Question of the Week: Small-block or big-block?


383 stroker in 69 vette is what I run, It will run neck and neck with old school big blocks. It has the advantage of 2-300 less pounds and a 4:10 rear end:grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:


I have a 1969 Mustang conv that was put together in the early '80s and has a ton of body modifications including roll bar and some custom front & rear end fiberglass body mods that make it a really good looking car. Remember, an inexpensive Shelby conv was not an easy find in the 80’s & most people never saw one close up so they were fooled by mine. Even when I’d pull into a Ford dealer or body shop.

It originally had a 302 automatic, so I ordered a fresh ford 302 & had a local speed do the upgrades which included medium street cam w/ roller rockers & heavy duty screw in studs and an Edelbrock alum 4bbl manifold with a slight hi-rise for the holly 4bbl carb.

Had an oval Shelby air cleaner and molded a 68 Shelby fiberglass hood onto a steel hood frame from a 69 standard mustang hood. The goal was to take advantage of the 68 Shelby style fiberglass which had the factory raised hood with duel nose hood openings at the front of the hood & also factory dual louvered air intakes along each side of the raised hood.

The goal was not to become the fastest thing from a stop light, although it did pretty good, but to make the car perform like a big block when on the ramp entering a 60 MPH speed limit highway.
Having the 2.73 rear made it fly from 20 - 85 which was an awesome feel & got a lot of attention from other cars already on the highway. Most of my buddies couldn’t believe how well this car ran.
I didn’t have the suspension issues that I would have faced with a big block, repair parts are readily available & the option of adding a supercharger & different rear is always there.

OK, OK - I’m done talking about my small block, so I’m voting for a small block since both Ford and Roush seem to do pretty well with their small blocks and strokers.


I really like the idea of a big block in a boat for sure. In a car though they generate so much friggin heat. I had a 70 454 (modified) 4sp Vette and driving it always left me drenched. It was a beast though! A friend had a 70 396 (402 technically) in a Camaro and that thing was always hot too.


Depends on what I’m driving and how I intend on driving it. '64 Continental hardtop? I want gobs of torque to move that yacht, but I don’t care about doing it fast. Give me a big 460 (I know it’s not original… shrugs) to match the rest of the car. ‘69 stingray for a car show? Give me that 427 all day. 71’ challenger to run around the track? Can’t beat a 340 for balance and longevity. Cobra? Well the only answer is a 427/428. Some cars just don’t feel right without the correct engine under the hood. The engine is the heart of the car, but the combination of that with the rest of the car is what gives it a personality and a soul.


Don’t forget the rear end!.


A rear end??

If a MoPar, it’s gotta be a Dana 60, if only to offset the weight of the mean ol’ dinosaur under the hood. If GM, a 12-bolt. If Ferd, a 9". Heavy metal all, and all easily upgraded to disk brakes nowadays. And (with modern axles and spools) all good to 500+ HP and 500 judiciously applied ft-lbs of torque.

Nowadays, most newer axles are sufficient (Ford 8.8) for street use. Given a choice, I’d prefer one of the custom-made axle housings that take a Ford 9-inch. Fast, easy carrier swaps – nearly as fast as with a quick-change, but so much cheaper and so much less painful if something breaks.

But my Carlson jet boat – just a jacuzzi water-nozzle backed up by – you guessed it, another 460. I had to put the gas tank farther up front than stock to overcome the front end lift, especially at the ferocious gas gas consumption at flat-water speed which automatically adjusted the ballasting after a few minutes…


I was very lucky to be the driver of a '67 “convertable” vet/Elephant motor/Jesel blue printed the motor/Won AA/SP "at the Englishtown track … 10.09/138 MPH. 3240 pounds plus me (3400) Shame the owner ordered with the small “Pumpkin” 4.11:1 rear. that calculates to 750 HP!


As the owner of a ‘65 L79 Corvette, I give my vote to the big block. I love my mouse motor and it does plenty of things really well, but the brute power possibilities of the Bigs is just undeniable. Torque is quick, horsepower is fast and solid lifter long striker of 400+ cubes makes both.


Our 1929 Cadillac muscle car has a 331 v-8 with optional high compression heads like the one Al Capone had. ( I guess this makes it a small block). From what I understand it has some advantages over the v-12 and v-16 big blocks in actual day to day use that drive more like a truck… I guess it depends on which era of muscle car we are considering.


Small-Block all the way if you plan to drive your car or truck. less heat, less weight and less fuel.


I prefer small block engines, especially small block Chevys. My IROC has a fuel injected 305 and I am constantly amazed with the torque it produces.


Pontiac knew what they were doing with their universal block. Not only did it save weight over big blocks, but they still produced great torque, and nice rev range depending on your gearing of course. With some tinkering and tuning as well, could be turned into absolute beasts.


Seen, heard,rode in some of the nastiest small block vehicles this side of the U.S border left me with stains and very impressed,for me its BB just luv the gargantuan torque and the sound of a big block that is built and tuned proper and doing battle just raises the hair on the back of my neck its a personal thing and choice.R


I love the sound of a big block, and presently have a truck with a 454 and a Canadian 1958 Pontiac with the original 348 tri power, this engine was only in the Canadian Pontiac but is the same optional engine that was in the 1958 Chevrolet; Canadian or USA built. But i also love the sound of a small block. I had a 1965 impala ith a 283 and thrush mufflers. That was a fun car! Bottom line, i don’t race, so i love small blocks or big blocks about evenly. I even had a done up slant six, with a four barrel carb and two headers with dual exhaust … and a four speed. I put the engine into a really fun 1957 Plymouth Savoy. Since the slant didn’t come out until 1960, my 57 Savoy was 3 years ahead of its time.
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I’ll throw in with support for small blocks. something magical about the chevy 327. I like to drive and tinker. Not racing, and not looking to turn a buck, so my SBC 327 fits the bill.


I like street cars and have owned several including a '67 Chevelle SS 396, '71 Nova SS with a 410 CID big block, and my current '63 Nova with 350 SBC. I’m in the small block crew these days. Inexpensive HP and reasonable gas mileage, and the SBC has tons of aftermarket support. If everyone wasn’t jumping on the LS bandwagon I would have one for sure, but I’ll keep the old girl Old School. 350, Muncie 4 speed and a Ford 9 inch.