We went up to Oklahoma this past weekend and ended up pulling part of the motor apart.  Well, first we lifted the motor with the host and strapped it onto one of my dads trailer.  Once it was secure we took it to a car wash.


After many, many applications of de-greaser and high pressure water at the car wash we got a ton of the grease of gunk off the block.

It’s still dirty but not near as bad as it was.   We could actually tell that the motor was painted Chevy orange.




The only thing odd I found was apparently a hole in the side of the oil pan.  It was patched with some type of…  well…  something.

The edges of the “patch” could flake off with just my finer nail. It appears that the patch has held since it was holding the oil and I did not see anything coming out of it.




   Once we got the intake off, the heads off I was happy to find that the motor is VERY clean.   I measured the cylinders and they are right at 4.250 at about the middle of the stroke.

The 454 stock has a bore of 4.250″ so this motor has never been touched before. Now I just need to decide if I am going to just clean up the bore or actually bore it out a full .060 over and then stroke it.  I am still thinking about that.


The only thing that was a problem during the take down was the fact I broke a head bolt while trying to get the heads off.  We were using air tools to get the bolts out and I guess it just hit it with too much “impact.”

There is enough of the bolt that sticks out so I don’t think that there is going to be a problem getting that head bolt out.  I still don’t have the oil pan off so I can’t tell what the rods and crank look like.  I think from looking at the rest of it, I am not going to have a problem with the rest of the motor.

I can’t wait to get the motor on the stand and start rebuilding it.


We went up to OKC this weekend and got to work pulling the motor out of the donor truck.  It’s a 1973 3+3 Chevy truck that my dad got in a trade as he wanted the 454 for a project of his.  Since he already has a truck with a 454 he decided that he would give the motor to me for this Vette Restoration project.


This is the truck as it was sitting when we started, it was running when dad parked it several months ago.  He pulled the battery when he parked it, and we just did not worry about getting it running again just to get it hot and pull the motor.

We just put a tow rope on it and pulled it around to in front of the shop.  What we did do before we moved it was to pull the radiator and drain the water where it was setting so it would not be all over the shop floor.

Once in place we started by draining the oil, then removing all the accessories.  Since we were never planning on putting anything back into the truck we were not worried about how we left the truck engine compartment.  If the accessory had a wire on it, we just cut it.

Here is my dad, Larry.  (I just call him dad.  :-)   )   Not only is he the one that has given me the motor, he has helped me pull the motor as well.

So we got the motor pulled and set on a cradle.   The motor is covered in massive amounts of grease, dirt, and tree debris.  We will see about coming back and pulling the motor apart the rest of the way.

So, this weekend we are heading up to Oklahoma to my parents place.  While I am there we are going to pull the motor out of a 1973 Chevy Pickup truck.  It’s a Big Block 454 and I have no idea how many miles are on the truck.  Dad said that it was running when he parked it, and we could probably get it running again with a battery and by priming the carb.   I will take photos as I we are pulling the motor.

I will also be finding the transmission which is somewhere in my dads garage.  It’s a 700R4 out of an 88 Chevy Surburban that I owned a while back.  The 700R4 can be rebuilt to handle the horsepower of the motor and with it being a four speed it should help on the gas as well.

She said YES!

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So over the weekend of Feb 17th my parents were in town and so was the Dallas Autorama.  My dad and I love going to Car shows to get ideas and see what is out there that  is new and cool.  Since the timing was perfect we decided to drop in and even my mom and my wife decided they were going as well.   So we fought the rain and the traffic and headed down to the Dallas Market Hall for a day of fun and photos.

We say plenty of cool cars, including my dream car, a 1934 Ford roadster with the fenders and running boards removed.  If you like check out car photos from events like this you can visit my Autorama gallery page at http://sapp-family.com/photo-galleries/autorama-2012/.

Near the end of the day my wife turned towards me and said “OK…  I’ll make a deal with you” to which I replied with “Ummm…  Okay.”  I was kind of worried at this point since we had been talking about getting a 2012 or 2013 Challenger, or a Barracuda if Dodge releases one.  After seeing a few of the Cuda’s, and all the other cars I was starting to think that she was either changing her mind or wanted me to sell one of my Vettes for it.  I was starting to sweat wondering what she was going to say.

What she said next just about put me on the floor. “You can do what ever you want to the motor of the Vette as long as its shiny and has chrome on it.”  !!!!!!    WOW!   Really…   It was all I could do was stammer out a reply of “DEAL!”

My dad had been talking with someone during all of this and did not get to hear this exchange. But once he got done talking I told him what Cheri said.  I thought I was still a little light headed from out conversation when what my dad said next put me on Cloud 9.  “Well, I have a 454 at home that I will give you for it.  You just have to help me pull it.”   WOW!!!! Again!!

So now, I have permission to replace the motor in the Vette, and was given a 454 to do it with.  So now I am looking for a chrome Blower and two 4 barrel carburetors.  :-)

Since that fateful day we have actually changed the project from just a motor replacement to just about a full restoration of the 76.   We are going to just about strip it and replace everything that moves, and a few things that don’t move as well.  This site is where I am going to document my progress on the restoration.  If anyone actually reads this blog and you want to see any special photos during this even then let me know and I’ll see about shooting them.