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View Full Version : Expensive Horsepower On TV!!!



vintageracer
03-04-2007, 07:31 AM
I watched part of a re-run of HorsePower TV this morning. Chuck and Joe took Chuck's 69 SS 396 Chevelle convertble, added Hedman headers and an American Thunder Flowmaster exhaust system. They previously had added a new aluminum intake and 850 Holley carb on a previous show that added 14 horsepower but did not give a cost of upgrade.

They base lined the car with the carb/intake with the car making 246 rear wheel HP. They then added the header/exhaust system and went back to the dyno for a result of 259 rear wheel HP. An addition of 13 HP. They then quoted all this for $700!

$700 for 13 rear wheel HP with exhaust and probably $500-$700 for 14 HP with the intake/carb. End result is ONLY 259 rear wheel HP with a 396 BB Chevy? So much for old school engines and HP!

For a cost of $1200-$1500 you ONLY received 27 extra rear wheel HP AND only ended up with ONLY 259 TOTAL rear wheel HP! $1500 buys 1/2 of a good used LS1 engine and transmission that will make a lot more rear wheel HP than 259 HP's and be a MUCH more driveable engine on the street.

No wonder the LS and LX family of Chevy engines are so popular for swaps into older muscle cars. We have not even discussed the difference in engine weight reduction you receive with the LS/LX engines.

Is it me or was this a VERY POOR expenditure of dollars for a very low HP return?

camcojb
03-04-2007, 07:54 AM
from that view it doesn't look like a great bang for the buck mod. But we can't swap LSX's into everything either, as much as I love them. This coming from the guy who sold the old school twin turbo out of Malitude for a 402 twin turbo LS2! :drive:

Jody

trapin
03-04-2007, 08:23 AM
Rupp said it best, "Go LSX or go home".

Rolling_Thunder
03-04-2007, 12:00 PM
LSX... blah... I gotta say there was something seriously wrong with that 396... I built a mopar 383... used shortblock, new rings and bearings, stock 906 heads, stock manifolds, stock camshaft, edelbrock dual plane intake and a out of the box edelbrock carb... made 293 rwhp... I had LESS THAN $1100 into the whole package... so with less cubes and ALOT less $$$ I was making more power... oh well...

I agree modern engines are nice and all but in my opinion putting in a LSX or a new Gen Hemi into something you loose something from a musclecar... not power or performance... just... the overall feeling... I've driven many modern driveline musclecars... and i gotta say not one of them EVER felt like a REAL experience...

just my opinion and not meant to offend anyone.

ss dave
03-04-2007, 12:29 PM
Well, I pulled the fairly new carbed 383 this winter for a LS7 that will be delivered tomorrow. Crammin it into the 69 camaro vert. Wanted reliability, consistancy of performance, and longevity. Not to mention it is an aluminum block, FI, over 610hp. This still amazes me- all that from a NA SBC. The old iron power plant just didn't have the pop that I want. I sure hope it feels REAL!

Restomod
03-04-2007, 01:28 PM
So you can swap a LSX engine in a car for ony $1500 huh?? Not everyone can plop down the $$ for a swap like that..........

ss dave
03-04-2007, 02:20 PM
Man I wish it was 1500 bills! I would have done it a long time hence. No a swap is costly, no ways about it. Thats why I hope it feels real, and puts my pants in the seat! lol

Rolling_Thunder
03-04-2007, 03:57 PM
as i said - i understand reliability, performance, and all that jazz... theres a reason im putting EFI on my big block... but i mean with a vette or similar car there is no violence.. it just doesnt FEEL like a Musclecar....

vintageracer
03-04-2007, 04:08 PM
Restomod,

Read my post! I did NOT say you could swap a LS/LX in for $1500. I DID say that $1500 would pay for 1/2 the cost of a used LS engine/transmission combination.

Sure, that would be the start of a conversion but by no means complete. The point of my post is I think they spent a LOT OF MONEY for VERY LITTLE RESULTS. $1500 spent on parts for a modern engine or a modern Chevy engine in general would produce MUCH greater increase in rear wheel HP for the dollars spent.

