Like many of you, I've been searching for the ultimate powerplant for my latest project. And again, like you, I've found a plethora of choices out there-small-blocks, big-blocks, strokers, etc. The problem that I've run into is that whenever I find a crate engine I think would fit the bill, horsepower and torque-wise (for me more is better in this case), I've found that my power needs-actually wants-don't seem to make for a rational street engine (with irrational performance, that is) for the everyday around-town driving that I crave. Sure, I can purchase all the horsepower I'd want or am able to afford, but the majority of the mega-horsepower/torque monsters I've found seem to be more at home in a racing environment than on the crowded stop-and-go streets and freeways of Southern California (which, by the way, are more stop than go here).
These criteria led my search into new territory. Since I knew what I wanted, but had nowhere near the expertise to successfully build an engine that would meet my expectations, I decided the best place for me to get an education was to visit the Web site of our sister publication Engine Masters (www.enginemasters.com) to see just what the nation's professional engine builders were up to, since the whole Engine Masters' competition revolves around building the ultimate in pump-gas high-performance engines. It was there that I was introduced to Ron Shaver and the Shaver Specialties Racing Engines company, and I really liked what I learned.
For more than 30 years, Ron Shaver has been the leading engine builder for many of the championship winning teams in the World Of Outlaws, Allstars, NARC, CRA, SCRA, NCRA, USAC, NHRA, and SCORE. The Shaver family has been involved in racing since the 1930's, when Offenhauser racing engines came to them for manufacturing and machining. The company continued their R&D and assembly through the 1950's with drag racing engine work for GM and Chrysler. In 1976, Ron Shaver began engine development for his first Sprint Car engine built for Tom Hunt of Hunt Magnetos, and then later Dean Thompson and Bruce Bromme. Today, Shaver Racing Engines has grown to one of the nations premier race engine builders sporting the most advanced equipment and testing facilities available. He and his several Shaver Racing Engine race teams have compiled over 30 open-wheel championships over the last two decades
I also found that above and beyond Shaver's racing endeavors, Ron and the crew build and sell a variety of awesome street crate engines, as well. I also learned that the company's crate engine lineup (the 375hp 350, the 425hp ZZ4, the 475hp ZZ4, the injected 450hp ZZ4, and the injected 525hp 502) had recently been joined by the crown jewel of Shaver crate street engines-a 600hp/ 600 lb-ft big-block. Now that was exactly what I was looking for-a streetable pump-gas big-block that provides all the horsepower and torque I'd lusted after with the finesse to smoothly idle at a street friendly 560 rpm! My dreams had been answered. So, with all the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning, I contacted Shaver to get the inside scoop on what I think just well may be the ultimate street beast.
So without giving away any of Shaver's proprietary inside info, let's take a look at just what the 600/600 consists of, and then how one goes together. After that, it's up to you to get a hold of Shaver Specialties Racing Engines to get the specifics, and outfit your super Chevy with a monster that's got street manners.