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History SBC and Traditional Rods

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by panhead_pete, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. panhead_pete
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,537


    Clearly there was/is a lot of love for OHV caddys, nailheads etc etc and they were used pretty early on. That being said when did SBCs start to be used and accepted?
  2. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,734

    from Minnesota

  3. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,187


    Id say the first 55 Chevy that got wrecked the buzzards tore that thing apart and jammed that small block in a roadster
    SlamIam, Driver50x, nunattax and 16 others like this.
  4. hrm2k
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 3,695


    August 1960 Hot Rod Magazine had an article about Wally Parks putting an SBC in his Comet

  5. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,061

    Mike VV
    from SoCal


    SlamIam, Stogy and VANDENPLAS like this.
  6. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,065

    from Indiana

    Might even have been '54. I'll bet there were some wrecked '55's in September or October of 1954 when the new cars came out.
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,677


    I would say as soon as they became available some one jammed it into a spot where it did “belong “ lol!

    a love / hate relationship with the “belly button” motor.

    is it common?

    But let’s face it a engine that’s been around from 55 to basically when it was discontinued in the mid 90’s essentially unchanged a million companies making speed parts for them, cheap to build , cheap to run tons and tons out there why not !!!!!

    and now the new gen sbc is taking over again simply due to volume of units produced and cheap and easy to make go fast.

    I’ve always tooled around the idea of building an everyday car 50’s-60 ‘s car)with a mid 90’s sbc tbi injection plain and simple but dead nuts reliable summer and winter fun car with all around $2 bucks into the drive train!
  8. 48stude
    Joined: Jul 31, 2004
    Posts: 1,140


    The Tony LaMasa roadster (AKA the Ricky Nelson Roadster) Had a 56 Corvette 265 .Was in the Hot Rod Gang movie. Probably not the first ,but pretty famous. It's Groovy Man!

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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  9. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,570

    from Raytown Mo

    Want to say the dream truck had one in 54 as there’s probably about a billion threads on this.

    when did it become more main stream and common? I’d guess 57-59 when the junk yards really got a good stock of them and the Flathead guys got tired of looking at tail lights
    SlamIam, Baron, -Brent- and 4 others like this.
  10. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,937

    banjeaux bob
    from alaska

    I think there were a couple of articles about folks getting their hands on crate motors .
    Stogy and High test 63 like this.
  11. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,047

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    SBC/first Chevy OHV-V8 first hand. ! 1955 SBC
    Having been a teen very much into cars in the mid 50s, I was forming ideas of hot rods an engines ,getting ready to build something for my self.
    Dad has already told me,my Sister was going to get a car for high school,but I was a man,had to get my own...........

    Dad enjoyed going each year to the grand debut of the new car models at the dealerships. In the late 40s an through the 50s,he took me along. It was a big deal thing an each brand dealer put on a bit of a party,to show off. Dad never wanted to buy right then,,he told me always give brand new things time to show if they worked right yet !!
    His time to buy new car,was always just before the newer model came out=could get a better buy $ wise.
    Off we go to buy a new car just before the new models for 1956 were do.
    Dad's eye was on getting a Station Wagon,to used for work. He looked at a number of brands,got the best deal from Chevy dealer,who had Nomad, 2 door Wagon with V8 autom. left over an made a deal on. WOW pretty wagon,I loved it. I took my driver test in that later.
    But Dad was not happy with it,return it to dealer 5 times,trying to fix smoking an oil leaks in 265 V8. On 6th time,the Dealer put a new engine it in it,no more smoke or leaks,it was 283 V8 < the 1956.
    No one I knew in 54 or 55 thought of SBC V8 as a good engine,but they did get pass the new bug blues over a year later.
    SBC never even made it on my list for engines to look for,as power for my hot rod build in the late 50s.
    Both to new an hard to get in the late 50s an pile of crap. So many other OHV V8s looked great,Cadys,Olds,Ford,Study,Hemi. SBC was not really in the running tell end of 50s. Sure some out of crashed car would of been grabbed,but really it would of been odd freak thing to find SBC used in hot rod in 54 or 55,by end 56 maybe,by 57 a little more likely.
    Fact as I know it,us hot rod builders of late 50s,most ,I think did what I did,look for any Over Head Valve V8 for free,we could find,an only be a tiny bit fussy about what brand it was.

    . .
    Years latter I used SBC power in many of my race cars.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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  12. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,219


    Gary Guinn's '33 five window, picture taken at Bonneville in 1955. I think this is the best looking '33 five window ever.

    Attached Files:

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  13. sdroadster
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 328


    In 1963 dad bought me a 47 Ford long door coupe for $150.00. The flathead was sick, and I ran the poor thing hard. We went to a nearby junk yard and priced motors. They wanted $250 for a 283 Chevy, and $50.00 for a 303 Olds. We bump started that old Ford all summer because I couldn't afford a Offenhauser starter change over that fit the Olds. We were kids, so long ago...
  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,872


    didn't take them long...

    504640, keith27T, deuceman32 and 12 others like this.
  15. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,506


    I remember reading that Racer Brown and Frank McGurk got pre-production or engines from the initial run to begin further development, I bet Edelbrock and Isky did too. Those engines undoubtedly found their way into hot rods for additional “testing”. But the average guy probably didn’t start using the little Chevy for a year or so. With a new bellhousing bolt pattern it had to take a little while to get adapters out so they could be dropped into all those old Fords too.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    dana barlow, LOU WELLS and Stogy like this.
  16. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,072

    scrap metal 48

    They're still used even today(65 years); in all my builds....
  17. sdroadster
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 328


    I don't mean to hijack this thread, but as long as we are on the SBC subject... I remember years ago a 6 volt starter being advertised for a 265-283 Chevy engine in the back of Hot Rod Magazine.. I remember the add claimed to solve the electrical issues associated with an engine transplant. It was probably Honest Charlie or some such.. I have often looked at very original 1946-1948 Ford coupes, and thought it would be a shame to cut into the wiring some Early Ford V8 Club member worked on. I understand the limitations of 6 volt systems, but it might be kinda cool in an effort to save an original car. Plus it seems to irritate folks. I like that.
    bchctybob, Atwater Mike and LOU WELLS like this.
  18. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,570

    from Raytown Mo

    You can run 12 volt on 6 vok wires most of the time. I’d be more concerned trying to get the motor good spark on 6 volt than a starter.
  19. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,785

    from oregon

    Some Edelbrock/Isky small block Chevy background.

