Engine & Drivetrain
David sent the venerable 327 to Brothers Machine in Ontario, California, for the proper execution. Brothers poked the bores 0.060 inch, nudging the displacement to 337 ci. Once back, David and his dad took a nod to the budget and to what would’ve been done back in the day, the crank, rods and pistons (9.3:1 compression ratio) are original. The idea was to build the motor with the roots of hot rodding—let it breathe, let it breathe. To that end, a Crane hydraulic flat-tappet (0.480/0.494-inch lift; 228/234 degrees duration at 0.050 inch), Mellings timing chain, Trick Flow hardware and pushrods, and Crane roller rockers complete that platform. Brothers capped the block with Trick Flow aluminum cylinder heads and the bottom with a stock Nova front-sump oil pan. The induction system is classic: a Weiand Air Strike intake manifold, Holley 4150 carburetor, and a Fram element. Spent stuff is drawn from the cylinders by Sanderson 15/8-inch primary-pipe headers. Jolt zings from an HEI distributor set at 36 degrees total. On the pump, the little-block creamed 380 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm and 396 hp at 6,200 rpm. David got his overdrive, too, a Gearstar Level 3 4L60 fronted by a Gearstar 10-inch converter with a 3,000-stall speed. The transmission is cooled by stock radiator core. The driveshaft was shortened to fit the package. Terminus is a 10-bolt axle carrying a Positraction limited-slip and 3.36:1 gears.
Suspension is configured around a CPP Mini Subframe kit that accommodates a tubular dual-attachment point (rather than single) lower control arm and mounting hardware. The stock steering connects with 2-inch drop spindles. They act with CPP springs, Monroe dampers, and a CPP 11/8-inch diameter antisway bar. To the rear, we find stock monoleaf springs flanked by a second pair of Monroe shocks.
Wheels & Brakes
Without the benefit of eye-opening mini-tubs and the inclusion of the stock strut towers are the limiting factors in the shoebox’s ability to accept large tires and wheels. For reasons of budget, David went with the flow. He put up four appropriately slim and trim Intro Rally 17x7 wheels fitted with Nitto 215/45 and 225/45 contact patches. CPP came to the rescue again with its 11-inch front disc brake package. Stock drums take up the rear. Braided lines are from Inline Tube.
The driver’s pod was enhanced by an American Autowire Factory Fit loom that underwrites the Vintage Air system but little else. There is no audio, no iPod, no MP3, no GPS, no distractions to pull David away from the actual experience. All upholstered surfaces were done in stock-type black vinyl as dressed by Elegance Custom Interiors in nearby Upland. David retained the column shift linkage, freeing floor space and saving several hundred bucks.
Yes, it did sit outside for at least 10 years, but the climate is about as dry as you can get and humidity is in the teens, hence no insipid rot, calcification, or slow death was evident. This made the job for R&A Auto Body (Montclair, California) that much easier to complete. After some minimal filling, smoothing, and lots of blocking, R&A applied the Sherwin-Williams two-stage Butternut Yellow. Indeed, it appears fresh and crisp. CHP