It was a groovy year back then, you might notice the bell-bottoms and pork chop sideburns . . . just kidding. 2005 actually wasn't that long ago, but you may notice some of us with less gray hair during our first dyno contest. The 2005 Engine Challenge featured the 426 Hemi engine, and displacement was limited to 500 cubic inches. A flat-tappet camshaft was required, and the cost of the engine's parts was factored into the combined peak torque and horsepower, for a power per dollar score. Lofgren Auto Specialties won our first contest, but hasn't made a return appearance. J D Engine and Machine made the most power that year, a trend that would continue throughout our contests.

In 2006, the rules varied little other than changing the featured engine to a big-block Chrysler and allowing roller camshafts. The engines all had to be based on the RB block, and displacement was again limited to 500 cubic inches. Engine builders could use any choice of cylinder head, so long as they would bolt up to our Hooker Super Competition headers. Thanks in part to the roller camshafts, several of these engines made more power than the Hemis of the previous year, but it wasn't the most powerful engine that won the contest. David Bruns of Mid America Racing Engines built a powerful big-block with economical parts, winning based on the lower cost of his engine. Rich Nedbal and the crew from Mopar Engines West impressed all in attendance by making the most power in 2006.

Our 2007 dyno contest featured the small-block Mopar, with displacement limited to 410 cubic inches. 408 cubic inch stroker 360s were a popular choice in 2007, but engine displacement ranged from an over-bored 318 all the way to the contest limit. The cost of the engine parts was again factored in 2007 and the engine builders could use roller camshafts and any cylinder head they chose. Indy Cylinder Head won the contest with their somewhat exotic, but within the rules, tunnel-ram equipped small-block making the most power-per-dollar and narrowly beating the second place engine of Schurbon Engine and Machine. Mid America Racing Engines made the most power in 2007, at over 567 horsepower.

In 2008, we decided to feature one of the most commonly built Mopar engines in our contest, the Chrysler 440, limited to a .060-inch overbore. Additionally, we required all the competitors to utilize the same Indy SR big-block aluminum cylinder heads, for what is commonly referred to as a "spec" engine. Because each builder used essentially the same major parts, we didn't factor the cost in 2008, which meant the winner simply had to make the most combined horsepower and torque to beat the competition. Indy Cylinder Head had what it took in 2008, placing first in our contest for back to back wins. As a function of our rules, the win meant that Indy also made the most power in 2008, at nearly 760 horsepower, for a win in that category as well. J D Engine and Machine was a close second in terms of power, narrowly missing a win in the '08 contest.

We featured a big-block again in 2009, hoping to show our readers the advantages of a low-deck Mopar B engine, and decided to again factor the cost of the parts into the combined peak torque and horsepower of each engine for a power per dollar score. There was no displacement limit on these engines, but all of the engine builders had to utilize the same Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads. Additionally, since the economic times have forced us all to cut back, we decided that second-hand, or "seasoned" parts would be factored at fair market value, instead of full retail cost. While this scoring system made the contest a junkyard war of sorts, it also highlighted the fact that you don't necessarily need to break the bank to make good power with this combination.

It's 2010, and as of this writing all of the contest engines have been loaded up and delivered to Comp. This year, we again changed the rules to keep things interesting, deciding to score the contest based on an old standard: horsepower per cubic inch. The engines will all run the new RHS cast-iron cylinder head, but there is no limit on displacement. While at Comp, the engines will be run on the dyno, and we've eliminated the upper rpm restriction so the sky is the limit. Displacements for the 2010 engines range from 408 cubic inches, to just over 273. Who'll have the advantage in this year's challenge? We'll let you know as soon as we get back from Comp!