My 68 GS350 California build thread

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by Sebambam, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member


    Hey guys
    since i was asking a lot of questions on here recently i wanted to post a kind of a
    "build thread" of my 68' GS 350 California

    1st of all i am a German, lost in California/ bayarea ahaha, im living here since over 2 years with my beautyful wife.
    And i always had a passion for Cars in general (in germany BMW's) and of course a passion for the Muscle car Area,
    So my first "Muscle" was 72 El Camino 396 SS, which i was about to fix but ended up selling it to a very good guy who
    finished the project.

    So further i was always a GM A-Body guy, and so i was on the hunt for a reasonable/budget project A-Body and since chevelles are rediculous expensive i was looking in all BOP options...
    So i registered on here to learn more about the BUICKS in general since i was basicly comparing them to a CHEVY in the beginning.
    So a BUICK newbie.

    In Sept 2015 i found my 68 GS350 on here as well from a forum member (thanks Steven) in SoCal, actualy i was looking more into a 70-72 Skylark /GS
    But i took the chance and bought this well kept 68'.
    Actualy a GS350 CALIFORNIA which made it even more interesting..
    long story short... i drove to the LA area bought the "bucket" and drove it back home (6 hours)
    ran like a champ.


    So after having the "bucket" at home , it was time to really check out what i really got here...
    So i went through the whole car and this forum as well in order to figure things out.

    in the beginning i was looking into a budget restoration, Body , paint, interior...
    just to drive around with wifey and have a good time.

    So i was ready to get it the car out to Body and paint
    in order to lower the costs i decided to strip the car myself and since the old epoxy paint was basicly cracked a regular "sanddown" wouldnt do it.
    So strip to bare metal with paint stripper and 40 grid...
    I messed up the driveway pretty bad
    then i wanted to seal it with some EPOXY PRIMER ( Aerosol...honestly amazing stuff)
    just so i have time to find a painter

    Well a buddy of mine has a 70 Chevelle.. which was sitting in the garage for many years (383 Stroker performance strip car with street attitude).
    He & i basicly forgot about that car until we decided after a couple beers to work on his car and get it back on the road.. (my car still just sitting there)
    This fact + us going to some local car spots and drag strips motivated me a lot to keep on going
    + the fact that my wife is pregnant and my funds will be limited as soon as the Baby get s here ahahaha

    So i found a local guy who offered to paint it, its not a proff. painter, he does stuff @ his garage so i knew its not going to be a awesome paintjob , but i thought i give it a try for like under 2Ks & the paint was already 5-600 bucks + primer etc (consider Cali prices).


    The result is as expected,
    and i knew i would have to work with the paintjob doing all the cutting and buffing myself so make it shine.
    Dont get me wrong the car looks good but its not a Show quality PJ.

    i offered the guy to help in order to safe some $$, thats where the process pics coming from.
    Got her home and started to cutt and buff.


    Then i took a couple days off and thought about my next steps...

    You guys know the situation where you take something apart to fix minor things and then you be like ..."Well while im doing this i can/should also replace, refurbish or upgrade"...

    So from just restoring it to a running GS350 (a 69' 4BBL engine)
    I changed my plans after reading on here.. and talking to
    to take the Motor out and rebuild at least the top end, and add possibly some horses
    (the 69 Motor has been rebuild from the previous owner already)
    my Big Boy ODIN (worst assistant...But best Buddy)

    Ok to not taking all your time reading all this crab,

    my plans switched from building a decent driver,
    to more of a "performance restauration"
    I want to have the classic feel with some "scare the neighbours & weekend strip fun"

    SoThe 350 gets a ( parts are here )

    Custom cam from Scott Brown
    TA SP3 single plane intake
    TA Stage 1 Valves and springs for the Heads
    possibly a decent Head porting
    MSD ignition
    updated HEI distributor (Vacuum advance kit form Crane)
    2" lowering springs in the Front
    CC501 Coils in the back
    KYB Shocks all around
    3.73 gears+ Posi
    Since i got a Flowmastrer HPipe system i just switch the Mufflers to Chery Bomb Extreme turn down tips

    i refurbished and painted the corvette Ralleys (15x8) and put some Nitto Drags (275/60/15) on the back, front BF goodrich came with the car almost brand new (245/60/15).

    in order to get more performance i am debating about a
    NITROUS KIT ( sniper kit or so)

    a turbo from BURTON would be nice but the $$ are questionable right now.

