SO THERE I WAS........
about ten years ago, i wanted to build an engine. it was going to be a smallblock chevy, because i knew those. i rounded up some parts, and i was going to get started, but at the last minute i decided that i wanted something special, and about that time i had just read an article on stroking/destroking the smallblock chevy. so my 350 build, went into full scale shrink........ after searching far and wide, and spending some ca$h i had managed to put together a 305 smallblock chevy. GREAT. thing is, that it is actually a 350 round seal block, with a round seal 4.3l v8 crank, and 6 inch rods and CU$TOM aftermarket pistons. z28 iron heads. comes up to 305.
anyhow i had gotten my engine together, i was ready to get the car i was going to put it in. i set my sights on the square body first design 2 door chevy2 from about 62-65............. i searched EVERYWHERE, in every field, barn, garage, yard,backyard, chicken coupe, hen house, outhouse, you name it i searched it for my chevy2. i found a few. most were rotten half in two, been beat to death already, or had the suspension allready fallen out from under the front of it. and of the worst of THOSE examples, the best price that i could get was $1200.
3 years of looking, and those were the prospects, but in that time, i had managed to round up a few more parts that i wanted to use, the muncie 4 speed(m20), and a ford 9 inch rear end. with who knows what gears out of an old truck. but i was GOING TO USE THEM........yeah sure......... i also did some research, and did a lot of talking to the old guys in my area, and managed to make some of the greatest, most tolerant friends ever. i then bought a 4 link suspension kit .
still didnt have a chevy2.
i was ready to punt, i was going to just put together an s10(one of the square ones), BUT just as luck would of had it, about this time all my local friends in my age group had square body s10 that they had JUST put sbc v8 into. there were no less than about 5 of them in the area, that i KNEW of. im not a mee too kind of guy , so the s10+v8 was a no go, but in the meantime i managed to find an extended cab one for not much of anything, that i picked up, in case i changed my mind. and still the 305 sat in the corner of the yard on an engine stand, covered. every few weeks, i would turn the crank, to make sure the rings didnt stick. i named the engine at this point “Elsanoire”
now about this time, things got interesting, i by quite accident met some people with a vw bug. it was partially took apart. wow was this thing simple. the bug would never be fast 60 hp, and 1900 lbs. and thats when i remembered....... a fully dressed out chevy2 inline 6 2 door post car weighed 1950 lbs........
and thats when it happened
i punted on the chevy2, and decided to put together the s10...........sort of............
i looked at the vw bug, and saw how the pan attatched to the body, and realized how dead simple it was. i then wrangled my good friend into helping me assemble the massive pile of parts i had scrounged up over the last couple of years. it was while i was slowly stacking the parts together, that i started buying bug bodies. they were CHEEEEEEP. i could buy a non running bug, no engine/ transaxle for $100 i would buy an engine later....... i had bought 6 bugs, most of them wrecked, and gutted, but all had still had parts i could use, i even spent BIG money, and bought one that had a TITLE for $250. yeah,it was purple. mostly.
it was during this bug time, that i saw my friend do THE unthinkable(and i paid VERY CLOSE attention) as he cut a truck half in two, cut out about 11 inches, and then put it back together, and put a shortbed back on. this is a thing? so, i knew what i had to do s10 frame swap........... out with the long bed s10 in with the...............
bug body. i persuaded my overly indulgent, nicer than anyone has a right to be friend, into showing/ helping/ teaching me how to not kill myself, and everyone else around me. and finally cram my 305, and 4 speed, with a 9 inch rear end, 4 link, into a vw bug, and make the body tuck over it all, using a s10 front suspension, and tucking 14 inch wide worth of 295 50 15 rear tires under the stock sheetmetal........well whats left of the stock sheetmetal.
EVERYTHING, that bug guys look for when checking a bug to see if it is structurally sound, or desireable.......... usable............we cut out........
gone......... that truck 9 inch. it lost not quite 2 feet out of the middle, and is now 41 inches wheel face to wheel face. it also got a swap meet set of 4.56 gears and ford posi.(trutrac?), and kept its 11 inch drums, and i spent some money on some axles for insurance, using the ones we cut down to measure off of.
and the spot where feet go, gone............ it took a lot of finagalling, measuring and cussing, to get headers that fit, the engine to sit where it needed to sit, and still keep a manual fuel pump, and manual radiator fan, as i wanted to keep the whole mess as analog as i possibly could. those welding leads are actually my battery cables. i had a BAD experience ONCE..........
a $600 radiator, custom made by a company that specializes in dirt car radiators. i measured every single thing i thought, that i would need to measure in order to have everything clear........ the steering, the fan, the frame, the body, and then when i had all the numbers i needed, that company said that they could only make it if i added 4 inches to one side and 2 to the other, there was a minimum core size, or something similar. i didnt have the comfortable margins that i had wanted, but miraculously, it fit BETWEEN THE RAILS, but in a bit of an oversight while on the phone, an fax with the people, the neck got put on awkwardly. in order to bleed it , the reasoning was. would it clear the hood? i was sweating bullets with how high it sat, and was already sadly resolving myself to needing to hammer a clearance bump.
BUT it cleared with no hammering. i have a 19 inch electric fan, just in case i neeed it. shown , are some of my in progress templates to help direct air THROUGH the radiator.
it still needs floors, and i still need to finish my pedals, and put in a steering wheel, and a firewall, and hook up my fuel tank. and put some switches, so i am not just holding wires together when i fire it up. about halfway back into the project of building the 305 into a bug i named the car “Madeline Kahn” from Young Frankenstein...... these days i name engines and cars separate.
largely because they take a long time for me to get them done.
its been THE best learning experience, with THE best friends that i’ll ever get to make.
with any luck, i can make it a new years resolution to finish it by the end of this coming year, AND make it happen.
plans include cutting off a bug roof and using it as a belly pan, so that i have the transmission exposed, but the road blocked out, small shields for the u joints so that i dont lose any important parts to me........ also am going to put the fenders off of a 66, and the hood, and bumpers, and some fake curtainrod exhaust peeking out the back.
this experience has also been a big part of why i choose what i do, in my what would i build answers.
SO there it is, my project car, been in the works 10 years, had some NICE trade offers, and sale offers, but i cant. i cant sell out all the hard work that my friends have helped me put in.
my dreams are not for sale........