Bought this '68 El Camino "Custom" just about a year ago.
Seems the original engine was probably a 327.
It was supposed to have a good rebuilt SBC-400" and TH400 trans.
Heard it run and it sounded good, knew it had rust in all the wheel arches but the floors are excellent.
Paid $1500.00, probably a bit too much but is was supposed to be a driver.
That was sort of true, but the brakes were not very good.
Started to rebuild the brakes, found a cracked lower control arm, ended up with $1500.00 in new suspension and disc brake conversion.
Definitely paid too much.
The 400 was strong at the low end of the RPM range, but gargled and popped through the carb about the time it should have been getting fun.
It would burn a tire into third gear when I first got it, but power seemed to fade rapidly and nothing would cure the higher RPM popping.
It also tended to get a bit hot at idle, oil pressure was dangerously low on a hot day or any day if driven any real distance.
Rebuilt, but then sat, how many years?
Yep, paid too much.
Decided to yank the 400 before it blew up, after an inexpensive rebuild it will go into a customized Willys 4x4 I have.
Bought a used 350" engine for $850.00 from a guy nearby.
According to the pad stamp it is a factory 300 HP 1970 Nova SS engine with 10.25-1 compression using flat-top pistons.
Got it complete from air cleaner to oil pan, including a decent set of headers which do fit the El Camino.
A pretty much period correct engine for this mostly "Old School" build.
Did not pay too much! (So far)
Of course the Nova engine was a leaker, so I replaced a lot of gaskets and also changed the Torker II for a Performer spreadbore.
I intended to use the rebuilt Q-Jet from the 400 engine.
Just before I was to put the engine in I decided to see if it still had it's flat top pistons and looked through a spark plug hole thinking that when it was rebuilt it might have gotten dished pistons.
Nope, I was looking at the side of the pop-ups!
So this thing has to be at least 11-1, turns out to have a pretty serious cam in it too.
No wonder he was running a single plane manifold, and a vacuum can.
After lots of clean-up and paint the "new" engine went in without too much drama.
Some of the header bolts were a bit difficult to tighten, and at least one spark plug is a bit hard to reach.
Out of money so I cobbled together an exhaust using some 40" long glass packs I had laying around.
Finally got it fired up and it sounds pretty nasty!
I'm still trying to dial in the ignition for my 5000' altitude and lead foot driving style.
Had a heck of a time trying to get the Q-Jet to work, it would not tune, take an idle adjustment, or restart after the car warmed up.
Finally gave up and put the Holly Double-Pumper that came with the engine back on.
MUCH better, particularly after I reset the float levels and adjusted the idle jets.
Still some work to do there but it has to wait until I have more jets and such to experiment with.
The bad news has been that the TH400 which seemed to work so well with the 400" engine is crud with this hot 350".
The converter is dragging the engine down before it can get on the cam, it also shifts too soon.
Next week it gets a 2400 stall converter, that should help enough to let me stop manually shifting to avoid stalling at stops.
I'm hoping I will also get my kick-down to operate properly again.
With the new converter I will see if I also need to tweak the governor.
No interest in drag racing, more a get across the state quickly and I control who does the passing type ride.
Cannot be a "Pro-Street" since I refuse to fit giant wheels and an LS engine.
So maybe it's a "Resto-Mod"?
Going for a mid-70's hot rod theme, so kind of a throw back.
Should look like what we used to see in the high school parking lot, with some mostly unseen improvements.
Got a deal on a freight damaged 2" cowl hood at Summit, pretty easy fix.
Think I paid $150.00, good price.
Today I spent $80.00 for enough paint to do the bottom side of the cowl hood, in addition to the $89.00 new hinges cost me.
I also have a good rear clip I bought for the rear skins, and a possible trade to get them put on.
So it should finally start looking decent around fall.
I have the roof just about stripped of three or four layers of old paint, I do not understand why it has so many dents under bondo.
From here on out I will try to post some pics of actual progress, now that some is being made!
There will be a few goodies, SW 200 MPH 5" speedo and matching tach in a Thunder Road dash panel, full gauge set, floor shift, and probably some sort of roll-bar when I get the bucket seats figured out.
It's a rolling restoration, no fat cheque-book, unlimited budget, frame-off here.
It's to remain a driver while being built as much as possible.