Team Chevelle banner

Most power out of a 396 bb

79524 Views 112 Replies 44 Participants Last post by  cstraub
Whats the most power anyone has heard of or seen in a 396 big block? Im shooting for atleast 600, but would like more. I know i could go with a 454 or bigger for more power, but you sure dont ever see a high hp 396 very often.
1 - 20 of 113 Posts
Whats the most power anyone has heard of or seen in a 396 big block? Im shooting for atleast 600, but would like more. I know i could go with a 454 or bigger for more power, but you sure dont ever see a high hp 396 very often.

Thats because it`s to expencive to try to get that kind of power from the smaller 396/402 motors. If you want that kind of power you`ll need a blower or NOS to to it. Your not going to do it N/A and still have a streetable ride. If your stuck with your motor, try shooting for 400-500hp, much easier to accomplish. Also, try the search option for 396/402 combos.
From what I have researched, I think a streeable 396 producing 450 horse, maybe 475 is about it.

There is a guy here with a 500 horse 396, but I'm not sure how streetable it is.
i have built many 396 combos over the years and they produce very good power and ci to ci inch your only down the 50 or so hp over a 454 at the peak numbers so its not that big of a deal.

my last combo was comming out to about 475 hp with alot of stock parts and before someone bad mouths me about this you can't argue about the 107 mph trap speeds in a 3900 lbs plus car with 2.73 gears. it takes some power to move a heavy car and gears like that to 107 mph trap speeds. and this was a very mild manner street car.

i have ran the 396 motors in the 10's on some 150 hp nos shots using stock heads and cast cranks and rods with no more then forged factory style replacement piston and a factory grind ZL-1 cam. this was a streetable combo that ran 115 mph trap speeds in a 3600 lbs car n/a. it was a rough street combo but i still managed 11 mpg on the highway with 3.70 gears and 850 double pumper on my road trips.

one thing for sure the 396 motors sure do rev easy and seem to like it. at least the ways i have built them. i started with my first 396 back in 1990 and i have done everything a low buck racer can do to make power out of them. some things i learned the hard way from not listening to others and other things i found out thru trial and error.

depending on what most think is streetable it depends, but using stock cast crank and stock rods and stock heads like the 049 or about any of the large oval ports , ported out to some degree and larger valves and play attention to alot of the small details like the notch in the block and matching your heads to the block and gaskets and unshrouding valves and back cut the valves and picking the right cam and intake and carb and knowing how to set up the timming curve and the carb and everything else. you can get 500 hp easy and be very streetable with a 233/239 hyd. cam. or just slightly bigger. but if you just know how to put parts on and engine and dont know much more then that then you are looking at giving up at least 100 hp or more to the lack of understanding

making hp is more then putting parts in an engine you need the know how to build and to understand what the engine is doing and what effects what.

boy what was the q?

600 hp, sure you can do it n/a, i would say aftermarket heads and roller cam.
See less See more
Bracketchev1221 claims he made 501 hp with a 396 bored .060 to make a 408 with 781 casting heads, .574/.588 solid lifter cam. 248/259 duration at .050. The motor had about 10.3-1 compression on 93 super unleaded gasblock. I know it's 100 hp shy of what you want to do but thought I'd throw it out on the table.

To make 600 hp from a 396 I'd guess in addition you'd need to add a 100 shot of spray or maybe throw a procharger on it....
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Viggs 408 had 511 if i recall it right.

Fully streetable... And runs good.
The people who are building 396/402 engines are usally not going "all out" so they don't get built with the best parts and the power levels they attain reflect this. While IMO a 600hp 396 can be built, a 496 at the same power level would be more streetable. Remember hp and torque are related so you would have to spin a 396 harder to get the same hp as a larger motor (probably 7000+ at this power level).
  • Like
Reactions: 1
First. get HP #'s out of your head and instead dial in RPM range and desired characteristics. If you have a 396, then go ahead and build it. Use the stock crank (preferably forged if you want to really spin it). Use stock/rebuilt truck rods with ARP bolts - or go aftermarket - your choice. Studded 2 bolt or 4 bolt make no difference as long as the crank assembly is balanced and th tolerances are correct. Oval port heads with stock valve sizes are also fine-just a good port cleanup and preferably use high flow undercut stem valves. A 396 motor comes alive with the cam selection. Only way to do it is a solid roller. Depending on your trans/rear (mild 396 motors needa 3.73, hot 396 motors need a 4.1-4.3 or more if you have the guts. These are based on 27-28" tires). Cam specs in the general range of 240 @ .060, lift in the .620-.650 range. Ideal LSA/ICL for the cam is 110LSA/104ICL. All 3.76" stroke motors like an advanced cam. Pick the cam you want, then pick the pistons to get the correct CR. Run small tube headers (1.75" primary x 3" collector). Dual plane intake - ie. Performer RPM. This will be a 7000 RPM motor.

