Why I have grown to hate the Small Block Chevy..... an essay - Page 11 - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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  #151 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2006, 02:13 PM
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I personaly like stuff that is different or rare. That being said, I'm building a 52 Willys Areo street rod with a 302 Ford for power. I recently went to an all Mopar meet at Englishtown and was bored by the lines of "cookie cutter" 340 Cudas and 340 Challengers. 413 Ramchargers and several original 426 Hemi cars, including a one of a kind black on black Hemi Cuda got my attention! I know the SBC is a great motor, but if your building a street rod, come one, a 343 or 409 just looks hot! BTW the Mopar 5.7 and now some 6.1 Hemis are becoming available from wrecked vehicles . A6.1 Hemi is a heck of a motor.

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  #152 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2006, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formerice
.....and was bored by the lines of "cookie cutter" 340 Cudas and 340 Challengers. 413 Ramchargers and several original 426 Hemi cars......
The same thing happens to me when I attend an all Chevy show.
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  #153 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2006, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
The same thing happens to me when I attend an all Chevy show.
Thats why I don't attend all anything shows..........I like to see a little bit of everything. Truthfully though...I pay more attention to the body work, chassis and suspension, and other things than I do the engines.
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  #154 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2006, 03:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Highrise
Thats why I don't attend all anything shows..........I like to see a little bit of everything. Truthfully though...I pay more attention to the body work, chassis and suspension, and other things than I do the engines.
Sometimes I have no choice. I have a good friend that's into Chevelles and I can't let him go to a show alone, can I? But, I agree in show's like that I tend to look at the body/paint and engineering much more than the engine compartment.
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  #155 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2006, 08:30 AM
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I don't hate SBC's as a rule, and have a 350 I'm going to build for my P/U. The reason I chose this one was to replace the factory 305 for the best bang for my buck. Even if I had more dough, I would not have gone BBC..as they are overpriced to begin with. (Not to mention that I have too much work to do on this thing already without having to mess around with hooking up a Cad motor into it or something)

If I had a classic project, the motor would have to be numbers matching, regardless of size or type. If it was a rod, then I would look for something other than an SBC that was unique and cool. Thta's the whole essence of rod building, and has been from the start. (Old tin with a mix & match drivetrains)

There's no sense hating something you can't control. You have two choices. Go with the masses, or set your own course.
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  #156 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2006, 11:22 AM
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Sick-n-tired of SBC

I usually go to 2 or 3 NSRA Nationals plus Right Coast at Syracuse and Goodguys at Rhinebeck. Early Fords are my favorites - but NOT powered by a SBC - do you hear a yawn-n-n. There is virtually no creativity in dumping a 350/350 in a duece coupe. How 'bout trying a Ford FE or the 429/460 with a C4/C6. Something a person can use his creative talents doing.

There are some neat combinations - at Syacuse last month, I spent a bunch of time talking to a guy that had a 30's DeSoto with a nailhead with 6 Stromberg 97's. The car had lots of miles on it, he had run it in various forms with the nailhead. The car needed some minor work, but was still a great rod.

There is an older roadster of some vintage around that has a nasty looking and sounding slant 6.

A few years ago, I owned a 351 Ford powered T-bucket, and was parked between 2 very nice black '32 SBC 3w coupes. You can guess who spent the most time talking to spectators and having pictures taken. One of the coupe owners ( a very well known East coast parts supplier ) was totally PO'd and told me in so many words.

I could go on ad nauseum, but originality and creativity get my looking time - a SBC in a '32 etc, unless there is something really different, doesn't even get a second look any more
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  #157 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2006, 08:11 AM
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why i hate the sbc

went to a car show last night ,heart jumped a couple of times,saw a 55 2 door chevy with a 59 caddy motor hydro and 3x2s couldnt keep my eyes off it made me smile.then i started to grin there was a 51 pontiac h/t gorgeous went to the front yuckkkk a blown sbc,with all them poncho motors out there(389s,400,421s,428s,)why oh why would someone do that,by god its a sin got to stop this kind of stuff surely a blown 421 or 389 has enough power,i ask myself what was this guy thinking or even did he?anyway went from a high,the 55 to a low low ,just shook my head and walked away before i said something
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  #158 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2006, 08:47 PM
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Yeah butt....

When I drove a California 72 Camaro, the 350 SBC was gutless and was not something that had the best of reputations for performace, in the era of bigger is better (with a few notable exceptions).

The fact that Chevy used the engine for so many years, and still hasn't stopped, has driven the aftermarket to produce so incredibly many options. You can take a small block chevy from any era and make it a screaming muscle machine, or a reliable road cruiser, a tow vehicle, or even an economical low compression smooth engine for long distance or significant use.

