Building a high-horsepower small block Chevy engine requires careful planning and research. Today, experienced engine builders can attain output of more than two horsepower per cubic inch with thoughtful design and attention to detail. “Stroker” combinations — using crankshaft strokes longer than standard — allow displacements of well over 400 cubic inches, and outputs beyond 800 horsepower. Competition crate engines in this category from reputable builders cost well over $25 per horsepower.

Designing the Short-block Assembly

Step 1

Plan the engine build that suits your budget, displacement and power goals. You can typically design engines based on the factory blocks for displacements of 383 or 406 cubic inches. These engines can produce 500 horsepower or more with fairly common aftermarket parts.