For some, the ritual of hauling a grease-encrusted engine in the trunk of their car to the machine shop is something to look forward to. It's a new lease on life for a tired engine, and the promise of more power and better performance. For others, it's a ritual requiring time, patience, and even more time. Add the pressure of finding a machine shop you can trust and won't soak you for unnecessary "additional" work, and it may be a dreaded experience. But what else can you do? What if you don't have the time, desire, or mechanical know-how? It's quite simple to opt for a crate-style engine. It's easy to choose an engine package that is already assembled and scienced-out, delivering a proven package.

We've assembled a gathering of big-block crate-style engines from a number of manufacturers and limited the price ceiling at $10,000. we even threw in a couple pieces at slightly over the ceiling just for comparison's sake. While this may seem somewhat steep, add up the cost of all new parts and machining, and you may find a crate engine is a bargain. And you won't have to borrow your neighbor's truck and haul a greasy lump of cast iron to your machine shop.

Mopar Performance
The Mothership got in the crate-motor racket a number of years ago, and has come up with a number of good crate engines for predictable performance levels. Mopar Performance offers everything from mild small-blocks to stroker Hemis. The most popular of the big-block wedges are these two examples. It is important to note that these engines are built from all new components. For a mild-mannered heavy vehicle, the 500-inch wedge makes a lot of sense. It'll move with authority on a steady diet of pump premium, but with nearly 600 lb-ft of torque it will melt the tires at will. The 500ci short-block assembly is a great foundation from which to build a torque monster or a high horsepower producer-the choice is yours.

Specs
Displacement: 500ci short-block
Bore and stroke: 4.380-inch bore, 4.150-inch stroke
Pistons: Speed Pro hypereutectic
Compression: 10.25:1
Con Rods: H-beam forged
Crank: MP 4340 forged
Cost: $6,800 (usually discounted by local MP dealer)

Specs
Displacement: 500 ci
Bore and stroke: 4.380-inch bore, 4.150-inch stroke
Pistons: Speed Pro hypereutectic
Compression: 9:1
Con Rods: H-beam forged
Crank: MP 4340 forged
Cam: MP hydraulic flat-tappet
Cyl Heads: MP Stage V cast iron
Intake: MP M1 single plane intake
Power: 505 hp, 590 lb-ft
Cost: $9,900 (usually discounted by local MP dealer)

Indy Cylinder Head
One look at Indy Cylinder Head's catalog and you soon understand that Indy can, and will, cater to your every whim, desire, and need, with offerings ranging from mild, stock-displacement engines to fire-breathing, mega-cube monstrosities. Best known for their own line of aluminum cylinder heads, Indy can build anything your heart desires from milquetoast to mind numbing. the sky and the depth of your wallet are the only limitations. The old adage about speed costing money is oh-so-true at Indy Cylinder Head, but nobody ever envisioned this much speed!

Specs
Displacement: 426 ci
Bore and stroke: 4.380-inch bore, 3.530-inch stroke
Pistons: Wiseco forged
Compression: 10.25:1
Con Rods: Eagle H-beam
Crank: Indy forged
Cam: Comp hydraulic flat-tappet
Cyl Heads: Indy 440-SR, bowl ported, gasket matched
Intake: MP M-1 single-plane intake, 750-cfm Mighty Demon carb
Power: 500 hp, 500 lb-ft
Cost: $9,495

Specs
Displacement: 451 ci
Bore and stroke: 4.375-inch bore, 3.750-inch stroke
Pistons: Wiseco forged
Compression: 10.25:1
Con Rods: Eagle H-beam
Crank: Eagle 4340
Cam: Comp hydraulic flat-tappet
Cyl Heads: Indy 440-SR, bowl ported, gasket matched
Intake: MP M-1 single-plane, 750-cfm Mighty Demon carb
Power: 525 hp, 500 lb-ft
Cost: $10,495