Ever hear how idle hands are the Devil’s workshop? Well it’s been a long dry spell on small-block buildups in the pages of Sport Truck. For one die-hard motorhead on staff who has little to do with all his tools, it’s definitely high time some of the bad ideas floating around see a dyno and some testing. To be certain, we’re not placing ourselves in the same regard as the little firey guy downstairs by calling this the Devil’s small-block, it just so happens this mouse motor shares a moniker: 666. The bottom-line goal of this entire buildup was to produce a 350ci Chevrolet-based motor that can churn out 600 hp at 6,000 rpm and do it for 60,000 miles with off-the-shelf parts.

The magic number of 600 ponies is key in this buildup. For some reason, at that power level stock parts become scrap metal. As a general rule, any motor that makes more than 600 hp isn’t streetable due to expense…more power than that will blow up the best GM 12-bolt and scatter a Muncie M22 in a blink under daily driving. The idea of running Dana 60 rearends and Lenco transmissions on the street is a bit much to expect, so the goal was to get that power level at 6,000 rpm with parts that require minimal machining and are available to the masses.

We approached several manufacturers with our game plan. It didn’t take long before some sinister motives took over and this little mouse motor began to grow. We looked at all the components each manufacturer said would do the trick and began to assemble this beast on paper. In a revival of sorts, we learned that small-block components have gotten cheaper and better. Competition has driven the market to fiercely great quality and low prices for premium parts. A set of rods that sold for $800 ten years ago is now about $360.

Now don’t let power ratings and numbers scare you. The components we’ll show you are fairly garden-variety race parts; they’re in the upper crust of consumer-grade hot rod goodies. Keeping the recipe simple and the ingredients available means that this is nothing to be afraid of. The hope is that just a little of this devil will make it into everyone’s ride. In this buildup series, we’ll show you how to do the complete buildup and test a few “mild” performance parts. All told, the plan is to throw in two cams, try out two top-end induction assemblies, and test four carburetors that are both naturally aspirated and blown to the limit.