If you've followed our previous Engine Challenges, you know our rules each year have limited displacement and certain modifications that can be done to the engine, and also require that each engine run on Rockett Brand 93 octane pump fuel and Amsoil's 10-40 oil, but otherwise anything goes. The power of each engine was then divided into the cost of the main parts of the engine for a dollar-per-horsepower rating. While these rules have led to some interesting and somewhat exotic combinations, we felt this year we'd change it up a little bit. Instead of allowing any combination of parts, we're requiring this year's competitors to each use the same basic block and cylinder head, and whoever makes the most power will win.
While we were deciding which engine to feature in the '08 Challenge, many options were discussed, including the new 5.7 Hemi, as well as the Slant Six and Poly 318. While it would be interesting to see what kind of power the new Hemi or one of these other engines would make, they are just not mainstream enough to warrant a dyno competition based strictly on one of these motors. Since we wanted to feature a powerful engine similar to what our readers would build for their cars, we decided to feature the 440 in this year's competition-not a stroked 440, but a stock stroke engine with a maximum overbore of .060 inch. The 440 has long been a mainstay of Mopar Performance, offering big displacement and easily bolting into most popular body styles, so it makes sense to see what kind of power professional builders can make with this engine.
The main change in this year's rules involves the cylinder heads. While previous contests have allowed the use of any off-the-shelf head, this year will be different. Instead of factoring the cost of the engines, we decided to limit all the competitors to the same head, and see who could make the most power. Although there are many heads on the market now for the big-block Mopar, we wanted to choose a cylinder head that offered good power potential for a reasonable cost. Since Indy Cylinder Head has supported Mopar enthusiasts since they've been in business, and because their 440-SR cylinder heads offer large ports, big valves, and efficient combustion chambers without requiring special rocker gear, they made good sense for our contest.