Rick, with your Surf City name I'm guessing you can help me. I can't understand why the majority of hotrods have chevy engines. Is it for power? Ford has the 302 Boss, the 351, the 360 Thunderbird, the 428 Cobra Jet, all very good engines. Please info me if you are the right person. Thank you
Let me jump in here.
The Ford engines have the oil pump on the front (deepest part of the pan) Chevy's in the back (where you have to make room for bell housing anyway).
It's a far easier swap to put a Chevy V8 in a 49-53 Ford cause you don't have to cut a big chunk out of the frame crossmember.
Having that deep part of the pan back by the flywheel makes steering "issues" easier.
That's big for a kid in a car port doing an engine swap. There are ways around all of this but easy and cheap wins.
Chevy made the "small block" in 55, Ford made it's 260 in 63, that put 8 years worth of Chevy engines out there for kids to hot rod in a critical time in the evolution of the engine swap.
Tyrone, I'll try to answer that question for you, at least in my opinion. It goes back to the '40s. When Hot Rodding began, it was usually done by youngsters, with youngster budgets. Therefore the Ford Flathead V8 was the most power for the money. The after market speed parts companies made every type of hop-up equipment you could imagine. Ford Flathead was king.
Along about 1950, Olds and Caddy came out with their overhead V8. The speed equipment companies got even bigger and more numerous, Hot Rodding really took off.
The hobby was still mostly youngsters on youngster budgets. Now this is were the Chevy V8 came into play in 1955. Light weight overhead V8 with plenty of power, but most importantly, the distributor ran off the back of the engine, which put the oil pump sump in the rear of the engine. That was very important, because now, the Chevy V8 could fit into any chassis and clear the front suspension with just an engine adapter.
Once again the speed equipment companies got all over that and concentrated on the Chevy small block for many years. Alas, that about boils it down.
Personally, I have Fords, ever try to set the points on an old Hot Rod with a Chevy engine? Back braking job, try changing plugs on a hot Chevy engine. I have driven all and stick with Ford, basically because I'm too lazy to drive any thing but a Ford.
Good thing there are experts here.. . But for the time my Dad wouldn't let me buy a cherry A at age 17, I could never see the sense of streetrods.
I did hear something about the sump situation when looking at old Jaguar sedans that had been converted to V8.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember the old Moonshine runners, who ran mostly Fords, used a Mercedes engine swap at times, a bit hard to believe, the engine would not have been common in the Hills, but I heard that somewhere.
Having built many rods starting in the '50's, I can tell you the main reason EVERYONE uses small block Chevys these days. They are a dime a dozen and parts are also half the cost of parts (speed equipment) for any other engine. My last 3 rods were all SBC powered. When I sold my '34 coupe recently, I vowed I'd never again put a SBC in anything. It seems there is a large movement in this direction lately. Everyone now wants the old school look. Try to buy an early Olds, Cad or Hemi engine, not to mention flathead V-8's. They are gold.
Dennis, I will have to argue a bit about puting a sbf in a 49 to 51 ford. I am Just finishing up a 49 ford tudor that we just put a 351W with a c-4 automatic trans in it. There was no cutting or hacking. You have to use the right pan and pick up and I bought a mount kit from Hot Rod Supply, drilled eight holes and dropped it in. We didn't even have to change the trans crossmember or driveshaft, just the yoke with an off the shelf u-joint. We even had room for the ford ram/switchback powersteering from a 59 t-bird.
The other great thing is having the distibutor in the RIGHT place, upfront, not slammed against the firewall! Where there is a will there is a way!
Well, I guess this is a little off T topic. I am getting cabin fever, right now it is 26 below zero. Boy I can't wait for T season!
NOW there are pans available, the 5.0 Mustang engine is a good example. I'm talking 30+ years ago. Back then there was NO "speed equip", bracket kits or anything else available for the Ford engines like there was for the Chevy.
And Yes, before the Chevy V8, The OVERHEAD VALVE (which is the key) Olds & Caddy were king not to mention the early Chrysler, Dodge & De Soto Hemi's.
I agree, if I was doing this today, My 51 Vicky would have nothing but a Ford engine in it but today, it would be a "Full House" Mercury Flathead.
Hindsight is depressing, I'd have just stuffed my 51 Country Squire (woody) wagon in a garage and retired comfortabily on what they go for on Barrett-Jackson
If I was still a "Hot Rodder", there would be something vrey much like this
Sitting in my 27 Tudor. That's what I bought the car to do with it in the first place but it was just too sweet and original to cut up. That's how ended up here.
You could buy two T's for the cost of that "power House". I think you made the best choice.
No Chuck...not EVERYONE I've done a lot of research on this very subject, and had many a conversation with old hot rodders concerning the Chevy and how it got where it is. Since it was information I needed for magazine stories, I wanted to get it from the horse's mouth and not from the myths and legends. Personally, I hate'em and wouldn't put one in anything. Not because they're "bad", but because there are too many benh-rodders who think everything hotrod must have a three-fiddy/three-fiddy. I'm partial to early hotrods built during the transition to OHV V8s, and nothing turns my stomach more than to see someone refer to a Chevy-powered car as a "traditional" hot rod. For example, there was a '41 Willys coupe listed on that auction site recently as a "Barn find Gasser" from an estate, but in the description it said the car was set up for a SBC. Maybe I'm just an old grump, but I think the old guys from the gasser days would roll over and laugh their asses off at that. No SBC could have ran competitively against the blown Chryslers, Olds, Cads and Buicks of "the day". Sure, nowadays with all the R & D that has gone into the Chevy and NOT into the others can make them perform that way, but not in the late 50's and early 60's. Call it a loose copy of a gasser, but it ain't no gasser!
