Performance Engine

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The type of performance engine you demand for your old hot-rod depends, of course, on the hot-rod itself. If you're tooling around in an old '75 Monza, you simply don't need a 440-horsepower ZZ 454 to power it. Likewise, if you're zipping about in a 454 SS, a 2.8 V6 crate motor probably won't get you past your front gate.

The next thing to consider is the main purpose of your ride. Do you want it simply to look good in the garage whenever company comes by for cocktails, or are you planning on towing your boat down the highway to the beach several times a week? Finding a quality performance engine isn't always a dire necessity unless you've got your eye on the drag-racing circuit.

Finding a High Performance Engine

So drag-racing it is, eh? For starters, it's time to find yourself some serious torque. How about a 502 HO with 550 foot-pounds to get you going? This Gen VI main block features steel-forged pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, and roller camshaft in addition to its 188cc combustion chambers.

Or try a crate engine like the Ram Jet 502. Sure, it may put you back about 10 grand, but for 565 foot-pounds of torque at 3200 RPM, you can afford it. After all, your next-door neighbor's just put in a ZZ 572 (that's cubic inches) that boasts 620 ponies and a whopping 650 foot-pounds of torque. You may need to one-up him with the "race" version of that same engine, which tacks on an additional 150 horses and 35 foot-pounds.

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