Called TA to see how my order is doing.

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by Mark Demko, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut

    I tend to agree with Jim, no matter which year Buick 350 heads were produced they are a tough sell. Tons of people want to gain a few HP on their 350 but most people can’t justify spending mega money on them. From a racer perspective the 350 has so many handicaps it’s insane. Cost of parts, limited cubic inches, etc.

    It’s not that the Buick 350 doesn’t have potential, it’s that it’s only those of us crazy enough to make poor financial decisions who will go for big power with them. How many of us are there that have the $ and motivation to do these 350s to the limit? A handful, and with a tight knit community of guys attacking each other it’s even more discouraging.

    Where I see the advantage of the 350 is a stout bottom end that can handle a power adder stock. Once we go with a custom rotating assembly and ported alum heads we are now out of the price range of 80% of the potential customers. It’s not TAs fault, mine or yours it’s just the reality.

    Those of us who can afford to spend way too much money to make less power can do so because we want to..... But it’s easy to see that even once we blaze the path only a few will follow, while many more sit back and criticize.

    Heck my neighbor is a turbo kit fabricator and weekly there are 2000 HP big block Chevy and 1500 LS cars going out the door. All of these high HP engines cost less than my 350 which might make 1000 if I’m lucky. Even his junkyard 4.8 or 5.3 are an easy 900 hp with just a few thousand all in. It’s a tough market to compete with.

    Ta made the investment into these heads knowing that it was a poor financial decision, because they want to help write the next chapter of Buick Performance. Similar to the Alum v6 block they made it will likely never pay itself off however it is an important chapter in the Buick v6 pinnacle of performance. Same idea goes for the 350 heads. They will take 10 plus years to reach the break even point if they ever do. But TA did it because of Michael Jrs passion for this underdog engine.

    I really do believe that if I (we) keep perusing my quest for blowing peoples minds with the 350 that it will bring in more people to build serious 350s. A long time back talking to a certain Buick guru on the phone it was suggested that he build a 350 for his 16 year old son instead of a 455. He called me out of the blue after reading about our ambitious 350 projects. I purchased an engine and donated it to his cause as he said “I would build a 350 if I had one, but I have 20 455s in my shop”. I had the engine pulled and delivered to him and his 15 year old son rebuilt it with his help and it ended up as a 369 cubic inch 420 hp engine that made 630 hp on 6 psi of boost. That engine is currently getting a larger blower and the TA heads with max effort porting.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  2. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    I had (back in 86/87) a 455 that was given to me from my boss at the time, it was out of a 73 Centurian (IIRC) I WAS going to do the swap, I had the 455 torn down, it had a bearing knock, (the reason it was pulled and offered to me for free)
    I decided against it, took the pieces back to work and rolled 'em down the hill.
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  3. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut

    I recently sold 7 455s that were taking up space in my shed. All of them ended up north of 550 hp and then sold but it wasn’t of interest to me.
  4. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut

    I will also tell a quick story:

    Last year at my local track I noticed that roughly 50% of the fast cars were running Scott Shaviroff engines. Keep in mind we are thousands of miles away. Rewind 10 years and scott and his best friend William Bill Mah started a weekend project to see what a Buick 350 could do. It took months of head porting, mediocre dyno tests and $ but eventually they made a 1021 HP run at their on site dyno cell. Edelbrock representatives were there to see the little 355 cubic inch buick 350 make this steam. But Edelbrocks attempt at making a prototype head failed and they were not interested in spending the $ to make it a success. That engine went on to run 8 second quarter miles before finally cracking the block, no girdle. We now have a girdle and all the rest of the puzzle pieces. My point is they did it to be different, to shock people. No one cares about a 600 cubic inch BBC that makes 1500 HP.
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  5. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    I read awhile back about the 1021 hp 350 Buick, didn’t know about Edelbrock being there tho!
    That’s true, nobody does care about a BBC or even a SBC making 6,7 or more hp. Big deal, the parts are readily available.
    I’ll stick with my 350 Buick as a lot of people respect that I’m running it repeatedly down the 1/4, and running as good as it is with 3.42 gears and full weight.
  6. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    You guys are a bit off with your thoughts. Coaxing 650 horse out of a sbc isn't as easy as you think. Sure better parts availability no doubt about about that. However it is still a very serious build that requires the best of parts and machine work.. double it for the 1500 horse BBC. And it'll turn heads every it goes!
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  7. PGSS

