Lofgren Auto Specialties took top honors in last year's challenge when their 485ci Hemi sc
Those of you who followed last year's engine challenge are aware that the 500-inch Hemis made some serious power on Competition Cam's Superflow engine dyno. Seven of the best engine builders from around the country showed off their skills and provided us with some very potent street Hemis. We saw a wide variety of building techniques, and parts from virtually every aftermarket manufacturer were utilized in the engines. With peak torque topping out at more than 600 lb-ft and horsepower numbers well into the 700 range, last year's builders definitely demonstrated the potency of the Chrysler Hemi.
We promise this year's engine challenge will be equally exciting and will feature the RB wedge engine. We want to demonstrate the power that can be made within a reasonable budget and on fuel available at the pump, so this year's rules will be similar to last year's with a couple of minor changes. Displacement will again be limited to a maximum of 500 ci, and rpm for the dyno pulls will again be limited to 7,000, but there will be no restriction on the use of roller camshafts this year. Again, the cost of the parts used to build the engine will be factored into the combined horsepower and torque the engines make for a composite score, so the builders need to watch their budget. There is no limit on compression ratio, but all the competitors must use the same Rockett Brand 93-octane unleaded fuel, which will limit the squeeze they build into their wedge motors.
we'll introduce this year's engine builders, and follow their motors from theory, through the build, to the Mopar Nationals where the engines will be on display for all to see. We'll then take all the motors to Comp Cams where they will be dyno'd and inspected for rule compliance.
We encourage all our readers to call the engine shop nearest you to discuss your upcoming engine build. These guys are all professional and speak Mopar fluently so don't hesitate to use them as a source for your next project. Also be sure to check out moparmusclemagazine.com for regular engine challenge updates.
Best Machine Racing Engines, Chuck Millen
Located in Warren, Michigan, Best Machine Racing Engines has a reputation for building high-quality performance engines utilizing the best parts available. Chuck Millen of Best Machine states there is only one way to build an engine-the right way using quality parts. Whether a mild street engine or a full bore race unit, the guys at Best Machine treat each engine equally, performing all the necessary steps to ensure great power and a long service life. Their shop is state-of-the-art and has the equipment to perform each operation in-house where quality can be monitored. Best Machine prides themselves on providing not only proven combinations, but also utilizing the latest, innovative technology to meet their customers needs. As proof of their dedication, you can find Chuck Millen, Pete Costa, and much of the crew at the race track each weekend testing new ideas and supporting their customers race cars.
At this time, Chuck and his crew haven't formulated a concrete plan for their entry into this year's challenge, but assured us that quality machine work matched with the best parts and assembly techniques will give them an edge in this year's competition.
Hitech Motorsport,Bart Wells
Hitech Motorsport, located in Ramsey, Minnesota, is a newcomer to our engine challenge. Founded by Bart Wells in 1999, Hitech operates under the philosophy of giving customers quality performance work with a personal touch. They build custom engines for domestic street and race applications and also perform custom chassis work. Nothing is too exotic for Hitech; they frequently install and maintain turbochargers, superchargers, and nitrous oxide injection kits. Dyno tuning is also performed by Hitech on their chassis dyno. Hitech is currently growing and will be moving into their new 22,000 square-foot building in September of this year.
The engine Hitech enters in our challenge will be a 499ci wedge and is currently in the planning stages. Edelbrock cylinder heads will likely serve duty atop this motor, but the rest is still to be determined. Follow our challenge as we update you in later issues on the progress made by Hitech and the rest of our competitors.
J.D. Engine and Machine, Jeff Dickey
Recognizing the limited opportunity working for others and the need to support his racing habit, Jeff Dickey started J.D. Engine and Machine in 1988. Since his humble beginnings, Jeff has built his shop into one of the best equipped machine shops in central Missouri. Jeff impressed us during last year's challenge when his dual Dominator-equipped 500-inch Hemi posted the highest horsepower numbers of the contest even with damaged valvesprings. Jeff can build combinations from mild to wild, but his specialty is tweaking every last horsepower from his motors. In addition to building engines, Jeff is an avid racer and has campaigned successful entries in the popular 10.5-inch tire class. He and his crew are currently working on an NHRA-legal Pro-Modified entry, which we are sure will post some impressive numbers when complete.
Jeff's theory for this year's competition is the same as last-make big power. Jeff's combination will be a conventional 4.150 stroke/4.375 bore and will likely utilize single carburetor induction. Cylinder heads are still in question, but at the time of this article, Jeff is leaning toward Edelbrock's new Victor series head for the big-block Chrysler. Whatever the final combination, we're sure this shop will be one to watch for some impressive peak numbers.
MRL Performance, Mike Liston
MRL Performance was started in January of this year and concentrates on Mopar street performance engines that can be built for a reasonable cost. This theory should work well in our competition since we concentrate not only on horsepower and torque, but factor the cost of the engine as well. Don't let the relative youth of this shop fool you; Mike has been building Mopar engines for himself and for others for more than 13 years. During that time he has accumulated a wealth of information about how to obtain power from the RB powerplant at a reasonable cost. Mike concentrates on street/strip engines, leaving the all-out race motors for the bigger shops, and treats each engine as a custom unit. By defining the customer's goals, the engine can then be specially built to meet those needs, creating a better end result.
