This year's Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge featured Chrysler's low deck big-block with Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads, which is a popular combination for both street and racing applications. Seven engine shops built engines for our contest, and displacements ranged from 451 to 512 cubic inches. Building one of the smallest and most economical engines in the competition, Schurbon Engine and Machine teamed up with Mo-par City, finding the right combination of horsepower, torque, and economical parts selection to win the 2009 Engine Challenge.

Each year our dyno contest features a different Mopar engine combination, offering engine builders a chance to highlight their skills. This year we eliminated the displacement rule, and factored the combined peak power and torque into the cost of the engine's parts, for a cost per power factor to determine the winner. We alter the rules slightly each year to make it exciting, and one of this year's changes was to factor used parts at fair market value. We figured that since there are more and more used parts for Mopar engines on the market these days, and with the tough economic times many of us are facing, this was a way to keep costs down for the builders while showing our readers they don't necessarily need all brand new parts to build a stout engine.

The field was tough this year, as J D Engine and Machine's 500 inch entry made 724.5 horsepower and 610.2 lb/ft of torque for the highest combined power score of the contest. LaRoy Engines also impressed everyone as their relatively small 452 cubic inch engine made just one horsepower less than J D's powerhouse. The way the rules were written, however, gave the least expensively built engines an advantage this year that horsepower and torque just couldn't overcome.

Taking full advantage of our rules, Schurbon Engine and Machine/Mo-par City built the least expensive engine in this year's contest, utilizing pre-owned and inexpensive parts throughout. Engine builder Scott Schurbon also noticed that we deleted the rule prohibiting epoxy modifications to the cylinder heads, raising the intake runners of his Edelbrock Performer RPM heads for improved flow. Though this wasn't the most powerful engine in the contest, it was a very stout 452 cubic inch engine, making over 580 horsepower. Once cost was factored the Schurbon/Mo-par City entry had the lowest cost per combined power score, landing the win in a very close 2009 contest.

The fact is, all of these engines impressed us with their power and durability, and we'd be happy to have any of these professionals build the engine for our next project. The contest was exciting this year and we enjoyed working with everyone involved. This month we'll give you the highlights of each shop's engine and dyno session in the order they placed in our contest. Be sure to follow along, because in upcoming issues of Mopar Muscle, we'll go through each of these powerful big-blocks in depth. To see videos of these engines making pulls on Comp's dyno, log onto

2009 participants
Chenoweth Speed and MachineJD Engine and Machine
Mike ChenowethJeff Dickey
Morton, IL, 61550Columbia, MO, 65203
LaRoy EnginesMid America Racing Engines
Jim LaRoyDavid Bruns
Challis, ID 83226Washington, IA 52353
208/ 879-2969319/653-6282
Promax PerformanceR.M. Competition
Ben GormanRandy Malik
Indianapolis, INRoseville, MI, 48066
Schurbon Engine and Machine
Scott Schurbon
Maquoketa, IA, 52060