my first really fast car/ resulting from an engine swap


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my first real fast car, was a 1965 LEMAN/GTO, clone that I purchased dirt cheap in 1970 with a blown engine, but a good 4 speed for $900 ,and a decent rear (I THOUGHT) I had a plan and friends, it soon had a 1969 corvette 427 , with a tri power intake installed on the engine from a wrecked vette, that engine didn,t last long, (bad bearings) I replaced it with what at the time was a custom deal, a 4.25" stroker crank and 6.385 rods and .60 over 13.7:1 cpr pistons,and built a 496 BBC combo, with a ZL1 cam with solid lifters and chevelle headers added, remember this is a 1970 car and SUNOCO 260 gas cost about 40-50 cents a gallon, back in 1972-78 when I had this car, the original rear differential went out, shortly after installing the bigger engine, and I got a dana 60 from a wrecked hemi challenger too which I had 4.88:1 rear gears added,by a experienced mechanic friend and had the correct suspension brackets and drive shaft fabricated, (again ,by a experienced mechanic friend, AS I didn,t know how to weld yet) I built and paid for (with the help of far more knowledgeable friends at that time, who helped me plan, and assemble the engine and drive train) one of the first 496 bbc strokers,in my area. in fact most of the guys had never even seen a 4.25" stroke bbc crank or connecting rods that were not the reworked stock Chevy rods at that time.
you could buy a new luxury car , or a new corvette back then, for the money I eventually spent on that lemans drive train, but I was young and having a fast car was damn important at the time!, even if it cost you damn near every dime I made back then, when I was dating and still in engineering school!!
the car destroyed street tires and ran high 11s which was screaming fast for the time (especially for a guy who barely knew how to tune it at the time.)
and keep in mind learning to drive a car like that takes some time and your forced into learning about things most younger guys fail to think of until its forced on them , like bigger brakes, and suspension mods, more durable u-joints, larger cooling systems, baffled oil pans, etc. not to mention a full roll cage can be a P.I.T.A. at times.
I eventually installed that 496 BBC engine in the 1968 corvette, I bought.....well, .after a few other engines ,and yes in the corvette it was faster, but the corvette required a full roll cage, tubed rear 4 link rear suspension, and was a source of constant problems and a bottomless money pit.
yeah! the problem is not so much in building a killer car with a great deal of power, thats really fun to drive, its the cost of maintaining it in top condition, the fact that theres darn few places you can drive the car like you stole it other than a local track,the fact you can spend 3-6 hours at the track and only get to drive the car for less than 6 minutes, and their tendency to require expensive and frequently replaced components like tires, brakes, and the fact most get rather poor mileage and the fact that 9-10 second street cars generally are not ideal family transportation either.
yes the correctly built car can be a lot of fun to drive but theres always compromises to be made, thats why I personally like cars that run in the 11-12 second range, with a big block that makes killer power but is not under much stress and does not need to spin over 6500rpm and are street drivable, you get to actually drive and use them.



this car looks vaguely similar, but lacks some of the rear fender opening and dana 60 rear differential mods


I had far more fun with a `1965 tempest/GTO clone with a BBC engine in it, even thou it was not nearly as fast! as some of my later cars.
If your worried about guys noticing an engine swap, don,t! the real hot rodders will instantly spot the change but easily 7/8th of the guys looking are totally clueless and the correct color engine paint and engine decals are all thats required
I would not be all that worried about the heads , or intake on an engine swap looking absolutely stock, I had a 496 BBC installed in a pontiac lemans that had a corvette tri-power intake on it and I painted it pontiac robin egg blue and put 421 stickers on the air cleaner and valve covers and fender badges ,although the engines look nothing alike I had dozens of guys mistake it for a 421 pontiac




