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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?

My criteria:
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.
posted: August 19, 2018
  Answers (3)
If you want to stay close to period or era correct them check out the following for engines available at that time.
posted:  September 25, 2018
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I would stay with a 6 cy. 235 engine.
posted:  September 26, 2018
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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.
posted:  November 2, 2018
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