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Tom McMullen's "Chevy Two"

Tom McMullen's "Chevy Two"

Tom McMullen's 
"Chevy Two"

 By Dave Brackett 


mcmullen1In 1965, Tom McMullen and I were living together In Buena Park, California. We enjoyed cruising and working on cars. Tom was selling custom wheels for Keystone Wheel Co. and he used a hot rod to deliver those wheels. This car was an English Austin taxi, but with a twist. It had two small block Chevy motors, one behind the other, hence the name "Chevy Two".

In the early 1960's, Tom and friend Jim Clark built the car, but it was never completely finished. It overheated in traffic, and the two motors were separately mounted to the frame, using a chain coupler to connect the motors. The chain coupler would self destruct and the front snout of the rear crank would break off, due to misalignment of the two motors. Tom asked if I could fix the problem, I agreed, and we started. 

We did not have the room to bring the car to our house shop, so Tom had someone remove the motors and deliver them to the house. I could see that the problems were all created by misalignment of the motors. I needed to fabricate some means for attaching the two motors rigidly together in line with each other. I got two bare blocks and found a piece of tubing the size of the main journals.  I bolted the two blocks on the pipe, and they were properly aligned. I fashioned a 1/4" steel plate to fit the rear of the front motor. I then fashioned a 1/4" steel plate to fit between the water pump and the block of the rear motor, also using the four bolt holes that were for front motor mounts.

mcmullen2Now I placed plates between the two motor plates, leaving gaps for hoses and access to the chain coupler. All these plates were securely welded together, to form a bell housing of sorts. Now to address the chain coupler.

I realized the chain coupler, using double row #50 chain, was fine for the job, the problem had been the misalignment. So the only problem left was to make the front of the rear crankshaft stronger. Other friends had similar problems breaking off the front snouts of Chevy cranks, on the blower drives for drag racing. Later Chevy cranks had a larger diameter front crank snout, so I took the old rear crank to Henry's Machine Works, the drag racers friend, and Loren made the front of the crank larger and put a larger seal in the front cover to match. 

After reassembly of the motors, everything fit fine. Now to fix the overheating problem. I rerouted the radiator hoses and made restrictors to force more water to the rear motor, which ran hotter, due to poor air flow around it and being bathed in the hot air from the front motor. That worked great, then I built headers for both motors to finish the new look.

Tom took the motors back to the shop and had them reinstalled in the car, and then finished upholstery work that was never done. The car was now complete and functional, and Tom used it as a daily driver for some time. It was painted bright red and really caught peoples eye when he got on it. The car obviously had too much power for the vehicle, but it was a fun car. Later, it was featured in a hot rod magazine, I am not sure what one. What a fun project, to help a friend, and help create a great different custom car.