When we wrote the rules for our first engine challenge we wanted to ensure that this would be a competition between real world engines that would survive on the street. One-off combinations designed to make killer horsepower for a few dyno pulls had to be weeded out, so we set the standard at no less than six dyno pulls at an acceleration rate one-half what is normally used on an engine dyno. If any of these engines had a weakness, we planned to find it. The other criteria we considered while writing the rules was cost. We wanted to ensure that a high-budget shop couldn't just come in and kill everyone with peak horsepower, so we added the twist of factoring the retail cost of each engine's parts into the power the engine made for a composite score. We at Mopar Muscle are budget minded to the point of being called "cheap," so we wanted to be sure these engines stayed within a budget that our readers could afford. We must say, all the entrants in our competition exceeded our expectations. These shops made killer power on a budget that was way less than excessive. In fact, our engine challenge went over so well that a certain corporation seems to have adopted our template for their own engine competition. What can we say? Imitation is the finest form of flattery.
The best news is all the motors survived their time on the dyno, and some have already been installed and are cruising the streets. If you've been following our competition, you know the builders used a variety of tricks and techniques to give them an advantage, and that all started with the best engine building trick-a solid foundation of parts to work with. It wasn't too long ago that it took a huge bank account and lots of hand fabrication to tweak extra ponies from a Hemi project. Now the aftermarket is flush with support for the Hemi engine ,and, as a result of that competitive market, prices have become more reasonable. Cranks, blocks, pistons, rods, and cylinder heads are just a few of the many parts now available at prices that would have seemed ludicrously low even five years ago.
Two guys who took advantage of this abundance of aftermarket Hemi support are Chuck Lofgren of Lofgren Auto Specialties and Mike Ware of Muscle Motors. While these guys didn't make the most outright horsepower or torque in our competition, when the cost of their parts was factored into the power they made, they placed first and second in the challenge. Follow along as we look inside their engines to see what components and techniques were used in their builds.