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Old 12-06-2004, 02:22 AM
Berliner Bel Air's Avatar
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chevy head and cam suggestion needed for 327

Thanks to all the great advice from you guys on this board my Bel Air runs real nice now with a new 283 with 305 Vortec heads. But now my German buddies want me to get them new motors too (mine was built by a engine rebuilder in Spokane WA for a very good price). Since they don't know any English I have to post this question for them.

One of my German buddies has a 1957 Bel Air 4 dr. hard top. He pulled the 283 and needs a new motor. I suggested a 327, for a little more displacement, which is still interesting historically (compared to a run-of-the-mill 350). This car is almost totally stock, and should continue to look that way. Thus the 327 should have the old style heads with no accessory holes. Given these requirements:
1. Which head castings would you suggest (casting numbers) for best performance?
2. What stock GM cam will give him good power while retaining a smooth idle (no lope as a rough idle would be out-of-character for this basically stock classic car).

The engine will get a Performer intake (painted orange) and an Edelbrock 500 or 600 CFM carb. Stock manifolds and eventually dual exhaust too.

Thanks again.

edit: If I don't ask for any specific heads the rebuilder will use either head casting 3795896 or 3884520. Would these be OK?
I've also read here about guys that put HO 305 heads on 350's and are enthused about the gobs of low end torque. Is there a head (without accessory holes) that will produce a similar effect on a 327?


Last edited by Berliner Bel Air; 12-06-2004 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 12-06-2004, 05:57 AM
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The 896 and 520 heads were the "power pack" heads offered on the 283s. Their chamber is about 60cc (if memory serves), i.e. smaller than the performance 64cc heads found on 327s. My machinist advised those 283 heads had a "breathing problem". Also, they have the "straight" valve cover bolt holes. Up until '59, the SBCs had "staggered" holes. An early performance 283 head was the 720, found on 'vettes.

A possible original cam is the 3896929, which was used in 283, 327, and 350s. It is usually known as the 300 hp cam in 327s.
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Old 12-06-2004, 09:07 AM
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you could weld the holes and grind them smooth.
them you could use whatever you wanted.
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Old 12-06-2004, 09:44 AM
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Considering that a 327 isn't an original motor either, please allow me to make a suggestion in another direction...

Hear me out. I would suggest that you build the following combo, roughly. Start with a late 80's early 90's 350 block. This will allow you to use a one piece rear main seal (I know oil drips are not allowed in germany! lol, had that problem while I was over there...). This will save you having to do any costly repairs if the rear main isn't right the first time with a two piece unit... one piece units are the best thing since sliced bread!

This type of block also has provisions for a factory roller cam, which is cheaper than a retrofit unit, and more efficient (I realize efficiency is key in Berlin... where gas prices are nutty as all getout...). Furthermore, I would compliment the roller train with a set of decent roller rockers.

For a crank, I would (and like I said, hear me out) actually go with a 3.75 inch. For a car that heavy, the extra cubes will more than likely give your car the low end breathing that it needs, and the engine won't have to work very hard to get the car in motion. I would argue that mileage btw a 350 and 383 (as I am suggestin) would be negligable, the 383 might even get a little better unless you can't keep your foot out of it...

I would go with a comps roller for the cam. 268 would be the upper limit, and the 383 will swallow it like an RV cam, but I think you'd probably be happer with a 260 or 264. The mileage will be better, and these latter two will allow you to make a conservative head choice, considering they're not goign to have to feed the motor past 5000 R's or so.

For heads I'd get something with a swirl port and a 1.94 valve. This will give you some excellent low end air-flow velocity and great mileage with good throttle response to boot. Perhaps some vortech heads. 1.5/8 headers will do a wonder for response, as well as mileage. Top it off with a dual plane, performer or weiand stealth would be fine.

For a carb I'd stay right around 600cfm, again, because you're not goign to be feeding big R's. Honestly one of the best choices you could make would be a Q-jet (which won't be 600cfm, ratings btw square and spread carbs really don't translate), given the small primaries. They're good for mileage and cruising! Plus the secondaries on that carb sound cool too (added bonus right?).

Electronic ignition to get you a clean burn and with iron heads, a compression ratio right around 9:1 or 9.5 (you know the octane aroudn there better than I) should get you a great burn.

My .02

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