If you’ve ever built a “100-point” engine (or even read about one) you know that when you build one of these show-winning engines nothing goes untouched. This was definitely the case with the engine in our ’59 Chevy Impala project vehicle, “Beauty and the Beast.” The stock 283-c.i.d. engine was swapped out for a much more potent and powerful 350 engine. The complete engine was taken apart and everything on it was modified and gone through, meaning that the “internals” were made bigger than stock for better performance. This built-up small-block will produce big-block horsepower and performance on regular gas.
As for the exterior of the engine, that too received a custom touch. The engine block–which featured aluminum heads, rolling rockers and lifters–was custom painted to complement the exterior of the car. This “stroker” block was ready to be painted in a custom color, but there were a few precautions that needed to be taken. When painting at home make sure that you spray in a well-ventilated area and always wear a mask as the fumes may be too strong for the average person. With most engines as heavy as they are, they can be hard to move around. We overcame this problem by painting our block at the author’s home (AKA Wild Child Customs). We had enough room in the driveway, but we pulled out a few cars to avoid any overspray. Ruben “Buggs” Ochoa then got busy and shot the block in an hour or two.
Once the paint had dried, we started putting the engine together. By the time that this engine gets finished it will feature the best of both worlds–it will be beefed up and cosmetically good-looking. The 350 will feature Edelbrock carburetors and air intake, Summit accessories, Zoop’s billet products, and a touch of chrome provided by Joe’s Polishing of Whittier, California. Now check out how Part One of this ’59 engine build-up came together. Make sure to check out Part Two as we go into further detail of the engine build-up