Q: Small Block Chevy in a 1968
I’ve just been offered a hard to refuse buy on a almost new custom built Chevy 350, 350 HP street engine (trust me – for the price you would consider it too). My ’68s 2 bbl is tired and needs a rebuild. The engine currently in the car is correct Pontiac but not numbers matching, nor is the transmission (I don’t have either of the originals). So I’m thinking about putting in the Chevy. I know some of you have done this, so what’s you’re experience? What do I have to do to make it work?
A: Given that the Firebird chassis shares so much with the Camaro, an SBC goes in quite easily. You need the following:
– Camaro engine frame mounts. Easily found at any source that sells Camaro stuff. Classic Industries, National Parts Depot, Year One, etc. Plus the rubber/steel engine mounts.
– Accessory mounts. You need Chevy brackets for the power steering, alternator, and A/C if so equipped (can’t remember if your car is so equipped).
– Accelerator stuff. This gets a bit tricky. The 1967-1969 Camaros used a rod linkage for the throttle, as did the 1967 Firebirds. The 1968 and 1969 Firebirds and other Pontiacs were ahead of the pace by using cable linkages. You need to change your linkage to the Camaro variety, which should utilize the existing holes in your firewall. You may need a Camaro or 1967 Firebird gas pedal assembly. I know where you’re likely to find one if needed. You also need whatever throttle/kickdown brackets are appropriate for the linkage and carb you will be using.
– Fuel line. The Firebird hard line comes up along the subframe from the the tank on the right (passenger) side of the car, then crosses over to the left side along the main front crossmember. The Camaro unit ends just past the crossmember on the right side. You will need to either cut your line, or replace it with the Camaro piece. Cutting the line will of course, make it more difficult to go back to a Pontiac engine.
That should do it.
Now, with some searching, I can imagine you should be able to find a recently rebuild or at least good running Pontiac 400, 428, or even 455 for fairly cheap. Probably not as cheap as the Chevy engine you found, but reasonable. Heck, you might even consider a reman. engine from one of the discount parts houses in the area. Pepboys, Kragens, etc.
Of course, you know I had to add this option. While I’m not a purist, I still dig Pontiacs with Pontiac engines. And your car is too cool to wear a bowtie. And I even own a bowtie car!
Any proposed updates, changes, pictures, and/or corrections, please use our comment section below (may need to click on permalink to access comments feature). Information is subject to change and offered as is without any warranties or guarantees. Please review our Term's Of Use for more information.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:23 am