Chevy Small Block Dyno Tests - Old School Meets New

406ci Traditional Mouse Vs. Late-Model 402ci LS2

CHP: We gave you a tough task, building a traditional small-block to match up with a Gen IV motor.
Shawn Mendenhall: GM did well in designing the LS-series engines. The 15-degree heads are such a huge advantage. It would have been nice if we could have used 18-degree cylinder heads.
CHP: It there anything to be said for going old school?
SM: The only advantage for the 23-degree setup is the bore. With a larger bore size, it's easier for the heads to breathe, and you can start with a factory block, which you can still get at a swap meet. It costs more to do a 4.125-inch bore in the newer motors, because you need cylinder sleeves and custom pistons.
CHP: What does the future hold for the traditional small-block configuration?
SM: Until there's no more gas, people will have fun with them. As long as there's a desire for 23-degree parts and people still have stuff stashed in their garages, they're never gonna go away. Aftermarket blocks are more within the average guy's reach.
CHP: You mentioned 18-degree heads. What are your thoughts on the subject?
SM: The 18-degree stuff is old-school racing technology. Make it user-friendly, which is already starting to happen, and it's gonna really change the market. You can make good power with 18-degree heads--they're gonna be able to make a ton of horsepower on the street.


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