Mike has a couple of theories regarding his entry in our competition: the first-a solid, economical street engine. This combination would produce killer torque, reasonable power, and be a low-cost/high-endurance build. His second theory would involve a less docile entry, pushing power numbers and cost a little higher. We're eager to see which plan he chooses as the contest deadline approaches.
Mid America Racing Engines, David Bruns
Located in Washington, Iowa, Mid America Racing Engines provides engine building and machine shop services for customers with a need for speed and has been doing so since 1975. This full service shop can handle basic or the most complex machining operations. Whether a mild street application or a full-blown race engine, David Bruns prides himself on his attention to detail. This attention to detail provides not only big power, but also creates engines that live for many miles or passes down the drag strip. As a testament to this technique, the 500-inch Hemi Mid America brought to last year's challenge made well over 650 hp and had broad power and torque curves, while running smoothly and comfortably on our 93-octane fuel. Rather than push compression ratio to a point of possible detonation, David relied on cylinder head flow and proper parts matching to make killer power from a very streetable combination. We're sure his wedge entry for this year's contest will also display a healthy blend of power, drivability, and economy.
For this year's challenge, David will be going with a fairly common 4.150-inch stroke combination and will be topping it with cylinder heads from Edelbrock. Compression will remain pump friendly and camshaft selection will optimize power. Knowing that cost is factored, David will be keeping an eye on economics, as well tweaking as much power as possible from a cost effective combination of parts.
Mopar Engines West, Richard Nedbal
If you're looking for a high-tech approach to engine building, you may want to consider Mopar Engines West located in Newark, California. After selling his software company, Richard Nedbal founded Mopar Engines West in 2001 to fill the Mopar communities need for a high-tech engine builder. Employed as an integrated Circuit engineer prior to his engine building and software careers, Richard designed electronic fuel-injection electronics and software from EFI's inception in the mid-'70s. This high-tech experience has given Mopar Engines West the required skills to build custom race and street engines, such as the 8-CNC stacked wedge in the highly acclaimed GTX-R, as well as the fuel-injected slant Six we featured in a previous issue. In 2005, Richard merged his company with Dave Timmons, who focuses on dyno work and engine assembly, leaving Richard to experiment with EFI and technical applications and theory. As their customers can attest, Mopar Engines West can build an engine that will exceed your expectations no matter what your budget is.
While they haven't yet begun assembling their entry into this year's engine challenge, you can be assured that Mopar Engines West is formulating a solid plan. Each engine they build is based on clearly defined goals, so we're sure their motor will be well thought out to optimize the power-per-dollar method by which it will be judged. At Richard's request, we won't be giving away any details on this motor, but we will say that several aspects, such as cylinder head choice, may surprise you.
Promax, Ben Gorman
Promax, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a full-service speed and engine shop that specializes in making street cars fast. They even sponsor the Promax Fastest Street Car class, which is a points drag racing series at the four main Mopar events in the country. With those credentials and hailing from an address on Gasoline Alley in the racing capitol of the world, we're expecting a lot from their entry in our engine challenge. These guys don't just speak Mopar, they live it. A quick check of their web site will confirm that not only are most of their projects Mopars, their dyno test mule is also a big-block Mopar named "cheap thrills." This test engine will serve as a platform to try new technology and determine what does and doesn't work when it comes to tweaking power from the Chrysler RB engine. Since they specialize in custom induction, we look forward to seeing what Promax has in the works for our competition.
When asked about plans for their entry in our engine challenge, Ben Gorman stated that Promax would rely on quality machining, a good combination of economical parts, and well-matched induction components to optimize their engine. Promax will be teaming up with their neighbor, Creative Flow Management, to formulate a plan based on the contest rules. As of this writing, Promax was undecided about whether to go for peak power numbers or to build a powerful, economically priced engine since our rules are based on cost as well as power. Whatever they decide, we're sure they will provide us with some impressive numbers.
Speed-O-Motive, August Cedarstrand
Speed-O-Motive of West Covina, California, has been supporting racers and performance enthusiasts since the first days of hot rodding. From humble beginnings, Speed-O-Motive has grown into one of the premier engine shops in the country. Machining operations are performed by high-quality Rottler CNC equipment, ensuring exacting tolerances at an economical price. Each engine is treated as a custom job with careful consideration given to the customer's expectations and the intended use of the engine. Their entry in last year's contest performed flawlessly, needing very little tuning to optimize horsepower and torque. August claims with an efficient combination of quality parts, their wedge engine should be able to outperform last year's Hemi.
The Speed-O-Motive entry in this year's combination will likely push the cubic inch limit to the maximum allowed by the rules. As of this writing, Edelbrock heads were being considered, but the final decision isn't made yet. As with any performance engine, careful consideration of performance potential and cost will be the deciding factors. Single four-barrel induction and MSD ignition will top off their wedge engine. we're looking forward to seeing what the crew at Speed-O-Motive can bring to the table