By on July 21, 2013

1970ChevroletCamaroZ28-engine

The default power choice for many resto-mods is the popular 350 from the General. They are plentiful, affordable and can be built into a beast of a motor. But for many non-General car guys, the idea of a Chevy engine under the hood of their non-General Motors ride is simply a great reason to run it directly over a cliff.

These car guys view a Chevy small block under the hood of one of the other Detroit manufacturer choices as an act of automotive blasphemy that is completely unacceptable to them. It is a little like a New York Yankee playing in a Boston Red Sox uniform for the purists.

The concept has picked up some steam in collector car circles because a Ford-in-Ford or Mopar-in-Mopar resto-mod done to the same level as a Chevy-in-either will typically get more money in a collector vehicle auction.

We have been to hundreds of car shows and events that celebrate the car culture, so we have been around a lot of people’s reactions to resto-mods.

The general reaction to the engine choice depends upon the car guy’s brand loyalty. The General Motors guys are pretty happy to see a 350 under the hood of anything and there are a lot of Bowtie fans in car guy world.

The fact that GM was the king of the car world in terms of sales in North America for many decades meant that many car guys liked their vehicles-and so did their kids, thus the appeal of a 350 Chevy in a Ford, Mopar, Rambler, Studebaker or any other domestic car built over the years since Henry Ford introduced mass production.

But hardcore Ford and Mopar fail to see the magic in the 350 engine from a rival, especially a hated rival. They have a different idea about resto-mods and their engines do not wear bowties. For many old school non-Chevy car guys, a 383 is a name that can only be associated with something from the vintage Chrysler lineup like a 1968 Roadrunner engine choice and not a Chevy-come-lately 350 stroker.

The idea of performance engine options has not been lost on Ford or Mopar, so now a resto-mod motor choice can now be purchased from either one of them. In fact, Chrysler has some very interesting Hemi choices for their brand loyalists, while Ford after-market engines can get you there in a hurry. The cheaper cost factor of Chevy after-market engines does provide an argument for car guys who work on a tight car project budget.

In the final analysis, some very solid choices are now out there for fans of all three brands because the name of the game is all-out performance from all of the Big Three in the aftermarket world. You can be true to your school in a big way in 2013, plus Ford-in-Ford and Mopar-in-Mopar is a better resale investment than Chevy-in either of their Detroit rivals.

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128 Comments on “The 350 Cubic Inch Debate: Is The Chevy Small Block The Only Answer?...”


  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s just not a classy move to say the least. You spend around $60K and go all-out on the Mopar or Ford resto, then go with the Chevy 350 to save $300?

  • avatar

    MOPAR or NO CAR.

    Try a 440 and see what happens…

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    The 350 is a boat anchor. I’m not even a big fan of swapping them into older Chevys when the original 283 or 327 is available. I recently watched an episode of Fantomworks where they spent $63k on a ’63 Vette resto and swapped in an anonymous 350 instead of rebuilding and reinstalling the stock 327. I don’t understand the mentality that thinks that’s the right thing to do.

    And the idea of installing a chevy small block in a Mopar of any vintage fills me with feelings of intense loathing and rage.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m a Chevy guy,and I have to agree. The closer a resto-rod is to its roots, the better. At least in my way of thinking. That being said. For many folks, staying within budget, is the difference,between having your vehicle on the road,or not.

    As far as resto-rods go, anything goes. Its up to the owner/ builder to have it the way he wants it.

  • avatar

    Heck, I once saw an ancient 911 with a SBC, a spectator at AutoX at Cal Expo.

  • avatar
    autojim

    I’m with DenverMike — an SBC (in any flavor: the LS[whatever] is the current weapon of choice for resto-modders) in a Ford or Mopar makes me question what else you cheaped out on.

    There’s an outfit near Sears Point in CA that has made some absolutely gorgeous first-gen Mustangs with epic suspension mods, all the workmanship looks first-class, clearly a ton of effort went into the design and build of their pieces. And they’ve got Chevy LS engines. WHY? You’ve gone that far, why not drop a Coyote or an Aluminator or one of the big Roush or Kaase Windsor-Ford engines in it? You wouldn’t give up anything in terms of power, torque, or mass, they don’t cost THAT much different than a full-boat LSX, and it’s the right engine for the car.

    I think it was the late, great, Gray Baskerville at “Hot Rod” who referred to SBCs as “bellybuttons”. As in “everybody’s got one”. Dropping an SBC into a post-war car from any other manufacturer just strikes me as a cop-out: you couldn’t be bothered to think about it. (There’s a vast hot-rod tradition in non-kosher engine swaps in pre-war cars, particularly pre-1936 or so. While I’d rather see a Windsor Ford in a ’32 Highboy than an SBC, there’s a lot of history there, and I can let that slide.)

    Each of the big 4 (AMC included) has a variety of engine families to choose from. Hell, GM itself had at least 4 different 350s at one point: Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick. Want a 350 in your GS? No problem: there’s a Buick engine for that. Will it have the aftermarket support a Chevy does? No, but there’s stuff out there. And while I’m inclined to give GM people a break on incestuous engine swaps — the factory did it, after all, there’s far more to life than yet another bellybutton.

    Why not have some fun with it? You’re going to the trouble of crafting a unique ride with all those custom touches, so go all the way, do the unexpected with the engine and DON’T put an SBC (or BBC) of any flavor in that non-Chevrolet.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      I hate 350s in non-GM stuff, but I can sort of understand the LS. Other modern V8s – either Hemi or Modular/Coyote – are more expensive, with less aftermarket support, but, most importantly, they’re big and heavy.

      Coyote with it’s DOHC heads will not even fit many old cars, and the Hemi has iron block.

      But when it comes to old engines in old cars, then a Ford or Mopar small block is definitely the right choice – and I haven’t even seen that many Mopars or Fords with Chevy stuff in it.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        The cast iron MOD stuff can be heavy, and to a lesser extent the DOHC mod motors but Coyote and 3 valve 4.6 motors are every bit as light as an LS motor so only the width issue remains.

        The one real victim of GM bastardization seems to be the fox body Mustang, go to any track or Super Chevy show and you can at the least count on both hands a Fox car stuffed with a GM motor.

        Sigh… one day perhaps I will have my revenge. Oh to capture a historically significant important GM car, some sort of holy grail and then install a complete Ford driveline, then get it in the pages of Hot Rod, Car Craft, et al and just wait for the comments to pour in, it might perhaps warm my cold heart.

      • 0 avatar
        autojim

        With the vast majority of restomodders removing the shock towers (or at least rendering them unnecessary with the modern aftermarket suspensions they’re putting in) from first-gen Mustangs, the width issue is less of a concern.

        Agreed that the iron block stuff — particularly the 5.4L truck block — is pretty heavy. But the aluminum block stuff isn’t. Rough comparison: 4.6L car iron block ~ 180 lbs. 4.6L aluminum block (with liners) ~ 80 lbs. 5.4L truck iron block ~ 200 lbs.

        One of the amusements that I had from the 2000 Cobra R (5.4L, normally aspirated, using the truck block as that was the only one in existence at the time) was that, despite the absence of sound deadening, a/c, 40-lb Mach 460 amp/speaker pack under the package shelf, rear seat, trunk trim, etc., it weighed more than my ’99 Cobra. And almost all of that was on the nose.

