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Crate Engine Super Build - Blown Brawler In A Box

You Can Have This 601-Horse Small-Block Shipped To Your Door.

By Mike Harrington, Photography by Mike Harrington

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my father working on cars. For a few years it seemed we always had some other person's vehicle parked in our yard with no engine or transmission, while pop earned a few extra dollars spinning wrenches on those vehicles. As a kid, it was always exciting to play in and around these vehicles. They seemed like sleeping monsters.

That same childlike excitement manifested itself while at Smeding Performance in Rancho Cordova, California. A built-to-the-hilt 383 with a stacked and polished blower and a couple of carbs appeared much like those sleeping giants from my childhood. It doesn't take much of an imagination to look at this engine and hear its throaty roar and listen to the supercharger whine. All this and it comes out of the box ready to run, just like a new pair of sneakers: lace it up and go.

If you have not heard the name before, Smeding Performance builds solid dyno-tuned crate engines ready for nearly all applications. Ben Smeding also custom-built our 717-horsepower 572 engine that went into the Project American Heroes '57 Chevy. Since the theme this month is small-block muscle, we called Smeding Performance and asked if we could follow along on one of its blown and stroked crate engines from the initial build to the dyno test. A few weeks later Super Chevy was up in the Sacramento, California, area working with Smeding and documenting this buildup of a blown brawler in a box.

By Mike Harrington
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