All eight of this year's engines were delivered to the Mopar Nationals, where the builders
Of all the subjects we write about in the pages of Mopar Muscle, the Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge articles are some of the most popular. Our readers seem to enjoy being educated about engines, and learning how eight engine builders achieve big power on pump gas and a limited budget. While the Hemis and big-blocks we've featured in past challenges certainly got a great response, it seems this year's small-blocks are just as popular, and for good reason. The small-block Chrysler mill is widely available, makes great power, and can be inexpensive to build. Since stroker kits are also now available for the LA engines, it's really no wonder so many enthusiasts are choosing small-blocks to power their cars.
Since all the engines must be delivered to the Mopar Nationals, if you went to the show this year you likely saw the engine challenge motors on display, and may have even spoken to one of the builders. The engines drew quite a crowd as people speculated about how much power these small-blocks would make. Engine builders were on hand to discuss their contest engines, as well as give advice about what engine might be best for your car; listening to these builders exchange information was quite educational. The diversity of the engines impressed us as well, with displacements from just over 318 to the full 410ci limit of our contest. Induction was varied as well-from single four-barrel motors, to Six-Packs, and even one with a tunnel-ram intake and dual quads! It will be interesting to see what kind of power these plants make on the dyno at Comp. Rumblings of each engine having over 500 hp were heard all weekend. We'll find out when we dyno.
Since the purpose of our challenge is to show that reliable power can be made on pump gasoline and a tight budget, we'll again be using Rockett Brand 93-octane fuel for our testing. We'll also be tallying the retail price of the major components of each engine and dividing that number by the combined power and torque of the engine for a power-per-dollar rating. In previous engine challenges, it has taken a combination of good power and good budgeting to win, and this year should be no different. Though each builder used his own technique to try to gain an advantage, we still feel the contest will likely be decided by decimal points.
Here's a peek at the combinations. who do you think has what it takes to win?
The Mopar Nationals is the largest Mopar-only event in the world. If you attended this yea
Since this competition is geared toward street engines, we'll be testing the motors on 93-
Engine builder Damon Kuhn started with a factory 360 block as the foundation for his challenge engine. Inside, he utilized an Eagle crank and rods with SRP forged pistons to achieve 408 ci of displacement. Brodix B1BA cylinder heads top this small-block, which is fed by an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold and a 950-cfm Diamondback-prepped Holley carburetor. This combination should be powerful and durable, but it isn't the least expensive in our challenge.
Using a stock block, Diamondback Engines built a Brodix-headed, 408ci small-block for our engine challenge.
Indy Cylinder Head
Ken Lazerri of Indy Cylinder head is no stranger to big horsepower. His engines power some of the quickest and fastest Mopar race and street cars in existence. But when we saw the Indy entry in our contest, we were a little surprised. Instead of big Indy heads, their engine sports Magnum-style steel cylinder heads. Ken stated that while he would have loved to build an all-out powerhouse for our contest, the rules simply favored a budget small-block. Inside his factory block, an Eagle crank and rods were utilized with Wiseco pistons for a displacement of 408 ci. An Indy intake and Demon carburetor will feed this powerplant, which should be powerful and economical.
Though well-known for making big power, the guys at Indy will attempt to win this year's challenge by entering a budget-minded 408ci small-block.
Mid America Racing Engines
Engine builder David Bruns had the right combination of power and economics to win last year's engine challenge. This year, he'll be using a factory 360 block with an Eagle crank, Scat rods, and Probe pistons to achieve a displacement of 410 ci. Indy cylinder heads will be utilized with a Cam Motion camshaft and Indy rocker arms. An Indy single-plane intake manifold and single Holley four-barrel carburetor will mix the air and fuel, and an MSD distributor will light the fires. David's win in last year's contest has us eager to see if his small-block offers a similar performance.
As last year's champion, Mid America Racing Engines will try to back up their win with this 410ci small-block.
Mike Liston of MRL Performance took a slightly different approach than most of this year's builders. Instead of using the 360 as the foundation of his build, he decided to base his engine on the most widely produced Chrysler small-block-the 318. Inside his factory '66 block, Mike used a stock crankshaft with Scat connecting rods and Keith Black pistons. Magnum cylinder heads were used for their great power potential and inexpensive cost, and a Mopar Performance single-plane intake manifold and Holley four-barrel carburetor will handle the induction duties.
Wanting to show the potential of the most widely produced Mopar small-block, MRL Performance built a 318 for our contest.
Mike Ware of Muscle Motors has a wealth of experience building both race and street motors. For this year's challenge, he started with a factory 360 block, stuffing it with a Callies 3.70-inch stroke crankshaft, aftermarket connecting rods, and Ross pistons to achieve a displacement of 400 ci. The engine is topped with Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads, and solid roller camshaft actuates the valves. Instead of the traditional four-barrel, Mike used a Six-Pack intake manifold with a trio of Demon carburetors to feed this engine.
Utilizing Six-Pack induction, the Muscle Motors entry is one of only two engines in our contest not using a single four-barrel.
Engine builder Randy Malik of R.M. Competition has been building high-performance engines for some 38 years. During that time he's gained valuable experience machining, building, and tuning powerful street and race engines. For his challenge motor, Randy started out like most competitors with a factory 360 block. Inside his block, a Scat crankshaft was matched with stock 360 connecting rods and Keith Black pistons for 406 ci of displacement. Engine Quest CH318B Cylinder heads were chosen, and a Lunati cam opens the valves through Harland Sharp roller rocker arms. For induction, Randy chose a Weiand tunnel-ram intake manifold and dual Edelbrock carburetors. We're eager to see if this engine runs as impressively as it looks.
The dual-quads and tunnel ram certainly look impressive atop the R.M. Competition entry. We'll see if impressive looks equate to impressive performance when we dyno these engines at Comp in September.
Schurbon Engine And Machine
Scott Schurbon of Schurbon Engine and Machine loves building Chrysler small-blocks, stating the Mopar engine is easy to make powerful and is more durable than brand-X motors. For his engine challenge engine, he started with a production 360 block, then filled it with an Eagle crank, R.P.M. connecting rods, and Probe pistons to achieve a displacement of 410 ci. A Comp cam and lifters will open the valves. Factory Magnum cylinder heads sit atop this plant, and a Mopar Performance M-1 intake manifold and Holley 1,000-cfm carburetor feeds the engine with plenty of air and fuel.
If there were an award for artistic flair, Schurbon Engine and Machine would certainly win it with their plum-crazy small-block. We'll see if this engine runs as good as it looks when we put it on the dyno.
West Covina, California
Speed-O-Motive has long been known for building powerful, durable engines for both race and street cars. They have placed well in our past engine challenges, and they hope the small-block they're entering this year has the right combination to land them a win. Starting with a factory 360 block, the guys at Speed-O-Motive used a Scat 4-inch stroke crankshaft, Scat I-beam rods, and CP pistons to net 408 ci of displacement. Brodix B1B/AMC cylinder heads sit atop the plant, which is fed by a Mopar M1 intake and Holley 750HP carburetor.
Speed-O-Motive has participated in our past two engine challenges, placing well in both. This year we'll see if their potent small-block has the power to win.