62 Special Build

Discussion in 'Members Rides' started by rmmstnr, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. rmmstnr

    rmmstnr Member

    The Story So Far

    I've owned this 1962 Special since 2009 when I picked it up in a small town in Pennsylvania for $1,000. Between then and now, it's spent time in South Carolina, Connecticut, Washington state, and of course come back home with me to Missouri. It's never been a show car and never will be, but seeing as I have a "if it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is" attitude, that doesn't stop me from throwing an inordinate amount of work and neat parts at it.

    The first real change I made was swapping in a junkyard 700R4, which has since been replaced with a built 4l60E. The extra 2 speeds (it started off with the Dual-Path 2 spd trans) made it the best bang for the buck change I have ever done to it, and made driving it in modern traffic rather pleasant (this was my only vehicle from 2009-2016). But that itch to keep tinkering never went away, and eventually I purchased a second vehicle (a 1980 Chevy LUV, $900) to support more intensive vehicle hackery.

    It currently has a 10 bolt swapped in back with the obligatory Cadillac discs, a Fat Man Fabrications front end with 12" Wilwoods, QA1 single adjustable coilovers front and rear, a dual reservoir master-cylinder, 7" dual-diaphragm booster (finishing off the swap from 4 wheel manual drums), a mild cam, Edelbrock intake, Holley 2300 Sniper 2bbl to replace the stock 2bbl carb, and most recently a Vintage Air unit (A/C not yet hooked up, but that heat is incredible...). The new shoes are 17"x7" American Mag wheels and 225/50ZR17 BF Goodrich G-Force Super Sports (all-seasons, nothing sticky).

    A New Chapter Begins...

    At some point in South Carolina (I think 2015) I picked up a 1970 455 and TH400 combo for $400, sold the trans, and more or less got a decent big block for $200 (fun fact, a disassembled Buick 455 fits in the trunk of a Nissan rental car :p). In keeping with my obsessive "if it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is" way of life, I'm now going to try to shove that 455 (now a rebuilt 462) into my increasingly messed-with Buick Special.

    The engine has been bored 0.030" and fitted with hyper pistons, decked 0.010" (I forget, may have been 0.020"), 10-10 crank grinding, it has the TA Performance Stage 1 Street Eliminator heads, 212 cam, front cover, and water pump (with a beautiful closed impeller design), along with an Edelbrock Performer intake. Still waiting on some engine stuff, so while I wait on that I'm going to swap my leaky gas tank for a bigger one.

    The Current Self-Imposed Hurdle (Of Many)

    I love little in life more than a good roadtrip (one of my longer ones was 3,650 miles total, and I've done at least 6 totaling over 2800), and average about 225 miles per 3/4 of a tank with the 215 v8. I didn't want to sacrifice too much range seeing as I was more than doubling displacement, so for the swap I mandated a 20 gallon minimum tank capacity. I planned on fabricating my own for awhile, and admittedly chickened out after I saw what appeared to be a more elegant/shiny solution.

    Turns out a 1968-72 El Camino gas tank is very similar to the stock tank (same basic shape and dimensions, same side filler neck), but is 2" deeper all around for a total capacity of 20 gallons. As such, I ordered one from Holley with provisions for an EFI setup (the big block is getting a Holley Terminator setup with Trans Control). To make room, I'm planning on sacrificing 2" of trunk depth. Essentially I'll be cutting the floor of the trunk and raising it, as well as cutting and remaking the area where the filler neck will be.

    Now, I'm purely a hobbyist and no professional, but what I lack in smarts, speed, ability, good looks, social grace, and overall adequacy as a human being, I make up for with an out and out stubbornness that lets me keep banging away until I find a solution to a problem. And without any further monologue outta me ('cause holy cow, this is a long post), lets all get ready to laugh as I fumble-buck my way around shoving 462 ci where 215 was already kinda cozy. Lemme know if you have any questions, I'll see if I can answer them!

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
  2. no1oldsfan

    no1oldsfan Well-Known Member

    Cool A (Ear) post. Love it. The 455 and trans weighs more than the car!! Awesome post.

    What issues did you run into fitting all that in there? Huge props for you using a 62!!
  3. rmmstnr

    rmmstnr Member

    Thanks, I appreciate the kind words! The 455 is gonna take some work to make fit, but at least here's how I got everything else to fit in there with the stock 215:

    The 4l60e needed a new tunnel, as it was much bigger than the Dual-Path (dunno if you've ever seen one, they're tiny!). Actually, it's the 2nd tunnel I've made for the car, as the first was for the 2.8l v6 bellhousing 700r4 I ran for 6 years. Another fun fact (or maybe it's just a regular fact), the low stall converters that come in the v8 style 700r4's won't fit the narrow bellhousing of the ones for the 2.8l v6. The adapter for it came from D&D Fabrications, and I believe it also needed clearancing on the part if the firewall; I forget, it's been awhile since that area has been stock.