    PGSS Silver Level contributor

    As the 455's have been done and continue to be improved with billet heads and iron 4 bolt main blocks being released soon why not go with trying a 350?
    Didn't I read the ones on the pallets have been sold?? So some seem to want to do something with the 350's.
    Yes it's all about trying to win with the underdog SBB. Alot of people love a challenge.

    I'm also seeing that all the young ones in TA Mikes family have 350 GS's.

    Small bore and not the best head design aside but at least these 350's don't have to be girdled or filled so no wasted time and money in that department and worrying when crossing the line at 500 hp for example. There are forged pistons and rods available and roller cams..
    Some stores or company's have the lose money products to get people in the door, like you see in supermarkets with a box of Cereal for a $1 or bread for a $1.
    Ok not a $2500 item but if these heads are what TA claim they need to make more and take a little hit.
    They have yet to sponsor a 350 AL headed car which is worrisome. The motor is there and built.

    How many members here? I'm in for sending TA $25 if every member will to help the expense..;)

    I believe you need a custom made bracket to fit a intake to these heads??
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  8. Dano

    Dano Platinum Level Contributor

    Exactly Sean. Everybody knew Sonny's car back in the day because it was a 350. It was different.
  9. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    I wouldn't be so quick to talk the block up. The deep skirt block is an advantage over the BBB, but the SBB is largely untested. 650 horsepower is accepted as the limit for a BBB without a girdle. Show me 20 sbb in that power range that are racing and hooking, not spinning tires on the track.. the data isn't there. BBBs aren't breaking at 450 horsepower either.

    The blocks will suffer from the same issues as the bbb. Crappy oiling, and the same casting/quality control issues. I'd bet a cold beer that a builder would go through half a dozen blocks before they found one that tested close enough to be suitable for a 600+ hp build.
  10. PGSS

    PGSS Silver Level contributor

    The 350 Buick is just about the only Buick engine I never owned at some time.

    Joe, totally admitting that i'm going by what I have read here and on Jefferson Byrants book and a few other articles.:oops:
    I did though believe the oiling system wasn't that bad compared to the BBB
  11. Jim Blackwood

    Jim Blackwood Well-Known Member

    What I've always found interesting is that TA made the Rover heads before the 350 heads, but I've always suspected that it was because TRS put up some development money and bought the first production run. That wasn't charity, they listed them for about $6000 a set and apparently made good on it. A year later they were available from TA for about $2500. This could only happen because there was a market for them and that market was racing, and possibly a few specialty manufacturers like TVR. It's entirely likely enough of those deals were in place before the fact to carry the freight. This wasn't going to happen with the 350 but I do feel that it moved the 350 head project along. Meanwhile the sports car crowd got the head they were wishing for, and as they are quite the rabid bunch sometimes I would expect TA to do quite well with those. Plus the street guys are pretty envious when they see them and that can translate to more purchases. It certainly helps that they can be used with the 300 which is gaining momentum as an upgrade from the Rover. That's the secret known to the informed few. Probably next year sometime I'll be showing off a set of TA heads to this bunch.

    It doesn't seem to me that drag racing is as big as it was back in the day but that's just the view from outside. Meantime Rover based builds keep roaring right along. And isn't it curious that the Buick 350 never made any serious headway into this market? The reasons are there but from no fault of the engine or the aftermarket.

