1955 Bel Air: Engine Replacement
What started as an engine knock turned into a full engine and transmission replacement when the customer realized that the engine in his 1955 Bel Air had called it quits. We often compare working on classic cars to remolding an old home. You never know what is going to come up, what you're going to find, and how much you're really going to invest until you start chipping away at the job. Which is exactly what happened with this 1955 Bel Air project.
The customer drove the car to our shop and by the time he made it here he needed a new engine. Good timing on his part!
We got to work and swapped out the blown motor for a brand new 383 stroker. While we had everything apart we realized that this Bel Air really needed a better transmission to take full advantage of its new power plant. Upon removing the original transmission we found that what was holding in the transmission were just a few screws.
Yes, you read that right. Screws.
As Kenny said in the video, had something gone wrong that could have seriously injured the driver. Thankfully, we found and fixed the issue.
Because the new transmission was a bit bigger than the original we had to make the tunnel wider. This meant we had to peel back the carpet and Dynamat to get down to the metal.
Once the area was prepped and ready, a new tunnel piece was fabricated, riveted in place, and covered back up with carpet.
The next challenge in this project was the driveshaft. Because we changed the transmission, the original driveshaft was too long which meant we had to find a shorter one to complete the job. More often than not, unexpected scenarios arise when you're doing any sort of work to a classic car.
Restoring classic cars is very similar to the home remodeling shows on TV. The contractors always have this great plan to execute within a certain budget only to be foiled by finding mold in the bathroom.
Things don't always go as smooth as you hope, but at the end of the day you have to figure out how to make it all come together which is exactly what we did with this '55 Bel Air.
Now this hot rod is back to burning rubber! Watch the video to see!