Last month we kicked things off on our Rocket Power Olds buildup by carting a grimy, but all-original, 324 four-barrel mule motor over to the engine gurus at Taylor Engines in Whittier, California, for a thorough inspection and teardown. After stripping the mill down to a pile of parts, we discovered that the 324 had lived a fairly easy life, as the original pistons, bearings, and other internal parts were still in place and looking pretty good. We also ran some numbers and discovered that the '56 324 was a decent little performer in its day, utilizing a cast-iron four-barrel intake manifold and a 9.25:1 compression ratio to make 230 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. While these numbers may not sound staggering by today's standards, that was serious power back when the biggest passenger car engine available from Chevrolet only displaced 265 cubes, and the Blue Oval boys were just sorting out their new Y-block. Since the Rocket Power Olds will eventually be nestled between the framerails of Riz's Budget Beater roadster pickup--which will likely be driven all over the country for years to come--we knew it had to be extremely reliable. When it comes to tire-melting grunt, there's no such thing as too much, so a little extra power would also be nice.

By the time we moseyed on over to Taylor Engines this time around, they had taken all of our reusable hard parts (crank, rods, heads, block, caps, etc.) and cleaned them thoroughly, then inspected everything for cracks or other unusual wear. Everything looked good, so the next step in the buildup process we're going to cover here is the machine work and prep necessary prior to assembly. The machine work on the block should be a familiar sight to anyone who has followed an engine buildup, as the boring, decking, and align-boring are common to just about every type of engine out there. Since we want this engine to live as long as possible, Jay Steel and his crew at Taylor decided to really go the extra mile with the reciprocating assembly, which means the rods were polished and shot-peened, then fitted with high-strength ARP bolts. The forged crank was ground, shot-peened, and polished, and the entire setup was carefully balanced and blueprinted. Egge Machine supplied pistons, bearings, rings, gaskets, and just about everything else necessary to assemble the engine, and we were thoroughly impressed with the quality of Egge's cast piston line. Even more impressive is the fact that they offer slugs for even the rarest and strangest of motors, from Buick straight-eights to Cadillac V-12s. The Olds pistons they supplied allow for a full floater pin, which is a much more high-performance way of attaching the rod to the piston than the standard pressed-pin setup. If this all sounds confusing, relax. It will be explained. Follow along and we'll detail every step in this interesting process.

Next issue, we'll tackle the assembly process, where all of the parts we've been working on and hoarding will finally come together. We'll also discuss how to rebuild an old harmonic balancer, where to find a high-performance cam for an old mill like this one, and how to properly set up a shaft rocker arm system. In the meantime, soak up the info on the following pages about how to machine a block the old-fashioned way.

SOURCE
Egge Machine
11707 Slauson Ave.
Santa Fe Springs
CA  90670
5-62/-945-3419
Taylor Engine Rebuilding
8145 Byron Rd., Unit D, Dept R&C
Whittier
CA  90606