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 Is it really a sin to install a 350 in a 55 Chev.?


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 Is it really a sin to install a 350 in a 55 Chev.? Or dual master cylinder disk brakes?

  How about seat belts or Radials?

 FM radios? Air conditioning?

 

Many people like vintage cars but need to drive them on today's roads. Should restorations be condemned to spend their life in garages, only to be used on country roads on Sunday?

 

 Some people enjoying driving original six cylinder cars on the highway,  why do they say that you should never change them and enjoy them the way they were built?

 I personally have original restorations, hot rods and restro cars and I enjoy reading this forum.  So why do people say that we should not post anything but original automobiles.

 

 The mast head describes this forum best,

 

General Discussion

"Melting pot forum for everyone interested in antique vehicles."

 

 

 

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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There’s an ass for every seat.

What I mean by this is the car hobby is large enough to accommodate a nearly unlimited imagination to modifications.  Some people will love what you have done and others will cringe.  It’s my personal belief that the less modifications you make, there will be a larger number of people who would actually want to own it.  

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Personally l like old cars that are close to original.  Hose clamps, battery changes, newer hoses and belts are ok to keep it running.  Major changes to running gear, paint and trim have their place but it doesn’t do much for me.  I appreciate their ability to engineer the change however I would not be a buyer of it. Changing one SBC like a 283 for a 350 and keeping the rest is not a big deal.  

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Have nothing against originality, on the show field. If going to drive on modern highways then modern equipment is more important. No reason you can't have one set for each. The three biggest improvements in cars in the last 50 years has been tires, lights, and oil. Besides that I have been using seat belts since the early '60s and had to add them then.

 

ps 55 chev had no oil filter, a two speed automagic transmission, and tires that "were not safe in the driveway". If the engine was blown, a 350 (with steel timing gear) and 700R4 would not be a bad replacement that would get much better MPG.

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I think Padgett sums it up perfectly. Crate 350 Chevrolet motors are available for about $1800. You can't build a motor for that. If you have a '55 and up Chevy, why not go that route. As for brakes and seat belts and it makes you and you occupants safer by all means do so. I have been involved in the hobby since the '60s and I see more and more modified cars than restored cars.

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You will limit your buyers if you ever decide to sell.  What do I mean by that?

 

If you keep it original, people interested in original cars and those interested in modifying the car in the future would be potential buyer.

 

Modify the car and you just eliminated half of your buyers pool.

 

Like stated earlier seat belts are safety items, a new and totally different engine is another issue

 

When I was looking for a Triumph TR3 or TR4 back in 2008 there was a nice TR3 for sale.  The only issue was it had a Toyota engine and transmission.  That car was for sale for several years and I don't know if it ever sold.

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To me, it depends on the car. If it's a well preserved survivor,I'd leave it that way. If it's a Nomad or a ragtop, I'd keep it original. Otherwise, make the changes to improve driveability. The original small block and the 283 were sweet runners,too, but low mileage rebuildable ones are getting scarce. 

Sometimes it's a matter of expediency. Back in the early '80's I bought a '72 Chevy C20 pickup to haul my car trailer. It had a tired non numbers matching 350 in it.A friend had a 400 sbc out of a '72 Impala sitting under his work bench,which we ended up rebuilding and installing in the '72. The 4:10 rear end gears were replaced with 3:73s. Finally, a couple of years ago,we replaced the 350 automatic with a 700R4. Power brakes had been added before I got it, when it used to haul a big slide in camper through the Rockies. After trying to back up the car trailer a few times without power steering, we searched for and found a complete p/s setup. My four prewar cars are restored or original and will stay that way under my ownership, but the '72 does a great job as a show,tow,and go unit.

