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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-13-2012 12:44 PM
Mr. P-Body Geo,

At least through '73, "Formula" had no fender flares, either. Just the big scoops "out front" on the hood (I still have a '73 hood stashed in the shed). They were fiberglass hoods. The '70-'72 had the option of "Ram Air" where the scoops were open and sealed to the air cleaner. They claimed it made power, but the only real advantage I see is the introduction of ambient air instead of hot "under hood" air. Still, those scoops are in better position than the early Firebird "400" and GTO scoops. The "shaker" is the better one. The rear opening accesses the high-pressure area at the base of the windshield. I saw a couple "delivered" with the rear spoiler, so it must have been on the option list.

The springs would have been "big block" Camaro springs. We changed a few small block cars to big blocks, and had to get them. Same in Chevelles...

10-12-2012 10:00 PM
GeoNOregon Hey Jim,

That's an interesting point about the shaker hood. I didn't know only T/A's had them. It's been a long time, but I thought the Formula had larger fender flares, is that not true?

I do know it was factory orange, but I suppose a T/A could have been ordered in orange.

The shaker hood was either factory, or someone did an exceptionally good job cutting the hood, which, is highly unlikely.

It must have been a T/A. The next time I talk to my ex-partner, I'll ask him if he remembers.

Your comment about the BBC reminded me of something I had completely forgotten about. When the motor was put in, it smashed the front end down a bit too much. It just wouldn't have worked.

One of the advantages of owning a parts store, (back in the dark ages before the Internet), was access to the parts catalogs, and the chance to spend time with them looking for alternatives.

We got some new springs from TRW, if I remember correctly, with a higher spring rate, and put them in.

We put off new shocks until we had a chance to drive it, but we never really had a chance to drive it much.


10-01-2012 12:51 PM
Mr. P-Body T/A and Formula are separate models. Formula did not have a "shaker", only T/A (unless you include that abomination that was on "Chips" so long ago...).

BBC is a good engine, no doubt. In a Firebird, though, it will hurt the "balance" of the car drastically (200 additional pounds "up front"). The 455 is more capable for a "driver" in the heavy street car. 440 Pontiac would the HOT lick, but that's another story...

10-01-2012 10:34 AM
GeoNOregon Frankenstein? Nah, that's damn near a Concours compared to a '70 TA Formula a former partner and I built in the early '80's.

At the time, we owned an amalgam of shops/businesses under a couple of roofs. There was a auto repair shop, a body and paint shop, an industrial sand blasting and paint biz, a glass shop, and a parts store. We had employees doing all the real work, so my partner & I could do antique restorations and build street rods & other toys.

Anyway, we had bought a 70 Formula for $100 -motor and trans because the front group had been blown off in a wreck and the OEm rubber-baby-buggy bumper front group was way expensive.

One night while getting inspirational, we got to wondering if a Camaro front clip would fit. Off to yard in the morning, and we cam back with a $20 hood with carb fire damage, a full L fender, and two free R fenders: one was crunched in the front and one was crunched in the rear, (that's why God created the wire welder, isn't?)

The Formula came with the 'shaker' hood scoop, so that took care of the carb fire damage.

The fenders didn't fit perfectly, but the curve was right. At the bottom of the fender behind the wheel, the Camaro notched in. A bit of welding and the Formula had a new front end. We bought a Z-28 air dam to finish it off, and came up with some older alum slotted mags in good shape.

Now, we needed a motor. Not long after, a thumping, loping Chev 4x4 pulled in. It was loud, it snarled, and popped. Out came a nearly 60 year old guy climbing down from the cab, cussing the entire time.

Turns out his kid had the car fever, but didn't have a car, so he did the next best thing, put a a bunch of money into a BB Chev and put it in his dad's work truck.

Needless to say, Dad was not impressed. He wanted to know if we could put a stock SBC back in it. Turns out he didn't have much money, so we made him a deal he loved, we found a low mileage stocker at the yard, and traded him straight across for the BBC. We even installed it for free.

The BBC went in the Formula 28/ZTA/Frankenstein with a Frankenstein TH400 I built. (I did some automatic rebuilding back then - I would keep all the good leftover parts and build Frankensteins. We'd install & warranty then for $150 to somebody who was broke and needed a new trans.)

So, Frank went into makeup, and came out with black lacquer.

We took it to a show in Portland, got a good location so the car was sideways to the lookers, and laughed our butts off at the neck breaking dbl-takes all weekend.

On Sunday night as we were trailering it, a guy walked up and offered us $5000 for it. Then we really laughed, all the way to the bank. Never saw it again, and never got any pictures of it.

It was weird looking, though.
09-16-2012 08:26 PM
Thumpin455 Any 455 wakes up with a cam and intake swap. The right head on it makes it even better. There is no dog when it comes to 455s, only not enough airflow being allowed through it. The bottom end is the same on all of them except for the SD.

