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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know next to nothing about them. So what are they like, what tuning parts are available, what to look for etc?

Cheers guys.
 

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They are simple, very easy to work on, the parts are cheap and easily available. Very reliable if maintained in decent condition and they seem to drive in a smooth relaxed style, the only drawback is that they were not designed for performance and little tuning gear exists...hence they are often replaced by v8s. There was one performance version the OHC pontiac sprint which was basiclly a chevy 6 with a better design pontiac head,4 barrel carb and belt driven ohc. The sprint was fairly quick but also thirsty and the sales were not great so it was dropped in the 60s, if you want speed a sbc is a much better bet but if economy matters then the chevy straight 6 is a good engine.
 

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Don't know anything about 'em performance wise but my first 57 Chevy Cpe had a 235 six and powerglide combo , was a great engine . Very smooth , whisper quiet so that you couldn't tell if the car was running at idle - from inside or out :happy: . Would do an easy 28/30 mpg on a run and sit on the M/way at 80/90 mph all day long .
 

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The early (37-52) 216 and 235's were known as Babbit Pounders, as they were splash oiling ie: no oil pump. They are not the ones to tune and are weaker than the later ones. Having said that I have taken 10 years to trash mine, having thrashed it. As Stitch says they will travel at 80 all day long with great MPG, provided they are in a a sedan and not strangled by truck axle gearing. A 53-62 235 is the one to go for. Put a mild cam in or just put on an Offy inlet with twin carbs and Fenton headers with a twin system running Smithy's mufflers. This will sound beautiful and not use any more gas than a standard set up. All these parts are available, together with dress up chrome. All years are interchageable. The torque is incredible and performance surpisingly good. Try Patricks Antiques cars or Chev's of the 40's in the States.

Post 62 - I have no knowledge of the later sixes but I am sure someone does.....
 

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Don't know anything about 'em performance wise but my first 57 Chevy Cpe had a 235 six and powerglide combo , was a great engine . Very smooth , whisper quiet so that you couldn't tell if the car was running at idle - from inside or out :happy: . Would do an easy 28/30 mpg on a run and sit on the M/way at 80/90 mph all day long .
I like Ron had one in my first '57 but with standard shift, very smooth and quiet. Until a couple of ears ago I drove one everyday in a '56 Pick Up, I luv 'em.
The tuning company " 6=8 " make headers, four barrell manifolds etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies guys. I've a '51 216 with the Babbit bearings...so you've confirmed what I thought - best to look out for a later 235 then?

I like the idea of keeping the car straight 6 rather than swapping to a V8, even if I change to a different straight 6 in my weird head that still seems more original?!

What about 'boxes? I've a 3 on the tree and heard a muncie 4 speed is a straight swap?
 

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A muncie will bolt straight on to your bellhousing but you may have to change the propshaft yoke for one with the right spline and possibly have to shorten your propshaft also ..... clutch plate may need changing as some M21 and all M22's had a 26 spline input shaft .
 

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Chevy sixes can run hard.Clifford research offered all kinds of tune up stuff,and if you really wanted to make one run hard you had to have a Wayne head but they are scarce and expensive.
 

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find a copy of "santucci's" book on chevy sixes,loads of info/history/tech etc. £12-15 on e-bay,handy for research/tech on my 250.straight 6; :tup:
 
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