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I'm OK with such upgrades, but it's getting really boring. Like finding a Shelby without Ol' Shel's signature on it, finding a Tri-Five Chevy with a stock 265 or 283 in it is pretty rare anymore. If you want a street rod, go for it. But given that the engines are virtually identical, I think it would be cool to make a 350 look stock--the extra 70 or so cubic inches can make it more powerful. Disc brakes are OK and aren't very visible, although the modern brake boosters and master cylinders always jump out as wildly incorrect. I don't even object to a modern transmission tucked underneath, but if you're changing the transmission, do a 2004R or a 700R4, not a 3-speed TH350 (especially if your goal is "better highway driving and safety"). In short, do a good job with good parts and quality workmanship or don't do anything. There are already plenty of hacked up cars with cheap parts, don't make another one.

 

My philosophy is that you should do what makes you happy. It's just a car and a common one, so you're not hurting some piece of unobtainium. I just like to encourage people to do something that demonstrates more craftsmanship and forethought than just throwing a crate motor in there, a yester-tech TH350 transmission, a cheesy Summit Racing dress-up kit, and goofy braided stainless hose covers on their car and turn it into a generic Tri-Five just like every other ordinary cruise night ho-hum blahmobile. I should note that these garden-variety "builds" are also pretty boring to drive. They don't feel like vintage Chevys anymore. They don't feel particularly modern, but it's like the car has lost its soul. It's like driving a 74 Nova.

 

I will also say that it won't make the car more valuable or easier to sell unless you do it right with good parts. 3-speed transmissions, cut-rate dress-up crap, no A/C, no power steering, and backyard quality are exceedingly common and there are piles and piles of Tri-Five Chevys laying around that are all pretty much identically dull.

 

Modified is great. Just do something that justifies the time and money you'll be spending. And if you don't want to do that, just buy someone else's ho-hum blahmobile already done and enjoy immediately.

 

As far as the forum welcoming and discussing modifications, the AACA is and always has been a club for people who like cars as the factory built them. That doesn't mean the people here don't like modified cars, this just isn't the place for discussing them and there are plenty of outlets for modified car discussions--as far as I know, this is just about the only place for unmodified car discussion. As I've pointed out before, you wouldn't try to take a Mustang to a Corvette show, right? It isn't that the Corvette guys don't like you and your car, it's just the wrong venue.

 

Do what makes you happy. Just do it well and you'll come out OK.

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On another thread someone is trying to pass off new reproduction shift knobs as vintage, and after making a nasty reply another forum member and I were accused of not tolerating that side of the hobby. It’s not true... while I personally prefer the pre 1940 original cars I also have many friends with rat rods as well as some with restoration-mods. one friend with a rodded Rockne kept looking at my Model A and saying it must make me cry to see his cars, actually he had more vision and talent than I did as the car was really nice.
 

It takes as much talent and money to restore the 1972 Ford Pinto I thought was junk in my high school years as older cars and might even be a little harder to find parts for because nobody would have expected them to be desirable (and I blew up three engines in that Pinto leaving less around).  Heck, I got interested in the old cars because of the mid 60’s Mustangs which you could really hop up from stock without much money back when gasoline was well under $1/gallon.
 

As Modeleh says above there’s an ass for every seat, but there’s always going to be some friction between the camps especially if you are trying to pass it off as something that it isn’t.
 

Just think about keeping the original parts for that point in time you might like to reverse it to stock, or sell them to someone who wants to stay stock.

Edited by Mark Wetherbee (see edit history)
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18 minutes ago, Vila said:

You will limit your buyers if you ever decide to sell.

 

Exactly, that was my thought while  reading this. My experience is that many of these modifications are just peer pressure anyway. Correctly repaired and maintained almost anything from the '40's up is good for a transcontinental trip if the owner or "My Mechanic" knew how to fix stuff.

 

Get that car all cobbled up and try to sell it. That's when the whining starts.