        A dressed, normally-aspirated Aluminator mod motor comes in at roughly the same mass as a iron-block Windsor engine will. Yeah, it’s wider.

        The Coyote is narrower than the original 4V mod motor (this is a good thing), and about the same mass.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Those Ford Coyote engines have serious width due to the DOHC heads. Putting them into an original Stang is a huge undertaking. The LS is popular because of the light weight and small envelope.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      “Gray Baskerville”

      Damn! I miss that guy.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Non-kosher engines into street rods?

        Just today at a car show I saw two unconventional Model As…one with an Oldsmobile 324 and another with an early Chrysler Hemi. The one with the Hemi is actually a daily driver, I see the guy all the time.

  • avatar
    waltercat

    The classiest street rod I ever saw was a ’27 T-bucket with a Citroen SM V-6!

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      That SM-V-6 would be a Maserati engine, a wonderful little engine, pure jewelery. Did the rebuild on one back in the early 90′s for a friend of mine’s SM.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      I have been building 26′-27′ Tee’s since I was sixteen. The only one ever had a Flat head and that was a fairly recent build, not back in the day. Back then(sixties/Seventies) they were mostly Olds and Caddy OHV_V-8′ PP’s, with a Red Ram and a Desoto Hemi’s in the mix.

      My last 27′ build was a 41′ Caddy Flat head with a three deuce manifold I molded and cast, with Fenton HC finned aluminum heads. A rather bizarre looking engine with hot rod headers as the exhaust ports are up in the valley with the intake ports. I finally pulled those and put the factory exhaust manifold back on and routed the exhaust to the rails in front of the cowl and from there over the axle with classic Ford megaphone pipes made from the axle housings of old Ford rear ends.

      Those old 26′-27′ Fords were essentially the original hot rod Fords, not the much heavier and bulkier ‘A’s and 32′s(B’s). And, the 32′s were rare and always expensive, and most actually had 4-cyl PP’s.

      The next Ford hot rod to gain any traction with hot rodders was the ‘A’ V-8. A vehicle covered well in Vern Tardell’s book ‘How to Build a Traditional Ford Hot Rod’. I have used much the same parts as a traditional ‘A’ V-8 in my 27′ Tee builds with the exception of non Ford PP’s.

  • avatar
    lojak

    I’m not really sure what the point of this article is . I read it 3 times and still don’t know whether he’s saying it’s a good thing or not.

    Anyway, my feeling is that in a resto-mod it’s up to the builder to decide what’s acceptable. Cost is a factor for some people.

    My son blew the original Olds 350 in his 70 Cutlass a few years ago and we decided to replace it with a 455. It took about a month to find one 150 miles away that we paid $500 for and had been sitting on the guy’s garage floor for 10 years. $1000 worth of rebuilding later we had a running engine. Contrast that with the 350 I bought last month from a running wreck with 30,000 miles on it for $150.

    If you start building it the costs differential starts to mount pretty quickly. An intake for a 350 is about 140 new, for a 351 it’s about 250 and around 230 for a 383. If you’re being honest and you’re not a Chevy guy, you know you’ve bitched in the past about how cheap Chevy parts are compared to yours. Fact is I’m glad we could afford to put a 455 in my son’s Cutlass but if it means the difference between a running car and an expensive piece of yard art I say throw a 350 in it and go.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I read it once and understood the controversy, and that the author wants it to play out in the comment section. He’s throwing us a bone to chew on. Did you want to see it “resolved” with a conclusion in the article?

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Are talking a Chevy in an old Ford, say up to 51′ or a Chevy in a post war classic like a 57′ T-Bird or 60′s Mustang.

    While cost is a consideration, the real problem is the location of the oil pan shape. To easily put a Ford in an early Ford, one has too buy an aftermarket pan with a rear sump and relocate the oil pick-up. None of this is cheap and comes on top of the much higher price for an apples to apples crate engine.

    You can buy a ‘new’ 350″- 290Hp Chevy crate for less then $2,000 with free shipping, a like Ford is ‘select’ rebuilt used parts in after market 302″ – 302 Hp motor and you pay the shipping, about $200.00.
    So now were at a $700.00 plus difference and we haven’t even addressed the oil pan and pick-up issue which will add up to $500.00. The costs for a Ford don’t end there, any other performance parts are going to cost more money then like Chevy parts.

    There is no arguable reason(except cost) to put a Chevy in a later
    Ford chassis.

    Note; Most Chrysler’s are also ‘front Sump’ engines and are again, quite a bit more money in comparison to a Chevy.

    When you start looking at more horsepower then around 300Hp, the costs per Hp really start to widen. A new LS376/525Hp can be had for under $7,000 plus install kit for around $16.00 per Hp. A like Ford is around $12,500 for around $23.00 per Hp. And one is a digital engine and the other a analog engine.

    Modern digital engines are hard to compare, as Ford offers few for comparison. One, the ‘Aluminator’ engine requires a supercharger to get big numbers out of it, but it is a sweet little motor. All up the Hp figures would be about the same, but again, the cost ratios would be about the same, and in some chassis you still have the oil pan sump issue too deal with.

    For a guy like me, I have a hard time putting a 302″/351″ in an early Mustang 64-1/2′ – 66′. It has to be a 289″, and those are getting darn hard to find.

    • 0 avatar
      autojim

      Rear-sump Ford pans/pickups are easy and cheap to find: Fox and Panther use rear-sump setups, and they’re legion in salvage yards. Most of the Ford crate engines have Fox-style rear-sump pans, too.

  • avatar

    I sat on the fence on purpose in this article because I wanted to pose the question to readers, that much should be obvious. My personal views are pretty rigid: I would never under any circumstances throw a 350 in anything other than a GM product. I think it is a slap in the face to the Ford or Chrysler vehicle forced to house a 350 under the hood. How’s that for clarity?

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      Let’s move off the SBC into Ford / Chrysler debate: What do you think of dropping a Chevy small-block into a mid-1970′s Jaguar sedan? That to me just makes sense.

      • 0 avatar

        It makes less sense than you think. The Jaguar “XJ” engine, the inline six, was in production for about 40 years and is mechanically reliable, one of the great engine designs. I’ll concede that the reliability of the fuel injection systems in ’80s vintage Jaguars and the Lucas electrics in any English car leave something to be desired, but the engine itself is basically a truck engine with a DOHC head.

        The reason why the SBC into Jaguar swap became sort of a default position is money. It’s cheaper to buy a SBC than it is to rebuild a Jaguar six.

        Now there is one swap from GM to Jaguar that makes sense, getting rid of that POS AW automatic and replacing it with a Turbohydramatic 4 spd.

        • 0 avatar
          alexndr333

          Wouldn’t swapping the transmission be easier with an SBC swap at the same time? And eliminating the electronics and FI system would also seem to be good arguments for the Chevy V-8. With so much wrong around the XJ engine, it’s not much different than the dentist saying that your teeth are fine, but the gums and jaw have to go.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            Yes. One of the best arguments besides lower cost for the SBC is GM transmissions are also inexpensive and tough.

            I’d rather see someone swap a compact GM OHV V8 into an antique car than have them use a cutting torch to make a Coyote DOHC V8 fit. I also see the attraction of using an aluminum block LS engine to reduce weight.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          If Rolls-Royce decides your transmission is good enough, then it’s good enough.

