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Projects Plan II - 62 Chevy II Drag Car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by squirrel, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    As a few of you know, I competed in Hot Rod magazine's Drag Week adventure this year. I got second place in the Gasser-AF/X class with my 55 chevy.

    [​IMG]

    It was a lot of fun, but my car was kind of slow...the winning 55 was running low-mid tens, my best run was 11.19. So, to stay competitive, I decided I need to up my game a bit. (although I know the other guys will do the same, so I'll still be too slow!) There are a few ways to do this, such as make more power, get the car to launch better, remove weight, etc. I decided I should do the weight loss thing...which really means, build a different car. My 55 is a nice car, but it was built for driving, not racing, so it has all kinds of heavy things in it that really don't belong in a race car.

    After talking it over with my copilot Dan on the way home from Drag Week, I decided I need to build an early Chevy II. I looked around for a while, and finally found a 62 2 door sedan, in rough, incomplete condition, for $500. It was pretty much on it's way to the crusher if I didn't buy it.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks to good friends, I found some parts in nearby Bisbee to fill in most of the missing stuff....hood, fenders, good used windshield, trunk lid, lights, etc.

    Now that I had something to build, I had to decide how to build it. There are a lot of conflicting requirements, and I have to find a middle road that will get the performance I want, and actually get it done. First, the performance goal is low ten second ETs. Then there's drive-ability...it has to be a car I can get in and drive several hundred miles every day for a week, and make it down a drag strip every day. It has to be able to deal with crappy weather, and crappy roads, etc. Then there are the real world concerns, like money. There's only so much, so I have to make it go as far as I can. Then there are the aesthetics....the car is being built to meet a set of rules for a racing event

    http://www.hotrod.com/dragweek/1308_2013_hot_rod_drag_week_rules/

    but I have my own standards of how I want it to look. My plan is to make it a pretty legit looking match race car from the mid 60s, not quite legal for any of the classes (AF/X, Gasser, MP, etc) but close enough that you can tell it's an old drag car just by looking at it.

    Follow along as I figure all this out, I'm probably going to need some help.
     
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  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    First thing was to get the car back into a solid body shell, so I could make the racing modifications. The right quarter was just tacked in place, and it was pretty obvious that whoever worked on it didn't have much of a clue. It's a hardtop quarter, on a sedan...but they cut off way too much of the original quarter panel. Here is the corner of the car after removing the quarter

    [​IMG]

    There was some damage to the trunk floor and the rear subframe. They cut off the corner of the trunk, although it was still attached to the leaf spring. Very strange. I cut off part of the frame rail, straightened it out, and welded it back togther. I filled in some missing pieces.

    [​IMG]

    Then I put the quarter back on. The trunk lid and door almost fit...fortunately it's a race car, not a show car, so precision gaps aren't too important.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    Once the quarter panel was back on the car, I started on the front floor pans. I got some new parts from Sherman...US made.

    [​IMG]

    First I cut the old floor out, leaving a little extra around the edge for further trimming. The front subframe was welded to the floor, this is pretty much what holds the car together.

    I plan to run a TH400, because I know how to make them live behind a blown big block...and I have a few laying around. The original powerglide trans was half a foot shorter than the 400, so I had to move the trans mount back, and enlarge the trans tunnel. I decided to re use the original crossmember, because it's a nice strong lightweight design, and it was already there, so it was free. I discovered I could move the crossmember mounts back about 4" by just removing the spot welds, sliding it back, and re welding it.

    [​IMG]

    The new floor pan tacked in

    [​IMG]

    I did the same on the driver side, but I had to add some new metal at the bottom of the firewall, to get rid of all the rust.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    Moving on to the front of the car, I had to do something with the front suspension. The original suspension is mounted on a bolt on clip...which is actually several parts that bolt together. The sides consist of a frame rail, with inner fender panels, and the control arm and spring supports. There are a few crossmembers and other such parts bolted on to the side assemblies. I liked the look of the original frame rails hiding under all that crap...they are strong, light, and I already own them. So instead of making or buying new front frame rails, I decided to just use the originals. First I removed the original suspension, then I cut all the old stuff off.

    I decided to use a straight axle kit from Speedway. I could have spent some more time and figured out how to piece something together...but I doubt it would really improve the car, or save much money. I did spend some extra money to get the willwood brakes, because I don't really want to try to stop with 9" discs, and the weight savings will help performance.

    The first mock up of the leaf spring on the frame rail.

    [​IMG]

    I decided to put the springs at the outer edge of the frame rail. I also decided to put the rear hangar at the back of the frame rail. The shackle ended up right at the front. The axle should end up right around four inches forward of the original location, once the weight is all on the springs and they flatten out.

    With the parts assembled, the car is sitting on the front suspension...so it's time to drop a motor in there and see how it looks.

