The Joy of Project Cars

Back in November of last year I introduced my latest project vehicle, a 1963 Chevrolet C10. At that time I had redone the gaskets, rebuilt the carburetor and pulled the gas tank to fix the filler neck. As is so often the case with project cars, a lot has happened since my last article but not much has changed.

1963 Chevrolet C10 Pickup Truck

While the gas tank was out I decided it was a good opportunity to address the condition of the floor pan and try to quiet the ride a little. This was supposed to be a quick weekend project after which I would get the truck back on the road and continue build the truck one weekend project at a time (stop laughing).

I wire brushed out all of the surface rust on the floor pan and bulkheads. Treated the areas that had rust with a product called SEM Rust-Seal and primered the entire floor and rear bulkhead. After some research I decided to use Second Skin Audio’s Spectrum spray on sound abatement product. Math is hard and I ended up buying too much. A gallon is plenty to shoot three coats on the floor pan of a single cab pickup truck. Email me if you need some, I have a lot left.

Prepping the floorboard for paint

At some point the driver side door finally stopped latching closed altogether. If the door will not stay closed, the vehicle is not really drivable. I am not red neck enough to tie the door shut with a rope, so I tore the door apart to replace the latch assembly. As long as I had the door apart and had to buy a lot of replacement parts anyway, might as well rebuild the door. This involves replacing all the weather strip, seals and gaskets. On these old vehicles that had wind wing vents, that ends up being a lot of work. And of course, you cannot just do one door, right?

During all this I was investigating the rebuild of the engine. I was originally planning to rebuild the engine myself. By that I mean, tear it down, send everything to the machine shop, buy a rebuild kit and put it all back together. For quality parts (ie, not purchased on eBay) and using the better machine shop in the area, rebuilding the engine would cost about $1800. So, what does a remanufactured engine cost. I came across the web site which claimed to have 250 CID 6 cylinder long blocks for $1191. Holy smokes! That is way cheaper than doing it myself and it comes with a 7 year, 100,000 mile warranty. Well, the starting price is $1191. There is a $250 core charge. Shipping is $150. So, the remanufactured engine will actually cost me $1500. Plus the extras I ended up putting on it.

When I started this project my intent was to build a bone stock ’60s era truck to use as a daily driver. But I decided that I also wanted to get good gas mileage, so I started looking at modifications that would improve mpg. At the end of the day, it turns out that most of the modifications that improve power and torque are the same improvements that improve mpg. At least to a certain extent.

Long story short, I have ordered Clifford’s dual carb intake manifold, 2 Weber 38 DGAS carburetors, and Clifford headers. Clifford claims this will increase horse power and torque by 100% and the dual carbs will improve gas mileage by 10 to 15 mpg. When I talked to the engine remanufacturer about what I was planning they suggested porting and polishing the head and putting in a mild Elgin cam. In summary, I will now be putting in a remanufactured engine with a mild Elgin cam, dual carbs and headers. I do plan to try to get it on a dyno and see what it makes at the rubber.

As I write this, the truck sits interior completely gutted, front clip sitting in a piece in the garage, the engine and transmission removed. The engine is on order and scheduled to arrive this week. The Clifford parts have been order and should arrive in a week or two. The transmission is out and going into the shop this week. I will be ordering a new clutch and putting the flywheel into the machine shop for resurfacing.

My son and I are currently in the middle of rewiring the truck using a Painless Rewiring Kit. We have the old wiring harness out and are starting to put in the new one. I hoping we have it finished by the end of Labor Day weekend. Once the rewire is finished, we will start putting the drive train back together. With luck and hard work, the Six Shooter will be back on the road before Thanksgiving.