Side by Side
With the motor out of the Cutlass, I now had both vehicles side by side in the garage and could now get accurate measurements . I spent a day doing preliminary measurements and marking both vehicles accordingly. This takes more time than you might think. Then I contacted some friends who are accustomed at doing this kind of structural work and they will come over (at their convenience)) and add their expertise.
In the meantime, I spent several days cleaning the frame of the 58, up to the front quarter. The major challenge was inside the box frame of the 58. Would you believe, I got almost 3 five gallon pails of gravel, dirt etc. out. This was a frustrating job, but one that had to be done. Fortunately, the frame was still in very good condition and does not require any repairs (good old fashion steel). I took the brake booster and brake master cylinder off the Cutlass as well as the steering box and assorted components.
My friends from TMR, and local Draggins Car Club member Dan D, came by to take a look. Their first reaction was surprise at how similar and dimensionally close the two front ends matched were. After much looking and some thoughtful consideration, concluded that they saw no reason why they could not be swapped.
The first thing is to level both vehicles, front to back and side to side, so that you can make straight and accurate cuts. Then I commenced to check and recheck all the measurements and mark a line where the cuts will be made. You can really not take to many measurement . The two most critical lines and the first to be established is a line which will run from spindle to spindle and a line which would run front to back down the centre of the car. Once this are established in both vehicles then all other measurements can be determined. The other important aspect they then showed me was where and how the fish plates should be made. This visit was very appreciated and the expertise much valued. My confidence was starting to get stronger but was still somewhat nervous