It takes horsepower to be competitive in our Engine Challenge, and the two small-blocks we're featuring this month made plenty of it. In fact, the R.M. Competition entry was just shy of winning, placing a very close Third in our tightest competition to date. The Mid America Racing Engines entry also impressed us by making the most combined power of any engine in this year's Engine Challenge, screaming to more than 560 pump-gas-friendly horsepower and nearly 500 lb-ft of torque. Equally as important as the power these engines produced was the budget the builders adhered to. Since the cost of each engine is factored into the combined power, engine builders had to carefully spend money where it benefited their combination the most.

This month, we'll go inside the Third Place entry of R.M. Competition and the Fourth Place entry of Mid America Racing Engines, detailing the parts and techniques that made each engine competitive.

2007 participants
Diamondback EnginesIndy Cylinder Head
7723 FM 7238621 Southeastern Ave.
Richmond, TX 77469Indianapolis, IN 46239
Mid America Racing EnginesMRL Performance
1945 W. 18th St.4651 Culley Ln.
Washington, IA 52353Jackson, MI 49201
Muscle MotorsR.M. Competition
2085 Glenn St.28648 Maple
Lansing, MI 48906Roseville, MI 48066
Schurbon Engine and MachineSpeed-O-Motive
203 S. Clark St.131 W. Lang Ave.
Maquoketa, IA 52060West Covina, CA 91790

R.M. Competition
Roseville, Michigan
Engine builder Randy Malik came very close to winning this year's Engine Challenge. Placing a close Third, this engine was mere decimals away from the Second and First Place entries in ouandy placed so well was his careful selection of budget parts, and making more than 500 hp on the dyno certainly didn't hurt. This engine was a well thought-out combination of powerful parts and was built on a tight budget since cost matters as much as power in our contest.

Starting with a production Chrysler 360 core motor, Randy performed the necessary machine work in-house. The factory block was bored to accommodate Keith Black hypereutectic cast pistons and Perfect Circle piston rings. A Scat stroker crank was matched with factory connecting rods to net a displacement of 406 ci. A production 360 oil pan was also utilized to keep costs down, and a custom windage tray was fabricated in-house. Melling was the manufacturer of choice for the oil pump, timing set, and lifters, and Federal Mogul and Durabond bearings were used in this engine. Knowing the importance of camshaft selection, Randy chose a large Lunati flat-tappet unit to work with the Weiand tunnel-ram intake.

To top his stout bottom-end, Randy chose Mopar Magnum cylinder heads from Engine Quest. Magnum heads adorned the top three finishers in this year's contest and make great power for the money. REV engine valves were utilized along with valvesprings matched to the Lunati bump stick. Harland Sharp roller rocker arms with a 1.7 ratio were used on the intake side, while Crane 1.6 ratio rockers were chosen for the exhaust side. A composition head gasket was used to seal the combustion chambers, and Randy claims compression ended up right at 12.2:1, pushing the limit for pump gas. While the Weiand tunnel-ram intake isn't really what Randy would recommend for a street car, it worked great on the dyno where peak horsepower and torque were used to help determine the winner. While no special coatings per se were used on this engine, he did paint the bottom of the intake with epoxy paint to help insulate the intake from the hot oil. A matching pair of Edelbrock carburetors topped the engine, and an air cleaner was fabricated from wood, again to keep cost down.