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948 vs 1275 - Looking for opinions and ideas

mruanejr

Freshman Member
Offline
I have come to ask your opinions.

My bugeye project came with a dissambled 948. It needs at least $300 work of work in a machine shop, $300 in pistons, and who knows what else.

I can get a 1275 that was pulled running about 20 years ago for about $350, and then whatever work I need to do. It had 29K original miles.

I would like to be as original as possible, but what is the market's/community's view on something like this? Given that I'll have fun rebuilding this car for a couple of years, and then fun driving it for a few more, I'll probably sell it at the point.

Does the 1275 add that much more power? If I get this engine, should I go with the disc brakes up front?

Do I need new mounting points or anything? Or will it fit into the engine bay ok?

Is there a need or liking for original Bugeye's with the 948 and original drums? Will the 948 even be able to get going with me in the driver's seat, at 6'4" and 250lbs?

Thanks for your opinions and suggestions.


Mike
 
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If you just want to tinker and putt around town, then go with the 948 and stock setup. Resale value will be more.

If you want to go out and tour the country, then go with the 1275 and disc brakes. It adds gobs more power. Keep the original components (maybe even restore them) to include in the sale of the car for increased value.
 

drooartz

Moderator
Staff member
Gold
Country flag
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Mike, I went through this very thought process a couple years ago (has it really been that long, yikes?!?) and wound up going with the 1275. My 948 was very tired and needed a complete rebuild, and it was going to cost roughly the same to do the 948 as it would a 1275. I wound up finding a parts car ('74 Midget) with a rebuildable engine, transmission, 3.9 rear end, and all the disc brake bits. I kept all the original Bugeye parts as well, so the car could be returned to stock if desired by me or a subsequent owner.

My vision for my build: https://www.drooartz.com/index.php?page=26

My reasoning was as follows:

* For the same cost, even a stock 1275 rebuild is 20+ HP (50%) more and a bunch more torque. My engine should have at least 2x the original power (should be 80+HP).
* The 1275 is a bit more robust in some design aspects (others will have to chime in here, can't remember the specifics)
* A 1275 is essentially a drop in replacement, and is visually similar enough that most folks wouldn't know.
* The resale market seems to be kind to these swaps. A bugeye with a good 1275 and disc brakes is certainly not punished at resale time. The only exception would be at the highest end, which always values absolute originality.

Thoughts on the swap:

* You will probably will need to switch to an electric fuel pump, as most 1275s don't have the opening in the block for the pump
* Use the carbs and exhaust manifold from the 1275 as well
* Brakes are up to you. The original drums are perfectly functional given the car's original gearing and top speed. If you move to a high output engine build with taller gearing (or a 5-speed), then the discs become more necessary.

In the end, it's really up to what you want. You can do quite a bit to a 948 (bore it out, supercharging), but you'll probably wind up with more invested than if you went with the 1275 in the first place. That said, we have plenty of folks here who are happily running their original 948s.

For me, I'm happy with the direction I chose, but probably would have been happy as well had I just built up the original motor. The biggest thing is that you pick a direction and get it done, so you can get back on the road. Don't be like me and take years to do it! :smile:
 

Gundy

Luke Skywalker
Offline
Putt around and best resale = 948

More fun than a barrel of monkeys = hot rod 1275

Nicely done an upgraded BE is nearly as valuable as a restored stocker.

Hot rod 1275 BEs aren't cheap. Carbs/head/cams/headers/cranks
etc are pretty pricey. That kind of work can make a BE quite the lil screamer.
 

jvandyke

Luke Skywalker
Offline
IMHO, unless you're going for concourse, there's not much sense in "taking a hit" to stay original. If I were in the market for a BE to drive and enjoy (how many BE buyers are shopping for museums?) I'd prefer a built 1275 and upgraded brakes and such in a heartbeat. If I were building a BE for me to enjoy I wouldn't hesitate a second; 1275!. AH would have made them that way in '58 if they could have! A 1275 equipped Spridget with front discs is certainly what the factory would have released....and eventually did after all.
 

John Moore

Luke Skywalker
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Mike,

I'm putting a 1275 in my bugeye. I've heard from Hap and others that the 1275 is the "short block chevy" engine of the LBC world as it was used in many british cars for a long time. Therefore there are lots of parts, options and go fast goodies for a 1275.
 

texas_bugeye

Jedi Knight
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Ive been driving on a 948 for 10 years great engine . If was to do it again 1275 more power. Really no cost difference as far as rebulid. and hey theres two less places to leak! You cant lose!
 

mxp01

Jedi Warrior
Country flag
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John Moore said:
Mike,

I'm putting a 1275 in my bugeye. I've heard from Hap and others that the 1275 is the "short block chevy" engine of the LBC world as it was used in many british cars for a long time. Therefore there are lots of parts, options and go fast goodies for a 1275.

I agree with John. I'm a bit of a novice in these matters, but it does seem, at least at first glance, that there are many more add-ons (turbochargers, etc.) for the 1275.

I having one installed in my BE this week.

Mike Pennell
 

VelodromeRacer

Jedi Trainee
Offline
Not that it will help much here..but my two cents...

