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Hot Rods V8s

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Flamed48, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. Flamed48
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 677


    Question of the day: why was the Chevrolet 265 so highly regarded as the best thing to come out since the flat head when ford, olds, caddy, and Buick all had ohv v8s years before ?

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  2. Compact size and nice power to weight ratio.
    sunbeam, Hnstray, Sporty45 and 4 others like this.
  3. wheeltramp brian
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 1,169

    wheeltramp brian

    It was smaller,lighter,...thats all I got
    chop job and flatford39 like this.
  4. Boden
    Joined: Oct 10, 2018
    Posts: 747


    I want to know also!

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  5. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,721

    from kansas

    2 things, marketing and gm heads pushing one division over another.

    Really see the second one come into to play in the very early 60's....
    warbird1 likes this.
  6. jimgoetz
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 414


    Smaller lighter and by about 58 they were turning up by the thousands in junkyards cheap. Also by then a lot of people were already making speed equipment for them.
    scrap metal 48 and Montana1 like this.
  7. Lighter, faster, cheaper and they fit in an early Ford better. Little did we know it was a legend from the beginning... ;)
  8. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,001

    from Brooks Ky

    Availabilty, and well designed heads for the times........Plus Chevy underated their HP while Ford overated theirs. That put the Fords at a disadvantage at the dragstrip. The slogan of the day was "Win on Sunday Sell on Monday" .
    scrap metal 48 and Montana1 like this.
  9. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 621

    Bob Lowry

    For Chevy, it was a milestone as the 265" V8 became the new work horse and finally another option versus
    the six cylinder which had been around for 30yrs. or more. Hotrodders loved V8's and Chevy owners
    finally got one for themselves. Plus, they were easy to hot rod and produced great horsepower in a fast
    winding motor.
    scrap metal 48 and Montana1 like this.
  10. Wrench97
    Joined: Jan 29, 2020
    Posts: 436


    Easy to find parts and the long life of the bell housing design lends to making a swap easy.
    Montana1 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  11. birdman1
    Joined: Dec 6, 2012
    Posts: 1,220


    Cheep horsepower, and while equal performance was available with other brands, the little Chevy's are easier to get power from.anyone can build one and get power
    Montana1 and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  12. speedshifter
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 265


    I don't remember the 265 V8 being highly regarded when it came out in late 1954. The 265 was lighter & more compact. We old timers thought it was cheap design & that it would wear out quickly. 265's did have problems: cracked piston skirts, rocker arms turning sideways no full flow oil filter on 1955 engines, etc. All these problems were cured & we ended up with a terrific engine
    Beanscoot, Desoto291Hemi and Montana1 like this.
  13. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,401

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    I was there an saw first hand,so no dealer,mag or newspaper radio n TV, BS bubble that most have there ideas from now.

    New V8 265 sbc, was not thought of as good by owners,it leaked ,smoked,had crap power,lots of blowby an used oil.. Dealers were hard pressed to cover up the fails. My Dad got one brand new,took it back to dealer 6 times,on 6th trip dealer replaced the V8 with 1956 model 283V8 ,they never could fix the 265v8.
    So gave his 55 Nomad a newer 283. That had some power an no leaks or smoke. It could almost keep up with Grandad's 1956 ford v8- 292.
    Now that's not what mag hipe/BS said ,but that's what really happened.SBC first showing was a fail.
    Chevy should of done a lot more testing,but they had already dragged there feet a few years an new 55 styling was a big jump an needed the V8 .
    The big benefit for Chevy engineers,by not jumping on OHV V8 bandwagon sooner,was they got to look at how well ideas worked an didn't work from other designs by all the factory's. By taking that info ,they put together a very good set of idea. By 1956 ,model 283 v8 had most of the bugs worked out. 1957 was the first year I though it was a cool V8,could even get one with FI. But really,all were way to new for hot rodders to use,with only a few odd exceptions.
    I drag raced,sports car raced an stock car raced my self in late 1950s n 60s up,retired in 2005. In that time,I used a lot of brands,an won a lot of races. Many of them powered by SBC I built.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  14. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,084

    from oregon

    Truckdoctor Andy, Deuces and Montana1 like this.
  15. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,020

