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Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Do you remember your first engine swap, remember the car? what happened to it?

    My first engine swap was in a 1954 Ford because I blew up the inline 6, with a little help I installed a 390ci Ford engine in the car, It ran like Jack the Bear but it didn't stop as good as it went, I ended up rolling the car in the middle of main street when a elderly lady pull out from a side street and I swerved to keep from hitting her and hit a guide wire on a telephone pole and preformed a professional looking Joey Chittwood barrel roll which resulted in the trunk opening and tools being spread all over the road and ended up on it's roof.

    Not having seat belt's, I was cut up and bruised but fortunately didn't break any bones. HRP
    LOU WELLS, scotty t, Hnstray and 3 others like this.
  2. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,661


    In high school a friend and I put a 276 Desoto Hemi and pushbutton Powerflite in a '53 Ford pickup. Stick welded a couple driveshafts together, and also welded a couple wheel centers onto wider rims for the rear. Spray painted it in the farmyard with black machinery enamel, and drove it live we stole it. It shook a little at speed, but was a fun old truck.
    HOTRODPRIMER, Driver50x and scotty t like this.
  3. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,377


    My first wasn't all that fancy, I had a 63 Fairlane with over 100K miles on the 260 V8, a guy at work got a later 289 to rebuild, not knowing very much I didn't have the block bored (and it had a ring ridge:), I cut the ring ridge out, new rings and bearings, I put in new valves (a friend was at retired Army so he took me along to the White Sands military site near Las Cruces NM) and ground my own seats. a new cam and lifters and put it together in my car port. Can't remember what I used (Maybe a swing set) to pull the one motor but as I set the 289 into place the motor mounts didn't match. Somehow I had a little scrap steel and I made it fit, the transmission pattern didn't match the new bellhousing (different style of block) so a friend at work drilled mounting holes to match, I stuck bolts in from inside of the bell housing to bolt it up, Later a top loader four speed went in to replace the three speed. I should have put push rod guides in, so I got pretty good at pulling a head and replacing the valve that had worn sideways:) I had more guts than sense:)
    MO54Frank and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  4. First one was pulling the flathead out of a buddys '53 Merc and dropping in a Y-block when we were Juniors in High School. Turned it into a fast car; after Rich went into the Navy his dad drove it once, scared himself and sold it...
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.

  5. First engine swap was my 41 Merc. pulled the old flathead and swapped in a 50 Merc with Offy heads . Later traded the 41 for 125 bucks and a 50 Merc ragtop .
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  6. First series 1955 Chevy Panel Truck . In 1972 I replaced the 235 six with a 283 V8. The truck was open driveline from the factory which helped considerably. The entire job was done on an apartment parking lot. No welds, all drilled and bolted mounts, etc.. I ran an extension cord out the bedroom window. Dual exhaust was straight pipe with mufflers, heated and bent with an oxy acetylene torch after hours at work (nearly got fired when the night shift Foreman caught me). Went back and did it right when I bought a house in 1976. Still have the truck, going through a long slow rework.
  7. First swap that I did on my own was a 327 in place of a well worn 283 in a '63 Impala. Not much of a swap. I did end up owning my first 283 to freshen for something else.

    after that I shoved a 235 in a 40 Chebby coupe, then when I had the 283 freshened (no bore just fresh rings and inserts) I swapped the 283 into the coupe. Junk yard 3 speed and rear from a tri five car.
    LOU WELLS and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  8. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 523

    from Sparks, NV

    My first swap was a 283 into a ‘41 Merc Coupe. Ran great, unfortunately the Ford trans wasn’t up to the abuse from a 16 year old driver. Sold it, less engine, and never saw it again. I had no idea how rare the coupe with opera seats in the back was - less than 1500 made.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  9. Damn I was supposed to tell where the coupe went. The Impala just rolled into the night with its owner.

