Six Proven Engine Combos

This Sexter of Tire Shredders Puts the "Power"in Powerplant

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Building the ultimate beast--it's part of the beauty of our hobby. But let a hundred gearheads' minds contemplate the ultimate engine combination, and you'll end up with several hundred--if not more--recipes for making big power. The possibilities are nearly endless. Small-block, big-block, or new-school Gen III? Factory block or slick aftermarket casting? Lightweight aluminum or stout steel? Blown, squeezed, stroked, or naturally aspirated? Run a carb or go with fuel injection? And don't get us started on the myriad of choices when it comes to cranks, rods, pistons, cams, valvetrain, and all the other necessary internal mechanisms. So many choices, so many ways to pound the pavement into submission--and we love 'em all.

With that in mind, the CHP staff strained their brains to come up with a variety of proven performers--a small but diverse sampling of hi-po powerplant possibilities. They all have eight cylinders--beyond that, the differences are legion, as we've featured motors based on the Gen III mill, hot GM big-blocks, a pair founded on exotic steel and aluminum castings by Dart and World Products, and even a rowdy street beast created from a red-headed stepchild 305. We won't tell you that these combos are cheap--proven performers rarely are. We will tell you, however, that these recipes deliver the goods, and many of you will find perfect occupant for your Chevy's engine bay right here. And for those of you who don't...we bet our offerings will stimulate the ol' gray matter to come up with your own proven combos. Read on, then let the bench racing begin.

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LS1 - 483 hp At The Wheels!
Although the LS1 was pretty much an unknown quantity at its debut in 1997, it's taken a few years for the aftermarket to respond with readily available performance components. Is it because most of the earlier factory warranties are already beginning to expire? Possibly. But we're thinking it's that the LS1s are becoming more affordable the older they get. Nevertheless, the LS1 is nowhere near its peak demand, especially when you consider the number of aftermarket performance components that are currently readily available over-the-counter. Whether you opt for a simple electronic chip or a complete engine package, these stout, new small-blocks will respond to most any modifications and flat-out kick ass!

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The combination revealed here belongs to Tony Mamo, the leading cylinder head designer at Airflow Research. Utilizing AFR CNC 205 cylinder heads, an AFR valvetrain, and a few select parts, he's turned his '00 C5 Corvette into a street brawler that thumps nearly 500 horsepower at the wheels! For you quarter-mile hounds, that equates to low 11s at 125 mph. Just for insurance, a Nitrous Express 125-horsepower shot quickly improves those numbers to 605 hp and 636 lb-ft. Best of all, with Tony's choice of camshaft, this C5 still features exceptional idle quality, and he drives it everywhere!

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ProCharger Blown Big-Block
Centrifugal superchargers are a hot commodity and are wildly popular for a number of reasons. They are relatively easy to install, affordable, and easily transform a mundane street engine into a stout powerplant with minimal effort. The following combination isn't magical by any means, but on the other end of the spectrum, shows just how well a GM Performance Parts 502 crate engine can perform when matched with a few carefully selected components and topped off with a monster ATI ProCharger F-2 supercharger. Though this combo is on the aggressive side, with a very elaborate air-to-water intercooler system, it's good to point out that the potential to achieve power levels of this magnitude is real and it doesn't have to break the bank.

Type: GMPP ZZ 502
Block: Chevrolet cast-iron, four-bolt main bearing caps
Oiling: Melling high volume
Crankshaft: Forged steel
Connecting Rods: Cat Power steel H-beam
Pistons: Wiseco forged
Cylinder Heads: GMPP aluminum (PN 12363408)
Camshaft: Comp Cams 0.715/0.715-inch lift, 272/275 duration at 0.050, 114 LSA
Compression: 7.5:1
Valvetrain: Jesel shaft rockers, Comp Cams pushrods
Induction: Ported Offenhauser dual four-barrel, 450-cfm Holley carburetors
Ignition: MSD Programmable Digital 7, MSD coil and wires
Power Adder: 1,800 hp air-to-aater race intercooler, 28-psi positive manifold pressure
Exhaust: Hedman Husler 2.25-inch primary headers, 4-inch piping, Flowmaster mufflers
Output: 1,196 rwhp on Dynojet Chassis Dyno (1,495 estimate at the flywheel
14801 W. 114th Terr., Dept. CHP
Lenexa, KS 66215
(913) 338-2886
10490 Ilex Ave., Dept. CHP(818) 890-0616
GM PERFORMANCE PARTS(800) 577-6888 (nearest dealer)

