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Old 02-10-2010, 12:17 PM
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Welp, we have a nice snow day here and so had some time on my hands to poke around in this old thread. Nearly 8 years old! Wow. A lot of these older threads are great because they address some of the more basic questions of hotrodding like "big vs small block" "Ford vs Chevy" "Holley vs Edelbrock" etc.

Anyway its an interesting read. Not sure if its full of great information, but at least entertaining!

Back on page 2, and probably 7 years ago, somebody posted this:

A good example would be to compare a big block and a small block engine with nearly the same horsepower and torque.

I did some calculations based on engine size, horsepower and cost of the engine by dividing the cost of the crate engine by the horsepower output. The results are interesting. This calculation gives you a cost per horsepower.

Chevy 502ci Ram Jet, 502hp/567ft-lb of tq cost $7095 = $14.13 per hp

Chevy ZZ 502ci base kit, 502hp/567ft-lb of tq cost $5850 = $11.65 per hp

Chevy 383 stroker, 325hp/415ft-lb of tq cost $3975 = 11.31 per hp

Chevy Ram Jet 350ci, 350hp/400ft-lb of tq cost $4525 = $12.93 per hp

Chevy 502ci, 338hp/512ft-lb of tq cost $5295 = $15.67 per hp

Chevy 350ci HO, 330hp/380ft-lb of tq cost $2495 = $7.56 per hp

The last crate motor listed as the Chevy 350ci HO is the best bang for the buck.
These are particularly bad data. This model only really works if cost per H.P. on any platform is linear, and its clearly not. Of course the lowest horsepower/torque motors have the highest ratio of horspower per dollar. By that end, you could rebuild a 90's 350 with all stock components for 1200 dollars and end up with 250 horse. What's that, 5 dollars per horse? Show me a 500-600 horse 350, then we'll look at comparable dollars per horse.

As you go upwards in torque and horsepower numbers, you need vastly more rigid parts, better engineered heads, forced induction or the like. With relatively stock, off-the-shelf components, obviously you can get into the 5 and 600 range with a big block more reliably and probably more cheaply than with a small block.

Although its not the target of this thread, it also overlooks the fact that there are a mountain of reasons to choose to build a smallblock or a bigblock rather than just dollars per horse.

Just a thought...

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