          The TH400, like the Torqueflite 727 and Ford C6, is an automatic transmission you just can’t go wrong with.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Actually, that was far more common than you might think. Jags of a certain age couldn’t cope with US weather and overheating was common.

        THe switch to the sb solved that problem.

        • 0 avatar

          Not at all. That is a baby/bathwater scenario. Just install a bigger radiator, and a good fan and call it done.

          I’ve driven my XK-engined E-type through central California and Arizona 110+°F temps with no problem. Ron Davis radiator and fan.

          My problem with SBC’s are two-fold: Boredom and Value.

          I like looking at engines. I’ve seen a bazillion SBCs already, in every conceivable config. Don’t need to see another, thanks. Nothing worse than looking under the hood of some unique machine at a show, only to find yet another SBC.

          Dropping a generic SBC into a car that at one time was motivated by something else is just turning a collectible into a parts car. ie: Jaguars with Detroit V-8s are worth a small fraction of a car with its Coventry original installed, or even a different but-still-Jaguar engine. It may have made sense when they were still just old used cars, but anything over a dozen years old it is near criminal to swap motors unless you’re taking it racing or planning to make it a plaything for a few years before it is recycled.

  • avatar
    GoCougs

    Not sure what the point is of this piece. Sure, the SBC was the most produced but there are FAR more virgin Mopar, Ford, and even Buick/Olds/Pontiac V8s available then there are projects. Additionally, each has plenty of aftermarket support, including the all-important recip assemblies and heads.

    The Chevy LT/LS is the go-to for “hot rods” because it is the best modern American V8. Since the LT-1′s debut in the ’92 Corvette, Chevy has ruled the small block V8 world. Even TODAY, the Chrysler Hemi and Ford 5.0, though vastly better than their predecessors, still aren’t quite up to LT/LS levels.

    I’m not a fan of “hot rods” so what to use there is a non issue for me. I’m either into the as-factory-built restoration or the Jay Leno looks-stock-but-isn’t-even-close school of resto modding. The “worst” cross pollination I’d do is an LSx in a resto mod ’72 Trans Am. The ginormous benefits of the LSx vs. the Pontiac 400/455 outweigh IMO any sin of a break in loyalty.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Yeah, a 403 Trans Am is definitely better served by a LS swap. Sell the 403 to someone with a G-body Cutlass who wants more power potential.

      But as for the authentic Pontiac engines? No way.

      • 0 avatar
        GoCougs

        Poncho motors are very good in their unique proposition in their compactness in 400 and 455 form but they play a distinct 2nd fiddle to an LSx motor (and big block Chevy) owing to their limitation in heads.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      @ GoCougs, The current coyote 5.0 is plenty stout, its biggest short coming (aside from cost) is easy power from big displacement, otherwise the engine does well, 500 rear wheel horsepower sans supercharger is not that unusual with a full array of bolt-on hardware, though the best I’ve heard of is a tad over 600 horsepower at the crank.

      Supposedly Ford is working on a naturally aspirated 5.2 variant code named Voodoo with around or over 500 horsepower for their next SVT car.

      I like the LS engines but I’m not really convinced of their superiority in so much as they leverage the “big displacement low stress” ideology pretty well in much the same way big block engines did in the past.

      • 0 avatar
        old5.0

        If we speak in terms of absolute power output, the LS is no better than the old 4 valve modular or even the Windsor, once the aftermarket is taken into account. I don’t keep up on the latest happenings like I used to, but I believe John Mihovetz at Accufab is quickly approaching the 3,000 horsepower mark with a production 4.6 liter block and assembly line GT500 heads. Hell, slap on a homemade turbo kit and these things will make 1,000 horsepower without exerting themselves to greatly.

        As mentioned, the old Windsor is still a player, as well. There are examples of sub-380 cubic inch 8.2 deck engines using conventional 20* inline valve heads making close to 2,000 in forced induction apps. The more exotic canted valve stuff, of course, increases that horsepower number by a few hundred.

        The problem seems to be that Ford guys fall into this “Explorer heads and an alphabet cam” trap when dealing with the pushrod small blocks, forgetting that there’s a twenty-five year supply of aftermarket goodness floating around the countryside, waiting to be plucked. It takes effort and research, of course, but one can easily put together a small, 302-based SBF with pump gas-friendly compression, hydraulic cam, etc. that makes 600+ horsepower naturally aspirated. Seems to be a dying art, however.

        As for the new 5.0… suffice to say it has more inherent potential than the 4V Mod, the Windsor, or the LS.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    The ridiculousness of putting SBCs in places where they don’t belong led me to make a Tumblr site highlighting the dumb places people put SBCs:

    http://sbcallthethings.com

    Porsches, Benzes, BMWs, Alfas, Jags, and even a Mustang (!).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Some of those look like the use of the SBC was more for the shock value (914) then a total lapse of common sense

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        A small block in a 914 actually makes a lot of sense. The 914 is a cheap, good mid-engine platform, and the small block is a cheap, compact, light engine for the power it provides. If you look at the 914 it was obviously done on the cheap, it is not a highly finished restomod. It looks like a track or backroad toy that is function over form.

        A 911 flat-six or a turbo flat-four out of a Subaru WRX would have been more artful, but so would have new Fuchs instead of the Boxster takeoff wheels and tires from eBay. This is just an effective project done on the cheap.

        The Mercedes SL looks like something a lot more effort and attention was put into, it would have been good to see something a bit more interesting in it like an AMG engine or a Hemi as a play on the short-lived DCX merger.

    • 0 avatar
      GoCougs

      Some of those SBC retrofits make sense such as for the pure drag cars. Others like the Studebaker, 914, Hillman, 240z, Mondial and Mexican Maserati, don’t really have much legacy to protect. I probably wouldn’t have done the Alfa, 911s and E-Type, but then again, WRT to the original engines in the latter two cars, the SBC is lighter and more powerful…

    • 0 avatar

      add this – http://www.v8aircraft.com/conversion-kits/conversion-overview.html

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        There is a long history of auto to aircraft engine conversions. I have done several myself, a 215″_Old’s/Buick conversion and a Type-4 VW conversion.

        The problem with these conversions, are manifold, with carburetion, to ignition, to weight, frontal area, and then you had the reduction drive for much higher revving auto engines versus low revving aircraft engines to get the prop speed where you need it(around 2,200). Kevlar belts helped on that score, but the reduction assemblies still added weight. Electronic ignition solved ignition issues, and now reliable digital fuel injection helps with with fueling the engine.

        The old thirties technology of a typical aircraft engine, is proven and dependable. Anything else(auto conversion), is and experiment with somebodies life on the line. Still, we are getting closer to a viable auto conversion with the LS engines.

        A correction to that link article… ” the new supercharged LS-A or LS-9 engines that are perfect for high density altitudes.” Should read ‘High altitude, low density environments.’

        • 0 avatar

          Actually, a “density altitude” is a pressure altitude adjusted for temperature and it goes higher when it’s warmer. So, a “high density altitude” is an expression common among pilots that means thin, hot air.

      • 0 avatar
        mike1dog

        That’s interesting. I clicked on one of the videos expecting to hear a small block v-8 growl, but it sounded just like any other airplane engine.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    It should be noted that I have been putting engines in cars that they were not originally equipped with since the early sixties.

    I’m a big fan of the LS series engines for modern builds especially of the Pro-Touring genre or track cars and sleepers, but I pretty much like all engines, I’m not a Ford or Chevy/Chrysler guy.