I was asked what I thought might be a really nice muscle car project?
Ive always felt a 1965 GTO with a dana 60 rear differential, 20" rims four wheel disc brakes,open up the wheel wells just a bit for clearance and lower the car just slightly,add a 3.54:1 rear gear, the over drive trans, full manual 4l80e with a 3200stall converter and a full roller valve train,11:1 compression ratio, aluminum 572 big block with multi port fuel injection , a huge aluminum radiator and oil and transmission cooler,would be great, room for 4-5 people, a big trunk, lots of engine compartment space to work, and it looks classic, and 8 stack thru the hoods impressive, aluminum hood, trunk lid front fenders bumper and a custom chrome molly tube frame, get the weight down around 3100lbs , etc. yes I could have gone turbo and had a faster combo, but it would not be what I really want and a car that ran mid 10 second 1/4 mile times is fine

for the guys that appreciate that year Pontiac, here is some similar year GTO pictures




but if the budget were not all that tight!
Id go the old school route in a heart beat
with EFI stack injection and a vertex max, without a seconds hesitation






the only thing preventing me from owning its is a severely depleted checking account, and current finances
I owned something vaguely similar but not as exotic or costly, at one time and have always deeply regretted selling it!
related thread




Ive always preferred the sleeper cars, those that don,t look all that fast, but can totally leave you stuttering and looking at fast receding tail lights, when I was growing up in high school and early college, in about 1968-1970- one of the COOLEST cars I remember was a black two door 1964 Pontiac tempest that had a stroker 392 dual quad hemi installed in it, the car could run mid 11 seconds, on street tires back when the pro-stock guys were only running low tens and it looked almost stock in appearance other than significantly wider rear tires and if you knew what you were looking at a dana 60 rear, that car had a profound effect on me, thats one reason why I built my 1965 Pontiac I talked about above, I liked the 1965 body a bit better and could not find a HEMI, but I could find a big block chevy


picture this car with black paint and chrome wheels
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Staff member
Its probably just nostalgia but thats one of the few cars I built. Ive really missed for years. Ive looked for a similar 1965-1966 Pontiac tempest or lemans for years to build a semi duplicate car.
If I could find a dirt cheap , almost complete body, LOCALLY, or at least in reasonable driving range to trailer back to the shop, because IM broke most of the time, and preferably with little rust but a decent body, and no drive train , either with or without an interior Id grab it in a heartbeat.


Staff member
BTW that 496 BBC got a major overhaul, 13.7:1 cpr forged pistons, and crower injection, and found its way into my next car a 1968 corvette with a dana 60 rear, this might interest some of you.
I can,t help thinking back to the 1968 corvette I owned with a full roll cage and a 13.7:1 compression 496 with crower injection and a dana 60 rear differential, 4 link suspension mods, taller front tires and of course large slicks and I had the rear wheel wells size and width increased and 3" wider rear fender flares
just a point I will post based on past experience
I had a radical 496 big block in my 1968 corvette
the 10 bolt rear differential held up ok UNTIL I installed slicks,
street tires act like a FUSE or shock absorber in that the lack of traction, greatly reduces the rear suspension torque loads and impact shock loads, once you learn how to apply power in a rational manor and stop the floor it and pray, aim and steer drive approach, you learn how to control and rapidly accelerate on street tires.
yes the addition of racing slicks, and the greatly improved traction, can and will most likely trash the rear differential , but street tires and learning to rationally apply power, won,t generally cause a rear differential to fail, but if you do learn to drive like a rational person with some understanding of the stress levels you can greatly reduce but not eliminate that potential problem

now admitedly the cars handling was not my major concern as it was basically a car used to drag race , but Id installed the largest disc brakes available , a larger sway bar in the front (against everyones advise) air shocks in the rear and a 36 lb billet flywheel , 3800 lb rated webber , borg and beck style clutch

and lakewood bell housing etc. I never felt the car even set up that way lacked the ability to handle or take the corners well and I darn sure ran the hell out of the corvette on occasion.
it was running a best of 10.25 at 137mph back in the early 1970s when that was damn fast




I think youll find 3300 cfm is a more realistic value too use, in the soft ware,and an 18"-20" back of the intake valve to stack bell flare stack length, to get a more realistic expectation on that stack injection, I spent about 15 years tuning a crower constant flow stack injection on a 13.7:1 compression 496 BBC, its got a lot more potential than many people that don,t have tuning skills ever realize.
doing the math certainly won,t hurt, certainly adequate to supply a cylinder head port that flows into a cylinder head port that flows near 415 cfm on a 540 displacement engine

crowers stack injection has a 2.9" diam stack thats roughly 6 sq inches of cross sectional area asked questions.html

