Jeff, how's your New York weather? Here in Detroit it's cold and very windy. I put Penelope away until the weather breaks because I don't have a heated shop, then I will jump back into it.
Regarding the component materials I use, I always look at modern cars and modern engines. If we don't get 200,000 miles out of a modern engine there's something wrong.
When Squarebirds were built, if we got 80,000 out of an engine, that was about right. What's the difference? Both engines are basically the same, aren't they? Well, no. The materials are vastly improved and they reformulated our oil and gasoline.
Most engines today have aluminum heads, hypereutectic alloy pistons, moly rings, roller cams, are made to burn gasohol, and run on oil that has very little zinc and phosphorous. Modern engines run a lot hotter with higher pressure cooling systems. Electric fans and EFI helps, too. Totally different from standards Squarebird engines were built to. Put it all together and you get an efficient engine that runs 250,000 miles before the next overhaul. - Dave