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nobody1031 07-02-2008 10:01 PM

whats the best bet SB or BB chevy
I am starting to rebuild a 64 nova 11 from the ground up, I don't know for sure what would be a good motor and trans set-up for it though. I like a 4 speed but I have a power glide already on hand. The car is gonna be a week end warrior but I want it to be able to hold up to some punishment. I would like to have good power and money is always an issue. :confused:

ImRoyaltyInMyChevy 07-02-2008 10:10 PM

the always best average engine is the 350

techinspector1 07-03-2008 12:28 AM

472/500 Cadillac/TH400/2.73 gear/150 NOS shot.

curtis73 07-03-2008 12:45 AM

techinspector... I like how you think :)

Those 2's are pretty light and small. You will be able to get away with a pretty wild small block and shave weight compared to a BBC. The Caddy is almost as light as the SBC and has a serious displacement advantage.

So, (even though I love BBCs) the SBC sticks out to me first. A 383 stroker can be built for about the same as a 350, but much less than a 454 and it has 84% of the displacement. But, getting a 383 to make the same power as a 454 is cheaper and since you have such a light car you can deal with the extra revs you'll need to get it.

The caddy is a wonderful engine since its huge and just a few pounds heavier than the SBC, but it costs about the same as a BBC to build and is a little less suited to revving. Of course you don't need to rev a caddy to make torque and power, but its a slight mismatch in my opinion. I'd rather see light cars matched with high-revving engines

So, when it comes down to it, I would personally do a 383. The Caddy is different and can still make the same power with 50% more torque, but at the cost of the little nitpicking things it requires to adapt it into the C2 chassis.

Either way... I vote against the BBC

cowbay 07-03-2008 06:01 AM

Since money is an issue I would think about doing a 383 stroker, there are many parts on the market out there. You can develop 500 HP without breaking a sweat and in a light car like that it will haul. As far as components l would spend the extra money and go with a forged rotating assembly for durability. Cams go with a solid roller such as bullet or crower. If you do not use these manufacturers make sure it is a billet cam since some use a cast core, ask for an ever where gear so you do not have to use a bronze distributer gear. Carb could be a basic holley or eldebrock. Intake manifolds and heads there are so many good affordable products on the market. I could go on for ever, but shop around. I just built a 383 stroker and saved almost $700.00 in parts by shopping around even though I bought almost everything through summit. Summit has a beat a price a guarantee and the fact they are a very reputable company.
As far as powerglide it is a very consistent tranny, but for my personal preference I like a 4 speed. That is what i run, it is so violent that it is great.
Let us know what you end up going with. :welcome:

Double_v23 07-03-2008 06:11 AM

I am not sure about that "best price gauruntee" thing but I have always found great deals through Competition Products. They only deal in engine stuff and they offer everything from cheap "claimer" assemblies to full blown race units with 5000 dollar short blocks.

They would definately have something to fit your budget and application.

For durability I would go with a Big Block. Even the stock 2 bolt blocks with cast cranks were good to 600HP and 7000 rpm so they can really take a pounding.

SSedan64 07-03-2008 07:42 AM

I agree, I've dealt with Competition Products for the last 12yrs or so, very good parts, prices & service. Also Dyno-Flow & Flatlander Racing. Flatlander had King Demon RS carbs so cheap Summit wouldn't match the price when I bought mine. Doug Herbert used to give 5% discount if you payed by Check or MoneyOrder, not sure if they still do that. Most all the big parts houses have the meet or beat price guarantee. Dirt Track Thunder & Racers Outlet usually have very good prices on internal parts too. Only bad parts I've ever got from CP were Eagle Rods which I no longer will use anyway. They're known for egg shaped journal ends.

RPM 07-03-2008 08:43 PM

A BB in a old Chevy 2 is a lot of work. I had an LS6 in a 66 nova. You have to cut the fender wells out to clear the exhaust, then you have to reinforce what you cut out to keep the car from falling apart. The stock front springs won't work, the BB is much heavier. I had the some big slicks on the back and it twisted the body so bad it was hard to shut the doors. I ended up with frame connectors and a cage to stiffen the car.

Go with a small block it bolts right in.

Stroke 07-03-2008 10:48 PM


I vote against the BBC
unless it's a 540

75gmck25 07-04-2008 08:07 AM

I think you first have to decide on a rough budget, and then decide how wild you are willing to put up with as a weekend driver.

For a relatively cheap, simple, reliable combo I would probably go with a high revving 327 or 350 (use good rotating parts & a strong cam) that runs in the 350 horsepower range, TH350 with a high stall converter, about 4.10 gears with posi, and the widest tires you can fit on the back. This combination should be relatively cheap (uses readily available parts), and give good performance in a '64 Nova. If built with good quality parts, this combo should also hold up to a lot of abuse.

