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BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Biggest Underdog Engine?


BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Biggest Underdog Engine?

There are a slew of engines that have come and gone over the years that were good runners, yet largely underappreciated by the masses. In today’s world hot rodders have an insane number of options to choose from regarding power plants. Old engines have developed niche followings large enough to support the building of weirdo aluminum heads and other components for mills that have been set aside for decades. More than one engine family has been schluffed off by the public but performed admirably.

Hell, looking back into the 1940s and 1950s there was the infamous Hudson “Twin-H” six cylinder that had all the engineering sexiness of a claw hammer and still managed to mop up on the NASCAR circuit, that engine, mostly forgotten today was certainly a huge underdog back when. There were people running those things in NHRA stock eliminator into the 1970s and by the time most of them quit they were down into the low 14 second range and that is with the restrictive rules of stock!

Maybe entries from Buick, Olds, AMC, etc? We want to know what your opinion is regarding the most underrated, under estimated engine of all time. That 390ci AMC mill shown in the lead photo was a thumper that made big torque and helped shove many finely tuned Super Stockers down the track in record time, but is big time short on love!

So, what is the most under rated/under estimated factory engine of all time? 

Olds 403

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12 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Biggest Underdog Engine?

  1. Michael Thompson

    The Ford Y-block won tons of races but never caught on with the mainstream because the sbc was cheaper and smaller.

    While Chevy was crowing about the one hp per cubic inch 283, Ford was building 345 hp 312” supercharged Y-blocks.

  2. DanStokes

    There are a ton of ’em. I’m personally fond of both the Nailhead and big block (430/455) Buicks and I have a soft spot (for no reason) for Packard V8s. The Caddy 500 is another killer motor and guys like Sean Mote get a TON of power out of them.

    I agree that the Y-Block deserves more love than it gets and it’s fun to see the guy at Bonneville who runs one. The M-E-L is another lost engine but that may be for good reason.

    I also like all of the inline sixes. The Ford 300 is (as noted) a killer and the 250/292 Chevys can make power. The /6 takes a bit more effort being low on displacement but I’ve seen them scream, too.

    So many neat motors. I wonder how Hemi Joel’s Duesenberg is coming along?

  3. Lee

    Chevy L79 327. Big Blocks got all the magazine coverage during it’s life but when it came to handling the L79 wins hands down against the 396 325 and 350 HP with almost a 200 pound lighter weight.

  4. bill

    if r&d monies were spread out a lot further to other brands instead of chevy and ford, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. but a lot think the bowtie and blue oval are the only ones to build which leads to they can’t think how to build a performance motor out of anything else but them. must be a boring life wearing the same socks and underwear your whole life.
    it’s a sad situation.

  5. KCR

    Mopar Poly.Its combustion chamber is akin to the Hemi( Poly – Hemi) get it .It is m-Mopars bastard child.A couple made with 2-4’s very few with 1 – 4 .And a jillion with 2bbl.A very good and long lasting engine ,With great torque numbers.But pretty much only in the 318cid. This is not the LA small block .Its the “wide block Poly” . They have a scalloped valve cover on the exhaust side ,you cant miss it. Almost no parts interchange .And almost no after market at all.

  6. sbg

    6.2/6.5 Detroit diesels. They’ve powered millions of vehicles but somehow, despite being something our troops relied upon – they’re still mostly hated.

    Which is absolutely fine with me because with hated comes cheap pricing, surplus availability, excellent fuel economy, reliability, and best of all – they last easily 400k miles (pumps, 100k miles). But don’t tell the poor sap who just spent 5500 for a rebuildable cummins truck – also don’t ask them about transmissions. Never let that poor guy with the 7.3 know about injectors…. my 230k mile rig has its original ones in it…..

  7. Raul X. Garcia

    Turbocharged Ford Pinto 2.3 four cylinder. Cheap, impressive, and reliable horsepower. The Chevy 327’s were a Southern California favorite. Impressive and reliable horsepower.

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