. Stick linkage and a low-geared rear would be a LARGE hurdle in a '56 Cad. (went thru that with a '37 LaSalle box in my '61 Coupe DeVille...)
  12. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,559


    After you have cleaned out the inside, take a good look up behind that dash. It's another favorite mouse lodging.
  13. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,637


    Fantastic car Girl, love it! Congrats! The greatest thing about sbc's is that they made 90 million of them! Ubiquitous!

    I'm putting an L-98 & 700r-4 in a '51 chevy with no prior experience. Like RodStRace said, there's a ton of info. here & elsewhere. Go for it. It's a mountain of work, but it's Fun! Good Luck!
  14. davidfe
    Joined: Jan 1, 2006
    Posts: 135

    from Illinois

    PinStriper Girl,

    How about keeping the motor in the Cadillac family. The Northstar
    most certainly would provide the power and I believe would be an
    easier install.

    Looking forward to more posts. Love the Caddy. I grew up in that
    era and they still are some of the most beautiful shaped Caddys.



  15. servi53
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 338


    very nice looking land barge, dig it
  16. Ester Eddie
    Joined: Feb 26, 2012
    Posts: 3,988

    Ester Eddie
    from Alaska

    I love the all the "junk" in the trunk :D
  17. ArchangelKustom
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 196

    from NR/OH

    Would love to know more about that hospital cleaning stuff, anything that kills mouse odor is a must-have!!
  18. Nice project
  19. 416Ford
    Joined: Mar 28, 2007
    Posts: 824


    Put some Bounce dryer sheets in the car while it is in the garage. Keeps the mice out of the car(and smells good) and this time of year they will be looking for a place to keep warm.
    Getting parts at the local store is not all its cracked up to.
    The time, money and energy spent putting the 350 in there will be better off putting a caddy engine in there and driving the car. That is if you can find one fairly cheap.

    Good luck with the build.
  20. 40two
    Joined: Feb 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,881


    Don't know why the guy who made this vid shows a Chevy at the start but this is the real song for you, one of my fav's! nice car you got, what a beauty. (you both for sure!) Doc Starkes & the Niteriders, Women & Cadillacs. i think everbody recalls it from Cry Baby:

    hope that your dreams fulfill!

    have fun and show us what's turning up on this ship! ;)

  21. royalbopper
    Joined: Dec 29, 2001
    Posts: 36

    from Sweden

    They are pretty easy cars to work on. i´m soon ready to start a buildtread about my daily driver, collecting parts right now.

  22. PinstriperGirl
    Joined: Jun 6, 2010
    Posts: 24

    from Michigan

    I did a little homework to find out how original my car really is. It's completely original and unmolested. All of the options and colors are just the same as when it rolled off the line. I made a post explaining how Cadillac did their ID numbers in the 50s in case anyone else wanted to know. See link below. :)
  23. caddy56
    Joined: Jan 13, 2011
    Posts: 6

    from Sweden

    Good choice of car,sedan de ville look´s like a coupé.
    Good luck
  24. PinstriperGirl
    Joined: Jun 6, 2010
    Posts: 24

    from Michigan

    Got the engine out. I started out wearing gloves and quickly learned they were annoying. Power washed under the hood and splattered grease all over the driveway. Now I'm tracking grease in the house. Cut off what was left of the exhaust. Both mufflers were full of mouse nests. :D

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  25. hotrodfloyd
    Joined: Jan 10, 2013
    Posts: 4

    from Texas

    Have three 56 2dr hrdts and two are fixining to be propelled by the new LSA 6.2 supercharged gm engine trans combo systems. 556 hp and about the same torque. With light mods an honest 575 hp. One is getting painted at the moment,BRIGHT RED! The other one is black. Will post pics as they go.
  26. Hey Pinstriper Girl,
    That is a phenomenal Caddy you got yourself there. It's an incredible color, and unbelievably clean and complete for the price! You cant beat a four door hardtop!!!
    The 56' Caddy was the first car that I ever fell in love with as a kid. I remember checking out a nasty old junk, but was so impressed by the details like the 1956 script spelled out there on the dash.
    I have one, the same model now, but I never got a motor into it as the previous owner had pulled the Caddy mill to drop into a model "A".
    I've been stubborn and haven't put a Chevy in mine cause I'd rather use a caddy motor that would drop in nice and easy. If you were to go this route, I'd suggest looking for a 59-62(?) Caddy 390. One of these motors are physically identical and should drop right in with the benefits of bigger cubes and higher horsepower. I've run across several of these motors quite cheap, but always at bad times, hence my engine bay still being empty. If you want to see mine it has its own photo album on my profile. (it's rough) Your car looks like a dream though... The kind of car that Dagmar Laden Cadillac dreams are made of...
  27. Fuel to burn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2009
    Posts: 279

    Fuel to burn

    As safety officer I gotta say-
    Those safety glasses don't do any good on top of your head! But very smart move using the respirator when cleaning it out.
    The car is outstanding, great score!
  28. Sixshooter44
    Joined: Oct 2, 2009
    Posts: 25

    from Chicago

    Love it! I have a 50 caddy with a 350 sbc. Run what ever makes you happy and if anyone gives you shit tell them to get fucked.
  29. robertsregal
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 743


    looks like a solid car, I like it!!!
  30. Caddy-O
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,645

    Member're a lot cleaner than I am when I pull an engine....I'm usually a whole lot greasier

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