Unexpected 63 Impala Project

Phalen409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#1
I have sat for the past 2 hours reading threads on the 348.409 forum and have come to realize what talent, knowledge and memories so many of you seem to have. I have the memories, but I was too young to really be involved with the 409’s, with the exception of being a tag along to a family friend that raced a 375 HP, 396 SS Chevelle almost every weekend at the Hallsville, Texas Drag Strip in the summer of 1966. My job was to re-install the drive shaft at the drag strip after towing the car behind a red 1956 Ford pick-up truck from Shreveport, La. to Hallsville. I was the only one stupid enough to get on the ground with the fire ants to hook it all up. We won almost every weekend, but we always had to get by a stunning black 1960 Impala with a 409, 2/4 set-up. I fell in love with the chrome valve covers, and promised myself that I would have one before I died. That time has come (the car, that is)

I looked for 2 years before I found the car that I now have. With a second family and two young kids, I felt that I would have to find a car that already had the big jobs done. I am somewhat of a purist, and I wanted the car to be original and I would add a few shiny things and just drive the car.

The car looked great – sounded good – all nice and shiny. – 47,000 original miles
(at least on the last title) and hadn’t been registered for years. - It was to be my car.

I sold my collection of documented WW1 Marine and Naval documented aviation groups as well as some rare Navy Corpsman items from WW1 to purchase the car and do some of the things the car needed after sitting in 2 collections for years.

Long story shorter, the engine was problematic. – Would run properly for more than an outing – dead misses – fix one - then another. – Loose bolts everywhere - Intake manifold, timing chain cover, carbs. – Damn near everything I touched was loose. My question was, that if all this was loose, what did the rotating assembly look like?

I thought that I would have the time to retrain myself in what little I knew about Chevy motors. I had ’69 Camaros (Z-28, and 2 BB SS Camaros) as well as some mid sixties vettes and worked on them myself. The last one I worked on was in 1979. I was embarrassed about my ability to really evaluate this car before I purchased it and I led with my heart and not with my head. So, I yanked the numbers matching 425 HP motor to rebuild it as an original later. What started out as a “beautiful” original car will now be personalized to what I believe that I would have done back in the day. I also realized that one thing leads to another, and would require selling more of my collection. – This forum have given me the inspiration to get’er done and with the help of some great guys, this is how the project is shaping up.

What I thought I Bought:
 

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Rickys61

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 3
#5
I understand the one thing leading to another syndrome, that's why I try to be careful with what I do to my 61 until I get some other stuff wrapped up. It looks like you have a complete car which I always a great start on a project like that. The rewards will be worth it.
 

Phalen409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#10
To add to an already great day, the engine arrived from Jack Gibbs at 409 Performance. Really an outstanding motor and the service was incredible. I could not be more happy with the collaboration with Jack on building this motor. I told him what look I wanted with the cosmetics and what my expectations would be on performance. He hit the ball out of the park. More on his efforts later.

Removing the motor from the crate at my buddies shop:
 

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Phalen409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#14
After reading inputs from forum members concerning the installation of fenderwell dust shields, I decided to mount them on the wheel side of the tub. They fit nicely in the recess and I was looking for a clean looking motor side appearance. They had been replace at on time before and had the original small diameter hole and larger holes for the staples. I wanted a good seal, and used all holes available to secure the shield. I used # 2 sternal closure wire that is used to close the chest after open heart surgery and fold the cut edge back into the shield to prevent snagging when washing the tubs. Makes for a pretty clean install -
 

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Phalen409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#15
Motor is in! - I know this is old hat to most of you, but I'm pumped to be working on this car. I have some modifications to do with no idea how to do it. It's frustrating not to know what the hell you're doing and expect it to come out like you actually know what you are doing. - I also want to thank BSL409 for the headers. They fit like a dream and easy to install, not to mention they were in perfect shape. - Hope I can have it ready by Spring, but it's hard for me to get it right the first time around.
 

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BSL409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#16
Great progress Dennis, it’s nice to have a Header that fits right the first time unlike some others that are made
 

Phalen409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#18
Very nice....Jack must be a busy guy!
Jack Gibbs has been one of the most professional individuals I've ever worked with and is a pleasure to talk to. As stated earlier, I told him the look I wanted and entrusted him with everything else. His knowledge of the W is impressive to say the least, and I was comfortable with all his decisions concerning the build. Jack had assembled my motor and was basically ready to ship after a 2 hour run-in. After the run on the stand, Jack found a minimal amount of water in the pan, even though the block had gone through all the usual pre-inspections to include pressure tests. The engine was torn down and a small crack near No.8 cylinder was found. It apparently opened up only when the block was hot. Jack made the decision to scrap the block and machine a '64 QB block for this project instead of repairing the defective '62 piece. Another build from scratch ensued. During the reconstruction of the new motor, he recommended a clutch assembly based on what my uses would be. He was kind enough to throw the balancing of the Hayes flywheel and pressure plate in the original price without additional cost to me. His advise and help is very much appreciated and I will definitely work with him more in the future. It will be a while before the motor fires up, but I'm confident I will be more than pleased with the results of his efforts. He has encouraged me to stay engaged in the restoration of the car, even after knowing I'm not as knowledgable as I want to be. His "call me anytime" policy has already been tested and his advice has always been right on. I can recommend Jack to all how need his expertise in matters concerning not only the 348's & 409's, but with the cars of the period as well. He is honest and straight forward - Nuff said.

Thanks Jack,

DJ
 
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