A couple of months ago, l bought a 355 cubic inch small block Chevy engine from Jim at Restore Old Cars in Apache Junction, AZ. Jim gave me the details on the fresh built engine, that included a very comprehensive written breakdown of exactly what was done to it in the build process. I never asked him how much horsepower the engine would have, l just assumed that a freshly built 355 Chevy V-8 would be at
least 300 horsepower. The engine has stock 1.94 & 1.55 valve cylinder heads, that Jim had done some porting on. But, the engine had a Summit Racing Stage 1 hydraulic roller cam. That cam is just a tick above stock lift and duration, meaning that the engine probably only had between 225 and 250 horsepower. If l would have asked Jim, that’s exactly what he’d have told me. He was just selling a freshly
built small block Chevy with fresh machine work and new components. The engine ran totally fine, but didn’t have the power l wanted, so Jim offered to swap out the cam for a much bigger more aggressive hydraulic roller. He said he wanted me to be happy with the engine. He choose a Howards Cam with 5.40 lift and 280 duration, which is way bigger than the Summit cam. He had already installed 1.6 roller rockers and bigger valve springs that will work with the new cam. While he was working on the engine, he discovered several other things that needed attention. The transmission kick-down cable needed adjusting, a new A/C line will be installed because one of the lines was running right on top of the battery, which would be a real problem when the battery needed changing, he will also install new spark plug wire retainers and new wires if needed. Jim reminded me, that the bigger cam would also require at least a 3000 stall torque converter, so that’s part of the job and the transmission crossmember mount was really bad, so that gets replaced and he’s going to install a shift kit into the transmission because l plan to race this car. A bigger rebuilt carburetor is also being added. Jim said this new combination will dramatically wake up this engine. While at the shop I shot a few photos of other projects underway. A 1957 Chevy pickup is a major full custom build. The body was removed from the frame, which was then fully prepped and powder coated. The inside dash has been modified and smoothed and the outer firewall has received the same process, including beefing up the area where a new master cylinder and brake booster were installed. The original master cylinder was attached to the frame rail. Along with lots of other custom touches, a new aluminum gas tank was installed at the rear of the truck between the frame rails. Jim built the 1999 GM Vortec 5.7 liter V-8 engine that will power the truck. Scottsdale Machine does all of the shop’s performance engine machining. They use torque plates for boring and honing and they line hone as well. Another performance-built engine, that’s ready for pick up is a 390 Ford FE engine that’s been stroked to 410 cubic inches with new crank, rods, pistons, adjustable rocker arms, and an Elgin Pro Stock hydraulic cam. A Holley 750 carburetor will supply the fuel. The name of Jim’s shop is Restore Old Cars, which they do like the ‘57 Chevy pickup, but building engines and selling new
and used parts is a big part of his business. There are lots of new and used valve covers and carburetors available, along with so many other engine related parts and components. Call Jim at 928-200-0904 his shop is at 2134 S. Idaho Rd. just north of Southern on the west side of the street in Apache Junction, AZ. Please mention Roddin’ & Racin’ when you call or stop by.