Those of you who have been following our Hemi engine challenge are aware that all of the competitors tweaked some serious power from their 500-inch elephant engines. All the engines in the competition made at least 650 hp, with the top engines pushing well past the 700hp mark. our competition had the added twist of factoring the horsepower and torque the engine made into the price of the engine to determine who made the most power for the dollar. Our idea was to demonstrate the variety of components and building techniques the builders utilized to make great power, while keeping the cost at a reasonable level. This year we congratulate Chuck Lofgren and his team from Lofgren Auto Specialties in Cedar, Minnesota, who squeezed the most power-per-dollar from the smallest cubic-inch engine entered in the competition.
We want all our readers to know this was a very close competition. While some of the builders obviously went for peak power numbers, others were intent on keeping costs down and shooting for the best power-per-dollar. To calculate the power-per-dollar of the engines, we used third-party retailers to price all the major components of each engine. Labor was assumed to be equal and couldn't really be judged accurately, so it was not factored into our formula. Even with engines topped with cylinder heads from Indy, Stage V, Mopar Performance, and a set of factory cast-iron units, as well as induction ranging from dual Edelbrock carburetors to a single Holley Dominator mounted on an Indy single plane intake, our top competitors were separated only by decimal points. Regardless of the combination, all of these engines performed very well, and we would be happy to have any of them in our cars.
While all our competitors used the same Mopar Performance block as required by the rules of our challenge, what went inside the block was very different. Since the competition was based on the cost of the parts, as well as the power made, exotic, pricey pieces were kept to a minimum in most engines. Each builder concentrated on putting together a solid combination, spending extra money where they thought it would help the most. Some utilized special friction enhancing coatings, while others opted for dual-carburetor induction.
Starting with the Lofgren entry, we'll give an overview of each builder's techniques, as well as the parts they used in their engine. Look for in-depth breakdowns of the engines and their components in future issues. We're sure you'll agree that all of these builders have earned some well-deserved respect when it comes to building a potent street Hemi. We're also sure you'll be impressed with the diversity of parts and techniques used by the builders to make their power.