From daily commuter to full-race, there are literally hundreds of different ways to build a small block Chevrolet. While neophytes might be tempted to simply drop the biggest heads on the motor and stab in an enormous cam, real gearheads know that peak horsepower alone won’t win you anything but an internet forum argument. Horsepower numbers are impressive, but the fact is that you drive on the strength of your engine’s low-rpm torque. Building a small block heavy with tire-shredding force isn’t particularly difficult, provided that you start with the right foundation.
Acquire any Camaro/Corvette Tuned Port Injection (TPI) 350 V8 produced since 1985. Complete engines aren’t expensive or hard to find; just make sure that you get the entire engine including the heads, upper/lower intake and sensors.