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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm restoring a 1937 Chevy 4 door Master sedan. It's my first project and I would love your input on what motor I should adapt to my car.

I don't want to restore it to original settings, I want a nice, functional car that I could use every other sunday and not have it break down on me.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated =)
 

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If it was me I would look for a 4.8 LS engine and put it in your car. I put a 5.3 in my S10 for less than I could build a 300 hp motor. The 4.8 makes just a little less hp and will get decent gas mileage plus it will burn this nasty gas we have to buy.
 

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I have a 38 Plymouth Coupe and I attend lots of car shows and rod runs. In my opinion, you want to have a nice modern drive train, suspension and braking system. You don't need to go all fuel injected or anything but believe me, the cost of restoring old systems is not any cheaper than converting to modern equipment and you will be much happier.
 

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48 Plymouth Club Coupe
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Well, I am going to come at this from the other direction. I have a 48 Plymouth coupe and I am running a 57 model 230 flathead in front of a 53 model R10 Overdrive. I can cruise at 70 all day long. Not to mention that it is repairable with simple hand tools. No computers, no special tools needed.

Add to the above the when I pull into a show or cruise and pop the hood, I am not parked between 47 more engines just like mine. I can tell you that when folks walk by they do a double take on the flathead and stop to comment / ask questions. I say be unique. If you do go with a standard ho-hum 350 / 350 then do something to make it stand out.

This is my second 48 coupe and the first had a 383 / 727 which ran like a scalded cat. That was a very different time in my life where going as fast as possible in a straight line was the most important thing. Now I want to drive my car on a regular basis and enjoy the ride. Neither the flathead or the V8 can be pointed to by anyone as the right choice except by you. It is your car and you know how you want to use it. Set down, really think about how you are going to use it, what image you want to project, your skill level and go from there.

Here are a couple pictures of my flathead and then a couple of Chevy sixes.







 

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I really agree with Hkestes about having an interesting engine, how many 350ci can you look at?... But there is something to be said about the reliability and ease of maintenance (cheap parts in any parts store...) of a small block, so why not make it interesting to look at? Ram horn exhaust manifolds, finned/old style valve covers and air filter, a cool intake such as a twin 4-barrel cross ram, or 3 deuces, maybe an old oil-filled air filter modified to use a regular filter... There, cool engine, simple to maintain!
Anyway, on the other hand, if it was me, I would follow Fishburn113 and use a small modern LS engine, smooth and reliable. Do not be afraid of EFI, it is very easy to install and live with. For more info on the LS engines, go to the LS1Tech forum, these guys know everything! And these engine are not too common yet in old cars...
So, are you confused now? Sorry...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
modification implications

in the case that I would instal say an LS engine, would I have to modify chassis, break system, suspension, none, all….??

And thanks for all the replies, the have been really helpful.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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no points/no carb,make it a driver
Isn't that funny how different we all think. I would say just the opposite "Points, carb, make it a driver". LOL One I can work on, make it a driver.

Brian
 
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in the case that I would instal say an LS engine, would I have to modify chassis, break system, suspension, none, all….??

And thanks for all the replies, the have been really helpful.
I do not know about '37 Chevys, so I cannot answer specifically. I would encourage you to go on the LS1Tech forum, see if someone has done such a swap.
Then, you say you "restored" your car but you are on the hotrodders forum: is your car modified or really stock? Here are a few thoughts which will hopefully help you think:
If stock, does your car have a closed or open driveline? Any modern engine will need an open driveline, therefore a new rear end; there are many many aftermarket parts to adapt an LS engine anywhere, such as oil pans, exhaust headers or manifolds, engine mounts to move the engine front or back, different accessory drives if you need space in the front... So just playing with all that usually allows a fairly simple swap without much cutting. I did say "usually"!
Then again, is it really worth it to have a modern engine if you have stock brakes/steering... which may not be that good at the modern day speeds the newer engine allows? I would look into modernizing the front end (better brakes/steering).
The project might be getting bigger than you thought... Maybe start a new thread in the suspension page of the forum to see what more knowledgeable people would have to say about this...
 

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The original engine in a '37 Chevy was an inline six, so what about swapping in a more modern GM inline six cylinder with a good automatic transmission? There were displacements up to 250 ci, so it should be able to move the '37 fairly well.

There was even the 1953 Blue Flame six that was used in the Corvette, so you could say you have a '53 Corvette engine in your '37 (everybody seems to think that adding Corvette parts makes every GM engine better).

I don't know what performance parts are available for the GM inline six, but I'm sure someone here on the board knows that answer.

Bruce
 

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Isn't that funny how different we all think. I would say just the opposite "Points, carb, make it a driver". LOL One I can work on, make it a driver.

Brian
Thinking the same Martin. Carb., no computer, NAPA store has parts.... Carbs, I get. Electrons running around a circuit board, not so much.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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chevy 6 !

When I was in high school in the 50's, I split my exhaust manifold, Twin pipes. used a larger GMC carb, and GMC truck high lift rockers , and it was faster than another kids ford flathead. For brake upgrades , a guy I knew used Pontiac front brakes on his 39 chevy with the beam axle , and swapped to a pontiac rear end, the rear swap is a bit of work. I don't know if the pontiac axle shafts and braks can be used on the chevy rear.
 

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I would lean towards the later Chevy/GM 6 cylinder engine simply because they have insert type bearings as well as a few more cubic inches. Then the ability to find parts will be better. A 2-3 carb intake, but I for sure would modify the ignition to electronic for parts life and availability. A decent set of discs in front with an OD transmission, 3-4-5 speed or auto and a better differential arrangement (GM 10-12 bolt, Ford 8-9 inch), again for parts availability. A split dual/exhaust - nice that is if you need to wake the neighborhood up on an early Sunday morning. Now, if you were to go full on street rod - the sky is the limit for driveline (and your wallet capacity). We here can help you spend as much as you would ever want and then some:D:D:D

Dave W
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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292 is the hardest to find of the late models, it's a truck engine not put into any cars, that should give you an idea of how hard they are to find. The 50's equivalent would be a 261 or 302 GMC. These are the special inline sixes from GM and not real easy to find.

The late 250 is the way to go, and everything for any Chevy will bolt up to it, it's the same bell housing pattern as a 327-454 up thru the seventies.

You are just checking the waters right now, this is what you need to do. Move into the "community" a little more. You have a good start right here but don't think that a simple question is answered and you are on your way, move in, get comfortable with a few forums like inliners and http://www.stovebolt.com/ubbthreads/ and there are many others who deal a lot with these motors.

Just take it easy and study and you will find all this will come very easily, these motors are VERY popular but a "secret club" like popular. You could go to rod shops and they wouldn't have a clue and want you to put a V8 in it (what they DO know) and that is all you would hear. But get in with the right community and you will find out there are a LOT of people into these motors who live and breath them.

Brian
 
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So I'm leaning for a 6 cylinder, what's my best choice? 292?

Thanks
An engine from 1953 on up, 235cid or whatever you can find locally up to a 302cid Jimmy and preferably originally supplied by GM/Chebbie with Powerglide so it has the pressurized lube oil system and hydraulic lifters. The bigger cid engines might be limited to performance parts availability, but for me, been way too long since I've looked, so may be wrong. Wayne made many of these parts so an EBay look might be worthwhile

Dave W
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Awesome, thanks Brian, I will definitely keep exploring possibilities, I think a 6 cylinder would look pretty nice, my chevy has a long but kind of narrow space for the engine, so I think it makes sense.
 
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