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building a dream,or wasting your casH??

grumpyvette

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Joined
Apr 17, 2001
Messages
841
Location
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
we all are forced to work with a realistic budget, but at times I see guys plan and sellect parts not so much for the ideal, or to build what they really want but so that they can speed up the process or get SOMETHING RUNNING.........now theres always something to be said for having a running car vs a bunch of parts cluttering up the garage for a few years, but WHAT WILL YOU ACCOMPLISH if you BUILD SOMETHING YOUR NOT PROUD TO OWN???
example
lets say what you really want TO INSTALL, BUY OR to build a IS killer big block engine for your car, your NOT really satisfied with a 500hp crate engine, you want some bragging rights, AND AT least A 540-572 DISPLACEMENT AND 650-750HP!
http://www.theengineshop.com/prods_pages/108000.htm
http://ohiocrank.com/enginekits.html
http://www.shafiroff.com/sportsman/540_810.asp
a quick look shows your in the $10,000 range

so you start thinking, I know where I can find a
454 4 bolt block for $500, Ill build a 496 stroker....
Ok lets look at that, keep in mind you want no less than 650HP, youll use good FORGED parts and not crap and save a bundle.....
block $500
rotating assembly, damper flywheel,clutch, bell houseing $2000-$3000
brodix or AFR heads, valve covers, port work, $2500-$3100
hydrolic roller cam & hydrolic roller lifters,pushrods, rockers ETC, $1200-$1800
oil system $350-$600
intake , port work,$300
machine work ballancing gaskets etc, $1200
carb, $400-$970
hell, it won,t take much to be at $8600-$11,000 so it quickly becomes obvious that you saving a bunch building a 496 vs BUYING a 540bbc is pretty much wasted effort!
what IM getting at here is that PLANING your goals and the path to reach them takes some thought and research, and one of the worst things you can do jump into it with a few parts and start building and spending your hard earned cash without thinking it thru carefully
keep in mind a small block may cost slightly less but everything still applies
I know so many guys with $10,000-$15,000 invested in 468-496bbc engines, engines that won,t come NEAR being what they could have built or bought if they had PLANNED it carefully


price it out yourself...
http://www.flatlanderracing.com/home.html

http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/stor...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10002


http://www.summitracing.com/

http://www.dirttrackthunder.com/

http://www.dougherbert.com/
 

lone73

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2003
Messages
456
Location
Texas
Corvette
'73 4spd coupe, '04 6 speed coupe
For some guys, like me, it is enough to just have a running vette. An $11K vette motor is just a pipe dream that I could never justify. If I spent that on just a motor I'd feel guilty. I see where you're going with this but some budgets don't allow for that much planning ahead. Too much can happen in between the planning stage and the driving stage to cause serious financial woes from trying to sell a "basket vette".

It all depends on a man'$ mean$ I suppose... Interesting topic, thanks for posting.

regards
.
.
.
 

grumpyvette

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Joined
Apr 17, 2001
Messages
841
Location
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
How come so many guys finally finish their dream cars, then sell it a few months later?
because they realize that all the time and work and money resulted in a car THAT was and never will be EXACTLY what they envisioned or wanted....
you wanted a 632 BBC powered chevelle and theres a 496bbc powered car in the garage and your subconcious mind, says get that %$%^^& out of here I failed to reach my goal,and don,t want to be reminded of it!
you can,t cheat the guy you see while shaving in your mirror in the morning and expect to be happy, once you set a goal, acheive anything less and youll be less than satisfied with the results

YOUR FAMILY comes FIRST
but that doesn,t mean you can,t have toys or projects, your entitled too (some sanity and entertainment, stress relief)
set aside a small amount you can afford, for your project in a seperate account or coffee can in the garage,EVERY WEEK, THATS THE SECRET,HAVE a set goal, a parts list, supliers and costs and check off each component as you get it! and build your car! consider that $10, or $50 you can easily afford each week as previously SPENT before you get crazy. your project will eventually get built, look Im retired and have been doing the current accumulation of parts and research,on my BBC corvette swap for over 4 years now, IT will get done! but Im on a budget on a pension, ant good things take time, (getting side tracked on my dream garage project ,didn,t help either)but, hey Im human, I make less than ideal moves too!, but the garage was built KNOWING that ID get back MORE than every dime I spent if I ever sell the property
 

Peer81

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Joined
May 21, 2003
Messages
2,497
Location
Netherlands
Corvette
'81 Black
because they realize that all the time and work and money resulted in a car THAT was and never will be EXACTLY what they envisioned or wanted....

