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55 Cheyy

chen2chen2 Posts: 3
edited April 2 in General
I have an 55 hot rod, but the previous owner put
in bucket seats, a sacrilege. However, a bench
seat would have to be altered, since the car also
has 4 on the floor and the Hurst shifter would
interfere with the seat. Any suggestions and
sources for help? I will be completely redoing the
interior, so anything within financial reason is
possible.
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Comments

  • jpstaxjpstax Posts: 250
    Anyone know what engine that '56 black Chevy that Harrison Ford (Bob Falfa) drove in American Graffiti had? Just saw the movie on TV a few days ago, and I've always wondered. I'm guessing a 348 with three dueces.
  • i'm sorry to tell you this it was a 55 chevy
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Don't be sorry...it's just history, you're not criticizing the guy. And there were no 348s back then. The hot setup for a '55 Chevy would have been to install a Corvette engine if you could have gotten your hands on one. The 348 came out, I believe, in 1958 and was basically a adapted truck engine.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    The 348 was available from 1958-1961. Later it was punched out and became the mighty 409. 348's were big, heavy engines that would run and run.

    My favorite Chevy engine of all is the 327. These could whip a 348 with ease.

    348's and 409's were always referred to as truck engines because that's were they got started.

    It is amazing that even though it's been 45 years since the 1955 Chevys with the 265 V-8 came out.

    The amazing part being, that basic engine still lives today! As a 5.0 or 5.7 liter or whatever they are calling them now!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Sometimes engines are just "right"...a mixture of luck, engineering, metallurgy, balance, oil in the right places, voodoo...and other engines you can't make right no matter what you do to them.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    V-6's that were used in some Peugeots, Volvos and De Loreans. Remember those? I think Renualt may have built them?

    They would eat camshafts every 40,000 miles, leaked oil, and were pure junk!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I'm reminded that in Southern California anyway, before the 327 came out in 62, there were a number of 348s that found their way into 55-57 Chevies. I remember seeing at least a few for sale. As a 15 year old wishing for his first car, a buddy and I looked at a bronze-and-white 56 Nomad for sale-for $1200. I remember my friend said "look at that-348,3x2s-isn't that bitchin?"
    Next year, my Dad bought a new 62 Chev with 327-stick. We all quickly learned about the power of the 327. But for a while there, some were dumping 348s in their 55-57 rides.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Oh, I'm sure, but really probably not to any advantage except maybe some low-end grunt...that was a heavy engine, and probably between the added weight and the heavy nose it gave the car, did more harm than good.

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Of course, the weight transfer and low-end torque with the 348 added to the car's burn rubber potential, which was a big deal then for high schoolers. I suppose most 348s now are just boat anchors....
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    There ws kind of a dorky kid in our high school that bought a used 409 engine from a wrecking yard. He installed it in his 56 Chevy Station Wagon and thought he was hot stuff!

    When he discovered it wasn't much faster than the tired six cylinder it had replaced he took it to a shop to have things looked at.

    Well..the freshly cleaned and painted 409 had very bad compression. When the heads were pulled...guess what? It was just a 348!! and a very tired one at that!

    Remember, the 348's and 409's looked alike.

    Well, he returned (with his dad) to the junkyard and raised enough hell that they ended up exchanging it for a 283 with power pack heads, no less!

    Two weeks after that while showing off, he missed second gear (on the column) and blew the 283 up.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Sounds like a dorky kid I knew in highschool who had a 56 Plymouth wagon. He jacked it all up, put on loud exhaust, and bragged about what was under the hood. Every time he bragged, the engine got bigger and meaner. He went from a "57 Fury mill" to a "Ram Induction Hemi" in a few sessions over a few months. Trouble was he didn't know the difference between the standard Plymouth "polysphere head" V [which is what it was} and a flathead six. Anyway, he was finally egged in to a race with a friend driving a 50 Ford with a hot Olds V8. Poor guy in the Plymouth not only lost the race, but blew a valve, AND his transmission [2speed Powerflite}. It was brutal-but funny. Another story from the carnut 60's...
  • jpstaxjpstax Posts: 250
    I saw an older 'Vette tonight with a license plate that said "REAL L89". Do you know what it means? I assume it's the engine. You once told me that the L79 was the 327-350hp engine that was available in the '66 Nova SS.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    That would be a late 60s Vette with the L89 engine option, which is aluminum heads on an L71 engine, which is a 427cid, 435 hp honker. Inasmuch as only approx 1000 of these cars so equipped exist (1967-69 I believe), he's either braggin' or lyin'...we'll never know. Personally, I think he's *nuts* to advertise unless he sleeps fully armed in it at night.