    The heater box was going to be a big issue with the 455, that's why I went with the Vintage Air unit. With the bigger tunnel, it's TIGHT, but I got it under the dash after massaging the cowl a touch (didn't want to go with a smaller unit, so I made room for it :p). Even without AC hooked up (this engine swap has been planned for years), the setup is great. The heat and defrost is incredible compared to the stock setup!

    Danged if I can remember what I was making clearance for at the time, but years ago I cut the spot welds holding the stock blower motor to the metal bit that funneled air into it from the cowl, shifted it, re-welded it, and re-sealed the duct that went to the heater core. This moved it an inch or so.

    Also, as it turns out, the Fat Man front end wasn't setup for a stock engine (the 215), so the oil filter and stock oil pan didn't fit. So, I got an interesting oil pump setup from TA Performance and ran an oil filter relocation kit (cheesy junk, forget from who but the casting was rough and the threaded nipple for the filter had to be messed with to keep from spinning off). At first I spent a long time hunting down a rear sump oil pan from a Land Rover 'cause I thought that would fit, and while it fit the engine, it did not fit the front end.

    So, I cut off the rail from a spare stock pan and made a new oil pan that fit, which was pretty fun. To work with the special oil pump setup, the pickup exits the side of the pan, is plumbed to the pump, then to the block via a drilled hole in the timing cover. It sounds weird, but it supposedly bypasses a LOT of oil passage restrictions from the pickup and through the timing cover to the block, yielding higher oil pressure while lowering the load on the cam drive gear. And to its credit, the oil pressure reading has doubled with the stock sized pump gears, and the oil pump drive gear still hasn't eaten itself.
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    The massive 225 series tires (I know, right?) rubbed the inside of the rear wheel well slightly on hard turns, so I cut and widened the rear wheel wells, which required me to cut and remake the trunk braces that went to them, and slightly bend the seat frame to clear the widened wells.

    The S10 10 bolt with Cadillac disk brake conversion ALSO had fitment issues; the emergency brake lever would hit the hat channel just over it when going over bumps, so I welded reinforcement in the area on top in the trunk and notched it for clearance.

    The wiper motor is gonna go at some point when I figure out how to get it under the dash too (it's getting really crowded in there...). The 7" dual diaphragm booster has maybe 1/8" of clearance, but I wanna go bigger, so that's the impetus for that upcoming nightmare. As it stands right now, to get the dual diaphragm booster in, I had to cut out the stock firewall-to-inner-fenderwell brace and make a bolt in one.

    To make room for the big block, I'm gonna basically cut off everything forward of the firewall and make a new frame stub to bolt the Fat Man setup to, and also make some new inner fenderwells. As a bonus, this is a good excuse to stiffen the overall chassis with some tube.

    The radiator (original, boiled out years back) will not be trusted to keep up with all the new cubes (even with the teeny cam), so to get as big a radiator in as possible I'll be making a new core support. Unfortunately, the details will have to be worked out in the months to come as I'm kinda playing this by ear, but I'll come up with something; I'm too stubborn to call it quits, certainly at this point, lol

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
  4. I had one of these about 12 years ago. They are really cool cars! Here is a Picture below. I sold it on eBay and it went all the way to Dubai.

    rmmstnr likes this.
  5. nekkidhillbilly

    nekkidhillbilly post whore

  6. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    Keep the pictures and build going. I have a 62, but zero time to work on it and I'm retired
  7. rmmstnr

    rmmstnr Member

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    Ok, in hindsight, these pics are kinda awful, but it was getting dark and I was pooped. While the undercar shot looks like the trunk has gone up something ridiculous, it's only raised a little less than 3 inches. I'm a little sad to lose some of that glorious trunk space, but it's all for the greater good (if I say it enough, I'll believe it...).

    Right now I've only started to weld the panel back in at the front and rear, after which I'll make some side pieces to step back down on the sides. It'll look odd, but if I radius the side pieces it shouldn't look too janky. It will be odd to carpet over, but I'll burn that bridge when I get to it. Once again, bad pics, but It seems I didn't do to bad a job of getting the front and back of the trunk section I cut out to meet; after some proper blending and painting, it might not look too bad.

