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12-03-2010 07:09 PM Engine and Transmission Installation
In all my huge pile of junk, I managed to not have regular old-style Chevy engine mounts. I had to buy them at the parts store. I'm saving every receipt from this project, I'm really curious how much this 'fast and cheap' fix-up is going to end up costing, and how long it'll take.

The engine bolted in, but the 200R4 does not match up with the Impala's transmission crossmember. After a brief Internet search, I located several aftermarket suppliers who make a member for this swap, and they start at about $250. So of course, you guessed it, I decided to make my own.

I visited a local welding shop where I do business occasionally, and for $15 I purchased this piece of pipe, got them to bend if for me with these two angles in it, and throw in some 1/8" steel plate scraps. That kept me busy for a day or two. The plan was to fab it, and then take it back up there to have them do the "real" welds on it. But there was too much trial and error test fitting, and in the end, I decided I could weld it myself just fine with my Millermatic 135. This is what I came up with.

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  [Entry #204]

12-03-2010 06:54 PM Getting started
The most tiresome thing about the 2 door hardtop, was that for as long as I've had it, it's been immovable. Non-running. That's a necessary part of fixing a car up in the first place, but with this car I want to get back to what I did when I was younger--restore and drive--a budget restoration that doesn't take forever.

Within a day I had decided to find a running engine and transmission, as complete as possible. This is intended to be a comfortable driver, and I'm looking for reliability and ease of use and economy over performance on this one.

I wasn't able to find a complete car for a drivetrain donor vehicle, but I did find a car I could actually drive before I bought the engine and transmission for $300. It was a '77 Impala with 80,000 original miles. A 305 engine, with a 1987 vintage 200R4 transmission, 4 speed automatic. A day later, I brought them home in my truck.

The neighbor and I started installing them the next day.

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  [Entry #203]

12-03-2010 06:43 PM What's in it
The things people do. The guy who sold me this car was one of those guys who runs the "junk cars wanted" ads, and that was probably how he found this car. He told me most of the trim was in the trunk. It's true. Most of the trim, and much of the trim and other parts from a number of other vehicles. Lots of it was '64 Impala trim, which doesn't even fit this vehicle. I started the ebay auctions right away. One of the items was a NOS '64 Chevy bumper filler panel, I got $160 for that one part by itself. I recovered more than half this car's cost just by selling the junk out of the trunk, and I haven't finished selling all of it yet.

The car had a few other obnoxious sorts of issues, along with the driver door, fender and hood not being attached. The exhaust system was dragging the ground, and the front seat was not bolted in, and one of the tires wouldn't hold air for long enough to even get it off the tow dolly.

No problem.

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  [Entry #202]

12-02-2010 09:16 PM The '63 Impala 4 door hardtop
No post between the door windows. Love it.

The body is 'pretty solid' as the seller stated, but that being a relative term, I anticipated doing a little body work. The seller didn't state how far apart the car was. The left front fender, hood and driver door basically just sitting on the car, not fastened at all.

This apparently was someone's old leftover parts car, as lots of stuff was missing, and there were lots of parts inside the car, and lots and lots in the trunk. Let's see what's in there....

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  [Entry #201]

12-02-2010 09:10 PM A Fresh Start.......on a new car
So I'm sitting on this huge stack of '63 Impala parts, but stuck in a rut on my project. Too many cars? I did what many other self-respecting hotrodders would do, I bought another one.

It doesn't seem like much of a way to get away from one project by getting into another just about like it, but hey, it can't fail.

A week or so after I got the 4 door sedan and parts out of the driveway, along comes this other car on Craigslist, so cheap I couldn't pass it up. Yet another '63 Impala, this one a much straighter, more solid car, in an interesting body style that I haven't owned too many of--a four door hardtop. While putting off the 2 door to work on the 4 door may seem like regression to many people, this one interested me because of the GF's kids. We're always going places, and always using the four door cars we have around here, so what if I had a cool 4 door? Besides, if I ended up not liking it in the early going, I could always part it out, right? That's how I talked myself into buying it.

It also interested me because my standards for it could be lower. It was incredibly cheap to buy, $350 delivered, and I felt like I could work on it without getting too involved, or spending too much money, or trying to solve the kinds of problems I was facing on the 2 door.

This 4 door hardtop showed up on CL for $600, and the ad says it has no engine or transmission, and no bumpers, but is 'solid'. I thought it was interesting, but I didn't jump right away. A couple of days later, the price had dropped to $550, and then to $350. I talked the seller into delivering it to me from about 60 miles away.

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  [Entry #200]

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