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You are correct; narrowing a rear axle at a competent machine shop can get expensive.
Two other options are:
1). Change the wheel offset for the rear wheels so that the tires move inboard with the wider axle.
2). Install fender flairs and let the front and rear wheel tread width be different.
On Feb 22, 2017, at 12:51 PM, Robert Connearney via Groups.Io <rconnearney@...
Some engines I would investigate for potential swap material:
BMC "A" Series (Sprite/Midget) - 948 to 1275 cc, easy to find and cheap, maybe shorter than the Crosley, but undoubtedly heavier.
Datsun "A" Series - 1200 - 1500 cc, similar to BMC "A", very rugged, 5-bearing forged steel crank, maybe not too easy to find. I know a guy that made this swap, which he says was fairly easy; used the Datsun transmission also, with open drive and a narrowed Metropolitan (Sprite/Midget) rear end. Could get you some specific info, if you think about going this route.
Suzuki 3-Cylinder - 1000 cc, used in Chevy Geos, don't know much about them, but I believe are all aluminum (therefore light), SOHC, probably shorter than Crosley, except I think the distributor is driven off the back of the cam, therefore may need a recess in the firewall. (A new model of the Lotus/Caterham 7 uses a current version of this engine, 660 cc, DOHC, 80 HP; these are from Suzuki Kei-Cars, therefore probably hard to source in the USA.) What's in the new little Chevies, maybe the current Suzuki 3-cylinder? You might check the small Chevy 4 Ecotec, I know a fellow putting one in a Ford Anglia/Popular.
Early Cortina/Pinto 1600 cc engines are nice, but hard to find since they're all snapped up by the Formula Ford guys. Ford Zetecs are similar displacement, DOHC. Or the current Duratec, similar to the Zetec but all-aluminum.
It would be ill-advised to even think about using the Crosley transmission/rear end, so you can figure on a significant packet of money to narrow a rear end. I think the narrowest available is the Spridget, which has a track of 45", about 5" more that a Crosley (but same wheel bolt pattern). Don't commit to a modern engine without making sure you won't have an emissions compliance problem with your friendly state government. (An acquaintance has a beautifully home-made Lotus Seven which took many years to build. But the engine, which was certifiable when he bought it, can no longer be used in what the state considers to be a "new" car.)
Many modern engines are set up for front wheel drive, so you probably need to budget for fabricating or buying an appropriate adapter to some available conventional transmission.
I was planning on repowering for power, reliability, ease of maintenance, and familiarity. Some of this was based on my assumption that engine and trans parts would be hard to come by and I figured I could get a donor chevy 4 and trans cheap. I am learning a lot already. I did not realize they had produced a later motor capable of those numbers. Are they fairly easy to come by? I am in no hurry to jump into the project, I have a 50 chevy I want to finish before I would even start anyway. I just wanted to reach out and collect as much info as I could. I did not realize there was such a strong community out there for crosleys, so I thought it would take me a lot longer to get info, but you guys have been great. I am starting to think I might hold back a little and plan on attending the nationals to see some ideas in person.
thans again for all the info