SEMA 2016: Surprise! Chevy Performance Unveils New Gen I Crate Motor

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.

Rear views of the SP350/357 crate motor from Chevy Performance.

“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.”

More views of the SP350/357, which is available in three different configurations with MSRP ranging from $4,250 to $7,250.

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.

Shown are the LS3 and LT1 E-rod engines from Chevy Performance.

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About the author

Mike Magda

Mike Magda is a veteran automotive writer with credits in publications such as Racecar Engineering, Hot Rod, Engine Technology International, Motor Trend, Automobile, Automotive Testing Technology and Professional Motorsport World.
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