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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,
i am wondering the question above.
I got a lot of literature on BBCs and how to gain power:
  • Induction tuning (Tunnelram, multicarb setups etc)
  • Porting intake/heads
  • Ignition tuning
  • Supercharging
  • Exhaust tuning
  • Valvetrain / Rpm tuning (One typical way for more NA-engine performance)
  • Displacement increase (The other typical way..)
Regarding bore/stroke enlargement i naturally find a lot of info in those books, but nothing about when this all started.
Was stroking engines a thing in the 70s already?
Where there kits available like nowadays?
Was the aftermarket there or was it more of a "freak" thing?
I wasnt born back then, i dont find info in the internet about when this started.
Would appreciate info from guys knowing how things were done in that era..

Thanks!
 

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Stroker cranks were a big thing even in the 1950's. 4 1/2 inch big blocks with 4.565 cylinder bores make a lot of cubic inches. Why not !!
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Stroker cranks were a big thing even in the 1950's. 4 1/2 inch big blocks with 4.365 cylinder bores make a lot of cubic inches. Why not !!
Oh i didnt know that. 4.5" stroke ?! Who did that? Do you know sources? I am very interested in those builds.

Not sure what you mean by a "thing" but the 400 small block was an early 70s stroker.
By "thing" a mean "typical way of gaining hp" back in the days..
In case of 400 i see it as a OEM engine.. but what did guys do, who wanted to increase displacement even further?
 

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chevydiy.com/chevy-big-block-performance-displacement-decisions

Here's an article/book that will definitely get you off in the weeds. Before spending crazzy dollars on aftermarket parts, there are Chevy produced marine blocks that will go to 4.565 inch bore and still have a completely normal exterior appearance, down to even having the boss to mount a factory fuel pump. Many aftermarket blocks don't have the pump mount.

4.5 inch crank? Take your pick.

Big block 4.5 inch stroke cranks
 

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:cool: If you had money, yes. Otherwise no. The special parts were very expensive (as they are today). Boring out the cylinders in the block was much more common.
 

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In the 70's Chevelles were daily drivers, a dime a dozen and not worth much on trade. It would be sort of like hopping up a late model Impala today.
 
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C-T Strokers was a well known name in the 1960's...you'll see their name on a lot of match race/AFX/Altered wheelbase cars in old mid-to-late 1960's time frame.
Hank the Crank was another.
The 3.75" welded stroker in place of the 3.25" stock crank in the 327 for 377" stock bore was fairly well known out there for guys who had money, same crank did 364" out of the .060" overbore 283.

It was 1/100ths as common as it is today ,probably closer to 1/1000ths as common.

Stroking probably first started to get "common" with the reground 400 SBC crank into a 350 block for a 383, in the early 1980's, since it could be done with standard 350 pistons and 400 rods, no special parts needed after the crank was done....before that, it wasn't real common for home builders.
 

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I think even the How to Build a SBC book had a short article on how to build a 454 SB. That book is from the 70's.
 
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In the 70's Chevelles were daily drivers, a dime a dozen and not worth much on trade. It would be sort of like hopping up a late model Impala today.
That is the sad truth. I bought my first Chevelle for $40! Had a cracked 350 block, no top end. I put a decent junkyard 350 in it and drove the hell out of it, got in lots of trouble too- sold it for $1500
 
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This is for BBC. The bowtie block for the 4.50-4.56 inch bore I think came out in 1986. There was an article about it in 1986. I got mine in 1992 when I thought they were going to stop producing them - which they did not, they just made more of them and Dart and other guys joined in. On the stroker cranks they were rare but could be had and they were usually 4.25 inches any more than that it usually went into the oil galleys. In the how to Hot Rod a BBC the original book the biggest engine they had was a aluminum 510 with a lot of expensive stuff to get it there. I think that book originally came out in the early-mid 1970s. The book mainly talked about 454s as being the biggest motors except for the exotic stuff. So I would say in the 1970s there was not a big supply of big inch stuff like we have today.
 

