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Old 12-20-2003, 07:10 PM
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Drivetrain Options for big Buick?


I'm new to this board..

I'd like to install a modern drivetrain into a '51 Buick Roadmaster 2 dr HT. Any suggestions? I've read a lot of good things about the GM ZZ4 crate engine, but I haven't heard of any installations in 4000+ lb vehicles. Do you think it has enough low end torque to get all that weight rolling? Maybe it's just a matter of carefully choosing a transmission and rear end.

I'm not looking for screaming acceleration. I just want an extremely reliable, troublefree drivetrain that runs on premium pump gas. Something I can fire up and take on a 400 mile trip without worrying. I want enough power to keep up with modern traffic and surprise the occasional rice rocket. I don't mind a little of a loping rumble, but I'd like to keep the engine somewhat civilized with a smooth idle (this is a Roadmaster after all). Would an Edelbrock Pro-Flo EFI system be appropriate for this application?

I dont see engine bay clearance being a major issue; the car has a long bulging hood that used to hold a big straight 8.

I hope to drive this car 5000+ miles per year. Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Metairie, LA

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Old 12-20-2003, 07:55 PM
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First option might be a 455 Buick -
even with a stock sedan engine you
get tons of torque. You just have to
be careful with the front cover which
contains the oil pump - they often wear
out in the pump cavity, and the engine
has relatively poor oil flow passages
with the stock front cover.

Another great engine is a 472 or 500 Cad. Massive torque, you can run with
fairly high gears - you don't want to turn
a stock Caddy over about 4,000.

Either of those can be had fairly
reasonably with a little shopping and
are less weight than a big block Chev.

Other possibles are a 455 Olds or Pontiac - the Pontiac probably is the cheapest to warm up a little and doesn't have reliability problems in basically stock form. That engine isn't as heavy as a BBC either. Or, you could use a 428 or 421 Pontiac.
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