Well, as I've entered my 4th year with my total (body off) resto of my 81 corvette I could have an explanation on this. When you're vette is still oke or has minor problems the only thing you can think about is getting it going again! I drove mine for a little longer then 1 year before tearing it apart. When you drive you very much enjoy that but you don't think (At least I didn't) about the suspension and other stuff, just drive it in the summer! :)
After the first year I barley knew how my 81 felt when I drove it, right now even less. But with a restoration you focus on getting it fixed nice and very good. You still focus on getting it fixed and finally drive it but what if it's finished and you find out the chase was better then the catch? What then?

Groeten Peter.
 

grumpyvette

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2001
Messages
841
Location
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
"but what if it's finished and you find out the chase was better then the catch? What then?"


hopefully you can get a decent percentage return on the work youve done and expence you put into the project, and pick a differant project if its the work, not the car you enjoy, PERSONALLY I really enjoy building engines, planning engines,and assembly of engines and testing, tuneing ,racing the corvette, ETC. :D but most of the other car related tasks... like interior , paint & body or electric, fall into the
" necessary work ";shrug to get it running catagory.
 

SPANISHVETTS

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,143
Location
El puerto de Santa Maria Spain
Corvette
before 60,63&82 now 90 383 Stroker & 91 ZR1-Sold
Grumpy,
You should write for one of the Mags. Your wealth of knowledge and willingness to share it is always a pleasure to me. I use that link about tube coping you posted a few years ago on a regular basis.

I always tell the kids that hang around the garage to make a worst case estimate for their project; then multiply the time by 3 and the money by 5 and hope that they do not run too far over budget.

Building an engine is therapy for me so I give myself a credit of $150 for every hour that I spend filling rings, looking at plastigauge with a magnifying glass or porting a head. Every time I set the dial on a torque wrench I remember the old gentleman who taught me how to build a SBC and wish that I had been able to spend more time in his shop.

In 100% of my projects a ¨crate¨ motor would work out cheaper and a hell of a lot quicker so when we are working to a deadline GMPP gets a call but that is work... when it comes to play I know all of my pistons on a first name basis.

Back to your original thought; most failed projects fail due to lack of planning and discipline. The urge to cut a corner, throw on a set of $70 ebay rockerarms and get it on the road is much stronger than the wisdom to do it right, save until you can afford the CompCams rockers and spend a full day getting the valve train perfect.
:w
 

xclr8n

New member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
2
Location
BC, Canada
Corvette
72 War Bonnet Yellow (now black)
I think people on a budget (however big or small) can save money using GM parts. A lot of hi performance parts are not really required (ie roller rockers, rods, aluminum heads, etc). If your building a pre 80's big or small block and not revving it to the moon or putting in way too much cam then most GM hi-perf parts work quite well. If you can't build a reliable 500 ft/lbs from a 454 using stock GM parts there's something wrong.
I believe the further from stock an engine is the more likely you are to be sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow ( don't ask how I know).

Steve
 

Tom Bryant

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Administrator
Joined
Nov 9, 2000
Messages
7,321
Location
Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
When I started my 355 engine project I looked at crates from many sources and, had I had the funds and time was a factor, I would have bought one that suited my needs. Like others, I was sure I could build one cheaper plus I really wanted to do it myself. I could afford the build a little at a time but buying a complete crate engine would have required a trip to the lending officer at the bank. I hadn't built an engine in a couple decades and there was so much new stuff I wanted to try. I was able to cheat the process from the beginning by having a selection of 4 bolt blocks, heads and cranks in the shop. All of this stuff was good enough for a mild performance engine for my '69 short bed shop truck. If I was looking to build a hot high HP engine all I would have been able to use was one of my blocks. Everything else would have to be new. Like Grumpvette's example above I can see this list equaling or surpassing the cost of a crate engine pretty fast.

As with Spanishvetts, this was as much therapy and enjoyment as it was a necessity. I planned the build and the parts list using the best quality that I needed without overbuilding the engine. The ring filing, head porting, block deburring and smoothing and other very dirty jobs are satisfying and rewarding to a real gear head.

Everything worked out great and it came in over budget as expected. If I credited myself labor it would be an unbelievably cheap engine. Now there are crate engines available with much better heads for what I have invested in cash. Knowing what I do now selecting a crate engine the next time would be much easier and probably a little cheaper. I think that for anyone building a car on a time table or accurately figuring the end bottom line a crate engine is the obvious way to go. Plus it might just keep that project moving at a pace that keeps your interest up leading to a more quickly completed Corvette.

Even though I had a lot of the parts the end result cost about the same as buying a complete new engine with the cam, heads and other features that I wanted. Plus I could have been on to the suspension, brakes, and other mods a year earlier. However I did enjoy the experience and will most likely build the engine for my '59 when the time comes. There are some new parts that I really want to play with.

