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Discussion Starter #1
I now have my 67 GTO convertible where it steers, brakes, and handles almost as well as my modern cars. I'm much more comfortable with it's safety and reliability than when I purchased it earlier this year. Now that it's safe to drive, I'm thinking about more power so it will be a little more fun.

I want some advice on my options. My requirements are:

1. Runs on 91 octane or lower.
2. Maintains a reasonably stock appearance.
3. I'm able to run my stock TH400 and open 3.55 rear end behind it for now.
4. It is at least as fast as my daily driver and my wife's grocery hauler.
5. I don't have a budget but I don't want to brake the bank either.

I know I'll have traction issues and I will address those with a closed differential and possibley better wheel/tire combos. I just want it to be able to get me to 60 mph in 5 seconds or better.

Thoughts?
 

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Mill

:cool There are any number of Pontiac Crate Engines available through Internet sales, many of them look totally stock, but have serious innards. How about a 400 stroked to 461 CID?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've seen that the 461 is a popular option. The car won't see the race track but I do like to drive it pretty hard sometimes. What 461 should I be looking for? Options and rough cost?

I know there are a ton more details that need covered but I just want a starting point.
 

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Figure in the 3-4 grand range to have a stroker built with forged rods, dished pistons, stock heads with a valve job and new springs and hardened valve seats. If you go with alum. heads add another 1500, roller cam and rockers +700
 

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Hey Whitt, I see you're in Frisco. I live in Garland, and I built my original 400 in my GTO into a 461. Perhaps we can get together and let me give you a "demo" some time.
There's a car show this Saturday morning/afternoon (10/19) in Rowlett - sponsored by Dickey's BBQ. I'm planning to be there. I"ve got a black '69.

Oh... and my best quarter-mile e.t. to date is 11.86. 0-60 times, best as I can estimate, are in the vicinity of 3.5 seconds :D

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My driver is a 2007 Inifiniti G35 Sedan and my wife drives a new Ford Explorer. Not super fast cars by any means but both have more giddyup than my Pontiac right now. I used to own a 2002 Z06 Vette and that would put a smile on my face. Bear your car is faster than my Vette was - I didn't realize you could make these old Pontiacs that fast without some serious mods! Instag8tr that is what I was expecting but when I look at some of these places online they want upwards of $10k! I'd love to get it done locally - Bear can you make some recommendations?

I'd also take you up on your offer this weekend but the car will be in our local neighborhood show on Saturday. I bet we can get together soon enough though.

Thanks for all this info guys.
 

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Figure in the 3-4 grand range to have a stroker built with forged rods, dished pistons, stock heads with a valve job and new springs and hardened valve seats. If you go with alum. heads add another 1500, roller cam and rockers +700
I'd like to know where you found aluminum heads for $1500.. or a roller cam/lifter set and rockers for $700!
 

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I look at some of these places online they want upwards of $10k!
Id hate to say it man and several would like to crucify me for saying it but... If you wanna go quick and do it cheap its hard to do with a Pontiac and you might wanna look into, gulp, a well built alum headed sbc.. sbc parts are damn near free if you hang around lots of car guys. And by cheap I mean under 5k. Now, you can build a 455 torque monster for $5000 easily if using well equipped stock rods and a stock crank. Saves ya money on the stroker kit.

Though you said you would like to keep your th400 you might wanna consider an OD tranny like a 5 or 6 speed also. That alone coupled with some 4.10/3.90 gears will make a world of difference. I went from 3.08s and a TH350 to 3.73s and a TKO600 and WOW!! All of the sudden i LOVED the street manners of my 47 year old hot rod. Even running high 13s with my old combo it felt way faster than that and is ALOT of fun bangin gears around town.
 

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Whitt, a lot depends on how much (if any) of the work you're comfortable doing yourself.

I don't personally know of any Pontiac builders in the DFW area that I'd let touch mine. I built it myself. I had the block machining work done by Kim Barr here in Garland. (Bore and hone to +0.035 over stock, align bore, cam bearings, squaring up the decks, valve job and pressure test on the heads [the ones I started with]). I bought nearly all the parts including rotating assembly from Jim Lehart at Central Virginia Machine. He also balanced it. It's not cheap, but then I'm running a solid roller cam and I also [now] have aluminum heads (also prepped and ported at Jim Lehart's shop). You can save significantly over what I spent if you go with a flat-tappet hydraulic cam and valve train, and also if you use the right iron heads, properly prepared. It'll make more than enough power to plant a huge smile on your face - promise.

If I was going to just buy a ready-to-run Pontiac "crate engine", there are only two builders I'd even consider: 1) Jim Lehart 2) Butler (in that order).

Jim's the one who partnered with me and helped me plan my build. He's a nice guy, knows as much if not more than anyone else out there about Pontiacs, and will take the time with you to explain the "why's and wherefore's" behind his recommendations. I highly recommend giving him a call and just talking it over.

There's only one reason that building a chevy is cheaper, and that's because there are so dang many of them out there it has led to a corresponding overabundance of parts and supplies for them - when the market gets "flooded" with something, it gets cheap.

Bear
 

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I was speaking above the cost of doing valves and springs on the correct set of iron heads to get the compression down, and above the cost of a cam and hydraulic lifters. Actually had the speed shop quote me a price on the eddy heads of 1.199.00 when i went to order two sets he realized there was an asterisk (*per head). I got a custom grind Erson roller cam and hyd roller lifters for around 850.00 shipped to my door. Like Bear said Jim and Butler are tops at Pontiac performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's a lot of great info guys I appreciate it. I'm not really looking for quick or cheap but that's a nice option if it's there. I do want to keep my GTO all Pontiac and that's ok if it costs a little more. I guess a 455 isn't out of the question but the 461 stroker would be my first choice.

