One morning, I was surfing the Internet and found an ad for an NHRA legal B/SA Hemi engine for sale. In order to get the seller's e-mail address, I had to pay $20 to join the Web site. After I registered, the seller replied and told me the engine was located 20 minutes from where I live. I arranged a meeting with the seller for later that evening, and when I arrived, there it sat-complete, carbs to oil pan. The owner said the Hemi originally came out of a '66 Charger, and he had the engine built to NHRA Stock Eliminator rules for '70 specs, by Greg Luneak of Tri-City Competition. He raced it in a B/SA '70 Challenger at numerous divisional and national events, including the U.S. Nationals twice. At a divisional race, he ran the engine low on oil and spun a couple of rod bearings. After that happened, he pulled the Hemi and sent it back to Tri-City Competition for a rebuild and put a 440 Six Pack engine in the car and continued racing. When he got the Hemi back, he had every intention of putting it back into his car but never got around to it.
Fast forward nine years. The owner has run into money trouble, and here I am looking at it. I bought the Hemi, an extra set of carbs, pistons and rods, a Rat Roaster intake, Hooker Super Comp headers for an E-Body, the round Hemi air cleaner, and an extra set of valve covers for $6,000. Once I got the engine home, I placed all the items I knew I wasn't going to use on eBay and got $2,500 of my money back.
The next step was to tear the Hemi down and inspect it since it sat for so long. Friend and fellow Moparts.com member Todd Fisher and I disassembled the Hemi. I was happy to see that everything looked fine inside, that the previous owner hadn't lied to me. Todd started to reassemble the engine with standard tension plasma moly rings to replace the low-tension race rings. He also put a fresh hone to the cylinder bores. The main bearings were replaced due to flaking on a few bearings, but the rod bearings were perfect and reused. A solid lifter Mopar Performance cam with .312 degrees duration and .614/.598-inch lift was then installed.
The ports in the heads were cleaned up, removing any casting flash and irregularities, and the NHRA-legal valve job was left alone. Some hand lapping was all that was needed. New Diamond Racing valvesprings and Comp Cams 10-degree locks and retainers were also installed. The stock rocker assemblies looked perfect and were reinstalled. Instead of going with the factory dual-quad induction system, I decided to go with the Indy cylinder heads 426-4, single Dominator intake and a Holley HP 1050 Dominator carb. The ignition system is all MSD-a Digital 7 controller, a Pro Billet distributor, and an HVC Pro Power coil.
The exhaust system consists of the 211/48-inch Hooker Headers that came with the engine. I had them coated by QC Coatings in Shelby Township, Michigan. A Dr. Gas 311/42-3-inch X-pipe and a pair of Straight Line Performance 3-inch race mufflers were supplied by Scott Brown of Straight Line Performance.
The rest of the drivetrain consists of an 883 four-speed-rebuilt by me-a McLeod Street Twin dual-disc clutch assembly, a safety bellhousing, and the original Hurst Competition plus shifter with a pistol grip. The rear axle is a B-Body Dana 60 with 5.13:1 gears and Moser axles. The combination was installed in spring 2002. On a chassis dyno, the Hemi made 442 rear-wheel horsepower. So far, I have managed an 11.37 e.t. at 121.7 mph.
I've owned this car for 17 years, and although I've done almost all the work myself, there are a few people who have helped me through the years. I would like to thank my mom and dad, friends Jerry Newood and Tim Niekamp, my wife, Kim, and my brother Scott. He's helped me do so much on the car. I couldn't have done it without him.