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What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

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What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 22nd 2015, 1:11 am

How about some "what if" fun?

Small and big block Chevy & Ford V8s, along with the MOPAR Hemis & modern V8s, and Ford flatheads are the "go to" power plants to build a hot rod around. The other GM family V8s would not be uncommon choices. But there are a LOT of other less loved engines out there.

What if you were going to build a simple hot rod like a T-bucket or other T bodied car. But you could not use any import engine, any Ford flathead V8, or any American OHV V8. What less loved engine(s) would you choose?

For me, my first choice would be the silky smooth 1954 Packard 359, or earlier 9 main 327, Thunderbolt straight 8. I know the engine could be used as an anchor for a battleship, but I had the pleasure of hearing one run with an open exhaust manifold. The sound that thing made was mechanized music. From the factory they came with higher compression and better valve orientation than most flatties. Plus an aluminum head and 4bbl intakes were available from the factory. There was speed equipment made for them, and occasionally available now. Finally, what makes them viable to me now is the fact that they are adaptable to modern Chevy automatics.

My second choice would be considerably more modern...a '91 or later Jeep/AMC/MOPAR 4.0 litre inline 6. Not to shabby output in stock form, and enough reasonably priced aftermarket goodies to go as insane as you want. Sometime back I saw where someone had built a turbo stroker making over 500hp. Personally I'd start with just a few dress up goodies and a header flange, then build from there as the budget allowed. Starting with a 4bbl intake and Holley 390 cfm carb, eventually adding a performance head, then either a 4.7 stroker kit or short block.

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Reb Stew on October 22nd 2015, 3:28 am

1965 GMC 305 cubic inch V6. Yes V6. I dig the way the spark plugs go in. Not a fast engine but just for looks in a little 20's or 30's beater.

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Chris55 on October 22nd 2015, 3:46 am

An iron duke 4cyl with side drafts, in a track T. Heck I'm already putting a 230 inline 6 in the Biscayne. (with a powerglide no less) Shocked
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Reb Stew on October 22nd 2015, 6:32 am

Those little engines run good for what they are. I had one in a Fiero. It was no race car but it was faster than cop cars on the back roads way back then Smile

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Chris55 on October 22nd 2015, 10:39 am

^^^^^And how would you know that young man?^^^^^ lol!
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Reb Stew on October 22nd 2015, 4:57 pm

I live 1/4 mile from the city line. Back when I was a kid Wilder wouldn't cross into Cold Spring. It was pretty common for LT. Carl Epson to wait late at night in Wilder for me to come through. He wrote me up one time for speeding when I wasn't, it was so bad he almost arrested me. I paid the ticket but after that it was hammer down every time he came out. To be honest all the other times I was speeding past him but mostly on purpose. He would turn around on Pools Creek Road because that was the end of the Wilder City Limits. I had a real problem with cops that let their jobs go to their head. Nothing like that today. You run they will chase you even across a state line. Wilder, Ky back then was nothing but a speed trap. I made it my race track. I won't lie.

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 22nd 2015, 8:57 pm

Reb Stew wrote:1965 GMC 305 cubic inch V6. Yes V6. I dig the way the spark plugs go in. Not a fast engine but just for looks in a little 20's or 30's beater.

Hmmmm...I don't think I've ever seen one. I'll have to try to find a pic.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 22nd 2015, 9:39 pm

Chris55 wrote:An iron duke 4cyl with side drafts, in a track T. Heck I'm already putting a 230 inline 6 in the Biscayne. (with a powerglide no less) Shocked

I've seen enough speed equipment for the Chevy inline 6s to make them a good out of the ordinary choice.

I know the Iron Dukes have been popular on the track, so I'm sure they have good potential...but I'd never touch one again. Back around 200-2001 I had to surrender to one. I'd gotten an immaculate under 30k miles Iron Duke Cutlass Ciera wagon loaded to the gills, from an estate sale. Yeah it was too small of an engine for the wagon, but for a grocery getter it did fine for a few months. We even managed several I-75 NOH to NKY round trips. Then it started gradually loosing power. Since I was in full workaholic mode then, instead of me working on it, it made the very expensive rounds of 3 reputable repair shops. By then it was to the point that it literally took several miles to get it up to 55mph and was getting worse. At that point my wife beached it in the garage, and refused to drive it. For close to a year I spent occasional spare hours trying to diagnose it to no avail. The wagon was to be the last thing to go when we made the move to Newport...we ended up dropping it off at a charity on the way out of town. It was still immaculate and under 30k miles...and in the 2 years we had it we put more in it in repairs than we paid for the car.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Blue Eyed Devil on October 22nd 2015, 11:57 pm

Reb Stew wrote:1965 GMC 305 cubic inch V6. Yes V6. I dig the way the spark plugs go in. Not a fast engine but just for looks in a little 20's or 30's beater.

