Before long we were back at Westech, and the Charger was again strapped to the SuperFlow's rollers. We had set the timing to a conservative 35 degrees total, and the Demon carb was still equipped with the stock 83/93 jetting. Right out of the chute, the Charger banged out a stout 362.2 hp at 5,040 rpm and 413.4 lb-ft of torque at 3,817 rpm. Our seat-of-the-pants reckoning hadn't deceived us; this thing had some oats. We made a quick change of the ignition timing to 39 degrees total and were immediately rewarded with 370.2 hp at 5,050 rpm and 413.9 lb-ft at 4,355 rpm. This was serious territory at the rear wheels for such a docile-running 440.

Next, we cracked open the Demon carb for a jet change. We installed a pair of 81s in the front and 90s in the rear, leaning the mixture a touch from the factory calibration. Lean was mean, and a turn of the rollers showed that output was up again, posting 377.2 hp at 5,156 rpm and 416 lb-ft at 4,488 rpm.

One of the key mods we wanted to make on the dyno was an upgrade from the stock 1.5:1 rockers and valvetrain to a set of Crane 1.6:1 roller rockers. Our ported heads could take all the lift the cam could dish out and translate it to more airflow and breathing, which should equate to more power. In fact, testing the heads showed they would keep gaining in airflow to well over 0.800 inch of lift, so we concluded that the more lift we could dial in the better. With the 1.5 rockers, the intake valves were seeing just over 0.5 inch of lift, while the 1.6s would bring it up to 0.538 inch-still a fraction of the head's capabilities, but a significant improvement in a street combination.

The stock rockers and pushrods were removed, and in their place we bolted in the Crane 1.6s with PAW chrome-moly pushrods. The lifter preload was set to a one-half turn past zero lash, and we were once again ready to test the results. As predicted, the higher ratio rockers had a favorable effect on the output, which now edged up to 387.1 hp at 5,290 rpm and 420 lb-ft at 4,483 rpm. Even more significant was the way the engine held on past peak power rpm. At 5,600 rpm, the 1.6 rockers added 35 rear-wheel horsepower

Our final test was to add a four-hole spacer under the carb. The four-hole will sometimes help smooth the small dips from the power curve, and it often adds to the torque output. We had enough clearance under the power-bulge hood of the Charger to run a 1-inch spacer with a 1-inch drop-base, open-element air cleaner leaving room to spare. The spacer did result in a slight improvement to the power curve, adding a couple of lb-ft of torque down low and boosting peak-output-to-horsepower at 5,214 rpm. Oddly, the spacer dropped a couple of lb-ft of torque at peak to 417.2 at 4,539 rpm.

With that, the Charger was unhooked from the rollers, and we packed up, satisfied that the old R/T was more than armed enough to handle all but the most threatening street confrontation. We had seen plenty of big-cammed, exotic big-block street engines on Westech's chassis dyno struggle to make 300 rear-wheel horsepower. Our 440 idled and drove almost as smoothly as a stocker, but with nearly 400 hp at the wheels, it packed an unbelievable whallop.