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Old 12-24-2008, 07:32 AM
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70 Camaro

I just purchased a 1970 Camaro with the intent of putting a big block with 500 + HP under the hood. Currently the car has a brand new 350 Chevy with less then 2000 miles on it and I have been debating weather it is a waist of money to go with the big block or just have the 350 stroked to get maximum horsepower. I have always loved the idea of putting a big block in the car but I also want to keep the car looking fairly stock – I want the largest back tires that don’t require modification - but without going with massive drag slicks.

What should I do – I would rather not throw away money if I can get a mean street car with the 350.

I appreciate any advice.

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Old 12-24-2008, 07:54 AM
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My personal opinion...

You can never have too many cubes for the street. More cubes = lower rpm torque peak for the same power, smoother idle, more vacuum for accessories, etc.

However... in the case of the camaro you have a light car, with an even lighter rear end. Excess torque is not necessary, nor is the extra weight on the front end. Camaros are so much fun because of their spirited handling and overall driving fun. I had a big block camaro once... I put a small block in it because I was tired of not having any traction. I sold the big block and it more than paid for the small block that went in its place. The diet was nice, the traction was much better, and I could actually use the car for street driving.

In my opinion, big block in an F-body is just overkill for no reason. As a hotrodder, I say put a 540 in it, but as a practical, useable car I say that the small block will make you smile just as much, be cheaper to build, and a better match for the chassis, especially since tubbing the rear isn't something you want to do. 255mm rubber is about all that will fit without cutting.

Good heads, good exhaust, good intake and carb work will put you squarely in big-block power territory, just a few more RPMs to get it. There is no reason you can't make 425 hp and still have it idle below 1000, use a 2500-stall converter, and make very respectable torque down low.

If you're really intent on getting over 500 hp, then big block is the way to go if you want it to stay streetable. 500+ hp in an SBC is going to be a very hairy monster. If its not a street vehicle, that's fine. The reduced torque you'll get from a 383 compared to a big block might not be noticed at all given traction limitations of not tubbing.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:25 AM
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I agree with all of the above.

I have a 427 small block putting out into 500-575 HP I idle at 900. And it's driveable.

Idles Ok.

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Old 12-24-2008, 11:14 AM
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I've owned 3 1970 Camaros/ I can help you out a little. The largest tire you will be able to fit without major modifications are 295/50/15, you will have to relocate your rear shocks and might have to roll the wheel well lip. See my pictures and that is what a 295/50/15 looks like on a 70 Camaro.

As you know a Camaro is a uni-body car so if you plan on putting decent power in it there are a couple things you MUST do. Sub frame connectors are a must, some sort of traction bar is a must (Cal-tracs work well).

What is your goal for the car. You can easily run in the 11's with a 383ci small block. I did that years ago with a hyd flat tappet cam, 3.42 gear, pump gas, and street tires. If you want a recipe that works I will be happy to share. If you want to go mid 11's or faster you are going to need a roll bar. You said you want to keep it fairly stock looking so I assume you don't want a roll bar. I would not suggest going big block if you are going to drive the car hard with no roll bar, even a healthy small block with no roll bar is going to cause stress cracks in the sail panel Behind the drivers door at the top, right near the corner of the door window). Frame connectors help eliminate this but, if you put sticky tires on it and start making 450HP or more you will probably still see a crack develop.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:41 PM
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All – thank you very much for the posts. I have asked this question elsewhere and always failed to get any educated answers. The above is a great testament to this forum.

With the 350 at the 400-500 HP numbers indicated above should I stay with the 4.10 gears? Currently I am running a Muncie M21 4 Speed with 410 posi.

CamaroMan – PM sent…

Thank you again…
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