    The look of an engine, is almost as important to me as the performance. When you pop the hood of a classic anything and see a nicely presented engine, it finishes the car, especially if the engine is the same make.

    Lately I have been putting LS376′s in a variety of cars, with the Gen-111 F-body being the primary recipients, but also a Gen-11 and Gen-111 RX-7′s, XJ’s, and SL’s and a variety of other vehicles. It is hard to beat this engine for a transplant, where originality isn’t and issue.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    I know when my dad bought his 1967 Corvette Stingray about 15 years ago he was only interested in the 327 and not the 350. My brother and I learned to drive stick on it and my dad even changed the final drive ratio so it would be easier to drive. When my brother and I went to college my dad had his friend who built race car engines build him a 383 stroker which ended up dynoing about 450 HP and 500 LB of Torque. He had to replace the transmission, drive shaft, drive shaft tunnel and so, so many other things. I remember coming home and driving it and it was just too much (although my dad would never admit that). We still have the original 327 sitting in Dad’s garage.

    When my dad passed away a couple years ago my family met with his mechanic who told us that my dad was going to do an LS9 (ZR1 Corvette) swap. He went so far as to have his mechanic get in touch with a shop down in Texas who had done this exact swap in a C2 and had them send up a parts list and talk about the swap. As Sajeev always says, the LS-X is always the right answer. Although this would have cost an estimated $90,000 to swap the LS9 in.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; “cost an estimated $90,000 to swap the LS9 in.”

      This is and easy swap.

      I will do that swap with a new 6-speed, driveline, differential rebuild, and CV’s for $32,000, a bit more with a Baer brake, and suspension upgrades. The build price would be much less with an LS376.

      But, you will never get a great deal of that Hp to the ground with the stock wheel housings limiting wheel and tire size. In the old days we radiused the wheel openings on ‘C2′ first gen Sting Rays too accommodate bigger meats on the rear. Today, internal wheel tubs would be employed.

      • 0 avatar
        RGS920

        This was back in late 2009 and according to the mechanic (I have no idea if this is true) it would have been the second C2 to get this swap done had my dad pulled the trigger on it. The $90,000 was what the shop down in Texas ended up charging for everything.

        Snakebit, I agree with you and I want the 327 back in. It’s the original engine with matching numbers and hopefully runs as well as it did before it was taken out. I’d also restore it to the original paint (My dad had it painted 50th anniversary corvette red). Problem is it’s my mom’s car now and even though she doesn’t drive it she doesn’t want anything changed because the car reminds her of my dad. She’s happy to let my brother and I take her out for lunch in it every now and then. While I doubt she would have a problem with changing the engines; I don’t have the money to spare to do anything too extensive. My concern is that there was a ton of work done to get the 383 in and working. I don’t know if it’s going to be that simple to swap the 327 back in.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      This is now your car, but…

      I’m a Ford guy, in the same manner that some guys have blue eyes and some have brown, and there’s really no diff. But I always wanted a ’67 C2 convertible since they were new. And, if this were my car, I’d be putting the 327 back in, if it was still in good shape, and I’d be returning every other non-stock item back to original, even if it were staying in the family forever and I wasn’t concerned with resale value. The only modifications I would make would be to make the Corvette as dependable, as possible, like rebuilding the motor so that it’s more bulletproof if it’s going to see any competition, like Solo’s or autocross. But, again, this is your car, and maybe there’s also an element of, ‘what would Dad think’. Whatever decision you make will be the right one.

      This being said, the neatest resto-mod car I’ve seen in a while is an early 1970′s original Challenger that the owner fitted a Viper powertrain to, so tidy you’d swear Dodge did it. But, God help the poor technician.

    • 0 avatar
      GoCougs

      Well, a 450 hp SBC is gonna be a bear to drive on the street. The LS2 will dyno at least 450 hp and be as docile as a Camry. LS9 is way too much motor for a C2 without extensive mods to chassis, brakes and suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      @ ‘RGS920′

      It is a simple pull and drop operation to swap the 383″ for the 327″. No issues what so ever, find some Ram’s horn Corvette exhausts, if the old 327″ is missing them, and put stock exhaust on and your back to the original config.

      I would do this, the value of the car would go up considerably, though, I’m sure that is not a consideration at this time. The 327″ is a cheap rebuild even and upgraded rebuild.

      My first Sting Ray was a 63′ roadster. Still think they are one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen. I can remember, still, the very first one I saw, it was a pic in Mechanic’s Illustrated. I was stunned by the image of this new Corvette. You have to realize the context of the times and the existing Corvette design language. The departure from that language to the new Sting Ray design language was monumental, especially to a sixteen year old gear head building old Fords.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    “The 350 Cubic Inch Debate: Is The Chevy Small Block The Only Answer?”

    No, J. Sutherland, just the cheapest and easiest.

  • avatar
    Transform

    I’m going to build a big budget 66 GT350 with a Coyote and I looked at the LS. The cost, complication, and engineering required to stay Ford are huge, at least double. I’m an idiot to not just slip in an LS and lock the hood down. Ford’s overpriced and under supported Coyote program is criminal stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      PeteRR

      You’ve got a “big budget” Ford build in mind, so cheaping out by installing a GM powerplant is where you’re going to economize?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The availability of the Coyote and price differential will drop since it is a much newer engine. For decades the SBC was the cheap hot rod king but in the late 80′ and early 90′s the 5.0 Ford was the king and was a common swap. At one point there were somewhere near a dozen different aftermarket high flow heads for the 5.0 while for the old school SBC there were only a few.

      • 0 avatar
        old5.0

        Actually, at the peak, there were over 60 different cylinder heads for the SBF, including some ultra-exotic canted-valve pieces with Windsor steam holes. There was even a set, designed for forced-induction drag racing applications, that were created by a joint venture of McLaren and Porsche, of all people.

        Anyway, it receded a bit in recent years, but there are probably still at least 30 or more individual part #’s.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      If you’ve got an original GT350, you’ve probably already got your answer, they’re worth too much to mess with anything other than stock.

      If you’ve got a nice Mustang 2+2, and you want the ultimate GT350, many more options. I’ve seen guys mix-and-match ‘the best of each – ’65 and ’66, but I would do it with a 289, and you may even find a nice used ‘K’ motor and have it rebuilt. But, as I wrote earlier, this is your ride, have fun.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Would that be a clone or Tribute Shelby GT350 car? If so, do what you want, but a Shelby clone/Tribute car should require a Ford engine.

      An original Shelby will require an original engine, and is the only way to go, if maintaining value is any consideration. The devaluation of anything but a numbers matching car, will be severe.

      Ford Coyote’s are priced quite high in comparison, to Chevies, but the support parts are moving along, though, again, costly.

      @ ‘PeteRR’… He didn’t say that he was going the LS route.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      You could build a short deck Windsor just as easily and its a bolt in since the engine dimensionally is the same as its 289, 260 and 221 forbears.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I too believe it should have Ford power if a Ford, Mopar if it’s a Mopar and GM if it’s a GM. Especially a resto-mod. A modern take or update on a classic car right? So why the SBC with a TH-xxx if it’s a Ford?

    I’m not opposed to oddity. A “rod” of any kind is so far from the original concept, it doesn’t really matter. Coddington did one with a Lexus 32 valve V8 didn’t he?

