Ronnie Russell Builds

Barry Taylor

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
I wished I had more pictures of these cars. Ronnie made the Feb. 1991 issue of Late Great Chevys. The 63 you see here was a car Ronnie was driving when I first met him in the late 80s. It was Honduras Maroon that I think Ronnie painted himself. The 61 was Roman Red and I know Ronnie painted it as he did all of his cars. Note the signature high performance air cleaners on the 61. This car was fast and his son Don to my knowledge never drove this car to school. Ronnie eventually pulled the motor out and sold the body to a fella in Dallas and he put a BB Chevy in it and drove it on the street. He sold the motor to my friend Roger and he put it in a 67 El Camino. The funds from this were put into the Grey Nova. Eventually the 63 was sold and not sure where it went. 0DC8C9C8-F025-480A-BF77-C1A5814ACA5F.jpeg BFDDA76A-E108-4361-A2B5-6DE24A08FBD2.jpeg

Tom Kochtanek

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 10
That K&N thread was a hoot, wasn't it?

Long time ago Ronnie called me up asking for some reciprocating parts that I might have on hand for a stocker 409 build for a friend (Brian Thompson's Dad). I had a stock crank, stock rods and NOS forged TRW pistons that he found useful for that build. He asked for a price and I inquired if he had anything to trade. Not off hand, he said, but he asked if I had anything he might be able to add value to. I arranged to ship him a set of crack checked 333s that I had machined for screw in studs and he did a classic "Ronnie Russell port job" on those for me in exchange for the parts. Said he had 30+ hours into the port job and went through several cutters :). We had a good laugh over that one!

I never was able to use them for one of my builds so they've been on the shelf for a while. Always wanted to make a "Ronnie Russell tribute" engine with those heads, but haven't as yet (too many sets of 690s and 583s, good problem to have :)). Every time I spot those heads on the shelf I think of Ronnie, so that's a good thing :) :) :).

Some day I'll figure out what to do with those heads, but for now I'll keep thinking of Ronnie, a true friend and consummate 409 builder :) :) :).

Cheers! TomK


Well Known Member
Supporting Member 3
Those are some gorgeous cars!! Interesting he didn’t hang onto em:dunno I remember he posted pics of that blue 62 and the k&n video and reassured me that putting my bucks down 340hp into a bucks down 63 4-door was socially acceptable:good

He contributed to the cache of info on this site tho, man oh man. Any time I do a tech search on here Ronnie’s name comes up and he knows his s—t. Or knew. Makes me sad speaking of these guys in past tense.

Don Jacks

Well Seasoned Member
Supporting Member 3
I too miss him.I'll never forget the first time that we talked by phone.I had posted a question about using the piston listed for a 348 with a 4 inch stroke and the 6.135 rod in a 348 with a stock 409[3.5 inch]stroke and a 6.385 rod.About 15 minutes later my PM icon lit up with a PM from Ronnie.It said "Call me" and left his number.When he answered he said "I'm mad at you!" Being a relative newby on the site,I wondered"What did I do?"His reply was "At my age,you're making me THINK".From there the die was cast.I got to meet him and his wonderful wife at Thompson later that year.

W Head

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 8
Just before Ronnie passed away, I received a phone call. Ronnie asked if I would come to his home and pick up a lot of swap meet parts to sale for him and send the money to Virginia. He said he knew he was not long for this world and knew I went to swap meets. What could I say. I went up about a week later and load up as much as my truck would hold. Since then I have sent Virginia around $3000.00. Don't have much remaining, but hope to sale the rest at Pate next year. Ronnie was a good man and a good friend. I was very honored to do this for him.

W Head

59 Impala 409-2,4s
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