Yes a 454 or 496 will spank it out of the hole if installed in a car with a suspension to harness the out of the hole torque, but there really is no thrill like driving a 7000 RPM big block with big gears down the road. Will this motor be streetable, yes. Does your definition of streetable mean aggressive? Probably, otherwise you would not have asked about 600HP. If you are daring, go bigger on the cam and up the CR.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
I have a good friend that use to run a high powered closed chambered 408" motor in his '69 Camaro race car but i don't think you'd want to drive it around. In order to get the times he needed it had to be twisted about 7800 RPM. The motor was only a tenth slower than his all out 438" bigger motor though. It Dynoed at 658 H.P. @ 7200 RPM but wasn't quite what i'd call something you'd make a daily driver. Ran 10.12 @ 131 MPH in a 3540 lb. car with the small 780 carb. The 427 based engine with the same heads only ran about half a tenth quicker on the same strip. With some good heads you should be able to get 550 H.P. and still be streetable.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
GRN69CHVL - Excellent post.
Year 1975 454 3100# car 4 speed 9.89 ET best 138 mph or 144 mph at US 30 installed a 396 same car 10.25.1 cast pistons cut for valve clearance same heads cam and intake set up, 11.02 ET unsure about mph drove very aggressive 8500 plus both motors, All closed Chambered motors.
peak hp was 470 avg is lower 402+.030
10.1cr ret port heads,cast crank,3/8 rods,trw forged piston,single plane intake with a 750dp and small Engle roller cam.
3800lb chevelle runs on pump gas turns 11 teens @ 118mph w/ race gas and a 200hp no2 shot it made 675hp and runs 10.0's @134mph
Wildman, SSJA (396 motor in a '67 Chevelle) in the 70's. I speak from experience.

PS - Chevelle will be finish assembled soon, will be looking for a Camaro or Nova for the 402 .030 motor - complete with a 248/248 .625/.625 110LSA solid roller that I have. Really leaning old school here. 3800-4000 stall converter and 4.10-4.56 gears.
I had a stock 325 HP 396 that ran a best of a 12.45 @107 MPH
only changes where the following:

240/246 @.050 Crower solid f/t cam
.517/.530 114 LSA
Scorpion roller rockers
1 3/4" Dynomax coated headers
3" exhaust w/Dynomax super turbos w/turndowns
RPM intake
BG 850 double pumper
GM HEI w/curve kit
Holley blue pump
10" Select convertor (aprrox 3500-3800 stall)
4.10 gears
Motor was in a 67 Chevelle
shift point was 6,000 rpms
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I"ve only heard of numbers around the 500HP (crank). Never seen one though. I claim 450HP for my 414cid motor, but it has never been on a dyno.

If you want 600, then spray our 396 until it blows up. After that you can build a 468" bottom end for it. ;)
A 396 with a forged crank/rod/piston will take 300-400 shots easy.

Exxelent streetrace engine with low initial torque and extra addons ;)
A 396 with a forged crank/rod/piston will take 300-400 shots easy.

Exxelent streetrace engine with low initial torque and extra addons ;)

I need you to sponsor my race team!

With a filled block, nice connecting rods, $3,000 crankshaft, and ballancing, not to mention frequent rebuilds, you can spray anything to produce any amount of power. Most people would simply recomend a different route. :)
Not that fancy. You can use the old steel crank. (if its checked clear) Some decent rods...

It will live long, dont be afraid, may the force be with you ,)
It was questions like this that I came up with saying in my signiture. The question I used to get more often than anything else.."How much would it cost to 'soup up' my engine" Man, I hated that. You can see how many answers there are just by this thread.
I run a 396 and while it does'nt make 600hp N/A..... It does well enough to be streeable and run quicker than most of the 454's on this site :thumbsup:
1 - 20 of 113 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.