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  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    About all this engine swapping...How, exactly, do they go about doing that? Do you have to find two engines that will essentially bolt into the same mounts, or do you do some cutting and welding? I read an ad on ebay a couple of days ago where a guy dropped a 350cid Chevy in a 1976 Jag XJ6. What are the possibilities when it comes to engine swapping?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    The possibilities are only limited by one's skill and checkbook. Adapters can be made to mate up jusst about any engine and trans, and welding and cutting can accomplish wonders.

    Of course, some engine swaps are worthwhile and some are really more trouble than they are worth. It's the kind of thing one has to think out carefully, and project the gains and the losses of such a conversion.

    Like the Jag you mentioned...okay, he takes a basically worthless car, an old XJ6 (maybe $3,500 on a good day?) and TAKES OUT the only really good part of the car, the jaguar engine, and puts in a sturdy but noisy and gas-eating Chevy V-8, and thereby ruins the smooth quiet ride qualities of the Jaguar AND makes the car worth even less! Now, true, he can now get his oil changed at Jiffy Lube, and his car will be a bit faster...but look at what little he gained for the tremendous effort and expense! What he should have done was use the Chevy steering box and automatic transmission, which are two weak points on those older Jags and excellent items on the Chevy.

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  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    The 350 engine installed in a Jag is a popular swap, but mostly in the 12 cyl. cars, since the 12 cyl Jaguar is hard to maintain, and doesn't perform much better than a built 350, if at all. I've never heard of someone doing the swap on an XJ6, but I suppose it's possible.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    The vehicle was advertised as an XJ6, so I'm assuming it originally had a 6-banger. My guess is that the guy heard of putting V-8's in Jag sedans, was something of a V-8 fan, and didn't bother to check that the only improvement comes when you loose the 12 cyl rather than the six. Of course, this is just my speculation, although I do find a V-8 Jag rather appealing personally.

    Shifty, would it be worthwhile to loose an old 78 Ford 400 V-8 in favor of a more modern 4.6 liter Ford? I've decided to restore my old Grand Marquis, economics aside, but the more I think about it, the more I decide the old engine has got to go. My second choicde would be GM's 3.8 liter, although I'd be a little leery about putting a six cylinder in such a big car. (I don't want to have to get a ring job done every 100K miles.)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    The problem you face with modern engines is that you have to use all the electronics and black boxes and wiring harnesses, etc., so you or someone will have to figure that out---but sure, it would be a great improvement over the old, no doubt about that!

    Again, there's nothing wrong with Jaguar engines...it's the electronics that screws them up, so if you can just get rid of what's on TOP of the engine you've solved the problem...what people are really doing with a V-8 replacement is replacing Jaguar electrics with Chevy electrics, and so there's the improvement...too bad they had to attach everything to a V-8 engine to accompish it!

