Though not in contention for...
Though not in contention for the top horsepower of the contest, Mike Ware of Muscle Motors did work through some ignition difficulties to place second in our competition. His ace in the hole was the economy of his build. Mike obviously did his homework and realized that top horsepower wouldn't beat economical parts. Decimal points separated Muscle Motors' Second Place from first place.
In an effort to keep costs...
In an effort to keep costs down, Mike utilized a factory Chrysler electronic distributor. Unfortunately, an electrical gremlin negated it working on Comp's dyno, so the Lofgren team loaned him their MSD unit to complete his dyno pulls. We wonder if they would have been so generous had they known how closely the Muscle Motors entry would place to their own.
Muscle Motors; Lansing, MI
Muscle Motors in Lansing, Michigan, is a name synonymous with high-performance Mopar engines. Mike Ware and his team have been supporting both Mopar racers and street enthusiasts with professional engine builds and machine shop services for years and can build as much power as your budget can afford.
When it came to stuffing his Mopar Performance block full of go-fast goodies, Mike took the economical approach. Knowing his engine would make acceptable power without using extremely high-end parts, Mike's math told him if he could keep costs low, nobody could touch his composite score, no matter how much power they made. His calculations must have been close because even with a fifth place ranking when factoring power and torque alone, the low cost of his build catapulted him to second when cost was factored.
We applaud Mike for bringing an engine that epitomized the rules we wrote for the contest-good power at an affordable cost. It is for that reason the Muscle Motors entry has the most economical retail price at $17,150.
Inside his Mopar Performance block, Mike stayed away from pricey, one-off pieces and relied on quality, off-the-shelf parts and proven machining and assembly techniques to make his entry competitive. A Muscle Motors Private Label 4.15-inch stroke crankshaft, matched with their own Private Label rods, were combined with Diamond pistons to form the rotating assembly of this motor, which checked in right at our limit of 500 ci. everything was balanced in-house to ensure the longevity of this engine. Like most of our competitors, Mike combined a Melling oil pump with a Milodon pan, pick up, and windage tray to complete his oiling system. Camshaft selection is vital to any engine build, and Mike takes it very seriously. Not liking what he saw in the off-the-shelf catalogs, he chose to have Comp Cams custom grind a camshaft to his specifications. While this sounds pricey, it's actually not. Comp's custom-grind cams usually retail for about the same price as their stocked items and, in our experience, they can usually have the cam ground and delivered in a few days. We do, however, advise that you use caution if you're toying with the idea of your own custom cam grind. The engineers at Comp spend countless hours designing and testing their cam profiles, so it's hard to beat their research on your own. Mike was keeping the specifics on his cam somewhat secret, but rumor has it that lift was in the mid-.600 range, with duration at .050-inch lift around 270 degrees.