Hello. I read with concern about the moving of Garage letters to the Internet. I do not like this idea because the letters are my favorite part of your magazine! I would rather see one less cookie-cutter Camaro and more letters! And no, I can't take the computer to the throne, so just leave the section alone, will ya?
Don't worry, we're not pushing the letters straight onto the website by any means. Letters are an important part of the magazine because they let us know whether or not the projects we take on or the engine builds we piece together are on track with what you like to see.
I was amazed at "Cheapskate" in your December issue. I just finished the long-block on a very similar 356ci small-block. I started out just like SAM with a four-bolt 350 block with a GM crank. My local machine shop bored the block 0.040 over, turned the rod and main journals 0.010, and checked the decks and main saddles for $150.
I purchased a Summit engine kit with Federal Mogul rod and main bearings, Speed Pro hypereutectic pistons, Sealed Power rings, a Melling high-volume oil pump, and Fel-Pro gaskets. The connecting rods I used are Scat I-beams. For the valvetrain I went with all Comp: XE286H camshaft, 812 lifters, 7812 pushrods, 1305 Pro Magnum 1.6:1 rockers, 3100 timing set. I used a 310 timing cover that's a bit more expensive, but I hope to upgrade to a hydraulic roller cam eventually. To keep this 356 alive, it has a Moroso 26180 oil pan and a 24350 pickup with the Melling oil pump.
I topped the short-block off with Brodix Track 1 cylinder heads that I port-matched and mildly ported. The other components to finish this engine were a Speed Demon 650-cfm carb, Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap intake, an MSD coil in cap HEI, a Pro Billet distributor and plug wires, a Holley fuel pump, and Hedman headers. The total package priced out at $3,329 for the complete long-block. If you bought the things I already had, the total would be $4,964.
While SAM and I used slightly different components, the results were similar. Their engine made 476 hp, and I'm thinking mine should be in the neighborhood of 430-435 hp, only because they used a lot more camshaft than I did. Also, they used iron heads and I used aluminum, but with very similar flow characteristics. Long live first-gen 350 Chevys!
Russell Racing & Repair
It's great to hear that you built something similar, but you forgot one thing: Send us a picture of your ride! Follow up with us and let us know how the new combination works out.
More-Efficient Hot Rods
I have been a subscriber for a few years and have never written to the magazine before. First of all, thanks for the excellent product. The articles are always full of technical information, but are easy to understand. I especially like all the tips regarding things that are often overlooked, and even things the staff made a mistake on, which helps the reader to avoid a similar misfortune.
It seems when fuel prices or the economy waver, a lot of people ask how to make their money stretch by making more fuel-friendly engines. I enjoy these articles, but have not seen much on the topic of making our vehicles more efficient by upgrading the aerodynamics of our rides. I'm not talking anything too radical, but I am sure maybe something along the lines of Smokey Yunick, making windows flush-mount and things of that nature. Maybe some of the people who compete in the Silver State competitions might have some insight as to making our old bricks slip through the air. Thanks for the great work. Keep it up, and I for one will keep on reading.
Your letter came in right around the time staffer John Nelson took a trip to Nevada for a ride in a Silver State Chevelle. He has read your letter, so let's see what he comes up with.
From Around The Globe
Love the magazine! I'm currently building a '69 Chevelle Malibu convertible with an LS1, a 4L60E, a 12-bolt, and Wilwood discs all round, and I'm planning for a full Air Ride Street Challenge System. In "Inside SEMA '08" (Mar. '08), page 52, you mentioned the TCI Shift By Wire Controller. Is it out yet? Have you tried it? Any relevant information or articles you can refer me to on the shift controller would be greatly appreciated. Also, have you installed the Air Ride Air Pod full system into the Chevelle? You mentioned that you're waiting for a local Chevelle to become available. Is NZ local enough? I wish!
Northland, New Zealand
We're in the middle of working on those stories in question. As of right now, we're waiting for the trick TCI shifter to become available, and the Chevelle we've been trying to get the new Air Pod on just got out of paint jail. New Zealand is a bit far, but we're glad to hear that muscle cars are up and roaming in your neck of the world!
Letters are looking a little slim these days. Give us a shout, ask some questions, or tell us how great we are. Send emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org.