So while yeah, there are tons of them out there, and it's nice to see some imagination in the engine compartment, with options like fuel injection, 3-two-barrels, late gen engines that look very different ...and even a new LS-7, that I'd give my left .....arm for, there are options to make it less like everyone else.

I yanked the 350 immediately and put in a 396, but after riding in and feeling the incredible performance of a 383 stroker, gas price increases, and the fact I have that 350 on hand, I can imagine the day I put the 350 back in. However, it would be nice to throw in EFI and some other interesting stuff..maybe a small supercharger?.....budget permitting. The 348 in my truck will keep things interesting if nothing else.

So yeah, I get the point, and agree.... but if you do go 350, it don't have to be a gutless, stock, smog era choked down, boring, cookie cutter 350. Not all engines that look alike are built alike either. I do like the many options available in the aftermarket. Good ole American (usually) inovation and capitolism at work doing what it does best.

Now to plan the rebuild of the 348...start with a 409 crank. Now where are all of the new aftermarket parts for my 348? Do you think Edelbrock will ever make a new manifold for it?

Steve
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  #159 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2006, 01:38 PM
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Although this post was started a while ago, I just ran across it...I'm with Centerline all the way on this one. Long before I joined this board and even before I started attending street rod shows, I wanted my rod project to be different and something I liked. My Willys project has a 392 Hemi, manual transmission and Dana 60 rear....Certainly not a unique combination, but different.
If I didn't get a Willys, I would have gone for an Anglia, if I could find one..(loved those gassers!)
Deuce's are nice, but how many can you look at? Especially when most have a 350/350.
For that matter, maybe another thread asking why everyone has to have an automatic and Ford 9"???
Just my opinion....

Steve
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  #160 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2006, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
For that matter, maybe another thread asking why everyone has to have an automatic and Ford 9"???
Just my opinion....

Steve
Steve,
It's like a 350/350. We're all somewhat lazy as far as autos are concerned. The 9", well there are lots of them from 1957 to ~1986, lots of good final ratios that are easy to change out and the alternate choices ain't so great except for the 8".
Which is the same reason most use the 350/350 - laziness for many, not all (plus lack of initiative to try something different)
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  #161 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2006, 07:24 PM
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55 Ford Wagon

Well I don't really know anything, except I have built a couple of Chevys... a 283 for my 56 big window stepside and a 350 for a friends pickup...

But when it came tiem to pick my next car, I settled on the prettiest 50s car ever designed, the 55/56 Fords. And its never set right with me why anyone would build a Ford and put a Chevy anything in it.

A friend gave me a 302 from a '72 Maverick (we think) and another friend his retired 8" rearend from his '66 fastback and another guy here in MO has a C6 he'll give me cheap (if it fits) so I'm ready to get started.

Plus Edelbrock just came out with the nicest set of heads for the 302 in aluminum and they aint no dogs so here I go. Anyone got any experience to share with me on the wagon or Ford drive train, stop in at my project journal, I can use some advise!
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  #162 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2006, 09:29 PM
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Hey Centerline,

Ironically I talked with a classic and hot rod appraser today (not that I'm looking to sell my T bucket, I'm not done experimenting He had a booth at the Eastern States Nats in CT. (Sounds like you were nearby actually)

I told him my theory that if I ever wanted to sell my T bucket I'd be better off replacing the one off blower motor and EFI gadgety and computer controlled tranny with a simple 302 , C-4 and carb setup. Mostly becuase I figure what I've done would scare people off and I'd rather keep the expensive cool stuff for myself anyway. He agreed to a point, but added that I would be even better off with a 350/350 comb. Not that it's better, but that is what the general hot rodding public wants. Go figure

There were some shinning moments today though
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  #163 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2006, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrowhead
........ but added that I would be even better off with a 350/350 comb. Not that it's better, but that is what the general hot rodding public wants. Go figure
He's right. There's a world of followers out there and very few individualists like us.

By the way, that's a nice deuce. A Ford in a Ford, how novel.
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  #164 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2006, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
When reading this essay please don't get the idea that I'm bashing one of hot rodding's legendary power plants. I'm not. The small block Chevy is one of the most popular V8 engines ever built. It is reliable and has almost unlimited potential. Then why, you ask, do I hate this engine? The answer is very simple; there are just too damn many of them.

To be clear, the focus of this essay is on Street Rodding. That category which is generally considered to comprise pre 1949 vehicles. These cars and trucks are generally where engine swaps are most common and the builder has almost total control over the choices he makes. When talking about muscle cars or street machines the assertions of this essay won't always apply and that should be kept in mind when reading this paper. I am not condoning swapping out a 350 in a Nova for a Buick Nailhead. Although different, that swap wouldn't make much sense. However when it comes to Street Rods, the SBC has become not much more than a mundane "also ran."

