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Let's Build a 265 Chevy V8!!!!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JeffreyJames, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    I have decided to go ahead and get the exact engine that I want in my '35 coupe instead of screwing around with the late 350. After a month of searching I found a 1956 265 2bbl engine relatively near me from a fellow HAMB member. The engine is going to need a complete rebuild as it has been sitting for nearly 35 years in a garage on an engine stand.

    What I would like to know is the tips and tricks for making this thing a warm little motor. I am not looking for huge horsepower just a little bump while making it reliable and cool sounding while also sticking to a 56-59 period. I would like the outward appearance to be of a stock Corvette engine freshly plucked from a wrecked car. I have searched and read everything available on the HAMB concerning these engines and have also went through all of my older magazines.

    I want to know about all the tricks and parts that guys were using back then. Anything you have to offer is welcome!!!

    What I have to use thus far....

    --'59 Corvette 4bbl intake with matching WCFB carb and all the dressings.
    --Original Hurst Cradle Mount
    --Crager or Offy tranny adapter to a '39 Ford

    I plan on having the engine rebuilt, decked, machined, etc and perhaps punched out .125 to a 283 which I believe was a common thing to do in the day. I also know about the rear cam journal being notch which is something that I hope the machinist knows more about then I do. What else are you guys running???

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    Also does anyone have this book? I found this ad in a mid 50's to early 60's Hot Rod magazine. I think it could help a bunch!!!
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  2. kickstarts
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    kickstarts Member

    I'm sure you know this, but when they first came out, the 265 had some block problems and I believe that prompted a recall from the factory. I would strip the engine and make sure the block was good before I dumped any more money into it.

    Good luck with your build!
  3. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    Thanks for the heads up on the block issue. Did those problems carry through into 1956? I'm definitely not spending any money until I know this one is ready to go.
  4. FritzJr
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    FritzJr Member

    I do not know of any generic block problems with the ’56 blocks. I believe they were squared away by then. Just be sure to do a good inspection on any engine that is that old, even if you think you know its history.
    Also, remember that the 265 had differences in the oiling system as compared to the later engines. You must either use later cam bearings and revise the oil passages, or you must use a cam and a distributor which both have the proper oil notch. You can easily modify later parts to have this notch.
    If you have a good block that will still clean up at .040 or .060, I would not go out to the .125 overbore. The small gain in cubic inches will not be worth the risk of getting the cylinder walls too thin.
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  5. MarkzRodz
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    MarkzRodz BANNED

    Does it have an oil filter boss ?
    FritzJr,,,I thought that distributor oil groove info also applied to the early Big Blocks.
    I built a 265 a few years ago,,you do not want bigger than the factory L-79 Cam. Also later 305 HO heads would give it some better flow.
  6. yblock292
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    yblock292
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    just built one for my 50 shoebox, bored .030, 2 barrel , little cam, sweet motor , be sure and run the original distributor ( oiling issue)
  7. Herdez
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    Herdez Member

    Very cool buildup. I've taken the same idea in a modern way. The 305, its just a stroked large journal version with a roller cam.

    1956 Hot Rod article. click

    I believe Edelbrock came out back then with the tri carb setup and finned valve covers. they still carry the 2nd design tripower intake for the bigger 283 heads and dual 4 intake. Theres also 56 corvette fuelie pistons -if you can find them -Eggy?, dual carb set up and early Duntov cam.

    Ive seen early 55-56 heads and they have tiny ports so I would use late model power packs 57-67 years. Upgrade to 1.94 valves, use modern "yellow" ls6 springs and comp cams 787-16 retainers - no machine work required. Get full roller rockers. You'll want the compression around 9.5:1 or more. I prefer 11 to 1. lol!

    I dont know who makes the early Duntov but Elgin grind makes the fuelie 30-30. Comp Cams also has a nice modern 282s.

    Late model 327 rods are stronger.

    Also the cameo pickups used the hydromatic "Hydrostick" behind them.

    Accel dual point conversion kit.

    I always like and enjoy reading build ups with these small motors so my replies tend to be a lil bit long.:D
  8. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    Noted. I thought that the original 283 were a 265 block with a 3.875" bore? I guess I could stick to the 265 since I am only shooting for 200-225 hp which is well within the original Corvette rating.

    Is a Corvette 225 cam good to use? I heard the 097 are way too much for a driver.

    Don't all 56's have the canister type oil filter on them? Is that what you are talking about?

    Really? I had a Mallory Dual Point Maganaspark I was hoping to use!!! Can I notch or rework that one so the oiling issues are cleared?
  9. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member


    By all means lay it on me brother!!! All that info is good to know....or atleast reread because it's above my pay grade:D:D. I'll make sense of it I'm sure. I heard that the Power Pack heads but I am not really sure I will find them afford ably soon.

    I almost picked up a Weiand 4x2 intake last weekend but I figure that with a car where most people will never see the engine and that I plan on driving daily to work and such the 4bbl Corvette intake would be the way to go!

    Thanks for all the cam choices and the heads up on 327 rods.
  10. squirrel
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    squirrel Member

    if you really want to keep it traditional....

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  11. Herdez
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    Herdez Member

    The oil filter? no oil filter just do oil changes sooner. The huge canister seen in most photos I think was optional. They dont do a very good job anyway. So if you have it leave it out.

    Power packs is just another name for 57 - 67 283 heads. They all use the same configuration design as the famous 57 283 fuelie heads otherwise known as power packs. I can post photos of them if you want. I have early and late versions.
  12. Herdez
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    Herdez Member

    Your the man...with this classic articles. Anymore pre 56 articles??
  13. squirrel
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    squirrel Member

    only the 4bbl 283 used the power pack heads...the 2bbl engines had similar heads with larger chambers.

