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I want to upgrade the engine on my 51 wagon. What are your recommendations?
I recently got a 1951 Chevy Styleline station wagon. I love it and it's in decent shape. The old inline 6 engine is ok, but I really would like to restore the whole vehicle with power steering, power brakes, A/C, 12v wiring, some safety features and... a new engine. I want my tin woody to look original everywhere you can see but I do want a new engine (probably crate engine) to make it dependable and a daily driver. However, I don't think I want an LS because I just don't think it fits the look as much as a v8 small block. I'd feel a little embarrassed to open the hood and have that modern looking engine in there.
I am not a mechanic and I want to learn a lot along the way with my kids. MY QUESTION: What engine and transmission would you recommend getting? Small block? What size? 327? 350? A newer inline engine? something different? Tranny? Powerglide 4 speed? Something else?
1) I don't want to rat rod this out. I want a quiet and strong engine. I don't need it to be a 450 or some turbo charged engine.
2) I don't want to pay a ton but I do want it to look tough and cool when I open the hood.
3) I want it to be a reliable engine that needs little maintenance.
4) What other engine components or aspects to you recommend I need to get when I order an engine?
5) Please send any links to photos or engines.
Ok. I welcome and need your input. I'd like to see what the votes are for which engine I should consider. THANK YOU.
August 19, 2018
If you want to stay close to period or era correct them check out the following for engines available at that time.
September 25, 2018
I would stay with a 6 cy. 235 engine.
September 26, 2018
I say stick with the six. There is still speed equipment available for these engines on eBay and flea markets. There's nothing like the sound of a Chevy six with a split manifold and a set of Smithy's. And hopping up the original engine will be cheaper than a V8 swap, with a whole lot less headaches.
November 2, 2018