When it comes to the engine in our Mopar, we all want an abundance of power (isn't that why we drive Mopars?), but there are other important aspects regarding the powerplant that sits between the frame rails of our car. For a powerful engine to last, it must be able to withstand the forces placed on it during its life, especially in high-rpm or high-load applications, without over-stressing itself or breaking an internal part that would lead to engine failure. Chrysler did a pretty good job designing their high-performance V-8 engines to withstand their rated power levels, and stock Mopar muscle car engines often lasted far longer than the engines in their competitors' vehicles. Engine technology has come a long way in the past four decades though, and by today's standards the engines in our muscle cars definitely utilize outdated technology.

To properly build a high-performance engine, it takes a good selection of the right parts, as well as accurate inspection, machining, and assembly techniques, to result in an engine that is not only powerful, but durable as well. And while durability isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when building an engine, it is vitally important if you want to be able to properly enjoy your vehicle. Durability means that at the track, you're the racer who runs quick, consistent elapsed times or lap speeds, without having to open the hood of your car during an event. On the street, durability means not worrying about driving on that long cruise or taking your car on a trip or to the track, because you're confident nothing will break. But while knowing the importance of engine durability is one thing, actually achieving it is an entirely different matter. It takes the proper tools, techniques, and parts to build an engine that lasts, and often the experience needed is gained by testing parts and theories on the dyno or at the racetrack.

One of the reasons we do so much racing is because we know the rigors of racing are the ultimate test of engine parts, and the technology used in race engines can often be applied to street or dual-purpose engines as well. This is no secret, as auto manufacturers have been utilizing this theory for many years, applying cutting edge racing technology to the engines they produce for their street cars and building more powerful and robust production engines each year. So, while we know most of you won't get the chance to build your own all-out race Hemi, we thought we'd let you follow along while we build one, showing you the parts and techniques we used, many of which can be applied to your street engine as well.

The subject of our build is a 540 cubic inch all aluminum Hemi we're putting together for a friend and local Mopar enthusiast who lives on the West coast of Florida. This engine is a full-blown race motor, which will eventually reside in a tube-chassis '68 Dodge Dart. Due to its power potential, this engine will be built using all aftermarket parts, including an Indy Maxx aluminum, water-cooled block, Indy CNC ported aluminum cylinder heads, a Comp roller cam, Milodon oil system, and a mixture of forged and billet internals from Summit Racing. Experience tells us that this high-compression race engine has the potential of nearly 1,000 horsepower and 8,500 or more rpm if equipped with tunnel-ram induction, but Joe chose a cross-ram intake manifold which will limit the engines output to around 900 horsepower. Even so, the loads and pressures on the internal and external engine parts will be immense, so only the best parts, and the most precise machining techniques, will ensure this engine's longevity.