You could also use a 4 speed, but the conversion from your Powerglide will require more parts and more time. A TH350 swap should be much easier. For real punch, you could add NOS, but I'm not really a fan of that idea.

There are many other SBC combos that would work (383 strokers, etc). and if you have a lot of patience you could run a BBC. However, most of them are more involved to build and will cost more money. How much pain (money) can you put up with?


speedydeedy 07-04-2008 08:13 AM

I like the 383 and with a properly built powerglide it will be a great weekend warrior.JMO. :thumbup:

65smallblock 07-04-2008 09:18 AM

Man, I love those old Chevy II's!! I agree with 75GMCK.. The most cost effective package would be a turbo 350 tranny behind a 350.

I am going with a THM 350 in my Chevelle in place of the powerglide. It has the same 1st gear ratio as a muncie. They would be better around town for MPG than a powerglide and much easier to do a burnout with. :D

Im building a 327 from a 350 core to go in my 65. I highly reccomend David Vizzards books. You can make up the cost easily.

I strongly disagree with the statement that a 383 costs the same as a 350. Not too many scat cranks in junkyards. Lots of machine work inherint in a 383 project and a 350 can be reworked pretty cheap. 383's are nice, but not cheap.. If I wanted a motor for pure power I would just find a good 2 bolt main 400 and go from there.

From a cost standpoint though the 350 is by far the best..

Oh! and a THM 350 will bolt right up in place of the powerglide. You just need to fiddle with the linkage to get it to work. I think I will go with a floor shifter.

curtis73 07-04-2008 11:40 AM


Originally Posted by 65smallblock
I strongly disagree with the statement that a 383 costs the same as a 350. Not too many scat cranks in junkyards. Lots of machine work inherint in a 383 project and a 350 can be reworked pretty cheap. 383's are nice, but not cheap.. .

Who says you need a scat crank? And often times you can buy a brand new cast stroker crank for a few bucks more than a quality re-turn on a stock crank, and you're still at standard size. And since you only other different expense is pistons (which you have to buy anyway), the 383 really is no more expensive if you do it carefully. I'm actually building an all-forged 383 with H-beam rods for less than the cost of having my 350 rebuilt. Of course I'm doing the assembly which saves me $200, but I was just careful and took my time waiting for bargains. Even if you buy the engine from a reman house, a 383 is EXACTLY the same price as a 350.

Take a look here:

In fact, when I was doing my last 350, I actually found a couple places that ONLY made 383s. Since they were the same price they had so few people asking for 350s that they just built 383s. They could still build you a 350, but they didn't keep eny in stock.

ScoTFrenzel 07-04-2008 01:39 PM

$$$ ???

I'd grab a pull out useable factory 350 Vortec roller engine that doesn't need rebuilding or pistons,
bowl port it,
cam it,
carb it,
and make 400+ hp
and stick it in
with a stick shift 4-5 speed. (that's what you want)

It ought to do OK in a 2700 pound fun car.
Build what you like and have fun with it :thumbup:

If ya smoke it, go get another $400 salvage engine and go again.

I think Popular HotRodding magazine did a buildup about 2 years ago called, Budget Sledgehammer, or Sledgehammer, and got 447 hp. Check the web sites.

If you have an extra $ 3-10,000 to spend, see previous posts.

I just bought a running driving stock engine from a pickup that is running 9.40 eighths at 90*, for $ 500 complete fuel injection etc. He is going LS series. Guess what I am going to do. :mwink:

ImRoyaltyInMyChevy 07-04-2008 03:37 PM

yea you can really make a nice engine for cheap if you know how to look, start by buying a cheap engine off Craigslist, the three things you are looking for are better then stock heads, newer pistons for more comp. and as little miles as possible. then from there yuor at like $500-$1500, then you disassemble it to short bock and regasket it, and check some main bearings to see if you want to have new bearings and rings, you mine as well wile your there and buy new parts like all the pumps, and new valve tran and put it back together and you got a somewhat new block!

I built my 350 for about $1500
$750 - full 350 I pulled from car not running well, but had like 30,xxx miles and 9.7to1comp it had Bowtie Phase II heads and roller rockers! thats really why I wanted it
then E-bay new oil pump, aluminum water pump, wire loom and wires, shift kit vacuum canister, valve covers. and $100 for new TCI tourq converter off craiglsit
then I changed the cam bears and bought a custom ground Crower cam and lifters which was the most expensive but yu can never have to good of a cam lol

I actually already bought and engine off Craigslist with like 10,xxx miles running great and I pulled it out of a truck and painted it and it was done but I had to sell it when I found this engine

so now I'm ready to drop it in and on my DD2000 it says its
422TQ 470HP

so if you know how to shop around you can always get what your looking for

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