While attending this year's Mopars at the Strip show in Las Vegas (Second Annual), we parked ourselves at the Werx Motorsports mobile chassis dyno to gather information. While some fairly exotic hardware showed up to lay down big numbers, we were more interested in the average Joe. That's right, we wanted to step into readerland to see what you are building with your hard-earned cash. So we picked seven cars with seven different combinations, asked each car owner to guess what kind of power his or her car should be making at the wheels; then we let it rip and recorded the outcome. In many cases the owners came close. We even threw in a couple of late-model cars to represent an even broader spectrum. These are real world combinations, put together by real world guys. So here they are: seven guys, seven different stories, seven different approaches, all with a common goal-power.

Affordable Small-Block Power
Car: '73 Plymouth Duster
Owner: Chris Hickman
Probably the cheapest route to Mopar street hero status is with Chrysler's venerable 360 small-block. Overshadowed for many years by its "big brother" 340 sibling, it seems to finally be coming into its own. And why shouldn't it? With a 3.58-inch stroke, the longest arm of all Mopar small-blocks, and an even longer arm than that pesky 350 rodent motor produced by the General, the 360 makes good power and torque from way down low in the rev range. Plus it doesn't take any exotic hardware to make it run hard. Enter Chris Hickman of Saugus, California. Chris, an artist by trade and a contributor to many publications with his awesome automotive renderings, drove his daily driven '73 Duster to Mopars at the Strip. One could consider Chris' A-body as a rather typical, nice, small-block-powered, mid-thirteen-second piece. The beauty of such a combination is the affordability and bang-for-the-buck offered by just such a combination. Chris went the humble route by guessing a rather low number, looking like a hero when the dyno read sixty more horsepower than he had guessed. The lesson here is it doesn't have to break the bank to go fast.

Engine: 360 small-block
Approx Compression Ratio: 9:11
Cylinder Heads: "J" castings, fully ported and gasket matched, 1.88/1.60 intake/exhaust valves, stamped rocker arms Camshaft: PAW hydraulic flat tappet, 222/230 @ .050-inch valve lift, .447/.450-inch valve lift
Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, 780-cfm Holley carb
Ignition: Stock electronic with recurved distributor
Exhaust: Mopar Performance 151/48-inch headers, tti 3-inch exhaust system
Transmission: 904 automatic, 3,000-rpm stall converter
Performance
Best e.t.: 13.60
Owner's Guess: 200 hp
Dyno Results: 262 hp, 297 lb-ft of torque

Hemi Bird
Car: '69 Plymouth Road Runner
Owner: Darwin Heiser
What article about Mopar engine combos would be complete without at least one Hemi? It's not an obligation, but we sure do like our Hemis. Darwin Heiser dragged his Hemi-powered and beautifully restored '69 Road Runner up from Mesa, Arizona. Sporting a nearly stock 426-inch Hemi with a mild Mopar Performance hydraulic cam, an electronic ignition, and high-compression pistons squeezing a purported 12.5:1 compression, Darwin kept his bird on a steady diet of aviation fuel (AVGAS) while punching the rollers of the Werx dyno. Darwin conservatively estimated 325 hp and was pleasantly surprised when the actual numbers eclipsed his best guess by more than 10 rear-wheel horsepower. Should the mighty Hemi have made more power? Keep in mind, all the competitors in this expose were facing high desert altitude and the corresponding desert heat, so everyone would have made more power in cooler climes. Also keep in mind, Darwin Heiser's Hemi is gagging, or rather breathing, through its stock exhaust manifolds. In that light, Darwin's Hemi is doing pretty damn well.


Engine: 426 Hemi
Approx Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Cylinder Heads: Stock cast iron
Camshaft: Mopar Performance hydraulic flat-tappet, 284-degrees advertised duration, .484-inch valve lift
Induction: Factory dual four-barrel, two 600-cfm Carter AFBs
Ignition: Mopar Performance electronic
Exhaust: Factory cast-iron exhaust manifolds, stock dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission: A833 manual
Performance
Best e.t.: N/A
Owner's Guess: 325 hp
Dyno Results: 336 hp, 371 lb-ft of torque