I-Beam me up, Scotty

Doing it yourself is not always fun or rewarding!

Words and photos by Jeff Burk

When I found out that the 402-c.i. big block
that was supposed to be a freshly rebuilt
unit in El Camino Nitrouso had some
issues with ring seal and a few other
things, I decided to do what I had
wanted to do since I bought the
Elk and build a clone Super Sport 396
iron block with aluminum heads.

So I set about finding a nearly pristine
396 block, bought a set of heads out of
the Chevy Performance parts catalog,
found a set of forged pistons and all the
other parts. Now I’m having my friends at
Matt Johnson Performance assemble the engine
because I just don’t have the time or tools to do it myself.

I still want to feel like I’m contributing to the build, though, so
I’m doing some little things and one of those little things was to
I-Beam, relieve and polish a set of stock rods.

On the left are the tow rods I finished and had about 8 man hours in. On the right the rods from Ohio Crankshaft that required a 15 minute phone call.