Saturday, July 23, 2011

Can 6 = 8 For My Camaro?

This has been the burning question for years now. Should I replace my Chevy Camaro's under powered inline 6 engine with a V8 full of horsepower and potential? Could I ever really be happy with just a 6 cylinder machine under the hood? Can the straight 6 be modified to give me what I want? Just when I have it all figured out and I decide to switch over, someone talks me out of it. However when I decide to stay with the 6, I talk to someone else and they tell me to drop it and get an 8. How does one decide? Lets setup a comparison between the two options and see what we come up with...

Right now I have a Chevy 250 cubic inch inline 6 engine in my 67 Camaro. The car is a factory inline 6 car, but not the one that's in there now, someone swapped it out at some point. So it's not numbers matching but the tags on the car show it should be holding 6 cylinders. With that in mind, the current engine works perfect. The only issue with it is that it's lacking in spunk compared to it's big brother, the V8. However, what if I spent $1500 on a performance cam shaft, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, carburetor and headers? Well sure, I'd be out $1500, but what would that give my tired i6? According to the guys at Clifford Performance, I could expect to see a minimum of 45% power and torque gains! Now don't get me wrong but if I were to increase the base horsepower from 155 to over 250 and the base torque from 235 to anywhere over 350... I would probably have a hard time wiping the grin off my face. Don't get me wrong though, it would be no built up V8, but that's not the main point as an important factor to me is originality. I don't know about the car shows you go to, but the ones out here are all V8's and nothing but. You're lucky if you can find a straight 6 in anything around here.

Lets take a step back then and say that I spend the same $1500 on a V8. I might be able to find a cheap, short block crate motor to start with, but the rest would need to be bought separately as I just wouldn't have enough. The other thought is that I could hunt down a good used engine and hope that it's from a donor vehicle that has a clean engine bay, as I will need almost the whole thing to convert my i6 to a V8. I think it's safe to say that to get a running V8 in my car, I'm spending at least $2500, and that isn't the 396 that I would be opting for, if I were to go that route. So my new 396 will probably provide 330+ horsepower and 400+ torque, and will likely put out a lot more if the price is right. So what is more cost effective, buying a V8 and adding performance or keeping the i6 and spending all of the money on its performance?

Clearly the V8 could stomp the straight 6 if a real build war were to fire up... but I have to be honest, the straight 6 can come pretty close to a decent V8, and for a lot less money. I love the sound and power of a V8, but is it possible to satisfy that craving for raw power with an inline 6, and even be a little unique at the same time? I've been leaning in one direction on this for quite a while but I was hoping to get your opinions before I spend all my money. What do you think?



  1. It's really difficult deciding which to pursue is it? Well, for whatever reason you must follow what you always want to decide and never regret it. By the way, this is a nice article, I am glad I found it.

  2. I'm still focused on the body repair of my Camaro, so the engine is still a big question mark. I'd got books and rebuild manuals for both engines. Something I never mentioned is practicality, can't walk into just any parts store and grab inline 6 speciality parts. With a Chevy 350 or almost any displacement, parts are available in variety almost anywhere. Choices choices