I handle Production Control for Johnson Manufacturing, a small aerospace machine shop. Once I had the M37 home, I let the folks in the shop know I was in the market for an engine, V8, preferably a Dodge product. Well, machinists seem to know where to find these things, and before 48 hours had gone by I was on the phone with a guy who was moving his junk yard that weekend. He had a 318 from a Dodge Diplomat police car. It came attached to a 727 automatic transmission. He said both worked when pulled from the wrecked cruiser, and since he didn't want to move them, $200 would take the set. Sold.

Measurements showed me the combination would fit, but the shaft between the transmission and transfer case would be very short. Working from back to front, the transfer case would stay put, a shortened shaft would connect it to the transmission. A cross member of some sort would span the frame rails to support the transmission. A pair of brackets, each shaped like an "L" laid on its side would connect the front engine mounting points to the existing M37 engine mounting points.

It worked on paper, so I started in. First I rebuilt the transfer case. This should be a page in and of itself, but in brief, I replaced one shaft, some bearings and races, and all seals. (The sucker still leaks, but it being my first attempt, I can't fault the equipment completely.) Then it was on to the engine. I lacked a test stand to run it on, but the spark plugs were very clean, and hand cranked compression was ok, so I was reasonably confident it would work.

I replaced the points, rotor, and distributor cap. The transmission was a another matter... I couldn't test it, so I just changed the fluid and filter. Other than those basics, I just had to put it in and see what happened. The fenders were already off, and the rest of the front end had been removed recently when Phil had painted the frame, so it was easy to remove the entire front clip. Using a friend's engine hoist I suspended the engine and transmission combination in place.

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