To see video of JD's dyno run click here.

The 2008 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge featured a 440 spec motor this year, so all the competitors were limited to the same basic combination of a .060 inch over 440 short-block and Indy SR cylinder heads for their entries. Additionally, all engines had to run on the same Rockett Brand 93 octane fuel while they were on Comp's engine dyno, so compression had to remain at a pump-gas friendly level. Instead of factoring costs this year, we simply set the rules, and whoever made the most combined peak horsepower and torque would win our contest. Nearly capturing first place this year was the runner-up entry of JD Engine and Machine, which made 737 hp and 586.4 lb/ft of torque for a combined score of 1323.4.

Placing well in a dyno competition requires more than just the skills necessary to assemble an engine. Each individual part of the combination has to work in conjunction with all others to produce optimum power. Engine builder Jeff Dickey of JD Engine and Machine in Columbia, Missouri, is an avid drag racer, building some of the most powerful engines in racing for himself and his customers, so he knows a little bit about hitting the right combination. For his entry in this year's contest, Jeff says he concentrated on cylinder head flow, and once the heads were ported for maximum flow, he picked the rest of his parts to match. Additionally, this engine was dyno tuned in-house, and it was ready to run once it was bolted on the dyno at Comp. Firing immediately, Jeff's 440 performed very well and needed only minor tuning to optimize its output on Comp's dyno, placing a very close second this year. Even more impressive, Jeff did it without any exotic tricks, and with only a single four-barrel carburetor for induction. Follow along as we go inside this potent 440 to discover how JD Engine and Machine placed a strong second in this year's Engine Challenge.

As the foundation for this build, engine builder Jeff Dickey chose a factory 440 block with a 1970 casting date. To form a solid rotating assembly, Jeff used an Eagle forged crankshaft, Eagle H-beam connecting rods, and Diamond forged flat-top pistons. Specially designed and coated, these pistons combined with the relatively small chambers of the Indy heads gave this engine just over eleven to one compression. The crank and rods were treated to a special oil-shedding coating, and the rotating assembly was balanced in-house. Clevite bearings were utilized to keep everything spinning freely, and Diamond piston rings were used to seal the cylinders. A Melling PN M63HV oil pump was used in conjunction with a Milodon PN 30931 oil pan and PN 32005 stroker windage tray to keep everything well oiled. A Comp solid roller camshaft was spun by a Pro Gear double roller timing set, and a Professional Products balancer was utilized. Though he claims it doesn't really net any measureable power, Jeff had the camshaft ground with the No. 4 and No. 7 cylinders swapped. This changes the firing order and some claim it reduces harmonics for incremental power gains.