The use of a small block Chevy engine in a resto mod project is the chosen path for many car guys because of cost factors.


MyStarCollectorCar has heard all of the reasons over the years, but are these explanations the right ones for you?


The first reason on the resto-modder’s agenda: a 350 SBC is cheap in terms of cost. This factor is very important to cost-minded car guys because most of them build on a budget.




The second reason is the ease of transplanting a Chevy engine because there are so many conversion components that make the process easier for car guys.




The third reason is also related to availability because a 350 SBC can be built into a monster engine with aftermarket parts and proper machining.




The fourth reason is the abundance of repair parts available for a 350 SBC. This factor can be important when repairs to a 350 are necessary on the road because the engines’ parts are typically an off-the-shelf scenario.




The aforementioned reasons are a strong argument for the use of a 350 SBC in a project, but there is another side to this debate.




For example, a Chevy engine under the hood of another car company’s car or truck will ignite a war. Some car clubs will even ban your vehicle because it has become a Chevy with the GM engine under the hood.




The question for them is whether the car or truck has become a mechanical Frankenstein monster that is no longer one of them. The answer is an emphatic “Yes”– and they will not accept the vehicle as one of their own in a club or show.


The rarer the vehicle, the less likely it will be accepted with a Chevy engine under the hood by the car guys who have preserved (or found) a replacement engine that was found in the vehicle when it left the factory.




Some car guys have tried to disguise their 350 SBC with a different make’s valve covers. Camouflage will actually work for most car guys until they notice the alternator, manifold, distributor and other components are pure Chevy.




Then they begin to wonder why the engine has been disguised and are not happy with the act of deception.


MyStarCollectorCar has mentioned many times over the years that car guys are typically dedicated number crunchers who want the most bang for their buck. Therefore a small block Chevy engine choice makes plenty of sense to them-right up to the time when they sell the vehicle.


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The price difference is very significant between a Chevy 350 SBC that has been transplanted under the hood of another car manufacturer’s brand by direct comparison to an engine from the correct manufacturer under the hood.




In fact, buyers are willing to pay considerably more for a vintage vehicle with that company’s brand under the hood, even if the engine under the hood is much newer than the vehicle-along as the engine is brand in brand.




The sight of a 350 SBC in a non-GM vehicle is very appealing to a GM fan, but it may become a source of controversy or irritation to a non-GM fan in the car hobby.


Even worse, it may even cause a few unpleasant experiences for the owner when they try to show or sell it.      


BY: Jim Sutherland


Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.  


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