Where do we find the motivation to tear a car or truck down to the bare frame? Swim in grease, dirt, and grime with solvent and other deadly cleaners 'til we make the frame and parts "eat off it" clean? Then screw them back together with the loving care given to a firstborn?
Well, this is where I find myself, standing outside of my '80 Malibu wagon that someday is going to be an NHRA Stock Eliminator car. More than two years ago, I started the project with the enthusiasm of a teenager. It was probably three months away from completion when I ran into a bunch of other projects that took precedence. Now that those other jobs are complete, I'm standing here asking, "Why did I want to do this in the first place?" Every time I run an NHRA Divisional or National event I remember why I wanted this race car. Now I just have to get after it.
Since I started this car, I have sold my '65 El Camino but managed to keep the carbureted '96 LT4 engine that was in it. We've freshened it up, tuned up the heads, and increased the squeeze. With these limited changes, it still kicked up the horsepower to 466 at 6,200 rpm with 444 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm on pump gas. Without a doubt, this is going to be the killer bracket engine to run in the car while the 305 grenade for Stock class sits on the floor resting. These things are motivation builders. Getting the engine finished and having it sit there looking for a home makes you want to get the car running. Seriously, try it sometime.
Now that my 16-year-old son, Daniel, has already been racing his '01 Camaro like a seasoned veteran, with a win and three runners-up, I see him eyeing the car and wondering when I'm going to get it done. I think he has a fight on his hands, though; his older sister has wanted to race it since the day I started this project. I wonder if I'm even going to get a chance to race it? I guess I better get to work and finish the car before my wife decides that she wants it too!
Different StrokesQ I am building a 305 stroker, and since I'm on a budget I've got to put it together in stages. Can I use a 400 crank without any modifications to it? I know the block has to have some machine work and maybe the rod bolts. I've tried to read as much as I could find on 305 strokers, but there's not a lot of material out there. Any idea what kind of numbers I can expect from this engine using aftermarket heads, cam, and intake manifold? Any information would be helpful. I know I could get more power from a 350, but I have a 305 and would like to keep it in my Monte Carlo SS.Larry SmithIndian Trail,NC
A Larry, 400 cranks are an easy way to pick up the stroke of any small-block. To use a 400 crank in any engine block that is not a 400 originally, you must undergrind the main bearing journals. The factory spec for a 400 crankshaft is 2.650 inches, and any other '68-and-later small-block is 2.450 inches. With the 400 cranks becoming increasingly hard to find, the aftermarket has come to the rescue. You can pick up a very affordable cast 3.75-inch stroke small-block crank that has the appropriate 2.450-inch mains from Scat or Eagle. For these cranks, it's little money well spent. Original 400 cranks that you have no history on can be problematic.
As for the cubic-inch displacement, what makes you think that if you keep the 305 block in your Monte with a stroker crank you will still have a 305? Yes, it would have the original 305 block, but you're leaving a ton on the behind running the small-bore 305 block. Keep the original 305 and stash it under the bench. Build a true 383 with a 350 block. You didn't state if you were going to keep it computer controlled or scrap all the smog equipment. This will totally dictate the performance-parts selection for your build. Make a few more decisions and get back with us.