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These were the words to the song "Little Duece Coupe" sung by the Beach Boys in the Early and mid 60's..... ".....she's ported and relieved, and she's stroked and bored...she'll do a hundred and forty at the top when floored. She's my Little Duece coupe!! You don't know what I got" so yes, even way back in the 60's hot rodders were having the engines in their cars stroked, bored, the blocks relived for big stroker crankshafts, and the cylinder heads ported too.....


this second one is just another one of my favorites...

 

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Late 40's Lincoln Flatheads were 239 CID and the last Fords were factory stroked to 255 CID. Hot rodders being what they are started boring and stroking these engine. The strokes started with a max factory 4", they ended growing .125" at a time untill they got to 4.5" stroke. Bore started 3.1875 and ended up as 3.375.
Your beachboy flattie was a 322 cid beast. Although the French Simca flatheads could go to 334 CID. Thats a 1/4" over bore and an added 1/2" stroke
So by the 70's strokers were old school
 

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Stroker crankshafts were not very plentiful until the Chinese economy versions came out in the 90's. Crankshafts have always been available but the knowledge was not widespread until the internet. What you can learn today off the internet, some right, some wrong, was only known to a few educated individuals in the 50's-70's. A lot of the standout's in racing were mechanical engineers. Bill Jenkins, Ramchargers, Surfers to name a few. GM, Chrysler, Ford knew decades ago what we have learned recently. They put together engine combinations that make power, economy, and would last 100k miles. They matched ports, valve size, intake runner size to cubic inches. There is more available knowledge and parts available today than ever in history.

To answer your original question, yes there were stroker parts but most were out of the cost reach of the average hot rodder. Until the 90's most Chevy engines were built with Chevy parts, most obtainable from your local dealer. The interchangability, thanks to Zora Duntov, made building a Chevy the lowest cost of any manufacturer. There were no Summits, Jegs, etc where a credit card and UPS could get anything you desired in the 60's. Summit has been around since the 60's , Honest Charley, PAW to name a few but your local speed shop could come close on matching prices back them and they could get it quicker than ordering.

Crower and Bryant produced cranks but were expensive. Cranks could be welded, then turned to the desires stroke based on the limitations of the shaft. Pistons, with the exception of TRW and Speed Pro were expensive. Back then a young man with a family just didn't have the extra money to play with.
 

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Great topic and great answers, thanks!
It’s all makin’ me really want to finally pull the trigger in upgrading the 350 in my ‘66 to a 383 stroker - part of me always thought “no” since it wasn’t stock, but the hot-rodder in me and these posts are really encouraging me! 😁
 

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My take on it was in the 70’s it was more popular to de stroke a motor. More race engines were small inch high rpm engines. Like was said there were aftermarket cranks available but they were really expensive. Modified eliminator and pro stock ran short stroke engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Lots of good knowledge, thanks guys.

So seems like it was more of a special way (like supercharging today) to increase power. You can, but its never cheap..

so more the rpm-route was chosen. Destroking, high-revving... finally i get an image of hot rodding back then..
 

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What sleeper said. Stroking became 'popularized' more recently with the flood of rough machined ChiCom steel. Much more imagination required back in the day; which is the "image" i carry, neccessity for speed is the mother of invention!
 

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I first got interested in cars during jr-hi back in the 50s. And I clearly remember the "big boys" talking about bored and stroked flathead Fords and opening them up to around 300 cubes. By the mid/late 50s, with the "new" overhead valve engines in every stable, the world of hot rodding and racing changed dramatically.
When serious drag cars (ie, early blown fuel cars) became common, stroked, as well as seriously bored engines, were very common.
Thus, stroked engines are probably older than some of us here.
My favorite bored/stroked engine is the SB400, but good, rebuildable cores are becoming more and more scarce. A good, rebuildable GM SB400 can easily be opened to 420-427 with good, precise, machining and building processes ------------------------------ and it can even be done with a cast GM crank.
 

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Great topic and great answers, thanks!
It’s all makin’ me really want to finally pull the trigger in upgrading the 350 in my ‘66 to a 383 stroker - part of me always thought “no” since it wasn’t stock, but the hot-rodder in me and these posts are really encouraging me! 😁
Best thing youll ever do to your car!! Noone ever said gee i wish I had less torque.
Joe Sherman made the 383 pretty popular in the 70s
 
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