selecting and building your dream car combo



selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » February 2nd, 2009, 10:10 am

If your like many guys you want to build a killer hot rod but your budget falls miserably short of your dreams and goals, you may want to build a 1970 shelby mustang or a 1969 camaro, or a 1970 pontiac judge but just finding a body thats suiteable to start with is well out of your budget, after all very few of us can drop tens of thousands of dollars into a bottomless money pit that most projects can rapidly become on our limited budgets.
Yeah people like JAY LENO can just buy what they want and hire a couple good mechanics to rebuild it to exactly what they want. most of us have a difficult time scraping up the $1200-$3500 a decent set of performance cylinder heads costs, let alone a $100 k or more for some of the more rare or exotic muscle cars, and once youve thrown that much cash into a project your very unlikely to want to use it as a daily driver.
so lets be realistic, theres plenty of nice cars available to work on, and theres a great selection of components, but you may want to broaden your outlook a bit and not get locked into a single narrow goal.
one area thats open is finding a reasonably priced car to begin with and like selecting a wife, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
theres some bargins currently like the early c-4 corvettes that can be picked up in various conditions for between $2000-_$12000 fairly easily, or theres cars that look very similar to what you might want to build that have been overlooked, lets say your goal is a killer 1968-71 chevelle, or a 1967 fairlane ,1968-70 road runner, they are fairly comon midsize cars, but sell at a premium. look around at similar dodge, plymouth, ford, mercury,olds,buick, pontiac, american motors and chevy cars, theres options you might not have thought of! one of my friends started out looking for a pinto or a vega to use for a race car, body as both were very light weight. after searching salvage yards and used car dealers for a decent car, he stumbled onto a non-running AMX up on blocks in some guys garage, it had not run in 15 years and had a connecting rod knock, he bought it and trailered it home, at first he says he wondered if he was insane, but after awhile the cars lines grew on him, Image, (SIMILAR TO THIS)now he has a killer 383 sbc and a 6 speed trans installed and hes working on the interior and paint, hes thrilled with the car!
another guy I know wanted a real muscle car, but he found a late 1960s olds
Image

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=1482&p=3337#p3337

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10233&p=40868&hilit=t+bucket#p40868
Image
similar to this, car, he loves the car now
locate and join at least two local car/corvette/hotrodders clubs, your going to need the contacts, people ans knowledge resources they can provide,
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » February 2nd, 2009, 7:58 pm

If there's a Corvette club in your area , JOIN IT,!
if theres a hotrodders club, JOIN IT,!
you don,t need to like all the members,odds are good that about 30% know far less than you do,or are no help at all, 30% are much more skilled,than you are, but your there to share skills and knowledge, LEARN FROM THEM, and HELP, become familiar with the tools, take the time, and help each other, its a two way street, don,t expect help if your not willing to help others,etc.
ask some of the members for suggestions and help and BE WILLING TO HELP WITH THIER PROBLEMS, ITS A LEARNING PROCESS
your bound to find good contacts that will be helpful and a few total jerks youll want to totally avoid in any group, but don,t let the jerks dis-swade you from getting the benefits and making the contacts you need!

you ABSOLUTELY NEED A SHOP MANUAL FOR YOUR CAR,YEAR,MAKE,MODEL

http://www.helminc.com/helm

Image
thats a valid suggestion.....you may also want to go to the local tracks DRAG RACE AND CIRCLE TRACK carry a large pad and pen and ask for contacts, clubs,suppliers,club info, etc. make friends and ask the faster guys with the better looking cars , what machine shops and garages/mechanics they would suggest, when you get in over your head. in many cases they will know who the scam artists and rip off garages are and who does good dependable work at reasonable rates, but its been my experiance that the best thing you can do is join a local hot rodders or corvette club and between the members contacts and your own resources, YOU will be able to do , and should do,most work your self with some help and knowledge from the guys you make contacts with, in your local clubs, no one but YOU will do QUALITY work and take the time on the details like YOU will on YOUR CORVETTE
keep in mind that theres very few things a decent machine shop and a semi skilled corvette owner with a few friends can,t easily fix, ESPECIALLY if they are willing too take the effort too research the problem , then adjust or replace the parts that are causing the problem, theres nothing mystical or really difficult, but youll need to know what your doing, and what needs testing and or replaceing and that may take research or some investment in tools and learning test procedures, don,t be in awe, theres not a darn thing you can,t learn to do!
youll need basic mechanics tools and having 4 good 12 ton jack stands

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=34924

and a decent floor jack, and some car club friends sure helps, if you have SAFE AND STURDY ,easy access under the car maintenance and repairs are easier to do!

