Fawn Memory- 61 Impala bubble top with a stroked 409

#1
Figured I'd finally share since we just made a huge move. This is my Dads car, he bought it very shortly after I was born so it's like a little sister to me. This is my inheritance, so I take great interest in the mods done to it. Originally came with a 235ci I-6, swapping in a 348 w/Tri-Power and cast iron Powerglide was the first thing he did, then it sat like that for the most part of the next 20 years. He started a resto-mod on it while I was in the Navy, I got out just about 45% through the process, just in time to dig in and help. The list of work included:

Doghouse off/frame on restoration
New rear glass, safety glass windshield
Reupholstered interior
Upgraded stereo system
Classic Air A/C
Generator to alternator conversion
605 steering box
Power disk brake conversion to the front/w 2" drop spindles
Air Ride
Removal of the Tri-Power for factory single 4 barrel cast iron intake w/an Edlebrock Performer 600 carb
HEI distributor
Complete re-paint



Next came complete rebuild of the 348, .030 over, 700R4 swap, Air Ride sway bars

2010 Indianapolis World of Wheels- won best in class, Street Rodder Magazine choice


Summer 2012, the 348 nearly locks up. My Dad is the farthest thing from being mechanically inclined, he's a paint and body guy. So when the engine started knocking and had a big drop in power, he kept driving it. The result was 12 wiped out cam lobes, trashed all the bearings, scared the crank, broken piston skirt, and 5 seized wrist pins. So another full rebuild, Show Cars Comp Cams roller cam, Edlebrock small port Performer intake manifold. It was like pulling teeth to get that, my dad doesn't want to spend the money on engine mods, engine mods can't be seen, and besides he doesn't want to race, he just wants to cruise.

Over the next year: New lifters will not pump up, turns out the Edlebrock roller lifters that came with the kit were recalled in 07 and somehow never made it, new lifters from Edlebrock. Father's Day '13, both factory stamped steel rockers #3 cylinder broke, one cracked in half, another pushrod punched through. Brand new factory replacement rockers.

After a combination of me trying to educate my dad on why I keep telling him to get these "race engine" parts, and him finding a 409 in pieces at the StreetRod Nationals, he folds and listens to me(mostly). He even surprised me when they found out that the crank that came with the 409 wasn't for a 409, it was a 327, and he went along with putting a 454 crank in.




409 bored .030 over/Stroker 454 crank, displacement increased to 474ci
Comp roller cam, Comp roller rockers
Edelbrock 409 Performer Aluminum heads and small port intake manifold
Edelbrock 650cfm Performer carb
Edelbrock aluminum waterpump
Holey high performance fuel pump
Doug Thorley ceramic coated long tube headers
Magnaflow 2.5" mandrel bent, stainless exhaust, header back
605 steering box
3 core aluminum radiator
Volvo electric fan and controller, Auto Meter Sport-Comp II Pro-Control Coolant Temp Gauge, works as a programmable high and low temp switch for the Volvo controller

I had him convinced on the big port intake, but he got to talking to some jack wagon at the Edelbrock booth at the Street Rod Nationals, talked him into keeping the small port intake and opening up the ports just enough to help the transition. I really wanted the big port intake, especially now that I found out he stroked it. I went to the School of Automotive Machinists for cylinder head machining, and have had airflow pounded into my head, so it drives me nuts, especially because of the potential of the motor, but my dad won't be out racing this thing, and it's going to have plenty of power for him. That's the reason I had to stop looking at the heads, the ports were no where near what I would consider efficient flow(but I'm positive they are way better than they were factory). So I'm just going to chalk it up as a great foundation for me to build on when the time comes for me to personalize it.
 
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jim_ss409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 5
#5
Welcome to the site. :beer Nice car! :beer
That 474 is going to be nice!
Too bad about the 348, a lot of guys have had the factory style replacement rockers break.
 
#13
Just incase anyone is wondering about the Volvo fan and controller, here it is. The Volvo fan is almost identical to the Taurus/MarkVIII, minus the fan shroud. Reports say 2500cfm low speed, 4500cfm high speed, and as you can see, pretty easy to package.

The fan controller: power in, high/low input, high/low output

I had this ring made up, 15 3/4" I.D. x 19 5/8" O.D., and my Dad had it powder coated "chrome".

Using the factory fan shroud, we are going to hide the electric fan inside, so we don't screw with the classic looks of the engine.

Should work out great.
 
#14
Welcome to the site. :beer Nice car! :beer
That 474 is going to be nice!
Too bad about the 348, a lot of guys have had the factory style replacement rockers break.
Yeah I read about issues with the factory rockers before.

It's funny that weak rockers snowballed this whole thing. When I pulled the valve cover off and saw the #3 rockers broke, I started trying to talk my dad into roller rockers to better support the extra stress of the new roller cam and valve springs. After a long drug out conversation of my Dad going back and forth between me and his engine builder, we agreed that with the cost of machining the 348 heads to take roller rockers, and possibly weakening the bosses in the process, the Edlebrock heads were the way to go. Less than a week after they were delivered, was the StreetRod Nationals where he found the 409 block. So all in all this motor was the result of a perfect storm. It's unlikely Dad would have gone for the aluminum heads after finding the 409, it had heads with it but he negotiated them out of the deal since he now had the aluminum, and he definitely wouldn't have done the stroker crank had it come with the correct one, but a 454 crank was easier/cheaper to get.
 

Jim Sullivan

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 8
#15
The radiator/ cooling fan set up looks very nice. The chrome powder coat on the fan shroud looks great in the photo. I'd be interested in finding out manufacturer of it, as the "almost chrome" powder I get from Eastwood is not that brilliant of a shine. One observation, the fan shroud looks to be from a small block. I don't think there will be a fitment issue since you are using an electric fan. The engine sure looks pretty!
 
#17
The radiator/ cooling fan set up looks very nice. The chrome powder coat on the fan shroud looks great in the photo. I'd be interested in finding out manufacturer of it, as the "almost chrome" powder I get from Eastwood is not that brilliant of a shine. One observation, the fan shroud looks to be from a small block. I don't think there will be a fitment issue since you are using an electric fan. The engine sure looks pretty!
The fan shroud has been chromed, the ring is what was powder coated, same as the valve covers/oil pan. The shroud has been in the car for a few years now with the mechanical fan, it did need to be trimed just a bit for the coolant hoses, but otherwise fits great.
 

tripower

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#18
Just s
The fan shroud has been chromed, the ring is what was powder coated, same as the valve covers/oil pan. The shroud has been in the car for a few years now with the mechanical fan, it did need to be trimed just a bit for the coolant hoses, but otherwise fits great.
Just so you know the 348-409 take a shorter fan shroud if you want it to look correct. Very nice work...:deal

Bumper Brackets 2.jpg
 
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