Horsepower and the accompanying wow factor have, are, and always will be king in our world of customized classic trucks. The minute you swap out your truck's stock mill and install a modern V-8, you have increased the horsepower substantially.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to any hot rod truck fanatic that there isn't a shortage of power options. There are numerous options should you want an "old school" hot rod motor such as a Cadillac, Pontiac, Olds, Hemi, or Ford. Due to an abundance of high-performance parts and information, Chevrolet motors have historically offered the easiest engine swap. To this day Chevrolet engines still hold claim to this title, but with the rising tide of Fords, Chryslers, and even Chevrolet's sister motors available in crate form eliminating the hassle of choosing a different brand, the small-block Chevy's stronghold has been severely undermined.
Follow along as we give you just an inkling of what's out there. What we have tried to do here is present the popular motors from small- and big-blocks, Fords, Chevys, and Mopars, with even a Pontiac or two for the hardcore GMC owners. Engine swaps have always been a staple among hot rodders, and swapping engines once or twice in the same truck is common. In the back of your mind you should always have a plan to enhance your hot rod classic truck's performance or appearance.
The Gilbert Chevrolet ZZ4 (350ci) Nostalgia Deluxe engine (428 hp @ 5,600 rpm, and 448 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm) is based on the GM Performance Parts (GMPP) ZZ4 crate engine. The company took the GMPP ZZ4, added a more aggressive hydraulic roller cam, 1.6:1 roller rockers, and modified Edelbrock classic valve covers and topped it off with the new Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap dual-quad intake system. The induction system is topped off with dual chrome air cleaners to enhance its vintage looks. The ZZ4 engine features a forged steel crankshaft, forged powdermetal rods, and hypereutectic pistons.
Blueprint Engines & Comp Performance Group
Our first look comes via BluePrint Engines, which has teamed up with COMP Cams, Inglese, Racing Head Service, and TCI Automotive to offer an ideally suited 355-inch small-block Chevy for the street.
BluePrint Engines start with a sonictested, align-honed, precision-machined Chevy four-bolt main short-block. From here, top-shelf parts from around the industry are used to build the engine. They begin with a forged rotating assembly that rests within a short-block outfitted with a set of RHS Pro Action aluminum SBC cylinder heads and COMP Cams valvetrain components. Combine that with a specially designed COMP Cams camshaft engineered to provide the ultimate in Weber-carb driveability and you're guaranteed plenty of power and an awesome idle. Topping off the Chevy is an eight-stack Inglese Weber induction system.
Inglese induction systems are completely customizable from paint to stacks to match your vehicle's scheme. All Inglese induction systems come custom-tuned for your application; this is a true drop-in crate motor that provides fully dyno-tested performance right out of the crate.
Each BluePrint Engines street rod crate engine with COMP Performance Group components is available in different size/cubic-inch configurations with a variety of finishing options, from the base 355 engine to a fully dressed 383 with a starter, balancer, distributor, plug wires, and water pump.
That's nice, but should you want the in-your-face looks and seat-of-thepants kick from a big-block, how about the BluePrint Engines Chevrolet 496 engine series? These engines are all based on the Mark IV 454 block and utilize a 4.250-inch stroke. The base street-performance version (PN BP4960CTC) uses cast-iron oval port heads and makes 480 hp/550 lb-ft of torque. Next up the performance ladder is PN BP4961CTC, which uses AFR rectangular-port aluminum heads, Jessel rockers, and a roller cam. This engine makes 595 hp/615 lb-ft of torque. Both versions can be ordered with fuel injection.