Redline Rebuild Update: Buick 401 Nailhead isn’t lying down without a fight

The next Redline Rebuild engine is on the stand awaiting surgery, but it’s putting up a fight in the early stages of the overhaul. It’s a Buick 401 Nailhead, a grimy hulk of a V-8 that is locked solid. That is, no motion when we try to turn the crankshaft. The engine was yanked from a 1965 Buick Wildcat that lived in a field for many years, and traditional methods of disassembly proved fruitless.  

It’s rough going, but for those curious about the details about how these time-lapse restoration projects get made, Hagerty’s video team and Davin Reckow is here to provide a peek behind the curtain. It might look easy when it’s sped up, but the truth involves a lot more elbow grease than pressing play on YouTube.

“I soaked it on the floor with different penetrating oils and methods for a month and a half, and got absolutely no motion out of the pistons,” Davin says. “I have my suspicions that none of the pistons will be coming out without a fight.”

But before unlocking the engine’s pistons, Davin had to first get it on a stand. That would typically be a simple task, but it devolved into him lighting an oxy-acetylene torch. Given the lack of crank rotation, removing the last of the three bolts holding the torque converter in place proved impossible. Cutting the torque converter away became the only option. The flexplate behind the converter met the same plasma-fueled fate.

Check out the upcoming video for Davin’s full Nailhead experience, which at times probably made him want to drive a nail into his own head. To stay up to date on the latest developments with this engine and Davin’s other projects, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to receive a notification when each update goes live.