A: Bryan, thank you for your service to our country. I am sure that you have plenty of time to think up all kinds of horsepower packages. From the way you asked your question it sounds like you would be completely comfortable screwing together your own small-block. There is a lot of satisfaction in building your own engine and the thrill of standing on the throttle for the first time. Yes, you can build a very high-quality 383 on your own with the help of a quality machine shop. The parts are readily available for any power package you can dream up. On the other hand, many very high-quality rebuilt crate engines are on the market.
You mentioned the YearOne crate engine, which is one of the better ones. This crate is based on a four-bolt main 350 block, nodular iron crank, powdered metal rods, hypereutectic aluminum pistons that spec out at a pump gas–friendly 9.5:1. The cylinder heads are Vortec casting, which have been ported featuring 2.02/1.60-inch valves, 1.6 stamped steel rockers, and heavy-duty valvesprings to control a hydraulic roller camshaft spec’ing out at 218/228 at 0.050-inch tappet lift and 0.520 max lift. The engine comes complete from dual plane air-gap–type manifold to oil pan. The engine is dyno tested and comes with a dyno sheet from your engine. These engines produce over 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. I’ve run similar engines that have easily made upwards of 415 for horsepower. You would be hard pressed to rebuild your own engine with all of these components for its $2,989 selling price. You can pick up this outstanding bargain under PN CT350PC1. YearOne offers many crate small-blocks, ranging from this economical stormer up to 383s producing 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque for just under $5,000.
It’s all up to you. If you have a machine shop in your area at home that you trust to produce high-quality machine work you just may have to build your own engine. Before you take the plunge, make sure that you’ve sharpened your pencil and done the math on every part you will need. YearOne builds these engines in quantities that really bring the price down. Get home soon safe and sound to inject some power into your Nova.
Early Start for the Apache
Q: I am 16 and want to pump up my 327 in my ’56 Apache. I am on a very tight budget here, but don’t want to cut corners. I just need some help picking out some major parts, like the rotating assembly, heads, and valvetrain components. I’m looking to make around 400 hp and plan on using a factory block. For a rotating assembly, I’m looking at Eagle Specialty Products PN 1310200 from Summit, and for lungs, I plan on using a set of Competition Products aluminum heads that you guys tested a while back. This is where I’m a bit confused. I want a really nasty-sounding idle, but I do have to run power brakes and steering, and, if it helps, I have a 700-R4 auto trans. I am willing to put any stall converter to accommodate the cam. So I am a little lost on what I should buy. Lastly, what size carb should I have on top of my Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap manifold? This is mostly going to be a street motor and will see the dragstrip occasionally. I would love to run down those Mustangs without a sweat. If you can help me out that would be awesome and thanks for your time!
A: Adding ponies to your Apache truck is the easy part. Now, making it stop and turn is a whole other topic. The straight axle front end and drum brakes all around make quite a ride. Don’t just spend all your money in making the thing a rocket. As I said earlier, it’s easy to buy parts and make them fly. Just remember that you need to stop somehow, and you don’t want it to be a tree!