First up, I gave it a good, long once-over. It's in far better condition than I had thought, with nary a spot of rust, even under the fenders (I pulled the wheels to lube the chassis). It looks like a car that's only a few years old. This makes me very happy.
Also, I've been eBaying hot-rod components for the big-block 383 under that long hood. Speed parts I've acquired so far include:
- Cool, vintage, finned-aluminum valve covers. Cuz, y'know, shiny! Aluminum valve covers like these also provide better cooling and crankcase breathing, plus offer more room for the next item.
- 1:1.6 ratio roller rockers. This adds about 10 horsepower through lower friction and better valve control, plus the higher ratio opens the valves a bit faster and wider for better breathing, which means added torque.
- Vintage Edelbrock DP4B Aluminum intake manifold. This allows the engine to breathe about 50% better. I chose this one because of comparison results published in last year's Hot Rod magazine that showed this manifold offers the best overall torque and power for my engine, not the highest power at the top end, which typically means less power for normal driving. Exactly what I wanted for driveability.
- Four-barrel 725 CFM Road Demon Jr. carburetor. My engine has a 2-barrel on it now, and that's the primary limiting factor for increasing performance. Also, 2-barrels work less efficiently than four-barrels due to the size of their throttle openings and because they're not progressive like a 4-barrel. The Road Demon Jr. carbs are famous for increased fuel-efficiency at low throttle while still offering much-increased power (over a 2-barrel) at full throttle similar to other 4-barrel carbs that are more focused on top-end power. Plus, y'know, it's a demon! *g*
- Comp Cams Xtreme Energy 268° intake/280° exhaust camshaft. A cam is the brain of the car, determining how long the valves open, when they open, how deeply they open, and how much their openings overlap with each other. The stock cam is pretty tame, severely limiting power output for this engine in exchange for sedate, predictable manners. The cam I bought allows the engine to breathe much better, letting in more air and fuel at greater throttle openings.
- Exhaust headers. These let the engine breathe better on the exhale, necessary because performance parts that increase intake only work well when the engine can also exhale the same amount. A bonus is a slight increase in gas mileage.
- Performance radiator. The stock radiator works, but I can tell it has some minor leaks, and the brass-and-copper stock design can have trouble getting rid of the extra heat made by producing more power. I found an aluminum radiator on eBay that's a direct fit for full-size Chryslers and is about the same price as having my radiator flushed and overhauled.
- And, y'know, putting it all together. This will be at least one solid weekend's work.
And the best part - besides how this stuff'll transform my sedate sedan into a hot-rod - is that my supreme eBay-shopping skills helped me find everything for half or less of regular retail prices.
I'm going on a road-trip at the end of the semester, so my self-imposed deadline to finish building the engine is mid-May.
EDIT: I just discovered another cool thing about this car: This was one of only 9,400 six-window sedans made by Chrysler that year (Chrysler made 200,000 Newports, alone, in 1966), and it was the last year for such. One of the main reasons I wanted this particular car was that it's so pleasant and open to sit in the back seat because of those extra windows in the C-pillar. Who knew this was such a rare car? Oddly, that doesn't seem to affect the value of it, so I don't feel bad hot-rodding it *g*