Ill add these tips

(1) do EXTENSIVE research FIRST, before....... buying parts.... or starting a modification, that INCLUDES making a detailed parts list and researching , the sources, cost, manuals etc. IE FIND OUT whats necessary to do the job, and what results youll expect before you start

(2) ITS a HUGE advantage to have the correct tools, things like engine cranes, diagnostic test equipment, welders,lifts, etc. may seem like a big expence thats not dirrectly moving your project forward, but there NECESSARY in some cases and ALWAYS make the project go faster and easier than trying to do without them.

(3) work SAFELY, if you could get hurt doing something, chances are very good that you will eventually find out exactly WHY you should have done it the safe rather than the fast/easy way, if you don,t think it thru and use the correct tools and precautions

(4)ITs almost ALWAYS better to have several friends help, on a project, having two or more guys thinking things thru improves your chances of getting it done correctly and safely,and keep in mind ,its always best to do your projects after helping a more experianced guy do something similar on his car so you have some experiance doing it, thus be ready and available to help your buddies withn thier projects and don,t avoid helping so you won,t get dirty, or have some free time thats used on other guys cars vs yours...in the long run it pays big to help others

(5)ask questions and be sure you understand the answers, KNOWING what your doing before you start is a huge advantage

(6)take pictures, label wireing, put small parts in labeled ziploc bags and take notes, use the manuals, and internet, and if something won,t fit or looks wrong research rather than forcing it with a bigger hammer

now I got asked,
"what do you do, who do you call when your about to tackle a job youve never done before?"
now most guys sub out jobs to the dealer or a corvette shop when they get into areas they may not be familiar with,but I do ALL the work on my corvettes for TWO good reasons, first I could NEVER afford the shop rates and I can NEVER trust the quality of work many shops do, now ILL be the VERY FIRST GUY IN LINE to ADMIT Im in WAY over my head at times! but Ive always been able to research the processes, tools, and skills and do the work, or find someone too teach me the skills eventually, youll NEVER learn new stuff if your not willing to tackle new projects and get in way over your current skill level....besides it USUALLY requires buying LOTS OF new tools and meeting new friends so you can,t hardly lose!

IF you take this advice seriously youll save ALOT of time and money

DO YOURSELF A HUGE FAVOR
buy these books, FIRST it will be the best money you ever spent, read them, and you will be miles ahead of the average guy. youll save thousands of dollars and thousands of hours once youve got a good basic understanding of what your trying to do!

http://www.themotorbookstore.com/resmchstvi.html

how to assemble an engine basics on video


these books

http://www.rehermorrison.com/rmEngineBook.htm

HOW TO BUILD MAX PERFORMANCE CHEVY SMALL BLOCKS ON A BUDGET by DAVID VIZARD
http://www.amazon.com/Build-Performance-Blocks-Budget-Design/dp/1884089348/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195231793&sr=1-1

JOHN LINGENFELTER on modifying small-block chevy engines

http://www.amazon.com/John-Lingenfelter-Modifying-Chevy-Engines/dp/155788238X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195231760&sr=1-1


SMOKEY YUNICK,S POWER SECRETS

http://www.amazon.com/Smokey-Yunicks-Power-Secrets-Yunick/dp/0931472067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195231724&sr=1-1

How to Rebuild Small-Block Chevy Lt1/Lt4 Engines
http://www.amazon.com/Rebuild-Small-Block-Chevy-Engines-Hp1393/dp/1557883939/ref=pd_sim_b

