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Hot Rods In your opinion what is the best all around cubic inch combination for a hot rod?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Roothawg, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. 327-sbc

    118 vote(s)
  2. 283-sbc

    29 vote(s)
  3. 265-sbc

    1 vote(s)
  4. 427-sbc

    9 vote(s)
  5. 302 Ford

    16 vote(s)
  6. 390 Cadillac

    10 vote(s)
  7. 390 FE- Ford

    5 vote(s)
  8. 354 Chrysler

    6 vote(s)
  9. 392 Chrysler

    20 vote(s)
  10. Flatheads rule

    59 vote(s)
  11. 389 Pontiac for Abone

    12 vote(s)
  1. thintin
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 223


    Biggg! cube chevy, in something that don't weigh hardly nuthin'....don't care what particularly.....oh yeah, should be traditional.
    Montana1 and Roothawg like this.
  2. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,175


    Any early hemi preferably the Chrysler. But could be swayed into others that I have no clue about other than reading about on this site.
  3. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,451

    from Berry, AL

    Small block Chevy will almost always be the cheapest choice, parts are cheap because there are so many variations of them. Small block Ford would be second, not as many parts, but still a good selection.

    When you get out of the mainstream, parts start to get higher and harder to find. The local parts store probably won't have a starter for an early Olds or Chrysler Hemi or Ford Y block on the shelf, But most Ford and Chevy stuff they'll have more than one. Something to consider is how much and how far will you be driving it? Staying fairly local, pick what you like, longer distance trips I want something I can get parts for today and not have to wait on UPS or FedEx.

    A small block up to a 351W Ford or 350 Chevy will do all you want it to, and still be able to find parts when it breaks.
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  4. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,262


    So when I am talking best all around cubic inch, it should be a good daily driver, use pump gas, be able to make long hauls and still not kill you with 4 mpg.
  5. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,310

    lumpy 63

    My daily driver 56 has a 406 in it with a 5 spd. It can pull down a little over 20mpg in 5th if I keep my foot outa it...which isn't often.
  6. I will always lean towards a 327 small block. An early 350 is a good go to. I hate stroker motors and I will never build one. Ive had later small blocks like the 90's LT-1 in cars and those engines belong in the dumpster with that Opti spark system. If I was wanting silly power and not worried about looks I would be building a LS engine. Your gonna spend money like building a oddball old V8, but your going to have the power., reliability and mileage. I have a buddy with a hotter new Camaro, pushes 700hp to the tires and still gets in upper teens in town and low 20s on the highway and is pretty docile just cruising around. At idle the cars shakes with its lumpy cam. Only problem is an LS engine for the most part is ugly and not traditional in any sense.

    The compromise would be to build a 350 roller motor with tri power or dual 4s for a good look and then back it with a tremec 5/6 speed manual or a modern overdrive trans to get the highway legs under the car.
    -Brent- likes this.
  7. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,882

    from So Cal

    Wow, over 40% votes for the 327 Chevy. That surprises me, lot's of sbc hate around these parts. Next highest total is <20% for the Flathead Ford. Again, I'm surprised.
    Truckdoctor Andy and Roothawg like this.
  8. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,262


    I had just thought originally about building a 327 using the Dart SHP block with a lumpy .500ish lift hyd roller, 6.125" rods, forged pistons, use stock GM roller lifters and spider, Scat crank and AFR heads. Paint it all body color and throw a couple of carbs on it. Oh and it will have Tremec 5 speed behind it.

