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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Building a Stroked 436-inch Chevy "W" Engine

Posted March 14, 2022 9:07 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: chevrolet

Although it was first introduced in 1958 at 348 cubic inches, Chevy’s "W" engine grew to 409 cu.in. by ’61 and debuted in the first-year Impala Super Sport. Before long it achieved considerable motorsport success, but its quarter-mile accomplishments were most notable. Then, in June ’64, the Beach Boys immortalized Chevy’s first big-block when they sang "She’s real fine, my 409…" and forever secured its legacy in American motoring history.

Nearly 60 years later, the 409 is still popular with those who love Chevy’s performance legacy and the look of this engine’s unique, scalloped rocker covers. But anyone who has searched for a 409 knows they’re getting difficult to find, and equally difficult to afford. There is a solution, however.

With the tariff for a buildable-but-basic 409 easily topping $5,000 (even more for the exotic factory performance engines), there are plenty of reasons for seeking out its 348-cu.in. little brother. Most obvious is that they can be bought for a lot less; we’ve spotted them on eBay for under $2,500. And if you’re patient and have the right connections, you might even snatch one for a grand or so. (Here’s a tip if you’re searching for a "W" engine to build: A 348 oil pan has the dipstick on the driver’s side; the 409 pan has it on the passenger’s side, but note that the pans can be swapped between engines.)

If this appeals to you, then listen up: Stroker kits make it easy to "crank up" the displacement and add respectability to even the most unassuming engine. Plus, recent production and packaging improvements have made it both easy and affordable to add proportion and power.

Read on...

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