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FEATURE INTERVIEW[caption id="attachment_6295" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The L92 is down and mounted! Note the ample steering linkage clearance and oil pan protection, despite the low and aft placed engine mounting location."][/caption] This week's podcast show guest is my pal Jeff Allison, owner of Allison Customs, and builder of my Chevelle! Jeff came on the show to give the latest and greatest update on the build progress, and (as always) Jeff has gone above and beyond with his build skill and creativity in making my '64 a super fast (but super comfortable) car that will look like I remember it, and drive like I never dreamed it could. I'll let the show speak for itself, but the biggest items that we touched on were the specifics of the LS Engine placement, the new firewall, the completion of the roll cage, the installation of rear shoulder-seat-belts that come up through through the package tray, and the child seat safety hooks (no joke - this was something I asked him for so I'd have the option to haul my kids around in their car seats for the next few years)! [caption id="attachment_6294" align="alignright" width="400" caption="A shot of the driver's side engine mount. Note that the first spark plug lines up with the front of the A-arms, denoting that this engine is waaaaaay back. The plates, bolts, and bushing were all designed and selected by Jeff for my application and are the basis of his universal engine mount kits. The can also have cool logos put into them if you desire (I chose "AC" for Allison Customs)!"][/caption] When it came to the LS engine placement, the goal was to do the tried and true method of "go as low and as far back as you can," mainly so that we could achieve the 50-50 fore-aft weight distribution that was recommended to us by Kyle Tucker, President of Detroit Speed & Engineering (and since we're running their entire suspension package on my car we took his words to heart). The key obstacles in an LS Engine swap are engine mount choice, oil pan choice, steering component clearance, and exhaust manifold/header options. Since I've shared the majority of details of that decision process in a previous post I won't repeat it all here, but one of the coolest things to come out of this process is that Jeff has developed his own line of universal LS engine mounts as a result of this entire process! He came to the decision to create them (essentially) out of necessity since we wanted to place the engine as low and as far back as possible, while simultaneously taking advantage of the cross-member tubular section he had inserted. Long story short, he created an engine mount package that (in my opinion) is more effective than anything you could buy off of the shelf, and if you're interested in one for yourself you can contact him for more details directly at allisoncustomsonline.com or via e-mail at Jeffery@allisoncustomsonline.com. [caption id="attachment_6297" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="An interior shot. Note the new cross bar that ties the roll cage down bars together. It stays close to the firewall, provides the IDIDIT Steering Column a mounting location, stays out of the way of the dash gauges, and tucks right around the Vintage Air HVAC unit!"][/caption] The remainder of our discussion revolved around the new cross bar connecting the roll cage down bars (the ones that follow the A-pillars), the rear seat belts, and the steps required to take the car to completion. The "under-dash-cross-bar" is yet another unique touch that Jeff has built into the car as he designed it to work around the dash and Vintage Air HVAC unit instead of simply running a straight bar across. This will allow us to install the factory dash right back into place (with nice factory style gauges) and give us the safety factor of a tied-together roll cage without having to drive something that looks like a hacked up race-car. At this point both Jeff and I feel that if we can secure sponsorship for the parts necessary to continue to move forward that we could have the car drivable (and testable) by Spring of 2013. Now, the reality of the situation is that with all good plans....most of it is out of our direct control, but God has been good and has provided many supporters thus far, so I have confidence that we'll see this sucker to the end. Of course, the biggest "sponsor" in this project has been Jeff himself and since most of you know the crazy story behind Jeff's offer to build my car as a gift to me, I won't rehash that here (but feel free to click the link). Instead, I'll simply share that my thanks to Jeff is never ending, and that I do hope to one-day be in a position to drop off a huge check to him for all he's done for me. Actually, I think I'll drop off a huge check.....and the next car!
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