In order to run the motor in stock trim, we borrowed a Q-jet carb from Sean Murphy Inductions to run on our stock cast-iron Q-jet intake. The motor also received a set of 15/8-inch Hooker headers, since we just hated the idea of running stock exhaust manifolds. Our low-buck truck managed some pretty impressive numbers all things considered, as the stone stock 350 produced 278 hp at 4,500 rpm and 385 lb-ft at 3,300 rpm. The test was run without any accessories using an electric water pump. Torque production exceeded 350 lb-ft from as low as 2,200 rpm to 4,100 rpm. As mentioned previously, valve float occurred at 5,000 rpm, but this was well past the power peak of the stock motor. Next, we swapped out the stock 882 heads and stock Chevy cam for a set of ported 882 heads and emissions-legal COMP cam. We also upgraded the stock cast-iron Q-jet intake for an aluminum Weiand 8004 intake. The 882 heads came from L&R Engines and included full porting, a set of 2.02/1.60 valves and milling to increase the static compression by just less than .5 points. The PE246 cam from COMP Cams offered a .429/.438 lift split, a 206/212 duration split (at .050) and a 110-degree lobe separation angle. The combination of ported and milled stock heads from L&R and COMP PE246 cam increased the power output of our small-block to 363 hp at 5,200 rpm and 422 lb-ft at 3,900 rpm. The mild cam timing, increase in airflow and slight hike in static compression increased torque production throughout the rev range-always a good sign.

The final combination is the one we really came to test as it included the Procomp aluminum heads, an even bigger (but still very streetable) Summit cam and an induction upgrade that included a Procomp dual-plane intake and our junkyard 750 Holley carb. The Procomp heads offered significantly more airflow than even our ported 882 heads as well as additional static compression thanks to the 64cc combustion chambers. The aluminum heads were installed with a set of new Procomp gaskets, and we also added the roller tip rockers and new (hardened) pushrods. When all was said and done, our aluminum-headed small-block cost a total of $1,073. This figure is even more impressive since the 350 pumped out 418 hp at 5,500 rpm and (more importantly) 444 lb-ft of torque at just 3,800 rpm. Torque production exceeded the magic 400 lb-ft from 2,800 rpm all the way to 5,500 rpm, making for one seriously productive torque curve. Despite the more aggressive cam timing, this combination improved torque production over the previous two throughout the rev range (down as low as 2,500 rpm). Is a 400hp small-block revolutionary? Hardly, but an aluminum-headed small-block that knocks out 444 lb-ft for just over $1,000 is the perfect candidate for any low- buck truck.

Procomp Heads $589
Procomp Dual-Plane Intake $127
Complete 350 Motor- Pick-A-Part (Wrecking Yard) $100
Core charge for Motor $50
Gaskets set- Procomp $27
Summit Cam & Lifters (Sum K1105) $89
Summit Racing Pushrods $29
Procomp Roller Rocker Arms $62
Low-Buck Truck Engine Build Cost: $1,073
Summit Racing Equipment
PO Box 909
OH  44398
Demon Engines
Sante Fe Springs
Comp Cams
3406 Democrat Road
TN  38118
Pro Comp Electronics
605 S Milliken Avenue
Unit A
CA  91761
Holley Performance Products/Brands
1801 Russellville Rd.
Bowling Green
KY  42101
L&R Automotive
13731 Bora Drive
Sante Fe Springs
CA  90670