There are a number of benefits associated with building an engine from scratch. Not only do you get the enjoyment of bolting the thing together yourself, but a certain amount of pride goes along with it as well. You can say with the upmost confidence, "I did it." However, time seems to be scarcer than before and things can quickly turn south if you aren't careful. Wrong measurements can quickly send your once simple small-block build spiraling out of control with one-off custom components that can't be returned. Yes, this can happen to any engine builder-even the seasoned pros. What's worse is that it could push your build onto the back burner for a while.

We like to keep those incidents to a minimum. Besides, if all you're waiting on is an engine to throw into your weekend brawler or street car, why not choose something that's already been developed for you? Thrown-together engine kits sporting various odds and ends just won't cut it with the off-hand knowledge that today's enthusiasts hold and share on Internet forums.

What are your options? In this case, we'll give it to you in one word: Dart. Dart now offers a new line of Special High Performance (SHP) short-blocks that can be had without having to empty your pockets. If you're not familiar with the line, every block is precision-machined with features like Siamese bores, has ductile iron four-bolt mains and a priority oil main system, and is rated to safely handle up to 600 hp.

That's right, Dart has done all the hard work for you. Just top it off with a set of cylinder heads and a manifold, and you're good to go. It's for the guy that can't or doesn't necessarily want to measure for correct rods or check for adequate crankshaft thrust. Instead, this is for the guy who is willing to torque a set of heads and top it off with a manifold. Better yet, with Dart backing your new bullet, you get the security of knowing that it's going to bolt together without fail and you don't have to deal with the headaches normally associated with fitment.

These ready-to go-short-block assemblies are offered in your choice 372ci or 400ci and come with a number of internally balanced configurations to fit your needs, including your choice of a cast steel or forged crankshaft, 4340 I-beam rods with 3/8-inch cap screws, and hypereutectic flat-top pistons with optional forged units for higher horsepower applications.

For our testing, we opted for the entry-level 372ci short-block with the cast steel crank and hypereutectic pistons, and we complimented it with Dart's cast-iron 180cc heads and dual-plane manifold top-end package. If you're wondering what it took to prep this jewel for the dyno, let's just say that aside from removing it from the crate, the laborious half day (if you can call it that) consisted of fogging the SHP block with black high-temperature paint, installing the camshaft and lifters, and bolting on the induction. The results? Nope, you have to read on to find out!

Quick Notes
What We Did

Topped off our Dart SHP short-block with its very own top-end kit and ran the mill on the dyno for the numbers to back it up.

Bottom line
Can't exactly put a complete short-block together? No worry-Dart has you covered.

Cost
Shortblock starting at $3,100.
Total build $6,926.

Charts are references to Breathing Better Caption.

Dart 23-degree Iron Eagle Cylinder Head
Combustion chamber 64 cc
Intake port volume 180 cc
Exhaust port volume 77 cc
Intake/Exhuast valve 2.02/1.60 inches
Valve springs (dual) 1.437 inches in diameter
FLOW FIGURES
LIFT INTAKE EXHAUST
0.200 139 114
0.300 193 145
0.400 231 164
0.500 249 172
0.550 253 173
BY THE NUMBERS
RPM LB-FT HP
3,000 397 230
3,100 396 234
3,200 400 243
3,300 406 255
3,400 412 267
3,500 417 278
3,600 421 288
3,700 423 298
3,800 426 308
3,900 428 318
4,000 429 327
4,100 429 335
4,200 430 344
4,300 429 351
4,400 427 358
4,500 426 365
4,600 426 373
4,700 424 380
4,800 422 386
4,900 419 391
5,000 416 396
5,100 413 401
5,200 410 406
5,300 407 411
5,400 403 414
5,500 396 415
5,600 388 413
5,700 380 412
5,800 372 414
5,900 367 411
6,000 358 409
AVG 410 349
MAX 430 415
The Build List
MFG DESCRIPTION PN PRICE
THE FOUNDATION
Dart * SHP 372 Short-Block Assembly (block, cast crankshaft, hypereutectic pistons, forged 4340 rods, Clevite bearings, and coated cam bearings) 31264344 $3,100
  * Iron Eagle 180cc Top End Kit (fully assembled 180cc cylinder heads w/ 64cc chambers, stamped steel valve covers, dual-plane intake manifold, intake/exhaust, head gaskets and ARP head bolts) 01111112 1,600
Comp Cams * Camshaft and Lifter Kit CL12-246-3 210
  * Timing Chain Set 3100 50
  * Two-Piece Timing Cover 210 265
  * Ultra Gold 1.5:1 Roller Rocker Arms 19001-16 295
  * 7.800-in Pushrods (Intake/Exhaust) 7372-16 111
Milodon * SBC Oil Pan (right-hand dipstick) 30901 208
  * High-Volume Oil Pump 18750 41
  * Oil Pump Pick-up 18316 57
  * Windage Tray 32102 53
  * Windage Tray Install Studs 81150 53
    TOTAL $6,043
ADDITIONAL ITEMS
ARP * Oil Pan Bolt Kit 234-1802 20
  * Balancer Bolt 134-2501 21
Fel-Pro * Oil Pan Gasket 1818 16
Holley * 770 Street Avenger Carburetor 0-80770 400
MSD * Pro Billet Distributor 85561 340
TCI * 8-in Front Damper 872002 86
    TOTAL $883
SOURCE
ARP Inc.
arp-bolts.com
K&N Filters
1455 Citrus St.
Riverside
CA  9502
COMP Cams Lucas Oil Products Inc.
lucasoil.com
Dart
2-48/-362-1188
www.dartheads.com
Milodon
2250 Agate Ct.
Simi Valley
CA  93065
805-577-5950
www.milodon.net
E3
e3sparkplugs.com
Rockett Brand Fuel
Fel-Pro
26555 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield
MI  48033
Westech Performance Group
11098 Venture Dr., Unit C
Mira Loma
CA  91752
9-09/-685-4767
www.westechperformance.com
Holley
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