The 2009 AMSOIL/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge has been a big hit, as it really highlighted the power an economically built big-block can make with a little thought and careful planning. This year's engine builders used a variety of techniques to gain an advantage in our contest, and the result was a diverse array of professionally built big-blocks for us to tell you about.
On the dyno at Comp Cams' Memphis, Tennessee, facility, these engines all performed flawlessly, with no real disappointments or failures to speak of. Each of the engine builders tuned their entries to impressive power, especially given that most engines were built with budget priced, and even pre-owned parts. Since this year's contest featured the low-deck Mopar B engine, most of the competitors utilized a factory 440 crank in a 400 block, for a displacement of 451 or 452 cubic inches depending on final bore size. This trick kept costs down and was a good combination with the required Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads.
The rules of our contest change slightly each year, and this year the cost of the parts used to build the engine was factored into the peak combined horsepower and torque, for a dollar-per-power rating. Since used parts were factored at fair market value instead of full retail price, it really paid to utilize seasoned equipment rather than building an engine with all new parts. While the intention of this rule change was to show our readers that you could make big power inexpensively, as a side affect, the 2009 contest took on somewhat of a "junkyard wars" theme, with the least expensive engines taking the top two places.
This month we'll show you the list of parts that went into each of the '09 big-blocks, as well as a dyno sheet for each engine. We enjoyed working with all the shops in the '09 contest and encourage you to call one of them for your next project. Be sure to visit moparmusclemagazine.com to check out the rules for the 2010 AMSOIL/Mopar Muscle Engine Challenge which will feature the small-block Chrysler A-engine with RHS's new cast-iron cylinder heads.