We've all heard the adage: there is no replacement for displacement. Why take 340 cubes when you can have 440? But, truth be told, for all-around viability on the street, sometimes bigger isn't always better.
First off, with gas prices on the rise, there is the mileage issue to consider. Since you are reading this magazine and not Wussy Man Econoboxes, we have a feeling this is likely not at the top of your agenda, but the fact remains, when it's $80 or more to fill the tank, getting the most bang for the buck is paramount. If you are not doing a full-tilt resto, lesser inches may be one way to look at it.
Then there is weight. That big 383 or 440 was called "big" for more than just how much surface area moved inside-it was dimensionally larger and that meant more pounds on the nose. Again, if you are already used to this-as many Mopar owners are-it's not a huge issue, but building a B-Body without a B engine is an option for better front-to-rear balance.
The final point is doing it your way. It's your car, and a 500-inch stroker may be what gets your heart going, but putting a healthy LA-bomb into that B-Body helps make a statement.
All this adds up to what Buzzy Bondurant decided to do when he began putting this '66 Satellite back together for fun.
Buzzy, who hails from the NASCAR town of High Point, North Carolina, owns a truck company and enjoys everything from street rods to musclecars. He still owns the 383 Plymouth Satellite he bought new in 1965 and restored to bone-stock specs.
This project came to him in 2006 and was basically an easy six-month makeover on a solid survivor Plymouth shell. Off the assembly line, the car had arrived with a 318, TorqueFlite, and 83/4 driveline combo. Showing just over 68,000 miles on the odometer, it was still in the original WWI White paint, as it still is.
Horsepower in the Plymouth now comes from a fortified 360, which was left with the stock-stroke long arm (an Eagle replacement), but it has an .030-inch cleanup in the cylinders. Engine man Ralph Brewer took care of building this package with 10.1 compression KB pistons, Eagle rods, a .484 Mopar cam with Mopar, Crane, and Milodon valvetrain pieces. final balancing was handled by Edwin Bore. Milodon also supplied the oil pan.
Keeping a tight leash on the...
Keeping a tight leash on the budget, Buzzy settled on a 360 powerplant with some aftermarket items. According to Buzzy, B-Bodies don't have to have B engines.
Efficiency comes from an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap intake supporting a 750-cfm carb, with the ported iron heads sending the spent fumes to the Flowmasters though Hedman Hedders. MSD parts provide the spark. It's a solid package and, according to Buzzy, is easily putting out somewhere above one-horse-per-inch at peak rpm levels.
The stock shifter was left mounted in the console. the citron-colored interior is what it looked like originally, with Legendary supplying the seat covers. Extra monitoring is assisted only by a Sun tach mounted to the steering column. The rest of the driveline is the rebuilt 'Flite with a mild 2,800-rpm stall converter from Mancini and a 3.23 highway gear in the differential.
The go was there, but how about some stopping action? The answer was a Master Power Brakes conversion outfit with new front discs and master cylinder. Also adding to on-the-spot functionality were fresh suspension parts, re-arched springs, and aftermarket shocks. The steel rims are now equipped with Bridgestone Futura Super Sport 235/R70-15 rubber.
This is a street car, so we can't tell you what sort of track times it turns, but that's OK since it's a cruiser more than a bruiser. The car's original white paint and modest, but rechromed, trim is also understated. to the brand-X bystander, it's probably mistaken for a mild but unassuming stocker. But when Buzzy fires up that 360-inch lung, the enjoyment limit is sky high.