David Bruns of Mid America Racing Engines in Washington, Iowa, definitely knows the ins and outs of going fast. Even before starting his machine shop David and his family were avid drag racers, building their own powerful engines and always ready to help their fellow racers. This philosophy has carried over to his business where David is happy to help performance enthusiasts achieve their power goals in the most economical way possible. Whether a slightly warmed-over street engine or a full-on big-inch racing mill, Mid America delivers honest combinations that exceed their customers' expectations. When it came to choosing parts for his entry in our engine challenge, David decided to build an honest street engine that would not only make respectable power, but would have the endurance to last for years of enjoyment in a pavement pounding street car. While our contest was factored on peak power, and the Mid America entry made more than 665 peak horsepower, this engine had very broad torque and power curves and made well over 500 lb-ft of torque at a leisurely 3,000 rpm. Had our contest been based on average torque and horsepower over the rpm range of the contest, this entry would have certainly placed higher in our contest.

After receiving his Mopar Performance Siamese-bore Hemi block, it was fully checked and stress relieved before the main journals were line honed and the cylinders were bored to 4.375 inches. With a compression ratio of approximately ten-to-one, this engine was probably the most honest street engine in our contest. Inside the block, Mid America utilized an Eagle crankshaft with a 4.150 stroke. The crankshaft was stress relieved, the oil holes were radiused, and it was internally balanced before being installed in the engine. Tough Manley connecting rods were used for their endurance and JE pistons were employed to keep compression at a pump-gas friendly ten-to-one. The only trick employed by Mid America was the application of a friction-reducing coating to the piston skirts. Oiling duties were handled by a reliable Moroso 7-quart oil pan and pickup combined with a Melling high-volume oil pump. To dampen harmonics, a Professional Products SFI-approved balancer was utilized. A Melling double-roller timing chain and gears kept the camshaft in synch with the crank in this solid short-block.

Topping his stout short-block, David chose to use Indy's CNC ported cylinder heads (PN 426-1RA). The thermal efficiency of a steel cylinder head may have made a pony or two more, but David chose to stay with his theme of a realistic street motor, stating that the weight savings of the aluminum heads may not reflect a gain on the dyno, but would certainly be an advantage when the engine is installed in a car. Indy stainless steel valves were matched with Isky gold valvesprings and Crane 10-degree retainers and locks to keep everything solidly in place. An Indy Cylinder Head 426-3 intake manifold with a 4500 flange was match ported to the cylinder heads and topped with a Holley Dominator carburetor to handle the air/fuel mixing. An Isky solid lifter flat-tappet camshaft was selected to actuate the valvetrain. David was somewhat tight lipped about the specifics of this camshaft; all he would tell us is that lift is in the .600- to .650-inch range and duration at .050-inch lift was in the 250-degree range. What we do know is this camshaft provided very broad torque and power curves adding to the true streetability of this combination. The engine was fastened together with ARP hardware and sealed with Victor-Reinz gaskets.

We must say we were impressed with this entry in our contest. It took nerve to build a relatively conservative street motor for our contest, and we congratulate Mid America Racing engines for their strong showing. Of all the engines in our contest, this one sounded happiest on the dyno without so much as a hint of detonation. This engine would have run just fine on 87-octane fuel and is a durable and powerful combination. Powerful engines combined with professional business practices and genuinely good people make Mid America Racing Engines the perfect choice for your next build.

That's All There Is There Ain't No More
The '05 Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge is over. We had some of the best engine builders in the country build a 500-inch Hemi, run it on the dyno, and then we told you what's inside. Keep in mind, this Challenge was to allow each of these engine builders the opportunity to showcase their skills, and build engines that could be repeated for anyone that called the shop. We had a lot of horsepower, we had a lot of torque, and we even had engines that looked like restored elephants. So remember, if you are looking to have a Hemi built, keep these shops in mind because they have proven themselves as great engine builders.

Indy Cylinder Head
8621 Southeastern Ave.
IN  46239
Lofgren Auto Specialties
18130 Dahlia St. NW
MN  55011
Mid America Racing Engines
1945 W. 18th St.
IA  52353
Muscle Motors
2085 Glenn St.
MI  48906
J.D. Engine and Machine
900 Spencer Ave.
MO  65203
131 W. Lang Ave.
West Covina
CA  91790