We repair, modify, drive, and race all types of Mopar cars, both vintage and modern, and have never backed down from a challenging project. One of our latest builds is a ’64 Polara two-door hardtop that we picked up from the car corral at the 2011 Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. This car was a basket case when we picked it up, having been painted but never re-assembled, and was missing the engine and transmission, among other things. Wanting to race this car in the Nostalgia Super Stock classes of drag racing, we decided to install a powerful big-block in our Dodge, but since the car was originally equipped with a Poly 318, we needed to address some issues to make the engine fit.
The Poly 318 really has nothing in common with the engine we plan to install, which is based on a 400 B-series block with a 440 crankshaft and Indy 440-1 cylinder heads. In fact, cars equipped with a Poly 318 and pushbutton automatic transmission were equipped with their own specific K-member. What’s more, the transmission crossmember in our car is different than those used for the 1966-and-later aluminum 727 TorqueFlite like the one we’ll install. Given these factors, we had to decide whether to replace the car’s K-member and fabricate a transmission crossmember, or install our engine with conversion mounts that are available from Schumacher Creative Services.
02 Schumacher Creative Services has a variety of parts necessary to swap nearly any Mopar
03 Schumacher also offers torque strap kits, which are necessary in high-torque applicati
04 The Schumacher components simply bolt in place where the original engine and transmiss
Schumacher offers engine swap kits for nearly every Mopar body style and engine combination, including our ’64 Dodge. Even better, Schumacher offers conversion mounts in their strong, polyurethane, Poly-Loc product line, which are far superior to rubber isolator mounts like the factory would have installed. Schumacher also offers the correct polyurethane transmission mount to secure the late-model 727 (or A-833) to the early transmission crossmember. With these parts readily available, it’s really a no-brainer installing a big-block engine into a ’63 to ’65 B-Body that was originally equipped with a Poly 318. The mounts simply bolt in place, and the engine drops right in. There were, however, a couple of other considerations we needed to address with our combination.
The big-block engine we’re installing is one that we had originally built for a ’71 Road Runner in previous issues of Mopar Muscle. This engine features a factory 400 block, a factory forged crankshaft from a 440, and forged pistons and connecting rods from 440Source. Topped with ported Indy 440-1 cylinder heads and equipped with a Comp solid-roller camshaft, this engine makes big torque and well over 600 horsepower. With this in mind, we also opted for the torque strap offered by Schumacher.
Installing a torque strap from the driver side of the engine to the car’s frame or K-member ensures that the torque of the engine during hard launches won’t damage the engine isolator mounts. The Schumacher torque strap comes with a kit that includes the strap, mounting pad, hardware, heavy-duty adjustable rod ends, and polyurethane bushings. Unlike a motor plate, the Schumacher torque strap offers great strength, while still keeping the engine isolated from the frame of the car with polyurethane bushings. This keeps any vibrations from the engine from transferring to the car’s chassis, for smoother operation and reduced maintenance. The torque strap is the only part of this installation that requires any fabrication, only necessitating two holes be drilled into the car’s K-member to install the lower mounting pad.
06 The tti headers we’re using won’t work with the large factory starter, but tti lists s
07 To keep our big-block cool, we chose an aluminum “triple flow” high-efficiency radiat
08 With the engine and transmission in place, we’re well on the way to getting our Dodge
Another issue with installing a big-block into a mid-’60s B-Body is the exhaust. And while there are several options available--including factory manifolds--we decided headers were the only way to achieve the performance we want. Fortunately, Tube Technologies, Inc. (tti) offers some great header choices for a car like ours. Since the Indy heads on our engine have raised exhaust ports, standard big-block headers simply won’t bolt up without interference issues. TTI has resolved this problem by manufacturing headers specifically designed for our engine and body-style combination. TTI actually offers two versions of these headers, one with 2-inch primary tubes, and the other with primary tubes that step from 2 inches up to 21⁄8 inch. Both versions are under-chassis style headers, with primary tubes that remain above the steering centerlink before dumping into 31⁄2-inch collectors.
As with all tti products, we found our headers to be of the highest quality, with mandrel bent tubes and thick 3⁄8-inch flanges. Available bare or with multiple coating options, we chose the unpolished ceramic coated headers, both for appearance and because the ceramic coating serves as a thermal barrier. The tti headers offer a great fit, with plenty of clearance of the steering, oil pan, K-member, inner fenders, firewall, and floors, and the large diameter primary tubes won’t rob our engine of performance. Even better, these headers are designed to fit multiple applications both with and without power steering. They even fit manual transmission equipped vehicles with either 10.5-inch or 11-inch flywheels.
Fitting the headers into our Dodge did require one of several specific mini-starters to be utilized. The part number for each starter is clearly listed on tti’s website, and we chose the PN 9523 XS Torque starter from Powermaster Performance. This starter features a billet mounting plate that mounts in the factory location and has a clock-able snout, allowing the starter to rotate for easy clearance of the headers and block. With a 4.4:1 reduction gear ratio, the Powermaster Performance starter puts out an amazing 200 lb-ft of torque and can start engines with far more displacement and compression than our 451-inch big-block. This starter also doesn’t suffer from heat soak issues like factory starters, which is a benefit since it is located in close proximity to the headers.
Our car came with an original style radiator (in the trunk), which we assume was the factory unit used to cool the Poly 318 engine. This radiator wasn’t going to be adequate to keep our big-block cool, so we contacted U.S. Radiator and discussed our options. As their ad states, U.S. Radiator can manufacture a radiator for any combination, from “mild to wild” and quickly recommended a high-efficiency “triple flow” aluminum radiator for our Dodge. This radiator is manufactured to the factory dimensions, so it bolts right in place using the provisions in the core support, and the inlet and outlet are the proper size for big-block Mopar engines. We opted for a radiator package that included an electric “puller” style fan along with an aluminum fan shroud.
With all of our parts from Schumacher, tti, U.S. Radiator, and Powermaster Performance, we quickly had the engine installed. Using the right parts makes a job like this easy, and it sure beats fabricating items to make things work or changing the K-member. As Mopar lovers, we’re fortunate to have so many great products available, allowing us to install virtually any Mopar engine into any body-style Mopar. With the engine in our Polara, we’re one step closer to getting this car on the road and to the track. Be sure to follow future issues of Mopar Muscle as we test our car on the dragstrip, and if you see us at the track, be sure to come check out our project car and let us know what you think.
| Price tag |
| Product Number || Description || Cost |
| B1BL || Schumacher engine mount swap kit with Poly-Loc mounts || $264.00 |
| TMEBC || Schumacher conversion Transmission mount || $81.00 |
| TQ63B || Schumacher B/RB Torque strap || $79.00 |
| SPAK || Schumacher engine mount shim pack || $26.00 |
| TTI400IB-218C4 || tti ceramic coated headers || $866.00 |
| 9523 || Powermaster Performance XS torque starter || $305.95 |
| AL035030 || U.S. Radiator aluminum radiator with fan and shroud || Call for $ |