Totally FlooredEight months ago we introduced our Valiant project car. We tried to come up with a catchy name, like Cheap Thrills (too cheesy) or Valiant Attempt (did we fail?) In the end, we decided on Valiant Effort (even if we screwed up, it was a valiant effort). The premise behind this undertaking was to build an inexpensive, overlooked mode of transportation that even high-school students-or anybody on a limited budget with a willingness to do a little work-could accomplish alone. A lot of late nights were spent in the garage with the grinder and welder, making things fit, but it was an enjoyable task. There were times when the kids went to the garage with me, and I must admit that should happen more often.
Of course, we could have sent the Valiant to a competent body or restoration shop and built a fantastic ride. The problem, however, is that most people can't afford to take that route (I know I can't). With that in mind, we wanted to build a car the way everybody else does-with our own sweat and bloody knuckles. We initially wanted to keep the budget at $4,000 or less. Did we make it? Well, almost. Now we'll give you a breakdown of the parts we used and the cost of our work.
Engine Swapping 101In August 2001 we let you know how to change your ride from a world-famous Slant Six engine to a V8. This swap took us a little over a week. Again, that included weekends as well as nights after work. The plus is that it can be accomplished in any home garage. Hey, we did it, so we know you can. Parts for this swap were the initial engine purchase, Schumacher Creative Services motor mounts, the U.S. Radiator, a used bellhousing and tranny, the Holley carb, headers, and a different driveshaft from a donor car.