Modern Rodding STARTING OVER
A headshot picture of Brian Brennan grinning
A Word on the Venerable Small-Block
By Brian Brennan

t really doesn’t matter (too much) what motor you have residing under the hood of your hot rod so long as it will take you down the road. I am reminded of a quote from Bonnie Hunt who played the character “Sally Carrera” from the movie Cars: “You can drive on a road to make good time, or you can drive on a road to have a good time.”

Truer words were never uttered. I’m confident that you and I have managed both. There are periods when time is of the essence and there are times, hopefully more of these, where it’s more about having a good time. Without a moment’s doubt in my mind some of the best times I have enjoyed are those stretches when I was driving my roadster across country. Those drives on interstate highways or down the backcountry roads were (are) some of my life’s best times. It’s always great to drive my roadster even on short jaunts but it’s the long drives that you truly remember.

Now, I should also point out that while all of us have our favorite powerplant the small-block Chevy has been around for a long time. I can remember some years back when I would hear “another small-block under the hood.” It was a derogative comment. And I get it, as you can only see so many of anything, but in my eyes each rodder is entitled to his own “joy,” and if that’s a small-block so be it. Somewhere in the late ’90s the LS began to “take over” as the powerplant V-8 of choice. For the next 20 years it built up a head of steam to the point it is the powerplant of choice. It’s amusing but while it hasn’t been replaced, we are seeing the LT gaining steam and, of course, the latest “small-block.” According to Chevrolet, the new Corvette Z06 will be a naturally 5.5L (335 cubes) flat-plane twin-cam V-8. Sounds exotic, and it is, and it will also be wind-up to 9,000 rpm. Think about that, a 9,000-rpm naturally aspirated V-8! I’m sure I will see one or two of these V-8s in a hot rod somewhere along the way this coming year but for now it looks like the LS is the “heartbeat” of choice.

If I had my druthers, I would truly enjoy having a real 327. I get all giggly when I look at mine, complete with its camel-hump heads and cross-ram induction. Something that you might have seen on the cross-ram manifold equipped Z/28.

I also have a 327 that was found in a ’68 Corvette. It’s a 327 but it’s what is referred to as a large journal (350 inches), but it will accept a stroker crank yielding a 383. Now that’s cool, a 327-looking V-8 that is packing 383 inches. That’s a hot rod motor.

Often called the “belly button” V-8, the small-block Chevy in any number of configurations is and will always be the hot rodder’s choice.

327 with “camel-hump” heads holding up a Tri-power setup featuring Rochester 2G carbs
The always reliable and highly desirable 327. In a monochromatic appearance there’s no denying the “camel-hump” heads holding up a Tri-power setup featuring Rochester 2G carbs. Old time looks and performance that are still worth the effort today.
old-timey SBC
There’s no mistaking the more modern LS is an amazing motor capable of producing staggering horsepower, great driveability, and totally reliable. Yet, it just doesn’t strike the same chord as the old-timey SBC.
ZZ4 with a Borla eight-stack
Nowadays the old-timey SBC takes on a more modern appearance, produces a crazy amount of power, but it’s still family. This one is a ZZ4 with a Borla eight-stack and I can’t imagine a hot rodder around who wouldn’t want this beauty sitting under the hood.
Modern Rodding

VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 27 • 2022