Bernie

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I like both, restored and modified cars. If the cars runs and drives I fix and maintain what is there. If going over things, and it looks like it needs this or that? Then a person has a few choices to make. Just like people did with Duesenbergs and Cords back in the day. Find a donor car, and do a heart transplant to avoid the rebuild cost. In the end it does come down to money. Yes you can save over time and eat the restoration costs. But smart money would buy an original car that did not need restoration. Working with a budget, having the desire to own a classic/ collector car. Will make everyone play the numbers game. Offer me $100,000 for my 49 Hudson, and it will look as good as new. Have the market place tell me my car is worth $25,000. And I will have a beer and give the project some thought.🤔

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I prefer original.  Concerning original drive trains handling "today's" roads, I never have an issue with either my 54 or 60.   I spend my time, while at car shows, looking at the original cars.   This what interests me.  However, if a car owner decides to upgrade this and that then have at it.  It is their car to do as the wish.  I would hope and I think many do, attempt to sell the original parts for those that like to keep theirs original.       

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Roger Walling said:

 So why do people say that we should not post anything but original automobiles?

 

We admire and discuss authentic restorations because

that is the focus of the A.A.C.A.  We are preserving history

for the future's sake.  Modified cars are a different breed.

 

It's just the same as taking your dog to a dog show.

You don't see cats there.

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3 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

If I owned a Hudson the second day of working in the engine bay I would be modifying the hood hinge system.

You only collapse the hood on yourself once. And then you pay close attention to those hood supports.😀

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This particular site is dedicated to original automobiles, with the possible exception of the modified category in the Buick section, and when that’s what I want to talk or read about I come here.  When it comes to rods, I head for the HAMB.  I enjoy both and respect that both sites try to keep to their original purpose.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we do the same.  Not that this thread is a big deal or somehow wrong, but it’s a subject that’s been done to death, with the same answers, opinions and rationale.  There are obviously a group of strict purists on both sides and then a large group that falls in the middle and can see both sides without having a brain hemorrhage.

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I'm sure many of you guys were alive in those days, but it's escaped our collective memory for some reason: Remember when the Chevy small block (and the tri-five Chevys (55-57) for that matter) were kind of the "underdog" engine and cars? Most young men wanted big blocks or hemis in the mid-sixties through the early 70's, and the sbc and tri-fives were kind of the working class version of muscle cars. Common place and everyday, yet cool to me because they had an appeal that went more or less unnoticed by a lot of the automotive media.  

 

Then "Grumpy" Bill Jenkins built his famous small block Vega that tore up the competition, and American Graffiti came out and the sbc and '55 Chevy started becoming dominant in car culture lore and legend.

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Matt, you bring up a great point about Carroll Shelby's autograph on cars. I ran into Carroll Shelby many years ago at Barrett Jackson in Scottsdale. I told him I had a friend with a Shelby and if I knew he was at Barrett, I would have taken the glove box for him to autograph. Mr. Shelby told me to have my friend sign it himself. I asked him what he meant  he said, "if I autographed the amount of glove doors and air cleaners that have my signature on them, my arm would have fallen off, most are fake". 

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14 minutes ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

You only collapse the hood on yourself once. And then you pay close attention to those hood supports.😀

They are even a tad tricky on the 47.  I bumped it once and have since learned respect and to put proper bolts in it that were substituted with incorrect ones. 

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I don't have a problem with upgrading an older car as long as it still looks mostly original from the outside. No 24" goofy looking mag wheels, no dark tinted windows, no lowered suspension, etc. My '49 Studebaker has A/C, a CD player, a V8 out of a '62 Stude, an upgraded Stude 3 speed manual with overdrive, Cadillac front disc brakes, Ford 9" rear end, seat belts, and more. It will cruise at 70 on the freeway whereas with the original 80 hp flathead 6 and 3 speed with no overdrive going 50 would probably be pushing it....

 

 

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29 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

It's just the same as taking your dog to a dog show.

You don't see cats there.

 

Modified cars are made from cars that were once original. Cats are not made from dogs and no matter how hard you try you cannot turn a dog into a cat. Your comparison makes no sense whatsoever.... :rolleyes: 

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Modified cars are made from cars that were once original. Cats are not made from dogs and no matter how hard you try you cannot turn a dog into a cat. Your comparison makes no sense whatsoever.... :rolleyes: 

 

but but what if my cat barks?????????????

