37 terraplane with a 350

Thinking about putting a SBC 350 (1985) in my terraplane after two 
 37 engine died on me. Anyone here who can give me some info on the swap. Difficult? Easy? Adapters. the whole ball of yarn.


  • 33kc198933kc1989 Posts: 310
    I'm sure there is no adaptor made for transmission not to say you couldn't make your own. Your probably looking at complete package motor, trans and since your going that far rearend.  Fitment would be up to you. Possibly flip firewall to give a few more inches. Not really a job for faint of heart.  Could snowball into a full blown build.  If your ready go for it.  If the car is nice, complete and original I wouldn't do it.  
  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,734
    Why not look to put a 202 Jet engine, or 232 stepdown engine in your Terraplane?  However what was the cause of 2 terraplane engines dying on you.  These engines are pretty durable and many are still in HET member cars today without issue.
  • getleygetley Posts: 58
    The two engine had block problems the first one the block failed when the head was being torqued the second a cylinder had a hole in it.Have no idea what caused that. Rather gun shy about putting a third one in. Have seen a few Terraplanes with the 350 in it and the measurements say it will fit. Thinking about putting in the whole drive train, Engine transmission drive shaft and updated rear end.
  • chevyplane or  terrachevy ?

  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,739
    No matter what you decide about an engine transplant, you might keep your eyes peeled for a good used Terraplane engine.  Especially, hang out at the H.A.M.B. to see if anyone is street rodding a Terraplane, then find out if they're getting rid of the engine (and if it's any good).  The thought would be to use it as-is (assuming it runs) rather than pouring any more time and money into rebuilding. 

    Sure, it might be noisy or burn a little oil, or have low compression in a cylinder or two.  But if it basically works, and doesn't self-destruct, you'll have found a winner!  Then, after you're sure the block is basically okay, you could consider actually overhauling it. 

    I'd be wary too, if I had the same disastrous experience you did!  (But, I guess I was lucky: the engine that came with my '37 has been powering my car for 45 years now, with no cracks or holes opening up!)
  • Rocket88Rocket88 Posts: 19
    edited February 24
    Stepdown engines won't fit without surgery on the firewall. Stepdown engines only fit the longer wheelbase Hudsons. The 202 Jet engine will fit easily.

  • Ol racerOl racer Posts: 2,401
    I put a Hornet Mtr with automatic into my '37 Terraplane by trimming the firewall slightly then notching the frame under the radiator for Damper. Looking back, even though avid Hudson guy, it would be easy to put in a SBC or V6 with an automatic. You would also need to change the rear end gears with an automatic.
  • sounds cool.
    looks to be a heap of room upfront. so may not need to cut up the fie wall.

    350s are cheap and easy to pick up and adapt.
    but still im guessing you will want to do the engine, trans, drive shaft and diff. So if cash is a thing then pick up a donor car. then with the increase of power you may want to look at the anchors to stop the thing. 12v  conversion as well if its not already done.

    not sure how oil pan and the front rack will go as I haven't seen a 37. 

    the 37 below on youtube might give a few ideas.

    pretty cool body style. Would make a wicked bomb or custom.

    if you do it then flick up a build thread. I will follow along and who knows other dudes like your self may be wanting to do similar.
    Many of the old guys here have some amazing knowledge on the old cars with luck they may be able to help you out as well as you go.

  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,734
    First thing I would do with this '37 is yank the LT engine and put in a  0.125" over 308 w/ 3 Weber sidedrafts, Clifford cam and head. Then you would have something to really unique at a car show. Stuffing a SBC in every streetrod is getting really old.
  • getleygetley Posts: 58
    edited February 27
    Anyone have a lead on some front engine mounts / adapters for a SBC into a 37 frame.
    All the ones I see on line are about 20" between holes 37 pads are only 17". Dont want to reinvent the piece if it is already out there.

  • getleygetley Posts: 58
    50C8DAN said:
    First thing I would do with this '37 is yank the LT engine and put in a  0.125" over 308 w/ 3 Weber sidedrafts, Clifford cam and head. Then you would have something to really unique at a car show. Stuffing a SBC in every streetrod is getting really old.
    have a lead on a 308  question is will it fit?

  • Ol racerOl racer Posts: 2,401


    I put a 308 in my '37 Terraplane with automatic, I only trimmed the firewall slightly at the middle above the floot board (black insert) then notched the crossmember under the radiator for the Damper pully. Additionally, I slid the radiator forward and use an electric fan in front of the radiator.

  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,734
    Nice work, looks great!  Do you have a pic of the finished products.
  • Ol racerOl racer Posts: 2,401
    The '37 has a modified Hornet, Turbo 350 Trans, and narrowed Ford 9" Sure-Grip along with all modern car Power accessories...
  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,734
    Very nice.  The '36 and '37 Terraplanes have always been some of my fav prewar cars.  I have a '55 308 in my garage waiting for the right Terraplane to rod it with.
  • dwardo99dwardo99 Posts: 325
    If anybody is interested, I have a full-house Hornet race engine built by Clifford in the 1960s and never run. I said I was never going to sell it but I'm coming around to the conclusion that I probably ought to. 
  • KdancyKdancy Posts: 2,229
    Dwardo99, you should put this on a "stand alone" for sale post so it doesn't get lost in the
    clutter. More people will see and read it.
  • dwardo99dwardo99 Posts: 325
    Yes, I'm thinking that. I spoke to Ken Cates yesterday and he had lots of helpful advice. I am really not sure what I want to do with it at this point. 
  • getleygetley Posts: 58
    Thanks every one. Work continues to go smoothly. Off to the you pull it for a transmission this weekend. Going with electric fans instead of the original due to lack of space.  Have to move compressor and alternator up high for clearance and move the battery box back to get it away form the headers. It is a steep learning project.

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