    Interior will get BLACKED OUT!
    i have basicly all panels and parts here already

    So that is it for now..

    im happy to get comments, critics and help... thanks guys
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  2. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut

    Very cool thanks for sharing!!!
  3. SteeveeDee

    SteeveeDee Orange Acres

    Looks like you are doing it up right. I still have 6 vehicles and did not have the energy to do what you are doing. It does pain me to see the AC gutted, after all the work I did putting it in, but it is your car, now. I hope it goes like a banshee after you are done!
  4. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    Hey Steven ..
    the inside Setup is still there ... just needed space in the engine bay .... more to come
  5. jay3000

    jay3000 RIP 1-16-21

    I love it all except for switching a nice sounding exhaust system to something loud, just to be loud. Mellow is good. Being loud just to be noticed IMO is not. Looks like you have close neighbors. Think about going for a ride at 7:30 on Sunday morning.
    Lucy Fair likes this.
  6. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    the 2-1/2 flowmaster had 2-1/4 mufflers
    to have it quiet.... the cherry bomb are 2-1/2 s ... i like the rumble...
    btw Sunday 7:30 is not gonna happen hahaha
  7. SteeveeDee

    SteeveeDee Orange Acres

    You might like the 2-1/2" Dynomax mufflers better, and they are lower restriction than Cherry Bombs (I think). Check out some of the sound clips before you install the Cherry Bombs. Also, when I had the original 2-1/2" Flowmasters removed, and the 2-1/4" ones installed, I noticed an immediate decrease in wide-open throttle response. But my ears thanked me. But that was with the SBC, which had an E-Brock cam, intake and carburetor. The 350 Buick in there is actually slower than the 305 SBC. I suspect that a new cam (and all the rest you are doing) will fix that.
  8. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    Sounds like a good setup but I'm not much into needing it cherry bomb loud. Dynomax super turbos sound good without so much noise. But I have all magnaflo X system on it now. Pypes and flow masters / flow tech afterburners mufflers are better scavanging so you can see a loss in power. Dynomax has the variable flow muffler that gets louder as flow increases. And tone does change with compression increases and fuel burn efficency. (Put efi on a car it runs leaner at idle/ cruise so exhaust not diminished as less burns thru down pipe and condenses sooner)
  9. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    Hey man how r you.. thanks for commenting

    Im to far away from hooking the exhaust up yet, so i have some time to figure it out.. i got the cherry mufflers for cheap... so we will see
    but i like the sound of this chevelle 350 thats why i got them
  10. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    Got a bit of work done

    disassembled the 350 , cleaned it
    stripped the paint, refurbished the oil pan, got a new pickup tube
    and put the pan back on with some RIGHTSTUFF gasket

    Cleaned the pistons with brakecleaer and a wirebrush, was quit some work

    The in rebuild my TH350.
    got new seals& gasket Kit for the tranny , another shiftkit and checked it for wear and cracks...
    took it basicly fully appart and back together
    + i gave it a little shine :), so its ready to go

    i dropped the rear end
    since i wanna drop it off at a shop to get the 3.73 + Posi droped in
    i pulled the axles and will rebuild the drums completly
    + new brakelines, poly- axlehousing bushings and sooner or later new control arms (boxed)set.

    further i mounted teh MSD ignition box and worked on the wiring since the interior is out anyways.

    I relocated the Battery to the trunk.
    Painted the Dashboard parts and put in a new old school racing Steering wheel.

    this is my parts storage, and my "trash Bobber assembled out of junkyard parts... Fun as Hell"

    More to come ....
  11. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    As far as rear end I would look for a 71-72 skylark/ cutlass unit or a 68-72 Chevelle/lemans unit as the have more available parts then the odd ball 68-70 Buick unit. The Chevelle unit is an 8.2 and the 71-72 skylark unit is an 8.5 corporate unit still being made today and plent of affordable used parts on eBay, also your pistons are not hi compression judging from the huge dish and without the steel shim thin gasket compression ratio can be as low as 8.1 to 1 or lower if last rebuilder used cheap v6 replacement Pistons You should put a straight edge over cylinder with piston at top dead center and measure depth of piston so that you can calculate your actual compression and decide if you want to change it while heads are off. Which can be as simple as having heads shaved or resurfaced a specific amount to decrease chamber size in head to increase compression. Depending on cam desired to get proper dynamic compression to get the performance you expect. What shift kit brand did you used . I find that B&M just raises pressures and reduces accumulator functions which results in parts breakage in my opinion. Trans go would be a better option.
    STREETFIGHTER50 likes this.
  12. SteeveeDee

    SteeveeDee Orange Acres

    I had put a B&M kit in it, but did not remove the accumulator spring. Don't remember which level, as far as check balls.
  13. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    the rear end is already a 71 bop 8.5 10bolt.
  14. Mart

    Mart Gold level member

    Good, then you can throw some 410's in there & have some fun. !!!!!
  15. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    lol i gotta go with 373s for now.. gotta be streetable :)
  16. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    UPS was here..
    Scott Brown cam kit came
    (cam lifters timing cover gaskets)
    Intake Gasket
    the Cargo Coils....

    now its lab time .. :cool:
  17. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    Your coil springs are upside down. When installing tighter coils go on top. Should be a good adventure. Would really like to see how Scott's cam performs
  18. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member


    Cam Specs
  19. Sebambam

    Sebambam Well-Known Member

    got my heads @the machineshop.. and i expect them back next week ... should be good..
  20. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    Project is progressing well. Do let shop know cam card for setting spring height/ pressure. Did you get new springs?
    Sebambam likes this.

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