    The point is though, racing is not the only market for these heads. Nor are the rich boy check book builds. But what justifies spending $1500 to $2500 for heads? I think it's the category of engine that is a cut above the econo rebuild but below the max effort build. Yes these heads are a must-have for that max effort build, but they have a great deal to recommend them for the middle category. Don't forget, by design Buick engines are breathing limited. It made them the Doctor's car of choice because with all that torque they were easy to drive. And where is that limited breathing most evident? In the heads of course. So in any moderate to extreme build the biggest improvement is going to come from better heads which the TA's certainly are. It could be fairly said that they are the pinnacle of development for the Buick 350. So when juggling projected engine costs they stack up pretty well against forged rods and pistons, especially since the average street driver is never going to see the north side of 6 grand.

    Plus they really do look nice. Your buddies and rivals can't see those fancy internals but those shiny heads are right there for everyone to admire. All in all it makes a pretty compelling excuse to shift the engine budget in that direction.

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  12. Fox's Den

    Fox's Den 27 years of racing the same 355 Buick motor

    I did the 350 because of Sonny Seal I could be different and keep my 350. Plus I knew I could get better gas mileage than a 455 as I liked to drive everywhere.
    I got to say though when I went high 11's on a nitrous shot, I knew what it felt like to have a 455 so at that point I had wished I had done a 455 instead of a 350 back when I got this 350 done. I have a 455 short block I have had for while now I have the heads also.

    I was pushing 500 hp on the 350 with the nitrous and I did it a lot between 2005 and 2008 after that I just used the 75 shot to stay alive Those 73 stock rods held up pretty well with the power I was pushing.

    I wrote about this on this site back in 2005 did it with 2 different transmissions
    With the new parts available I can't see why you cannot make 600 hp reliably
    My 350 ran very consistent during my runs at the track I got very close to #1 a few times
    #2 at Buick race at D42 and got to # 3 a couple times at Norwalk at Buick nats there.
    I went to D42 twice a month to run in the brackets, lots of fun

    I am just sitting here waiting for my mind to be really blown by these 350's
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  13. partsrparts

    partsrparts Silver Level contributor

    I'm in the process of finishing up my 350 build with the alum. heads and the SP3 and I'm not running into anything where I need a custom bracket to fit the intake. I am having to make a bracket for the throttle cable to work but I'm also still using the throttle cable from the original V6.
    Keith new build5.JPG
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  14. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    No custom bracket needed.
    I believe your thinking of a big block Mopar intake for the big block Buick, theres a spacer needed.
    Build looks good Keith!
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  15. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    I'll be happy with 450 hp........................... for awhile:p
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  16. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Good points Jim!
    I wonder what made the Buick V8 fall from favor of hot rodders back in the day.
    I always heard the nailhead was a V8 of choice due to packaging in hot rods, and their power (torque)
    I would think that the aftermarket would have picked up on this and run away making speed parts, then when Buick came out with their "modern" V8 in 1968 the aftermarket would have been waiting impatiently to nab one and start making parts for it.
    When Chevy's V8 came on the scene "Buick, what Buick, Chevy is where its at"
    I guess we should be thankful for the parts we do have, first Kenne Bell, now TA, THANKS GUYS:cool:
    Im just rambling:)
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  17. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    LOL, Im sure your right about being off on my thoughts.
    I'll admit I'd ASSUMED making big power with the 350 Chevy is easy, well, it is easier than doing it with the 350 Buick, BUT, Im going to pay more attention to SBC builds, their parts used, and their power output.
    Thanks for opening my eyes!
    Thats whats nice about this board, different opinions and views:cool:
  18. Fox's Den

    Fox's Den 27 years of racing the same 355 Buick motor

    So you are only expecting 50 hp out of those heads you just bought for 5 grand? You ran a 13.44 that has to be close to 400 Hp I ran that a few times a long time ago I only had 395 You already went faster than me with a smaller rear gear.
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  19. Fox's Den

    Fox's Den 27 years of racing the same 355 Buick motor

    heads and cam on a ls engine and you have well over 500 hp I hear it from my Shevy buds all the time. Not going to do that with a Buick 350 Not 2 parts anyways.
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  20. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    OKOKOKOKOK, 100 hp:D:D:D:D
    I have no idea what to expect:rolleyes:o_O:rolleyes:o_O

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