The transmission idea had come up and that might give me more bang/buck right now so it's still on the table. I'd love to take the car on longer trips than my 10 mile work commute but that TH400/3.55 just revs too darn high for my taste.

Bear - I'm not opposed to bolting the engine together myself. The last time I did one the internet hadn't been invented yet and Google and Youtube sure make working on these cars easier! I've heard of Kim Barr so would you recommend him for the block work and possibly the heads? I've read that the Edelbrock heads are worth the $2k so I'm not opposed to that either.

What I'd really like to do is buy a block and take my time building the engine while I can still drive the car with what's in it.
 

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I've heard of Kim Barr so would you recommend him for the block work and possibly the heads? I've read that the Edelbrock heads are worth the $2k so I'm not opposed to that either.

What I'd really like to do is buy a block and take my time building the engine while I can still drive the car with what's in it.
That's a good plan and very doable. Kim's good - there are others I've heard of as well (such as Wayne Calvert). The main thing is finding someone who understands that Pontiacs are different from chevys.

Consider meeting up with us at a Dallas Area Pontiac Assn meeting (Dallas Area Pontiac Association) - 2nd Sunday of every month. I've been pretty successful with my car but I certainly don't "know it all". It'd be a good source for more sources.

Bear
 

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Budget = 455. Fat wallet = stroker 400. Its that easy to me staying Pontiac. Big mains on a budget and still have the cubes or small mains for more $ and get the cubes from a crank. I personally went with 300cfm KRE heads, it was a recommendation from SD Performance because of the modern combustion chamber and smaller intake runner size for street cruising and not all out racing. Theres millions of threads on Eddy vs KRE the choice is yours. But I will add this, iron heads prepped the right way are probably 75% of what a decent aluminum set cost... Not to mention you can run more compression with aluminum and stay on pump gas, plus the weight loss. Win win.

But the .02 ill throw in and I hope you consider is GET A ROLLER CAM AND ALUMINUM HEADS if the budget permits. I know the feeling your looking for and a roller cam with the right heads will deliver u-joint snapping torque on a big cube poncho with great driveability and the ( in my opinion required for any street car) ability to put 91/92 octane pump gas in the tank. Flat tappets are ok but.. No, actually they are not ok.. They wipe lobes, require to be broken in, require engine oil additive, do not last etc etc.. Flat tappets are DEAD!!
 

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The transmission idea had come up and that might give me more bang/buck right now so it's still on the table. I'd love to take the car on longer trips than my 10 mile work commute but that TH400/3.55 just revs too darn high for my taste.
Btw I cruise 70mph @ 2000rpm with a 3.73 gear and 275/40/R17 rear tire. Not bad! Hell even a stout 700R4 with its 3.08 first gear will wake that car up a little and also give you the .70 4th or whatever the ratio is.. Its less than 1:1 and thats what matters on those longer trips you speak of.
 

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I agree with Bensjammin66, except for flat tappets being dead. I've run nothing but flat tappet cams in my Pontiacs for over 35 years with nary a flat lobe or problem. Of course, my cams and lifters are old, made in USA units and I run good oil. That said, I'm talking 100's of thousands of miles over the decades without issue. Like anything obsolete and outdated, they need a certain amount of care and attention (right oil). If I were on an unlimited budget, I agree, roller is the way to go. Though I've heard of many roller needle bearing failures, etc. And aluminum heads are the way to go, too. I spent $1400 on a set of iron heads for my '67....if I had known, I'd have pitched in another 6-700 and gotten aluminum heads. More power, and a TON less weight over the front axle. Win win.
 

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Many millions of miles were put in with flat tappet engines before rollers became the norm. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, and cam/valve train selection can be daunting specifically because there are so many different options.

First things first: decide what your goals are, how you're going to use/drive the car and in what conditions (street, highway, race), and your tolerance level for both cost to build and cost to maintain (as well as tolerance level for time spent "fiddling" with it to keep it in tune, etc.) Into that mix also consider transmission type, gearing, other equipment (power brakes? a/c?). All of those decisions will tend to steer you in a direction with regard to cam and other engine build parameters.

On the Power Tour this past summer I had the chance to talk with Vic Edelbrock Jr for about 45 seconds while he was signing an autograph for me. I "asked" him to consider building a new line of Pontiac heads, with the round-port exhaust of the RPM's but with the heart-shaped chambers of their new D-port heads. One can hope, right?.. :D

I like aluminum heads (after all I'm running some myself) but that's not the only game in town for a street engine. Build a 461 with something like the Comp XE-274, use some 92 cc iron 6x-4's in a zero-decked block and run good forged pistons with 10 cc's of volume in D-shaped dishes hung on a set of good forged rods, and you've got a 9.4:1 pump-gas friendly street engine that's going to surprise an awful lot of people - and you didn't break the bank building it. More than likely, the torque numbers are going to be in the upper 400's, low 500's and horsepower in the low to mid 400's.

It's probably not going to make enough manifold vacuum at idle to operate power brakes, or operate all the valves and switches of a factory a/c system but there are other ways of solving both those problems. Can you make more power with aluminum heads and a roller? Of course - more money, properly applied, does that.

Point is.. there are options - "more than one way to skin this cat". Planning it all out, building it, hearing it come to life for the first time.... man it just doesn't get any better.

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have a pretty good idea of the engine build I want but the sticker shock is going to keep that project tabled for a while. I'm shifting my attention towards a transmission swap since that will most likely be the bang for the buck option right now. I'm reading up on it and I know there are options but I want to hear what the guys that have done it think.

Right now it's the TH400 behind the mild/stock 400 but I want the option of doing the ~500 HP upgrade later.

I'm looking for the most direct bolt-on, most reliable, and cheapest option there is for an automatic OD swap.
 
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