The question had remained: was the engine block for my J2000 race car any good? I dropped it off at a machine shop a couple of weeks ago where the owner was not super hopeful, but today I called to check in and he told me it came out pretty good afterall! I might call that an understatement, because the block decked so nice and just looks fantastic:

The newly decked block.

The damage was between 3 and 4, what would be the bottom two bores on your screen. If you see it in person and look VERY closely, theres a tiny little imperfection there, but nothing that will prevent the gasket from sealing. All told he took .025 off the block, and its ready to go.


I posted my Dellorto DHLA carburetors attached to their new manifold yesterday, but one bit of doubt remained in my mind: I know the Australian company who never answered my emails said this was the manifold for a 1.6 or 1.8 liter Family II engine...the pictures looked right, but was it really the correct manifold for my head? Well...

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuup. A perfect fit with no drama, no mess, no fuss. Honestly, everything has gone so well for me on this project so far I’m a little skeptical. Everything is coming up Milhouse, so to speak.

Actually the most interesting or maybe surprising thing to me is my level of interest in the car. If you’re familiar at all with my automotive history, this is the 51st vehicle I’ve owned at the not particularly advanced age of 35. I take on projects and move on from them swiftly...I honestly can’t think of one of any substance that I actually saw through to completion. Maybe the ‘86 Mustang, but I pretty much just reassembled the interior and body parts in a weekend.


This is more of a project than that, but I think maybe I just finally stumbled into the correct level of project and the correct vehicle. See, I wanted a full on race car...stripped down, caged, but done professionally and cleanly...but I can’t afford to do it. Buying this car for $500 with all that already done was something of a miracle to me. At that point it barely matters what kind of car it is, but I’m also glad its something kinda slow and weird: if it were a Mustang, there would be another one somewhere just like it. But its a J2000, so there isn’t.

The thing it needs most, an engine rebuild, is something I can do easily in my home. Other stuff will come up after I’m sure, but for what the car is, its level of project-ness is remarkably low. And I think thats why it works.


So this weekend I’m going to paint the engine block (Pontiac Blue, for style points) and start putting it back together. I’ve got a gasket kit, along with all new crankshaft and conn rod bearings showing up Friday, so I hope to at least get the crank and pistons in there this weekend. Today was a good day.

Oh, I also started a new job making way more money than I was before. Going well over here for once.

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