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World Products Aluminum 427 Small-Block Crate Motor
If you want to make big horsepower, but love small-blocks, this all-aluminum 427 from World Products may be just what you need. The lightweight casting is World's new "Motown Lite" block made of 357-T6, and it drops the engine's total weight to a wispy 435 pounds (GM iron assemblies are typically 585). Output is upwards of 550 hp. The assembly is backed by a 2/24,000-mile warranty.With this much power off the throttle, you'll need a hefty rear axle housing, a slick working suspension, and a strong transmission. For a 3,400-pound vehicle we'd recommend a rear axle ratio in the range of 3.73:1 to 4.10:1. Plan on running a big exhaust system (2 1/2- to 3-inch) and headers with 1 3/4-inch primary tubes. To learn more on the 427ci all-aluminum spook, call (631) 981-1918 or write to World Products, 51 Trade Zone Ct., Dept. CHP, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779. Info is also available online at:

Type:World Products 427
Block: Motown Lite (357-T6 aluminum)
Crankshaft: 4340 Eagle forged steel
Connecting Rods: Eagle 4340 forged steel H-beams with L19 connecting rod bolts
Pistons: Mahle forged
Cylinder Heads: 23-degree Motown Lite cylinder heads with 220cc intake runners, 2.08/1.600 valves
Camshaft: Crane Cams hydraulic flat tappet, 0.516/0.525 lift, 244/252 at 0.050-inch, 112 LSA
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Valvetrain: Scorpion Roller rocker 1.6:1 ratio, double roller timing chain
Induction: Motown single-plane intake with 870-cfm Holley 4150 four-barrel
Ignition: HEI Mallory
Oil Pan: Milodon six-quart, Mellings oil pump ProRace balancer 8-inch
Output: 535 horsepower
Warranty: 2/24,000-mile
Price: $10,995

SourcesWorld Products
51 Trade Zone Ct., Dept. CHP
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
(631) 981-1918

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Power to Burn
If you're serious about making lots of power, the GM Performance Parts ZZ572/720R will fill the bill. This engine is based on the Gen VI tall-deck big-block and is stocked with hard-core parts like rectangular port aluminum heads, a mechanical roller camshaft with 0.714-inch lift, and a 1,090-cfm King Demon carburetor that helps to deliver 720 horses at 6,250 rpm and 685 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Plan on adding a big set of headers and exhaust. With this much torque you'll want to keep the rearend gear ratio in the neighborhood of 3.55:1, but you should at least have a 12-bolt housing or, better yet, a Currie 9+ or Strange S-60. The camshaft (266/274 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch lift) will require a high-stall converter mated to a very strong automatic. Camaros require frame connectors, and all cars will need a well-engineered suspension and brake system. To keep the engine temp in check, plan on upgrading the cooling system with an aluminum aftermarket radiator and electric fans. But when you're done you'll be the wow of the town.

Type: GMPP ZZ572/720R (PN 12498826)
Block: GM tall deck
Crankshaft: Forged 4340 steel
Connecting Rods: Forged 4340 steel
Pistons: Forged aluminum
Cylinder Heads: Rectangular port aluminum
Valve Size: 2.25-I/1.88-E
Rocker Arms: Roller 1.7:1 ratio
Retainers: Hardened chromemoly
Camshaft: Mechanical roller 0.714-inch lift, 266/274-degrees duration at 0.050-inch lift
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Induction: 1,090-cfm King Demon carburetor mounted on a tall deck single-plane intake manifold
Oil Pan: Six quart with windage tray
Water Pump: Aluminum
Distributor: Multiple spark discharge
Horsepower: 720 at 6,250 rpm
Torque: 685 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm
Max Recommended Speed: 6,750 rpm
Dept. CHP
(800) 577-6888 (nearest dealer)

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Speed-O-Motive 750hp Nitrous Small-Block
Aluminum is great, but there's still a lot to be said for cold, hard steel and its unparalleled strength. That's the idea behind this Jekyll-and-Hyde small-block creation from Speed-O-Motive. A stout Dart small-block filled with an all-forged-steel rotating assembly provides the basis for a motor that can handle just about anything. According to Speed-O-Motive's George Ullrich, another crucial component in this high compression creation is the SCE I.C.S. Titan head gaskets, which have an internal combustion seal--virtually eliminating leakage whether using steel or the optional aluminum heads (even while enduring 300-horse shots of juice).On the other hand, this 355ci mill is intended to be a creditable street contender when running naturally aspirated. To that end, Ullrich and Speed-O-Motive cooked up a custom cam grind. It's aggressive, Ullrich admits, with lots of lift and duration to pump out loads of mid- and top-end power. In fact, exhaust duration is a bit longer than the intake to help vacate burnt gasses while under squeeze. This is a heavy-breathing motor, to be sure. On the other hand, the LSA has been opened up to 112 degrees to help flatten out the power curve and pump-up low-end power (108-110 degrees would be normal for a high-rpm nitrous motor). In this case, compromise is a good thing. That little bit of bumpstick finagling makes for a strong street motor that can go psycho at the push of a button--and live to do it again.

