Eight 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 101
In 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.
In the July '01 issue, we...
In the July '01 issue, we gave you a look at how we replaced the rusted floors in the Valiant with the help of Year One. The time required for the job depends on the condition of the floors and how detailed you wish to be. It took us a week. As with you guys, that included nights after work and sometimes the weekend.
The finished floors took a...
The finished floors took a little work, but being able to keep our feet inside the car was worth it.
Floors (Year One)
We gave you a glimpse of how...
We gave you a glimpse of how we installed our new floorpans.
After the bearings were inspected...
After the bearings were inspected on our junkyard engine and the freeze plugs pulled so the water passages could be flushed, we covered it in a fresh shade of orange paint. Next we installed the aluminum intake that came with the engine, as well as the new Holley carb.
Making an 8 3/4 a Perfect...
Making an 8 3/4 a Perfect 10
Building a rearend can get expensive if you have to buy a complete Sure Grip unit. In September 2002, we contacted National Drivetrain and got a Power-Trax unit and a set of 3.91 gears. We did the install ourselves (to save money) and showed you how to do it without specialized tools.
A Sure Grip is an expensive...
A Sure Grip is an expensive purchase. We had an open rear, and with the help of National Drivetrain, we built a "locker" style rearend.
This was an easy install,...
This was an easy install, and our open rear benefited from the Power-Trax unit. The 8 3/4 Rear (Buddy's Stash) came with the engine Power-Trax unit and gears (National Drivetrain) $510.00
The 8 3/4 is a beefier rearend,...
The 8 3/4 is a beefier rearend, capable of handling more than the 7 1/4 stocker.
For the exhaust we chose Hedman Hedders. We also installed one of their X-pipes.
Engine (Buddy's Stash)
Mounts (Schumacher Creative Services)
Radiator (U.S. Radiator)
Used bellhousing (Buddy's Stash)
Driveshaft (Buddy's Stash)
Tranny (Buddy's Stash)
Headers (Hedman Hedders)
While we were at it, we rebuilt the rear suspension with new spring bushings and shocks.
Disc Brake Kit (Master Power Brakes)
Rear springs (Springs 'n' Things)
Torsion bars (Mancini Racing)
14-inch Rallye wheels (Buddy's Stash)
Freebies Tires (Firestone)
Shocks (Summit Racing)
$26.95 x 4
|1 '67 Valiant ||$700.00 |
|1 Set floors ||$284.00 |
|1 Salvage yard engine || |
|and rearend ||$200.00 |
|1 650 cfm HP Holley carb ||$580.00 |
|1 Set headers ||$294.00 |
|1 Set motor mounts ||$135.00 |
|1 Radiator ||$385.00 |
|1 Used bellhousing ||$40.00 |
|1 Driveshaft ||$100.00 |
|1 Used tranny ||$200.00 |
|Power Trax unit and gears ||$510.00 |
|Steel for frame connectors ||$12.50 |
|Disc brake kit ||$795.00 |
|Rear springs ||$150.00 |
|Shocks ||$107.80 |
|Torsion bars ||$135.00 |
|14-inch Rallye wheels ||FREEBIE |
|Tires ||$224.00 |
| ||$4,717.30 |
Costs were tallied at the time the parts were acquired. We do not guarantee that they have not changed since then. - Legal disclaimer to keep our butts out of trouble.
Well, we blew it; we are 717 big ones over the budget. I know, it usually happens this way, but it would have been nice to stay under the line. (Note to self-maybe Dulcich won't mind if I don't pay him this month). There's no doubt that we could have built this car for under $4,000, but we would have had to skimp and compromise in places where we didn't want to. The bottom line is this: It's a good idea to have a budget and to try to stay within it. I have yet to build a car without underestimating the cost. I bet I'm not alone, am I?
After a couple of months out...
After a couple of months out of the garage, Valiant Effort returned in February with a disc brake and suspension upgrade. Master Power Brakes, Just Suspensions, Springs 'n' Things, Firestone Tires, and Mancini Racing all had the parts we needed. The brakes and suspension were a time-consuming job, but worth the effort.
We all think of increasing...
We all think of increasing horsepower, but let's not forget-if you get moving, eventually you have to stop. The old drum brakes on the front of the Valiant weren't going to cut it.
Traction Action Any unibody-style...
Any unibody-style car will have a problem with body flex, especially if an engine is installed to increase performance. In our October '02 issue, we installed the rearend we built in September and described how we made our own subframe connectors.
If you can, install a pair...
If you can, install a pair of subframe connectors. They make a world of difference. Frame connectors (Local welding shop) $12.50
To make sure the Valiant stopped...
To make sure the Valiant stopped when it needed, we installed a disc-brake setup.
So, what's next for the Valiant?...
So, what's next for the Valiant? We plan to keep fixing 'er up like any good enthusiast would. Money is a big factor when it comes to building cars; the family will get tired of bologna sandwiches pretty soon (but Reaser has promised to bring a poke of squirrels on his next trip to Florida). Eventually we want a respectable ride that we won't be ashamed to drive anywhere . . . yeah, like we are now.