Horsepower and the accompanying wow factor have, are, and will always be king in our world of hot rodding. The minute you take your '32 or '62 and install a modern V-8, you have increased the horsepower and subsequent performance four-fold, or possibly more so.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to any rodder that there are limitless possibilities when it comes to power options. There is a reason why the majority of hot rods have Chevys, but there are numerous options should you want a vintage motor, such as a Cadillac, a Pontiac, an Olds, maybe a Hemi, or if you want to build your Ford with a Ford. Follow along as we give you just an inkling of what's out there. From Flathead to modular powerplant, the V-8 is still king.
What we have tried to do is present a representation of the popular motors from small- and big-blocks, Ford, Chevy, and Mopar, and some longtime standbys, such as Flatheads, Hemis, and even a Pontiac. Engine swaps have always been a staple among rodders, and to swap engines once or twice in the same car is common. Always have in the back of your mind how you would like to enhance the performance or appearance of your hot rod.
There is so much to be taken advantage of in the crate motor world that we have presented 13 companies this month, with another 12 companies next month in Part II.
Engines & Comp
Our first look comes via BluePrint Engines, which has teamed up with COMP Cams, Inglese, RHS, and TCI Automotive to offer an ideally suited 355-inch small-block Chevy for the street.
BluePrint engines start with a sonic-tested, align-honed, and precision-machined Chevy four-bolt main short-block. From there, top-shelf parts from around the industry are used to build up your engine.
BluePrint begins with a forged rotating assembly that rests within a short-block outfitted with a set of RHS Pro Action aluminum SBC cylinder heads and COMP Cams valvetrain components. Combine that with a specially designed COMP Cams camshaft engineered to provide the ultimate in Weber-carb drivability and you're guaranteed plenty of power, drivability, and an awesome idle. Topping off the Chevy is an eight-stack Inglese Weber Induction System.
Inglese induction systems are completely customizable from paint to stacks to match your vehicle scheme. All Inglese induction systems come custom-tuned for your application; this is a true drop-in crate motor that provides fully dyno-tested performance right out of the crate.
Each BluePrint Engines street rod crate engine with COMP Performance Group components is available in different size/cubic-inch configurations with a variety of finishing options, from the base 355 engine to a fully dressed 383 with starter, balancer, distributor, plug wires, and water pump.
Should you want the in-your-face looks and seat-of-the-pants kick from a big-block, the BluePrint Engines Chevrolet 496 engine series will give you just that. These engines are all based on the Mark IV 454 block and utilize a 4.250-inch stroke. The base street-performance version BP4960CTC uses cast-iron oval port heads and makes 480 hp/550 lb-ft of torque. Next up the performance ladder is the BP4961CTC, which uses AFR rectangular port aluminum heads, Jessel rockers, and a roller cam. This engine makes 595 hp/615 lb-ft of torque. Both versions can be ordered with fuel injection.
The Gilbert Chevrolet ZZ4 (350ci) Nostalgia Deluxe engine (428 hp @ 5,600 rpm, and 448 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm) is based on the GM Performance Parts ZZ4 crate engine. The company took the GMPP ZZ4, added a more aggressive hydraulic roller cam, 1.6:1 roller rockers, modified Edelbrock classic valve covers, and topped it off with the new Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap Dual-Quad intake system. The induction system is topped off with dual chrome air cleaners to enhance the vintage looks. The ZZ4 engine features a forged steel crankshaft, forged powder-metal rods, and hypereutectic pistons.
There are plenty of rodders who would like to run a Pontiac V-8. Butler Performance is a proven Pontiac expert throughout the broad range of Pontiac powerplants. The company builds stock to rare factory engines, including the 389 Tri-power, SD421, RAII, RAIII, RAIV, HO455, SD455, and RAV. Additionally, Butler can internally modify any of these engines to include strokers, head porting, and much, much more. Once finished, the Butler Pontiac engines feature greatly improved power and durability while maintaining a totally stock appearance.
But it doesn't stop there. The company can install the latest aftermarket accessories, such as custom valve covers, a myriad of induction systems from single four-barrel to supercharged, in addition to serpentine belt systems, air conditioning, power steering, and alternator brackets and components.
Butler's crate engines start at 500 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque and will do so on 91 octane. Now that's a real street motor! According to Butler Performance, you're just a cam and induction upgrade away from the 600-plus-horsepower and torque range. These are based on Pontiac 400 or 455 blocks and use the company's long rod stroker kits and ported Edelbrock heads. Additionally, the Butler crate engines using aftermarket blocks (505 to 541 inches) feature larger bores (4.380 inches) made possible by the thicker-than-stock cylinder wall. These engines can produce upward of 700 to 750-plus horsepower on pump gas.