    In one pic you can see where I widened the wheelwell, and subsequently neglected to paint the interior portion (the exterior portion is properly primered, painted, and further coated). Blech. The outside pic shows some of the rust that's finally going to be addressed in the near future. There's a lot of stuff I haven't made time to fix, and I'm hoping to really force myself to remedy these things in the near future. Part of the reason I started this thread was to shame myself into righting these "I'll get around to it" issues, and despite the somewhat toasty weather, it's working thus far.
  8. rmmstnr

    rmmstnr Member

    No further progress (rain, various frustrations, and other excuses, etc), but I came up with just the thing to make me feel better. I took the 455 out of its plastic wrap and various coverings and temporarily put some of the fun bits on it to finally see what it would look like. As you can see from the masking tape on all of the sealing surfaces, it's still waiting on a few things to actually go together (one being the ARP bolt kit from TA Performance...).

    You can also probably see why I'm working on the Special outside in the driveway; many much junk, and other great stuff in the garage. I like the look of the black, cast aluminum, and silvery blue (seen too much pug-fugly Chebby orange sbc's to go Buick red :/), what do you guys think?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
    GKMoz, patshotrods and buicksWILD like this.
  9. That Engine looks amazing!
  10. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    looks great
  11. rmmstnr

    rmmstnr Member

    Thanks! This is my first ground-up engine rebuild for myself, so I'm trying to make it count.

    On the note of engine stuff, I called TA Performance yesterday, and while they haven't received shipments of black oxide fasteners from ARP yet, they got a shipment of stainless from them. The timing cover, water pump, and fuel pump bolts from the assortment kit I purchased from them have been on backorder, but they let me upgrade my backordered stuff for stainless, so I should be able to get it all buttoned up in a few days!

    As for the trunk work, the rain lately has been holding me up, but I got a little done today. Hopefully tomorrow will be dry and productive. I somehow keep forgetting that I've been meaning to make adjustable rear suspension links, so that's one more thing to add to the pile of stuff to do. Oughta be fun though.
  12. papa roger

    papa roger Well-Known Member

    I stuffed a 430 with 400turbo in a 62 2dr hard top back in 1971 using stock headers and a 57 olds rear end. B4B intake,Sig Erson cam and Holley carb. Being young and dumb I solid mounted the engine to the frame. Couldn’t run it without shaking rust and bolts out the bottom. Hard runs on the street pretty well trashed the unibody. Had to take the engine out and put it in a CJ5. I’m glad to see someone doing the job right and a very good job at that it’s a fantastic combination. Roger

    On The Eighth Day God Created Buick
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  13. rmmstnr

    rmmstnr Member

    @papa roger, that must have been a heck of a sleeper! It's a shame the car shook itself apart, but it's cool the engine found another home. That Jeep must've been pretty fun, CJ5's are some of the cooler looking Jeeps out there.

    More engine stuff! Got the timing cover, intake and water pump bolts, so now those items are actually mounted and sealed. I'm gonna be sad if I have to break open any of those joints as I spent a hot minute making sure they were prepped to never leak. All sealing surfaces were cleaned with acetone, which took a hot minute as there was adhesive residue on some from a protective layer of tape. I'm excited for the engine stuff as I've got room to work on that in the garage before I start trying to cram it in the Special.


    The next step (after I finally order the AC compressor and power steering pump) is to make brackets for a serpentine conversion. I realize this has been done a lot as I've spent quite a bit of time on these forums looking up what's been on here, but I have decided to just go from scratch as my application is a bit specific, and I think the result will be a little more compact than reworking existing pieces.

    Part one of the puzzle was a crank pulley plucked from an early 90's (?) Chevy P/U while I was out treasure hunting at one of my preferred junkyards. The center hole will have to be opened up and the 6 mounting holes drilled, but the depth looks great for a compact setup, and the pre-existing holes won't interfere with the 6 I need to drill. I'll have to nab a water pump pulley too, hopefully I can find one with a similar depth to my existing V-belt style. If so, it shouldn't take too much shimming to get them to line up. BTW, the water pump pulley is just sitting on the water pump crooked, it's got a little-bitty of clearance when fastened.

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    Also scored from my treasure hunt was a Hydroboost style brake booster from a decently low mileage Yukon. I've decided to go Hydro as even the mini booster I have is taking up too much space, and I'm upgrading to power steering anyway, so might as well plumb 2 things instead of one and solve another problem. And at only $22 (obviously not including the required plumbing and step-down valve for my steering rack, which I also still need to order...), it was hard for me to argue.

  14. papa roger

    papa roger Well-Known Member

    62 was a super sleeper for sure just wish I had put it together better. CJ was just as good with 4 wheel drive 9” ford rear end lakewood traction bars and 4.30 gears it literally jumped across intersections. Wife thought it was too dangerous to drive after I retired so I put the engine in a 1985 Regal and upgraded it to a TP 470.....still dangerous lol

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