    I would love to have my first car back, an 81 Regal coupe with the 231 V6 and update it. But would I put an SBC in it? Nope, I’d go for another 3800, maybe even a supercharged one. The original carbed 231 in that car had maybe 110 hp, even a bump to 170 let alone the 220+ in the last series S/C engines would be fun…and all Buick.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Here’s a question…

    Is a Mopar engine into an AMC heretical?

    A Rambler American with a 5.7 Hemi sounds like loads of fun.

  • avatar
    Windy

    I tend to look at this from a somewhat deferent perch than most. To my mind the reason for a restomod as differentiated from a true hot rod is to have a car that looks like an old car that you have some affection for but would not want to risk your life in as a daily driver.
    One of the best I ever saw was a late 1930s Hudson Teraplane that mostly looked unchanged asside from something not quite right about the wheels and tires.
    In fact it had been given an all new suspension system with disc brakes antilock DCS (and I bet more than a few things that I have forgotten after a few years since seeing it and chatting to its owner who was a suspension engineer or perhaps taught the subject again I forget) air bags and a nice sound system. What he chose for his engine and transmission mattered very little to me so impressed was I over the engineering he had put into his ride. It was I think a BMW straight 6 from an early 90s M3. I recall from the short chat I had with him, by the side of the road at an overlook on the blue ridge parkway, that he told me he really wanted to modernize the car’s original drive train with fuel injection, modern ignition , and a supercharger but after looking into it decided it would be a bridge too far from an engineering stand point not least the problems attendant to the Teraplane early “electric hand” semi automatic transmission. I do wish I had taken some photos of his creation it was that impressive.

    I have no horse in the Ford, Chevy , MOPAR Race but there is something attractive to me about having an engine drive train in a resto mod that is from the same house as the builder of the auto I am modifying that said putting a Cadillac engine in a Buick would be just fine, as would putting a Lincoln drivetrain in a Ford country squire….. For a hot rod though anything goes.

  • avatar

    I’m a big fan of the SBC, one of the great engine designs ever and there is unquestionably a wider variety of performance parts like heads and manifolds available than with MOPAR and Ford engines of similar displacement. I’m also a big fan of crazy engine swaps, so you don’t have to necessarily have a brand matching drivetrain to get my interest. I like the V10 Viper powered Rolls Royce and Karmann Ghia that were at the Detroit Autorama this January. Still, just dropping a 350 Chevy into something shows very little imagination.

    See, I’m tired of LS swaps into early Corvettes and other Chevys. I’m the guy who would try to swap in a turbo or blown Blue Flame Six into a C6 Corvette.

    I also think that people who replace the Jaguar inline six in Jaguar XJ sedans with a SBC are foolishly spending money replacing the most reliable component in the car.

    If you’re doing a Ford, there’s nothing wrong with Ford’s small block V8. Parnelli Jones and Dan Gurney won a lot of Trans Am races with the 302.

    • 0 avatar
      GoCougs

      I would disagree a bit. The SBC design isn’t anything special – IMO the Mopar small block was a better design overall (bigger dia. lifters for higher lobe ramp, shaft-mount rockers for RPM stability, never had to resort to 4-bolt mains for bigger power, beefier timing chain cover, even the simple fact that the distributor didn’t have to be pulled to remove the intake manifold).

    • 0 avatar
      old5.0

      Actually, I would disagree with the parts availability. There’s just as much SBF stuff out there as SBC, if you know where to look.

      Additionally, while the SBC was a fine engine, there a certain aspects of the Ford that make it a superior power unit, such as the shallower valve angle. The difference is that Chevy’s policy regarding the SBC was one of continuous improvement, while Ford allowed the Windsor to stagnate in favor of introducing all new designs every few years. There was no serious factory effort to improve performance until the 80′s, and even that only lasted until the decision was made to scrap the pushrod engine and replace it with the Modular.

      However, that decision didn’t stop Ford engineers from sharing some of their more creative ideas with selected aftermarket companies, and the result of this sharing of ideas is that now, in unlimited heads-up drag racing, the SBF can go toe-to-toe with practically any internal combustion engine on earth and win more than it loses.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Here’s my point of view. If the original engine cannot or should not be reused the replacement engine should have some “connection” to the original engine/vehicle.

    Example: Want a modern V8 in your old Mopar? Go with the HEMI, easy choice.

    Want a modern V8 in your Ford? Coyote 5.0

    Chevy? LSX of course.

    Now let’s get more complex. I6 Mopar from the 40s or 50s? How about a built Slant Six? It is connected to the car in question by lineage from the mother company and the choice is more creative than either a SBC or a Hemi.

    Classic AMC, easy replace your I6 with the more modern fuel injected ancestor the Jeep 4.0 I6. If you must have a V8 go for the Hemi given that Chrysler purchased AMC in the 80s.

    Jaguar to Chevy V8? Done to death. I’d like to see someone do an Atlas I6 from GM in an XJ6 for two reasons. 1.) You’d be keeping an I6 car as an I6 car. 2.) It’s not a Chevy V8.

    Studebaker/Packard/Pierce Arrow/et al don’t know. If someone can figure out some tangential relationship to one of the current automotive manufactures I’d love to hear it.

    I love shows like Fast and Loud and Counting Cars but the thing that grinds my gears is the over reliance on LS Chevy V8s on those shows.

    Counting Cars is the worst offender. A few weeks back they did an old Ford F100 for a couple that would use it for towing a travel trailer. They dropped an LS motor in it. I almost threw my remote at the flat-screen. Chevy V8, really? They couldn’t have used a Ford Truck motor? 5.4V8 or heck even an Ecobost V6? The Count only seems to keep the original engine when the engine is historically significant like a Hemi Cuda.

    Gas Monkey (Fast and Loud) has a tendency to reuse the original engines and I applaud them for that. But I know that is more out of a tendency to save money than some sort of dedication.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Galaxie that Gas Monkey recently did he put a Coyote in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      Studebaker: one could replace a flathead straight six with one of their later V8s. Or maybe even an Avanti’s supercharged V8.

      It would be a stretch to put a Mercedes mill in a Studebaker merely because Studebaker dealers also sold Mercs in the 50s and early 60s. There was no product cross-pollination in that era, except for the fakey tri-star Studebaker put on the hood of one of their models for a year until Mercedes told them to cut it out.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Skink, your Studebaker posting reminded me that Studebaker/Avanti II and SBC’s are not so farfetched. You remember that when Nate Altman’s company resurrected the Avanti( around 1966), calling it the Avanti II, they used 300hp 327 Chevrolet motors. I don’t have a complete trail of what motors they used throughout, but I found a listing in a 1973 Road&Track showing the Avanti II using a 170hp version of the SBC 400 motor.

        Also, when Studebaker left South Bend,IN for Hamilton,ONT around the end of 1964, they contracted with GM to buy 195hp 283 SBC motors to replace the previous Studebaker-designed V8′s, and they used the SBC’s for their optional V8 until the end of all production in model year 1966.

  • avatar
    myheadhertz

    Diesel is an alternative. LOL!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Willys-Military-Diesel-Ratrod-Hotrod-/321165523448?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item4ac6f4f9f8#v4-41

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I rather see anything classic American with its original engine.
    When its a built vehicle say a jeep rock crawler with a 350, or a humvee with a 572, hell yea, GM all day.

    When you simply can’t do the original engine, it would depend on the setup of the vehicle and what one wants.

