1) Over the past couple of days, I pulled the gunked-up old heads off the 383 block, determined to rebuild the stock block if necessary rather than go crazy with a new, bigger big-block. Turns out it's unnecessary, because the short-block, at least, was rebuilt as advertised, and here's the proof:
Note the ".030" on the piston crown (meaning it's been bored 30 thousands of an inch oversize and had its pistons replaced) and the cross-hatching in the cylinder bore: This is an engine that just needs some cleaning up and it'll be ready to rock! The black guck is just carbon on the piston; I'll carefully remove as much as I can and maybe run some alcohol injection to finish cleaning up the pistons, but it should burn off over time because it won't be getting the too-rich fueling from a carb anymore now that it'll be running fuel injection.
2) Mike and I drove the Saab to Kansas City today to pick up new shoes for the Newport, a set of American Racing Torq Thrust II 17" x 7" wheels shod in brand-new rubber for the price of just the tires, basically. This photo gives an idea of how they'll look in the front wheel-well - I think they're pretty snazzy, though the hubcap on the stock wheel behind looks a bit silly!
For comparison, here's the stock wheel and tire:
Now I'm going to restart this computer, because it's freezing for a few seconds every few seconds. That's fun.