    The Chevy coupe went the way of a lot of my old cars. It became rent and groceries for a 15 year old Benno. Wish I had kept it but life as usual got in the way.
  10. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,728

    Atwater Mike

    After many flathead replacements (and actual 'builds') my first 'swap' was at age 16, on my channeled 'A' Coupe I had built for a friend. Al was in the Navy, 1 year to 11 month cruise was to be his last 'sortie', on the U.S.ship Los Angeles heavy cruiser.
    Al sold me the Coupe for $1, so I had something to drive to and from high school.
    The year was 1958. The 276 flathead was 'tired', many 'fast' miles since building it. Santa Clara auto wreckers sold me a low mileage '56 Chevy 265 for $60, if I pulled it from the rear ended '56 4 door.
    Cragar adapter, Chevy stick flywheel, '50 Merc clutch disc & pressure plate. Copied a Hurst front mount, then trimmed away everything that looked 'too magazine-ish'.
    12 volt system change consisted of headlamps, taillight bulbs, and wire re-route. Plugged one each radiator hose nipples on radiator, stock Chev fan with cut down blades, modified spoon pedal. Pounded a piece of a '46 Ford rear fender for a distributor 'pocket' at firewall.
    Was amazed at how the Chevy slipped in easier than another flathead!
    Guys at school thought I was a genius. Flathead on Friday, Chevy on Tuesday! (Truth were known, I had everything collected before swinging it...relied on the Hot Rod Magazine swap they did on Bob Greene's '41 Ford pickup.)
    Maybe 'daring'...Lincoln High was 16 miles from home. (a hot rod group of us had quit Santa Clara High to go to Lincoln, as we would get bussed to San Jose Tech, where we took advanced courses in Auto, Metal, and Machine Shops. I had 2 periods a day in the shops...)
    Budget36, chasmalo, Papas32 and 5 others like this.
  11. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,788


    Mine was a 352 FE into my 59 ford convertible replacing the tired 292 Y block.
    chasmalo and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  12. I did my very first engine swap at 12or 13, it was in my Ruttman(?) mini bike. I found an big 'ol Tecumseh engine in the barn at my grand dads place...had to be 5 or 6HP... double what the bike was designed for I am sure...
    Then when I was 14 or 15 I grafted a 125cc two stroke motorcycle engine to my go-cart, rigged up a clutch peddle and shifter and everything... it had terrible understeer and the braking was worse. After it was finished and I had "worked all the bugs out" I wanted to impress my dad with my handi-work and have him take it for a spin. When he finally got it stopped in front of the garage he just got up, looked at me, said "Nope", and started taking it apart...LOL
    A couple of years later I bought a Chevy Monza coupe... It came with a 4 cyl but it had a Saginaw 4 speed... I got to looking at it and realized that the motor mounts and bellhousing bolt pattern was the same as the 283 engine I had taken out of my wrecked field car... so, in it went... got my first speeding ticket in that car... and I had to give up a summers worth of free labor when I wrecked the fresh blacktop at the local service station trying to impress a girl...
  13. 31 Chopped Coupe
    Joined: Aug 24, 2014
    Posts: 104

    31 Chopped Coupe

    After helping on a couple of backyard swaps I decided to put a Buick odd-fire V-6 in a basket case 52 flatfender Jeep that I bought from an estate sale. I bought the engine from some guy that was more broke than I was for $100.00. It was taken apart but he swore it was all there. Yeah right, but after dumping mega bucks into it I finally got it running and drove the shit out of it for about six months
    until I got T-boned by a hit and run drunk driver. It took me about another year to get it going again and I am still driving it today. It still faithfully takes us into the mountains every time we need a camping fix. Learned a lot from that swap (like don't take shortcuts cause it only cost double to correct it). Now forty years later I see its starting to use a little oil so I'll probably get to rebuild it again so the grandkids can fight over who gets it.
  14. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,787


    Mine was a 54 Ford also. I replaced the 239 with a Merc 312 Y-block. WITH a 4 barrel carb. (NOT the teapot Ford 4 barrel.) Anywho..........would 'chirp em' really well/good in 2nd gear. Didn't put antifreeze in it one winter(prolly the coldest on record at the time for Upstate SC....64/65..popped out the freeze plugs...broke a up a cylinder...remember pretty well laying under the car trying to pound in the freeze plugs. COLD ground! Traded it off eventually for a 64 Falcon Sprint. (Wish I'da kept that one)
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  15. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,349


    Mine was putting a 430 MEL, that I completely rebuilt in my 55 Ford, with the help of my Dad. That was in 1965, right after that my Dad and I put a 312 in his 56 Ford pickup, replacing the 223 six.
    I had a lot of fun with that 55. It looked completely stock and was a four door, that my grandfather gave me. Kept the quite dual exhaust. Surprised a lot of folks.

