My '63 Unibody (Integral Cab)

Maybe I should clarify…Paul can and does do interior work and mechanical, just not that often. He does brakes and suspension but engines, transmissions and electrical aren’t his forte. He excels in body/paint and it’s just easier for him if I help with the mechanical stuff.
I got the old headers back on the Chevelle yesterday. We blasted the rusted areas, scuffed the rest and painted them with 2000 degree, silica-ceramic paint. A new set would’ve been $700. The old brake lines were touching the headers, I’m happy with the clearance on the new lines.


Still waiting on the valvetrain components.
Got the 68 in high dollar primer. Got the motor out. 6k on this motor, I’m trying to convince the owner to reseal this motor while it’s out.
I would definitely put a rear main seal in, bearings in the Muncie 22, etc. Can’t always get people to pay attention.
Nothing going on today. Couldn’t get the ports on the junk Chinese intake to match the head ports. I was wondering why someone used silicone on the top of the intake ports. They were trying to fill in 1/4” between the intake ports and the head ports. These Chinese heads are garbage but I’m trying to save this guy some money. If this car was mine, I’d throw those heads in the recycling bin (truly) and buy a matching intake/head set from a reputable manufacturer.
I opted for an Edelbrock air gap intake in an effort to try to match the intake ports on these junk heads. This guy wants to drive this car. Maybe next year we can put some heads on this car.
I’m guessing he’s already at $10k on this job. I truly do not know, I haven’t discussed it with Paul.
I could easily spend another $5k just trying to get this motor right.
I’ll be back over there tomorrow.

I had to re-do the fuel hard line. I spent 3 hours making a modulator hard line and bracket. This is a mock-up. Need a 1/2” higher on this carb with this air gap intake. I ordered an 1/2” phenolic spacer.
Feel like I’m just wasting time.
Im going to take care of all of that crap wiring. Seems like some high school kid worked on this car.
Spent the whole time on this car fixing someone else’s crap. I’m tired.
Spotted this Unibody tailgate on eBay after someone alerted me to it.
Dude wants $2k. I should go look at it. I’d offer $800. I’m positive his has rust rot.
Mine was sandblasted and primered after I did some metal work.
If that one is worth $2k, what’s mine worth?
Dashboards and steering wheels were a lot more decorative "back in the day."
I liked the dashboard of my 1955 Ford with the round radio face and stylish instrument cluster.
It isn't easy to see in this photo, but the top of the speedometer is tinted plexiglas allowing light to backlight the face of the speedometer. My '55 was tutone green, a light seafood green on the bottom and darker green on top. The dash was also a light green, much nicer than this pinkish color.
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Man, it was a fun day today. I took the day off to hang out with two guys that I’ve known for over 40 years and play with cars.
Jim brought us a cool Rambler Ambassador to work on. I love the styling on this car. The dash is signed by many celebrities, including Barry Williams (Greg Brady,) Barbara Eden, Frankie Avalon, Tony Dow, Robin (Burt Ward,) Jerry Mathers (Beaver,) etc…
Finally figured out the geometry issue on the Chevelle. When I took it apart the rockers were hitting the retainers. Whoever put this motor together, ground metal off of the roller rockers, with a Dremel or something, in an attempt to get clearance on the retainers. Per the owner, this is the second guy that tried to fix the valvetrain problem in the short time that he’s owned the car.
These guys were exactly .080” off from getting retainer clearance and getting the roller tip in the center of the valve stem.
Turns out these retainers and recessed keepers are designed to be used with lash caps.


Neither of the last two techs installed the required lash caps. 🤷🏻‍♂️
I installed the caps and got the rockers and Trick Flow push rods in today. Valve covers are on and sealed.

I’m going to mount the exhaust tomorrow, make some 3/8” hardline for the brake booster vacuum and the PCV valve. Distributor is in, new plugs and just gotta run plug wires.
I’ll wire in the fan controller for the cooling fans tomorrow, too.
Crap, I forgot. The carpet in the Rambler is black with stars. The carpet in these pics looks dirty but it’s actually sparkly with shiny sprinklies that are built into the carpeting. You can’t vacuum this stuff off.

Very interesting to see how this car is coming together but most of all how you have had to untangle the webs weaved by others that were, to say the least, unconventional. Not sure my patience level at your age would have allowed me to follow through on something like this without a large number of profane comments and thrown tools.
Looking good Bobby. Keep posting the progress and looking forward to seeing the finished porduct.
We went to fire the motor today just to temp the ceramic header paint. Oil is changed, new filter . No lower hose so we wouldn’t have been able to let the engine warm up.
The starter is toast. We pulled it off and bench tested it, it would barely spin. It has a junk Chinese mini starter. I’m determined, I’ll get a starter in the morning and at least get the motor lit. Gonna bleed the brakes in the morning and finish wiring the fan controller.
I went through three of those foreign starters, one after another as replacements, on a John Deere 332. Finally found one made in USA and never had another problem. :idunno::salute:
It’s alive. Still don’t have the lower hose, no coolant in the motor. No transmission or fuel line leaks. 🙂
I’ll get the timing set this week and run this thing around the block.
The owner picked up the Chevelle yesterday. He was very happy. He said the difference was like night and day. He’s going to bring it back for a sway bar and some new front shocks.
Ahh that little Chevelle that I did so much work on finally made it to a car meet. I think Paul just added aftermarket front springs, shocks and sway bar. The owner has had this car for a couple months, Paul just got it back for the additional front end work.
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