You may just wind up with one of those. Wink

For my pick, Mopar Slant Six.  The "leaning tower of power" has always held a special place in my heart.  Ran the dog shit out of one all over the eastern half of the country in a '63 Valiant.  Would love to build a super rowdy one drag style with a huffer...  Twisted Evil
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 23rd 2015, 4:12 pm

Blue Eyed Devil wrote:
Reb Stew wrote:1965 GMC 305 cubic inch V6. Yes V6. I dig the way the spark plugs go in. Not a fast engine but just for looks in a little 20's or 30's beater.

You may just wind up with one of those. Wink

For my pick, Mopar Slant Six.  The "leaning tower of power" has always held a special place in my heart.  Ran the dog shit out of one all over the eastern half of the country in a '63 Valiant.  Would love to build a super rowdy one drag style with a huffer...  Twisted Evil

Excellent choice! The blown drag setup would definitely be cool, but the first thing that came to my mind was a track roadster with multiple side draft Webers.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by zpi28 on October 23rd 2015, 10:59 pm

First BB V6 305 I saw was in a 63 GMC 4x4. I was like what the hell is this and had to go do some research to figure it out.
It was available in 305, 351, 401 and 478-cubic-inch. The 478 V6 was 235/440 at 1400rpm but was only in the big GMC trucks. That would be a unpopular torque monster.

Here is one that I used on a 52 Chevy AD I built a few years ago. Can anyone guess what this is? Its not what you think im sure but close.

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Chris55 on October 24th 2015, 1:45 am

^^^^^Cadillac^^^^^
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Blue Eyed Devil on October 24th 2015, 5:27 am

Yep. 472/500 Cadillac. Angled front dizzy gives it away...
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Reb Stew on October 24th 2015, 9:12 am

Twisted Evil

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by zpi28 on October 24th 2015, 4:20 pm

close,,, 425 Caddy

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Truxter Fordly on October 25th 2015, 5:53 am

How about an aluminum Buick 215 V8...... they only made them for three years, '61-'63, but then Rover bought the rights and used the design for many years in their products. They are light weight, rev nicely and you can get around 300 cubes out of them with a crank swap. Look like a miniature nailhead.....
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 25th 2015, 3:27 pm

I had a '63 Skylark convertible with a 215 in it...I liked it. Being that it's small, lightweight and uncommon, we'll give it a pass on the no OHV V8 rule.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Truxter Fordly on October 25th 2015, 3:54 pm

Sorry... didn't see the rule in the initial post....... just got excited about something different for a change.....
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Reb Stew on October 25th 2015, 4:37 pm

Truxter Fordly wrote:How about an aluminum Buick 215 V8......  they only made them for three years, '61-'63, but then Rover bought the rights and used the design for many years in their products. They are light weight, rev nicely and you can get around 300 cubes out of them with a crank swap. Look like a miniature nailhead.....
I would like to have one. I can't recall the last time I seen one.

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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 25th 2015, 6:10 pm

Truxter Fordly wrote:Sorry... didn't see the rule in the initial post....... just got excited about something different for a change.....

No worries...it's not like this is a competition...it's for fun. Besides, it is unusual enough when it comes to US OHV V8s to be given honorary oddball status. Plus it doesn't hurt that it's on my short list of favorite engines...LOL. If I were starting my project from scratch, and didn't already have an engine, it would be on my list of ones to look for.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 25th 2015, 6:15 pm

Reb Stew wrote:I would like to have one. I can't recall the last time I seen one.

A few months back I saw a pair of them on ebay, up around Columbus. I was soooooo tempted, but I have no storage for anything with that much bulk and it would have meant the expense of another transmission.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Truxter Fordly on October 25th 2015, 6:32 pm

If not a little aluminum 215 Buick V8 then how about a big old chunk of Buick iron by way of the 320 CID straight eight of the early fifties?
I don't know much about these motors but you can get a T5 transmission adapter and there seems to be some info on the internet as to how to make one run well. You can bore them to around 340 CID.... As long as we are dreaming, this combo in about a '41 Buick Century Coupe would be killer.
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Re: What not popular engine(s) would you build a hot rod around?

Post by Zandoz on October 27th 2015, 8:51 pm

Truxter Fordly wrote:If not a little aluminum 215 Buick V8 then how about a big old chunk of Buick iron by way of the 320 CID straight eight of the early fifties?
I don't know much about these motors but you can get a T5 transmission adapter and there seems to be some info on the internet as to how to make one run well. You can bore them to around 340 CID.... As long as we are dreaming, this combo in about a '41 Buick Century Coupe would be killer.

A good choice....my 2nd choice in straight 8s. There is still a surprising amount of vintage speed equipment floating around. My vehicle choice would be one of the later Special Sedanettes. I've always had a soft spot for those late '40s thru early '50s smaller GM fastbacks. The larger models look great, but I'd not want to be driving one of those land yachts on a regular basis.
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