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I prefer original spec cars too.  One of my reasons for owning and driving them is the experience of driving a car from the past.  Our antique cars take us back in time, that's part of their appeal.  Old car sounds and smells remind us of earlier days.  If you want a car with all the modern conveniences, just buy a new one instead of adding the conveniences to an antique.  

 

I've owned a number of '60s cars and have never had a problem keeping up with modern traffic or roads.  I can understand putting a 350 in a 1955 Chevy if the original motor is blown or missing.  As some of the earlier posts stated, I wouldn't buy that car with a 350.  I prefer my old cars with the correct engine and equipment.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Roger Walling said:

 Is it really a sin to install a 350 in a 55 Chev.? Or dual master cylinder disk brakes?

  How about seat belts or Radials?

 FM radios? Air conditioning?

 

Many people like vintage cars but need to drive them on today's roads. Should restorations be condemned to spend their life in garages, only to be used on country roads on Sunday?

 

 Some people enjoying driving original six cylinder cars on the highway,  why do they say that you should never change them and enjoy them the way they were built?

 I personally have original restorations, hot rods and restro cars and I enjoy reading this forum.  So why do people say that we should not post anything but original automobiles.

 

 The mast head describes this forum best,

 

General Discussion

"Melting pot forum for everyone interested in antique vehicles."

 

 

 

 

It's not a sin at all. You do what you want on your car.

Remember when you finish doing it that it's not a restoration and now it's just a modified car.

 I have three types. Restored, original survivor, and modified. The modified cars are track/street cars/ they have to be modified.

 

  Since the AACA is all about preserving and restoring antique cars, the drive is also very important. The restored and original survivor driving experience is part of the fun of owning such a car. We want to feel how it was back then and bringing a car into the future negates the experience. Since AACA gives you a huge time period in which to collect, you really can have your cake and eat it too. If you want lots of HP, A/C, Power steering and good braking you can get that with some cars of the 50's, but look at all the cars you could collect up to 1995 that would also fit the bill and you wouldn't have to modify a thing. So pick the era that will fit your desire for brakes , tires, HP etc.

AACA is not just the cars, it's the history and the experience of driving a piece of living history that this is all about. Take that out of the car and you remove it's soul and it's history and then it becomes all about YOU and not the CAR.

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It's your car do what you like. If you post on a forum and get negative feedback you have a choice. Accept the feedback or ignore it. Stay on the forum or leave it. There is nothing wrong with changing anything you want on your car, its yours, but don't bitch about people saying that is wrong as that is just their opinion and you were asking for their responses.  If you don;t want to here about originally being important to many on a forum be sure your are on a forum that doesn't matter too.  

I had a 49 Ford F3 pickup I did a frame off restoration on. It was a cheap rust bucket off the last farm in the city of Chicago. It took about 15 years because of life and available dollars.  I was able to hand  turn the flat 6 and after pulling the pan and cleaning it up rebuilding the carb and putting new points and plugs in it, it actually ran.  Well it ran for a few weeks then thru a rod, cracked the block and was shot. This was a budget build and I loved doing it even though it took a long time. A junk yard Ford 5.0 with trans was cheaper than anything else I could find so that's what went in to it.  The people on the OLD Ford truck forum were great about helping with advice and possible pitfalls. I made the mistake (in my opinion) of going on the jalopy corner (I think that was the name- it was a while ago and the gray hair is pulling the memory cells out of my head) and was lambasted for not introducing myself in their preferred format (of course there are no instructions telling you the proper way to do it, you are just suppose to magically know this if you want to be on the forum) and from then on any post I put up got very negative responses about the introduction and very little about my post request or comments.  I don't go to that forum anymore and it's their loss not mine. 

If the engine goes in the 38 Studebaker I have now it will be decision time if I can find/afford to keep it original or upgrade to a newer Studebaker engine than the current model or a crate engine. That's my choice, if you want to give me input, great. But I can choose to take it or leave it and you have no say in that decision. Now if you want to provide all the parts and dollars associated with redoing MY car I may give you some input but it's still my decision.

