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Hot Rods Your first engine swap - Remember when?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 1,763


    1969. I was 15. My 1st car, a '61 Falcon with factory bucket seats and console. Horrible beat up thing! My Uncle said if I could get it home I could have it. Dad and I shoehorned a '57 312 Y-block into it. 1st ran an automatic with 4.11 9" rear, then switched to 3 spd w/ OD. Took a lot of cutting and welding to spring towers etc to make room for the engine.

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  2. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,350

    from Oregon

    Boy do I ever remember my first engine swap! I was 18 yrs. old, and the engine in my '40 Chev coupe had a cracked block. Perfect time to swap in a SBC I figured! But low on funds, my choices were few. Then one day my buddy's dad rolled his '59 Chrysler Imperial with a 413 engine, and my buddy calls to tell me he's got the "perfect engine".
    I ended up buying the whole car for $150, and my buddy and I proceeded to drop the 413, torqueflite, and rear axle all into my '40 Chev coupe! We were both not new to cars, or mechanical work, but never done any engine changes other than stock for stock. Of course we were also full of ourselves, and figured "it can't be that tough"?
    We got the engine/trans into the frame in one day, and fabricated motor and trans mounts pretty easily. The Chrysler used a strange round cup type mount, and it happened to match up well with the frame width. The trans took longer to fab a crossmember than the engine. The rear axle took another full day to install and make mounts. We cut down a driveline ourselves, and welded it back together. All this was done with an old 220 a. stick welder I owned, and not the prettiest welds I'd ever seen!
    The poor front springs on the I beam axle had almost no travel left in them with the weight of the big 413, and we split the spring pack and added some old leafs to give it some help. The rear sat up too high, and we also had to relocate it back by drilling a hole in the axle perch forward, to locate the axle back.
    Somehow we got it all done in less than a week, and the following Monday I was driving it to high school! Thought I had sort of a sleeper, and would surprise my friends that afternoon, but by the end of the day seems everyone knew what we'd done, so word traveled quickly. I did a big smokey one wheel burnout leaving school that afternoon, so in our book it was a success!
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  3. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,618


    430 MEL into a 55 Ford , 1965 I was just turning 15.

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  4. I'd pulled and rebuilt engines before, but my first and only swap was in my 55 about 12-13 years ago. SBC to SBC so it was pretty easy.
  5. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 1,056

    3W JOHN

    I was thirteen and building my touring T i was the youngest member of the Philadelphia Modifiers and they helped me a lot.
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  6. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,614

    Rusty O'Toole

    Olds 371 and Hydramatic in a Willys when I was in high school.
    ladyhrp, dana barlow, 3W JOHN and 2 others like this.
  7. Model A Vette
    Joined: Mar 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,072

    Model A Vette

    First real swap was a 350 into the rear of my '65 Corvair including changing from a pg to a 3 speed in 1971.
    A few replacement jobs before that.
    OT swap of 327 into a '72 Vega wagon in 1978.
    Spare time (for years!) trying to complete 4.3 V6 into the rear of '66 Corvair. I hope to finish it by next summer!
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  8. 41hemi
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 987


    In 1972(the year I graduated high school) I pulled the original engine, transmission, and rear out of my 1951 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup. Went to the salvage yard and bought a 1967 327/275hp for 250.00. Went to another yard and bought a Muncie 4 speed out of a 67 GTO. At this point I mounted the engine/trans combo in the truck using angle iron bolted to the front crossmember to use the 55-57 Chevy front biscuit mounts. Used a 55-57 cast iron bellhousing and bolted those mounts to pieces I bolted to the frame. Made up clutch linkage using the original pedals. For the rear I found a 1955 Chevy truck center section would bolt into the original housing that used the closed driveshaft. Only thing I had to weld the hinges shut where the housing floated on the springs. It was such a great feeling of accomplishment for me at the age if 18. The engine ended up in most of my other earlier cars. I still have the engine under my workbench to this day. Maybe I should put it in the next project. Here is a picture of the truck and my 41 Chevy that was taken in 1973.

