55 Cameo - a little at a t ime

As some of you know, I have had this Cameo for about a year now.
It is very clean - paint is very good, new wiring, new interior.
From what I can tell, it was a project car for at least the three owners before me. It had been modified to a 348 with a th350 trans.
It was advertised as a driver, although the seller was not forthright about the condition issues (On the drive home from buying it, the radiator blew, and I had to be towed.) and I'm finding myself replacing some big items before I can drive it and start with upgrades. Those big items include engine, trans, and radiator.
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Within a couple weeks of driving it, (after the radiator replacement) the transmission fluid leaked out, and the engine started billowing smoke from the blow-by tube. (No smoke from the tailpipes though - guessing it needs rings...) Oh yeah, and the battery drained if the truck wasn't driven for a couple days. (Turns out there is something about the new wiring...)

Since I am "getting older" this may be my last automotive project (although I do have a 68 Ranchero w/390 on the side, in case I have the energy for another one later.) so I am not going to cut corners if I can help it. (I live on a modest income, so I'm not going to go crazy either.) Rather than spend for a rebuild, I decided to upgrade to a 409 and a 700r4 trans. Yeah, a 409 costs more, but if I can sell the old 348, the overall cost won't be THAT much more, and I'll have a 409!!!

I found a '63 409 (QA with dual quads) here on the forum a month or so ago (I posted about it in the post called "Date Codes") and, last weekend, got the 348 (and trans) out, and the new engine is now sitting in the engine bay. Nothing hooked up yet. I want to get the new transmission installed first.
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My knowledge is very limited, as far as this kind of thing goes, so I am going to have lots of questions.
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