In the past we've shown how to build a small-block Chevy engine from the ground up. This time around we changed our focus a bit and think about those of us who are a bit less mechanically inclined or don't have the time or motivation to build a motor. The change of heart comes from us trying to put together an engine in a reasonable amount of time.
We've built engines a time or two in our lives and let us tell you, it's not always a walk in the park. Simply slip up and install a piston backwards or adjust a rocker or two too tight and bang, messed up engine and, missed magazine deadline. Building an engine from scratch often requires specialty tools to do the job correctly as well. Buy a special tool here, a special tool there, and heck, after a while you might as well have purchased a short block. But we digress.
In this particular case we decided to follow our own advice and opt for a crate engine rather than rebuilding what we had on hand. As we searched all our usual suppliers' wares for the best bang for our buck we just happened to come across the website of Blue Print Engines. Riz recognized 'em right off the bat and had actually used a couple of their remanufactured OEM replacement engines years ago (under the company's original Marshall Engine name) with great success.
So, with this in mind we turned to BluePrint Engines' website www.blueprintengines.com to see what they are currently offering in terms of small-block Chevys. What we discovered was that not only did they have a large selection of small-block Chevys from mild to wild, but their pricing was extremely reasonable as well. With our budget in mind we looked for something that would have adequate power and reliability – and what we found fit the bill perfectly! The small-block we ended up choosing was one of their fully dressed 355ci base performance engines (model BP35512CTC1).
The 35512CTC1 comes complete with a pair of the company's proprietary (designed and produced by BluePrint Engines) Muscle Series aluminum cylinder heads (1986 and earlier intake bolt pattern). The Muscle Series heads were designed by BluePrint to optimize the Chevy reciprocating assembly and are equipped with hardened retainers and springs, 195cc intake/75cc exhaust runners, 64cc combustion chambers, 2.02 swirl-polished intake and 1.60 exhaust valves (by the way, the heads are available on their own as part number H8002K too) a satin finish aluminum dual-plane intake, and a 650-cfm electric-choke carburetor. The seasoned blocks are four-bolt main, one-piece rear main seal, passenger-side dipstick configuration units. All blocks feature align-honed main bearing bores; the cylinders are honed on a computer-controlled machine to within .0002 straightness and roundness, and each cylinder sonic tested for thickness.
The bottom ends are assembled using Chevy heavy-beam rods with 150,000 PSI bolts, hypereutectic pistons fitted with Hastings moly rings, a flat-tappet cam (.480 intake, .486 exhaust, 229 intake/230 exhaust duration @ .050), a BluePrint premium cast steel crank, a Melling high-volume oil pump, and a heavy-duty double roller timing set. The icing on the cake with these BluePrint BP35512CTC1 engine assemblies is that they come with new chromed steel valve covers and timing cover, a new oil pan, and an HEI distributor. Plus each one is run on the dyno (test results are supplied with each engine) and come with 30 month/50,000 mile warranties. And saving the best feature of these babies for last – they retail for an unbelievable $3,695!
To back up our muscular BluePrint 355 we chose to use the time-tested TH350 transmission. For this we turned to our dog-eared Summit Racing catalog where we found the perfect match in their Summit-branded remanufactured, manual downshift valvebody equipped TH350 (part number SUM-700300). These babies are another budget-minded item that are perfect for the cash-conscious builder. Summit contracts their independent rebuilders to refurbish these trannies with all-new clutches, seals, gaskets, bushings, thrust washers, Kevlar bands, and brand new separator plates, and remanufactured pumps. You can't beat 'em for under $700 with no core charge!
We added a Summit Racing torque converter (1,900-2,300-rpm stall, part number SUM-G2700-1) and external-balance 168-tooth flex plate (part number SUMG104SFI) to round out our assembly, all for under $4,500. Not bad at all for fresh, new, muscular motorvation for a low-buck classic truck project. So take a look as we slide our new engine/trans combo between the rails of our project square body.
One High-Performance Crate Engine at a Time
BluePrint Engines started 20 years ago in a small garage in Central Nebraska. What started as a passion for speed turned into a hobby, then a job, and finally a career. Its founder built one engine at a time for his friends and neighbors, and bit by bit his business and reputation grew. Drag racers, circle track racers, classic truckers, and street rodders all got some of the first engines produced by BluePrint Engines. Most of us can relate to what happened next.
Babies, mortgages, and a need for financial security drove BluePrint's founder into the mainstream. Grocery-getters were easier to sell to a LOT more people. His success in that endeavour is also legendary. Today the company he founded has produced over 200,000 factory replacement engines for cars and light trucks as well as their popular performance street engines like the one we've chosen for our 1979 C10.
13. Here's what our brand-new BluePrint 355-cube small-block Chevy looked right outta the
14. Looking for an even better bang for your buck? Check out the BluePrint BP35512CT1. It'
15. If you're looking to go the all-out ground-pounder route with your classic pickup you