By the way, are you paying Ron Bramlett of Mustangs Plus in California a royalty for your use of the word Restomod? Believe it or not he created the word "Restomod" and he own's the registered trademark on the word "Restomod" for use in the automotive world. Just thought you might like to know a little history about your handle.

Have a great day!

CraigMBA
03-04-2007, 06:41 PM
By the way, are you paying Ron Bramlett of Mustangs Plus in California a royalty for your use of the word Restomod? Believe it or not he created the word "Restomod" and he own's the registered trademark on the word "Restomod" for use in the automotive world. Just thought you might like to know a little history about your handle.

Are you leveling us?

Or are you refering to Ron's "Restomod Corner" in the Feb 2007 issue of Mustang Monthly where he lets both barrels go at FoMoCo for the same thing?

Steve1968LS2
03-04-2007, 07:11 PM
Rupp said it best, "Go LSX or go home".

:bananna2:

My old 2000 SS made 317 rwhp BONE STOCK :)

Oh, and it got 28 mpg on the freeway.. lol

Steve68
03-04-2007, 07:46 PM
Hey Mike!!! Well goes like this wait 20 minutes for the BBC to warm up or throw the key in it start it and drive away,

that Thursday you Bill and I were together, bill and I took the Mali for a ride, just to burn a couple up 441, and it coughed, spudered acouple of times but if it was say a LS6, we may have done a full run up 441, maybe not it was late, but yes modern is good, Steve

MonzaRacer
03-04-2007, 08:26 PM
As an owner of a 402(396 .030)You may have to figure that the 396 was mostlikely a 325 hp base engine and not a top of the crop 375 hp. So they added a aluminum intake and dropped probably 30 or 40 lbs(I still have a cast iron one on my 402 too. Swapped out a carb that have more adjustability.
The headers and exhaust will make it more efficient and if it had iron manifolds it probably lost at least another 25 lbs.
So if we figure it breathes better, maybe the mileage will go up, we can pretty much guarantee the torque numbers came up (I dont car about HP give a broad,flat torque curve and Ill be happy).
Also lossing some weight will make it faster and they gained more in little bits rather than dropping 5k on an engine swap.
Another thing to remeber I dont think they have done anything to the heads which are most likely small valve jobs and a not so large cam.
also you really expect a carb/intake to make big number jumps at the rear wheels, sorry not gonna happen.
And you have to figue they list the MSRP prices for most parts listed on the show, this way if you find one at a lower price you think you are getting a great deal.
I rarely buy everything new anymore nor have I had the actual cash to do it.
I would bet the flywheel increase was in the 50 hp range total, and could probably be had for half the price with a NOS kit but you would still need the exhaust andthe intake carb would get it to make more too.
Also, if I remeber correctly the engine is stock for that car so why trash the value of the car by swapping in an LS engine?
And for the most part from what I have read you need about $850 to use just the MSD igniton setup to run the COP ignition, and special intake and an electric fuel pump and a carb to just drop one in it and few more bucks for the exhaust So for the tidy sume of roughly $5k you can swap an LS style engine in, or slowly up grade the current engine and eventually that engine will be running stronger.
I still think I would prefer the BBC over the LS swap as everyone is jumpind on that one.
I know my big block never made big hp numbers(still small valved) but the way I set it up it made nearly 500 lb ft of torque, made a reasonable 14-16 mpg with a 3 speed trans and 355 gears and a heavy foot. If i had used an over drive i could probably got nearly 20 mpg but it took several months of tuning to get it where I was happy.
BUT nearly 500 lb ft of torque made a lot of people wonder how.
OH and I never have had more than 1500 in the complete engine and it was built from scratch.
Now I am looking for a body to put it in.
Good luck
Lee

