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GM Crate Engine Buyer's Guide

We just had to share this very informative Crate Engine Buyer's Guide to choosing and buying a crate engine that we came across on Rod Authority. You might want to bookmark it for future reference.




These days there are a number of crate engines that can provide you with a dependable driver. Aftermarket companies are producing a multitude of parts, various components and even full-on race engines in crate form. If you’re looking to go fast, have a shiny engine for your show car or just a dependable mill for your daily driver, and do it on a ramen budget, a crate engine may be exactly what you are after.


Pace Performance is a complete one-stop-shop for everything Chevy. From pink engine dress-up kits to hardcore racing crate engines.


Why Buy a Crate Engine?


Generally speaking, defining a crate engine is simple and for our purposes, “crate engine” refers to an engine that’s shipped complete, at least up to the cylinder heads. There’s really no drawbacks to a crate engine. Largely they are very affordable, built by engine builders that know what they are doing, have a warranty that backs the quality of the product, and all you have to do is drop the engine in and go.


Building your own engine may inflate your value of self-importance, but there’s really no beating a combination that has already been developed and tested like a turn-key crate engine.


Crate engines are not a new idea. For years GM Performance, now Chevrolet Performance, have been producing affordable crate engines for cheeseburger budgets. More recently, Pace Performance has gotten into the game of supplying the aftermarket with fully assembled crate engines to fit into any budget. This buyer’s guide will deal strictly with crate engines designed specifically for the Hot Rod, Street Rod or mild Street/Strip Rod.


Crate engines from Pace Performance are built by professional engine builders with aftermarket parts from companies that are known for quality and consistency. Most of Pace’s crate motors come with a great warranty to back up your purchase, which adds an extra level of comfort in the purchase.


How to Select a Crate Engine?


“The first consideration when selecting a crate engine has to be the application,” says Chuck Fitch. “If you have a daily driver, you probably are looking for a crate with EFI for fuel economy, power and superb dependability.” Companies like Holley and MSD are making quality EFI systems that are easily added to the Intake system of a SBC or LS engine.


Price is always a consideration for buying an engine or having one built. Crate engines gained popularity by providing decent power at a budget price point and this has continued to be the norm. If you want a base small-block Chevy, a crate engine will cost you less than building the engine yourself with the same caliber components, and don’t forget, the crate engine will be backed by a warranty. Fitch told us, “Before a customer spends his hard earned money on a crate engine, we want it to be the right one for his ride.”


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