I constantly see guys who get involved in mods to thier cars who either don,t understand that things seldom go as planned or that even understand that even if you know what your doing that the suppliers and machine shops seldom work to your schedual, and guys who buy project cars with zero idea as to the parts they are getting in that car or thier condition,or guys who then acctually think they can use the car as transportation...yet still race the car on a moments notice

your at a distict dis-advantage if you have zero idea what components were used in your engine, theres three routes to go,

(1) if it runs good just drive it and don,t worry about it

(2) you can disassemble the engine and carefully identify what you currently have so you know exactly what you have (see#1) and then if you want to make changes you know what needs changing and what you can keep

(3)find or buy a second engine or at least the major components, assemble it with a well thought thru plan, parts list and goal, while you drive the current combo(see#1) and once you have everything assembled with matched components you spend some long weekend swapping engines and drive train components, (this has the huge advantage that you have a fall back option if the new combo doesn,t meet your expectations as you can always return to the current combo in a single week ends work (see#1) yet you can potentially have a far more aggressive engine combo that kicks butt and takes names, and your not screwed for weeks or months at a time if something breaks if you race the car, and can make changes on your serious engine without truely compromiosing your cars value as transportation, and you can choose to keep or sell the expensive parts seperately from or with the car should you ever seak to sell the vette.

Ive always suggested the THIRD option is the best, having at least two engines is the best route if your into tinkrering and racing your corvette!thats why I currently have six engines I own in the shop, in various configs, I can get the vette to perform as I choose simply by taking my time while I build, modify or test drive the vettes optional engines as I build the test engine and swap it out for a few weeks or months of testing ,I can even rebuild or slightly change the basic transportation engine if I choose too while IM driving one of the other test engines, just remember one engine needs to stay pretty basic and dependable while on the other(S) you can let your imagination and budget run amuck as you see fit

yes theres two basic flaws to that option,
(1) YES ,you need a garage or place to store and work on the spare engine, and it helps tremendesly to have a second car, (a small pick-up trucks ideal so you can transport parts to the machine shop easily, and get to work on days when the promised parts don,t arrive or the machine shop doesn,t get the work done as they assured you they would.)

(2)YES it takes a bit more money up front at first, but in the long run its almost always cheaper and easier on your wallet, and the vette spends more time acctually in drivable condition rather than down waiting for parts or machine work to be done
know! youve never done something and your afraid youll mess it up,
EXAMPLE
the first time I looked over a TPI injection system I was very reluctant to start taking things apart, so as a hedge I took a dozen close up digital photos and labled every connection with masking tape and a majic marker sharpie pen, I had no idea how the injector connectors were released and didn,t realize there was a spring retainer untill Id got four removed, but after about the first dozen, I didn,t even bother looking any longer since things were so familiar.
EXAMPLE
the wifes MERCURY had the power seat control switch in the door go bad, I bought a new one,but I was very reluctant to disassemble the door panel, as I was sure ID screw it up!, but some careful inspection revealed it could easily be accessed and in 10 minutes I was done doing a job ID been hesitant to start for days.
theres a first time for nearly everything and youll be surprised, in many cases youll find you enjoy knowing how to do things better.....think back to how clumsy and hesitant you probably felt when you started dating,but learning new skills has its benefits

we ALL tend to remember better and learn more from our own and others ,SCREW UPS than when things go flawlessly...if your not occasionally screwing something up its obvious your not doing much engine rebuilding or many extensive modifications on a steady basis,

http://www.hioutput.com/tech/343hp/343hp.html
(if your stuck using restrictive heads, follow this build, and use much of the info that can be used as its designed to maximize restrictive heads with a tight LSA)

EXPERT= REQUIRES YOU TO BE EXTENSIVELY EXPERIENCED IN A CERTAIN FIELD OF ENDEAVOR

EXPERIENCE= VIRTUALLY REQUIRES PAST SCREW UPS

BTW,
its a known fact you need (4) 6 point and (4) 12 point sockets in BOTH 3/8"drive and 1/2" drive in BOTH standard and deep versions for every size of every bolt, both metric and SAE and every nut on any car you own just to BEGIN working on them,and altho wrenches and ratchets are a bit harder to loose youll need a good sekllection of those also, because at least 1/3rd of those sockets/wrenches,etc. will have rolled under the car, under a work bench or will either brake or get misplaced durring EVERY project!
remember EVERY PROJECT TAKES LONGER AND COSTS MORE THAN YOU THINK IT WILL.....GET USED TO THE FACT AND COMPENSATE FOR IT!,EXPECT IT!