Type: Dart Little M small-block
Block: Cast-iron, 4.030-inch bore, splayed ductile iron four-bolt main bearing caps
Oiling: Milodon deep-sump pan with screen-style windage tray, high-volume oil pump
Crankshaft: Speed-O-Motive 4340 forged steel, 3.48-inch stroke
Connecting Rods: Speed-O-Motive 6-inch forged-steel H-beam
Pistons: JE forged with Total Seal TSI rings
Cylinder Heads: Dart Iron Eagle, 230-cfm runners, 64cc combustion chambers, 2.08-inch intake valves, 1.60-inch exhaust valves, screw-in studs and hardened guide plates, SCE I.C.S. Titan head gasket (same-spec Dart Pro-1 aluminum heads an extra-cost option)
Camshaft: Speed-O-Motive spec'd Comp Cams solid-roller, 248/254 degrees duration at 0.050, 0.576/0.582-inch lift, 112-degree LSA
Compression: 10.3:1
Valvetrain: 1.52:1 Comp Cams Pro-Magnum roller rockers, Manley 4130 heat-treated pushrods, Dart rocker stud girdle
Induction: Dart single-plain intake manifold, Speed Demon 850 carb
Ignition: MSD Digital 6 with nitrous retard and MSD billet distributor
Power Adder: Zex 4 BBL Perimeter Plate nitrous system, 100-300hp shot
Exhaust: you pick it
Output (estimated):450 horsepower/425 lb-ft of torque sans juice, 750 horsepower/730 lb-ft of torque on the squeeze
131 N. Lang Ave., Dept. CHP
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 869-0270

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The Mission: Vortec-head TBI 305
We could also call this the "Use What You Got" special, but either way, we were pleasantly surprised when we turned a run-of-the-mill, 170-horse throttle body 305 into a tire-destroying 330-horse (estimated at the crank) mighty mouse. Using the same 22-percent drivetrain loss factor, which engine builder Superior Automotive recommended since our Mission 305 motor was running through a near-dead 700-R4, we also came up with 388 lb-ft of torque. And while we wouldn't call this conversion easy to accomplish, the recipe is actually pretty basic.Superior took a set of Vortec heads, already well-known for their excellent breathing capabilities, and made them hyperventilate; the final figures of 252-cfm intake flow and 181 cfm on the exhaust at 0.050 valve lift far surpassed the untouched Vortec castings, much less the stock L03 heads. Compression, of course, was raised above the stocker's 9.3:1 ratio. A cam more aggressive than the stock broomstick was created to take advantage of all this airflow. Turbo City's 620-cfm Super Flow throttle body, along with a custom chip, kept the jugs full, a potent Crane ignition system fired off the mixture, and the waste products were quickly evacuated courtesy of Edelbrock exhaust components. You can read all about it in our Jun. and Sept. '04 issues, but the bottom line is that we created a kick-ass 305 that remains eminently streetable-and all this without removing the 30,000-mile short-block.

Type: Chevrolet L03 TBI 305
Block: GM cast-iron, two-bolt main bearing caps
Oiling: stock
Crankshaft: stock
Connecting Rods: stock
Pistons: stock
Cylinder Heads: Ported GM L31 Vortec heads with spring upgrade for hydraulic roller cam and up to 0.570-inch lift, machined for 53cc combustion chambers
Camshaft: Crane Cams 0.510/0.520-inch lift, 210/214 duration at 0.050, 114 LSA
Compression: 9.8:1
Valvetrain: Crane Gold Race 1.6:1 roller rockers, Scoggin-Dickey spring upgrade
Induction: GMPP Vortec TBI manifold, Turbo City 620-cfm throttle body with blueprinted injectors
Ignition: Crane Fireball HI-6 CD ignition with LX92 Fireball coil, Moroso Blue Max plug wires
Other: Computer chip tuning by Turbo City, Anaheim, CA
Exhaust: Edelbrock TES headers, Magnaflow high-flow cat, Edelbrock cat-back
Output: 257.06 hp at 5,150 rpm, 294.96 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm
Superior Automotive Engineering
675 W. Woodland Dr., Dept. CHP
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 503-1880

How To
Building the ultimate beast--it's part of the beauty of our hobby. But let a hundred gearheads' minds contemplate the ultimate ...
Apr 28, 2005


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