Butler offers everything from street to race motors, carb to fuel injection-it is really a matter of your personal taste for performance.
Where does one start with Edelbrock? The company has a number of crate engines that would be ideal for any street car, but we have to narrow our selection to two. Of course, you can always go online and look at the rest that Edelbrock has to offer. Let's take a look at the small-block Chevy Performer Crate Engine with 350 inches, 363 hp, and 405 lb-ft of torque.
This powerplant is based on the Goodwrench 350ci four-bolt GM short-block, then comes the Edelbrock components such as its intake and E-Tec 170 cylinder heads, ARP bolts, Edelbrock Red Roller Rockers, and an MSD Pro Billet Distributor with Blaster 2 Coil. The engine features the latest Edelbrock Rollin' Thunder hydraulic roller cam and lifters.
Several packages offer your choice of single- or dual-quad carburetor and options such as polished accessories or Edelbrock's EnduraShine finish. Some of the high points of the 363-horse small-block Chevy include 9.0:1 compression for compatibility with 91-octane gasoline for true street drivability; and an Edelbrock Performer EPS Vortec or RPM Air-Gap Dual-Quad Vortec intake manifold equipped with a Thunder Series AVS 650-cfm four-barrel on top of the E-Tec 170 heads with guideplates, swirl-polished stainless steel valves, and Dyno-matched Edelbrock Rollin' Thunder hydraulic roller lifters and Performer hydraulic roller camshaft. Dressing the package are the Edelbrock Elite Series valve covers with custom badge, which can be ordered with or without an Edelbrock water pump (your choice of two styles). There is also a heavy-duty 8-inch harmonic balancer.
Now should you find yourself with the hankering for something really wild, how about the limited-production (only 250 scheduled to be built) Edelbrock SS383 that pumps out 460 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Built on a brand-new GM ZZ383 short-block, this 383ci crate is hand-assembled by in-house Edelbrock technicians. The heart of the performance is the Edelbrock Total Power Package, including: E-Tec 200 heads, RPM roller camshaft, RPM Air-Gap intake manifold, and 800-cfm Thunder Series carburetor.
There is more than performance, as looks come into play on this engine as well with special black anodized valve covers, water pump, and air cleaner providing a distinctive appearance. The valve covers and air cleaner are laser engraved with the serial number, horsepower rating, and Vic Edelbrock's signature.
Both crate engines are covered by Edelbrock's 2-year/unlimited-mileage warranty.
Ford Racing Performance Parts
Ford lovers have an outstanding selection at Ford Racing Performance Parts when it comes to powerplants. At last count, there were 28 versions of complete crate motors that Ford Racing offered. Virtually all of them will complement your street rod, and you will find just the right powerplant somewhere in the company's catalog.
The pictured Aluminator engine utilizes mostly 2003-04 Cobra accessories and intake manifold. This engine features the Ford Racing M-6066-CT46 supercharger kit.
Ford Racing offers a full line of crate engines for Ford small-block, 385-series big-block, and modular engines. FR uses all-new components and have upgraded to better-than-factory components in all its engines except current production engines. Displacement ranges from 302 to 347 cid depending on bore and stroke configuration that range in power from 340 to 500 hp. Windsor engines are currently available in displacements from 351 to 392 cid that range in power from 380 to 475 hp.
Compared to the Windsor-based Ford V-8 engine family, the modular four-valve engines require greater attention to detail regarding machining, torque sequences, number of fasteners, and the overall complexity of the assembly process itself. The Ford Racing Cammer motor is a high-performance derivative of the Ford 4.6-liter engine.
Ford Racing's wide variety of performance and production crate engines will now be covered under a limited 12-month/ 12,000-mile warranty. Engines included under the warranty program include the 302- and 351-cid V-8s, as well as production powertrains such as the 4.6-liter DOHC Mach 1 V-8.
Be on the lookout in 2008 for Ford Racing's newest developments. Ford Racing is in final development of an all-new 351 aluminum block that will be featured in an all-aluminum 427-cid crate engine. Estimated at 550 hp, this engine will feature FR's CNC'd Z cylinder head.
On the big-block scene, the new Super Cobra Jet block will also be introduced in 2008. Expect bare blocks in mid-2008, with crate engines to follow by yearend 2008.
Modular Boss 5.0L blocks will only be available in spring of '08 and the Modular 5.4L short-block will also be available in spring '08.
Ford Racing Performance Parts