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Engine Build: 1970s LT1 Chevy Street Engine

Article courtesy ENGINE BUILDER.

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We last spoke with Jason Ore back in 2018, when his engine shop, 955 Automotive in Erie, PA, had just completed a full restoration of a 1968 Mickey Thompson 3-valve Chevy V8 IndyCar engine. That build was so cool and unique, it made it into our Top 10 engines of the year in 2018. When Jason reached out about another engine build he wanted to tell us about, we couldn’t tell him no.

Jason of course, first got into automotive work through his father’s restoration business, Bob Ore’s Restoration, which is in the adjoining building from 955 Automotive. However, Jason never had the patience to do body work, so he ended up leaning towards the mechanical side of things. Between working for his dad, at several other shops and attending the School of Automotive Machinists in ‘97, Jason has had his fair share of engine experience.

“I started 955 Automotive in 2004,” Jason says. “We put an addition on the restoration shop because we needed room for that, and we figured we might as well start a machine shop too at the same time. Our first year in business was 2005, and it’s been going well ever since.”

The shop can handle anything that comes in the door, but the focus is on automotive restoration jobs and circle track engine work.

“For circle track work, we do everything from street stock two barrel stuff all the way up to big block modified and dirt late-model engines,” he says. “The crate engine stuff kind of took over in this area, so we do a lot of crate engine rebuilds for the RUSH series too.”

955 Automotive has two full-time employees including Jason, and is capable of doing everything in-house with the exception of crank grinding. Those capabilities come in handy, especially on a job like one of the shop’s recent builds of a 1970-era LT1 engine.

According to Jason, this LT1 build was done as a street engine for a 1965 Corvette. The build kicked off using both the stock block and crank, and from there Jason opted to use SCAT Pro Stock I-beam rods, JE 12.5:1 compression pistons, a COMP Cams solid roller cam, as well as COMP Cams lifters, rev kit, rockers and pushrods, Mahle/Clevite bearings, Trick Flow Specialties DHC 175 heads, a 1970s Weiand X-Terminator intake, a 1970s Moroso oil pan and windage tray, an original GM distributor and water pump, and capped it off with an old Fly Eye air cleaner modified to use a K&N insert.

“The goal was to stay period correct, so I had the cam ground close to stuff advertised in old Hot Rod magazines and build it like a guy made a few trips to the local speed shop back in the day,” Jason says. “The end result, using PennGrade oil, was a street friendly 490 horsepower and 440 ft.-lbs. of torque from 4,400-5,900 rpm with a peak of 453 ft.-lbs. at 4,800 rpm. It’s super fun to drive and sounds like you hopped in a time machine to an old cruise in.”

We don’t know about you, but we could sure go for a cruise in right now!

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and Scat Crankshafts.

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