once the car runs do an inventory of the tools and buy new ones to replace the ones you throw accross the shop, lost, welded accidently, broke or dropped into non-accessable holes in the car, or lost under the benches and behind machinery in the shop, after awhile you understand the necessity of stopping by SEARs, or MAC ,or SNAPON, regularly, and just figure its a NORMAL part of the procedure, as necessary as band-aids,asprin,a pad and pen and beer ,a few soft cuss words and paper towels are to any car project
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » February 5th, 2009, 5:26 pm

Some factors that are at times overlooked is the ability to USE the finished car for something,
now that may sound odd, but think it thru,
at some point a car is either going to be designed for show,
transportation or racing, and the three goals rarely play well together.NEVER DIVE HEAD FIRST INTO A PROJECT WITHOUT DOING SOME BASIC RESEARCH ON PARTS AVAILABILITY AND PRODUCT SUPPORT, BUT IF YOUR REALLY DETERMINED ALMOST ANYTHING CAN BE MADE TO WORK IF YOU WANT TO THROW ENOUGH TIME AND MONEY INTO THE PROJECT,WHEN YOU CAN,T DEPEND ON THE CAR TO JUMP INTO IT ANY TIME AND DRIVE IT ON A COAST TO COAST TRIP ITS BASICALLY NOT A STREET CAR, so keep that in mind during the parts selection process if you depend on the car for transportation

show cars
must maintain an exceptionally clean, and non-cluttered look plus be at least marginally interesting and visually appealing,
transportation cars
should be comfortable, easy to drive, and able to carry minor cargo and at least a single extra passenger, plus be able to survive rain and being parked while not watched closely, and if its a real eye catcher that may not be easily done.
a race car,
needs to be light weight, have a great power to weight ratio ,a stiff frame, huge durable brakes, a roll cage and exceptional durability and low high speed drag. plus a great suspension, that's easily adjusted
EXAMPLE
convertibles, like an AC cobra , are good weekend toys but lousy transportation in most cases, simply because they generally are not super comfortable on ling trips and they attract attention and leak in hard rain storms.
A corvette COUPE is better transportation, but really too heavy to be an effective race car in purely stock form, etc.


there's choices to be made and if your smart you make those choices LONG before your 1/2 thru building the car and its engine and suspension ETC.

READ THRU THIS ALSO


viewtopic.php?f=44&t=883

If I wanted a car similar to that ID build a CLONE, and start with a fairly clean car but install my own custom frame, suspension, drive train, I bet you would find you have a FAR superior car when your done for not a great deal more money spent.
a careful search should allow you to locate a basic muscle car body to start with and once you have that you can now do a great deal with aftermarket parts available for many of the more popular mopar, and G.M. and ford muscle cars, it would not be all that difficult to build a GTO, chevelle, camaro, corvette, charger, or similar muscle car if your willing to settle for a CLONE that is superior in every detail, of frame, body, drive train and suspension.


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RELATED INFO
viewtopic.php?f=61&t=8457&p=29663&hilit=+camaro#p29663

viewtopic.php?f=87&t=4318

viewtopic.php?f=87&t=5976

viewtopic.php?f=87&t=8312
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby bob » May 4th, 2009, 6:52 am

I recently had a ride in a AC COBRA replica from factory 5
(THESE GUYS)
http://www.factoryfive.com/rdsterhome.html
it was built with a warmed up 327 chevy engine and a muncie 4 speed and a jag rear suspension
It was fun to drive, and we were constantly the center of attention when we pulled in for gas or stopped darn near anywhere.
but after about the first few hours it began to get old with no air-conditioning and the constant drone of the loud side exhaust, certainly not the type of car you would want to drive coast to coast and expect to carry luggage.
The more I rode in it and drove it the better a c2-c3-c4 corvette began to look.
bob

 

Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » May 18th, 2009, 5:43 pm

HEY! PLEASE DON,T get me wrong I like trucks!,I like CHEVELLES, OLDER IMPALLAS,ETC, Id rather take a long trip in a 4 door truck than a corvette, or a COBRA replica, any day,
I bought an AVALANCHE to drive a good deal of the time! I would still be driving it, if my younger son had not decided it was his favorite truck

but the fact remains that if something has an extra 1000,-1400lbs of weight its takes a good deal more horsepower to get it up to respectable speed over a set distance in a set time. but, if your main goal is brisk accelleration , impressively short stopping distances, fantastic handling, its ALL related to the cars MASS or WEIGHT in some respects,
play with the calculators

http://www.wallaceracing.com/et-hp-mph.php

http://www.streetrodstuff.com/Tech_Stuf ... ulator.php

youll quickly find that 1000-1400lbs of extra weight effects your et/mph at any given hp, Ive been building cars long enought to know that in some ways your beating a long dead horse if your trying to to move or stop a great deal more weight and frontal area than necessary, Im sure not saying you can,t have an amazingly fast truck, but put the exact same engine, you built for that 4200 lb truck, in a cobra kit car, stripped vega, etc. that weights way under 2800lb and gear and cam it correctly and the differance in performance will amaze you, IT will also effect what compression and cams will work well, you can easily add some extra duration, bigger ports etc, with a much lighter weight car, changes that won,t work correctly in the heavier truck that will allow noticably more peak hp in the lighter car , all IM saying is think thru your goals and what your willing to put up with in lack of comforts and cargo carry capacity.
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby Randy_W » May 20th, 2009, 6:43 am

I've always like the 2nd gen F-bodies and have owned 5 Firebirds and a Z/28 in this generation. Most of you know that these cars are near impossible to find rust free, and that Formulas and Trans Am's of the 1970's are starting to bring big bucks! So a couple of years I ago i saw a '75 Firebird, one owner, garage kept 6 cyl for $5000. I thought well, if it's really rust free and clean, I'd swap the motor anyway. I went to see the car and there it was, rust free, near perfect interior, decent Cragar S/S wheels and a stock 350 Pontiac/t-350 trans. Paint was decent, not great, no spoiler, flat hood, etc..., but very good shape except the intake was sucking vacuum, (typical Pontiac problem and not a big deal), it actually ran fairly well to have such a big vacuum leak.
I bought the car, added rear spoiler, Chrome Rally ii wheels, Formula hood, Trans Am springs and sway bars, true duals and chrome splitters and eventually the LT1 /4L60E as well as 3.42 gears. I have well under $10k in this car, it looks great, handles well, stops good and runs like a late model Z28 with mods, all this while getting 18-22 mph and the a/c blows cold.
You don't have to be rich to have a great fun car that others admire. ;)
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Randy
Don't mess with old men, we didn't get that way by being stupid!
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » May 20th, 2009, 7:00 am

I once owned a really nice 1967 formula 400 fire bird, 4 speed car that I still regret selling


an a boss 429 bbf engine stroked to 557 displacement in a cobra sure would be a nice toy
Image
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » June 2nd, 2009, 10:24 am

the question comes up frequently as to which engine to install in your muscle car or truck,obviously there's clearance issues, but if either engine will fit in the car...
the correct answer depends on your goals for the car/truck
if your goal includes an engine with over 500-525hp there's no question in my mind the 454-496 BIG BLOCK has MORE potential.
there's just no way to compensate for the larger displacement, better valve size and larger ports the BBC offers if major hp is the goal, look if both engines make 1.2hp per cubic inch of displacement, the 406 makes,508 hp,
the 454 makes 568 hp
the bbc weights about 100 lbs more, lets say the truck weights 2700lbs minus either engine, that results in about 3250lbs with a sbc and about 3350lbs with the big block,
or 6.39 lbs per hp with the sbc and about 3350lbs with the big block,5.89 lbs per hp with the big block. plus the big block has more torque at almost all points in the power curve...want MORE, throw a 540 BBC in that truck! you get 675 hp and only 4.96 lbs per horsepower at the same 1.25 horsepower per cubic inch of displacement

now there's some guy reading this who's jumping up and down screaming about the cost differences between the two, well if your thinking about building a engine with under about 500hp hes correct its cheaper to do with a SBC!, but at about 525hp the cost gets to be very similar.
once you get, over 600hp its seldom a bargain to go the sbc route.
LOOK I build a steady flow of mostly Chevy v8 engines with a few caddy, Pontiac and mopars thrown in to add variety, but probably 5 bbc for every other engine type, its hard to beat a 454-468-496-540-555 bbc engine for power to weight and dollar value.