    Just FYI, AFR will not sell you a set of heads without that giant AFR milled in the ends of the heads. They told me it was against company policy. I don't want 6" block letters....sorry.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
  9. ratrodrodder
    Joined: Feb 19, 2008
    Posts: 71

    from Baltimore

    I've got the block, but with a standard crank. I don't think the heads I have will allow me to dress it as a 327, but perhaps @Dave G in Gansevoort can chime in, as they used to be his. Planning on putting EFI on it, so it may take some clever plumbing to make it look 327-ish... Still don't have a car to put it in, of course, but I'm looking at it as putting the horse before the cart for once ;)
    Roothawg and chevy57dude like this.
  10. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,736

    from Minnesota

    340 Mopar.
    mctim64 likes this.
  11. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,223


    I guess for me it also comes down to "all around budget". There have been a few recipes for the 427 SBC, but they seem to have settled on using a 4" stroke. And that's out of the SHP's normal range even with offset rod bolts. Not saying you can't, but many don't. So most are built on the Iron Eagle if you stay with Dart. So you now have BBC cam bearings, raised cam, spread pan rails, and they all add dollars. If you price it out, it's a decent price bump. And if you build a mild one, you can get similar performance for a lot less. But as said, build what makes you happy. I can relate to that as I build a lot of things certain ways because that's what I want, even stuff that doesn't show.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
  12. gsjohnny
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Posts: 105


    if you want a car thats drivable local and h/way, find a motor where the stroke is more than the bore. gotta love that torque.
    if you want a car that will be racy, find a motor where the bore is more than the stroke. gotta love that rpm.
    or go electric.

    fwiw, back in the 60's one of the car rags had an issue dedicated to the future of electric car. thinks the pages were green. anybody remember it?
  13. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,308


    Another favorite is the 65-66 Pontiac 389 with a set of 1967 670 heads and a tri power using Holley carbs.. This with forged rods and flat top forged pistons, stock single points distributor with a hidden CD box.. Turbo 400 transmission Hurst Autostick I shifter, 3.23:1 rear end...
    lumpy 63 likes this.
  14. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,368

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    I have been an Fe Ford man for almost 50 years , but I have also have had fun with big and little Chevy's . Mopars and Pontiac . All these motors are great , just remember the more cubes the more fun there is! lol Larry
    Montana1 likes this.
  15. jockeyshift41
    Joined: Mar 23, 2020
    Posts: 82

    from Florida

  16. Ericnova72
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 430


    Either Hot Rod or Car Craft did the 383 vs 377 SBC build 20 odd years ago, with both engine set up to be as much alike as possible except for bore and stroke....same cam, same heads, same compression ratio, same intake and carb, same headers.
    Aluminum head, 10.5:1 compression, near 500 Hp engines from what I remember

    There wasn't 10 hp and 12-15 ft'lbs of torque difference between them. The 383 was just that much torque better at the 4500-ish rpm torque peak, the 377 was just that small amount better Hp at the 6700-ish rpm HP peak

    High torque IS NOT dependent on long stroke...big cubic inch is torque, plain and can't cheat it by going long stroke and small won't make any real difference in torque to the short stroke, large bore combination. Case in point 305" SBC...long stroke, tiny bore in comparison to the cubic inch volume of the ngine....still makes poorer torque than the larger bore 302 Ford or 307" chevy.

    Old wives tale that long stroke in a american V8 automatically equals big torque.

    The highest rated factory muscle car torque engine was the 455 had one of the the shortest strokes of all the 427"+ big blocks of the era.
    lumpy 63 and ekimneirbo like this.
  17. Lil32
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 1,433


    out here in Aussie,I run 350 Chev,600 Holley,turbo 350,3.25 rear
    a bit of get up and go and reasonable mileage
    on a long cruise mate and I fill up at gas station,we did same mileage
    he has blown 351 Ford in 40 Willys and hands over $60
    costs me $30
    his sounds tuff on cruise nites
  18. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,262


    Interesting facts.
  19. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,269


    Best means different thangs to different guys.
    427 FE or Cammer if you were a lottery winner.....(already said the Hemi)
    I believe studies show the "magic number" for a small block engine seems to be327!
    Most Shivel-lay guys swear its the best GM engine...EVER!
    Ford guys stroke more SBF to 331 (30 over 302 with a 3.25crank)....just sump'in about that 3.25 stroke!o_O
    MoPar guys love their 340 SBM.........and on and on.
    I guess it comes down much money you wanna spend! IF you love the screaming/high winding stuff then do the 400 Chevy block with the 327 crank and all the high dollar valve train stuff and shoot-the-moon!
    If NOT unlimited budget....get the biggest engine you can afford and........(cam accordingly!:)) NO NEED for a smooooth iding something-or-other in a hot rod. IF so get a Prius)
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
    thintin and Lil32 like this.
  20. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,986

    from Dublin, OH

    The 392 Hemi in my roadster has proven to be quite entertaining!
    Of course the manual transmission and the 4:10's out back add to the fun, IMG_0228.JPG
  21. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,262