  20. panhead_pete
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,537


    Thanks all! Great to learn a little more, I was initially thinking it would have been the early to mid 60s allowing for cars to appear in the wrecking yards.

    Did auto gearboxes start to get used about the same time or use GM 3 speed manuals or adapters to 39 Ford boxes or ????
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  21. Part Timer
    Joined: Mar 24, 2020
    Posts: 26

    Part Timer

    I’d enjoy hearing more from those that were there and on the ground at the time. More please!

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    panhead_pete and Luke stone like this.
  22. greaser1
    Joined: Sep 11, 2006
    Posts: 4


    I second that

  23. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,980


    Dana's got some good stories!
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  24. Lloyd's paint & glass
    Joined: Nov 16, 2019
    Posts: 2,727

    Lloyd's paint & glass

    First off I'm a SBC guy til the end, but i read that the 265 was nothing but a headache for Chevrolet when they introduced it in 55. Plagued with issues and recalls, little better in 56. Of course i wasn't around then, but was that the case?
  25. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike

    I still had my 2 large flatheads in '56, (296" & a 304") but was looking ahead to OHVs.
    Cad was first choice, Chrysler hemi 2nd. (Hemi would have 'hung out' all over my fenders, so when friend Kent Onlan began to install a "Chevy V-8" (265) in his '40, I was there. Cragar adapter and Chev stick flywheel came from Brent's Auto supply in Burbank (San Jose area) and Brent said use a '50 Merc clutch & pressure plate (Long cover drilling matched Chevy flywheel drilling) Brent also supplied the pilot bearing.
    The new Hurst front engine mount (one piece, like a cut down engine plate) wasn't mfd. yet, but Brent had 2 frontal side mounts that used the 4 tapped holes alongside the timing cover.
    We used the stock Chevy fuel pump, and the Rochester 2 bbl. carb.
    I cleverly bypassed the starter solenoid, using the original Ford solenoid and grounding starter button. Rewired the voltage regulator (G.M.), just a separate wire harness from the generator. Changed over to 12 volt system at the same time...sealed beams, bulbs, but left the 6 volt horn. (Loud!)
    Kent drove the '40 thru college 4 years, then sold it...Many friends were buying '40 Ford coupes then, so when bud Rick Moss bought a 'nice pea green '40', I didn't realize it was Kent's.
    I found out soon enough...Rick had the 'new 40' jacked up high in his garage, to fix a rear main seal. I crawled under, then looked at the Mor-Drop axle, and some of the work I'd done when Kent... "Hey! This is Kent's '40!"
    Rick: "MY '40..." :rolleyes:
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  26. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike

    Another early SBC installation was Ron Heimerman's '50 Ford convert. We (Mike Donahue & me) helped him with it in 1956. Straight forward conversion, but steering tie rod was a dropped one, modified by Harrington & Wilson Co. in San Jose. Funny part was the adapter, full bell housing type to small rectangular 4 bolt pattern '50 Ford 3 speed column shift box.
    Some issue with clutch linkage, some cutting/welding bracketry, small issue.

    Years later, a fellow here in town has a '51 Ford Vic with a 283 in it, but NO dropped tie rod...plenty of clearance. (engine mounted higher in frame???) Don't know, but this is the type of thing that bugs me.
    Pans had to be the same, deep pans in '55/'56...
    Ron's '50 had the usual 12 volt change over, but he did it...Ron was a student of auto technology at San Jose Tech.

    I never used a Chevy V8 in anything of mine 'til 1972, when I got my '55 F100.
    Engine was a gift from a Corvette customer, cam went flat in his '69. Crate engine went in the 'Vette, I did the job so he could take it to Thanksgiving dinner 2 days later...
    The Good Doctor paid the bill, and 'tipped me' the engine. My Dad gave me a 30/30 cam and a set of solid lifters.
    I just installed it so I could move the unfinished truck around...Shit! Best combination I ever saw...reliable on the street, hauled hemis, pulled boats, used as a support vehicle for 30 years. Ran thru the traps at Fremont at 112 @13.20, street tires & mufflers in '79...
    I did replace that Chevy 350 4 bolt...with an '89 Vortek. (also a gift! Lesson here: You don't look a gift Horsepower in the mouth...)
  27. panhead_pete
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,537


    Thanks for sharing gents.
    Speed Gems likes this.
  28. Friend of mine had a '41 Ford coupe with a 265 and Ford box around 1957. Took it to Ansen's and had a hydramatic and open drive rear end installed. I got rides to school sometimes, very cool car.
    cactus1 likes this.
  29. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,199


    My dad said he was so excited to dump the flathead in his 36. That was 1955. His grandma sprung for the 265.
  30. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 233

    Bob Lowry

    Yes, from Gene on the VCCA website, there was a big problem with the rings not seating in the 265's. GM issued a
    service bulletin to use Comet cleanser and slowly pour it into the carb while running at 2,000 rpm to try to seat
    the rings. It apparently worked 50% of the time.
    LOU WELLS and panhead_pete like this.

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