    Anything European, in my humble opinion, rip that mess out, not worth the headache and problems you may face versus a LSX

  • avatar
    Jimal

    The short answer is “no”.
    The longer answer is that while the small block Chevy and the LS Series are cheap, plentiful has plenty of aftermarket support, so do the small block offerings from Ford and Chrysler. It is just as easy to build up a 302 Windsor into a 347 stroker with GT-40 heads and intake and make some serious power, same for small block Mopars.

    If anyone watches “Fast N Loud” you’ll know what I’m talking about, but they recently did a restomod on a ’64 Dodge pickup. I wasn’t bothered by the Crown Vic front suspension, but the choice of a used LS3 and transmission bothered me. There should have been plenty of room for a 5.7/6.1 Hemi, or at the very least a 4.7 V8. They all have aftermarket support and would have kept the truck all-Mopar.

    There was one time when the small block Chevy as the only viable choice, but it isn’t the 1980′s anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Chevy in a Dodge, Gas Monkey style… didn’t bother the old/new owner. And that is the gist of it, most younger guys and the older generations that didn’t buy into the old Ford/Chevy/Chrysler dog fight, mostly don’t care what engine is in the vehicle of their choice.

      The trouble with those faux, marketing hype ‘new’ Hemi’s, is the price they want for them even from the recycle yards. As a crate engine, it is through the roof. Want a new crate MOPAR wedge engine, again, comparably, much more expensive as is the new crate hemi.

      I can’t sell, what people won’t pay for. Price point makes a difference in the decision of what to build and with what parts.

      Most owners just want results they can afford.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    An excellent post. It always bugs me to see a 350 in a 30s Ford street rod. For some reason, there seems to be this cottage industry of remanufacturing Chevy crate motors for decent prices. I would think that there would be just as strong a market for small block Fords and Mopars.

  • avatar
    skor

    I have nothing against the SBC, it’s a damn fine engine, but when I see SBC engines in places that never had one installed, I wince. It shows: 1) Laziness. 2) Lack of Imagination 3)Cheapness 4)All of the above.

    Show some imagination, guys. I’ve seen a million SBC cars…and small block Fords for that matter. Boring.

    If I had the time and cash, I’d get a clean early Falcon based Ranchero, and install a turbo Oz Ford I6.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    It’s very simple. The reason people use a SBC V8 in their builds is because they want something that is reliable, inexpensive, and can make great power in a very compact package.

    It’s really not that hard to understand.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I have nothing against the SBC. I like to see kept “All in the Family”. There is a very well done Model A hotrod in my town and it runs a Ford flat head V8. I love it because the entire vehicle is true to the era of the late 50′s early 60′s.
    I’m seeing a trend towards brand loyal mods and mods that are era specific. That means much more to me than looking into an engine bay and seeing one more SBC. Yawn….onto the next hot rod.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      I lived through that post war hot rod period. Flat head Ford’s were tossed when Olds and Cadillac brought out their new OHV V-8′s. Later Chrysler, Dodge, and Desoto hemi V-8′s were used, followed by SM BLK Chevy’s and Pontiac’s. So a period style hot rod from the day could have any of those engines, including the later Y-blk Fords or FE’s.

      Those old aluminum flat head Ford speed parts, went to the scrappers by the tons, as did the flawed engines.

      My first hot rod was a 40′ Ford coupe, with 51′ Merc’ engine, Lincoln tranny, and Columbia 2-speed rear end, with F-1 brakes. Later, I swapped that out for a 48′ Cadillac flat head engine, and still later a stroked J-2 Olds.

      Nobody blinked and eye at those combo’s as most were doing the same. It is funny how people who didn’t live in the day are the purists for a period they really don’t know anything about.

      The flat head Ford has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts lately, and I’m glad to see it. I just love the sound of high compression flatty going through the gears.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I like the guy I saw today who decided to use a 270 ci Super Red Ram Hemi with an old-school Offenhauser three-carb manifold and three deuces on top. When’s the last time anyone saw a Red Ram powered ANYTHING?

        • 0 avatar
          PeteRR

          At a car show a few years ago I saw a ’28 Dodge with a 440 BB and long ram intakes sticking out of the sides of the engine compartment.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I like that guy’s style.

            This little car show had a 30s Plymouth, but I didn’t get to see what motor it had. It looked pretty mean, though.

            And unfortunately the only T-bucket had a Chevy 350 in it, and thus wasn’t as interesting as the Red Ram or Olds 324 Model As.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Back in the day, it was gratifying to hear that the only way that a Ford could be made to run better was to put a Chevy engine in it!

    At the time, it was prety much the truth, too. Now a 383 or 426 hemi was a different story!

    Now, or anytime? If you are going to do a restoration, whether a Chevy, MoPar or Ford or whatever, the proper engine is a must, or it’s counterfeit any way you look at it. I have about as much respect for something like that as I have for trailer queens.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    As a youngster in the 70s-80s in Australia a 327 was considered a better engine than a 350, especially at the drags.

    I think it had something to do with the bore and stroke difference.

    • 0 avatar
      GoCougs

      Built to the same spec level the 350 is going to be the better motor.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        Reg; “Built to the same spec level the 350 is going to be the better motor.”

        How so?

        The comment “same spec” contradicts your assumption. If two or three different make engines have the same cubic inches, same flow, compression, same stroke/bore, carb, etc, there is going to be relatively little difference in Hp/Tq output between them. This is not rocket science or some sort of voodoo, these are simple heat engines(analog) and like builds will produce like results.

        Originally, Chevy had some advantages, stock, in terms of flow, due to Duntov’s influence in cam and head design resulting in the ‘Power Pack’ and F.I. heads.

        The others caught up fairly quickly, though, some like Ford, relied on the after market and builders do the job for them. That changed with the Cleveland and the Boss 302/429 and the cammer engines, but you paid dearly for those engines and heads.

        Not till the GT-40 head was made widely available did a decent Ford head become available for a reasonable price. You Ford guys correct me if I’m off, here.

        It always come down to price being the SM BLK Chevies advantage in terms of price per Hp. There are no inherent superior advantages with a Chevy PP.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          When the 5.0 was all the rage in the late 80′s early 90′s it had the advantage as there were about a dozen different heads available and having all those suppliers fighting for market share made them relatively cheap. As cheap or cheaper than the limited options available for the injected SBC.

        • 0 avatar
          GoCougs

          No contradiction; one would only rationally prefer the 327 if there were a gross advantage in its build – the bore/stroke relationship is irrelevant. There is a ginormous range in capability between those two engines over the life of their manufacture – from a 2bbl 150 hp (net) smog 350 to the fuelie 375 hp (gross) 327. Built to the same spec; induction, cam, heads, CR; the 350 is going to be the more powerful motor every time (heat engine power = f(VE % + displacement)). This is why the 350 replaced the 327. It’s the better more powerful motor.

        • 0 avatar
          old5.0

          Actually the first aftermarket Ford Windsor head was released around 1984 or so by a company called ARI. This head later appeared in the Motorsport catalog with a Ford part# as the J302. The J302 is actually a superior head to the GT40, but also much shorter lived and far more difficult to find today, not that that matters as far superior heads have come and gone in the meantime.

