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Hot Rods Spending the money building vintage engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Roothawg, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,621

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    You're not alone, Roothog.

    So glad to see that the prevailing attitude here is that traditional cool has it over horsepower.

    Relatively easy to make big horsepower these days... with engines that have been the recipients of decades and decades of development. That was the goal for so long... more power. And we did it. It's pretty much a known science now. We know the formula. So it's lost a lot of it's challenge and mystique and intrigue. It doesn't mean as much anymore.

    What is more intriguing to me, is that guys like you are willing to invest what it takes to bring together all the components to make a modified car darn close to exactly the way it would have been done. And in doing so, you've built a time machine. And a time machine doesn't have to do a 10 second quarter mile. And probably shouldn't, even.

    I always go back to...
    How much horsepower do you really need for the street? 300 400 horsepower? Good enough. Even less can be fun. And sound good. I've had old Chevy straight 6s, Buick straight 8s, stock flat heads. Came to realize I don't need to be able to rip the tires off.

    A warmed up 390 has good horsepower. And plenty of torque. And it's cool.

    Make yourself happy, Roothog.
    And we'll be happy for you.
     
  2. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,621

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    Oh yeah... the cost.
    I don't have a lot of money to throw around. But I recently bought a somewhat scarce rear sump oil pan and pick up and dipstick for my project. Wasn't crazy expensive but not cheap. I didn't care. Needed it. Wanted it. Gotted it.
    And I'm just getting started.
    Uh oh...
     
  3. Sometimes it is not the money, sometimes it is.
    With a love of pre65 automobilia it is the former.
    Congratulations, i have done similar.
     
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  4. Stueeee
    Joined: Oct 21, 2015
    Posts: 233

    Stueeee
    Member
    from Kent, UK

    Excellent use of an old Caddy motor by the OP. If working on and improving vintage motors was simple and cheap, everyone would be doing it.

    The saying "It's not how fast you go, but how you go fast" seems relevant here.

    Here's a crankshaft I had made for the hotted up 1950s Austin motor in my avatar car following a couple of catastrophic engine failures over the years. Adds nothing to the cars looks or potential sale price of course; IMO better value than any fancy upholstery job.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  5. You are not weird at all, I put all this work in a 261 head then put 460 ARP rod bolts in to compete in a class with Small Block Chevys.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  6. clunker
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,613

    clunker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Boston MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    Most dudes I have to know (work) spend all their money and time playing golf or driving around on their brand new Harley trying to look like Peter Fonda, (even though they couldn’t change the oil if their life depended upon it). I don’t know many car guys, but at shows it’s evident how many old farts love to spend money on fiberglass 32’s, sbc’s and shop fees.

    I’ll take being broke and overworked for 345 horse power your way any day.

    After we’re dead and gone, anything we did beyond eating and sleeping was superfluous anyway, so it makes total sense.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  7. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,284

    stubbsrodandcustom
    Member
    from Spring tx

    When you find platforms you like working on or owning, then you figure the extra money and lack of performance as part of the gamble with things like that. Personally i like the weird motors etc. Hence why I had a 440 mopar in a Model A. BBM is a money hog, same with BBF and SBF compared to SBC. I gave up on huge HP and trying to get every gain years ago. Its a small wiener game when it comes to guys needing every HP out of their shit to drive to a street meet 1 time a month.

    Granted I like some performance, but I just do cam, intakes, ignition, few other tricks and call it good, maybe heads. Porting polishing and all that crap is so over rated, and actually studies show turbulent airflow builds power.

    Just be realistic in your end results, build what you like, and spend your money however you want to , cause ITS YOUR MONEY. haha But I can damn well spend it for you if you would like!!!!
     

  8. You are not crazy! There.
    I built the straight eight in mine because I wanted to. I smile every time I drive it. Does not matter if other appreciate it or not. I do.

    Looking forward to your completed project.

    Ben
     
  9. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 19,263

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    FE617676-FAF4-4548-AA39-8055B03AE18B.jpeg 6F661655-C3D4-43F9-B0EB-0F76A03B3730.jpeg 19A1115A-4321-4972-B59B-ACA4CD69002A.jpeg CD48C156-915F-4E72-B8B3-056B5B26B306.jpeg

    I bought the Cadillac engine in my 40 on eBay back in 2003. I didn’t even own the 40 yet. I had just completed building a clone of Roth’s outlaw and it has a 49 331 caddy. I didn’t need this engine at the time but it was 300 bucks for a 50,000 actual mile engine. It came out of a 49 fastback that got street Rodded with a northstar motor (that poor car). It was in Ohio, and I was going there the next week for the kkoa show. Fast forward 6-7 years and I had bought hurst mounts, offy adapter and Horne intake. So I blocked up the engine and fired it on the garage floor. It ran as smooth as a gravy sandwich and the compression and oil pressure checked out great. So while I got by cheap, not having to rebuild it there is several thousand dollars in the intake, carbs, valve covers, adapters and other things it took to make it cool.....
     
  10. exterminator
    Joined: Apr 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,513

    exterminator
    Member

    I cheated. I bought a 400 stock chevy with a 471 blower and put in my 40 pickup and that works for me. Do it your way! Exterminator
     
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  11. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 996

    louisb
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oh I know, I am well over $10k for my 276 59L and that is without any exotic parts.

