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Best Chevy Engine Builds

A short list of big-block and small-block engine builds for your next project

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With the help of some talented people, we have put together some pretty snazzy engine combinations over the years. From budget small-blocks to stump-pulling big-blocks, we’ve done nearly everything and everything. If you are contemplating your next build, here are some ideas of Gen I, II, III, IV and even IV small-block builds as well as various big-blocks to suit your fancy.

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496 Chevy Big-Block

This docile and easy to replicate combo made just shy of 600hp on 91-octane with a stock 454 block, Eagle stroker kit, Patriot aluminum heads, Comp hydraulic roller cam, Weiand intake, and Holley 950 HP carb.


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454 Chevy Big-Block

At 700hp, this one had the big horsepower number we dream of, and at a price tag you can afford. The basics include: Pro Comp aluminum heads, Comp cam, Weiand intake, Holley 850 carb, and an NOS Sniper nitrous kit.


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582 Chevy Big-Block

They say “you get what you pay for” and “there is no replacement for displacement,” which is exactly why this monster makes 804 horsepower. Perhaps even more impressive, it does it at 6,400rpm. Of course, building a big-block that screams this high requires an intake (Dart single-plane), heads (Dart 335cc), lifters (Comp short-travel hydraulic roller), and rockers (T&D shaft-mount) that can handle it.


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427 Small-Block Build

Big-block type cubes, but in a much smaller package. And, hey, we didn’t even need an LS engine to make over 500hp. From the very beginning, our former C3 project was designed to out-power the LS7-wielding C6 Z06. With the help of a Dart block and heads, this solid roller, 11:1 compression motor made over 570hp using a Quickfuel 950 carb.


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383 Small-Block Build

If a rowdy, yet streetable stock block build is your thing, then you will bask in this beauty’s 490 horsepower. Even more impressive, is it’s gobs of torque – averaging over 440 lb-ft while testing a single- and dual-plane intake. A Comp Cams solid roller, Patriot aluminum heads, and Holley carb are among the other essentials.


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350 Small-Block Build

This rebuild is just about as basic at it gets, but good enough for 365hp. Not everyone has deep pockets, but this build proves what is capable using stock iron heads, a mild cam and other necessary upgrades.


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396 LT1 Small-Block Build

Making 500 horsepower with a naturally aspirated Gen II is not only possible, it can be done without a screaming solid roller or a custom intake manifold. Here is a walk-through of the assembly and dyno testing of a 396-cube LT1 small-block that will bolt into late-models and retrofits alike.


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355 LT1 Small-Block Build

Part of an ongoing series of testing with a 355ci Gen II LT1, this story highlights what a properly selected cam, Dart heads and a ported intake can do. The bottom-end is completely stock, save for a set of .030 over cast pistons. This snappy combo made 450hp on pump gas and is perfect for a daily driver or street/strip combo.


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388 LS7 Build

This de-stroked combo absolutely screams. If you dream of hitting 8,000rpm; then feast your eyes on this 725hp combo! An LS7 block, solid roller cam, Mast Motorsports heads and single plane intake are the essential hard parts that make this dry sump combo work.


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440 LSX Build

You can have vintage looks with a modern powerplant, and this proves it. At 630hp, this 440 cubic-inch LSX based combo has all the power you could want for a naturally aspirated street combo that knocks down decent gas mileage and can be driven anywhere.


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416 LS3 Build

Of course, you can also have excellent results with more stock based components such as this 416ci LS3 combo. A whopping 635hp was generated thanks to the stroked LS3 block, Comp Cams hydraulic roller, RHS LS7 heads, FAST LSXR intake manifold and XFI controller.


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4.8L vs. 5.3L LS Builds

This story tests out camshafts and other modifications with stock bottom-end 4.8L and 5.3L LS engines. If you are planning on using one of these little mills in your next project, this could be a helpful way to make over 470hp naturally aspirated.


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Turbo 5.3L LS Build

There are budget turbo 5.3L stories aplenty on SuperChevy.com, but this is a unique twist by using the aluminum L33 block and E85 fuel. A Precision 7675CEA turbo was the main motivator for this stock L33 truck engine. At 13psi it proved capable of making 604hp with a stock engine, 657hp with an aftermarket cam at the same boost and topped out at 824hp with 16psi.


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6.2L Gen V LT1 Build

With its high-flowing, splayed valve heads, the Gen V LT1 is an impressive powerplant to say the least. With a cam and ported heads, it is capable of 550-600hp easily. This particular recipe keeps the Active Fuel Management and cam phaser in full operation – perfect for a daily driver with extra kick.


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Supercharged 416 Gen V LT1 Build

The C7 had just barely hit the streets and already the aftermarket had stroker kits ready to ship. Given the previously installed ECS supercharger system, a 416-cube powerplant with domed pistons was just what the doctor ordered. Despite the longer stroke, this kit actually manages to keep the factory piston oil squirters. With the extra cubes and larger camshaft, this combo made 870hp at 13psi – near the limit with the stock Stingray fuel system on boost alone.




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