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There is plenty of room in the engine compartment, but then you will have to deal with the closed driveshaft and the torque tube.

A nailhead does look real nice in the era of car and you wouldn't have to worry about the driveline as much.

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I have found that the easiest way to convert the power plant from an inline engine to a V8 is to find the same year vehicle with the engine you want, buy the complete car and part it out, you will then have all the mounts, brackets, etc., required to complete the change over. If you just try to purchase an engine you will have all kinds of issues to deal with.

I am putting a 425 Buick nail head in my '40 Super, I purchased a '66 Riv to get all the pieces I would need....

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Oldrides, the motor mounts, radiator, and core support you should source from a 53 Super or Roadmaster.

However, for a nailhead I'd swap in a 1956 Roadmaster or Century 322 CID v8 wth its accompanying Dynaflow. You get the best year for a 322 and it's mating dynaflow from a 56 model.

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I did it on my 51. Droped a 56 chevy 322 but wasn't easy. Neither would both a factory dual or single exhaust work so I had to fab one up, a dual in my case. The master cylinder had to be moved back then pushed in towards the frame and since I messed with that the arm that holds the rod on the frame had to be removed, shaved a some, reversed, then welded back up...dam starter! the vent tubes cause problems with the Generator . I had to move mine to sit low in between the left valve cover and intake. I welded a bracket using the one I cut off the mount... the shift linkage was some thing else. the stock will not work so I made something up using the one from the 53 Super. There was way more work than I thought.

Edited by buickvalvenut52 (see edit history)
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On 2/24/2019 at 8:50 PM, AlfonzoBigBody said:

9 years later and no details on how it worked out. I hate forums that ask questions but never post the final results. My situation 1953 Special, missing block. Found a 56 322, curious if it would be worth the time trying the swap. No real confirmed answer here. 

hi alfonzo, have you made any progress on the idea of putting a 322 into your 1953 special ?, i think if you spend time looking at a 1954 special with a buick nailhead V8, you'll get answers as to what will work and what will not work. i have a 1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina where i removed the pontiac straight eight 30 years ago and installed a 1955 pontiac 287 V8 and hydra-matic 22 years ago, now this year i am removing the 287 set up and replacing it with a 1959 pontiac 389 and a B&M hydro-stick version of the dual range hydra-matic trans. looking forward to hearing what you have done.

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I have had nothing but rain every weekend for this year. As a result, the Car sat in the woods for a bit longer than I had hoped. Given the 4k weight and the additional 2k for my trailer it was a nogo to pick up (Seller has nice land). Meanwhile, I did get new rubber all the way around (Did you know Walmart tirecare is full of idiots? , they didn't know where the steel brush was so my tires are mounted to rusty beads). With ambition, and a air tank, I am setting off to get the car loaded for the trip home this weekend (Only a short drive). I will update this forum with progress reports.

 

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