    [​IMG]

    I jiggled things around to get the engine just ahead of the firewall, with enough room to get to things and allow the throttle linkage to fit, etc. I levelled the carb base and transmission pan to the rocker panels, and centered the crank and trans tail so they have the original offset of 11/16" to the passenger side. When I decided it all looked good, I made the mounts. They are pretty simple, just a tube and some strap. I used an NOS rubber GM mount for the passenger side, and an old solid mount for the driver side. The trans mount is rubber.

    The Centerline wheels are the only rollers I had laying around...don't worry, they'll be replaced one of these days....

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
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  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    I spent some time cutting bracing out of parts...the trunk lid inner bracing, door inner panels, hood inner bracing, front fender rear bracing. I'm doing this to reduce weight. I could just buy some fiberglass parts, but they cost money. Besides, I'm trying to make the car just like many guys did way back when...labor was "free", so removing weight this way was "free horsepower". The fun part is figuring out how to make the parts sturdy enough to still work. I am going to put some tubing along the edges of the hood, and see if that stiffens it up enough. I'll also build a new radiator support, which will tie the front fenders and grille together. Of course, I also have to do all the necessary body work to make these 50 year old parts look decent again, after decades of abuse and neglect.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,530

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    this is going awesome build .suscribed
     
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  7. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 29,970

    loudbang
    Member

    Wow you move quick when you get the bit in your mouth.
     
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  8. jfreakofkorn
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 2,640

    jfreakofkorn
    Member

    another one being saved ( at least its not going to be a metal cube )

    i cant wait to see the end result ....

    those little chevylls, are awesome little cars =)
     
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  9. Model A John
    Joined: Apr 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,766

    Model A John
    Member
    from wichita ks

    You're off to good start. I'll be following this project.
     
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  10. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,881

    indyjps
    Member

    From the drag week coverage I've seen, lots of parts break, build it so you can tear it apart for service in a parking lot. Subscribed.
     
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  11. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,201

    slowmotion
    Member

    Man, you hit the ground runnin', great start! Can't wait to see this one progress.
     
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  12. Finn Jensen
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 633

    Finn Jensen
    Member

    Great project. (But nothing wrong with 11.19 in the 1/4. Wish I could get there.)

    Subscribed.
     
    els likes this.
  13. ...nice lil project, but that thing's almost cherry compared to midwest stuff.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
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  14. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,718

    Jimbo17
    Member

    Really cool project and your work in First Class.

    This will be an interesting build to follow along it.

    Best of luck. Jimbo
     
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  15. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,543

    AHotRod
    Member

    Go Jim Go !
     
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  16. II FUNNY
    Joined: Jul 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,834

    II FUNNY
    Member

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  17. I've been waiting on this thread, I look forward to the build and the end results.
     
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  18. Dreamweaver
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,016

    Dreamweaver
    Member

    Looks like a lot of fun. Are you going to alter the wheelbase any to get some of that bbc weight onto the tires?
     
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  19. young'n'poor
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,280

    young'n'poor
    Member

    Great start! I can't wait to see it in the drag week coverage. Do you already have an engine built for it?


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
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  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    thanks!

    I plan to move the rear wheels forward somewhere around 8 to 11 inches. I haven't decided yet....what do you think?

    I have a 427 mostly built.
     
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  21. richie rebel
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,184

    richie rebel
    Member

    my buddys from the pgh area with the black and blue laced roof 55 won the gasser class this year
     
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  22. jimmy1931
    Joined: Jan 13, 2012
    Posts: 728

    jimmy1931
    Member

    Looks great so far, Jim. Know it will be a bitchin car as is all your stuff!
     
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  23. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Really dig these kind of builds, Squirrel. One more lurker subscribed.
     
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  24. Subscribed. :D
     
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  25. II FUNNY
    Joined: Jul 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,834

    II FUNNY
    Member

    I think 10" looks the best, but it's going to need wheelie bars even foot braking it. I moved mine 8" and had an old pumpgas 454 and it only ran 12's on vintage pie crust slicks and it still did a small wheelie.i

    "MELTDOWN DRAGS"
    Vintage drag meet
    July 18,19,20 2014
     

    Attached Files:

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  26. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    That's kind of what I was afraid of....
     
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  27. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,543

    AHotRod
    Member

    Next thing is, you'll be fabricating a weight bar/box to hang on the front end to try and keep it on the ground.

    Best thing is to build/buy adjustable wheelie bars that you can attached with Grade 8 pit-pins so you can install and remove them quickly.
     
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  28. APACHE FS
    Joined: Feb 20, 2007
    Posts: 569

    APACHE FS
    Member

    Great start, can't wait to see how it turns out. Go get'em!


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
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  29. Not sure how far up Dan's rear is, but it sure does wheelies ! Here's a side photo to see the wheelbase change.


    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WjL57SCCP9Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
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  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,445

    squirrel
    Member

    fun!
     
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