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 Specs

Engine Block: Chevrolet 355 (4-bolt mains)

Rotating Assembly: Cast steel crankshaft, TRW forged pistons: 10.25:1 compression ratio

Cylinder Heads: Dart cylinder heads

Cam and Valvetrain: Custom camshaft grind, anti-pump lifters, 2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust valves, 3/8-inch chromoly pushrods, Edelbrock double roller timing chain

InductionEdelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold, Holley 750 cfm single pumper dual feed carburetor with vacuum secondaries

Ignition and ElectricalSummit Racing HEI distributor



Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.