1962 JETFIRE CONVERTIBLE (conversion….)
My Jetfire engine is a ’63. I purchased it in 2001 in Tucson, AZ when I got my 1962 Olds F85 Sports Convertible. Seems the previous owner had bought the complete engine “as is” from D&D with hopes of installing it someday in the car he sold me. The car was not in good shape mechanically, but the body and interior were pretty good. I made him include the ’63 TurboRocket engine in the deal, thinking it might be worth more than the car itself. This car did not have its original engine with it.
I have completely rebuilt every system on the car, and in 2008 decided to rebuild the Jetfire engine I had stored in my garage since I bought the car. As I tore it down, I found out it was in worse shape than it appeared. The #8 rod had spun a bearing, which shattered the piston, shot a piece of it through the oil gallery portion of the block, welded the bearing to the crank, and carved up the cylinder. I was doing the engine at a local community college – I resleeved the cylinder and bored all of them out .030, resized and balanced the rods, balanced a replacement crank, and then balanced the piston/pin/rod combinations to within a gram of each other. A friend welded the block. I also ported and polished the heads, cut the valves in a 3 angle valve job, and installed a Crower 260 degree cam and lifters. Last, I had the piston tops coated by Swaintech to keep combustion heat away from the skirts and installed moly rings. Jim Noel completely refurbished (he said it was the worst he’d ever seen!) and rebuilt the turbo and carb, and gave endless advice on how to install it and connect all those lines. After installation I added the depressure valve he makes, and it really smoothed out the performance and completely depressurizes the fluid injection tank on shutoff. Does it run? Like a rocket – it’s actually a little scary how much power it has now that I’ve got it dialed in. I am still fiddling with it, but about 1,000 miles in it really is starting to feel broken in.
I love the cars and don’t ask me why I didn’t just get a Jetfire in the first place. It’s just the way it worked out. I started working on this car and since the body was in such great shape, I just continued. I’ve still got stuff to find and do to get it how I want it – stock looking with a few mods.