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Building a new motor

The plan

A stock Bugeye in top shape is not the fastest car around. The Tunebug was far from top shape, so speed was a real issue. Actually, speed wasn't an issue since there wasn't any! Living in the mountains at 5550' (and up) wasn't helping things at all. The logical solution was to replace the original 948 cc motor with a later 1275 cc motor. Everything bolts right in, and the power increase is roughly double what the car came with originally. Perfect!

After much thought, I decided not to try the build myself, but to spend the bit extra and have a true expert tackle the project. I chose Hap Waldrop of the Acme Speed Shop in South Carolina to do my work. Hap is a well respected builder of race motors for Bugeyes, Midgets, and MGBs. I'm only planning on doing this once, so spending the extra money proved to be an easy decision to make.


  • Ported and polished
  • 1.31" 24N stainless intake valves
  • 1.16" 24N stainless exhaust valves
  • County dual valve springs
  • Bronze guide, reworked/reshaped for ported head
  • Stock rebuilt 1.26 rocker arm assembly

Block parts

  • AE 21253 9.7 to 1 piston set
  • King tri metal road and main bearing
  • AE cam bearings
  • APT VP 276 camshaft (A+ late model core reground and nitrited)
  • APT CF-04 lifter set
  • Slot drive oil pump
  • Rollmaster adjustable vernier timing gear set
  • ARP 206-6001 rod bolt set
  • ARP flywheel bolts
  • ARP head stud kit
  • County water pump
  • Romac harmonic balancer

Block and head labor

  • Bored .040" over
  • Crank magnafluxed, straight checked and polished, rod and main clearances are .0015"
  • Connecting rods resized and ARP rod bolts installed
  • Block deck straight edge checked and was straight, so not decked, still virgin
  • Cylinder head was just skim cut
  • Hardened exhaust seat, three angle valve job
  • Port and polished head
  • All paintable engine parts degreased, stripped of paint, bead blasted (except block), primed, and painted with Moss olive green
  • All generic fasteners replaced with grade 8 yellow cad plated
  • Timing cover modded for top timing pointer for Romac balancer