Atop the Muscle Motors short-block, Mike opted for Mopar Performance aluminum cylinder heads. Knowing the thermal efficiency of steel heads would give him an extra pony or two, Mike again did the math and discovered the aluminum units actually retail for less money-an advantage that would outweigh any performance gain offered by the steel units. The cylinder heads were given a thorough port job in house before being assembled, using valves from Racing Engine Valves (REV). Comp Cam's valvesprings (PN 930) kept the valvetrain stable to the 7,000-rpm limit of our contest, and everything was kept in place with Comp retainers and locks. By using Muscle Motors own rocker stands (PN 426RS), combined with Indy Cylinder Head's 426-27 rockers to actuate the valvetrain, costs were again kept in check. An Indy 426-2 single-plane intake, topped with an 1190-cfm Barry Grant King Demon carburetor, took care of the induction duties and provided plenty of flow for this 500-inch Hemi. Though he placed well in our contest, it was not without struggles. While hurriedly setting the ignition timing of his motor after a last minute distributor swap, the dial on the timing light was inadvertently spun, resulting in ambiguous ignition timing readings. Mike recognized this problem just prior to his final judged dyno pull and made the correction in time to post his best number in the last pull. While this is a testament to Mike's ability to work under pressure, we're sure he could have tweaked a little more from his engine had he not had difficulties.
We appreciate Mike's efforts in our competition. his engine made good power, but what impressed us even more was the concentration on the economics of the contest. Each engine builder wanted to be the big dog on the block and impress us with high-horsepower numbers, so it took some restraint for Mike to resist that temptation. His research and efforts to keep costs down definitely helped him to a second place finish in the competition. We congratulate Mike and are happy to have him in the Mopar community supplying gearheads with affordable power for their street or strip vehicles.
Next month we'll feature two more of the Hemis in our challenge, so stay tuned.