1971 Catalina 04/21/2012

So once again I was trolling craigslist for various articles to hunt to buy and keep, scrap or restore. I came across this ad for a 1971 Catalina 4 door, no pictures. Just said it needed engine work. Since it was cheap and I figured I could nab it for a fun weekend restore project, I decided to check it out. I ended up scoring it for less than the asking price which always gives me the warm fuzzies. When I checked it out, the owner told me he had parked it because it had started knocking as he had a storage problem and financial problem keeping him from fixing the engine. Per him it had a 400 that someone had broken into the storage location and taken the intake, distributor, alternator, carb, valley pan, push rods, lifters, and rocker arms. Yeah, I know but no one ever said criminals had brains, right? The previous owner LOVED his poor Catalina but the elements had taken their toll on it having sat without running for over 13 years in various storage facilities. Let's get to the pictures!

The day I picked it up. It's an original blue plate car! Doesn't look too bad from this angle.

I can already see parts missing like mirror and rear window seals. And let's not forget that dreaded vinyl top... Buick 5 on 5 Ralley wheels though!

Not looking so good from this angle... and someone swiped the back plate too! Maybe it's in the trunk...

For some odd reason the hood bolts are removed and missing. No idea why anyone would remove the hood on a car like this if they weren't going to remove the engine too.

Gotta get it trailered!

Special trailer lengths for specially long cars.

Car safely back at the super secret ranch after MUCH drama ensuing (that's another story for another day).

The trunk. A set of #15 heads still in it (free used head gaskets too). The paper and vinyl tarps trapped moisture and caused a decent amount of rust... Fun stuff was found though! Eazy-E's Eazy-Duz-It and De La Soul cassettes were found in the trunk too! Tony said this would imply a cassette player was in the car, but that would be a false implication.

They weren't kidding about that 400 being stripped by morons.

That hood has to weigh 75lbs...

OMG! 55! That means it's a 455! Worth the price alone in what I paid for the car and tow.

This is how we do it over the hill!

Engine finally out! Let's just say that pulling an engine in gravel and dirt is NOT FUN AT ALL. I think I'm going to be sore tomorrow...

Back of the Suburban! A piece of wood was placed underneath it and 2x4s placed on top of the back seat to keep the engine from rolling that way, and an old tire to keep it from rolling back and hitting the door. I was actually pretty proud.

I got the entire engine pulled, plus the extra heads in the truck home! Also snagged all of the engine bolts, starter bolts, motor mounts, old starter, etc too. More spare parts are a good thing as far as I am concerned. I'll have to go get an engine stand and investigate the engine further.

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Last updated April 21st, 2012