Period-correct custom parts were part of Davin’s plan for the Buick straight-eight, and he has enough experience to know that, given that decision, some components won’t bolt together perfectly right out of the shipping box. The first example was the valves. Then, the pistons presented the same problem. Now Davin’s wrangling with the fitment of the period-correct Edmunds intake manifold and tubular header. It’s nothing a little time with the press can’t fix, though.
This is in interesting conundrum, because Davin did not build the header. Instead, he sent the intake manifold to the gentleman who did. Theoretically, having the manifold while fabricating the header should mean that the two parts fit flawlessly, but the reality is that the mock-up engine the fabricator used might have been a little different than the head Davin is assembling for our engine. The small changes mean just a brush of interference between the two, enough to prevent an ideal fit. Luckily, Davin has just the solution—a dent.
Yes, a dent—but a calculated dent. A carefully placed dimple in the round header tube. Hack mechanics have been doing this for years by using a ball-peen hammer to kink the pipe until it fits. Davin takes a much more careful approach by using the hydraulic press to massage the material instead of beating it into submission. Careful application of force produces a perfect fit, which helps get the time-lapse back on track and keeps assembly looking effortless.
Then, it’s time to pivot to the ’37 Ford race car. Davin presses out the wheel studs to split the wheel hubs from the brake drums. The goal is to press in new, longer wheel studs—but only after the aluminum parts are ceramic-coated by West Michigan Cerakote. That coating provides protection and durability during regular use.
A highly productive day for Davin and the team—but there’s still work left to do. The delay in a couple items meant the test fit of the Chrysler 440 into the Ford race car had to get delayed, so if you want to see that you will have to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel and stay tuned for next week’s video.