    Pete Eastwood
    from california

    In 1975 , I bought my Aunt's all original '55 Chevy .
    It was a 210 Del Rey , with the " Power Pack " 265 .
    The Power Pack had a 4 barrel carb & solid lifter cam & bigger valves .
    The car also had a 3 speed with over drive & 4.11 gears .
    For a stock , 1955 car , it hauled ass .
  16. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,331


    ^^^This. I bought a low mileage 55 BelAir with the same setup as above in 74 as a work car. Ended up being my main car after a divorce. 3spd, power pack, 4:11's and OD. was pretty fast for what is was and a very reliable car as well-drove it for quite a few years.
    Wife's 55 we still have since 77 was a PG and power pack 265. We drove it as our main car for a couple of years until it was way beyond tired. Never quit or left us stranded. Swapped the 265 for a snotty 327 and was our main car for several more years-still in the car and runs pretty strong.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  17. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,396

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    Yep, just hit up some OLD magazines..! The history is all there, in 1955 thru 1960 car magazines.

    The "little" Chevy 265, was just that...little.
    As also noted, it was / is much lighter than the other engines noted in the Flame's question.

    Thus, it fits better in small places, and light equals horse power on the track.

    Desoto291Hemi and 302GMC like this.
  18. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,901

    from Idaho

    You really need to read the initial evaluations by leading tech editors in 1955, then read what they say a year later.
  19. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,084

    from oregon

    Just so you two know, I won't be worth a damn for the rest of the day after reading this!
    Desoto291Hemi and olscrounger like this.
  20. Flamed48
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 677


  21. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,635


    Well, I had a '55 265 4bbl power pack (didn't call it that then) in my '32 Ford pickup, ran great.....then I rebuilt it and it ran greater!
    Remember, '32 Ford flatheads were far from a great engine and took awhile to get those right!
    Montana1 likes this.
  22. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,216


    Tom McCahill...

  23. wulf powis
    Joined: Jun 19, 2017
    Posts: 64

    wulf powis

    I seem to remember the lock keepers on the exhaust manifolds were a pain to bend to remove the bolts, my dad and I used to swear at Chevrolet after working on them and band aiding up our hands. lots of skinned knuckles! but it was a great engine, Fords couldn't keep up
  24. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,075

    scrap metal 48

    Just as a comparison, the first flatheads were pretty bad also until they got the problems solved.. Some of the problems(overheating), they didn't get solved for quite a while.... I like and use Chevy small blocks in my builds....
  25. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,494


    Tom McCahill tests the 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door sedan. "the best engine in the U.S."
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  26. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,583

    Rusty O'Toole

    They were cheap and common in every sense. Because Chevrolet built so many and they were available cheap, all the hot rod companies made cams, manifolds, etc for the Chevrolet first. So the speed parts were cheap and common too.

    The big advantage was the light weight and compact size, and the light weight free revving valve gear. All a product of making the cheapest engine possible. Zora Arkus Duntov had a lot to do with the engine's success, he was in charge of Corvette design, and had the idea it would be good for sales if Chevrolet could replace the Ford flathead as the hot rodder's favorite engine. So he pushed for the Duntov cam, fuel injection, Power Pack, dual 4 barrels, racing etc.

    I doubt they planned it that way but the small size and general design made it easy to install in a hot rod with minimal problems such as awkwardly placed starter, exhaust manifolds, oil filter, oil pan etc that were common on bigger V8s.

    So, a lot of different things came together to make that engine so successful. It was never the best engine on the market but for availability and cheapness it was hard to beat and that is why so many people used them.
    jaracer likes this.
  27. In this video it talks about porous castings in the new '32 Flatheads and they burned oil like a locomotive. They also had a bad oil pan design that starved the motor in hard corners. It's been around here for a long time... tells about it at the 53:30 min mark.

    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  28. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,905

    from Oregon

    Everyone keeps mentioning "smaller, lighter". But that's 2/3rds of the attraction. They also wound a lot higher rpm's than almost any other V* engines of that time. And a couple years later when the 283 came out things got even better.
    Montana1 likes this.
  29. Every once in a while, someone will ask me why I put a Chevy in it and not a Ford. I just smile and say, "That's what they did back in the day when the Fords weren't fast enough." That usually starts a you know what storm... :D
  30. I always liked this picture... but we did it anyway! ;)

    wulf powis and Truckdoctor Andy like this.

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