    --louis
     
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  12. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,317

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    I'm in the same boat with the 409 platform.
    20190409_175357 (2).jpg
     
  13. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,260

    Roothawg
    Member

  14. DANG! I am cheap. No where near that for mine, gladly.

    Ben
     
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  15. Barrelnose pickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,173

    Barrelnose pickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You definitely ain’t no orphan!
     
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  16. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 996

    louisb
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well the rebuild was supposed to be just a warmed up stocker but then it took on a life of its own. First it was finding a usable block and that took five tries. Then we stumbled on the 59L block in a museum and had to save it. That took 8 sleeves. And of course being a hot rodder you can't leave anything alone so some hop up goodies were added, polished stock aluminum heads, Merc crank, Potvin cam, polished hi-rise dual intake (the third intake for this project), etc. Some light porting and polishing. And of course paying a flathead specialist to do the work. (I stick to metal work). All that to produce maybe 180 HP if we are lucky. :)

    Thanks,

    --louis
     
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  17. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,621

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    Somebody said...
    (Having a need for excessive horsepower)
    ... is a "small weiner game".

    Hahahaha... Hilarious.
    We don't need extensions.

    Probably the three most prevalent questions to a hot rodder...

    Is it real? No.
    How much HP? A million.
    How many MPG? A million.

    Okay... 4 questions...

    How much did it cost?
    A fkn MILLION.

     
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  18. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    I can’t get over the gravy sandwich. Now that’s smooth!
    Easy in, easy out.
     
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  19. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,199

    anthony myrick
    Member

    if I ever start on my merc, I have a few choices. sometimes thats bad. I have a flathead of unknown condition. Those are not cheap but everything is there for it to fit, no fab work. The other choices is a 331 hemi, 292 Yblock, and a 352 FE. The hemi and the Y are rear sump. The FE isnt. The FE has the cheapest trans option. I could care less about performance. I guess when I start I will just flip a coin.
     
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  20. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,181

    jimmy six
    Member

    My idea of a cheap SBC starts with a Dart 4.125 block. SCAT super light 3.875 crank, 6" h-beam rods, CP Pistons, double roller chain, steel roller cam, and either 215 iron or 220 aluminum heads topped with T & D rockers. Performance Products intake because of their dyno numbers, and carb of my choice finishing with a DUI ignition. Yep cheap, only because of my assembly labor.
    Shall I start on a 12 port GMC or even a stock 7port one? Not today.
     
  21. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,260

    Roothawg
    Member

    That will still be cheaper than my $200 390 Caddy.
     
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  22. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,317

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    We have been deep into the FE (fuckin expensive) boat also.
    chill.jpg
     
  23. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,621

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    I've heard superchargers are good at overcoming less than optimum flow numbers.
     
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  24. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 996

    louisb
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I went the other way for the motivation in my 51 GMC. Used 60K mile 1970's 350 SBC for $400. It's getting a cam, intake and carb upgrade along with some dress up items but that's it. I wanted a cheap reliable daily driver/work truck so I am keeping it simple.

    --louis
     
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  25. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,260

    Roothawg
    Member

    Nothing wrong with that either. I am typically a sbc guy, albeit they are usually 265's or 283's.
     
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  26. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,677

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    The cost of the obsolete engine is a given. I think whether it's worth it or not largely depends on the focus of the car. For a hot rod, where the purpose is vintage performance and especially where the engine is exposed, the engine becomes a focal point of the car. As such, it's a worthwhile expense. Where it gets hazier is when the hood stays shut, or where performance and dress-up is a secondary or tertiary priority. Then a real cost/benefit analysis needs to take place weighing performance, reliability, parts availability, cost, and of course, intangible qualities (cool factor). This will be a different analysis for different people and different projects.

    I'm not ashamed to admit, I abandoned my 394 Olds in lieu of a 350 Chevy crate engine. When I weighed the factors, the performance would be mediocre and a wash compared to the Chevy, reliability would probably be either the same or worse than the Chevy, no comparison in terms of terms of parts availability, the Chevy would be a fraction of the cost, and while the Chevy is way less cool than the big Olds, basically nobody would see it underneath the closed hood. The part that put it over the top for me was the transmission, since Rotohydramatic sucks and would choke out even a healthy 394, and going to a modern GM trans would be an additional $6000 expense that I simply couldn't justify.

    That was my analysis. But depending on the project, goals, personal finances, someone else may have come to a different conclusion.
     
  27. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 996

    louisb
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I also have a '57 283, no side mounts, waiting in the wings for a future build.

    --louis
     
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  28. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,978

    sunbeam
    Member

    I'm guessing that's why so many SBC are dressed to to look like other motors. If is HP per $ it is hard to beat the LS but they are not frendly to this site. The LS have been around as long as the SBC in 1972
     
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  29. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    I think the following statement and video sums it up.....at least for me.

    Imagine a P-51 Mustang or Spitfire......with a turbo-prop.
    Ewwewwwww....gross.
     
  30. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,201

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    You know your answer is looking at all of Mr. Moriarity’s toys. Drop the mic . :D
     

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