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Old 09-05-2004, 04:06 AM
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Question Looking for ideas for doner car

I am planning my first rod, and recently acquired a solid, but needing total restoration, 1948 Dodge convertible (coupe body style). I was going throught the local want ads looking for a doner car and found a few cars for roughly $1500, all claiming to run good to excellent. I would appreciate any opinions on these or other cars. Or if you prefer taking pieces from various, please let me know. The cars that caught my eye in the want ads all had a 350 engine. The cars were: '74 Pontiac Ventura, '69 Chev Impala, '71 Chev Impala, '74 El Camino. Thanks for the help.

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Old 09-05-2004, 06:51 AM
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Dave I'm sure you've gotten some pm,s by now on your donor car but if not. What do you need the donor car for? Be a little more specific, please. Are you looking for just a motor and tranny or using the frame for a new undercarriage, etc. A neighbor (1/2 mile down the road) of mine used a mercury chassis for the whole undercarriage for a 48 (?I think) Dodge 2 door and set the body on it using the the entire drive train and wiring harness etc. for his. ( He measured the wheel base to see if it would fit, of course). He also cut out the square headlights and welded them onto it giving the front end a whole different look. For my 38 DeSoto I used lots of donor parts. I used parts from several different cars and trucks. I used an 86 (if I remember right) Cutlass for the donor car. took the tranny and power steering and a couple of other parts then got a steering column from a mid 80,s model Chevy S-10. I also used a 79 Camaro front clip and rear end. The radiator is from the radiator shop it's for a Dodge 318 motor. The sheet metal I bought locally to weld into rusted and missing spots on the car. I would have used more parts off the donor car but at the time the health department wanted every one to get rid of unlicensed nonrunning vehicles and the wife didn't want our yard looking like a salvage yard so I bent to pressure and got rid of it before I got all the parts I needed off of it. Hope that helps you some. Good luck with you rproject.
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Old 09-05-2004, 07:22 AM
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I suspect your looking for a donor for the drive line. If it were my car I'd try to keep it all Mopar and look for a donor with a 318, 340 or 360 and torqueflight trans. There are a zillion small block Chevy powered street rods and by installing one of them you'll have just another "cookie cutter" street rod. Small block Chryslers are powerhouses and aren't much more expensive to build than Chevys. That's my $.02 anyway.

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Old 09-05-2004, 03:55 PM
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Regarding the powertrain, while I am a GM / Chevy guy I whole heartedly agree with Centerline. So tired of seeing small block Chevy's in all the rods. How about something with a donor hemi from one of the newer vehicles? It would be different, match the lineage of the vehicle and most of all, would be very cool!
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Old 09-05-2004, 07:28 PM
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The coolest...........440 6pack!!!
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:08 PM
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In response to 38 special, I am just fishing for ideas at this point, and while I have a few completely stock collectable cars, this is my first venture into a modified car. At this point, I am completely open. If there was a good fit to take the drive train and frame, and just bolt on the Dodge body, I would consider that. If it is best to take an assortment of parts, I will consider that route. I have a lot of respect for the GM 350, so that was my first thought. I do like the idea of keeping it Mopar, and the mention by another person responding who suggested a hemi, got me thinking. I think my dad has a '55 Desoto 4 door sitting around as a parts car for his two door hard top that I might be able to get the hemi out of. I do want to stick with older engines and a carb, as opposed to getting involved with the electronics and computers of newer cars. I also like the idea of the 440, but not sure it would fit in the Dodge. Thanks for the suggestions......any more thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 09-06-2004, 06:18 AM
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After building mine I would have to agree with Centerline/advanced design too. I would have kept it all mopar and put in a hemi. This is the first mopar I've ever ownedand being a guy who has had a lot of chevies I was more comfortable with working with what I knew for a first time street rod. Plus I also knew parts were plentuful and reasonable if I broke down some where on the highway as I plan on driving her a lot once completed.
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Old 09-06-2004, 06:26 AM
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A little help with the hemi idea. Most people don't realize this but you can pretty much stick an early hemi anywhere you can get a small block Chevy with headers. Actually the SBC with headers is a tad wider than a hemi (with or without headers). I'm sticking an early hemi in a '53 Chevy pickup with a couple inches to spare on both sides (as you can see), so it can be done.



DeSoto hemis are a bit smaller physically than the Chryslers so the fit will be even better and thanks to businesses like HotHeads parts needed for rebuilding are readily available. Also your choice for a trans is pretty much anything you want from a Chrysler torqueflight to a Chevy 4 speed since adapters are available for both these as well as the Chrysler 4 speed and Chevy TH-350 trans. The only drawback when it comes to the DeSotos is the availability of performance intake manifolds. If you shop around you can find a factory 4 bbl. manifold and if you are very lucky you might be able to find a factory dual quad manifold but they are very rare. (I know, I have one.) There are a few 4 deuce manifolds that show up on e-bay occasionally but they usually go for big $$$ and only use the Stromberg carbs. So if you are willing to settle for a single 4 bbl. carb and don't want something exotic then a DeSoto hemi will be a viable option.

Good luck.

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Old 09-06-2004, 08:09 AM
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Centerline,

Beautiful engine compartment you have created there! Is that the same '53 you revised the dash on to allow a hvac duct to go to the right of the glove box door? I had inquired if you would mind if I attempted to duplicate that look in my truck.

Anyway, stunning execution!

And it would look good in Dave's '48.
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Old 09-06-2004, 05:37 PM
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Yep, same truck. Feel free to use any of my ideas.

When it comes to the glove box, the easiest way is to use a cut off wheel and cut out the entire door frame about an inch outside the opening all the way around. You should be able to see the outline of the weld seam in the pic below. Then all you have to do is move it over however far you need to and weld it back in place. Fill in the other end with sheet metal and your in business.





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Old 09-06-2004, 06:58 PM
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Thanks Centerline, Looks great! I've printed the photo for inspiration but must finish the '35 Master coupe first.
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Old 09-17-2004, 06:22 PM
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Centerline, you make me sick! That hemi is absolutely beautiful. And so is the nice job on that dash. Even though I'm proud of my humble 350 when I look at it, I'd be even more proud of that engine setting in the old DeSoto. Very nice! Very,very nice!
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Old 09-19-2004, 01:57 PM
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I too would follow Centerline's advice, if the Hemi is too much $$$$$ or the EFI of the new Hemi is a stumbling block the 340/360 makes really good power and is small and light weight. The 350/350 is overdone IMO, even in the Chevy camp...?

(Chevy guys- MORE 348/409 powered rods, damnit! )

And Centerline, you bashtard! Gorgeous work, I love seeing projects like that. MORE!!!!!!!!!!!
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