Ever since wheels were mounted to the first orange crate, the quest for gains in automotive performance has been the topic of discussion. Remember those days-hanging out with your buddies, talkin' smack about how your go-cart can whoop their go-carts any day? Times haven't changed that much. We still hang around with our buddies talkin' smack, but now it's on a grander scale.

Some guys dream of having an engine with enough billet accessories to put Boyd Coddington into early retirement. Thankfully, though, the performance-minded guys know what it takes to make a car go fast, not just look the part.

We decided to follow along as the staff at Automotive Machine in Fraser, Michigan, built a resto-looking 440 powerplant that delivers a larger-than-factory number. We say resto-looking because the engine now displaces 496 ci. It's not an exotic, uild-it-with-your-fat-wallet-because-you-have-all-the-money-in-the-world engine. It's a common-sense approach that shows what paying attention to details and parts can do.

After the engine was built, it was installed in Doug Johnson's '69 1/2 Road Runner and put to the test on AP Engineering's Mustang chassis dyno. Doug installed Promax metering blocks so he could better tune the outboard carbs at the dyno. He also removed the factory 30cc accelerator pump and put on 50cc pieces. The center carb was jetted with 62s on both sides, and the outboard carbs were jetted identical to start-85s on the driver side and 83s on the passenger side. The vacuum secondaries had the yellow springs installed (the lightest available).

With the Runner pulled up on the dyno, the first thing to do was drill the exhaust pipe for an O2 sensor to monitor the air/fuel ratio. After the Six-barrel was brought up to operating temp, we made the first pull, which came in at 356 hp at 5,100 rpm and 401 lb-ft of torque at 4,200. It was a little less than expected, but A/F was showing the engine running a little lean.