The Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge
Whether shopping for groceries, clothing, or parts for our next project car, we all want to get the most for the money we spend. Since the engine is one of the most expensive pieces of the puzzle when building a classic Mopar, we decided several years ago that a dyno contest would be a good way to show our readers what they could get for their money when it came to building a Mopar engine. Each year our contest features a different Chrysler V-8 engine, and we vary the rules slightly from year to year to keep things interesting. This year the rules of the Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge exemplified cost-effectiveness, as the price of the parts used to build these big-blocks was factored into their combined peak horsepower and peak torque to determine the winner.

Mid America Racing Engines of Washington, Iowa, and J D Engine and Machine of Columbia, Missouri, placed fifth and sixth respectively this year, building two of the most powerful big-blocks in our contest. These engines each utilized a 400 block, and both engines featured aftermarket forged stroker crankshafts for nearly 500 cubic inches of displacement. On the dyno at Comp Cam's facility in Memphis, the J D Engine and Machine entry made the most horsepower at 724.5 and the most torque at 610.2 lb/ft, for the best combined power score of the contest. The Mid-America engine wasn't far behind at just under 700 horsepower and 619.3 lb/ft of torque, for the second highest combined power score of 1316.7. This month we'll go inside each of these powerful big-blocks and see just how they did it.

Mid America Racing Engines
Washington, Iowa
Located in Washington, Iowa, Mid-America Racing Engines is accustomed to performing all kinds of high-performance engine and machine work, and especially likes Mopar projects because of their power potential. Engine builder David Bruns had dyno tuned his entry in-house prior to our contest, and tuned the engine to additional power with each dyno pull while at Comp's facility.

David, of Mid America Racing Engines, wasted no time tuning his engine to the atmospheric conditions of Comp's dyno cell, placing fifth in the 2009 Amsoil/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge.

Since our rules dictated a low-deck big-block for the 2009 contest, Mid America chose a factory 400 block for its relatively large bore size. All of the necessary machine work was performed in-house to accommodate a 4.150-inch stroke RPM crankshaft, RPM connecting rods, and forged Keith Black pistons. A 440 Source windage tray was combined with a Moroso PN 20760 oil pan and Melling high-volume oil pump to keep the engine lubricated. A Cam Motion solid-roller camshaft was matched with PBM lifters, and spun by a JP Performance double roller timing set.

Edelbrock's Performer RPM cylinder heads were required by our rules this year, and Mid America ported their heads in-house. The cylinder heads were then treated to a race valve job, and assembled with PBM stainless valves, PAC PN 1243-16 valvesprings, and PRW stainless steel adjustable roller rocker arms. Topping his combination, David chose an Edelbrock PN 2886 single-plane intake manifold and a Holley Dominator four-barrel carburetor. At nearly 700 horsepower, this engine would be a blast in a race car, but it actually made these numbers running on 93 octane Rockett Brand unleaded. We congratulate Mid America on their fifth place finish and thank them for being such loyal participants in our contest.