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=11

BTW IVE MET dozens of guys who have killer muscle cars with SBC engines that tell me , during b.s. sessions,over a few beers,that if they had it to do over ,they would now go the big block route, and very few big block guys that wish they had gone the sbc route!

http://www.dougherbert.com/555streetche ... 14_615_749

http://www.dougherbert.com/482newchevyb ... 14_615_749

http://www.dougherbert.com/383chevysbst ... 14_615_748

http://www.dougherbert.com/383chevystro ... 14_615_748

BTW, we ALL sell cars at one time that we later regret ,
"Sellers,remorse" generally sets in only after a few years when you've forgotten the crap you went thru with the car and only remember the good points.

I regret selling several cars , cars I really would currently love to own, but your forced by time , storage room,and finances to limit what you currently own in most cases, just take your time and select a new project or car carefully and don,t jump into something you don,t truly want simply because the price is good or you get a chance.


if your building a big block Chevy start by researching the subject with these books

http://www.amazon.com/Rebuild-Big-Block ... 345&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/How-Build-Perform ... 345&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Rebuilding-Gen-Bi ... 345&sr=1-7

http://www.amazon.com/How-Hotrod-Big-Bl ... 345&sr=1-5

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Block-Chevy-E ... 345&sr=1-2


if your building a small block Chevy start by researching the subject with these books

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Chevy-Small ... 929&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Block-Chevy ... 929&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Smokey-Yunicks-Po ... 046&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/John-Lingenfelter ... 123&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Big-Inch-Ch ... 23&sr=1-11
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby Randy_W » June 2nd, 2009, 11:35 am

if your goal includes an engine with over 500-525hp there's no question in my mind the 454-496 BIG BLOCK has MORE potential.
there's just no way to compensate for the larger displacement, better valve size and larger ports the BBC offers if major hp is the goal, look if both engines make 1.2hp per cubic inch of displacement, the 406 makes,508 hp,
the 454 makes 568 hp


Or you can build an LSx engine that will make 1.4-1.8 h.p. per cube with no more effort. The LS7 (427), which is really a small block, weighs a good bit less than an old school small block but with stage 3 cam makes 600 h.p. and 530 lb ft.
i realize they are not for everybody, but the LS motors make so much more specific horsepower than the other engines and with carb intakes and inexpensive controllers for the ignition as well as motor mount adapters, they are more attractive every day. ;)
Randy
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » July 6th, 2009, 5:12 pm

got asked "whats the best single mod to do?"
got asked?
that questions usually asked by the newer guys and guys with a limited budget to spend on the car, looking at the hobby long term, .....
WHATS THE best single mod to DO TO YOUR CAR?
unless you've got a huge bank balance some thought needs to go into your goals
now to me its rather obvious that you plan your build to get to a goal, if its stopping faster you need better tires, bigger brakes and a better suspension, etc. but those mods will hardly be the best choice if the goal is keeping the engine from overheating in traffic for example.
FIRST ,you select a goal and do the necessary research, then you collect the necessary components to reach the goal.
and in many cases its not car parts you need as much as a decent place to work on the car and the tools to do that work.
Id say the first goal, is having some basic tools and a shop manual, and a decent place to work on the car, if you've ever been forced to work on your car in a dirt or sloping asphalt drive way without the correct tools Id think you'll agree that having basic tools and a decent flat section of concrete floor with a roof over it, even if its a simple car port beats the hell out of lying in the dirt, fighting fire ants and having the engine,stand or your jack stands tip as they sink into the drive way surface or working in the rain..