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  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Is that computers were in their infancy in the late 70's and early 80's. Add to that low worker morale and lax quality control at the Jag factory, and low build quality, and you have the recipie for a 70,000 dollar edsel. If it weren't for the snob factor, Jag would have gone belly up long before Ford bought them out (and brought some reliability with them). On the plus side, you can pick up a used Jag for $5,000 (or less, depending on how old of a car you get.) Cheapest snob appeal on the market :-)
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I don't think Mr. Shiftright would approve of what my brother did to a '58 Jaguar Mark I sedan. He bought the car cheap, rough and less drivetrain, and installed a 348. No, just kidding. He bought a junkyard 350 and 4-speed, also cheap, ordered a swap kit from John's Jaguars, put it all together and drove it for years. I just realized that the fact that someone had stripped the car of its engine and transmission should have told us something--those were the good parts. Anyway, he ended up with a 4-door Camaro with Ye Olde English charm. There's no doubt the Jag was a great engine--I seem to recall that the XKE could do 150--but most of us gearheads think there's no substitute for cubic inches. I think the small-block was lighter than the six, or at least the car thought so, because it sat too high in the front. Looking back, I suppose we should have done the right thing and put in a 3.8. The 4.2 did a decent job of moving around the '66 Mark X I owned, but there was a car that needed more torque (or a better automatic). Fortunately I sold it before I could put in a 348--more kidding.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    I never did understand why people put V-8s in old Jaguars--the engines were the best part of the car! As for a Mark X, anything would have helped that big old boat! (nice dashboard and seats, though...)

    But Americans are traditional engine-swappers...putting a Corvette engine in a '55 Chevy was the hot ticket in the early 1960s, and actually made for a very nice and quick car.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    How about those picnic tables built into the backs of the front seats? Actually, the Mark X is something of a styling inspiration for Ford these days.

    By the way, is it true that you couldn't get the solid-lifter 265 in the passenger cars? Was the Power-Pack the hottest engine?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    You'd need a picnic table in a Mark X in order to stay alive waiting for the tow truck.

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I know you could special order the solid lifter Vette motor in sedans in 1956, but not sure about 55. Must have been able to at least get a dealer intalled option-after all, take the 180HP power pack, install the Duntov cam and lifters, and you had the 195 horse Corvette motor. Anyone know for sure?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    All the books seem to indicate only the 180HP power pack in 1955, but in 1956 you could get up to 225HP with 2-4bbl. carbs.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Since this seems to be the site for small-block stories, I'll add one of my own. One of the many beaters I've owned was a '61 Bel Air wagon with 170k, three-on-the-tree and 283/170. I bought it from the original owner, mainly because it was cheap. However, I was amazed at how responsive the car was, even with all the miles. Maybe it was the gearing, but the car was still lively. Motor Trend tested a new '63 Bel Air with the 195-hp 283, and they also were impressed (of course, this was Motor Trend, the Will Rogers of car magazines: it never met a car it didn't like). Anyway, I can see how even a relatively mild 55-57 V8 would be a strong performer.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    I knew a kid in high school, who had a lot of fun with his mother's car.

    It was kind of a strange, and probably rare combination. A 1965 Chevy II stripper station wagon. It had a 283 engine with three speed on the column.

    It would SMOKE some "hot" cars that it shouldn't have been able to beat.

    It would also smoke the rear tires beyone belief!

    If his mother ever knew...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Oh, she knew alright.

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I told him my pristine, 43000 original mile, 55 Chev Belair w/265 had developed a rod knock [after being thrashed with a Duntov cam, AFB 4barrel, and 6 grand windouts] and that it was more cost effective to go with a new block [327 fuelie-30-30 cam] than to rebuild the old 265. He went for it, and loaned me the 300 bucks to buy a brand new 327 short block from Courtesy Vhevrolet in San Jose, CA. I'll never forget the first time I drove it with the new motor. The extra torque was awesome, and the sound of that cam and valve clearance was absolutely addictive! I got a ticket the first week for "exhibition of speed". But I remember my Dad taking it to the store a few times just to "make sure everything's OK." Yeah right Dad. He did the same thing when I got my first motorcycle-a 58 Triumph. Things were different then...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Carnut, we must have known each other!

    I got one of those also, and it was no joke.

    A buddy let me drive his '66 GTO and encouraged me to "light em' up" in front of our high school after school one day.

    Well...I managed to entertain several of our buddies who were hanging out on the corner.

    What I didn't see was an LAPD motorcycle cop hiding in the alley.

    He may have been entertained as well, but he wasen't amused one bit!

    Oh, the words that poured from my mouth when I saw his red lights through a cloud of rubber smoke...

    As I recall, that ticket cost me something like 150.00 back then! Big money!

    Ah...memories!
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