Whether a person is a dyed in the wool small-block Chevy lover, or a hardcore Bow Tie hater, there is no denying that the little "mouse motor" has reigned supreme for almost 60 years. Unlike other Detroit brands with developmental changes that dictated breaking the mold with each new series of V-8 introduced, Chevrolet has been able to maintain a direct lineage to its original external dimensions. On the inside, the six-decade evolutionary process has led to a highly evolved OHV pushrod engine that shares few components with its ancestors.

To reap the benefits of both worlds-state-of-the-art performance with an "old-school" flavor-we started with one of the best high-performance bargains on the market today: a $2,990 PowerCrate 350 from YearOne. The fully balanced and blueprinted PowerCrate 350 is dyno tested to produce over 400 hp, and 400 lb-ft of torque with a 9.5:1 compression ratio on 92-octane pump gasoline. The basis of the PowerCrate 350 is a four-bolt main, seasoned 350 block bored out 0.030-inch, which brings it out to about 355 ci. It uses a nodular iron crankshaft with hypereutectic pistons connected with powdered metal connecting rods, ported Vortec cylinder heads, 1.6:1-ratio rocker arms, and a hydraulic roller camshaft. Not to get too far off the subject, but in the future we intend to tune our PowerCrate 350 to run on 105-octane E85, and then report back on it by publishing before and after dyno results.