Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
March 15, 2011

The pages of MM&FF (and other titles) are littered with feel-good features of other people's cars and the stories of how they spent their hard-earned money on high-dollar go-fast goodies. We also regularly bring you detailed tech stories of the latest-and-greatest mods that you, too, can have-if you have the budget, of course.

Lately, though, many high-end parts have become less attainable for the average guy or gal as the state of the economy has compelled us to save more and spend less. So for you, Average Joe (or Joann), we have brought you our budget-minded daily-driven SSP.

Since we introduced our two-tone gray coupe in the Nov. '09 issue, we have installed and tested the best affordable parts we could find-and we've done all the work ourselves with basic handtools and some grunt. Though probably not the cheapest parts on the market, our selections focus on street and strip performance coupled with daily-driven reliability-all without breaking the bank.

Recently in the chronicles of the notch was an assortment of adjustable suspension components from Summit Racing Equipment, and a set of wheels and tires from Discount Tire Direct. With increased adjustability, not only is the coupe track-ready in street trim, it now launches more aggressively and with greater consistency. Our best quarter-mile pass was 11.49 at 117 mph.

Shortly after that, the SSP was the subject of a rocker arm test ("Rockin' Out," Jan. '11). As fellow Associate Editor Pete Epple stressed in the story, it's important to do your homework when making such a change. The rocker swap helped the engine make more power, but-unidentified by us-the incorrect angle of the rockers was causing the roller tip to damage the valve stems and pushrods. Once we identified the problem, we decided it was time to put our big boy pants on and build an engine.

So here we are, at Part 1 of 3 (hopefully) of this engine build, install, and test. We will strive to maintain the budget-minded angle, keeping costs to a minimum without sacrificing reliability. This month, we assemble a 347ci stroker short-block using a Summit Racing Equipment stock block that has been machined for a 347 stroker kit and a Scat rotating assembly, also from Summit Racing.

The block (PN SUM-150110; $689.95) comes ready to accept a 347ci rotating assembly. Summit Racing Equipment has done all the hard work associated with assembling a stroker. Starting with a remanufactured stock block, Summit bores the cylinders 0.030-over, clearances the skirts for the 3.40-inch-stroke crankshaft, machines the deck surface, line-hones the main bearing saddles, and line-bores the cam bearing saddles. It then installs new camshaft bearings, pipe plugs, and brass freeze plugs. All blocks accept the one-piece rear main seal and are coated with rust protection and a coat of black paint.

We chose a Scat rotating assembly, also from Summit Racing Equipment. The least expensive 347ci rotating assembly available with forged pistons from Summit Racing, this kit (PN SCA-1-94165) retails for $872.95. It features forged aluminum pistons from Icon, forged I-beam rods from Scat, and a Scat 9000 cast crankshaft. Also included are wristpins, retainers, piston rings, and bearings.

Next month, we'll introduce our top-end components. Without giving too much away, we're reusing our Edelbrock Performer RPM II intake and E-Street heads, but not without extensive modification. We'll also turn to Comp Cams for some valvetrain components and a new bumpstick. In Part 3, we'll drop the engine between the fenders, make some fuel system upgrades, run it on the Dynojet chassis dyno, and make some hits down the dragstrip.

Now follow along as we assemble the short-block.

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