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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#11
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64avanti
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Last week we went for a short spin on the express way and it was something of an experience with one to several lifters pounding away and the billowing cloud behind me, streaming from the road draft tube. My enthusiasm is waning as I am loath to dig into the motor, the torsion level and the stuck speedo. The bright side is that the car looks good and rides pretty well.
Maybe I will try soaking down the bores? It is possible there are just some stuck rings. Yeh, that's the ticket....
Time is on my side so there is no hurry to tear things down & I can contemplate whether to throw more money after bad or just dig in.

Posted on: 2014/7/28 20:24
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#12
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55PackardGuy
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Nice blog. This is a very interesting car to me. I've thought long and hard about what kind of '55 I'd like, and really the Panama (with TL suspension) came close to the top of the list. It's probably the lightest of them all, and it's a 2-door!!! It looks mighty fine with the windows down in the pic you posted. The P.S. is a great idea. I don't know how you'll do it, but, at least on my '54, the P.S. comes with a little quicker steering gear, and supposedly a little shorter turning radius. To tell the truth, I don't know how it could have a longer turning radius than it does!

If you go to a dual MC, you might go power on the brakes, too, eh?

The 3-on-the-tree is especially nice on the pre-Twin Ultramatic cars. In fact, the "book" value of my '54 is higher with the 3-speed OD than with the automatic. I didn't catch if yours also had OD. It's really nice for highway cruising, and comes with real "grunt" gears in the rear end. Tire chirps abound!

It's nice you've got a driveable car that looks decent. That makes all the difference in the world as you work on it. Good luck!

Posted on: 2014/7/29 22:24
Guy

[b]Not an Expert[/
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#13
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64avanti
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Thanks, 55. If you have a good, solid engine I could put 'er in for you :)
For the master cylinder, a great deal of searching turned up only 1 source of a dual mount Master, that would be Jegs, the catalog house. It can be side mounted for under the floor like factory and is a tandem design.
Power assist is not an option in the stock location due to the torsion bar, etc. It will require separate residual valves for the 4 wheel drum brakes.
The manual steering will likely stay but if I get that far...My understanding is that the steering ratio is slower on a manual car and that the '55 box is integral with the column so- Best option would be to lop off the box from the column, weld or bolt on an aftermarket flange & install a GM Saginaw box & Pittman arm. Easy like pie?
This would not appear too radical but should steer great and retain the column shift.

Posted on: 2014/7/30 16:30
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#14
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55PackardGuy
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64avanti,

If it's easy for you to change steering boxes, then it's easy!

You're correct on the steering ratio, I believe. You've got the slower one. The PS steering is very slow, the manual is even slower!

But check the rear gears, you might have the 4:10 to 1:00 ratio, if you have OD. How close is that to the "legenday" GM 4:11 dragstar rear? Pretty darn close, I'd say.

If you're looking for a solid engine, I'd suggest a 352, which I believe one could order for the Panama in '55, and the bigger carb that goes with it, too. And best of all, the really trick twin-scoop air cleaner!

As long as you're doing relatively invisible and/or period correct stuff, I'd say the 352 is the way to go. If you really want to get hinky and still stay authentic, you could get one with a Twin Ultra trans attached and be well on your way to making steering column alterations for the auto shifter, and changing the linkage, and cetera. Easy as pie??

Posted on: 2014/7/30 20:00
Guy

[b]Not an Expert[/
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#15
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64avanti
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This 'Ol girl has about 50 miles on her now and I am at a crossroads. The engine needs a major overhaul & that is rather unappealing for a number of reasons. I can throw good money after bad or I can take a pounding & peddle it. Time is on my side but I picked up the old carb today and it is a work of art. Probably too nice to bolt on & besides, the Rochester on it now runs rather well.
Decisions...

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Posted on: 2014/8/5 19:41
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#16
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55PackardGuy
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I vote: Put the carb on. It looks great! Maybe it'll work great, too. It's certainly authentic. Looking at it in place might inspire you to go ahead with restoration. You never know.

What's so bad about the engine? Aside from any old repairs to the block from years back, sleeves and stuff like that, which would make it a basket case, it should be very rebuildable, and you'll get lots of good advice on it from this site. I think the 320 can even be bored to a 352, and you'll still have a "numbers matching" engine. (Better check with the experts on that, though.)

What you got now looks like a pretty good cosmetic restoration, which is nothing to sneeze at. Paint and interior are very expensive projects, and you seem to have a head start on them. Drive train is sometimes more economical than all that detail work.

Just some thoughts.

Posted on: 2014/8/5 20:19
Guy

[b]Not an Expert[/
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#17
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64avanti
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Things are looking up as I have been exploring engine options and plan on picking one up very shortly. She has a couple more trips around the block now and the road draft tube is well & truly unclogged.(picture the Space Shuttle lifting off) In fact a spare might be useful.
One lifter ticking is not too bad but when a second & third chime in it gets a little embarrassing:)
let's see what develops!

Posted on: 2014/8/27 17:26
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#18
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64avanti
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My project has a modicum of fresh enthusiasm, I took a ride Saturday and returned with a fresh bundle of joy. To the keen observer, this engine may look familiar. Looking at the transmission mounting surface, I was pretty reluctant to mount it on an engine stand due to the sizable weight factor here, although with the heads off and the lower half of the bell housing mounted, the stress should be lessened and more distributed?
The neighbor asked if it is all rebuilt, why am I taking it apart??
Well after a fashion, you learn to "trust but verify." Things look good so far with just a touch of rust here & there to be cleaned up but I did find a stash of yummy dog food that that some little critter is surely indignant about losing :)
What I have found so far is new (or touched up rocker arms), new .030 pistons, new cam & lifters. Reground valves but no hardened seats. As soon as I can roll it over, I will plasti-gage the crank & evaluate the oil pump. Then it is time for paint.
There is some interest in the intake & I may spin this off to help lessen the blow of an unexpected engine change.
Thanks to Troy for making this possible!

Posted on: 2014/9/1 10:08
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#19
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64avanti
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Photo of engine

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Posted on: 2014/9/1 10:10
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Re: The Stripper Clipper (1955 Panama)
#20
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64avanti
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Here is a picture of the pet food that I recovered from the coolant passages in one of the heads, the other head appears to have some in it also. On second thought, should I rule out that this is some sort of coolant system sealing pellet product?
Also please see my oil pump. Would it be foolish to run this instead of an Olds pump? It looks like the top bearing surface has been bushed and there is a cotter pin retaining the relief passage plug. Would it wise to pull the cover & look around? Where this was sourced from is a mystery.
The main journals look great so far, turned 10 under with nice straight surfaces & chamfered passages. Clearance is right at .0015 :)
Progress.

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Posted on: 2014/9/5 19:14
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