MonzaRacer
03-04-2007, 08:33 PM
Oh and I NEVER waited to drive mine for 20 minutes.
Around 2 minutes at most unless it was super subzero temps.
As for winter I never had a choke and never had any problems and I usually had some heat inthe first mile and a half from my house to the end of the road from my house.
My grand father told me that if I was prepared to drive in bad weather I should dress for it, and I did. also my grand father also gave me soem good advise of why lrt a car idle for a long period of time, give it time to get some heat in the plugs and heads and take off.
Yes it would be a little sluggish but I never really had any problems even with out a choke.
Lee

bookends
03-04-2007, 09:09 PM
I agree the episode was low on the bang for the buck scale, but there some costly lsx mods that don't usually gain much. ls6 intake = 14-20 hp for $400. don't get the wrong idea I love lsx motors I've had three. with any engine combo there are some mods that just aren't cost effective. they could have spent the $1500 on a good nitrous kit and ended up with a ton more power. I believe a lot of shows like that are plugging their advertisers not necissarily researching the best bang for the buck mods.

LowBuckX
03-04-2007, 09:41 PM
Its not as bad as the so called lowbuck cars that end up in magazines who just happen to have a t56 sitting in the corner of the garage collecting dust or the 540 big block that was just given to them. Even better the fully polished blower that they found at the swap meet for $300...

Restomod
03-05-2007, 04:34 AM
SO SORRY!! I was correct ,I think you cant do it for $1500 and I think you cant do it for $3000!! I think Monzaracer nailed it,the 396 were not the top of the heap when it came to big HP #'s! Yep I pay Ron....I pay him no mind! He has his hands full with Ford and the use of the word Mustang.

Steve68
03-05-2007, 04:40 AM
Hey Lee, send me a address and I'll send you a video of a watch and a Autometer temp guage!

but in summer it sits at 181,

vintageracer
03-05-2007, 05:32 AM
CraigMBA,

Although Ron Bramlett does own the trademark for "restomod", he has done virutually nothing to protect his trademark and would therefore have a difficult if not impossible position to defend in a trademark infringement court case.

I did not see the article to which you refer. I have known that Ron has held the trademark for years. I am surprised that he has never defended his rights to the trademark given the fact that he has built his Mustang business around the "restomod" theme of modifying Mustangs. I did see an article about the continued use of the term at Barrett Jackson in 2006. He said he was pleased that the term had become mainstream in the old car vocabulary.

Overall I still think the Horsepower TV showed a poor HP improvement for the dollars spent. Yes, I am also aware that Flowmaster, Hedman, Holley etc are advertisers. It is still "All About the Money" in the TV business!

streetfytr68
03-05-2007, 06:01 AM
What did they install? Dual plane intake? As you know, Mike, that the cam at the top of the catalog page (little) is usually the same price as the cam on the bottom of the page (big), but the two part numbers offer different power potential. Same holds true for other parts such as intake manifolds and heads.

Of course, the secret to making power is not money--it is skill. And no one ever said that those guys know how to make power. That show implies that if you open the parts boxes and stand back, the parts will hop out of the box and install themselves in less than one half hour plu commercials. And if things get hairy, they giggle a little as if to save us from being traumatized.

So the source is less than credible.

Steve1968LS2
03-05-2007, 06:29 AM
SO SORRY!! I was correct ,I think you cant do it for $1500 and I think you cant do it for $3000!! I think Monzaracer nailed it,the 396 were not the top of the heap when it came to big HP #'s! Yep I pay Ron....I pay him no mind! He has his hands full with Ford and the use of the word Mustang.

In fairness, he said $1500 was "half the money needed to buy a used LS1 and trans" not half of what it would cost to buy one AND install it in a car.

If you tried hard enough you could certainly buy and install an LS1/trans combo in your car for under $5k.

Nonetheless, big blocks are just plain cool :)

EFI69Cam
03-05-2007, 07:12 AM
Nonetheless, big blocks are just plain cool :)

Big blocks are cool, and with proper technology make impressive power with unmatched reliability.

A 396 or 402 is a waste. Why cart around the weight of a BBC for the CID that a stroked LS2 can get you?
Junkyard engines aside, if you are going to build a BBC you are wasting your time and money if you build anything less than a 496.