as to tools, a LIFT, is nice but not mandatory, (4) 12 ton jack stands and two floor jacks worked for me for several years ,a decent WELDER, is almost mandatory and a decent drill press sure helps, GOOD STABLE CAR RAMPS, and a work bench with a vise sure won,t hurt!
and testing and tuning tools plus basic hand tools come up before all the cams, heads etc. in my list. if you don,t have tools like a timing light, vom meter, pressure test gauges, and a decent selection of hand tools and a decent place to work, and a secure location to store your tools then THAT should be your first goal in my opinion,that might not be what you wanted to hear but 60 plus years of experience make me think its the correct route to take
now build with a plan in mind,no matter what you do you'll need a low restriction exhaust, decent performance gearing, a manual trans or a higher stall converter and bigger & better brakes so that's where Id suggest you start, a well designed, low restriction exhaust and headers would be my first suggestion along with matching the drive train, rear gearing and torque converter stall speed, to your goals before even touching the engine, but keep in mind the torque rating of your eventual engines power range when selecting components, then if it seems like the cooling system, suspension and brakes will need to be upgraded those should be given some serious thought before you get into the engine, now that's backwards from what most guys do, but it tends to prevent extended down times or driving a car that's constantly breaking down or having a car with enough horsepower that will have a tendency to get you killed when the rate of acceleration, far exceeds the cars ability to steer and turn, at high speeds or far out performs the brakes, and suspensions ability to stop the car once a decent engines installed.

Id also strongly suggest building a second separate pure performance engine, that can be swapped into and out of the car over a weekend so your never out of transportation for long if that car is your main source of transportation rather than a weekend toy!
once you get into high compression, larger cams, better heads, superchargers ETC, you tend to run into machine shops that don,t return parts as promised and speed parts that need to be modified before they work correctly etc. you sure won,t be the first guy that gets shipped the wrong parts or has a machine shop ruin component
rather than modifying your main, and possibly only cars engine to the point where a break down.(and any car will eventually break down, but high performance engines have a slightly higher tendency, to do so) will put a serious check in your life style.
besides, its always nice to be able to drop the procedure your involved with for weeks at a time at YOUR convenience, family concerns, or if lack of funds, lack of time or just lack of interest , or the local machine shops promised due dates, on returning parts, or the local speed shops back ordered parts, prevent you from finishing some stage of your engine build up.
having the ability to reinstall the stock engine and drive the car without worrying about getting to work or taking trips is a nice option to have on any long weekend notice.
take your time and build a killer combo, but don,t paint yourself into a corner, use your head and plan the steps carefully, you certainly don,t want an 800hp supercharged monster under the hood if the wife needs to use the car to get groceries and you don,t want the dual quads, on a tunnelram a supercharger ,stack injectors , or other really obvious mods sticking out of the hood, if you need to park the car where its not under your constant watch and where its out of the weather and in some place its secure from thieves.
if it looks nice people notice and theres a small number of guys out there that seem to think stealing cars or pouring a chocolate shake down your injector stacks is perfectly acceptable behavior!
you don,t want to get stuck with just building what came under the hood simply because that's what was there either!
do the research,and remember a mildly modified high compression 477-496-502- 540-572 big block will provide a great deal more dependability than a highly modified 283-307-350 with the same hp, without power boosters, and a 383-427 sbc, or even a 396-454 496 etc. bbc with a centrifugal supercharger or a turbo can put out amazing hp levels and still fit under a stock hood, if your really good at fabricating some components and if you give a great deal of thought to the installation, and take measurements before you start selecting the car the installation, will be made in,and components you'll use in your personal cars engine build-up and the drive train that will be used..
heres not much glamor in doing things the reasonable route,
if your building a modern hot rod, that's to be used on the street
the complementary mods Id suggest be done first are
to install headers and a low restriction 3" exhaust,
then go for a 3000rpm stall torque converter(if its an auto transmission)
and a 373:1-to-3.90:1 rear gear ratio and an over drive transmission, like a 700r4,or 4l80e
followed by better brakes, once that's done you can work on the engine , and expect to have a balanced set of components
example
having a low 14 second car the handles and brakes far better than the car that looks so similar to your buddies car,
when his car is running in the low 13s or high 12s because, he went into the engine , in his car first,
rather than upgrading the drive train, suspension and exhaust first, like you did,
sure is hard for most guys to do!
but it pays off later when you swap engines and your suddenly in the low 12s or high 11 second time slot or even faster with a car that's not always in the shop!
especially when your car handles, and runs consistent times and his runs off into the barrier at the end of the track because his brakes suck and he can,t turn well, and you see his engine constantly overheats, and hes consistently replacing parts, parts that failed because they won,t work correctly in the application