Tom
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Messages
1,441
Location
Staten Island, NY
Corvette
1999 Torch Red Coupe
It’s the journey not the destination.

I may be beginning a project soon. I have a budget to begin with, but not to complete the project. I know my garage will have a semi dis-assembled car in it for a few years. The gaps in time let me accumulate more funds.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
It is a constant battle...a balancing act...a travesty.:ugh

The battle between doing-it-right and good enough is non-stop. It seems that when the budget is running low, good-enough could sometimes win, and when the budget is right, then do-it-right perseveres.

I also truly think that having another toy (be it a Vette, HotRod, or other MuscleCar) does help with the do-it-right approach. And this is so, for all the while in your project, you're having fun driving that other toy. Not having another toy would challenge the do-it-right approach (specially on younger generations).

On the other hand, planning a project to death could take the fun out of it. If one has a comfortable budget, then extensive planning could save you a few dollars, but it won't slow you down much. On a limited budget, an extensive planning could kill your will to go on with the project even before starting. (case in point my 71 Camaro project).

The way I have been able to manage my project is (for example): by setting a goal on the suspension, planning the suspension project, budgeting and funding the project, carrying-out the project, and then enjoying a bit the fruit of my labor :Steer . Next project after that would follow the same pattern, and the next after that as well, and so on.
 

grumpyvette

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2001
Messages
841
Location
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
well for myself its a no-brainer, when I start a long term project I know ahead of time IM low on funds and its goint to take awhile
you carefully sellect and print out a list of the best parts you can reasonably expect to afford , listing prices, suppliers, PART NUMBERS, ETC. AFTER first doing the research to make sure all components are totally compatable with your intended engine build,then you purchase those parts as fast as finances allow. checking off each component as its aquired and YOU NEVER FALL FOR DEALS, ON LESSER PARTS or CHEAPER COMPONENTS
 
C

Chuck-75

Guest
wHY wHY ASK THIS QUESTION?, Most of the C-3 Owners are in there late 30s to mid 40s..... we do love restorations or resto rods... We love these cars. whether we can spend the cash to get them where we want ? or where we can drive them, there are a status symble to each and all of us. (If I see a C-3 pass me on the street,in what ever condition ? I always look at them in Admiration....) we all know that sometimes there a pain in the Arse. but What a WoW feeling to drive them.
I me myself and I. have spent lots of (blood sweat and tears ) to slowly get mine close to where I want. (and no hurt to the family, ) Its been a joy to build a bond with my 8 Yr old son.
I went with a crate engine(SB ZZ-383) and new rebuilt OD trans.(200-r4) full rebuilt Ft. n Rear suspension. , Alum. Rad. , new Interior,Surpentine drive belt system. elec fans. ,
in a 75 vert. with both tops.
Yea I have about 30Gs so far, but its for FUN. and Im doing all the work myself.
so far no farming work out. and yes its taking 4 yrs so far, but like a previous post I did drive the stock car for a year or 2 before starting the drive train install.
Happy times and keep the wave.:w
 

Ed's 1970

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
87
Location
SoCal
Corvette
1970 Stingray coupe
I am currently building a 540 big block chevrolet for my 1970. First off, I will tell u it takes a lot of patience and perseverance, besides money! I wanted to build a 496, but a 540 is not that much more money, and I did not want a used engine block. I just purchased a brand new bare bow-tie block, it is really nice!

This year I plan to at least get the engine built. Next I have to decide whether to keep a manual tranny or get an auto, but most likely I will stay with the manual tranny.

The car really needs a frame-off and suspension rebuild. The interior and shell are pretty good!

Just for kicks I started working on the rear suspension yesterday to replace the worn out strut rods. I can't even get those shock support bolts off, they are rusted on. This car has a lot of rust on it on the suspension parts and frame, I wonder sometimes if I am starting out with the right car.

Looking at the frame design of the car, it is quite amazing. The frame looks pretty much bullet proof and the steel is 12-gauge, 0.120" thick. I figure with a little rust on the surface, there is a lot of steel left. They don't make cars like this anymore, not even close.

We'll if I ever do get rid of the car, the 540 is coming out and staying with me.:chuckle
 

Sensei

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
How come so many guys finally finish their dream cars, then sell it a few months later?

I have an '81 that I bought because I wanted one to drive.
-It leaks when it rains so I don't have any carpet in it.
-The paint is faded and peeling.
-It has gymkana suspension and handles real well in my opinion, but I'm sure a front traverse leaf spring, low profile tires, steeroids, etc would make it better.
-I rebuilt the stock 190hp engine myself with around 350 hp. Yea, a 700+ hp big block would be great...