    I think I have part 2 of the story, I'll see
  14. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    Wow, that article was mighty helpful. I guess a little head work or as Herdez stated the Power Pack heads is almost necessary. The Cad Valve springs with a spacer is a cool trick too!

    The addition of a Triple Deuce intake was something I figured was standard fair. It seems only logical to change things like that before getting into the heavy work. The numbers that they pulled were definitely where I would like this engine to run when it's in my coupe.

    Herdez, thanks for the heads up on the heads. I would like to keep the staggered bolt valve covers so the 57 heads would be my only option which makes them hard to find right?

    Thanks Guys! Keep it coming!
  15. squirrel
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    squirrel Member

    mid year 59 is when they changed the valve cover bolt pattern. I have a pair of 58 pp heads but I also have a 265 to build....so I'm hangin on to them. Some of the early PP heads fetch $$$ on epay
  16. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    Well at least I have another year to look for which makes them a little easier to find right....didn't think so. Definitely cannot be spending big buck on heads but who knows, I might get lucky!

    Can't wait to see your build up of a 265 Squirrel. We should do a comparative article on how the Idiot (myself) and how the professional (you) would build the same engine!
  17. Don's 55
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    Don's 55 Member

    Nice article, I'm saving the info for my 265 pp.
    Thx
  18. HEATHEN
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    HEATHEN Member

    I recently sold a pair of '59 power pack heads with casting dates of Jan 14, '59, and they were still staggered, so the change came some time after that. Forget the "30-30" cam for a 265, unless you're running 4.56:1 gears. There's a guy out west that occasionally auctions '55-'56 camshafts reground to the specs of the '56 265/225 hp dual quad solid lifter engine, complete with rear oiling notch. If you want the early look, use a pair of 1957 2 bbl. heads. They're still affordable, and although the chambers are larger than the Power pack heads, all '57 castings got the enlarged intake ports, and you can run the early stagger bolt valve covers. Just make sure the pistons you use are of the "valve relief" variety; '55-'56 engines, as well as some of the replacement piston sets, didn't have them, and a higher than stock lift cam may run the valves into the piston crowns. Also, be aware that '55-'57 oil pump driveshafts were a different length than the later engines---a friend found out the hard way that you can't use the later shaft and expect any oil pressure! If your crank's bad, any forged 283 crank should interchange, but the counterweights on the later cast 283 cranks will hit the bottoms of the cylinder bores.
  19. Shaggy
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    Shaggy Member

    Good luck, i own that 1957 don francisco book, wish i could scan it for ya

    One of the big things it talks about also is how you are better off junking the 56 heads and going to '57's aparently they wernt even worth a crap even with a port job
  20. skunx1964
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    skunx1964 Member

    the 305 is a completely different motor..... now the 307, thats a bored and stroked large journal 265.... jefferyjames, contact bass, hes building a killer lil 265 and has done oil system mods to update it to later specs if i remember correctly.....
  21. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    More good stuff to consider thanks!!!

    Well if you ever get the chance I am sure that we all would love to see it!

    I did contact Brian but I did not get a response. His 265 in his '29 is the reason I fell in love with them. That motor just looks perfect in that car! I'll see if he contact me in the next couple days and post what I find or he may just post on this thread.
  22. HEATHEN
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    HEATHEN Member

    Since you mentioned the 307, Howard Johannsen of Howard's cams made the first one, boring a '55 265 .125 and stroking the crank to 3.25. He also adapted shaft rocker arms from a Y block Ford to it---apparently, he didn't think that the ball and stud rockers would hold up to high performance use!
  23. Ruiner
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    Ruiner Member

    Jeffrey, I have a pair of 305 heads that I'd sell ya cheap, but you're all the damned way over in NC...but then you'd lose your staggered valve cover pattern...I love the idea of sticking to stock or aftermarket era specific parts, it's gonna turn out beautiful...
  24. skunx1964
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    skunx1964 Member

    lol, so did i, and no response. must be a top secret project.... :)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  25. belair
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    belair Member
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Thanks for that article Squirrel-it was without question the best dyno test areticle I have ever read.
  26. 1934coupe
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    1934coupe Member

    I saw this post a little late but having built a lot of 265s for original cars and sold these motors, you would be much better off with a 283 from 57 to 67. Money wise it will be less expensive. 265s require oil pan AND gaskets that fit 265 only. Same with the distributor. 283 you can get stuff that fits from 57 to 67 easy.

    Thats my two cents.

    Pat
  27. krusty40
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    JJ - I have the 097 cam in the 283 (+.060) my '40. Don't seem like too much to me. Hard to beat the solid lifter rattle in a real hot rod. vic
  28. RacerRick
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    RacerRick Member

    Cool. I have a complete 55' 265 I was thinking of selling. Maybe I should keep it and do a vintage build on it one day.
  29. HEATHEN
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    HEATHEN Member

    That's 1955 engines only. The OP said that he's got a '56 engine. Sure, it still needs the early distributor with the flat on the side of the housing, but I still see them cheap at nearly every swap meet I attend.
  30. JeffreyJames
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    JeffreyJames Member

    Yeah I am definitely sticking with the 265 now that I forked over some cake to get it. It is a 1956 2bbl engine that is complete from Carb to pan. It has the dizzy on there but I was hoping to use my Mallory. Can that be done?

    Vic, your car does sound good so I'll keep that mind. I just have been reading that the 097's are over cammed for drivers but you certainly drive the shit out of your car so I trust you.....well about cams at least haha.

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