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The Ultimate Guide to the Chevy 383 Stroker

Car Craft has scoured the earth to assemble all the details around building a stroker 383 Chevy.

Photography by Jeff "Smith,"

If the small-block Chevy is the most predominant powerplant in the musclecar world, the 383 could very well be the most popular displacement. In a world where cubic inches are king, it doesn't make much sense to build a 350ci small-block when you can build a 383 for virtually the same price. In the old days, car crafters pillaged unsuspecting 400ci engines for their cranks and connecting rods. Today, the aftermarket is bulging with ridiculously affordable cast cranks. When you can buy a brand-new, fully machined, and ready-to-install cast 3.75-inch stroker crank for $175, there's no reason to build a plain vanilla 350. This giant section is devoted exclusively to the design, creation, building, and testing of the 383ci stroker small-block Chevy.

The Origin Of The Species
First of all, Chevy never built a production 383. Secondly, the 383 did not just fall out of the sky one bright, clear summer afternoon. Sometime roughly 30-odd years ago, a creative small-block engine builder realized that if he machined the main journals of a 400ci small-block crank to fit in a 350 block, the longer arm would add roughly 28 ci to a 0.030-overbored small-block Chevy. This happens because the 400 small-block uses a 3.75-inch stroke compared with the 350's 3.48-inch stroke. Add in a 0.030-inch overbore and the displacement formula spits out 382.6 ci, which car crafters have conveniently rounded off to 383.

While the standard 383 is the most common form of stroker small-block, there are several variations to this theme. The first question might be: Why not just build a 400ci small-block and take advantage of the additional cubic inches? In the early days of the 383, many enthusiasts were under the mistaken impression that the 400 small-block was prone to overheating, so using a 350 block was considered a better way to go. Today, finding a 400ci standard-bore production block is becoming increasingly difficult, which is why the 383 has remained popular. The following is a selection of the variations on the stroker small-block concept.

377 4.155 3.48 400 block (+0.030), 350 crank
377 4.000 3.75 350 block standard bore, 400 crank
383 4.030 3.75 350 block (+0.030), 400 crank
388 4.060 3.75 350 block (+0.060), 400 crank
395 4.030 3.875 350 block (+0.030), custom crank
401 4.060 3.875 350 block (+0.060), custom crank
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