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Engine swaps

Discussion in 'Recreations & Non-Period Rebodies' started by Ed Niles, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Ed Niles

    Ed Niles Formula 3
    Honorary

    Sep 7, 2004
    2,313
    West Hills, CA
    Full Name:
    Edwin K. Niles
    I heard about a 250GT engine recently, which got me to thinking about that subject. I used to buy and sell these cars, and occasionally would find an engine. Maybe this would be an interesting thread. I think Dick Merritt was the king of loose engines; I'm told that he had a basement full at one time. Here are a few of my tales.
    My friend Peter Helm had a 375MM Berlinetta which emitted a cloud from the left exhaust. Obviously, a dropped valve seat leading to piston destruction. No-one wanted to rebuild Lampredi engines in those days, so our mechanic Sal DiNatale installed a Chivvy, and I bought the V-12, which I promptly sold to owner of a 375MM Spider which was engineless. The interesting part of this tale is that the later owner of Peter's car (an airline pilot) would never disclose facts about what happened to the car, only that "it no longer exists".

    Then there was the time that I owned a derelict 500 Mondial (0428MD) which, in it's earlier life, had raced with it's original engine, a 3-liter Monza, and finally a Chevy. At the same time, I heard a rumor that one of Parravano's engines was in a junk yard in Tijuana, Mexico. So one Saturday I drove across the border, and eventually found engine no. 0538M. I sold it as a package to Dick Merritt, who immediately sent it on to GB. It is now restored and back in the US of A.

    For many years, I had heard stories of an old hot-rodder who had an MGA with a 500 TRC engine, which he had run at Bonneville. As an old rodder myself, I put out my feelers, and was surprised one day when he showed up at my door. After endless talk about the old days, he finally decided that I was OK, and disclosed that his ex-wife got the car in the divorce. Another few months of searching finally got me her address, and pretty soon I owned the car and engine, which promptly went to my friend David Cottingham in Jolly Old.

    I have had a handful of cars with incorrect engines: 0131EL, a Vignale 2+2 (Made for the Mexican road race?) with Chevy. A terrible car, ready to collapse on the street. 0331EU, my first Ferrari, which had it's original engine when I bought it. Changing plugs one day, I noticed water on one of the old plugs. It was only years later that I realized that there must be crack somewhere (Sorry, buyer). It ended up with a 250GT engine. 0376 AM, a 375MM Spider with Ford engine and 4-speed and 3 inches of bondo on the nose. It ended up with Pierre B. with a 4.9 engine. And I can't omit 0647GT, the TdF that Peter Helm rolled over in a fit of the pique. I bought the remains and proceeded to part it out; the first thing to go was the engine, to Dick Merritt. We can end this on a happy note: Engine and trans and frame and Heaven knows what else have been reunited, and 0647GT lives!

    That's enough for now. Let's hear your errant engine tales!


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  2. Nembo1777

    Nembo1777 F1 Rookie

    Nov 4, 2006
    4,732
    opposite lock
    Full Name:
    Marc Sonnery
    Hello Ed, many grazie for your tales: just this:

    "I heard a rumor that one of Parravano's engines was in a junk yard in Tijuana, Mexico. So one Saturday I drove across the border, and eventually found engine no. 0538M."

    Could be spun into a comprehensive article, many nowadays have no idea how you would go about locating said engine without internet, cell phone and what have you they would probably ask if the world was black and white like in the photos...wonderful stories please keep them coming.

    After a few years of mulling about it I think I figured out who -or rather what workshop- stole the Breadavan's hot engine decades ago but no I will NOT discuss this online or in private messages. If we redo the book maybe I will lay out my theory based on when it had to have happened.

    Speaking of which I had a nice chat with C Volpi the other day when I announced to him that the Breadvan won one of its three races at Le Mans Classic earlier this month. He is more interested in the jetset aspect of the car's life than its racing career though, but he suggested the book should be re-published in an expanded way...food for thought.

    Anyway my humble musings are nothing compared to your endless supply of tales so please keep them coming:)

    Best regards,

    Marc
     
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  3. Ed Niles

    Ed Niles Formula 3
    Honorary

    Sep 7, 2004
    2,313
    West Hills, CA
    Full Name:
    Edwin K. Niles
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  4. SCantera

    SCantera Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 4, 2004
    1,343
    Naples
    Great stories Ed. Thanks much. I love the fact that you owned one Ferrari in two forms.....0708 w/o it's engine and later MGA with that TRC engine. While the engine bay color-matched twin cam looks fantastic in the MGA I am curious if you drove the car before extracting the engine. MGAs were fairly nimble. But they had lumps for an engine.
     
  5. Ed Niles

    Ed Niles Formula 3
    Honorary

    Sep 7, 2004
    2,313
    West Hills, CA
    Full Name:
    Edwin K. Niles
    No, Steve, I never drove the MG. If you look closely, you'll see that the carbs are "on the workbench", and the coolant hose is disconnected.

    Now let's hear more tales. How about all the cars that ended up with Ford center sections in the rear end, courtesy of Cook Machine Works? I seem to recall being guilty of one of those!
     
  6. maserich

    maserich Karting

    Mar 13, 2008
    155
    Hi Ed
    What do you consider an errant engine?
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  7. Ed Niles

    Ed Niles Formula 3
    Honorary

    Sep 7, 2004
    2,313
    West Hills, CA
    Full Name:
    Edwin K. Niles
    Okay, I knew about two. But three? What's the story?
     

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