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Works in Progress

1965 Plymouth Satellite

Doug writes:

This is the 1965 Satellite that I'm building for Nostalgia SS racing.

It was originally a 361 Commando with a 4 speed. In the early 70's a local street racer converted it to a 440 with a 2-4 cross ram and a 727 automatic.

When a friend of mine bought it, it had been sitting about 20 years or better; the 440 had frozen up and cracked the block and 906 heads! The cross ram had been replaced by an old vintage Weiand intake.

My friend replaced the old 440 with a 1978 440 and basically got it running. But the car needed a lot more work, and he decided he didn't want to mess with it.

So even though I had promised my wife after I crashed in 1995 that I would not race until the kids were grown,I managed to sell her on a street car. Well this lasted about a month, until I found out about the Nostalgia Super Stock events and I was hooked all over again!

After my wife had seen me modify everything from the lawnmower to milling the heads on the kids Cox airplane engines, when I no longer had a Race Car to play with, she decided that I was incurable and agreed that I should build another Race Car!

The 1965 body is now at the paint shop, and I am working on the machining of the engine and components. If everything works out ok I should have it finished by mid-summer of 2001.

Because I live 100 miles from where I work, I only have time to work on it on the weekends so that's kinda slowing things down.

I will keep you updated as things progress.

This is the only picture I have of it before it went to the paint shop.

1965 Plymouth  Satillite

I'll get more when it comes home!

Pgogress Update: November 21, 2000

Received my crank back from Crankshaft Specialist today and they did a wonderful job. It is a Keith Black that was originally owned by one of the Unsers, (Unser 023 was stamped in the front throw).

The rods and mains were in rough shape,and we were also worried about twist and hardness. They were able to turn it .020 under on the mains and .010 on the rods and it still checked at 56 Rockwell; it was not twisted and they set it up for a converter. This ended up costing less than 1/2 what I expected, if it would have had to be chromed,it would have cost $700 just for that process.

1965 Plymouth  Satillite
Here's a photo of the assembly,Keith Black,Brooks and Venolia -- sounds like AA fuelie, he he he :-)

My rods are Hemi, Brooks 65; I bought them from a Blown Alky racer who had went to a longer rod and he had 4 sets of these unused. They were machined for a 440 pin and my pistons use a Hemi pin so I made some bushings out of Aluminized Bronze that has the same expansion rate as the rods, I machined the bushings .002 over on the OD and heated the rods to 250f and cooled the bushings to 0 degrees and end up with a soft press that gave a .002 crush at room temperature, so I don't think separation from the rod will be a problem.

My rotating assembly is pretty well finished except for balance but I still have a lot to do on the Block and heads. Ray Barton is working on a cam profile for this, but I have not heard back from them yet.

Update December 3, 2000

It seems the info I was originally given on this car was inaccurate. According to the I.D. tag it was a 383 auto. After talking to the guy who had it in the '70s, it had been changed to a 440 auto before he bought it. The guy he bought it from was also a street racer but is now deceased.

So how it ended up with a 361 hood emblem and the clutch pedal set up is anybody's guess!

It also turns out that the 2x4 cross ram that I have heard so many stories about was really a tunnel ram. I guess its possible that it did have the cross ram on one of the earlier motors, but I can't verify it. I'll let you know if I find out anymore on the history. I've heard tales about this car since I was in high school in the late 70s.

So someone must know the history.          ----> Editor's note: Anyone? Please let Doug know if you have background history on this Mopar.

Upadate April 14, 2001

Sorry about the update being behind but winter took its toll.

The engine and trans are coming along as planned but the body and chassis are way behind. My friend's shop who is doing the body work was swamped from the bad weather, We planned on having the body done by the 1st of the year and now June looks to be the best shot.

The engine has been quite a challenge( I like this in a motor!). I did a lot of custom work on the oil passages along with the normal deburring and polishing.Because I was using a 4.25 crank and aluminum rods it was also necessary to notch the bottom of the cylinders in three places.We ended up taking 400 grams out of the crank,luckily 300 grams were 2 Mallory metal slugs that we removed which left ONLY? 100 grams to grind,but ended up with a 2388 bob weight.:-)

When we got into my old racing trans we found out what caused my Volare to go out of control when the throttle was hung. The sprag had started to fail (spinning in the housing)and it took the rear bearing with it,which locked the rear up momentarily. I was really lucky the trans didn't blow.

So between what we salvaged from the race trans and the trans that came in the 65,I managed to put a good one together(complete with bolt in racing sprag). I will enclose some of the photos of the engine work:

1965 Plymouth  Satillite engine 1965 Plymouth  Satillite engine
1965 Plymouth  Satillite engine 1965 Plymouth  Satillite engine

Hopefully the next update will include the body.

Go to Page Two of this Restoration!

Great going, Doug!

Sounds like you have a great plan and a greater wife!

Just have fun and enjoy the car and the nice folks you will meet because of the Satellite. :-)

Thanks for your progress reports! You are doing great!

Gary H.

November 10, 2000; November 21, 2000; December 3, 2000; April 14, 2001; October 14, 2001

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