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Old 04-01-2011, 06:19 PM
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Hemi Question?

What is your take on a 1954 Desota Hemi, 270 complete? Block is done but everything else needs freshening up, normally! I can get it at a reasonable price, but what are your opinions and is the 270 worth anything? It will be built for the street! ALL SUGGESTIONS are welcome, thanks again, Dana

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Old 04-01-2011, 06:50 PM
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Any old HEMI Is cool. A lot of guys dress them up and put them in Roadsters and such.It's not built for speed just looks cool. Use to you couldn't give them away but now days are sought after just like the old "W" head Chevy engines. I just sold a complete 348 with the three 2s for $500.00 You didn't say what you can get that HEMI for. Like I said,It's the "COOL FACTOR"
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:05 PM
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I agree with Oldschool 100%, any old hemi is a gem, the 270 is not a fire breather and not going to be a road burner but it's still a hemi. Build it and enjoy.
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 39chevy
What is your take on a 1954 Desota Hemi, 270 complete? Block is done but everything else needs freshening up, normally! I can get it at a reasonable price, but what are your opinions and is the 270 worth anything? It will be built for the street! ALL SUGGESTIONS are welcome, thanks again, Dana
To begin with the 270 is NOT a DeSoto hemi. Its a 55-56 Dodge low deck hemi. There are no real parts that interchange between Dodge and DeSoto hemis as they are physically different sizes. Just as there are no real parts that interchange between Dodge, DeSoto and the Chrysler versions.

The Dodge 270 hemi had 7.6:1 compression ratio and cranked out 183-193 hp depending on carburation. The good news is that if it IS a Dodge 270 then performance parts will be a little easier to find as DeSoto hemi performance parts are like gold and just can't be found. The 270 will make a nice little engine for a light weight Model A or T-bucket but won't be a speed demon if installed in a larger heavier car. Still it will add a whole bunch of "Cool" factor to just about anything.

First make sure what it is you're looking at. Check the ID markings stamped on the front top of the block just in front of the valley cover on the passengers side. These letters and numbers will tell you exactly what it is. Take the numbers and go to my web site (link below my signature) and you can look the numbers up. Then you can make an informed decision.

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Old 04-02-2011, 05:01 AM
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OR, if it is in fact a 54 DeSoto, it's a 276. I have a Blown, 291 DeSoto in my car, from a 55 DeSoto...same engine practically. It goes REALLY nice in my car...
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:00 AM
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HEMI SITES-

http://www.hothemiheads.com/

http://www.classichemi.com/index1.shtml

http://www.thehemi.com/forums/

http://www.allpar.com/mopar.html

Just a few I have bookmarked to get you started.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:33 AM
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WHOOPS! I'm sorry it is a 276 Desota, quite shorter than normal!
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:34 AM
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As the owners of the early HEMIs can attest to just buying the engine (no matter how cheap the initial investment) is only the start.

It sounds like the engine is currently a basket case. Get a good inventory of the engine parts that are there and what you will need to put it together. Then spend some time going thru the Hot Hemi Heads site and looking around E Bay (don’t expect a whole lot on the Bay though). I’m seeing more and more new parts available for the Chrysler HEMIs show up (headers, pans, valve covers etc) but not being reproduced for the Dodge or DeSoto.

When you’re looking up parts you will probably want to look into a water pump conversion, full flow oil filter conversion and electronic ignition (setting the dual points back by the fire wall is not really a fun operation). If you go a hotter re-ground cam you will also need adjustable rockers or pushrods.

Machine work should not be any higher for the Hemi should not be any higher than for a SBC for the same operations. There are normally a few additional steps that should be done however……re-bushing the rods (but you won’t have to press the pistons on or off as they are full floating), Re-bushing and polishing (or hard chroming) the rocker shafts and drilling the back of the crank for a pilot bearing in case you ever decide you want to run a stick transmission).

So if you get to the point of having the engine built and running the real fun begins. Very few people use the original transmission (with good reason). While you’re looking at the parts sites, price transmission adaptors and any accessories you might also need (Kick down/ TV cables and brackets etc). You will also want to price and buy the exhaust manifolds/headers you will be using and have them on hand when you do the install as chances are you will have to get creative with the steering shafts to clear the engine. While we are talking about clearance depending on how the engine sits in the body you may find you also will have to trim the fenders a bit to clear the valve covers. Once everything is in it will be time to decide how much heavier you will need to go on the front springs and if any brake upgrades are needed for the additional weight.

As mentioned the WOW factor of a HEMI is great…….but it takes a bit to get there.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:34 AM
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Desoto, (I can't spell)!
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:07 PM
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276 DeSoto - Manufactured '52-'54. Compression ratio 7.1:1 for the '52 and '53 models and 7.5:1 for the '54. Cranked out 160-170 hp depending on year. Should have either S-16, S-17, or S-19 stamped in front of the valley cover for a positive ID. There were no factory "performance" intake manifolds for the low deck DeSotos but there were a couple 4bbl. manifolds made in '55 that will fit the 276. They will be for WCFB carbs though and will require an adapter for any modern carb.

Hotheads has a lot of stuff for the DeSotos and may even have a performance intake. They do have cams and adjustable pushrods and all the gaskets and bearings you'll need. Keep in mind though that an early hemi of any variety DeSoto, Dodge or Chrysler will NOT be cheap to rebuild. Machine work will cost about the same as any other V8 but replacement parts such as bearings, rings, valve springs etc. will all cost you more. Plan on at least $2500 for parts plus machine work and you'll be about right. Start throwing performance parts or exotic log intakes with a bunch of Stromberg carbs at it and you'll wind up spending some serious money. But it WILL be worth the effort.

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