Stay and enjoy the great people, the knowledge they so freely give, the opinions pro & con for what you ask as all input may help. But don't criticize them for stating their opinions for something you or someone else asked about, that's their right. If you can't live with that leave the forum. I believe we will all loose something if that would happen.

Hope this wasn't too much of a rant, but I think this type statement comes up too often.

Have fun 

Dave S

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A properly sorted 60's car should be no issue in 'modern' traffic if you respect the limitations of four wheel drum brakes if so equipped.

I drove my '64 Malibu convertible as my only car until the mid 90's when I bought an econobox Toyota because I suddenly had a long commute that was using half a tank daily in the Malibu.

And I still think my Malibu drives amazingly well for a 56 year old car.

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Take all the modified cars, customs, resto rods, street rods, hot rods and race cars. Put them all back in the fields and barns. And the original side of the hobby would be the same size. Any vintage car on the road, in any form helps promote the hobby/ industry/trade. I had a customer bring me a 1950 Oldsmobile coupe. Nice car, modern drive train and shaved hood ornament and door handles. He had me install those items back on the car. So it was a mild custom, moving in the direction of a restoration. Auburnseekers Cord can be restored. What would happen if someone with the funds, bought a famous vintage hot rod. And tore it apart, and restored it. Now that would be funny.😆 Where is my Lotto ticket.

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As I see it, the AACA is not unlike many initially well meaning clubs or organizations. They start out with a strong and unifying vision, shaped by the clear and mutual understanding of founders, and then over time, get modified, changed, altered, diluted, weakened, or added to in a manner that the original founders' vision gets lost or replaced. The current AACA "home page" mission statement " The preservation and enjoyment of automotive history of all types" is so vague in today's automotive hobby environment as to be of little help in answering even the most basic question raised by any member/observer. Think about it: Preserving Automotive History? Enjoying Automotive History? Could anyone explain either phrase in a few words? I don't think so. Neither makes any reference to preserving/restoring old cars, which many purists believe is the most important goal/vision of AACA.  Somewhere the phrase "dedicated to the preservation and restoration of antique automobiles" exists in the club's mission, I have not taken the time to look for it, but it should be front and center in bold print for every home page and forum IMHO. p.s. Has it been replaced by advertising banners?

 

Highly developed language is one of the few ways human beings differ from other species. Precise language is the way human beings separate general thoughts/ideas, into more well-defined ideas/thoughts. Conversely, imprecise language leads to such a wide variety of interpretation and use that the topic becomes nearly meaningless. The very word "Antique" is a good example. While it's Latin source refers to old/ancient, in the worlds of furniture. arts and other collectibles it typically refers to old, rare, fine, highly desirable and other adjectives, and in some circles means over 100 years old; the USA even adopted a "100 year old" law in the 1930's related to importing old items. 

 

But today, many car clubs or automotive jurisdictions accept "30 years old" as an age to define Antique Automobile and register them accordingly (usually with some financial benefit in licensing and insuring). This dilution of the term Antique is largely at the root of much of the subsequent chatter. Old school enthusiasts gasp at the thought of a 1990 Chevy Lumina cruising around with Antique Plates and showing up at the local car show next to their 1929 Dodge. They shudder when they see a 1932 Ford fiberglass bodied roadster, blown engine and all that chrome cruising around with an "Antique" plate. 

 

The truth is the hobby as a whole has adopted the "Antique Automobile" term as an unearned badge. I believe no automobile should wear an "Antique Automobile" designation or registration unless it is at least 50 years old, and I'd be even happier if it was 75 years, i.e. as of today, pre the end of WWII. It should be a badge of honor that is earned. Earned because it has survived the rigors of ownership, use, technological change and societal pressures (such as the WWII scrap drive or environmental cleanups). Some might argue that such a badge might be too 'exclusive". That is exactly the point, a badge should be well earned and proudly worn. Wearing this badge should not be blind to the occasional need to put safety (seat belts/better braking/lighting) into a car's functioning, or reliability (6v to 12V, bias/radial), especially if it is to be driven regularly.