I raced my 59 bugeye all of 2008 with a pretty hopped up 948..ie:15:1 compression, Carillo rods..John Stamps crank..1-1/4 prepped SU's, all the other go fast goodies..and I enjoyed it..but I was missing something..so we built up a 1275 engine..same go fast goodies and 1-1/2 carbs...BIG DIFFERENCE! Suddenly I had acceleration...snap your head back sort.
I raced all of 2009 on the same tracks and it was like a different car..and it was a giant beater too...sounds like a big block!

GO BIG OR STAY HOME!
 

glemon

Yoda
Country flag
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Agree with most all that has been said, use the 1275, keep the 948 with the car. I would guess there as as many or more 1275 bugeyes out there as there are 948s these days. It is a well accepted swap, same baisc block, all fits and generally works and even looks the same goes faster, better parts availability, especially mods.

They can pretty easily if not cheaply be built to pump out more than 100 horsepower, it is indeed the small block chevy of the british car motor world.
 

Bob_s

Senior Member
Offline
if you keep an eye on what these are SOLD for in the northeast (i looked around alot before i bought mine) i really saw no difference in price, but driving the 1275 is so much more enjoyable..to quote spritenut..a no brainer
 

Steve P.

Jedi Hopeful
Offline
I'm in the same boat as you. Luckily I was able to
aquire both a 948/smooth case trans and 1275/rib case
trans. I've got the 948 in the Bugeye now (still
under restoration) but will go with the 1275 once
its on the road. Why? The 1275 makes it far more
driveable. More power which make it more flexable.
Keep the 948 in case you ever decide to sell your
Bugeye and the buyer wants a stock car.
 

Westfield_XI

Jedi Warrior
Offline
VelodromeRacer said:
Not that it will help much here..but my two cents...

I raced my 59 bugeye all of 2008 with a pretty hopped up 948..ie:15:1 compression, Carillo rods..John Stamps crank..1-1/4 prepped SU's, all the other go fast goodies..and I enjoyed it..but I was missing something..so we built up a 1275 engine..same go fast goodies and 1-1/2 carbs...BIG DIFFERENCE! Suddenly I had acceleration...snap your head back sort.
I raced all of 2009 on the same tracks and it was like a different car..and it was a giant beater too...sounds like a big block!

GO BIG OR STAY HOME!

Too bad you can't sneak in an off-set bored 1380!! Mine is a torque monster, will pull 5th gear from just above idle although I suspect it's the MegaJolt ignition that smoothes things out.
 
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Westfield_XI said:
VelodromeRacer said:
Not that it will help much here..but my two cents...

I raced my 59 bugeye all of 2008 with a pretty hopped up 948..ie:15:1 compression, Carillo rods..John Stamps crank..1-1/4 prepped SU's, all the other go fast goodies..and I enjoyed it..but I was missing something..so we built up a 1275 engine..same go fast goodies and 1-1/2 carbs...BIG DIFFERENCE! Suddenly I had acceleration...snap your head back sort.
I raced all of 2009 on the same tracks and it was like a different car..and it was a giant beater too...sounds like a big block!

GO BIG OR STAY HOME!

Too bad you can't sneak in an off-set bored 1380!! Mine is a torque monster, will pull 5th gear from just above idle although I suspect it's the MegaJolt ignition that smoothes things out.


He could, but they call that cheating :wink: Here's the deal a good .040 legal 1275 race motor will create way more hp than the wildest, even slightly streetable 1380, due mostly to the cams and compression ratio you can run in race prep. A big valve 14-15 to 1, 1.5 rockers, good race cam lifter over .500 at the valve with a big time ported head and you can get 145-150 hp in something that will live at 8000+ rpms, there no possible way without a ton of forced induction you could ever get to those numbers with a streetable engine, even a 1380, fiquire if you could apply all that and go legally to the 1380, it might be worth a extra 5 hp in race trim. A good streetable 1380 with a serious street cam and uprated carb is good for about 105 hp, David Anton (APT) recently built such a engine for the street and those are the exact dyno numbers he pulled.
 

RickB

Yoda
Offline
Depends on what you want to do with the car.
Putt Putting around is enjoyable sometimes, and the 948 in my Sprite does that real well. Would I put a 1275 and a 5 speed in if I had it ready to go?
Well I guess that would be a no brainer.
It really is a lot cheaper to run with what you got, if it runs.
But the advantages of the bigger motor are not lost on me, running the Datsun 1500 in Frank is a whole different experience when compared to driving the 948 in my Sprite.
 

Gundy

Luke Skywalker
Offline
Hap Waldrop said:
<big snip> A good streetable 1380 with a serious street cam and uprated carb is good for about 105 hp, David Anton (APT) recently built such a engine for the street and those are the exact dyno numbers he pulled.

Well, I don't think I'm pulling those numbers with my 1380
....but....it's still more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Still very streetable. Has that nice lumpy idle too.
It's fun to watch guys faces change when they have been
drooling over the cutie little car and I crank 'er up.
It's a shocked kind of look that replaces the smiles.
Giving them a little 7k run up through a gear or two as I leave is mandatory.
:grinpimp:
 

Westfield_XI

Jedi Warrior
Offline
David built mine and got 97HP, but I asked it to be built to live on 87 octane. I still run hi-test, but now I don't have to worry about getting a weak batch of regular and melting my motor. And yes, mine is a street only engine. I asked for a motor that was streetable, easy to drive and reliable, I can confirm the 1st two, the reliability will take some more time to verify.
 
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