A pair of SD heads will make it run pretty hard despite the 8:1 compression they had. Same with 71-72 HO heads. Its all in the heads, the bottom end is essentially the same.
09-16-2012 11:52 AM
455 H.O. Pontiac

I have been helping a good friend of mine with his 1978 TA that was retro fit with a 1972 455 H.O. Recently, we came across a set of Super Duty heads and, since they are so rare, I recommended he scoop them up immediately. Reading this post I became confused because the T2 is what is on this engine now and the shaker lines up perfectly. It doesn't appear to have any hood modification and has a Quadrojet carb that was built by a master. It out performs most Holley set ups I have put together. This car is amazing. It has the TH350 and I am unsure of the rear gears but it seems to jump to 100 mph with the slightest application of the go pedal and cruises there below 3500 rpm. I have one mile timed this car at over 160 mph without red lining it. Can't wait to tear it down when we transform it into a Super Duty and see what was really done inside. (Sorry slightly off topic but best thread on 455 I have found)
09-13-2012 10:16 PM
robhardy another member is asking for a viewing. meanwhile i've found a built but never run 76 455 for a reasonable price. i know that's a dog of an engine but it's supposed to have a mild cam and i'll mover the torquer intake and the holley over to it. it may be all i'm looking for for now. this car is more for show than go for now. i may start building a 400 after i've had time to do a little studying on the best way to do it and eventually make a screamer out of it.
09-13-2012 06:26 PM
bobman58 Too bad you're not closer I might be interested. You shouldn't have too hard of a time getting rid of it though. There aren't an abundance of them for sale. It's not like a small block chevy.

09-13-2012 06:11 PM
robhardy thanks bob, it's a 70 455 h o out of a grand prix. it's out and needs a build. i'm going to sell it.
09-11-2012 08:00 PM
Don't know why...

nobody suggested looking at the drvr side of the block, just ahead of the motor mount, it'll be cast into the block what size it was in stock form(unless it's and early block). Easiest way I can think of to determine size.

09-11-2012 07:57 AM
robhardy 30 over crank is 20 under. tops of rod bearings are bad. Jim pretty much called it. detonation. i'm probably going to sell it and might put a 350 back in it and start restoring the car to what it actually is. a 69 firebird 350.
09-09-2012 07:42 PM
Originally Posted by cdminter59 View Post
I checked on the Torker II it is a single plane intake with an operating range of 2500-6500 rpms. Too bad you don't live near Virginia my nephew has a couple of 400 blocks and he has a complete 455 motor, that I don't think he would part with it. I think he said it was kind of rare.
the 455 i have is rare. the problem is it doesn't like pump gas. i'm just looking to de-tune it a little. it's starting to sound like the dished pistons may be the easiest fix.
09-09-2012 06:07 PM
this could get ugly. pontiac/frankenstein

Originally Posted by robhardy View Post
just went to edelbrock's site. it says that intake is for 3500 to 7500 rpm. i thought i read that it was lower rpm than that. is that really a good match for a big block?
it's also a single plane manifold. that's more of a track design, isn't it?
i've used performers or performer rpm's on all my fords.
i'm not looking to go 150 mph. if i want to do that i'll buy a vette or something that sits a 1/2 inch off the ground.
i'm really curious to see what's inside of this thing. again, i know squat about pontiac engines, so maybe that intake is a better fit than i think. i guess it depends on how it matched the cam and i don't know what that is yet.
sorry about rambling, just thinking that i would have built the engine to start making power before 3500 rpm.
I checked on the Torker II it is a single plane intake with an operating range of 2500-6500 rpms. Too bad you don't live near Virginia my nephew has a couple of 400 blocks and he has a complete 455 motor, that I don't think he would part with it. I think he said it was kind of rare.
09-09-2012 01:24 PM
Thumpin455 If you want to do a head swap to lower the CR, you want 6X-4, 5C from a 400, 96, or 7K3. The 7K3 will need manifolds or adapters because the end exhaust bolt holes are not there and there is no material to drill. They are big valve heads with guide plates. The 96 is from a 1971 400 and they are big valve low compression heads. The others have a 1.66" exhaust valve, which really doesnt hurt much on the street.

If you dont mind getting some work done to the heads, you can use certain 350 heads. The 1971 vintage 350 head, I think the casting number is 46 or 47, have the right size chambers for just over 9:1 on a 455, but they are small valve heads, some have screw in studs some dont. You can have them ported, bigger valves installed and screw in studs installed if they dont have them. They will work just like any other D port head that has been ported.

Also other heads that have pressed in studs but will work are 15 heads, they were the low performance 455 head in 1970. All of these are D port heads, and while round port heads will work great, even the HO heads they are more expensive and require more expensive headers or manifolds.

You want around a 90cc chamber, give or take a little depending on deck height, to run pump gas. I had some machine shop ported 5C heads on a 455 and it ran very well on 87 octane, no ping at all, and it had a 224-230 cam in it with a Qjet. 13.50s @105 with 2.93 gears, stock converter in a 4100lb car with traction issues isnt too bad for a low compression engine.

Those 64 heads will work great on a 400, puts the compression right around 9.5 with a zero deck.

Otherwise, pull the engine down and install dished pistons. To me a head swap is easier, and a fuel change is easier still, if you can find it.
09-09-2012 10:42 AM
robhardy looks like the 66 castings had d ports. those were the 325 hp heads in 71. any thoughts on the performance of those?
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