To build or buy is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when it comes to engines. If you are going to build a motor from scratch you will need a myriad of specialty tools, a decent recipe of parts, and a good machine shop in your back pocket. Now if you already have things like a rod bolt stretch gauge, piston ring filer, and so on, then you most likely will be building your own. For the guy who can install an engine, but maybe not build one from scratch, then buying an assembled motor might be the best option.
Let's face facts, it's hard enough to build a car let alone having to come up with an engine recipe that will produce power and stay together for more than a few miles. Luckily, today there are complete engines available that are built by professionals that won't put you in the poor house. There are some engines out there that are expensive, but there are also crate engines for the more budget minded.
As you will see, we compiled a very diverse selection of engines in this guide to help you find the right one for your project. We made sure there was something for everybody, the traditional small-block 350 for the budget guy, a ground shaking big-block for the drag guy and (of course) the LS platform for the modern performance guy. Most of the content is pretty abbreviated, but full details can be found on each of the company's web sites. Once you are finished drooling over the engines, make sure to check out the other sections in the guide so you can pair your new engine with the proper goodies.
When it comes to crate engines for your muscle car, ATK High Performance Division engine packages range from mild to wild and are built custom for each customer. One of the most popular engines is a small-block 350 that puts out 325 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque for under $2,000. This unit consists of a four-bolt, cast iron block topped with cast iron heads and a flat tappet cam. Since it is a performance engine, it comes with hypereutectic skirt coated pistons with moly rings.
It features an 8.9:1 compression ratio, so it will run just fine on pump gas and comes with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty. Need it as a drop in? All of the performance engines can be customized with fuel systems, pulley kits, and even engraved custom valve covers with your name on them.
Edelbrock's most popular crate engine, the Performer RPM E-Tec uses the latest in engine technology to squeeze every drop of power possible from the timeless Chevy 350 platform. It features a hydraulic roller cam, E-Tec 170 aluminum heads, and hypereutectic pistons. Based upon the GM ZZ4 block equipped with a forged steel crank, this engine generates 435 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque.
The engine is available in a variety of finishes, including polished and the easy to care for Endurashine. It is backed by Edelbrock's two-year, unlimited mileage warranty and includes cast valve covers, MSD distributor, Moroso oil pan and optional water pump.
Something a little bigger in size and power is Edelbrock's 555ci Big-Block rat. The new Edelbrock/Musi 555 RPM XT big-block Chevy produces 697 hp and 643 lb-ft of torque when equipped with the Edelbrock Pro-Flo 2 EFI system and 676 hp and 649 lb-ft of torque with an 800cfm Thunder AVS carburetor. Based on a Dart Big-M 9.8-inch iron block, it features a forged steel crank from Scat, forged aluminum pistons from JE and Eagle forged H-beam rods.
The engine also features Edelbrock RPM Xtreme aluminum cylinder heads that retain the stock exhaust flange location for compatibility with off-the-shelf headers. A Moroso oil pan and Mallory distributor round out this mill, and everything is backed by a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.