I have less than 8k in my 540, brand new everything, including AFR CNC heads. It will make at least 500rwhp on 85 octane gas. I don't think the $/hp with operating costs taken into account could be matched by even an LSX. Premium gas usually is octane enhanced with additional ethanol thus has less energy in it. Big CID with lower compression seems like a good plan to me.

Restomod
03-05-2007, 08:25 AM
In fairness, he said $1500 was "half the money needed to buy a used LS1 and trans" not half of what it would cost to buy one AND install it in a car.

If you tried hard enough you could certainly buy and install an LS1/trans combo in your car for under $5k.

Nonetheless, big blocks are just plain cool :)

Very true Steve, but I will say that it is really like compairing apples to oranges. And yes Big Blocks (bigger is better!!) are VERY cool!!

Jim Nilsen
03-05-2007, 11:14 AM
I remember when you said small block, you implied 302,350 ,351,and sizes that were bored over for big power. Big blocks were 426,427,428,429,440,442,455,501 if you were packin something brutal.

Now a small block is 427 to 440 cu. and a big block is reaching 800 cubes if you want to play.:hand:

If you are running old school power like I am it is more than likely run what ya brung and it's too late to turn back now:hammer:

I like the old school stuff but the new LSX has me drooling, but so does driving my car. So I will go there when It is time. The old school stuff combined with the new is the height of the best it could ever be before it got swallowed up with the competition.

Run what ya brung is on the road and not in your garage!!

Rick Dorion
03-05-2007, 11:17 AM
I remember when a friend bought a Nova back in the day with a 396- 375HP. I thought it was an animal. Now I have a 410 small block. I like the LSX's - some day.

Rolling_Thunder
03-05-2007, 02:33 PM
I have Less than $5000 into my 512 EFI... including all the EFI stuff... I dont think I could get a stock 5.7L hemi into the engine bay for that.

BADVELLE
03-05-2007, 03:13 PM
CraigMBA,

Although Ron Bramlett does own the trademark for "restomod", he has done virutually nothing to protect his trademark and would therefore have a difficult if not impossible position to defend in a trademark infringement court case.

I did not see the article to which you refer. I have known that Ron has held the trademark for years. I am surprised that he has never defended his rights to the trademark given the fact that he has built his Mustang business around the "restomod" theme of modifying Mustangs. I did see an article about the continued use of the term at Barrett Jackson in 2006. He said he was pleased that the term had become mainstream in the old car vocabulary.



With all due respect, I would have to say that I have never heard this before and this is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, can I trademark my name?!? Man, if Steilow would have only trademarked the term "Pro-Touring" or whoever claims to be the first now! The car company's have people on the payroll that police trademark enfringements, primarily with the use of the name of the model, ie, Camaro or Chevelle, but this, "Restomod", this is very funny to me. By the way, what exactly is a "Restomod"? How can it be a restoration when you modify it?? Just thinking out load! I will sit back and wait for this one to unfold.

Restomod
03-05-2007, 05:27 PM
I always thougt of it as this Pro-Touring = GM ,Restomod =Ford , G-Machine = Mopar...........

Beige
03-05-2007, 09:37 PM
Trademark : any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner.

You can trademark your name if you use it as a name for a product or service. Otherwise, you'd want to copyright it.

ss dave
03-06-2007, 02:22 AM
I think I'll TM : restored + modified = "Restified" for my current rendering.

robbie9999
03-06-2007, 09:41 AM
Guys how much does a LSX cost and how much HP does it produce ?, I take it you can by it in a crate format ?

Has anyone put a LS7 in there car what was the cost ... beleive they now come in crate with almost 500 hp ...

JJSmitches
03-06-2007, 10:48 AM
Words have been trademarked in the rap industry: "Def" and "Phat," but I also think that a sound has been trademarked by George Lucas for his THX sound systems....a sound! I believe he also sued a rapper for using his trademarked sound and won.

