We'll be starting with the rear suspension and moving our way forward. A used small-block Chevy has been chosen since one was available on the cheap as well as a TH350. But you'll have to wait for the next issue to see how that comes together. We'll be keeping tabs on the retail prices of the parts we use to keep track of our target. For now, we're just getting started as we tear into the '51 for $15,000.

PROJECT '51 FOR $15K
PARTS PART NUMBER COST
'51 Chevy Business coupe $2,750.00
Chassis Engineering
Rearend Mount Kit AS-1021CC $484.00
Frontend Kit IF-7480EW $1,427.00
Brake Line Kit $100.00
Transmission Kit $49.00
SB Chevy Mounts CP-1109G $86.00
TOTAL: $4,896.00

What Were We Thinking?
The goal of our new '51 Chevy project car is to preserve the aged appearance of the coupe, while upgrading the drivetrain and suspension to create a smooth and reliable cruiser. The challenge to the project is the budget. We have $10,000-$15,000 max ... including the price of the car, which was $2,750.

That may sound like a lot of money, but when you start adding up the numbers that include the big three (suspension, engine, and transmission) followed by items like tires, radiator, wiring harness, and more, you're looking at $10,000 quickly.

We have a small-block Chevy that's been stuck in the corner for years, the result of a trade for a '74 Duster body. The 350 Turbo was also part of that deal. We don't know the condition of either besides being told "they were running when we pulled them," so that could come back to bite us and our budget.

For suspension, we decided to go with Chassis Engineering. They have a nice rearend package that includes custom brackets and leaf springs to install a rearend from a '68-74 Nova as well as shocks and a mount. Their frontend kit consists of a bolt-on IFS crossmember, A-arms, spindles, calipers, rotors, manual rack, tie rods, bushings, and shocks. Plus we'll go with their trans mount as well.

There aren't a lot of parts that we can sell off the '51 besides the engine, trans, and rearend. The chart gives you an idea of a few of the parts we're planning to use.