Q: Greg, I am preparing to rebuild a 383 V8 engine that has been sitting around my garage for years and I am going to put it in a 1968 Plymouth 2-door Satellite body that did have a 383 in it. The engine and transmission came from a wrecked 1969 Roadrunner that I bought for $550 a long while back and I saw it running.
I know you have a Challenger with a 383, so I'd like your opinions. I want it to be a great car for the street and an occasional pass down the quarter-mile. It will have a 727 automatic and a 3000 street/strip converter. I have about $2,500 to spend. How can I rebuild my 383 V8 engine for $2,500? Thank you, Tom M., Pennsylvania.
A: Tom, I'm taking into consideration the 383's steel crankshaft and rods are in good shape, all of which have to be checked at your machine shop and reconditioned for daily driver use. If you heard it run, that's good.
In my opinion, I'd invest in a complete Edelbrock Power Package Top End Kit, Part No. 2086, which will include genuine Edelbrock engine matched components to develop up to 417 horsepower from the "B" series big block Chryslers. Look for Edelbrock Part No. 2086. (440 engines are part No. 2087).
These Edelbrock kits include aluminum intake manifold, excellent aluminum cylinder heads with valves and springs, intake and head bolt set, hydraulic camshaft and lifters, timing chain and all gaskets. You just need to add your rocker arm assembly and pushrods.
With this kit, you'll have a great engine in a great car, and if it were mine, I'd invest in some Roadrunner decals, emblems and hood and make it a "Beep Beep" clone. A great overall rear gear would be a 3:91 which will fit your 8 3/4 rear case. I run Richmond gears in my Challenger. Check out the Top End kit at under power package kits. For the price, approximately $2,200 for everything, you can't go wrong and you'll have $300 left for extras. Also, since you are rebuilding, I highly recommend boring the 383 .30 over and purchasing a new set of 9.0 to 1 pistons and rings, which will take care of your balance and also allow running on today's 92 octane unleaded fuels.
Good luck and send us a photo when it is finished.