While the introduction of high-powered Connect & Cruise packages is enjoying the spotlight at SEMA, the release of a new Gen I engine package from Chevrolet Performance certainly deserves some attention. Positioned in the middle of the original small-block lineup is the new SP350/357 V8, an all-iron crate motor available in three configurations.
“It’s for starter to mid-range power needs,” explains Bill Martens of Chevrolet Performance.
Earlier this year EngineLabs suggested the ZZ6 crate engine could have been the final new Gen I engine from Chevy Performance, given the considerable emphasis on development of the LS family and the growing impact of the new LT line.
“We like to keep you guessing,” quips Martens.
The SP350/357 somewhat appeals to the same customer that purchased the iconic ZZ4 crate motor in its heyday. Affordable, strong torque curve and built with reliability in mind, the SP350/357 is rated at 357 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. Peak torque is 407 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. Recommended redline is 5,600 rpm.
The engine is based on a traditional 4.000 x 3.480 bore and stroke in a 4-bolt iron block with a nodular iron crankshaft. The rods are powdered metal construction and the 9.0:1 pistons are aluminum. Chevy Performance developed a new hydraulic roller camshaft with .473-inch valve lift and a dual-pattern 215/223 duration at .050. The always popular high-flow Vortec heads are fitted with 1.94/1.50 valves and topped with an improved aluminum dual-plane intake manifold and Holley 4-barrel carb.
“We spent a lot of time dialing in the right carburetor for this package,” says Martens. “Everything works on this motor.”
The engine is available in three configurations. The base long block assembly (PN 12677167) carries an MSRP of $4,250. The deluxe version includes intake manifold, carb, distributor, water pump, damper and flexplate (PN 12677170) and runs $5,625. Finally, there’s a turnkey version (PN 12677177) with front drive accessory, starter, alternator and AC pump that costs $7,250. Street prices will be less. As of now there is no Connect & Cruise package with the SP350/357. The closest option would be the SP350/385 mated with either a Tremec 6-speed manual or a 4L65 4-speed automatic.
On the green side, Martens says sales of the 430-horsepower E-rod LS3 E-rod crate motor “are growing every year,” which in turn spurs interest in the 455-horsepower LT1 E-rod. That package is currently in final validation for a CARB EO number. That allows users to install the engine into cars and trucks that pre-date OBD II requirements — covering 1995 and earlier vehicles.