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Mike D'Ambrogia
Sonora, CA
(9 posts)

04/13/2009 09:14AM

Main British Car:
74.5 TR6 88 GM 350 L05 TBI

The "engine wars" project - MikeD's 74.5 TR6, The BBYCBRA
Posted by: MikeD
Date: April 13, 2009 10:11AM


Well, almost 9 years later to the day and the LBCV8 bug has bitten me again after being at a car track day last weekend at Sonoma Raceway in Napa. The car is in a new garage since the last entry, SBC motor has been worked on , but not much more progress since. Swung by my mechanics place in town the other day to talk with him about getting him getting the driveline done. I've got large client workload, and getting 2 startups off the ground, plus roadracing and instructing at the track, so not much time to do it myself, but wanting to start seeing headway. Going to do an initial minimal build to put it together as a streetable track car just to get it going and go have some fun in it. Keep the exterior/interior mods it so that I can put it all back to original at some point in the future if I want to, but it'll never be a show car or even a 10 footer without more money thrown at it that I'd like to. So a nice middle ground, I love the track and it'll still be streetable

4-17-09 in today's episode - a fierce and epic battle by our hero..

I have slain the beast and removed from it the belly - but not without a battle the likes of which I've not seen before. See if you can guess which way I removed the motor?


In the end I won, but a good lesson learned:

- tools rule, especially the sawzall, when it comes to dismantling
- drain *all* the fluids vs "I'll deal with it when the engine is coming out".
- space is king, would have liked to have spread out more. and a glossy epoxy covered garage floor would be a good thing to have
- my neighbors hate me


so proud...

4-14-09 update

So now that the third engine option didnt work out -- too wide and tall -- I spent the day trying to extract the L05 GM 350 from the donor. Donor is an 88 G20 conversion van (swamy voice - "hey, how YOU doin?"). Note to self, *never* buy a van as a donor vehicle. Never. Ever. The good news is that I bought a new sawzall tonight after spending almost 8 hours working on peeling back the layers to expose the engine. First to go in the morning is the fiberglass step that runs front to rear along the side. makes it near impossible to crawl under the van to disconnect driveline, exhaust manifold bolts, etc. Then I get to figure out how to remove the windshield - thinking one big kick but don't want the glass everywhere so maybe I'll just cut it out with my new toy. In a week I'll be able to look back and force out a smile about this experience - right now I'm in hell and as soon as I've got the engine/trans on the test stand and the van to the wrecking yard life will be much better

4-13-09 - Initial post

Owner: Mike D'Ambrogia

City: Sonora, CA

Car Model: 74.5 TR6

Engine: heh, lets get right to it, eh? Originally a big block Buick 455, then a Toyota 1UZFE, and now a GM 350 L05 TBI

Cooling: Undecided, trying to go with the full size radiator from the GM donor

Exhaust: Undecided

Transmission: initially the 700R4, but have a BW WC T5 laying in wait for rebuild

Rear Axle: R230 LSD 3.73, major surgery to install

Front Susp.: Stock

Rear Susp.: Stock, but will be upgrading to heavier halfshafts.

Brakes: All stock

Wheels/Tires: TA Radials

Body Mods: Fiberglass front clip, removable inner fenderwells

Interior: Black

Electrical: To be rewired. Some combo of Dan Masters, and other after market vendor products

Drove my tired stocker to my kids baseball practice one day. Had spent the past few weeks mulling what sort of high performance rebuild I wanted to do to get more 'oomph' out of the car - and suddenly someone drove by in a 427 AC Cobra. The light went on inside my head - go big or go home.

Looked into the large Chevy motors - tons of them out there, but too big dimensionally and too heavy. Have a small block Buick 350 in my Jeep that I've really liked. So I checked out the big block 455 Buick, pretty light and size looks pretty close but pretty chancy. So I went for it. Had a motor shipped in from Ohio. Found a mockup block that I got for free from a guy in San Jose. While rebuilding the motor I played with a frame swap, and used the mockup block to lay things out. Started cutting out sections of the old firewall to make room for things. But after a few years I decided that this was just too much motor for the old frame and it just didn't clear the frame very well. Didn't want buckled doors and a bent frame so pulled that out prior to completion and decided to go with a Toyota 1UZFE motor.

I've really enjoyed the 1UZ in my SC400 - what a nice motor, smooth like butter and real nice power delivery. Took the rolling frame over to California Hot Rods here in Sonora and they did a real nice job of getting the motor installed. The installed the R230 LSD diff from a turbo ZX for me as well. Knew the 1UZ was going to be tall, but found out post install that the valve covers sat too high and wide. Put the body back on the frame and discovered that the steering column ended pretty much into the valve cover - no room for the brake booster either. Could have worked with relocating the booster but the steering doesn't seem like something I can easily overcome. Ejected again and went back to the britishV8 "How they did it" archive. Decided that I needed to get this car on the road again and that I needed to pick some low hanging fruit - decided to go Chevy smallblock since, while not glamorous, it has been proven to work well. Plus, building a 383 stroker motor will get me back into the land of "Mr Toads Wild Ride"

I started looking for a donor the next day. Decided that I wanted to find a runner that I could drive home, harvest what I needed, and then haul the carcass to the scrap yard. I hit craigslist and right away up popped an 88 van with a 350 TBI/700R4 combo that was being sold for $650 in my small town. Found out that the motor was a factory replacement, while the van had 170k on it the motor only had 90k. Went over and looked at it, not a beauty queen, perfect for me, compression went 140 low, 150 high. Negotiated the seller down to $500 and bought the van last week. It is one of those luxo-barge factory van conversions with the captains chairs, big side windows, TV antennas, etc. It also had a few families of mice living in it - joy. Tore the nasty interior out of it over the last few days, have a big pickup load of interior pieces, carpet/headliner/insulation/etc heading to the dump. Body gets cut up tomorrow as drivetrain, computer, harness, fuel system, and other items get harvested out via the cutting wheel.. Have a ton of photos that I can backfill in here if as I go along.

R230 grafted in, various shots:


Toyota 1UZFE mounted on the frame:


Toyota A341 trans with R230 in the rear, top of the tshirt has been removed to allow driveshaft and exhaust thru:


ahh what happened? reposting these photos that I posted earlier, musta got lost

frame swap

Buick 350 mock run

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2018 06:50PM by MikeD.

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4578 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: The "engine wars" project - MikeD's 74.5 TR6, The BBYCBRA
Posted by: Moderator
Date: November 29, 2018 12:33AM


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