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Suggestions needed for a 60's drag Chevy bubbletop

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Donaz, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Donaz
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 20

    Donaz
    Member
    from Phoenix

    I receintly picked up a 61 Bel Air that I want to do a vintage 60's drag style build with more than likely a small block. Car currently has a 454 w/T350auto but that's just doesn't seem right for the period. 1st choice would be for 348-409 dual quad set up but I think that may be out of the budget. I haven't searched prices for a 348-409 and never owned one so I don't know what I'd be into a complete motor top to bottom for. I'm thinking it would be considerably more that a small block or even a 454. Any feedback on ballpark prices for a good reliable used W motor or what a rebuild would run would give me something to consider. 3 grand is doable, 7 grand is not. I found a locked up complete ( no intake,carbs,dist.) 348 here in Phoenix for $1700 but just kept a mental note of it.

    Either big block (348/409) or smallblock, I"m thinking multiple carbs along with fenderwell headers or at least chassis headers with side exit cutouts.
    I'd need to find a source for the fenderwells for starters either way.

    Looking forward to your suggestions.

    Don


    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,113

    squirrel
    Member

    heh...I have that same car, but mine is still a basketcase. My plan is a late 60s type build, with a solid cam big port 11:1 427, Muncie, early Lakewood scattershield, posi 4.88 rear, big chassis headers, etc. I have just about all the parts, I need to finish fixing the floor, etc. Bodywork always slows me down.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,518

    Mike
    Member

    W-blocks are bitchin' as hell, but they get pretty expensive. Not too long ago I swapped a 425 hp dual quad 409 and 4 speed into my fomerly 327/powerglide '63 Impala. The machine work and internals ran just over $5000.00, that does not include the cost of the '65 truck engine and the factory 425 hp heads and intake that I started with. I opted to get everything inside new except for the crank and the rods. Morrison Machine in Glendale did the work. I don't feel that they overcharged me at all, 409s are just bloody expensive.

    If you do go with a W-block, Morrison Machine is the place to go.
     
  4. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,729

    GassersGarage
    Member

    There was a project car in one of the magazines (Car Craft?) a long time ago. He ran a 283 and 4 speed. Here's the car. You might try "Gasser Madness" for ideas. If you look under visitor's rides, he gives an e-mail address if you have any questions.
    tin_can_63_biscayne.jpg
     

  5. TheRookie
    Joined: Aug 9, 2007
    Posts: 137

    TheRookie
    Member
    from Sparks NV

    This has to be one of my favorite pics!(prob borrowed from here) The stance and the over all feel is just perfect.
     

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  6. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    fab32
    Member Emeritus

    I've been on the lookout for a '61 Biscayne 2dr sedan for awhile. If I can find one that I can afford it will get my L-88/Doug Nash 5spd/4.56 drive train and the hood WILL remain closed. Should be fun at the stoplights.

    Frank
     
  7. LOWDOWN2
    Joined: Jul 13, 2009
    Posts: 135

    LOWDOWN2
    Member
    from Ontario

    Here are a couple of "period" photos...'61-'62 saw Dyno Don Nicholson, Dave Strickler, Hayden Proffitt, and Dick Harrell being pretty successful with 409s.

    Typical stance would be with the front raised an inch or two for immediate weight transfer as the tires of the day left a lil to be desired for "gription".

    Driveline: Your car, your budget...you pick. No wrong answer. Great looking starting point! Good Luck!

    Some of my misspent youth was in the shotgun seat of a Black '61 Bel Air bubble with 327-300/4-speed upgrade, that sat nose-high...just like these. Memories...
     

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    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  8. Donaz
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 20

    Donaz
    Member
    from Phoenix

    Thanks guys. That white 63 Biscayne magazine project car (pretty sure Chevy Rumble) is my inspiration for my build. Good thing I saved all my old issues for reference.(Loved that magazine, too bad they went belly up). I have to find a set of those headers they used with the side cutouts. I think the ball joint spacers are still being produced. Nose up is a must. Gotta have cheater slicks and skinnies up front with some vintage gray 5 spokes too. Chrome Sun tach. Moon gas pedal. Not sure how it would look without a front bumper though. Can't recall seeing one that way.



    Anyway I'm going to have to start working on my want list for this build along with the 1st task of knocking down the 4x4 stance the car has now.

    Keep the ideas coming

    This is going to be a fun project.
     
  9. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,729

    GassersGarage
    Member

    I inadvertently went for the same look with my '65 Biscayne. When I got the car, it had 2" dropped springs all around with a 283 and 3 speed. I dropped in a 500 hp 454 and Richmond 6 speed and replaced the dropped springs in front with stock springs because of the weight of the big block. I liked the looks and kept it that way.
    DSC00043.jpg
     
  10. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,015

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    Don't drop it much if you are going for the early to mid 60's drag car look.
    You might drop it 2 inches in the back, but the front needs to come up an inch or two.
    These cars at that time ran about stock height in the rear and either 2, 3, or 4 spring spacers up front.
     
  11. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I'll be watching for that one, sounds very cool. Needs a grump lump and some lace!
     
  12. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    nice!
     
  13. [​IMG]

    glad to hear there are a few of us with the same direction on these!
     
