CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Old Trucks and New Motors

Hi,



I am no mechanic, but I like old trucks - my last was a 1966 Chevy Apache, unrestored (I can build houses, not cars). I have been told that most Chevy engines can be interchanged with little trouble. I am think about getting another old pick-up, and I was wondering if I were to get another of a 1956-1966 vintage, can I have an engine that runs on unleaded gas put in easily?



Thanks.



Pitt Cairn

I take it you never watched SPEED or SPIKE TV? One of the easiest swaps is a Chevy V8 into just about everything. Any Chevy engine built after 1968 will run on unleaded gas.

Tester

Hi,

Thanks.

No SPEED for me. I watch This Old House or Holmes on Homes. I have a very good mechanic, so I concentrate on my own skills, which are goin’ green these days.

Ciao for now.

PC

ANY engine will run on unleaded gas. Model T Fords run GREAT on unleaded gas. When did Chevy come out with the “Blue Flame” 250 cu in OHV Six?? Before WW-2?? They run FINE on unleaded gas.

Given your interest in this kind of project, and your mechanical bent, you might go to a bookstore and find some paperbacks on swapping engines, or just Google it and see what you find. It’s no problem putting a newer motor in an older vehicle, regulations-wise, and you’ll find plenty of 350 chevy options. Just depends on how much you want to spend…

Like Caddyman said, no problem with unleaded, most you’d have to do is have hardened valved seats put in the heads, so don’t swap engines just because of this.

And unless you’re buying a truck that’s been sitting in a barn for the last 40 years, chances are that someone has already put in the hardened seats anyways.

The Old Truck New Motor project is so very wide open. The typical route is to go with some form of the Chevy small block. For your thinking,see how unique you can make your project.

Think maybe big block or something non GM,Turbo or supercharger, extreme late model tech in old truck body,possibilites are limitless.

Hey Oldschool, your response was pretty newschool.

With 40+ year old vehicles, most any engine can be put into them, just make sure you have a transmission that can handle the engine. Which means don’t go buy a 572ci Chevy engine and just bolt in a powerglide from an inline 6 Nova or Chevelle.

There is a company (I forgot the name, that makes conversion kits and custom motor mounts to put almost any engine in any car. You will likely find them advertising in Jennings Motor News or the J C Whitney Catalogue. Agree that small block Chevy engines are the most transplantable! Very few 1957 Chevies that are restored have the original 265 engine; the usual replacement is a 350.

Think “crate motor”. http://www.gmpartsdepot.com/chevy_crate_motor.html

If you find a middle '50’s pick-up, who knows, you may be able to stuff TWO of these under the hood.