  16. ididntdoit1960
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 1,016

    from Western MA

    Big Block in a '55 Chevy - I distinctly remember standing in the engine compartment swinging a large sledge hammer to "clearance" the firewall
  17. In about '75 I had a '62 long bed unibody with a 6 cylinder 3 speed. Shelled the 6 on I-44 towed it home and was thinking that I really needed a motor. My blood brother had a '54 sedan that was a total pile but the little Y block was good. It found a home in the '62 and was nearly a bolt in. It didn't make it a hot rod but it got us through the winter and hauled a boat load of fire wood.

    Per Danny's request I sold it to a local moon shiner, he passed in the '80s and his son now owns the truck (I inherited his recipe). it still has the same mill and is still motoring around the farm
  18. SASROD
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 129


    1979, I was 16 years old, had a 67 Firebird with a tired, old smoking 350. Bought a short block and brought it home in the trunk. Pulled the old tired engine out using an old swing set "A-Frame" with some angle iron laid across the top of it for "extra support" and a small cable come-a long. Had the heads redone, swapped everything over and reverse order for install. Did all this by myself in the backyard. Its a wonder I'm still alive.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  19. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,158


    I put a slant six in my '47 Plymouth but it doesn't really qualify since it already had one. It now has a 327.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  20. borderboy1971
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 757

    from Canada

    My first engine swap wasn't really that interesting. Exciting to me then as a 16 year old kid. Just a freshened up 350 I put into a 69 impala I bought with no engine or trans.

    I had more fun with a coworkers first engine swap when I was then in my 20's at the dealership where we worked. He just installed his first engine and was nervous about it. As he went to the drivers seat to go start it, I slid under the passenger side with a hammer. He started it up, and I started tapping on the oil pan with my hammer. He shut it down quick and came out of seat freaking out and yelling profanities. I popped up from the passenger side with hammer in hand and the relief hit him like a tidal wave. Then he laughed and swore some more at me.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  21. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,543


    First one was a 1965 Ford Galaxie that I had bought with a blown 352 motor. It had kicked a rod out through the side of the oil pan. Weird thing was it would still fire up and run. Sounded real bad, but ran. Swapped in a 390 that I got from a junk yard. Ran fine for some time.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  22. cjsavage
    Joined: Oct 28, 2011
    Posts: 58

    from eastern nc

    Summer of '68, 13 years old, put a flathead V8 and transmission out of a '48 Ford pickup in a '48 Jeep pickup. Installed hanging pedals, hydraulic clutch, and added an inlet and outlet to the radiator. Should have kept the'48 Ford. Sold the Jeep to an unknown out of towner. Never saw it again.

    Sent from my moto z3 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 1,051


    My first sway was a 216 6 cylinder into a 52 Chevy Panel Truck. The best part about it was it started right up the bad part was that it had a crack block. A few years later I rebuilt and installed a 396, 4 speed into a 57 Chevy Hardtop. From there I was off and running.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  24. I have told this story before but since you asked...

