Help me plan my build. Please

Discussion in 'Wrenchin' Secrets' started by dr, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    Ok here are the ground rules: no remarks like "should have gotten a better project" or "better plan on winning the Powerball". My dad is not on this forum. lol
    I have a 62 Skylark from California. The body is solid, no rust. I plan to put a 350 small block
    Buick in it, maybe twin turbo. Turbo 350 Trans. I plan to put a cage and back 1/2 the car. I weld and do tin work and have the required tools.
    A possum lived in the motor compartment and ate every wire. I have been under the dash removing the heater core, Ac, wiper motor and radio. I really don't trust any of the wires. The car sat in the desert for 20 years and the plastic is brittle.
    So here is the big list of big to do's:
    1. Motor Trans. This requires a lot of floor cutting for the trans and drive shaft.
    2. Cage Back 1/2
    3. Wiring
    4. Sheet metal dash, new gauges.
    5. Convert 4 lug front spindles to 5 lug and disk brakes.
    6. I'm not replacing the Heater, AC, Wipers, or Radio.
    7. Lots of interior work.
    So what would be a logical order of events? I don't want to go two forward, one back.
    I was thinking of a running stock 350 and trans to start of then near the end put a Gary Paine special in it.
    Thanks Dave Reber
  2. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Whats a gary special?
    Heres what I would do.
    Get a 350 Buick, build it right. They weight less and are perfect for what you have. Add a power adder just like you said, turbo. Th350, 2004r or 4l80e.

    Mustang 2 or chevy ll front end suspension swap. Reinforce for the unibody frame but not a full cage.
    Stiffer springs.
    Brakes upgrade.
    Simple Trans tunnel.
  3. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    Gary Paine (Great Scat) builds motors.
    I'm not sure a mustang II or Chevy II swap would be easy on this thing, I will look into that.
  4. woody1640

    woody1640 Well-Known Member

    My 1st thought is why? Why swap the motor to a 350 Buick when they don't fit without major mods, but a 215 will and you can get up to 500-600 hp out of these lil guys. Now the tranny thats a whole different issue there, but there are some reasonable options out there.

    The Mustang II front end is being pursued and supposedly there is a company looking at building a new front crossmember frame with the Mustang II steering and suspension as a bolt in replacement. This will allow the fitment of pretty much any motor in the 61-63 Y-body cars. I have not talked with anyone lately on the progress of this so I have no idea where its at.

    Take what I say as a grain of salt, don't matter to me.


    BUICKRAT Torque Rules!

    Dave, I would figure out front suspension, motor and trans first. Cage next, then dash and wiring and interior last.

    Good luck, sounds like a fun project, you don't see many bubble tops.
  6. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    Buick Rat thanks its a Skylark not a bubble top (I love those).
    Woody I'm planning on leaving the front suspension as is, except for the 4 lug to 5 and disk brakes. I think a 350 will fit and I the long run be cheaper than a 215 build, I could be wrong. The trans tunnel will need opened up for any trans. I assume.
    All that being said I plan to go to a friend of Gary's that makes crazy HP numbers with the little 215-300. Who is making a swap for the Y body. I would like to talk to them.
  7. 71GS455

    71GS455 Best Package Wins!

    As a fan of the 62 Skylark body, I love seeing them used for projects. I don't have any tips for the type of project you're doing, but am glad that you are!
  8. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    The 350 will fit. His problem is with the stearing box that will get in the way, that why im for the front end swap
  9. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    I plan to convert to a manual box. I hope that helps
  10. M@

    M@ Member

    I like your plan. I don’t expect the diff to live long especially on the track. so you might start thinking about a narrowed s10 or explorer replacement as an alternative to putting money in the stock setup. That sort of makes the front swap feel more natural.

    I almost think the mustang II swap might be easier on a lark than a frame. Leave the fenders on and weld structure to the three subframe connections. Or that’s what I tell myself. Either way I decided not to borrow trouble on my project. Maybe while I’m putting off front end work that rumored kit will be released.

    4 speed fits with a hump that is sold by D n D. The Heater box gets in the way.

    Post some pictures. I want to see the opossum nest.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  11. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey Well-Known Member

    Spend your money on a time machine.

    Go back to September 1961 and buy it new, park it in a nice climate controlled environment and come back and wait...

    But then, it's been a long day and I'm tired, so forgive me for taking the easy way out. :D
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  12. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    Thanks M@ and TrunkMoney
    The diff is going to be removed (I want to back-half it). I'm going to leave the front end alone for know. If I hate it I will swap a Mustang II
  13. woody1640

    woody1640 Well-Known Member

    I spoke with the guy that is going to do a mustang II front end conversion yesterday. I asked him to bring me up to date on the progress of it, and he informed me that the company quoted him a price of $4,500 to build it. He said he told them to forget it and he bought a Mustang II front end with GM disc brakes already installed on it and going to build his own frame since he has an extra front cross member frame from a 63 Skylark (I sold it to him lol) to get all the specs from. His plan is to build a complete replacement front cross member frame with the Mustang II steering and suspension. I personally am anxious to see the finished frame and all, so far I have only seen his drawings of what he wants.

    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  14. ken betts

    ken betts Well-Known Member

    Since you weld, you will save a lot of money. I would build the entire chassis first. From front to back. It will save a lot of downtime later. Build the reared to take whatever HP you want down the road. You can then put a bone stock engine and trans in and up grade without chassis changes later. You can fit any motor in it with a tube or box frame. Like maybe a 455 down the road. Alum block and heads will work great!
  15. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

  16. ken betts

    ken betts Well-Known Member

    I weld very little, and certainly not enough to back half. I had to pay a couple of welders here and it was not cheap. It was very expensive! I won't do it again! Hopefully you also have a bender. You might consider finding a Nova or Chevelle that has been done and just replace the body.
  17. dr

    dr Well-Known Member

    I have a bender. I'm a teacher an weld on the side. For what I want to do a back half and cage will be enough. If I need to then mustang II front end. This particular unibody design seems plenty strong so me, lots of bends in the metal. If I'm wrong then plan B ans C.
  18. ken betts

    ken betts Well-Known Member

    Hope you can enjoy it either way. I was just throwing out a couple ideas. I happen to like the early birds. I met a Buick circle track racer in the early 70's while trying to buy performance parts at Simpson Buick in Downey Calif. They sent me to the shop and I met "Vince G". He had a Stage 2 in the car. I then met Jim Bell and Doug Jones of Kenne-Bell. I went to work for Jim soon after and the rest is history. I already had a love for Buick.

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