George Lucas has the $$$ to persue legal action against anyone that uses his trademarked sound, on the other hand Im not so sure that the owner of "Restomod" has pockets that deep (an assumption of course).

ss dave
03-06-2007, 06:13 PM
I'm stuffin a modified LS7 wet sump into my " RESTIFIED" (tm) 69 vert. Got the LME power plant yesterday. ETA May. Byran @ LME guesstimates 615-635hp @ the fly. Not bad for a NA SBC. You can buy a crate LS7 @ SDPC, go to their site for some of the best prices. Go to the Penny Lives thread to hear a top notch LS2 in action. Thanks Steve.

MonzaRacer
03-06-2007, 09:41 PM
Ok so my 402 with no budget making good torque is a piece of junk.
BUT if I decide to do anything I am probably going to find a 454 block and use the rtating assembly in it an build a 427.
I have a buddy who has a set of slightly older AFR BBC heads and i can getthem for a song(like under $500 cause they are "outdated") and probably wouldnt even need to freshen them, but I will.
I figure either a 402 or 427 with good heads and a used TNT NOS kit and low buck EFI I can make anywhere from 650 to 850 and drive it.
I have priced LSx engines and if I pay $500 for shipping I can buy one with 40k on it and pay $3000 crated.
Well sorry I can build my 402 or a 427 for $3500 and add a used NOS system.
My problem is that anything I want to put the BBC in everyone thinks they need all original COPO price for.
A fella had a 67 4dr 300 chevelle and it was rough but had a new windshield in it and he was asking $4k for(rediculous) and it had no paint.
Oh well Ill find something sometime.
For me I just havent went LSx yet, just not enough avaiul;able in my price range.
I cant knock those engines but they arent mainstream yet around here.
Heck I am looking at a 4.0 DOHC Aurora V8 (basicly a small Northstar) to play with.
I have 2 Monzas and iam thinking of a 283 in the 77 and a Arora in the 75 but time will tell.
All I am saying is that while the numbers looked "bad" you have to take in the fact that the torque numbers are most likely much bigger and the fact that those parts are making the engine more efficient even they dont give you the extra 100 hp for $50 (not quite realistic).
But you also need good exhaust and induction for the big bang toy addons like NOS to work more efficienty.
I know a lot of people think I am nuts using a 283 in my Monza but its free (all I need are 2 more pistons and a set of rings, got everything else to build the short block)and I may even give it a remote turbo setup in the future.
OH well run what ya brung and hope you brought enough (and neverget caught cheating).
Lee

ss dave
03-06-2007, 10:11 PM
Lee, I think your 402 is great. I had a carb iron 383 that ran well that was built on a limited bugg. I was thinking of either bottle or blower to pump it up. But I had an experience with it that pointed me in a different direction with a LSx, and being simple minded I needed to keep it simple. With my project, it was never original but I wanted to pay a little semblance of respect to the heritage of that generation. They did have an optional all aluminum 427. The swap has been quite a learning experience, it sure helps that it has already been done, with details and color pics to boot. Eventually it will get cheaper to do it, it already has from when I first decided to take the plunge. Whatever you do, BB or SB/ FI or not, if you do it well with care and passion, it will always be valued.

ITLBTU
03-07-2007, 04:14 PM
:bananna2:

My old 2000 SS made 317 rwhp BONE STOCK :)

Oh, and it got 28 mpg on the freeway.. lol

:hmm: My 2000 SS only made 309 rwhp with a K&N filter only, and the best milage I got was 27... I was driving 85 though...:spank2:

