THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY
SWAPPING OUT A 383 STROKER FOR A 454
BALLBUSTER IN A 1973 ROADSTER
The heading for my project is very apt (not like a Google Appt – it fits well with what is buzzing around in my head as I decide things relating to my project).
I purchased my 1973 C3 Roadster a little over a year ago now. When I went looking, my preference was for a big block 454 or 427. After a two year search and a final two week dedicated search in Queensland, I settled on what I considered to be the best compromise, a Joe Sherman 383 stroker engine (with 100miles only on the clock), in a very clean and original roadster. As things happen, a miracle by some accounts, one of the pistons in the engine gave out after only 9,000 miles (I actually drive my Corvette, a lot!!). This was the start of the agony.
You may think that the agony related to removing, repairing and replacing the beautiful 383, sadly you would be wrong. The agony related to whether or not to replace the 383 with a nicely worked and setup 454 my buddy Joe had laying around in his workshop, it was for sale, but I had just bought a nicely setup 427 he had laying around in his workshop intended for use in my “Project Car” yet to be found. Trust me, that was the agony.
The ecstasy came once I had made a firm decision to go 454! Of course, some more agony crept in when ordering all the new parts to shoehorn the 454 into the engine bay including a new side exhaust setup, new hood etc.: However, the ecstasy far outweighs the agony. Today, a mountain of spares as well as a specially built torque converter from Hughes Performance, is clearing customs as I write this. Matt Alexander has been contracted to allow my 454 to be run in on his engine test stand and this should take place within the next few days. Part of the ecstasy involves the learning curve, did you guys know that, unlike a diesel engine, these petrol jobbies actually have spark plugs!! Amazing!!
The project is ongoing, and more agony and ecstasy will be shared with you, if I survive the process. Adios (for now) Amigos!!
And the rumble gets louder! Some of you may know that the 383 cubic inch engine in my Corvette suffered a busted piston lip and needed to come out for open heart surgery. The operation went well and the 383 will soon be beating as per normal with its beautifully toned exhaust rumble that reminds one of the Led Zepplin concert a few years ago here in Perth. When the 383 rumbles, your chest actually moves just like it did at that concert all those years ago. Now, you may think that at 66, I would be happy with the “Ayres Rock Crumble” note of the 383 engine; you would be wrong. My buddy Joe had a 454 engine laying around, it promises to have a “Jericho Walls Crumble” exhaust note, so why not? As I had no answer to the “Why Not?”, I why did! The 454 engine now sits in a test bed and we will fire it up for the first time early this week; I have put up notices in Meckering so they do not fear a second Watusi earthquake is coming, also, I have painted Ayres rock in super glue (that orta do it) and I have stolen the batteries out of my wife’s hearing aid. This 454 engine is one elephant sized engine so a new hood (it is a yank car and they have no idea what a bonnet would be doing on a car, a bonnet is for ladies heads!), has arrived from California with an Alps busting hump in the middle to accommodate the 850cfm carburettor that sits on the top of the Jericho Walls Crumbling 454 amplifier. So, we are getting closer to rubber on bitumen but there is a few more small jobs to do like, shoe-horn the 454 into a space 0.0000454mm wider than the engine, paint the hood, bolt the exhaust megaphones to each side of the car (Cheech would love it!!), re-install the radiator (due to space limits, I may mount the radiator above the windscreen – at least it will run cooler up there), replace the front springs and shock absorbers and, as a last job, mount the loose nut behind the steering wheel (can’t wait for that bit!). Once on the road, I plan a test run to Hamburg and by all accounts I will get there three days before I leave and a week before the cost of petrol overtakes the gold standard! Adios Amigos!!
As Mary Shelley once wrote “It Lives!! It Lives!!” Joe has breathed life into the mighty 454 engine. It fired up first time and ran like a watch on steroids. The club eagles had gathered for the occasion and were not disappointed as Joe worked his magic fine tuning the Holley 850 carburettor and timing till the 454 purred like a mountain lion. The rumble from the two bean cans on the ends of the headers made your ear lobes flap like Mohammad Ali’s boxing ball, a joy to see and hear!!
Now where did I put that shoe horn and can of axle grease we are going to need to shoe horn this mountain of hellfire power and thunder into the ’73 Roadsters engine bay? Adios Amigos!
Matt A – Engine Rebuild & Engine Stand Project
Here’s a little project I’ve been working for the past month in my very small amount of spare times.
Fabricated an engine test stand, it’s not finished yet still needs some gauges and wiring.
The engine test stand is finally finished, Saas gauges fitted, all wired up and ready to go.
Mocked it up with an old block I had in the shed.
All I need now is to build that engine…happening soon.
It has been a long journey to get to here and I have had two projects successfully come to fruition today. First up successful first run of my new engine built here in my garage, second running that engine successfully on the engine test stand I built here also.
Very happy and keen to get it installed.
Picked my next project today 1969 with lots of options and has not been molested
The fun begins again
The fun begins
4 hours of stripping with a heat gun and peeling of the paint
No surprises yet
Had a good afternoon, Floody and I looked at how to put on the straps and lift the body off.
Next thing we knew the body was off and sitting on the Dolly.
Already to clean up and get rid of surface rust
Wish I had a sandblaster for the small parts
Frame is back from sandblasting
Now the fun part PAINTING
That job is done
Move onto the next one
I have alot of parts to Sandblast for the 69
Went to Bunnings and bought a $59 Sandblaster
Made up a cardboard booth complete with perspex folding window, LED lighting and an exhaust fan
Makes it easy to get big and small parts inside and recycle the garnet
Going to compete with China, patent pending
Finally after 3 months have a completed rolling chassis.
Every nut bolt cleaned and painted, diff reconditioned, motor rebuilt, trailing arms, power steering, all new suspension bushes and bearings.
Thanks Ron and Greg for your help.
Next on to the body
Now the fun begins sanding down the body ready for painting
When you find rust in the windscreen , who do you call. FLOODY
Another big day in the progress of the 69
Body is back on the frame
Thanks Ron Flood, Greg Walker , John Neskudla , John and Mike.
Big day today dropped off the 69 to get painted
Today is a big day the 69 is getting painted.
First a white base coat and then the Colour (Monaco Orange) finished with clear.
20/9 – Another big milestone in the 69 process.
Pick it up today and safely put out of harm’s way.
Purchased my beast in January 2017, as a project I could do with my dad.
This car had sat in a Padock for the last 12 years I was told.
I quickly found out that not being mechanically minded I was in too deep and so had to get others involved.
Got assistance from a Mobile Mechanic to list items required and then purchased them from USA for him to fit. Had a disagreement with mechanic so project stalled.
Moved to another Mechanic, project stalled.
Took car over the pits myself, got another mechanic involved. After repairing listed items car was passed and rego’ed
Car was then taken to Paint and Brad did a great job by Stunning FX.
In my opinion if you are not mechanically minded and good with your hands don’t attempt a project unless you have Very Very goods mates that can help, as this has turned out very costly.
My next Corvette will be 100% complete.
BUT I do love this car.