Buick/Olds 215 vs Rover 215

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by Brandon Cocola, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. Alssb

    Alssb Well-Known Member

    Different bell housing.
    Triumph TR8's also used an automatic trans.
  2. Jim Blackwood

    Jim Blackwood Well-Known Member

    The Rover engines are HP limited to not much over 300 and even at that level there are reliability problems. The main advantage of the 300 block is durability, displacement is a secondary advantage. The cost is 80lbs. For most applications (including the MGB) the benefits significantly outweigh that.

    In Europe the latest craze is to use iron heads on the Rover for bigger ports and valves. Adds about 50lbs if the iron intake is also used.

  3. Brandon Cocola

    Brandon Cocola Well-Known Member

    That's fine, I already have a 500 hp Camaro and would just want a mild driver. I compared it to my 02 mustang with a 4.6 v8 making 260hp, so about the same horsepower but in a car that is 800lbs lighter for a 62 special would be fun, although MGB are all over the place and I wouldn't mind one with a hard top or a GT.
  4. Jim Blackwood

    Jim Blackwood Well-Known Member

    Personally I think the emphasis on the engine weight is very overexcited. We built a GT with the Buick 455 in it and it has a 53/47 weight distribution (with Jag IRS), handles very well and is a great touring car. I switched over from a 215 to the 340 several years back and wouldn't even consider going back to the alloy block. This is despite the fact that a 340 is a poor choice for that car. (too big) I ran the 215s in various power levels between about 135 and 300+ and while the higher powered versions do have more issues, the lower powered ones do also. With the 215s you have porosity and soft metal. With the Rovers you have liner problems. With the 300 you have neither. For the type of application you are talking about one very good choice would be a bone stock 2bbl iron head 300, which has 9:1 compression and weighs 450lbs. Yes it is heavier. But it has monstrous torque for that size car which makes it dead easy to drive, and it will never let you down. Instead of putting in one engine, then replacing it on down the road, and then maybe another one later on it will be one and done. Plus the power output is just about ideal for your use. Is it as nimble as the BOPR car? I would say yes. And so far I've not found anybody who can present any sort of a coherent argument that it isn't.

    Now any of these engines is going to be a watershed departure from the old 1800, and the fun factor will go up exponentially. But this is more from the increased torque than the horsepower. We have 2.88 gears in that 455 car and that's plenty. It cruises at 1500 rpm@75mph and gets 19mpg as a regular thing, and will still outrun almost anything. IIRC that 2bbl 300 has about 375 ft/lbs of torque. Makes it pretty much impossible to stall and very responsive. It's a fine combination and in the last 2 decades I know of only two 300 equipped cars that have been put up for sale. To me that says the owners are very happy with them.

  5. Brandon Cocola

    Brandon Cocola Well-Known Member

    I get it and I like that it has the later bop bellhousing. But like I said for me it's a matter of what can I find and the fact that an all aluminum engine is cheap makes it very attractive. I guess it will come down to what I can find when I'm ready since I don't have a car yet.
  6. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut Staff Member

    I also vote for a 300
  7. Jim Blackwood

    Jim Blackwood Well-Known Member

    You do have to consider your time investment, and finding a 300 in the first place does take some time. Cost-wise they tend to be as cheap or cheaper than the Rovers. I bought one pulled out of a Grandma's Skylark (replaced with a 455) last year that had 50K miles on it for "Tree-Fitty" (SouthPark reference) And it was in the green on leakdown and oil pressure. A quick cleanup outside and in, new gaskets and fresh paint and it's ready to go back into service. A 2bbl iron head engine that I'm keeping as a spare. I put out feelers letting people know I was looking, watched Craigslist etc. They are out there. Not at your corner pick-n-pull probably, and maybe not for $200 but definitely still around. There are still guys swapping them out for 350s and 455s. Often cylinder wear is not bad at all.

    300sbb_overkill likes this.
  8. 300sbb_overkill

    300sbb_overkill WWG1WGA. MAGA

    Yeah, if in you're interested in a sbb 300, post an ad here in the parts wanted section.
  9. Rossco

    Rossco Greetings Earth Creatures

    Being a Brit I'm biase towards the Rover, but to build a high HP Rover takes money, lots of it.

    Having said that if you build them right then they are reliable even at some respectable bhp figures. What you're not going to do is throw some trick items onto a Rover and have an engine that will last. As a minimum you have to start with a x-bolted block that has top hat liners.

    We're currently pulling in excess of 480 bhp out of a 4.8 Rover in a daily driver and expecting that to move closer to 550/600 when the new Procharger setup goes live.
    300sbb_overkill likes this.
  10. Jim Blackwood

    Jim Blackwood Well-Known Member

    Rossco that is quite exceptional output. No question about it. Do you by any chance know Perry Stephenson? He campaigned an MGB drag racer over there using the Rover and eventually changed over to the SBC when he got to the Rover's limits. The point being that the limits are there and the paths past it are as well. One of those paths was Perry's choice, another is the iron block 300, essentially the same as the Buick 350 block which has I believe seen 1000hp in basically stock trim. Or maybe that was with a girdle and it was 700 stock with a turbo. Sean would know, but in any case it's more. In most cases as HP goes up, service life goes down and vice-versa, a more understressed engine having an easier life.

    Still I think that the goal here was something like 265hp with reliability. That's really the point where a stock Rover is beginning to be stressed, but is the standard output for the 300. The general principles hold, giving the iron block engine the edge in reliability.

  11. Rossco

    Rossco Greetings Earth Creatures

    Jim, I dont know Perry personally but many of my collegues do know him.

    I agree with much of what you're saying. The Rover in standard form has many limits, which is why when I'm building for power it includes Chevy rods and any number of forged pistons. It usually includes a set of TA heads as well.

    That little package in a x-bolted block with top hat liners and a good balance job will live happily at some large bhp numbers.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020

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