12 Crate Engines - Budget Crates!

Twelve Killer Crate Engine Deals for Every Budget

Stephen Kim Jun 25, 2012 0 Comment(s)
View Full Gallery

Let’s go easy on the doom and gloom, OK? Sure, the global economy has seen better days, but as hot rodders, we’re accustomed to transcending adversity. As a group who’s collectively survived OPEC oil embargos and performance-straining smog laws, the current state of affairs is nothing. We’ve gone from 165hp Corvettes in the mid ’70s to the 639hp C6 models that are available today. Hot rodders are a stubborn bunch, and the industry has a way of adapting to our demands. For proof, all you have to do is check out the current crop of crate motors. There are tons of budget-oriented options that are out there, which is why we decided to round a dozen of them up for a closer look. Our search found two small-blocks that hit 400 hp for about $3,000, a sub-$4,000 LS long-block, and a 590hp Rat that comes in under $7,000. Factor in the money you save on shipping dozens of parts to your door, and the gas saved hauling those parts to the machine shop and back, and the value and convenience of a crate motor makes even more sense compared to building a motor yourself. The deals are out there, so let’s take a look.

YearOne 357

1208chp 01 12 Crate Engines Yearone 2/13

Nothing fancy here, just a good ’ol 357 small-block for peanuts that makes an even 400 hp and 400 lb-ft. YearOne is best known for making just about every restoration part imaginable for your classic Bow Tie, but the company also offers a line of value-oriented crate motors. This 357 is a perfect example. YearOne starts with a stock four-bolt block, bores it 0.040 over, and matches it up with a stock crank, rods, and a fresh set of 9.7:1 pistons. Keeping the cylinders full of air are aluminum heads and a dual-plane intake manifold. With a mild hydraulic roller cam actuating the valves, the combo puts out a solid 400 hp. The motor includes a timing cover, oil pan, balancer, and flexplate. Just slap on a water pump, carb, and distributor, and you’re good to go.

800.932.7663 · yearone.com

Cubes: 357
Bore/Stroke: 4.040x3.480 inches
Output: 400 hp and 400 lb-ft
Block: Factory GM iron
Crank: GM iron
Rods: GM 5.700-inch powdered metal
Pistons: Hypereutectic 9.7:1
Cylinder Heads: Edelbrock E-Tec aluminum
Intake: Edelbrock E-Tec dual-plane
Warranty: Two years, 24,000 miles
Price: $3,499

Smeding 383

1208chp 02 O  12 Crate Engines Smeding 3/13

Listening to customer feedback is an essential tool for any manufacturer, and with Smeding Performance’s new E-Series small-blocks, the company has done just that. According to Smeding, customers have asked for crate engines that are big on power and small on cost, and the result is this 420hp 383. Smeding starts with a brand-new GM four-bolt block, then adds a cast-steel crank, forged rods, and 9.5:1 hypereutectic pistons. The airflow comes from aluminum heads and an RPM Air-Gap intake manifold, courtesy of Edelbrock. Furthermore, a mild 230/236-at-0.050 hydraulic flat-tappet offers a nice balance of power and driveability. The real value in this combination is its drop-in-and-go simplicity. The Smeding 383 comes complete with a carb, oil pan, balancer, distributor, spark plugs, and plug wires. To top it all off, Smeding backs it up with a three-year, unlimited-mile warranty.

Smeding Performance
210.338.8585 smedingperformance.com

Bore/Stroke:4.000x3.800 inches
Output:420 hp and 450 lb-ft
Block:Factory GM iron
Crank:Smeding cast steel
Rods:Smeding 5.700-inch forged steel
Pistons:Hypereutectic 9.5:1
Cylinder Heads:Edelbrock aluminum
Intake:Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap
Warranty:Three years, unlimited miles

Edelbrock 350

1208chp 03 O  12 Crate Engines Edelbrock 4/13

Here’s one for the mature crowd, and we mean that in a good way. While many young guys drool over big cam specs and cubic inches, only to end up with a motor that’s unstreetable, older and more experienced hot rodders often opt for a combo like this Edelbrock 350. This thing flat out gets the job done for not a lot of money. Edelbrock starts with a new GM four-bolt block, fits it with cast internals, then tops if off with a set of its E-Street aluminum heads, a Performer EPS intake manifold, a 600-cfm carb, and an MSD distributor. For stock-like driveability, the 350 utilizes a conservative 204/214-at-0.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam. The result is a respectable 315 hp and 381 lb-ft of torque. It even runs on 87-octane fuel.

310.781.2222 · edelbrock.com

Bore/Stroke:4.000x3.480 inches
Output:315 hp and 381 lb-ft
Block:Factory GM iron
Crank:Cast iron
Rods:GM 5.700-inch powdered metal
Pistons:Hypereutectic 9.0:1
Cylinder Heads:Edelbrock E-Street aluminum
Intake:Edelbrock Performer EPS
Warranty:Two years, unlimited miles




Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print