1964 LeSabre Sedan project.

Boxilar

New member
I've had this car since 2003. It was originally White over Black with a fawn interior and had a 310 Wildcat (2bbl 300 cid v8) with a column shifted 3 speed manual transmission. I drove it as is for awhile, then the shift bowl on the column shiftier broke. I couldn't find a replacement. The engine was showing antifreeze in the oil, the radiator leaked, the transmission slung grease all over the undercarrige and the brake system was starting to leak. The car itself is interesting. It was ordered with a radio delete, manual transmission, the smallest engine available, manual brakes and no air conditioning. But the exterior had every piece of chrome and stainless trim available for the car. I'm a basic shade tree mechanic, so I had a real decision to make when it came to getting the car going again. Sell it or commit. Around 2005, I committed. My cousin's mother in law had a 1979 Cadillac DeVille with a 425 V8 and Turbo 400 that had set derelict for ten years that she had junked. I stupidly decided that it couldn't be that hard to swap in a Caddy big block. So I went to the junk yard and got the engine and transmission. I'm kind of glad I had no idea what I was doing, otherwise I wouldn't have started. I also belated wish I'd taken more "in progress" pictures. I've got a few others I'll post and I plan to take a few more of the surgery necessary to get the engine in place. Here's how she looks now, minus the new interior.
 

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just imagine if you had had a 500 ci to hand.

could have probably puttered down the highway at 900 rpm and 70 mph if you wanted too.
 

Boxilar

New member
Here's a couple of pics of the engine in place. Forgive the mess, this is right after it came back from paint and is still dusty. The shop ended up having to bore the cylinders .600 over because one of the cylinder walls was badly scored. I tore the block down and made the mistake of mocking up the position of the engine mounts with the stripped block. So when I got the block and heads back from the shop I assembled the engine and dropped it into place. And found out the accessory pulleys were where the radiator had to go. And since I was bound and determined that engine was going in that car, surgery was called for. The engine came with a mid sump pan, and measurements of the new location revealed there wouldn't be room for a rear sump pan, so I got a front sump pan and pickup tube. Then I bit the bullet and cut the crossmember. The crossmember was replaced with a six inch wide half inch steel plate bent into a "U" shape that the oil pan is cradled by. Metal taken off the top of the crossmember was replaced with 1/4" plate steel. I also welded a length of 1/2" square tubing between the frame rails just behind the radiator mount for reinforcement. I welded a skid plate between the tubing and the leading edge of the "U" shaped crossmember replacement. The transmission is a tight fit, but I was able to keep the stock transmission tunnel. The engine sits very low in the engine bay with almost all the weight behind the front axle. The driveshaft is shortened 5 1/2 inches. There was a noticeable improvement in handling and cornering. The Caddy engine has an updraft manifold and I've got a square bore adapter and a phrenonlic spacer under the carb, and there's still about six inches of clearance. The '79 425 had 8.5 to 1 compression, and there's room for a low profile blower if I decide to go that route without sticking things through the hood. Talking to the guys at CAD500, who specialize in these big block Caddys, It's probably making 250 hp at 4200 rpm and 400 ft lbs of torque at 2000 rpm. Listed ship weight of the car was 3800 lbs. I don't know what it weighs now, but the 425 is actually lighter than a small block Chevy, but the Turbo 400 is considerably heavier than the three speed manual. It may be a wash. Partial list of what I've done. I installed a Griffin crossflow radiator when it became clear the stock radiator wasn't up to the task, even after being recored. I cut and lowered the radiator support to make room. Fuel and transmission lines are rerouted along the firewall to cross over to the drivers side. The brake system is pretty much all new. I kept the stock rear drums since they were in good shape. The steel lined aluminum front drums were toast, so I looked for upgrades. Scare Bird makes an adapter bracket that fits over your existing spindle for a disc brake conversion, so I went with that. Front brakes are 1999 Chevy 1/2 ton 2wd rotors with 1979 El Dorado pads and calipers and 1976 Skylark soft lines. All hard and soft lines are completly new. The singe cell manual fruit jar was replaced with a power master cylinder from a 1999 Chevy pickup. Exhaust are a dual pipes with a set of Flowmasters. No cross pipe. There was no way as far back as the drivetrain moved with the X Frame. So far mileage is 10 city and about 15 with pure highway diving. It could stand to have some taller gears, but selection there is pretty limited, so I live with catching second at half throttle. bob k. mando, If I run across a 500, it may happen. The 425 is same block with the same mounting points as the 500, so all the hard work of shoehorning a Caddy big block in has been done. Sorry if this is too wordy. I'll get some pics of all the surgery in the next few days if you guys are interested.

Oh, interesting fact, the Caddy big blocks have an external iol pump like the Buick small blocks.





























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Boxilar, I have a Caddy 500, less than 50K miles, ran , had good oil pressure, does not need rebuilt. If your location is Florence, Oregon we can probably make a deal.
 

Boxilar

New member
Right city, wrong state. I'm in Florence, Alabama. Otherwise that would be mighty tempting. I appreciate the offer, though.
Edit: I just realized my profile isn't showing my state. I'll see if I can fix it.
 
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