read this thread




I was seriously racing in the mid 1970s-1980s with that vette, it ran mid to- low 10s durring most of the late 1970s-80s while tried dozens of differant bbc engine combos, and several transmission types, generally the trans was an M22 and 4.56 rear gears but I tried , 3.54:1 ,4.11:1 , 4.88:1 ,5,13:1 rear gears, several types of slicks, and a TH400 trans also.
personally I liked the 3.54:1 best on the street but the 4.11:1 ran the best on the track, where the 30" slicks allowed high mid 6600 rpm range through the lights
building the car with todays available parts would be laughably easy compared to back then when you were restricted in many areas of the built to modified stock components, decent big block heads, cranks,rods, cams, were just not available like now or were exorbitantly priced, on the plus side blocks and heads ETC. were cheap and easy to get. a complete LS7 500 hp crate engine cost $1600, but you were making $130-$200 a week back then, so the cost in weeks worked to buy an engine was similar to todays $9000-$12,000 costs for similar engines

I was asked what Id build for a good performance engine in a weekend toy, well I think I,d build something similar to what I had and really enjoyed driving when I was younger, but with several upgrades
well if money was not the major concern Id start by finding a fairly light car with a good suspension like a dana 60 rear differential,3.73:1 rear gears, and a reworked 4l80E trans with a 3400rpm stall converter, ... _4018.html
in a 1965 GTO with and aftermarket frame, wildwood disc brakes on all four 18" wheels, and a full roll cage, aluminum trunk, fenders and hood and bumpers two recaro race seats
Id have an 8 quart baffled oil pan, with a oil accumulator and oil cooler holding an additional 4 quarts, Id have the largest most efficient radiator and trans cooler i could find that would fit into the car.
DART BIG M BLOCK ... ProductId=
tall deck block 10.2' deck, 4.5" bore

SCAT forged crank/rotating assembly 572 displacement , with mid 11.5:1 compression ... n_2013.pdf

crane solid roller cam

because this would be a hot street and not a true race car , I,d get nostalgic, and get a stack injection
BBC_DC_Silver_Canted1.jpg ... &CatId=174

AFR 335cc cnc ported heads
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reliable source of info
grumpyvette said:
Its probably just nostalgia but thats one of the few cars I built. Ive really missed for years. Ive looked for a similar 1965-1966 pontiac tempest or lemans for years to build a semi duplicate car.
If I could find a dirt cheap , almost complete body, LOCALLY, or at least in reasonable driving range to trailer back to the shop, because IM broke most of the time, and preferably with little rust but a decent body, and no drive train , either with or without an interior Id grab it in a heartbeat.
If you find a cheap 2 door Tempest/LeMans, tell me about it, I've been looking for years. I had a '64 that I paid $100 for in 1974, it was a doctor's wife's car and had 62k miles. 326/4 speed/LeMans, of all things it was dk blue with bright red interior and as weird as that sounds, didn't look bad at all. I built a 406 Pontiac for it and had a ball until one of the Tri-Power fuel lines ruptured and burned everything under the hood to charcoal. :(


reliable source of info
I've always been partial to the '64 - '65 body styles in the GM intermediates, especially the light weight 2dr (post) sedans.

I had a '65 GTO convertible in the late '70s with a later model 400 engine and 4-speed Muncie tranny. Got tee-boned and totalled in the base parking lot by a carload of sailors smoking dope in a '66 Mustang. Bummer...... Really miss that car. Pulled the engine and tranny, souped up the 400 and dropped it into a '56 Chevy sedan. Also a great car.

Had a buddy around that time who bought one of these babies...... ... index.html

His was a blue '66 LeMans Sport coupe with a 4-speed. That OHC 6-cylinder Sprint engine would run like a hot small block and wind like you wouldn't believe. Tough on cams and cam followers, though. I helped him replace the cam and followers once. He told me that the cams and cam followers were made from softer material than most cams so the cam wouldn't eat up the aluminum cam tower in the head (the cam rode in the aluminum and there were no replaceable cam bearings). I always wondered why the cam towers couldn't be bored oversize and fitted with cam bearings and harder materials used for an aftermarket OHC replacement cam and cam followers or perhaps even rollerized cam followers so the cams wouldn't go flat so often......

Happy Motoring,



reliable source of info
Here is what was left of my wrecked GTO being towed away from the auto hobby shop on base and some pics of the '56 Chevy I swapped the big Poncho engine into as it evolved over a couple years time back in the '70s.......









Happy Motoring,