ITLBTU
03-07-2007, 04:17 PM
Ok so my 402 with no budget making good torque is a piece of junk.
BUT if I decide to do anything I am probably going to find a 454 block and use the rtating assembly in it an build a 427.
I have a buddy who has a set of slightly older AFR BBC heads and i can getthem for a song(like under $500 cause they are "outdated") and probably wouldnt even need to freshen them, but I will.
I figure either a 402 or 427 with good heads and a used TNT NOS kit and low buck EFI I can make anywhere from 650 to 850 and drive it.
I have priced LSx engines and if I pay $500 for shipping I can buy one with 40k on it and pay $3000 crated.
Well sorry I can build my 402 or a 427 for $3500 and add a used NOS system.
My problem is that anything I want to put the BBC in everyone thinks they need all original COPO price for.
A fella had a 67 4dr 300 chevelle and it was rough but had a new windshield in it and he was asking $4k for(rediculous) and it had no paint.
Oh well Ill find something sometime.
For me I just havent went LSx yet, just not enough avaiul;able in my price range.
I cant knock those engines but they arent mainstream yet around here.
Heck I am looking at a 4.0 DOHC Aurora V8 (basicly a small Northstar) to play with.
I have 2 Monzas and iam thinking of a 283 in the 77 and a Arora in the 75 but time will tell.
All I am saying is that while the numbers looked "bad" you have to take in the fact that the torque numbers are most likely much bigger and the fact that those parts are making the engine more efficient even they dont give you the extra 100 hp for $50 (not quite realistic).
But you also need good exhaust and induction for the big bang toy addons like NOS to work more efficienty.
I know a lot of people think I am nuts using a 283 in my Monza but its free (all I need are 2 more pistons and a set of rings, got everything else to build the short block)and I may even give it a remote turbo setup in the future.
OH well run what ya brung and hope you brought enough (and neverget caught cheating).
Lee

I don't think your nuts. A 283 is almost a 302, and we all know what they can do. Besides, a Monza is a pretty light car, isn't it?

73ta
03-07-2007, 04:26 PM
They both have their place. I like driving my 73 Pontiac TA 455 as much as I like driving my LS7 vette. Two different animals. I do prefer the old school car as I can work on it versus the new car needing the dealership for service.

jdub396
03-07-2007, 04:29 PM
Wow...we could go back and forth all day. With $$$ you can get any motor to run good. My deciding factor in going with my (original) 396 (with many upgradeds) is....it will always be "cool". In 5-10 years will the LSX motors still be "the thing to do"....maybe, maybe not? Just my 2 cents-

camaro608
03-09-2007, 07:27 PM
Wow...we could go back and forth all day. With $$$ you can get any motor to run good. My deciding factor in going with my (original) 396 (with many upgradeds) is....it will always be "cool". In 5-10 years will the LSX motors still be "the thing to do"....maybe, maybe not? Just my 2 cents-5-10 years we will have this same talk about how bad the LSX is compared to something new :hammer:

ss dave
03-10-2007, 09:43 AM
I agree, motorheads will always be conjuring up something new, probably better, faster, more reliable. That's progress, and it is usually 7-10 years of R&D. Now with that being said, old iron is innocently raw whereas the LSx is refined muscle. I am trying to make my LSx "appear" old school- hide the coils, and a few other sleight of hand stuff. Because "old school will always be cool", especially in a 69. However there is more 06 stuff than 69 stuff in the package. It just needs to look vintage as much as possible. It is my "tribute" to the heritage of this auto, but it is far from a "chalk car". First and foremost is performance. It is being built to run.

bookends
03-10-2007, 04:29 PM
LS motors are very affordable if you are willing to do a little digging and are willing to part a car out. I bought a 2000 t/A off of craigs list for $2800 so far I have sold:
seats-400
rearend-100
t-tops and sunvisors-160
radiator fans 40
4l60e-461
rear hatch 100
tail lights 100
radiator 50
body- scrap yard 200
total= 1611
so I have $1189 in a LS1 with computer, wiring harness, complete LS1 brake system, and rack & pinion.
with a cam +/- $400 and getting the heads ported by a local machinist $600. I should have over 450 rwhp and over 400 rwlbftt.
$2189, there's your story for popular hotrodding, how cheap can you do a LS1 swap.
I had a tko 500 from another project, that's why I didn't include tranny costs
and I haven't built the fuel system yet but I plan on converting a stock tank and using a inline pump so It'll be cheap too.