I don't blame Chevrolet for this at all. I blame the people who are building street rods and the way they perpetuate the use of this engine as the solution to all problems and quite simply the "only" way to go. The popular claim that, "It's reliable and cheap to build," just doesn't hold water. Yes it is reliable, however it is NOT the only small V8 out there, and it is no more reliable (and only marginally less expensive to build) than any number of other domestic V8s. A good choice yes, the only choice?.. not by a long shot.

Let me ask you a question? When you go to a car show don't you get tired of seeing the same power plant in almost every street rod you walk by? I sure do. To me there is nothing more boring than another "cookie cutter" street rod powered by a small block Chevy. I have to ask what is wrong with the builders of these cars. Are they so unimaginative that they just have to use what everyone else does? Where is their originality, creativity, and individuality? These people certainly don't seem to lack these qualities when contemplating the paint scheme or the interior accoutrements so when choosing the engine for their street rod why do they "settle" for what can only be described as just another small block Chevy?

When it comes to choosing a reliable engine Ford and Chrysler along with many others have been building and selling reliable V8s for longer than I care to remember. Ford's venerable 289-302 family or Chrysler's 318-360 small blocks are just as reliable and have just as much potential as any SBC every built. So why do people flock to the SBC like moths to a flame? The answer to this question is not what most people want to here. It's because people by nature are just plain lazy.

Now that I've raised the blood pressure of every SBC owner out there let me explain what I mean. When building a street rod (and we're talking about pre-1950 vehicles here) most people for some unknown reason perceive that it is vastly easier to drop in a SBC than going through a little extra work figuring out how to get that Ford small block to clear the front cross member or spending a little time fabricating engine mounts for a Buick Nailhead. These types of problems are not insurmountable and with a little thought they can easily be overcome, but because most people are by nature lazy they take the easy way out and choose the SBC. By choosing the SBC for some reason the perception is that it's easier to do and there are fewer problems to solve. Yes, it probably does save some time and effort but it is not the only solution to the problem. The argument that the SBC is easier to install in most rods just doesn't stand the test when you think about some other V8s. The Chrysler 318 family for example also has a rear sump pan just like the SBC and this engine can be installed in any rod just as easily. This also holds true for several other domestic V8s. True a little thought and possibly a little extra work will have to go into engine mounts but the price of being an individual and a leader is almost always worth the extra effort.

OK so we have now established one reason the SBC is so popular. People by nature are lazy. Now let's look at another reason. People are, for the most part anyway, cheap. Being cheap however is a relative term. For the teenager that is building a 15 year old Camaro on a very tight budget (based on how much he earns flipping burgers after school) this means that every penny has to count and choosing the SBC is almost a necessity. However to the guy who's spending $10 to $20 grand or more on his prize street rod the slight difference in the cost of building a SBC compared to anything else is negligible. The fact that a set of pistons for the SBC costs $40 less than the same set for a Ford or Chrysler small block means nothing to this person. Then why do they "go with the flow" and choose the SBC? Because people also tend to be sheep. That's right; for the most part we are just a bunch of followers.

Anymore it seems to take a special person to break the mold and choose something different. Why else are there so few street rods with real engines like Nailheads, Flatheads, Hemis, BB Chryslers, BB Fords, Olds, Pontiac, AMC and yes even 348-409 Chevys? Because people are way to willing to follow the leader and just do what everyone else is doing. To me this is, to coin a term from the '60s, nothing more than a cop out! If all you want to be is a follower all your life then more power to you, but to the few people left who have the unique ability to think "out of the box" then the SBC is about as boring as they come.

Finally, I'm not blaming anyone for choosing to build a SBC. It is reliable, cheap to build and can deliver lots of horsepower. I've built my share of 302s, 350s and 327s too but one day I opened my eyes and realized that I no longer wanted to be a follower. I no longer wanted to blend into the woodwork and I was willing to take the time, use the brain power and expend the extra effort that it takes to be an individual. I know we are all by nature lazy and building cheap is almost always a necessity, but being a follower is really more of a choice than anything else. Do the hobby a favor and the next time you're considering building a street rod don't be afraid of being creative, or imaginative. For once be an individual and think "out of the box". Choose something other than what has become over the years a "cookie cutter" engine. Of course on the other hand if the entire reason you're building a street rod is to blend in than by all means go with the SBC. After all it is by far the best way to disappear into the crowd.
you and those dinosaur mopars,the 1 reason chevrolet is above all others, is the ability to interchange. ford has several bellhousing patterns. and whats the deal with the torque coverter and flywheel being 1 piece on mopar engines. now before you get all emotional im not bashing your mopars
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  #165 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2006, 09:19 PM
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but i dont like the idea of chevy engines in any other than gm. afterall there really the only ones that could keep a front end together under it.
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