Funny thing about economic downturns; they may lessen the amount hot rodders are willing or able to lay out for an engine build, but they never decrease the innate desire for big, beastly power beneath the hood that commands respect. We fully sympathize with that and decided to seek out a recipe to bring trusty big-block performance within a realistic car guy budget.

To get started, we called up Coast High Performance in Torrance, California, to track down a stock 454 block (you might be surprised at how hard they're getting to find out here) since aftermarket blocks would blow our budget for this build. In keeping with our real-world philosophy for this build, we didn't even bother looking for a four-bolt main block since two-bolters are more plentiful and generally cheaper-which leaves more cash-in-pocket for parts.

For the rotating assembly, we opted for Probe's 496ci Street Fighter package, which netted us a cast-steel crank, forged connecting rods, lightweight Probe SRS forged pistons, moly rings, and Clevite bearings. For only $1,246 we had solid, reliable internals that can deliver 500+ hp in naturally aspirated trim and have the capability to handle up to 800 hp with a little push from a power adder. And be sure to check their website for online specials at www.coasthigh.com. This time around, we were lucky enough to get free balancing on the rotating assembly, which instantly saved us at least $300 on machine work alone. Now that's a deal that can't be beat.

For the rest of the requisite parts to top off the short-block assembled at Coast, we turned to Summit Racing and put together an impressive package based on their budget friendly Summit brand parts-with a little help from Comp Cams, Holley, and Weiand. All in all it's a list that reads like your standard fun and rowdy big-block that would be at home in any real-world, driven, and enjoyed street/strip car; and that was the idea. Plus, the ground shaking rump from Comp's Big Mutha Thumpr gave it a sound that should be enough to reignite the passion for any hot rodder who's been feeling the thin wallet blues.

Quick Notes

What We Did
Built a budget oriented big-block from scratch with packages from Summit Racing, Coast High Performance, and Probe Industries

Bottom Line
Big, burly power and an awesome attention getting idle for much less than you'd expect

Cost (APPROX)
$5,255 from carb to pan!

THE PROOF
RPM LB-FT HP
3,000 541 309
3,100 538 317
3,200 538 328
3,300 541 340
3,400 551 357
3,500 564 376
3,600 575 394
3,700 580 408
3,800 581 420
3,900 580 431
4,000 579 441
4,100 578 451
4,200 576 461
4,300 576 471
4,400 577 483
4,500 577 495
4,600 576 505
4,700 574 514
4,800 572 523
4,900 570 532
5,000 567 540
5,100 563 547
5,200 558 553
5,300 553 558
5,400 544 559
5,500 536 561
5,600 527 562
5,700 517 561
5,800 506 558
5,900 494 554
6,000 484 553
AVG. HP 473
AVG. TORQUE 554
MAX HP 562
MAX TORQUE 581
PRICE POINT
BUILD LIST P/N PRICE
Original 454 Block N/A $200.00
Coast High Performance Rotating Assembly 13731-070-SF-C496 1,245.99
Rectangular Port Cast-Iron Heads SUM-152125 749.95
Zinc Carb Studs, 1.70-in. SUM-G1423 5.95
Weiand Stealth, Dual-Plane, Rectangle Port WND-8018 197.95
Head Gasket, 4.370-in. FPP-1027 45.95
Exhaust Gaskets, Round Large Port FPP-1412 19.95
Intake Gasket, Rect. Port MRG-121 11.95
Pipe Plug Kit SUM-G1484N 4.39
Intake Manifold Bolt Set SUM-G1575HS 12.95
Autolite Plugs FRM-3924 12.00
Water Neck, O-Ring SUM-G3801-2 9.39
180-degree, Thermostat, Hi Flo SUM-360180 7.95
Thumpr Retro-Fit Hydraulic Roller Cam CCA-11-602-8 264.75
Retro-Fit Hydraulic Roller Lifters CCA-854-16 432.25
Double Valvesprings CCA-924-16 99.75
Steel Retainers CCA-741-16 49.25
Super Locks, 10-Degree, 11/32 CCA-611-16 19.75
Retro-Fit Length Pushrods CCA-7663-16 116.95
Roller Rocker Arms, 1.7:1 SUM-G6930B 197.95
Timing Set, w/Thrust SME-7010 74.95
Moroso Oil Pan Kit SES-3-90-08-910 269.95
Billet Distributor SUM-850205 231.95
Wire Set, 8mm Blue, Straight Plug SUM-867817 36.95
Holley 4150, 850-cfm CMB-03-0050 659.95
Engine Rebuilder Overhaul Gasket Set MRG-7106 45.95
Main Bolt Kit, w/ Two-Bolt Main Caps ARP-135-5002 34.95
Engine Bolt Kit, Stainless Hex SUM-56491HS 38.95
Harmonic Balancer Bolt, 12-Point ARP-135-2501 21.95
Harmonic Damper, SFI, Ext. Balance SUM-C4264 134.95
TOTAL $5,255.52
SOURCE
Summit Racing
Akron
OH
800-230-3030
330-630-0240
www.summitracing.com/
Coast High Performance
2555 W. 237th St.
Torrance
CA  90505
310-784-1010
www.coasthigh.com
Probe Racing
2555 West 237th Street
Torrance
CA  90505
310-784-2977
www.probeindustries.com
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