7.03.2006

The Tale of The '49 Cadillac




This past Saturday, I rode shotgun with Mr. Burge from Iowa Hawk, to help with some vintage motor and transmission harvesting.

The story goes a little like this. A 1949 Cadillac Club Coupe appeared in Sycamore, IL for the astonishing price of $120. Now granted, this car was heavily rusted and had been sitting since 1959, so you have to view this as "you get what you pay for." But still it seems like a smokin' deal.

Most importantly, 1949 was the first year of a mass produced overhead valve V-8. So while Henry Ford would be turning out variants of his Flathead V-8, which was originally offered in 1932, for another 4 years, Cadillac was already entering the future of overhead valve technology with their 331 powerplant.

A Cadillac 331 sure could provide motivation for a little '30s Ford... Perhaps that was the motivation for Iowa Hawk's purchase of the Caddy. This model even has a four speed auto tranny...

So back to our story, I stopped by the Burge Compound for some early morning coffee and of course I carried a stash of some recent garage music finds. (We needed a soundtrack for the hour plus drive to Sycamore.) We headed out and had an unventful journey during the midst of a holiday weekend, punctuated by the tough and/or moody sounds of 1966.

When we arrived at Marty's and Sons, the Caddy was displayed in all its glory in the lot as in the digital image above. The first step was to hoist the car with a hydraulic jack off the ground so that we could get some jack stands under the front axle. Then the hood, fenders, and the remains needed to be liberated with the "blue wrench." In one of the pics above you can see Andy's hand as he skillfully cuts at the Cadillac carcass to remove parts in the way for a clean engine and trans removal.

After that, it was under the car to remove the drive shaft and the exhaust. Since this is Iowa Hawk's car, I gladly let him fight that battle. Soon, Dave, another hot rod enthusiast, showed up and started pitching in. He is a fan of the blue wrench and helped cut away the motor mounts and the exhaust manifold. Notice the flames engulfing the passenger side motor mount in the pic above.

Once that was cut, Iowa Hawk severed the drive shaft with the blue wrench under the car and then it was a three way tug of war and creative use of levers to extracate the power plant from the 57 year old car.

This was the first time that I was around to "help" or witness directly the removal of a car engine, this will certainly not be the last time. This was a blast of a day.

1 comment:

Mickey said...

First time "help"ing out" eh? I know hawk has got plans for you. Incidently, in the late 60`s I had a 331 in a 51chevy,honest. I know where a pre49(caddy) is w/straight 8, all windows broke out...ratty.
4-dr,I think, but it`s got those cool fins.....