the problem seems to be that most guys can,t accept the idea that a few good(EXPENSIVE) parts that are well matched will produce better results
than twice as many low cost parts, that, and most of us have a problem spending $1500-$2500 on a set of heads or a block when parts that look similar cost less than a 1/3rd of that cost
and when what they think is a screaming deal on the inferior parts comes along they jump on the purchase rather than getting the more expensive components, that they really need.


trust me here,
a decent set of brodix,trickflow,dart, or afr heads, that are carefully matched to your other components, selecting the largest displacement you can afford and matching the cam timing to the cars gearing and compression ratio,for the combos application and a decent dart block stuffed full of quality forged components that are,selected for a certain power range and rpm band are going to produce better power than youll ever get close to with ported stock heads and a stock production block

and yes every time I get almost enough saved for my dream parts list I also have those EMERGENCYs come up and I find I need to spend a good percentage of the car budget on other things so your not the only guy facing that problem


now admittedly IM writing this some what tongue in cheek, because Im well aware of the addicted, at times even RABBID SBC faction,
BUT as a dedicated BBC, and old school Pontiac, and mopar BIG BLOCK FAN, who likes building 454-540 bbc, 455-468 Pontiac, 440-500 MOPARS and 392 hemi,s, IM always amazed at the guys who want to stick with the sbc rather than upgrade,to a basic block config thats designed for the extra displacement. but I get guys in my shop all the time who want to build 427-454 SBC engines, for street strip use, and expect both decent street manors and 550-600 flywheel hp
I build occasional sbc engines of 406 (.030 over bore 400sbc engines)and 426 (4.185 bore/3.875 stroke sbc engines)displacement, but far more 383-396 simply due to the base 350 block being far more common, I build a good deal of 383s designed for nitrous us, that easily exceed 550-600hp on the giggle gas, but once you get over a 3.875" stroke things are getting pretty tight in the cam/connecting rod clearance so I try to steer them into a BBC combo if I can, for the simple reason that its a lot simpler to build a 482-489-496 BBC (4.25" stroke 454 with or without a slight over bore) and in most cases the final product cost per horsepower will be slightly in the bbc favor once you try to exceed 550-600hp N/A
yes I can hear the screams already!
but after you have a few brandys and think it thru, many guys find Im correct,If your goal is 550-600hp plus N/A, and you want both reasonable drive ability on the street and an occasional bonzi charge to impress your buddies with reasonable chances of taking the car out without maintenance issues, a big block makes more sense to me

OK ILL STEP BACK, YOU CAN START SCREAMING AND BURNING MY LIKENESS IN EFFIGY
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby Randy_W » July 20th, 2009, 10:31 pm

Finally got engine pics;
Image
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » April 26th, 2010, 12:57 pm

Image
Image
Image

your just not into COBRAs if these pictures don,t look good to you

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IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby IBob » April 26th, 2010, 1:17 pm

Probably just urban myth, but I recall reading years ago in a rodding mag that the big block Cobra would come close to melting your tennis shoes while driving/riding.
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby grumpyvette » April 26th, 2010, 1:23 pm

the floor and fire-wall does get a bit warm in some of them , just like in a big block c2-(1965-1967)c3 corvette (1968-1974) but Ive never seen or driven any that would come close to melting plastic shoe soles, keep in mind most cobras have side exhaust that allows a lot of heat to dissipate to the air flow outside the engine compartment, now Ive only driven a single real cobra but I have driven and worked on several kit car cobras and they make nice weekend toys
Image

viewtopic.php?f=71&t=291&p=6120#p6120
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: selecting and building your dream car combo

Postby IBob » April 26th, 2010, 1:46 pm

That sounds logical. I recall the floor of the Vega got pretty warm. I don't recall the header paint, but that car had the only headers that I ever saw that glowed green.
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