          A far better alternative to both was the TFS Street Heat, released in ’89. It cost little more than the other two, was essentially a direct bolt-on (although it did require a special header), and made incredible power from an otherwise lightly modded 5.0. It was so good, in fact, that many people still use it as the standard of comparison for all inline 20* valve SBF heads. Street Heat equipped Mustangs have gone 200 mph in the quarter, and the head is equally at home on a mild street car. Best of all, older cast iron versions can be had for chump change.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      I probably shouldn’t run with the big dogs but I did read something about this. It was semi-important to me at the time because I was building a 283. Smoky Yunick always talked about using the longest rod possible to reduce side load on the pistons/cylinders. The 265/283/and 327 have longer rods for the given stroke than the 350/307/305 etc. Essentially that allows them to withstand more punishment or so I’m told. I do know that if you do the calculations they are indeed a longer rod per stroke as a ratio. I am not Smoky so I don’t care to get into a peeing contest over whether that is relevant or not.

      Have a friend with a unique engine swap. 83 S10 king cab with a 302. Have not a clue what he did to get it in but it flat sounds good. I would swap my S10 for his in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Now days with modern digital engines without a name on the engine covers, most wouldn’t know what engine it is. The beauty of the old analog motors was in their performance jewelry and identifying architecture.

    The beauty of new engines, is very high performance with drive-ability, efficiency, low weight, lower emissions, easy tune-ability, and price point.

    And very important for states requiring a DEQ inspection, the new digital engines with proper downstream support, will pass DEQ. In Oregon, you can’t hop up anything newer then a 75′ model. So if you want to add performance to a mid to late Gen11 F- body or later Mustang, your going to have to go digital to be able to get tags so you can drive that beauty.

    Do I want to see an LS or any other engine but a Hemi in a 56′ Chrysler 300… No! Sacrilege! But for most of the rest, with tens of thousands of examples out there, do what you want with your car.

    Engines come and go, down the line, some new owner will put in the PP of his choice, and so it goes……..

  • avatar
    npbheights

    At least it lives up to its name – it is a General Motor. It is not a specific motor.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    there are a lot of great motors out there today, and there’s a lot of great performance bits for older motors. Long gone are the days of chucking an AMC 360 from a Jeep product becuase the Chevy 350 was easier to build. New aluminum heads are now common, as are intake manifolds, headers, and fuel injection. That being said, you might be able to make more power with the same parts infusion in an AMC 360, but you can rebuild a checvy small block with the change found under the couch cushions. It’s hard to beat the bang for buck of one of the most popular engines on the planet.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Prius or Tesla power just to mess with people :) C’mon guys, it’s a toy not your daily driver. In kinda of the same vein, why not do an article about the guys who do rebuilds/restores and all the hard work they do. I have a weakness for Smokey and The Bandit Trans-Am’s. Yes, there’s no logic in it. I see them on Mecum or Barret and drool. There’s never a story about the rebuild/restore shop and what that car means to the bottom line. Another angle: yahoos who ask restored prices on cars that need a complete rebuild and use auction prices as their reasoning. I’ll be quiet now.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    I know of no reason to prefer a GM 350 over a comparable Ford or
    Mopar engine, other than the greater availability of after market
    parts. It’s not difficult to build a fire breathing Ford 302/351 or
    similar Mopar engine. Personally, I like the GM 327 and the Ford 302.
    If I were restoring a vintage car, it’d likely be a ’69 or ’70 Mercury
    Cougar with a hot 302 under the hood. Of course, if I had that kind
    of money, why not buy something new which would outperform any retro
    rebuild in every possible way.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      If I wanted a vintage FoMoCo product with a small V8, it would be a ’65 Comet with the 289, done up for the highest RPM possible to make a screaming demon of a V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You guys think like, me well almost. I’d love to do a 69 Cougar and I’d have to do a 347 “5.0″ or the same power plant in a Comet, but I’d do the 64 instead of a 65.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Eh, I prefer the ’65 lines, but the ’64 Comet isn’t bad either.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Ah! The 64′ Comet Caliente hdtp, wanted one pretty bad, but finally chose the Old’s 442 convertible for my first ever new car.

          Today, I have a 66′ Comet ‘Caliente’ in near new condition with only 60,+++ miles with an FE 390″ with three deuces. Funny thing about the car, is nobody seems to know what it is. The best over heard comment so far… “At least it is not another Mustang or Camaro.”

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/3deuce27/

          • 0 avatar
            snakebit

            Didn’t know what a big block Caliente is? They’re probably the same crowd that sees a’67 Z28, and complains, ‘oh no, not another Camaro’. Luckily, I think they’re in the minority, and probably not in the TTAC demographic.

          • 0 avatar

            I’d drool over your Caliente… had a neighbor that had a 67 Caliente sedan, with 49,000 miles on it. She was the original owner, and she sold it about 15 years ago before she passed. I finally found it again, and the guy that owned it heard my story, and offered to sell it to me for cheap. I went and looked at it, and was just floored at how beat down it looked after those 15 years. It apparently sat in a field which ruined the paint, and was parked with the windows down which ruined the interior. It was no longer the pristine example I remember growing up, but a wore out old car.

            Mom and Dad also had a 65 Comet, and I drool over those as well.

            Count me in the crowd that doesn’t care to see 50 1st gen Camaros or the 50 68-72 Chevelles at a car show, I want to see different, even if its a stock Vega or Pinto.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      If I were building a Cougar resto-mod, it would be a faithful reproduction of the ’67 Group 2 street version. 341hp 289, ‘LeMans’ heads and cam,high rise intake with two Holley four-barrels, top loader four-speed and 4.41 gears in an otherwise base Cougar with GT suspension and front discs. Ford loaned one to magazines for road testing, and then chose to end the project because they thought there wasn’t a large enough market for a $4400 Cougar. By comparison, a ’67 GT350 would have been about $4200.

  • avatar
    99GT4.6

    I think the 350 swap is lazy and frankly boring. Sure it is a cheap engine to build but a small block ford 302/351 is pretty cheap too. Personally I hate seeing a 350 in a Ford or Dodge that is otherwise close to stock. Spend a little extra and put a manufacturer correct engine in it. In hot rods I don’t really care because they are heavily modded anyway. On another note, cost and availability of aftermarket parts aside, what was the best basic engine design? SBC, SBF, or SB Mopar? What are the pros and cons of each design?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The SBC is the worst of the bunch from a pure engineering stand point. It wasn’t designed with an oil filter in mind so from the oil pump unfiltered oil goes directly to the rear main bearing. The Ford and Mopar were designed after having an oil filter was the norm so the first stop for the oil after the pump is the filter. They also put the filter bypass valve in the filter so you get a fresh one with a fresh “spring” each time so the likelihood of the filter actually filtering the oil is much higher. Then there is the fact that the original SBC likes to leak oil from the valve covers due to the low number of bolts that are spaced out pretty far and the fact that the rail they seal against is at about the same level as the drain back holes. The SBF and SBM don’t have that problem.

      • 0 avatar

        Huh?

        The original 265 from 1955-57 didn’t have an oil filter, true, but they later ones, all go through the oil pump to the filter, to the cam and lifters, and finally to the main bearings. Its not a priority main oiling system. but none of the bearings get unfiltered oil.

        The filter bypass valve,which I believe is found on just about every engine on the market, is not replaced during a filter change, there is a spring in the bottom of all the filters on the market to keep the filter matrix sealed tightly inside the can itself, but that has nothing to do with the engine manufacturer.

