The day had finally come where we were finally going to put the engine into the car. The date was March 12th, 2016, a little over two years since we first bought the car in January 2014. We called up a few experienced people who had done this Sunbeam Alpine V6 conversion, just to be sure we were doing the install correctly. I also called up my good friend and welding extraordinaire to help with welding the motor mounts. We had all the parts prepped and ready for install. The list included: motor mounts, 2.8L V6 engine, Mustang 2 Bellhousing, T5 Borg-Warner Transmission, custom headers, and the transmission mount.
Over the course of two years since we’ve had the car, We slowly stripped the car down to a bare rolling shell. The only modification we had done to the shell, was to swap the refurbished front end from the parts car. Throughout the dismantling process, the car suffered an unfortunate jack incident and the front valence was slightly dented. To this day, I ensure to remind my dad of this accident which was done by his hands. We simply bought a new front valence from LMC parts. This surprised me since you can easily buy Sunbeam Alpine body parts from a catalog.
We then installed the transmission to help line up where the engine was going to sit. The kit is designed for this transmission to bolt right up with the existing Sunbeam Alpine transmission mounts. The transmission went in with no complaint. We also were very lucky since the transmission tunnel had already been cut out, so mounting everything was relatively easy. The transmission was propped up for the time being until we could get the engine installed and mocked up.
We then dropped the engine into the engine bay. After we married up the engine to the transmission, the motor mount locations were marked on the front end suspension crossmember. We drilled the motor mount holes and ground away the paint to prepare for welding. With a final buy off from the team, my buddy welded in the motor mounts. It was the point of no return from here on out.
After welding in the mounts we had to lower in the engine and bolt everything up. This included the headers. The kit doesn’t tell you tis but there is a part of the body we had to heat with MAP gas the beat in order for one of the headers to clear. We of course only had propane, but a quick trip to Home Depot rectified this problem. Once the metal was heated and bent, the headers went in without complaint. There was one bolt that we couldn’t install on the header because the steering box was in the way. We decided to leave it be since the motor would be going in an out several more times.
All in all, the motor install went just about as smoothly as it could have gone. Engine and transmission mounts went in without a hitch and the only snag was we didn’t have the right gas to heat the metal to beat a panel to clear the headers. I would call this a win. With the heart of the car now installed, the quest to get the car running and start the restoration had now begun.
Next up for the project is bodywork, exhaust, and cooling installation. Motor on.