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How to articles; classic car restoration

How to know when a classic car is restorable.

Page 9

Drive train con't

...to join a car club and talk to other classic car owners. Spend some time looking the cars over and even take some pictures for reference.

Now you should have a handle on understanding drive train specifications, or at least an idea of what to look for based on my example.

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Like I said before, the engine and transmission in a restorable classic car are the most likely things to have changed over time due to the need to repair the engine and transmission.

My 64 Impala is no exception.

I bought this car from a guy in West Virginia who tried to hot rod the car, but he was divided between 2 projects at the time and the best of his efforts seemed to have gone to the other car, a 69 Camaro.

The car had a 350 cu.in. Chevy small block out of a truck with a 350 turbo Hydromatic behind it. The differential looked to be original, but we need to look at the identification tag, if it is still there.

Sad to say but true, the part identification tags on a lot of classic cars were the first things to disappear when the engine, transmission and differential were worked on. Mechanics outside of dealerships did not seem to recognize the value in putting them back on the car when re-assembling the parts.

I'm not expecting to find any tags on this car.

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I did not want to pay the price the seller was asking for the car with the motor included so we negotiated a lower price. We settled on $800. When I went to pickup the car, he had left the 350 Turbo transmission in the car. I didn't want the turbo 350. Fortunately for me, he considered the powerglide disposable so decided to leave it in the trunk.

Finding a replacement chevy small block is easy, but finding a chevy small block from 1964 takes a bit of work. I did find a 283 several months later that came out of a 64 chevelle, so I wasn't hurting for an engine to rebuild. You may or may not be so lucky in your hunt.

One point to consider for a 64 Impala was that GM did not start matching engine serial numbers to the vehicle identification number until 1965. Therefore, the engine serial number could not be matched to a vehicle other than by the year of the casting.

Serial number locations

I don't need to be concerned about serial numbers for my Impala project, but if you are shopping for a restorable classic car you will need to be familiar with serial number locations.

chevy engine casting or serial number locationChevy small block engine serial numbers are stamped on the front of the engine block between the cylinder head and the water pump. The classic car you are looking for may have the engine serial number in a different location depending on the make of the classic car. You will need the appropriate shop manual.

64 Impala picture of a powerglide transmissionThe transmission serial numbers were also stamped. The 4 speed standard transmission was stamped on the case immediately behind the side shift cover. The powerglide automatic serial number was located 64 Impala picture of the serial number stamped on the transmission panon the side of the transmission pan next to the servo cover on the right side. The problem with this location for the serial number is that transmission pans are replaced when damaged, so the serial number may not be original. This is true of all cars, not just the 64 Impala.

64 Impala picture of the serial number in the differential carrier castingThe differential serial number was stamped on the 64 Impala picture of the differential filler plug where the identification tag should beleft front side of the differential carrier casting. If the serial number was prefixed with a P, the differential is a positraction. Additonal identification numbers would be on a tag at the filler plug, if the tag is still there.

You will need one of several references to get all the chevy serial number details. The book, Chevrolet by the numbers, on the bookshelf menu to the right ( click on chevrolet vin numbers ) covers all aspects of chevy serial numbers from 1955 to 1975. The chevy shop manual will provide vehicle specific details, but not in as much detail as chevrolet by the numbers. Remember the chevy shop manual covers a lot of service and maintenance items, and chevrolet serial number tracking is not even secondary in importance.  Next page (Accessories)

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