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New here, but not to wrenching on Chevies

Discussion in 'New to the H.A.M.B.? Introduce yourself here!' started by davy g., Feb 16, 2015.

  1. davy g.
    Joined: Feb 16, 2015
    Posts: 4

    davy g.

    I got my start in 1968 after returning from a SE Asia tour for my uncle Sam. I needed wheels to enjoy my next 6 months of shore duty at a Naval Air Station. I barely had 2 nickels to rub together on an E2's pay so something new was out of the question. That part of Georgia was what was known as 'dry' as far as alcohol was concerned. So no drinking away my measly paycheck...actually we got paid in newly minted greenbacks fresh off the press.

    I had spent the last 6 months reading and re-reading Chevy catalogs from Nickey and Motion Performance. And dreaming of learning how to service my own wheels. The search went out. Not a whole lot to choose from. The 1st was a cherry red '40 Ford with a 389 Pontiac engine...coupled to a Lincoln gearbox and the OEM rest of the drivetrain. I found out that the owner had scattered quite a few transmissions not even trying. But the curvy styling of that Ford was something I could be proud to own. The 2nd was what I ultimately bought. A 1957 Chevy Nomad station wagon with the 283 engine and slushbox trans in pieces behind the rear seat. So with the $$$ I saved from my regular pay plus combat pay and flight deck pay, I bought the 396 and Muncie trans from a recently wrecked Chevelle. Another sailor who owned a '61 Vette volunteered to teach me the ins and outs of rebuilding an engine. It didn't hurt that his father worked for TRW and got parts at cost! Thinking back, he pretty much used the Catholic nun and her 'quick smack of the ruler' approach to teaching. But he was awful patient with this newbie. The Ford guy often threw screwdrivers against the Quonset hut walls. So I ended up choosing the car by who I thought was the better teacher. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different enjoying that '40 Ford. BTW, he claimed to have won the 1960 D-stock NHRA championship but I've never been able to verify it. Although another sailor claimed to see the 6-7-8' tall trophy sitting atop his hood one Saturday night at the local Stewarts Drive-in someplace in northern NJ.

    Not wanting some slow poke daily driver, I decided to install a L-88 solid lifter cam, Edelbrock hi-rise intake and a Holley 3 barrel carb. Scavenging the fumes were Bill Thomas headers and Corvair turbo mufflers. Shifting was done by a Hurst Competition Plus unit. A Super Sun tach clamped to the steering column rounded things out. I must have made 10 trips to the local Chevy dealership's parts counter for every one to the speed shop. I don't think it's that way these days.

    I took it to the local dragstrip and turned consistent 12.5 flat times shifting at 72oo rpms. That strip wasn't modern enough to have top speed lights but some of the other racers clocked aside me claimed 110 mph going through the traps. I was having fun! But not winning all that often. Seems 2 other sailors who recently returned from sea duty each bought themselves matching '70 454 4 speed Chevelles. One blue, the other red and both with white SS stripes. They never trounced me by a wide margin but still beat me to the end of the 1320 line. My only saving grace was when they blew their clutches; and they did so often. And always replaced under warranty. My OEM diaphragm clutch never grenaded but sometimes stuck to the floor when I neglected to heed the 7200 rpm shift limit. That problem got cured months later with the addition of a Schiefer Rev-Loc unit.

    I've been building small and big block gen 1 Chevy engines ever since. Searching the interweb for answers quite often turns up this site at the top of Google search engine. So you guys must be doing something right.

    Does the above qualify as a good enough intro to join this group? I hope so because I'm stumped for an answer someone here must have experience with.
  2. sawbuck
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,767

    from 06492 ct

    welcome,and thanks for serving
  3. FlamedChevy
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 684


    Welcome and Thank You for your service.

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