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From: Kenny J.
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
Date: December 15, 2002
When my last flat head six developed a rod knock and I couldn't find a Poly 318 and drive train to replace the six cylinder, etc. I gave very serious thought to installing a Chevy 327/350, Saginaw/Municie three/ four speed manual transmission and a Chrysler C Body rear axle with a custom drive shaft. As things turned out, one of the other contributors to this list sold me a good flat head to replace my .060 over, knocking engine. Daven correctly pointed out that while replacing a Forward Look six with an eight always involves cutting and welding (motor mounts), putting in a late model 318/360 is really not any more difficult than a Chevy drivetrain and that keeping the car pure Mopar would be better if I ever had to sell the old girl. I now have a second '59 with its original Poly 318 and drive train, so I may as well leave the six cylinder car as is. I have owned enough Mopars (La, B & RB) and Chevys (all 350s) to say most pro and con arguments about both are valid. I am not trying to sit on the fence. With so many more Chevy small blocks out there, they are usually cheaper to build and hot rod. I personally believe the old Chevy 283 (now harder to find) was a very reliable engine, more so than the newer 305s, 307s, 327s and 350s. The Mopar LA engines certainly could take more abuse and survive an overheating episode better than a comparable Chevy small block (but we aren't supposed to let our engines overheat anyway, right?) The B/RBs seemed indestructible. The 350 and 375 horsepower 440s could push either a 3800 B or 4400 pound C/D body car up to speed with ease and could cruise all day at 80 mph with 3.54 gears (my '68 Charger R/T). The 383/400s were also well suited to their tasks. Most B/RBs were designed as torque motors and are just the trick to propel a '55-'61 Mopar. The early Hemi has a mystique all its own and I certainly wouldn't rule out a Chrysler 331/354/392 if I was in your shoes and didn't want to rebuild the De Soto engine. But these are just my opinions. I haven't forgotten the LA 340. An excelelnt, high winding small block engine. It's just they are very rare these days (like the Chevy 265, 267 "smog motor" and 302) and most available 340s are being snagged by serious A and E body restorers.