 

For cars that are not say 75 years old (1946 and later today), many other terms can be used if "Old Car' is not fancy enough. Each term will have it's own challenges defining itself. Vintage, Classic, Fifties, Muscle Car Era, Fin Era, all have been used in the past, and I would argue there need be no definitive term used to refer to cars that are simply old but not antique. When a 1969 Camaro or '66 Mustang displays at a car show, I see it as a nice example of an era of automotive history that has passed. Same with a '57 Chevrolet or 1963 Austin Healey, great examples of an era passed. I would not consider any of these 4 vehicles as genuinely "Antique". 

 

And when any such cars, Antique (over 75) or otherwise show up with modern drivetrains and chopped, channeled or otherwise modified in both form and function, while I often enjoy looking them over, they should never be considered "antiques", let alone classic, vintage or any other such term. Call them what they are, hot-rods, modifieds, home-builts, customs, show-cars, or at worst, rat-rods. There is room in the "old car" hobby overall for everyone.

 

So this is my diatribe on the challenge initially opened by the poster, and since the word "Antique" is the lead word in this club's title, may explain why so many members shirk at any post which by default dilutes the club's vision. There is no need to be disrespectful or dismissive, simply conveying the club's intention (mission statements) should suffice and will lead to less acrimonious debate.

 

 

 

e preservation and enjoyment of automotive history of all types

Edited by Gunsmoke
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2 hours ago, JetSmooth61 said:

I prefer original spec cars too.  One of my reasons for owning and driving them is the experience of driving a car from the past.  Our antique cars take us back in time, that's part of their appeal.  Old car sounds and smells remind us of earlier days.  If you want a car with all the modern conveniences, just buy a new one instead of adding the conveniences to an antique.  

 

 

 

 

 

This^^^^

 

I'm often told that the bias ply on my Buicks will provide a poor ride and blow out, etc.   Go radial!!!  Well, going radial is not what I want to experience.  The feel, smell and look is what I want to experience.  Further, I have no issues with the bias ply.  Once you understand the bias ply capability all is well. 

 

Then there are the "dependability" folks.  I can dig it.  Turn key, vroom and off you go.    Yes, modern ignition and fuel delivery is far superior than what went before.  However,  what went before is dependable as well.  I never have a fear of my Buicks leaving me on the side of the road.   In fact, there has been a few days my Buicks took me to where I needed to go because my dependable modern vehicle could not make the trip for whatever reason.          

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2 hours ago, mercer09 said:

 

Modified cars are made from cars that were once original. Cats are not made from dogs and no matter how hard you try you cannot turn a dog into a cat. Your comparison makes no sense whatsoever.... :rolleyes: 

 

but but what if my cat barks?????????????

 

 

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I personally am a big fan of seat belts. I installed them in my "50 Chevy and will install them in all my vehicles. As I explained to a friend, I intend to stay inside the vehicle until the shrapnel stops flying if someone should be texting or otherwise not focused on the road and hits me. That being said, I also have the 216 in the same vehicle and intend to keep it that way, I also have a '55 Chevy that hasn't had the original engine in it as long as I've owned it (since '84), and I'm not likely to pursue an original engine for it. Chevy small block for Chevy small block is fine with me. I do trend toward the relatively stock configuration of a vehicle because I do wish for a reasonable facsimally  of the original feel of a car while trying to be safe. Some would argue that an original style master cylinder is not very safe compared to a dual cylinder, point taken, however, I feel that a failure is not likely with a vehicle that isn't used as a daily driver. As stated earlier, it's ultimately your vehicle. I believe in a "first do no harm" attitude. By this I mean do nothing that can't easily be undone.

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Someone might say, "I like taking Old Master paintings

and putting some modern-art splashes and splotches on them.

It brings them up to date."

 

Another might say, "Why should Washington's Mount Vernon

have painted wood siding?"  Let's slather on some 1980's vinyl!"

 

People make the point that if you own something, you can

do whatever you want.  That's a point, but if something is

already noteworthy, it's worth preserving authentically for

future generations.  I'd rather see what Locomobile did in

the 1920's, more that what Rod's Rod Shop did in 1995!

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