    Attached Files:

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    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 366


    About 1970 I had a 56 Ford 1/2 ton short bed pickup that was really getting long in the tooth. Ol Red we called it. Had holes in the floor boards you could toss a cat through. Any way I did a little trading and with some help from a pal we took the drive train from a 1958 Edsel. E460 engine, auto transmission, radiator and rear end. It was a bit short getting started but once you got a fire built in it the rig would go on. Brakes is a whole story by itself. By any measure Ol Red was crude beyond belief.
  10. slim38
    Joined: Dec 27, 2015
    Posts: 516

    from Sudan TX
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    I did many with my dad and when i turned 13 he said its time for you to do one all by yourself . I pulled a 350 out of a Apache pickup and put it in a square body. It ran on propane and i went back with gasoline. It ran like crap but ill never forget it.
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  11. speedshifter
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 312


    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  12. speedshifter
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 312


    My friend, Ken, while in the Navy in southern CA, purchased a '40 Ford coupe sitting along the curb. It had a rolled and pleated interior, chromed garnish moldings and dash, and a cracked block flathead engine. Ken and his buddies did all the following while the Ford was still on the street. With a chain and a 2x12 wood beam, they removed the flathead and installed a 283 Chev with an adapter plate purchased from Louie Shells Speed Shop. They got it running for the first time, no exhaust and no front end sheet metal. Ken hopped in a squealed off, (remember that term?) He slammed it into second and blew the transmission into a million pieces. Back to the curb again for more repairs. Greg
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  13. RT468
    Joined: Apr 7, 2019
    Posts: 72


    Mine was a 283 in to an OT Chevy Luv truck. Only mention because the engine was around a 60 model. Isuzu motor took a dump,couple of 283s on the floor so why not. Never made it to the road. Sounded good sitting there with open manifolds even with what was probably a stock cam. I was too young to have cash for my own project and it was what was on hand in the garage. Thankfully the FI 302 Chevy was sold a few years before I got to tinkering. Kept me from doing other dumb stuff I'd have done at that age.
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  14. jaxx
    Joined: Mar 22, 2008
    Posts: 401


    big block 440 mopar with fuel inj. into a 37 ford coupe and a 260 v8 into my 61 falcon - 1968 - one was easy one was not -- jaxx
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  15. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,678


    Yep. Recall it like yesterday. My buddy had '65 Ford PU with a dead 352, his dad gave him a early 70's? I guess, LTD with a 390 in it. We swapped with both. my dad knew the guy who ran the 76 station up town, never could get the 390 to light off. He called his uncle, came over and that's when I learned how to file points and set the gap.

    Mid to late 70's, good times!
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  16. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,885


    My informal automotive education started as a kid on a bicycle helping local dirt track racers. I was involved with helping a lot of different racers swap motors, transmissions, and a lot of other stuff before I ever got into high school.

    Once in high school, I was able to enroll in "Introduction to Auto Mechanics" (shop class). The 1st assignment you had to complete before you were allowed out in the shop was to replace points and condenser on a Mopar flathead 6 and set the timing with a test light. I passed that hurdle 3 days into shop class. that "earned" me the right to help others in my class to learn how to do it as well, according to the shop teacher. I was able to go into the shop where the teacher assigned me to assist guys in the "advanced classes" work on their projects.

    One of those guys I worked with was changing the motor in his VW bug, but it wasn't a VW motor he was installing, it was a motor out of a Porsche. I helped him get it installed and helped him get it running. I heard a lot of stories about that little bug over the years, it ran pretty well, and surprised a lot of guys with how quick it was.

    After my boss at the gas station heard about some of the swaps I'd been involved with in shop class, he had me do a few engine and transmission swaps for customer cars.

