Motor Swap: Background Story

JANUARY 19, 2011 – All I want for Christmas is a 302!
The story behind the motor swap
By: Becky Sue Huff

I love the fact that my 1961 Comet was all original. I have the original window sticker and bill of sale for the car with all of the options picked out in 1960! The in-line six 170 cc Thrift Power motor that was in the car was a $35.00 upgrade. It may have been an upgrade in power in 1961 but that 170 was not cutting it for me in today’s day and age! Don’t get me wrong, the car would get up to freeway speeds but it just wasn’t so quick to merge into traffic.  My theory is, “life is too short to drive slow”. My boyfriend, Matt, at the Department of Customz shares this mentality and had had told me that I could put the 302 from his model T into my Comet if and when my motor died.

Well as fate would have it, my Gita’s 170 ceased to exist about a week after the Huffarama event. For about three weeks prior the car had seemed to just “not be running well”. While trying to pinpoint the problem I did a tune up, changing the oil and the spark plugs. It kept loading up at red lights so I changed my carburetor. It still had issues. After I changed my points the car seemed to have a dramatic improvement but then on that early December morning I went to start my car up to go to work and…THUNK… I threw a rod!!!

That year Santa brought me just what I wanted! On Christmas I had not only a 302 with Mega 270 Isky Racing Cams but also a C4 automatic transmission with a shift kit under the Christmas tree! (Thank you Santa Baby! aka Matt!)  Now, this car is my daily driver so we had to make quick work of this motor swap and that is why you will see articles on a multiple stage process. These performance parts may have fit right into my little Comet but she wasn’t built for such power so there are MANY items that will need to be modified or replaced. So stay tuned for this multiple part series and watch this Comet get better and better than ever before!


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