June 20, 2019, 08:29:12 AM

Author Topic: 57 Buick Special GMT900 AWD Frame swap  (Read 6779 times)

Offline etizz

57 Buick Special GMT900 AWD Frame swap
« on: February 15, 2017, 03:30:29 PM »
Hey everyone! since we can put whatever build in here I figured id share my latest project.  So i recently sold my RX7 and I am a proud owner of a 1957 Buick Special 4 door.  I got this vehicle back in september from a gentleman in Lexington Ky.

 As the story has it this was an old lady's car who had it garaged for most of its life.  It apparently last saw the road according to the inspection sticker in 1984, was taken to a shop due to a blown engine in the late 90's early 2000'.  That shop owner bought the car off of her.  Shop decided to pull the drivetrain and install a 8.8 rear axle from a Ford LTD.  It then was found by the owner I purchased it from in early 2000's who bought it and was gradually restoring it , redoing the brake system, cleaning up the chrome and front end inner fenders, installing a buick 350/th400 from his 70's GS he upgraded to a 455. But back problems and lack of motivation (and probably room due to this big car) had him put it up for sale on which I found it. 




When I recieved the vehicle, I had plans to get it driveable as soon as I could since I'm getting married in May of this year and would like to drive it to my wedding.  I did a front disc brake conversion from scarebird, and had a driveshaft made for the existing drivetrain in the car. Things were looking up as it seemed like it just needed an exhaust, and to plumb a fuel system, everything else seemed like it was good to go.  I was tinkering here and there with parts i had laying around , buying some wheels for it as the stock wheels had super old tires and were just in bad shape rust wise. even decided to attempt to use a ls ignition box to fire the old buick 350, i got it to spark but ended up changing my mind, a lot haha. the brake system had been redone but the master cylinder mounting strategy wasnt so great, i needed to fix that.







« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 01:17:59 PM by etizz »
1957 Buick Special, LS1 08 ESCALADE AWD FRAME SWAP
WEIRD SAAB THING PROJECT TUBE CHASSIS REAR ENGINE V4 LS1 PCM CONTROL DBW EFI CNP IGNITION

Offline etizz

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 03:31:01 PM »
Well the hot rodding bug within me decided that if I'm gonna drive this car, I'd like to make it my own. I've wanted an old car for a long time and this isnt necessarily my dream car but I want to build it like it is.  I want it stock appearing , be reliable to drive whenever i'd like.  be easy to drive. and be able to fix easily with available parts.
Now I have quite a few ls swaps under my belt from old gm trucks to my latest sale of my 3 year project mazda rx7.  I decided that the buick needed to have an ls as well.  i stumbled upon a cheap t56 and i decided to put it in my mazda, and use the rebuilt nice one out of it for this buick.  so 6.0 t56 it was.  Now the car was an automatic, so no clutch pedal.  I needed to figure out how to go about that.  I bought a setup from kugels komponents and decided to make a piece to mount to the firewall and mount the pedals as well.
also in order to make it easier to drive i decided to convert the manual, 6 turns lock to lock steering to a power box from an astro with 2.5 turns lock to lock. 
at this point i'm wondering why i ripped apart all systems to start over and have such a short deadline, apparently i like a challenge lol. 
so ill break down each system as to what it will have:
Engine: This car could have originally had a 364ci nail head, so I thought it would be fitting to use a 364ci LS engine instead.
6.0 Aluminum LS2, L92 Rectangle port heads, LS9 camshaft, LS3 valve springs , Painted factory Buick green, holley midrise intake, to look "retro" instead of like all ls swaps look.





Transmission: 
Fbody T56, stage 2 rebuild, mcleod rst twin disc clutch, shifter maybe stock with a custom shift rod and knob (undecided at this point), 3/4 wilwood clutch master cylinder

Rear axle:
8.8 Ford LTD (2.73ish) rear end ratio, may be changed (after wedding) to something in the 3's or 4's, drum brakes
Exhaust:
Headers, to single exhaust out passenger side, may be converting to turbo in the future
Fuel:
90 Cadillac EFI Fuel tank, Walbro 400 fuel pump, Corvette Fuel filter/regulator
Cooling:
Recored stock radiator, not sure on electric fan or mechanical fan yet.
Brakes:
Dual chamber master cylinder, 8" dual diaprahgm booster, scarebird front end disc brake conversion to 12" riviera rotors and astro calipers and pads. custom firewall piece for kugels komponents assembly



Steering:
Astro power steering box adapted to factory buick linkage, new tie rod ends, new sway bar bushings, custom pitman arm from parts mike in CA
Suspension:
stock, may make big changes in the future
Wheels:


Dodge ram 20x8 Steelies 5x5 used with adapters due to the 2 different bolt patterns. 245/35r20 tires. will try to adapt factory buick center caps to them.
So thats the plan for now hopefully ill be able to put it all into motion and at least get it driveable , and then work the kinks out after my wedding
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 03:52:32 PM by etizz »
1957 Buick Special, LS1 08 ESCALADE AWD FRAME SWAP
WEIRD SAAB THING PROJECT TUBE CHASSIS REAR ENGINE V4 LS1 PCM CONTROL DBW EFI CNP IGNITION

Offline freeskier7791

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 03:55:30 PM »
Very cool, turbo would be fun

Offline digitalsolo

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Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 04:28:00 PM »
Super cool build!!!
Blake MF'ing McBride
1988 Mazda RX7 - Turbo LS1/T56/ProEFI/8.8/Not Slow...   sold.
1965 Mustang Coupe - TT Coyote, TR6060, modern brakes/suspension...  project car
2016 BMW 428i xDrive Gran Coupe - Completely stock...ish

Offline Sho Amo

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Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 09:16:29 PM »
Yes :secret:
[Sold] '90 GTU LS1/t56

Offline 65imp

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 09:22:46 PM »
SIIIIICK.   :D

No sleep til MAY. 
Surprised that deep a sumped oil pan would fit.  Just swapped a 56 Chevy and he needed a Holley pan similar depth to a camaro ls pan. 

