Editor’s Note: OnAllCylinders is profiling engines and engine builds by everyday high performance enthusiasts—hot rod hobbyists with DIY work ethics and real-world budgets.
Casey Janis started building engines at the age of 14 and has been building engines for himself and others ever since. His definition of “Real-World Powerplant” was shaped by advice he received from famed engine builder and tuner Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins.
“I have always engineered my engines based on what the person is going to do with their vehicle,” Janis said.
This Chevrolet 355, for example, was built for the street.
Few engines are a better foundation for a real-world, real-budget build than the first-generation small block Chevrolet. While magazines like to profile 800- and 900-horsepower pump gas motors, Janis’ 355 small block takes a more practical approach to performance. It’s an approach that will produce big power without overwhelming the car or wasting horsepower.
“The cam specs were meant for a 3,300-pound car with using a minimum 1,600-rpm stall torque converter and 4.11 gears,” Janis said. “It’s built for the street!”
These result is a torque monster that produced 510 usable foot-pounds of torque and 525 horsepower by using parts readily available from your Summit Racing catalog. Janis, who says the engine was dyno tested by a friend at a nearby General Motors facility, shared these specs for the build:
Engine Block: Chevrolet 355 (4-bolt mains)
Cylinder Heads: Dart cylinder heads
Ignition and Electrical: Summit Racing HEI distributor