    After high school, I rented a garage and built a lot of dirt track cars, and made money to support the race car by swapping motors and transmissions for others. There was a lot of cross beading that went on during those days. Gene
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  17. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,696


    1967 My mothers Mercury
  18. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 550

    from Sparks, NV

    My first swap was a 283 into a 1941 Mercury Coupe in 1963. The Chevy fit like it was made for it with an adapter to a ‘39 Ford trans. Ran great until the trans was not up to teenage driving.
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  19. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,824


    59 ford with a yblock 292 I built a 352 FE and replaced the 292. This was my first top to bottom rebuild for a car I owned.
  20. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,786


    1966. 390-335,4 spd into 57 ford that had a Y block. Not really a swap cause it was a bolt in.
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  21. lets see.... 1957 and couldn't afford a go kart. So took engine out of old lawnmower I used to mow lawns with for 75 cents ea, and made a wooden go kart out of it..........not fast but a learning experience. Humm it was a flathead also.......
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  22. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,126

    Pete Eastwood
    from california

    1969 , 17 years old , I bought a '56 Ford sedan delivery with no engine or trans for $80 .
    A buddy's mom totaled her '63 Galaxy , so I bought it for $200 .
    Swapped the 390 & auto , & the crossflow radiator into the '56 .
    Then I added a pair of '64 Impala bucket seats , & chrome wheels lowered it .
    Two tone primer too !

    my 56 ford 1.jpg
  23. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 7,984

    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    55 Chevy pu in 1970. Swapped in a 455 Olds with a 400 turbo. It was an ass kicker with the stock pu rearend, was really quick.
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  24. HarryT
    Joined: Nov 7, 2006
    Posts: 660


    In 1959 I was 17 and with help from my Dad I put a '56 Chev 265 in my '50 Ford. Used an adapter from JC Whitney to adapt the Chev to the Ford transmission. I believe the motor mounts also were from JC Whitney. The first time I ran the engine I remember the points didn't last long because I hadn't installed a ballast resistor. Live and learn.
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  25. ladyhrp
    Joined: Mar 16, 2007
    Posts: 220


    My first time was helping Danny put a rebuilt engine in my 1966 Mstang

    My parents lived on main street and my Mustang was parked in the front yard a man driving too fast in a 1963 Ford station wagon ran off the side of the road an hit a small pole with a business sign next door to out house and catapulted the wagon up in the air and landed on my Mustang

    That was just a few days after we installed the engine.
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  26. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,259


    IMG_0928.JPG The first engine swap I was totally involved in was 55 Buick Special originally a 264 with a 3 speed column shift. As teenagers we swapped a 1968 Buick Roadmaster 364 C.I. Nailhead and a 37 big Buick transmission into it. Ran pretty good for what it was, it was no slouch.

    As 16-17 year old kids we built a 36 Ford drag car in my Grandpa's garage. Swapped several flatheads in that car and eventually a 327 SBC. I'll never forget Grandpa saying "you kids are crazy you spend hundreds of dollars to win a 59 cent trophy". I'm the skinny kid in the middle.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  27. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,162

    from Minnesota

    1974. Tired 396 replaced a tired 6 cyl in a '55 Chevy. Was great going in a straight line. Cornering was a challenge and it had marginal brakes. Used the original 3-speed. Learned the law of the weakest link.
    ladyhrp, j-jock, OahuEli and 4 others like this.
  28. Your picture reminded me that I had some pictures of my swap into the Cameo. The third engine I swapped into my Cameo, took place at Laredo AFB, Texas in 1970, and it was a 350 hp 396 with an M-21, Hone-O-drive, and a 57 posi rear end.
    The pictures are lousy, but I thought you would appreciate the picture part way through a 4500 mile holiday to Arizona and Nevada later that year.
    The swap was done in my carport, which really impressed all the colonels living on my street on base. (not in a good way :) )
    The Grand Canyon picture was taken at a time when we camped right along the rim of the canyon. It was a memorable trip.
    I attempted to post a couple of pictures, but I keep getting a file too large error, even though the pictures are only 300K. I shrunk the pictures from a larger file in the JPG format. confirmed the size , and don't know what is wrong.
    ladyhrp, dana barlow, Fordors and 2 others like this.
  29. Grand Canyon_1971_sm2.png
    I successfully converted this one, and will keep working on the others.
  30. I was around 10, helped the guys across the street attempt to put a Caddy engine into a very nice '56 Olds ragtop. Well... they failed and the car was junked, I got hell for getting my good jacket greasy as hell. BUT... I learned something of what not to do. They really had no clue, starter was on the opposite side IIRC, they were clueless with regards to the engine mounts.
    ladyhrp, j-jock, dana barlow and 2 others like this.

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