Sign in to follow this  
heckinohio

1963 Skylark.....455 engine swap

Recommended Posts

Tenant bought a pretty good '63 Special, post, w/clutch pedal, floor shift, no signs of being a conversion.  There is a 1971 455 engine available to him.   As I understand it, this is the first year for unleaded gasoline engines.  I know B-O-P shared a common bellhousing pattern, how about a Pontiac flywheel on a Buick engine.???  How about front springs.???

 

What is the degree of difficulty in this engine swap.??? 

 

PJH, Ohio 

Edited by heckinohio (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't mention collapsed front coil springs.

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually Ed, the 455 (and 400 and 430) Buick big blocks weigh less than the small block chevy.  I'd be much more concerned about twisting the car in half than the weight on the front end, that is if you could ever get it to hook.  If I am not mistaken, those years of Skylarks are unibodies.  Careful where you cut for clearance.

 

The flywheels will not interchange, to answer the OP's initial question.  Anything can be made to work but at what cost.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gents........most annoying thing to over come is the unibody...  I have done 2 of the '63 Tempest cars that had the ridiculous trans/axle set up.   Been long enuff now, 40 or more years, that I am foggy on the details.  Probably figger it out if it were my car.....but at 80plus, I have stopped volunteering to do work for others.!!!!!  I even had an aluminum front end for one of the Tempests, but wasnt the correct car.......it did find its way to the correct SD wagon.

 

I doubt he is serious after noticing he bought a full set of the tiniest tires I have ever seen.  This car has chromed headers (????) & motorcycle mufflers and '64 Ford pivoting bucket seats.......how many folks remember Fords pivoting buckets.????

 

Here is a pict. of my aluminum front end Catalina during the mid 2000s at Farmington NC.

 

PJH

PJH '62 Pont, Dan Gouvia '62 Chev.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'63 Special/Skylard would have had a V6 or the aluminum V8 ..... I suspect a big block would be a very tight fit in that car.

Degree of difficulty.........when finished you would have at least an "Associates Degree" in engine swaps.   Unlikely you are going to find a "How To" book on that swap.

I don't think they started "detuning" the engines until '73 (unleaded gas) but it may not have been a overnight change in the engines.

Your friend need to do a lot of research.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As noted, the 61-63 Y-body cars are unibody. They also weigh only 2600 lbs or so with the aluminum V8. Yes, Pontiac did offer the Tempest with an iron 326, but the Tempest suspension and brakes are different and the weight of the trans is in the back, not on the front wheels. Yes, people have done insane big block swaps into these cars, but the collateral damage is significant. The stock brakes are 9.5" x 2" drums in the front and 9.5 x 1.75 in the back. The stock wheels are four lug (the Tempest was five lug). Upgrades are not easy. The 215 and 198 V6 do not use the BOP bellhousing. The tunnel will not accommodate a newer, larger GM trans like a TH400 without significant metal work. The stock radiator core is a downflow unit that's less than 13" tall - you'll need a torch and a lot of custom metalwork to fit a radiator that can cool a 455. The rear axle is unique to the Olds/Buick Y-body cars and uses a tiny ring and pinion. You'll have to custom make a new rear axle as well. Bottom line is that you'll likely add 1000 lbs to the car by the time you install the iron motor, larger trans, upgraded suspension, upgraded cooling, and new rear axle. At that point you will have a car with about the same weight as a 64-65 Skylark, but for two or three times the investment. Can all this be done? Sure. Is it worth it? Unlikely.

 

Here's a better solution. Get a Rover 4.6 short block, which bolts into the car just like the 215. Use a 300 crank and Chevy 305 pistons and you get 298 cu in. with no more weight than the original 215. That combo can easily deliver 260-275 HP, which gives you a power-to-weight ratio better than that of most 1960s musclecars.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own a '62 Skylark that I modified with a juicy small block. As stated, you will need to modify the tunnel. I put a new floor in, as I could not get mufflers to tuck under the car enough otherwise.

I put a FatMan's tube front stub on it, Narrowed 9", and Channeled the uni-body to tie it together front to back. Four link rear end with double adjustable shocks front and back.

I am not sure how much more you would need to do to stuff a big block in one, but it sounds fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this