    In 1964 I bought a nosed and decked black 1954 Ford with a 239 and 3 on the tree for $20.00, the body itself was cherry. I was working in my best friends fathers body shop and this guy came in needing money. The engine had a bad main bearing knock and puked oil out of the rear seal, it also had a broken windshield, heated front springs and no interior. Managed to get it home after making several stops to put more oil in it (thank god for 10 cent a quart reclaimed oil).
    My Dad and I pulled the 239 out using a beam in the garage and a chain fall. We drove out to Azusa Auto Wrecking and bought a good running, low mileage 312 for $35.00, delivered to my home in Covina and they picked up the old 239.
    A few's days later, my Dad came home from work and told me about a '53 Ford that he had spotted in West Covina, it didn't have a engine or trans and it was missing the front end sheet metal but what it did have was a good windshield and a beautiful interior. Black tuck n roll and chromed window trim! I bought it for $5.00 and we drug it home with a chain.
    Before putting the 312 in, we replaced the heated/ collapsed front springs with the springs that were in the '53 after we cut a coil or two off. I don't remember exactly, it could of been 1 or 1 1/2 coils, that was a long time ago!
    Took a week or so to get everything swapped out, it was a sweet little car for less than a $100.00 investment plus I sold what was left of the '53 to Azusa Auto Wrecking.
    Drove it for about a year before I totaled it. There was a stretch of Foothill Road between Azusa and Glendora that was a two lane road that had a series of big dips that we called the roller coaster. We always had to see how fast that we could go through there and I went faster than my driving ability that day! I hit a dip, lost control, went through a barbed wire fence into an orange grove and wrapped the front end around one of the orange trees. To add insult to injury, I got a ticket for failing to control my vehicle. All I had for insurance was the state minimum liability. The orange grove owner got his fence repaired, I got the ticket and Azusa Auto Wrecking wound up with my car.
    So, now you know the saga of my first engine swap....
  25. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,038

    from Nicasio Ca

    Honda 90 in a Taco
  26. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Bought a 56 Chevrolet, Model 150, Utility sedan (AKA Business Coupe) in about 1972. The guy had just pulled the engine/trans for his truck, and I got the car for $80.00, with a title in his dead, FIL's name. Took the car to my sisters rental house about 2 miles away, and bought a 360 HP 396 from her boyfriend at the time. This was my first actual "swap". I'd replaced engines before, but never a BBC into a Tri-Five Chevrolet. Bought the Hurst saddle motor mounts, and Jardine headers. Re-contoured the firewall after many trial and error attempts to get it right, then I smoothed it all out, used a little Bondo to make it look good, and painted the firewall. The engine was set in on the stock manual bellhousing. This was long before the "forward" mounts of today, and the firewall had to be massaged. The headers even fit with just a small dimple at the number 5 tube for steering box clearance. It was a street car, and wound up with a 5.38:1 Positraction, after the stock third member started howling too loud to tolerate it any longer. Sold it to a friend, who sold it back a year or so later. Then I started rebuilding it to become my first dedicated drag car. Only this time, it got an aluminum Powerglide (those were just starting to be the trans to use), and a 1968 Camaro 12 bolt rear end I traded the 5.38 Posi third member for. Spent a lot of money to bring that rear end up to what it needed to be; everything else I did myself. A couple of years later, I wanted to go faster, and the FED replaced the 56. The guy that bought it never put it back together, and sold it to a street racer; that guy was the winner of the Super Chevy Event at Seattle International Raceway one year. He then sold the car to a guy who turned it into a Pro-Street/Drag car, and the last I saw/heard of the car, it was on E-Bay for a $65,000.00 BIN price. WOW, from an $80.00 car to a $65,000.00 car!!! I don't know what happened to it after that. Maybe I should have kept it?
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  27. das858
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 774


    My first engine swap was on my '38 International pick up , replaced the flathead 6 that was my first engine overhaul with a 304 International v-8 and replaced the 3 speed manual with a 727 torque flite . The truck went through a few owners , but is now owned by a friend .
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  28. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,718

    from Oregon

    1968 Poncho , pulled 327 and put in a 283 out in barn/shed, no heat in January.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  29. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 298

    from CA

    I did my first engine swap about 7-8 years ago, took out the original flat head 4cyl motor on my 46 Willys jeep, and put in a 2.2L Kubota diesel with a subaru turbocharger :)
  30. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,682


    Took awhile in my build career as the first real engine swap was my flathead into my stock roadster. All the other builds prior were just engine rebuilds.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.

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