I have a 55 buick century 2dr ht with a 322 4bbl that I am looking to redo and modernize. I Think I will have a lot of questions for jacob !! My father also has a 64 wildcat convertible with factory 425 w/2x4bbls and a 4 speed and bench seat that he bought new.
I will try and post pictures later.
welcome aboard from Kent WA! Sounds like a couple of cool cars!
Thank you. I plan on doing the Jaguar suspension front and rear. It seems like the simplest way to get a nice driving suspension. Is the LS engine from the Silverado pretty simple to setup in the Century? I have been thinking about doing a LS motor in it. How much do you ask for the brake pedal setup? Do you also need the driveshaft from the Jaguar? When you get a chance could you post some pictures of the rear suspension on your 56?
It depends what year of Silverado you're talking about. People refer to any 1998 and newer chevy engine as an "LS" but this is misleading as there are many differences. One of the biggest differences is that some engines have a cable / mechanical throttle body and others have an electronic throttle body and electronic gas pedal.
If you want to take the "easy" route (its far from a walk in the park) get a 1998 to 2002 LS engine. If you are feeling more bold and adventurous, go with a 2014 + LT based engine. These pack a ton of power, get fantastic mileage, come with 6 speed automatics, are not much more expensive, and can be found with low miles because of their relative new-ness. my 56 Special coupe has a 2015 L83 and 6 speed automatic. But the electronics side is more difficult and expensive. You also have to cut your transmission tunnel for the 6 speed auto, but not the 4 speed auto with the 98-02 LS1.
Either way, I would go with an aluminum engine, not a cast iron. the 5.7 out of the camaros and corvettes from 1998 to 2002 is the best bang for your buck. Keep in mind you'll spend about another 2 or 3 thousand above the cost of the engine and transmission to get it running.
I have a bunch of pictures in this thread here:
I charge 750 for the brake conversion kit, and its a very complete kit with a new master cylinder, booster, proportioning valve, brake lines, brake pedal, hardware, etc. Its a "just add brake fluid" sort of kit.
You may want the jag driveshaft for the U joint flange, but thats it. If you switch out the ring and pinion of the jag rear end, you can't use this as you will have to go to a different U joint yoke.
Thank you for the info. I have the chance to get the suspension out of a 86 xjs front and rear. Are all the xjs suspensions the same? I noticed that you mentioned the setup on your 56 century was out of a 83 xjs. Will the Jaquar rear end gears hold up to the late model L83 motors and transmissions? I notice the you had changed out the gears etc in the Special build.
How much do you charge for the steering coupler?
Thank you for your time.
XJS, XJ6 and XJ12 cars had more or less the same suspension up until and including 1986, and after that XJS cars went to outboard rear brakes. Any XJS car will work with what you're doing. Any XJ6 or XJ12 will work as long as it is 1986 or older, after that completely different design. I have heard but not confirmed that V12 cars had stiffer front springs and stiffer sway bars.
The issue with 80's jaguar rear suspension/ differential is that it has terrible gear ratios. 2.7X or so. With an overdrive transmission this will be miserable. This is what mine came with, and I switched out the gears to a 3.54 in the Century and 3.73 in the Special. With .70 overdrive, the RPMs are nice and low at freeway speed with the 3.54. Changing the gear ratio requires buying a new center section carrier. I used this as an excuse to get a high quality limited slip. At a minimum, plan on 1200 bucks to have a shop change the gear ratio, or 2000 bucks to get a good limited slip and Dana oem gears. The center section is a good old Dana 44, but the carrier needs changed and you'll need different bearings. Also, you'll want to do rear brakes and shocks at the same time this is all out. Get EBC brake pads, don't skimp on these as the jag brakes begin to feel a little underpowered when you get into the 350 + horsepower range. You'll want 4 KYB shocks back there. Its not cheap, but plan on doing it right. If you can find a good condition 1970's jag rear end with 3.54 original gears, you can see where this could save you a lot of money.
The jaguar rear end as it comes from the factory is very stout. Besides being a Dana 44, it has a heavy duty limited slip (all V12 cars did) so you will have a hard time breaking this. The LS1 in the convertible is putting out somewhere around 425 horsepower and can break the tires loose from a 20 mph roll on a warm dry day and the rear end has held up just fine. I just have wimpy 225/75r15 tires though. I'm sure if you throw some slicks back there, it would get expensive fast.