Over the past few years, we have seen massive cubic inch increases thanks to new blocks, heads, and a desire to build the ultimate pump-gas street engine. The trend has always been to build it bigger, as the hot rod clich of "bigger is better" tends to hold a lot of truth in most applications. The build-it-bigger motto has led to massive 800ci and 900ci engines that have eclipsed the 1,400hp range in naturally aspirated trim while running on fossil fuel from the local gas station. As cool and exciting as it can be to own an engine the size of an IHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stocker, it is hardly practical-let alone the fact that it's rather expensive. The extra cubes come in the form of a physically larger package size when compared to the traditional low-deck, big-block platform. Shoehorning these engines into a muscle car almost always necessitates custom fabrication and a hood that requires a periscope to view the landscape to the right.

For most of us, the look and function of a stock or low-rise cowl hood is not only practical, but aesthetically pleasing as well. Scott Shafiroff Racing Engines (SSRE) has the solution to keep the street-sleeper look of your car while increasing the cubic inches to nearly 600. The company offers a line of pump-gas engines to fill any of your needs and we scoped out a 598ci mill that is based on a low-deck (9.8-inch) engine block. "Our 598 fits under the hood of most muscle cars like Chevelles and Camaros, to name a few," commented Scott Shafiroff, long-time engine builder and racer. This is the same engine block size that GM uses for its 396, 427, 454, and 502 big-block family. If your GM car was equipped with a big-block from the factory, then this bullet will fit nicely under the hood.

"This is an engine that I have wanted to do for a long time," stated Shafiroff, as he sought a middle-of-the-road engine package that fit between the 632ci crate engine line and the smaller 540ci offerings from his Ultra Street division. It retails for $12,000, less carburetor and ignition. That is the base price, and SSRE offers choices, not options-as Shafiroff puts it-to further custom tailor the engine to the owner's needs. The engine we followed from buildup to the dyno test featured a few extra items. This package includes the Hot Hydraulic Roller (HHR) upgrade ($995), SSRE-prepped 950cfm Holley 4150 carburetor ($895), Cometic multi-layer head gaskets ($95), SFI balancer ($150), Eagle 3D rods with L19 bolts ($125), and Calico-coated bearings ($150). That brought total cost to $14,410, but output also increased from the standard 775 hp up to 795 hp. This was accomplished on pump gas. Breezing through the menu for this engine, Shafiroff also offers versions for E85 ($295), Extended Cruising (lower compression, new/milder hydraulic roller design, $595), and Saturday Night Special (aggressive solid-roller cam, fully ported heads, 855 hp, $1,895). The menu allows customers to choose and customize the build to their desires, but keep the engine within the SSRE code of production efficiency.