  22. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,466

    from Brooks Ky

    This exactly what you DON'T want. A $9500 327 that makes power in the upper rpm ranges and has no low end torque. You only get astronomical hp out of a small (naturally aspirated) engine by giving up the bottom end (driveability) torque. I didn't see them even mention anything below 4800 rpms. Saying that it is a steetable engine is simply BS.........
  23. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,262


    Very few articles written covering the smaller cubic inch builds. I am sure that they have more in the heads than I will have in the entire build.

    That is what drives my question about larger cubic inch build for the same money. Easier on parts to make the same or more HP.
  24. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 2,746

    Speed Gems

    I'm not a Ford guy but if i recall the 302 Ford and the 327 Chevy both have the same 4" bore so, if you stick a 3.25 stroke in a 302 block and bore both blocks 0.030 you should come up with the same identical dimensions. Oh and if you do the math it comes out to 331.6 ci which would round up to 332.:D
    Roothawg likes this.
  25. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,310

    lumpy 63

    I have always had a soft spot for little engine's . whatever the make ... 221 -260 Ford , 273 Mopar, 265- 283-302 Chevy. But in the real world for drivability and seat of the pants fun, give me some cubic inch's . I have lots of experience running 302 Chevys in the past 30 years in NHRA F stock . In a fun street car cubic inch's rule.
    Truckdoctor Andy and Roothawg like this.
  26. 53truck.jpg I've run BBC's in heavy cars and small blocks in light cars. One time a really screwed up by putting a 301/350 turbo/Lincoln 2.79 ratio 9 and 3/8ths rear. It all went into a 53 F-100 with a frame clip. It was a pig below 4000 RPMS. I learned my lesson on that build.
    I have a soft place in my head for Pontiac V/8 engines. The Pontiac engine in my 34 coupe gives me great pleasure with minimal hassle. It's based on a 1957, 347 bored .125 to 370 cu in. It's a short stroke, big bore engine but being a Pontiac [even tho it has forged crank and rods] I don't let it stray much over 6000 rpm.
    I have enough stuff to build a 301 sbc. If my Pontiac grenades, I'm gonna build it for my coupe. Forged crank, Oliver small journal rods. and to start, a pair of 186 heads until I can afford some AFR aluminum heads.
  27. 19Eddy30
    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,007

    from VA

    That is what drives my question about larger cubic inch build for the same money. Easier on parts to make the same or more HP.[/QUOTE]

    Mild SBC 416 - 434 9:5:1 -10:1 .560 Hyd R cam ,keep rpms to around 6000, between $6,-7,500. Long block with intake . Easy on parts . Grind on heads add power pack sticker to stock valve covers to look like 327.
    Tune correctly & you be Happy!

    Sell your aftermarket block to help fund a engine,
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
    jimmy six and Just Gary like this.
  28. engine138
    Joined: Oct 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,562

    from Commack NY

    May have to add to your poll
  29. thintin
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 223


    most any big block chevy in stock form will reward a guy with plenty of thump under the stock form, even on a stock rebuild for not a lotta bucks, in that case. Point being, a big inch stock GM installed in the kind of vehicles referenced here is plenty of reliable power, and it ain't even gotta work hard. IMHO....(humility disclaimer, as required.)
  30. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,818

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I'm more of a custom guy, than a hotrodder, but I think, for a FUN, lightweight hot rod, a 302 SBC would fit the bill. High winding, making good HP, not over the top, not so much torque it is too wild, coming off the line, losing control. But once you get it going, watch out! Traction control wouldn't be a huge issue.

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