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Technical Fordillac, Chevroford, ect?

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by SloppyEggs, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. SloppyEggs
    Joined: Jan 10, 2012
    Posts: 197


    So I'm to the point where I need to figure out what engine/trans combo I want to run in my '50 shoebox. I've got the original flathead and 3 speed for it, but as far as highway cruising goes.... That combo just doesn't seem feasible on my budget. Even if I put a different trans behind the flatty, I don't feel like I'll have enough power to move the car at highway speeds.

    Moving on, I know a sbc is pretty straight forward as far as the swap goes. But I've been thinking I want to do something a little different. So some other ideas I had were: 331 caddy, nailhead, 348 Chevy.

    I know there's a lot more knowledge out there than what I have. So what do you all think? Do's, don't's, tips, or tricks?

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  2. lesbliss
    Joined: May 16, 2009
    Posts: 10

    from Canby OR

    Flatheads moved thousands of Fords millions of miles. No problem exceeding any US speed limit.

    Les Bliss
    volvobrynk likes this.
  3. I agree. Though maybe it exceeds his budget?

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  4. 34 Plymouth Hemi
    Joined: Apr 8, 2008
    Posts: 68

    34 Plymouth Hemi

    SBC is going to be the lowest cost engine to build anything else is going to cost more. Some choices significantly more!!!

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  5. hoop98
    Joined: Jan 23, 2013
    Posts: 1,362

    from Texas

    292 Ford? Here is a 292 with 113 heads, 272adv 224 .050, pretty cheap

    Attached Files:

  6. 5559
    Joined: Oct 25, 2012
    Posts: 362

    from tn

    sbc would be the easiest . but a hot flathead would be the way to go. Maybe play with the rear gearing until you get what you want - or go with a steep gear with an overdrive
  7. teddyp
    Joined: May 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,197


  8. High5
    Joined: Jul 2, 2012
    Posts: 185


    These are all great choices if you want a traditional ride. However, they come at a price. The least expensive of these would be the 348 Chevy. Replacement parts are now available. The Caddy and Buick are more hard to find.

    I understand why some would favor the SBC. It's plentiful, lots of options on the configuration, very inexpensive to install. If you decide to go that route, I would shy away from glitzing it up. Stay with stock painted valve covers, stock air cleaner, stock exhaust manifolds, etc. It's what would've been done back then.

    Good Luck on your project
  9. hoop98
    Joined: Jan 23, 2013
    Posts: 1,362

    from Texas

    Check with Kiwi 4D

    Attached Files:

    • 052.jpg
      File size:
      479.3 KB
    kiwijeff likes this.
  10. FrozenMerc
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 2,776


    Remember that the flathead is bolt in and will work with all the other components. A flathead will be the most money you ever spend for 200 Hp, but it won't nickel and dime you to death like an engine swap to anything else. You will end up fabing new throttle linkages, exhaust, engine mounts, trans mounts, coolant hoses, etc, etc, and everything else that is need to install an engine, not to mention all the trips to the auto parts store for this fitting adaptor, or that bolt, or this widget. Also, don't get to hung up on the "SBC is the cheapest to build" line. True, the components are often cheaper, but it costs the same to bore a cylinder or turn a crank, no matter what engine it is. The machine work will often eat up the lion's share of an engine budget anyways.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  11. gwarren007
    Joined: Apr 3, 2010
    Posts: 381


    300 -I6 with a T5
  12. Just*Bill
    Joined: Sep 16, 2013
    Posts: 4

    from Maryland

    Just to give you another opinion. I have a 350/350 setup with a '72 Nova rear with 278:1 gears in my '48 Ford and I personally love it to death. Great crushing setup with plenty of power. And like mentioned already, my options are endless and can be taken in any direction I choose. If I was to do something different I would explore the flaty options.
  13. why not keep it a ford. a nice 302. 351 or put a t-5 behind the flathead and drive it with class
    JeffB2 and volvobrynk like this.
  14. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,871

    Buddy Palumbo

    I agree - a small block Ford is a pretty straightforward swap also . We've installed 2 in the last year or so , a 302 & a 351W . Both are running c4 transmissions . Very simple , cheap & it's also keeping a Ford in a Ford !
    volvobrynk likes this.
  15. F91
    Joined: Dec 29, 2012
    Posts: 126


    I was just doing 70 in my 50 / 8ba on the way to Eastern Washington last weekend. Granted, I have the 3 speed OD, but if that's all you need, they are cheap, easy to install and a direct bolt in. Nothing, and I mean nothing is cooler than a flathead V8.
  16. Underdog1981
    Joined: Aug 27, 2013
    Posts: 32


    Got a nailhead rebuilt and 3 speed tranny for sale. Out of a 65 electra. Nailheads are expensive to get right but there are several add on parts out there.

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  17. SloppyEggs
    Joined: Jan 10, 2012
    Posts: 197


    Thanks for the input guys. Looks like I've still got a lot to mow over.

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  18. Dannyboy51
    Joined: Jun 25, 2015
    Posts: 43


    Just went through my 3 speed twice and got the B/W overdrive to work and wasn't impressed. Flatty has plenty of power but T5 is the way to go if you want to keep the nostalgic look without sacrificing highway travel. I keep up with the guys in my club just fine. My buddy's 49 has a 350/350 combo and it's cool cause he cruises at 70 no problems. I find it sacrilegious to go that route unless you had nothing to begin with. Too many Chevy motors in fords. I say 8BA all the way.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  19. Hemi! :D
    Who needs inner fenders anyway. ;)
    volvobrynk likes this.
  20. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,374

    from Arizona

    I'm a Ford/Ford guy, but that would be cool. I saw a 241 hemi in a shoebox at the recent Lk Havasu show. Looked like it belonged in there. Had inner fenders too. The most unique swap I've seen in a shoebox was a 389 Pontiac. Had to be the cleanest body on a shoebox I've seen w/a black paint job to match. The quality of the engine install matched the rest of the car too.
    kiwijeff and volvobrynk like this.
  21. steinauge
    Joined: Feb 28, 2014
    Posts: 1,507

    from 1960

    You can always use the flathead with a T-5. I believe I would pull the flatty apart and have a look at what is there before making a final decision. The question is can you do your own engine work? If so everything becomes much cheaper.If not I would buy a running SBC and trans,clean it up and put it in the car.
  22. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,431


    Wayne Jones has been driving his shoe with 331 power (tied to stock drive train) for more than 50 tears!

    kiwijeff likes this.
  23. Way back in 1959 My dad owned a old 51 ford 2 dr woodie wagon. Looked like the mod squad car. Except it was rotten wood and cancer rust. Flathead 8 with overdrive. It had tall oversize 16 in knobby tires on the back. And he used it to make trips between Gary Ind and Ne Arkansas. We where in Illinois and a new caddy passed us. And then slowed down. Dad passed them and they passed dad and slowed down again. made dad mad so he went around and held the pedal to the floor and outran the caddy all the way from around Benton ill to Cario ill. We had to stop in Cario for gas and the caddys occupants couldn't believe that a flathead would run that fast. Now If it was me I would swap in a nailhead. Ive got two. one a 322 has a offy adapter to adapt it to a flathead trans. I pulled it from a 52 ford Pk. the other is a dual carb 401. 424.jpg

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