When I was building hot rods for a living and doing magazine work, I wouldn't build a car with, or do any work on one with a SBC. Just wouldn't take the job. I figured there were plenty of muddin good ol' boys out there that eat, breathe, and poop orange that they could have those second-rate copies of real hot rods.
Along with the pre-Bowtie engines listed was also the Buick Nailhead which even out-performed the early Hemis as documented by Hot Rod magazine in July 1954.
There are many myths about a lot of this that is being discussed, and one is about weight. The Chevy V8 in stock form had a higher weight/hp ratio than the other GM V8s due to the high nickel content of the blocks in the Buick/Olds/Cadillac. The Chevy was lighter than the others by only by 10-20 lbs.
55 was when the Chevy V8 was introduced, but not when the Chevy became a popular swap. The Chevy 265 was no gain in power over any of the other OHV V8s of the time. The Olds Rocket 303 (49-53) and later 324 (54-56), The Cadillac 331 (49-55), Buick Nailhead 322 (53-56), Chrysler 331 and 291-330 DeSoto Hemis all made more HP, torque, and had larger displacements. Chevrolet themselves opted for the discontinued 322 Buick engine (Buick went with a new casting and 364ci in 57) in their heavy gas-burning trucks until for 57-58 because their V8 did not offer the power needed for a tandem truck. The introduction of the Chevy 327 raised a little attention, but not because of some great power it possessed. Reason is, as someone mentioned, was cost, which was the result of sheer numbers. Ford and Chevy were the #1 and #2 sellers, and also in the lowest price brackets. The other bigger (and more powerful) engines were from higher-end cars that naturally weren't selling the huge numbers as the cheap cars. A 4-5 year old Cadillac, Chrysler, Roadmaster, or Olds 98 wasn't something that was just sitting in every backyard and salvage yard. Those that were wrecked or scrapped brought a good price for the engines...supply and demand. After a few years of full production of the 283 and 327, the wrecked Chevy's were becoming widely available, cheap, and easy to obtain for the backyard hotrodder. As Peter stated, they became a popular due to the low cost and the aftermarket jumped on the bandwagon, gradually phasing out parts for the other engine makes. The high volume production brought the speed part prices down even lower than they were for the other engines, and the cycle continued. After a few more years, all that was really economically avaialable was speed parts for Chevys. Some of us didn't choose Chevy to fill the majority of street rod engine bays...the aftermarket made it the easy and least expensive choice.
If it will go the speed limit uphill, why would one want anything more?
Isn't there also a parts commonality issue? Seems like on a Chevy 350, the same parts are used year after year, and you can take one apart with only a couple of wrench sizes, whereas a Ford changes parts ever year or more often, and it takes every wrench in your garage, plus one, to take it apart.
On our '86 Mercury Sable, it took six or seven different wrenches just to remove the alternator, which was right on top.
I guess this means I shouldn't love my T speedster for the same reasons, high volume and available speed equiptment. Instead I should look for a Pope Hartford or Simplex, for a speedster.
Do you mean this Speedster of yours, Pete?
Or this one?
We have to be careful, What are the guys going to say, when they find out my TT has a 327 & th400 in it. (can you tell I painted both of those with the same can of blue paint! )
Hi guys, Ricks posted pictures of a couple of my cars, and since we are talking about hot rods, if any one is interested, you can go to; benchrace.com It's a new on line magazine, and in volumn # 1 they did a feature on the TT truck. There is also a little article on me in the current issue of Rod & Custom with a picture of the TT
Pete Eastwood, Hot Rodder & T lover
Yikes! It was just a few years ago that I was publically cussed out and run off this site on a rail for simply asking "hot rod" questions about getting more horsepower out of a Model T engine and making the T more modern road friendly. Now there's serious discussion on the same forum about real hot rods with SBC's, Nailheads, and flathead V8's. My goodness, how things change...sometimes for the better!
I'll add one more reason that the SBC became popular (over the hemi, nailhead, Olds Rocket, and the Caddy)...small physical size. It was much easier to fit in the narrow early Ford frames than the other OHV's of the time. Now, with the full development of the SBF (thanks mostly to the Mustang GT) and the similarity of price of aftermarket parts to the SBC parts, there's no longer any reason to contaminate Ford hot rods with the Ch*vy engines.
Hayes,Not shure of all that but you shure liked to argue about wheather #2 was dissqualified or not! Listen to the pot calling the kettle!! Good to hear your still sucking in air!! Bud.
Hi Bud. I don't remember that debate. Nothing wrong with a good debate on a *discussion* forum, though. But getting a completely unprovoked online public cussing out by a national club officer is a bit beyond the pale. Hopefully, the club learned from that and has that type of thing under better control now. I had been a member since 1971. Maybe someday I'll come back to the MFTCA, but I doubt it...just too many hard feelings. But that's not on topic and old news. Now, back to regular programming.
Halowe, I'm glad to see there is another chiming in who sees no reason to put a Chevy engine in a Ford.
Respectfully, you are mostly correct but the Nailhead was narrower than the Chevy due to the unique under-over valvetrain configuration. Buick engineers wanted a OHV engine that would fit in the straight-8 engine bay without modifying the frame or body design.
I think Chuck had it right, SBC's are supposed to be the cheapest bang for your buck - which is why there are so many of them.
Yeh, welcome back, Hayes. . I stayed away five years, which must be some kind of statute of limitations, you think? Terry H still won't.
It currently costs about twice as much to build a flathead Ford V-8 as it does a SBC. You have to really want something other than "the norm" to justify the cost.
Looks like most of them have more invested in paint job than engine.