Throwback Thursday: CFE Develops 600 Cubic-Inch Small-Block Engine

It’s hard to believe, but the week is already nearing completion. That means Thursday has landed on our doorsteps. With the end of the week nearing, are you making weekend garage plans, or have they already been made. If your plans for enjoying some garage time with your project include dreaming about a new small-block build for your hot rod, we have the article for you.

In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a leap back to July 2013, to check out an unbelievable article: CFE Develops a 600-cubic-inch Small-block Engine. The folks at CFE Racing worked with us to give enthusiasts a deep-dive into understanding what it takes to build the monster small-block.

big inch small block

Here’s the SBX head from CFE that was modified to fit the 4.600-inch bore centers on the new block.

CFE’s Larry Gadette stated, “In all practical purposes, it’s a next-generation small-block. It’s what Chevrolet should’ve done 20 years ago.” The new 600ci architecture is an extension of the current big-inch efforts that have escalated in recent years with improved billet-block design and machining techniques. Aftermarket engineers can now enlarge dimensions and map out near perfect geometries and clearances, then program that data into a CNC machine and produce perfectly aligned blocks and cylinder heads.

“We really didn’t start out to develop a 600-incher,” explains Gadette. “We started developing a 572ci engine that was more proportional and conducive to making high-end power.”

In the original article, you’ll learn that this is not a traditional small-block block that has been seasoned, but you’ll have to read the original article to find out more. We will tell you that, engine blocks with 4.5-inch bore centers became the norm for big-cube small-blocks when NASCAR approved Chevy’s R07 race engine.

big-inch small block

Here’s the GM R07 cylinder block with 4.5-inch bore spacing and improved cooling dynamics. It helped pave the way for aftermarket blocks with with bore spacing stretched over the traditional 4.400-inch standard.

The stock deck height on a Chevy small-block is 9.025 inches, but the aftermarket has taken its blocks up to 9.500 inches — with some specialty billet applications going as tall as 10.2 inches. The CFE block is set at 10.0 inches. The CFE block retains the standard Chevy bellhousing pattern and four-bolt steel main caps. Other features following tradition include standard Chevy engine-mount locations, available distributor accommodation and oil-pan rail dimensions similar to the famed Rocket block, which was an Oldsmobile version of the small-block Chevy used in drag racing, and provided wider oil pans for stroker clearance and also a raised cam location. “You can even bolt a regular Chevy water pump to this block,” says Gadette.

A small-block engine that displaces 600 cubic-inches might not be something the average enthusiast would consider putting in their hot rod, but for the sheer informational aspect of the original article, I thought, CFE Develops 600-cubic-inch Small-Block Engine a great choice for this week’s Throwback piece.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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