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Old 02/10/2012, 03:31 PM   #1

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 9

Cali Special Poss Engine Replacement - Questions?

Hey guys. I am new to this board but I have owned my California Special for 9 years now, I first bought it when I was 16. I am not an expert on cars, but I love this car to death. Its a 4 speed 302. I bought it from a lady from Washington for about $5K and brought it down to Southern California to enjoy the sun again. I drove this car for 9 years without doing much engine work and one day I had the radiator fluid replaced but not refilled all the way apparently and it over heated and blew what looks to be a head gasket (at minimum). The car is not 100% original, the engine was a 1970's 302 I believe and there are some minor mods including: Grille, Steering wheel, CD player, Hood scoop, etc. Since I have had this car since I was 16, I plan on keeping this car for the rest of my life barring any major unforseen money issues.

My dilemma, what should I do about the engine? I see it as a perfect time for an upgrade to add some horsepower and get a different engine since the one that was in it wasn't the original. I have an offer from one of my friends who is a classic mustang mechanic and he said he recommends putting a 1991 5.0 engine in the car, new 5 speed transmission, heads, cam, carb, new everything basically and quotes me around $6,500. (It's been explained to me in great detail but I am not too keen on the lingo). Mechanic is saying around 370 HP when finished. I would rather not put the broken engine back in there after it has to be pulled/repaired to the tune of around $2,500. Keep in mind its sitting in my driveway and I can't drive it and it needs to be repaired, which is a major bummer.

I just had concerns about making major mods to such a special car. I can see doing the 5.0 conversion to a lesser '66 coupe or something.

What should I do? What new/old engine would you guys recommend? How badly would it hurt value / or would it improve value to have a more modern/reliable engine? Any good links to the conversion he is speaking of? Reasonable price?

I plan on keeping the car forever but I would obviously like to keep resale value up and not ruin the car. Responses are greatly appreciated as I am going to talk to my buddy in person soon.
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