        I agree that the pre 87 SBC are leakers, the later ones are not. The early style side-bolt covers are notoriously hard to seal correctly without resorting to some sort of RTV or fancy load-spreaders, but they will seal if you do it right. (I’m not saying I’m perfect at getting them to not leak – my own car leaks at the covers, leaks at the timing cover, and seeps a bit from the two piece rear seal, and all new gaskets on those areas- still has the factory GM head and intake gaskets on it)

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Have you removed the oil pump on a SBC? It bolts to the rear main cap and it’s output goes directly there. The oil filter mount contains the bypass valve, it’s the little disc you see to the side of the threaded portion. The spec does not call for a bypass valve in the filter. Pretty much every other engine moved that to the filter and is part of the design spec for the filter.

          The center bolt valve covers did fix the leaking problem by raising the rail above the drain back and having a much stiffer cover so the load is distributed equally.

          • 0 avatar

            Yep, last week as a matter of fact, and ran a pipe cleaner through it, guess where it goes, through a passage off to the side by one of the bolt holes. That’s the only passage in the rear bearing cap of a SBC. The oil feed for the main bearings is in the block, in the web.

            http://s1207.photobucket.com/user/waynep712/media/sbcrearloweroilgalley.jpg.html

            I’ve rebuilt more than a few SBC/BBCs.

            The filter bypass is more of a take-or-leave it item now, if you change the oil every so often and don’t run tar you’ll be fine. I’ve never had a single engine run into bypass as normal operation except for maybe a fraction of a second on startup.

            Back in the day it was probably necessary but considering this family has been out of production for 13 years, its a moot point with quality oils we have now.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say a Chrysler LA series engine (318/340/360) seems to me the best designed engine. There are drawbacks to the traditional SBC, and the SBF has packaging issues (302 and 351 are not the same dimensions)

      Then again I also like the Cadillac 368/425/472/500 family.

      • 0 avatar
        GoCougs

        I would agree – Mopar small blocks were overall the best. FWIW, the 302 and 351W were effectively the same dimensions save for block height.

        The Cadillac motors were interesting in their size (esp. 472 and 500) but suffered from a terrible valve train – only good for a max of 5,000 RPM which without a lot of head work and aftermarket valve train, limited performance potential.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes the 351W are the same length, but a 302 fits in my Explorer and a 351 does not without cutting the A/C suitcase out.

          I agree on the Caddy, built a 500 for a friend in a 78 Impala, it’s a low-revver but it sure will move that car quite easily. Wasn’t a bolt-in affair though.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    FWIW, I really think it’s up to the owner of the car to decide what goes into it. That said, there are a lot of advantages to the SBC and it would be hard to ignore them.

    When it comes to restomods, I prefer an all in the family approach. This goes for the individual GM divisions as well. There’s little I dislike as much as seeing a nice old Trans Am with a SBC in it. Or a 442 with any Chevy motor… By the same token, if that’s what it takes to get it on the road, then I can understand the logic…

    But, if I were building a bracket racer and all I had was a Fox body Stang and a LSx motor, I’d do it. Or building a 32 Ford 5 window coupe? SBC please. It’s almost like peanut butter and jelly, that combo.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Meh. It’s all relative. A buddy of mine in high school was a surfer in exile from South Florida and he loved Corvettes, but he was also a big NHRA guy and his dream car was an early ’70′s C3 with a blown 426 Hemi punching through the hood. Probably got no closer to owning that than he did to catching a wave in suburban Atlanta.

    If you’re restoring an old car with the idea of “Kustomizing” it (note George Barris spelling), the engine is more of an afterthought. The make isn’t going to matter so much, as long as you can dowse it in the appropriate levels of chrome. You’re going to want something cheap and reliable for that, because most of your budget is going into bodywork and interior styling.

    But if you’re building/restoring “a Ford” or “a MoPar”, you shouldn’t be considering “a Chevy” to power it, no.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The consensus is that Mopar powertrains were superior to the other domestics, so much so that they sometimes faced bans in competition.

    My father had a 1973 Monte Carlo Landau 350 sb w/ dual exhaust and 4 barrel. Purchased new, it was the only one of his cars that blew blue exhaust smoke on startup from the day he got it. A Pontiac man since 1957, that, his first Chevy, was his last GM.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I don’t blame anyone for swapping in an SBC of any flavor into their street rod. No, it doesn’t make me think they “cheaped out” because the quality of the parts is as good or better than the mill it is replacing, but costs less due to the economies of scale. The bang for buck can’t be beat, and the huge amounts of parts available ensure that street rod is on the street sooner and a lot more often.

    Kudos to anyone who can keep their off-make hot rod original and still drive the wheels off. But, not everyone has the will or the means, and I’ll never fault someone for wanting to drive their hot rod as cheaply and reliably as possible.

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    I wouldn’t want to build a hot rod with a 350 in it, even in a Chevy, I’d choose another Chevy motor, maybe a big block. This isn’t because I think it’s a bad engine, but just because as someone said they’re like belly buttons, everyone has one. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am when I like a car and look under the hood and see one. I don’t feel much more interested when I see a small block Ford, for that matter. I understand why you’d do it, and it has nothing to do with brand loyalty. I’d want something interesting and different, and whatever you say about the 350, and to a lesser extent a Ford Windsor engine, different and interesting are not words that apply to them.

  • avatar
    7402

    I don’t think about this often, but when I do visions of an LS9 in a 69-72 El Camino is what comes to mind.

  • avatar

    I’m not a big fan of the 350, just because its common as dirt engine swap fodder.

    Its funny the looks people give me when they ask what engine is in my ’77 Chevelle (305) they get their hopes up that its a 350, instead of the plebian 305, that can be tweaked to be a fun engine. (yes its cheaper and easier to build a 350 for power…) especially since its in a very non-traditional Chevelle with a somewhat dog of an engine. I like being different. I’d put in a 327, or a 283, or a 400 just because its not all that common anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      GoCougs

      The 350 though is a much much better motor than the 283 (much too small), 305 (bore much too small which hugely limits head/valve size) or 400 (rods too short, Siamesed cylinders) and a moderately better motor than the 327 (smallish, large journal 327s are rare). The 350, though “generic,” is going to yield a notably better ownership experience than those other engines.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    I don’t think there’s a single objection here to the SBC’s performance. Literally twenty comments have some variation of “it’s not novel” and “it’s not expensive enough.”

    What foolish reasons to discount SBC conversions. If you don’t like how it sounds, the performance, or the available transmission choices, fine, pick something else. But don’t hammer nails with a wrench just to be different.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    Well, best bang for the buck is always going to be some kind of Chevy 350. Cheap, plentiful, easy to mod, etc. . . So the short answer to Sutherland’s question is YES. But. . .

    On some cars it’s just been done to death. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been berated for considering keeping 6 cylinders in my ’68 Camaro. Never mind that my engine choice is the LL8, which in later trim is as much or more powerful than any STOCK engine in ’68 except the 396 and 427s.

    For me, it comes down to standing out in a crowd. At the shows, people hardly notice first gen F-bodies anyway, unless they’re building one or owned one when they were younger. A crate 350 swapped into a 69 Camaro? YAWN. I guarantee I’ll get a bigger crowd around my car, even if half of them are there to ask just what the hell is wrong with me.

    I’ll just tell them I couldn’t afford the Falconer V-12.


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