  14. hotrodscott2003
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 386

    hotrodscott2003
    Member

    Here's mine...just getting started. When I can afford to do it, the 'smoothie' wheels are leaving.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,094

    bobwop
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    personally, I would change the wheels/tires and possibly change the look under the hood...make it look like a 396 or 427 and ditch the electric fans. Then drive the crap out of it.

    W motors are not cheap. If you want the wail on it, then beat it with the current powertrain, then switch to something after this engine is junk.

    You will easily burn up $10k to get a built 409 with headers and proper transmission, etc.

    but just think of the fun you can have in the meantime!
     
  16. magneto57
    Joined: Feb 20, 2012
    Posts: 125

    magneto57
    Member

    Go 348/409...............!!
     
  17. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,471

    Torkwrench
    Member

    Is the 348 a high perf. engine? Tri power engine? If not, $1700 for a locked up 348 sounds VERY high priced. Especially, if it is missing the intake, dist, and carbs. Even if it's a H.P. 348, it still sounds high for a stuck engine.

    $7000 for building a 348 might be a little on the low side, though. Mine cost about that much in 1999. However it was completely gone through, with Venolia pistons, hardened valve seats, balanced, etc.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  18. allthough i think a W engine would be cool
    i agree with bobwop you got a nice 61 as is alot of guys would kill for the engine/trans combo you have its not that hard or expensive to make a big block chevy look older then it is
     
  19. Wedge engines are one of the purdiest chevy puts out , stick with that and lose the rallyes and caps, ... go with matching color big and little OEMs with dog dishes .... X frames look so damn cool on launch keep us posted what your up to
     
  20. Rocky Famoso
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,000

    Rocky Famoso
    BANNED

    Good lookin' car you got there. I'd keep what ya' got in it, make the mill look like a '65
    Mark IV 396 big block. Go with the fenderwell headers and multi carbs.Change the wheels
    to something period correct, and drop it down a little bit in the back. Maybe make a
    louvered cover to go between the radiator and the grill, to cover up the electric fans.
    ...
     
  21. Looking for suggestions? Wanting to be period correct? Keep costs down? How about a Pontiac? The 389s in their day were a terror and more than one chev had a Poncho dropped between the fenders.
    If you would consider this, I will give you a '61 389 builder engine. How is that for being period correct and keeping costs down?
    hmmmm
     
  22. Donaz
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 20

    Donaz
    Member
    from Phoenix

    The feedback is really welcomed and the pics of all the 61's are cool too. I mentioned I haven't seen a 61 without a front bumper and wallaa! there you go. That was cool Belairbubble. Torkwrench, your 348 looks perfect too.

    This project is not going to happen overnight considering all the options out there. The easiest thing to do is make the 454 look like a 427 with period correct goodies. I still want my white fenderwell headers so that is going to be high up on the to do list. The search begins for those babies. Hope they turn up without any extraordinary effort.

    What do you guys think would be period correct for induction for a 60's 427?
    Did they have aftermarket aluminum intakes for big blocks at that time?
    Would a single Holley be correct or something less common?

    Time to work up my list.
     
  23. If you go aluminum on the intake then just grind off all the cast lettering and paint it orange, no problem
     
  24. Rocky Famoso
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,000

    Rocky Famoso
    BANNED

  25. Donaz
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 20

    Donaz
    Member
    from Phoenix

    Hmmmm is right. How 'bout I take you up on your offer as soon as I find a sweet Catalina or Ventura! I'd do it in a heartbeat ( no pun intended).
    I'd have too much 'spainin' to do at the Pavillions on Saturday otherwise.<label for="rb_iconid_7">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_11">[​IMG]</label>
     
  26. Donaz
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 20

    Donaz
    Member
    from Phoenix

    that just about says it all doesn't it NICE
     
  27. LOWDOWN2
    Joined: Jul 13, 2009
    Posts: 135

    LOWDOWN2
    Member
    from Ontario

    The most common Big Block performance versions were 1965-70 396-375hp (L78), and 1966-69 427-425hp (L72) that came with factory alum. hi-rise and Holley 4-bbl with a round open-element air cleaner. The 427-435hp (L71) Vette engine had the 3-2s, as above, on an alum. low-rise intake with an open-element triagular air cleaner. All those engines listed had solid lifter cams with about .510-.520" lift iirc. Rocker covers were either plain Chevy Orange (as above), or the same design - chromed. Air cleaner lids were chromed.

    Depending on the exact year you're aiming for, white-painted 'wagon wheels or chrome reverse (to about '63-64) or grey Torq Thrust Americans, or Cragar SS (about '64) were the popular choices. Dog dishes were generally tossed for "Baby Moons"...

    FYI: Another friend of mine, mid-'60s, had a '61 Canadian Pontiac Parisienne Convert with 348 3-2s redone to 335hp Chev specs and a stick...strong car for something the same size/weight as an Impala Convert (Canadian Pontiacs were built on/powered by Chev frames/driveline). Also nose-high, tail-down...
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  28. LOWDOWN2
    Joined: Jul 13, 2009
    Posts: 135

    LOWDOWN2
    Member
    from Ontario

    L78 396-375hp, "dressed" with Factory "beauty"...
     

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  29. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    IIRC, That was a series of articles in "Chevy Rumble" called the "Tuna Can" project, about ten years back. I actually kind of liked the car, looked like a lot of the cars that were around here in the late sixties.
     
  30. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,687

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    I didn't realize before I'd posted in your intro. My thoughts:


    -Dave
     

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