How does the interior look?
absolute power corrupts absolutely  :yay:
93 FD widebody - destroked
69 Suburban - positive manifold pressure
65 Impala - 5.7
59 cad  - WIP
53 spartan - shed status

Online wickedrx7

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2017, 09:53:02 PM »
Neat!

1993 Touring, 2012 L99, T-56, Ronnin 8.8, Ohlins, Speedhut, Samberg and lots of custom parts
Build Thread - http://www.norotors.com/index.php?topic=19354.0
Pictures - www.flikr.com/wickedrx7

Offline etizz

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 07:45:29 AM »
thanks for the love haha. interior is actually pretty good shape, another reason why I picked it up, its kind of messy at the moment due to the pedal fabricating and steering column being out, when its back together ill get a picture.

pardon the mess, I had just finished a quick square body ls swap to make some money to fund this, I believe ill probably be cleaning the garage up this weekend lol its never been this bad

 here the painted engine and trans mated together with my McLeod rst, will test fit Friday when I have time again.


1957 Buick Special, LS1 08 ESCALADE AWD FRAME SWAP
WEIRD SAAB THING PROJECT TUBE CHASSIS REAR ENGINE V4 LS1 PCM CONTROL DBW EFI CNP IGNITION

Offline screamin88

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Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 08:24:42 AM »
Super BadAss!

I've grown a huge liking for four door cars. Mainly due to their unpopularity and I have two children.

Excited to see how this turns out.   :drive:

Offline freeskier7791

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 09:08:25 AM »
Engine looks great did you just use the spary paint or did you clear over as well?

Offline etizz

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 09:38:15 AM »
yeah I actually have two step kids ill be inheriting in May , part of the reason of selling the rx7 lol , its not really practical to drive much anymore with a family, unless I drove separate to places which seemed pointless, so I sold my 2 door cobalt, my 2 seater rx7 and got a crew cab truck and this 4 door buick  so I can enjoy it with the family if the opportunity arises. plus as you said the 4 doors are "unpopular" so theyre cheaper too which helps haha, but that also means I have my own door and don't have to watch for the kids folding my seat etc, its the little things I guess lol.

engine paint is actually just one thick coat of that cars stuff, no clear, I wanted to do a second coat but I have some coil covers ill be painting as well for a "retro" look so I wanted to save my remaining can lol, I can always get more I guess but it turned out pretty good so ill probably just leave it as is.
1957 Buick Special, LS1 08 ESCALADE AWD FRAME SWAP
WEIRD SAAB THING PROJECT TUBE CHASSIS REAR ENGINE V4 LS1 PCM CONTROL DBW EFI CNP IGNITION

Offline etizz

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 08:51:44 AM »


well this is almost the final fit, took me all day Saturday to fab mounts that would work the way I want.  trans needs to come up a few inches in order to get the angle right, but I have to cut for the shifter hole before it will go any higher  :( overall im happy how far back and how low the engine is sitting in there.  exhaust might be a challenge, my headers that I have laying around wont fit, hoping I can buy an off the shelf piece and not go completely custom, thinking of trying the hooker cast manifolds, plus it would look more "retro" with those anyway.
1957 Buick Special, LS1 08 ESCALADE AWD FRAME SWAP
WEIRD SAAB THING PROJECT TUBE CHASSIS REAR ENGINE V4 LS1 PCM CONTROL DBW EFI CNP IGNITION

Offline freeskier7791

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2017, 12:03:38 PM »
nice progress, do they sell LS swap headers for something similar, are Bel airs close?

Offline bikedad

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Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2017, 12:10:27 PM »
Sweet build!

My dad owned a 57 Roadmaster when I was 5 years old. First car I ever worked on. (I was his gopher.  :D) I've always loved the looks of these old behemoths.

Subscribing for updates.  ;)
Don Teifke  :drive:
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Offline etizz

Re: 57 Buick Special 6.0 T56 8.8
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2017, 02:06:33 PM »
nice progress, do they sell LS swap headers for something similar, are Bel airs close?

they do, the problem is the way I made my engine mounts, they offend the front most tube on my block huggers I have laying around, if that tube swung out more away from the engine it may clear ok. still have to check steering box on the drivers side too. I may end up doing some kind of log looking manifold to get the job done or maybe im going turbo sooner than I thought lol we'll see. If I can find a header that #1 tube goes above the other 3 with a rear exit id be in the ball park.
1957 Buick Special, LS1 08 ESCALADE AWD FRAME SWAP
WEIRD SAAB THING PROJECT TUBE CHASSIS REAR ENGINE V4 LS1 PCM CONTROL DBW EFI CNP IGNITION