Conversions & Hybrids - Worth doing swap on a 4-dr '57?
For several years I've considered relieving my uncle of his '57 Bel Air, which has mostly languished in his barn the past few decades. He did drop a 350 into it a couple of years back, but has never done much beyond that. Trouble is, it's a lowly 4-door.
Does that make it a poor candidate for what would prob'ly end up converting me into a poor(er) man? I'm thinking of an LS1 and modern trans, but with the original frame. I drove this car sometimes back when I was a teenager, and it would be fun to see it on the road again...
05-07-2011, 09:14 PM
05-07-2011, 09:48 PM
The LS will be an improvement in drivablity, fuel mileage and probably performance over a carbed 350. If you want to make the car an excellent driver that you can hop in and go anywhere, do the swap. If you want to go a cheaper route, a nice 5.3 would be the way to go.
...a nice 5.3 would be the way to go.
Would the LM7/4L60E be a good choice?
05-08-2011, 11:09 AM
Would the LM7/4L60E be a good choice?
I think it would be. These motors are in the 300 hp range depending on which year you find. They are lighter than an iron head SBC. A friend of mine put one in a 4 door 1950 Studebaker and loves it. Makes it a great reliable drive anywhere cruiser.
05-08-2011, 01:18 PM
I say go for it. I have 3 yr old twins that love old cars. The only bad thing with that is show cars and 3 yr olds don't mix. So I have embarked on a project with them. A 4 door 1958 belair with air ride and a ls power plant. At 3 they have helped pick interior colors and hand me some wrenches but all in all I have had more fun with this one than any other car in the garages. Just because it's a 4 door doesn't mean it can't be cool. Fun is the key to any project and we are having fun and it sounds like you would also have fun bringing back a family memory. Like Stu Cool stated find a 5.3 and overdrive put it in and enjoy!!!!!!
05-08-2011, 10:11 PM
Just do it! I have a four door 56 210 Station wagon with LS1 and love it!! Great driver and fun on road trips. Let all the show and bling cars sit in their garages while we get out and drive ours!!
05-09-2011, 08:18 AM
Do It! Paint it black and put 93-96 Impala SS wheels on it!
05-09-2011, 11:41 AM
Trouble is, it's a lowly 4-door.
I don't see this as a problem at all, but then I actually like 4 doors better in some cars. I passed up some 2 doors before I found the car in my sig.
Find a cheap 5.3/4l60e pull out and get to work! You won't be dissapointed in the end! Do you have any pics????
05-09-2011, 11:59 AM
LQ4 Escalade drivetrain to move it "spiritedly" would be my call. Maybe even do it up like an old gasser? Seems to me when they're nose in the air you barely notice the doors?
05-09-2011, 12:05 PM
I have thought about a protouring 4 door 55-7 of 70s nova, be different...
Thanks for all of the encouragement. The sheet metal was nearly perfect until someone backed a tractor into the left front fender a couple of years ago. I guess it could've been worse--it was only sheet metal damage. Everything else is pretty good--no rust, as I recall. Unfortunately, I have no pix.
If I do it at all, should I feel committed to mounting the body in a rotisserie and stripping the frame down to metal? Or is that overkill, for what would just become a nice-looking daily/or weekend driver? I'm trying to scope this project, and thinking about how to preserve half our garage for my wife's car.
05-09-2011, 07:17 PM
I think the full Rotisserie would be a bit of a over kill. but if you want to do it and it is in your Budget and time.. go for it.. but once you your down to the frame.. you going to hae to commit to doing everything new !
I've seen some pertty nice 4 door tri-5's.. if the body, frame and all is as you say straight and rust free.. try doing the swap 1st and if you like how it drives and all. then you might consider doing a some restoration or full on !
Get some Pictures. I favor 2 door 210 myself having one way back in the days, had 327, M20 with a straight front axle (gasser days)..! :D