1973 351 Cleveland 2V available, what would you do?


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Jun 8, 2022
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West Chicago
My Car
1973 Convertible 351C
I recently came across a 351 2V that the owner wants $350. He says it wasn't running when he took ownership and has no other information. I don't need the engine at this time but I also don't want to look back and say I should have taken the chance. There is also a automatic transmission that could probably be had as well. What would you do?
If you dont know the condition and cant see it run, the best you can do is assume it needs a full rebuild. Worst is a head and the block are toast. The individual parts there would at least be worth the $350 if you tried to start the motor and it wouldn't go. My local engine shop has like $600 core charge for a cleveland block.

If it wasn't running when it was pulled, it could have thrown a rod or dropped a lifter into the block. Something could be trashed.

Go into it assuming it needs a full rebuild. If you hook it up and it happens to run, then thats a happy surprise.
So it's pretty much a no brainer huh? It's definitely a Cleveland. Should I take the trans as well? Not sure what he'll be asking for that.
I just paid $300 for a short block and a set of heads. I am happier then heck. Engine was seized and was previously rebuilt so I just pulled it apart and sent it off to the shop to get cleaned and mag'd.

Even though the block and heads are a 2V you can still build a monster engine. I just got my 2V back from the shop and it dyno'd at 441 hp @ 6000 rpm. It cost me a lot and I replaced almost everything except the block.

All Cleveland blocks are rated for around 600hp and at that they only need 2 bolt mains. If you go any crazier than that your should consider getting a machinist to drill in another bolt for you and turn your 2 bolt mains into 4 bolt. There is lots of room for the additional bolt.

The shop gave me a quote of $1800 to redo the heads to flow enough air for 450 hp which I find very reasonable but I opted for aluminum heads to drop some weight instead. Not sure how much air you can push through the factory intake manifold but for $500 USD you can get a very nice dual plane intake that will spread the torque around where you need it. Make sure you watch the height of the deck on the intake to ensure it still fits under your hood. Whichever direction you decide to go make sure you replace the valves, the factory valves are welded and are a known failure point. Go with solid valves.

As a final point, don't start buying parts by piecemeal, plan the whole build first so all of your parts work together as a system. Huge ports on a head are no good if you use factory exhaust. And even if you get headers, make sure you choose the length to correspond with where you want your power range, long-tubes for power at high rpm and shorties for lots in the low range.
If the engine was not physically damaged, as in a rod exiting the block, you could end up with a decent engine for not a lot of money. I would have the heads and block magnafluxed before spending any kind of serious money on it. I have seen a lot of folks telling others of how nicely those 351C 2v engine can perform with some ampong up of power related upgrades. I would be inclined to take a chanv=ce on it at that price point,
I'm working on threading a couple of needles but if things work out I'm going to take the engine and put in a corner for now. Thanks for your help!

I've started mocking up the front end, engine compartment on my 73 vert. and am getting excited about what this car is going to look like. I have a huge way to go but little by little it'll get there. If I didn't have my nasty fishing habit it would get done a lot quicker, lol!
Thanks again!
Make an offer, tell him you don’t know the condition of the engine, it may have been rebuilt in the past and bored out, it may have been over heated and have cracked head or block. He may happy just to get rid of it. Take the trans too. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. Good luck.

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