Lofgren Auto Specialties; Cedar, MN
Chuck Lofgren, owner of Lofgren Auto Specialties, is no stranger to the automotive world. Chuck's love of cars and racing began when he was working at a service station during the days when musclecars ruled the streets. Chuck is a graduate of not only an automotive mechanics program, but also automotive machining. He went on to open his own shop, which has been serving gearheads for the past 22 years. When Chuck isn't working in his shop, he's drag racing his wheelstanding, 9-second '70 Plymouth 'Cuda, a testament to his dedication to motorsports.

When asked about his winning combination in our Hemi engine challenge, Chuck states that planning and professionalism were his keys to making a good showing. He also admits his engine was based on a misinterpretation of the contest rules. He thought he had to use an off-the-shelf Mopar piston in his engine, which made things tricky. First, he had trouble finding a set of eight suitable pistons and, eventually, purchased single units from multiple Mopar Performance dealers who had one or two in stock. Next, though the contest rules stated that engines up to 500 ci were legal, the Mopar pistons would limit him to some 485 ci, making his engine the smallest in the contest at 15 inches shy of the limit. So how did the smallest motor win the contest? A list of tough and economical parts, combined with professional assembly techniques helped Lofgren lead our field of competitors.

All of the competitors utilized the same Mopar Performance block for their builds. Like most of the builders, the Lofgren team bored and bushed the block's lifter bores for valve timing accuracy. Remember that no matter how accurate a cam is ground, if the lifter bores are not true, valve timing will be affected. In addition to their use of Mopar Performance pistons-the domes of which were fly-cut to reduce compression-the Lofgren entry contained a stout rotating assembly, consisting of an Eagle 4.15-inch stroke crankshaft and Eagle H-beam rods measuring 6.86 inches center-to-center length. Combined with the .039-inch compressed thickness of the head gasket, the 84.45 cc of the dome, and 172cc chamber of the cylinder head, the Mopar pistons provided a compression ratio of 11.22:1. Custom Total Seal piston rings ensured the burnt gasses stayed in the combustion chamber where they belong. a Melling high-volume pump was combined with a Milodon pan and windage tray to supply oil to the engine, while keeping it away from the crankshaft. Federal Mogul semi-groove main and Clevite rod bearings kept everything spinning freely in this engine, and ARP fasteners were used to keep all the rotating assembly components in place. To complete the bottom end, an EPW timing set spun a Cam motion mechanical flat-tappet camshaft, which was installed in the block's journals with Durabond cam bearings bearing the load. The camshaft spec'd out at a gross lift of .642-inch intake and .620-inch exhaust, with duration at .050-inch lift at 273- and 276-degrees, respectively. Lobe center measured 110.1 degrees and the installed centerline of this cam was 107 degrees. Valve lash was set at the recommended .023 inch.