My point is, I love my car. I drive it almost every day and am always working on upgrading something (I have a BTO 700R4 sitting in the garage that I will be installing the next free day I have.) I get a great deal of satisfaction driving and working on it now and the car is always getting better. I could take $30+k and drop the car off somewhere to be turned into my ultimate dream Vette (or park it for a few years as I did the work), but I would know that the day it was finished would be the car's high point. It would be all down hill from there. How sad! God bless, Sensei
 

SPANISHVETTS

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,143
Location
El puerto de Santa Maria Spain
Corvette
before 60,63&82 now 90 383 Stroker & 91 ZR1-Sold
How come so many guys finally finish their dream cars, then sell it a few months later?

I have an '81 that I bought because I wanted one to drive.
-It leaks when it rains so I don't have any carpet in it.
-The paint is faded and peeling.
-It has gymkana suspension and handles real well in my opinion, but I'm sure a front traverse leaf spring, low profile tires, steeroids, etc would make it better.
-I rebuilt the stock 190hp engine myself with around 350 hp. Yea, a 700+ hp big block would be great...

My point is, I love my car. I drive it almost every day and am always working on upgrading something (I have a BTO 700R4 sitting in the garage that I will be installing the next free day I have.) I get a great deal of satisfaction driving and working on it now and the car is always getting better. I could take $30+k and drop the car off somewhere to be turned into my ultimate dream Vette (or park it for a few years as I did the work), but I would know that the day it was finished would be the car's high point. It would be all down hill from there. How sad! God bless, Sensei

There are those of us who like building them and there are those who like owning/showing them. It is two different mentalities. One is not wrong, the other is not right; it is just the way we are. I am a builder. When the build can be done no better then I am happy to see somebody else drive it...but I seldom find that point. There is always something that needs a bit of work.

I think that is why I prefer bikes to cars. There is only so much that you can do to a bike before you have to say ¨it is finished.¨

Back to Grumpy's thoughts. Being realistic about what you can afford - accomplish and working within those restraints will yield almost anyone a functional engine that they can be proud of. Pie in the sky dreams without budget planing will leave you with a box of broken rings and unused head gaskets.
 
M

MichelP

Guest
I guess it all depends on why you buy the car. These days younger people would buy a car and they are influenced by a lot of things they see on TV.
Theyre not interested in building an engine. They will go for the crate engine because it's easyer and faster. remember we are in the "I want it now now now" generation.
I'm not saying that negatively. Some of the ricers I see altho I'm not particulaly attracted to amaze me with the craftmanship. That's the world theyre living in.
The older croud want to do things we could not afford back in those days. in the 70's a 500hp + street engine was not too common and for a major part of us we had to build it and they were not 500hp's + we couldn't afford a crate it didn't exist.
For myself, I'm rebuilding the car that I really wanted when I was a teenager in the 70's.
I remember the first saw a brand new 68 and it blew my mind.
I couldn't afford a Vette so I played with what I could put my hands on. Nova SS, a 69 Road runner (wish I still had this one$$$) ect. After that, like most of us in that hobby "life happened" and priorities were somewhere else. House kids ect.
I want to drive the car badly but I have made a plan and right off the bat I knew it would take a lot of time and money.
But hey I waited 30yrs+ to do it so what is a couples to build it?
 

craig32

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
482
Location
PA
Corvette
1981 repainted black coupe
The older croud want to do things we could not afford back in those days.

For myself, I'm rebuilding the car that I really wanted when I was a teenager in the 70's.

like most of us in that hobby "life happened" and priorities were somewhere else. House kids ect.

Boy Howdy! (that's a southern expression equal to 'you're telling me'!)
When my Vette was built, I was 2 months shy of 20 years old, making like $12,000/year. My car cost new $19,000. Not likely. My mom had a '73 and I always wanted one. (for the record, my Dad had a '70 Olds 442 automatic and a '76 Trans Am 4 speed - both with 455's - the latter of with which I learned to drive) After over 20 years toiling my life away in a factory, opportunity knocked, in the form of a 1981 coupe in need of some TLC (tender loving care) It needed work, so my auto mechanics classes in high school didn't go to waste. I'm glad I found a car that needed some work, and STILL needs a decent paint job. It ain't the best or the fastest, but it's mine and it's paid for. Had I spent a fortune for a nice car and had someone else work on it, I'd be freaking out when something went wrong with it. It's not the original engine, or one I built, and I'm not building one for it just for the sake of doing it. Although I can, and have.
Most of the guys in our club are older than me, and have newer cars. Not a problem, they're all good guys and a lot of them have had C3's. I admire their enthusiasm for the new cars and their ability to afford them, but we have the coolest cars ever made!

Craig
 

fine69

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Joined
Dec 12, 2004
Messages
975
Location
Maryland / D.C.
Corvette
'69 Convertible Vette; '72 Z28 Camaro Rally Sport

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