What makes for a great street engine? For the normal public, fueleconomy, reliability, low maintenance, and decent power probably sum itup. For us, when considering our dual-purpose Mopar toys, the attributesare probably not too radically different, except in how we define theterms. Good fuel economy? Might be that getting into the teens ratherthan 6-8 mpg is accomplishment enough to feel good about economy.Reliability? This might mean not having to worry about the engine for atleast a decade while clocking 3,000-5,000 miles a year. Low maintenancemay just equate to checking the fluids, getting in and driving, withouthaving to re-adjust the valves every few months. What's decent power?For the average motorist, it might be defined as enough get-up-and-gofor nimble acceleration in traffic and on-ramps. Decent power for aMopar enthusiast may well mean having enough on-hand to tear trenches inthe asphalt and to take out anything that dares challenge on the openroad.

In contemplating a powerplant for my own street driver 'Cuda,these same questions looking for answers came to mind. What would be agreat street engine? This machine wasn't being built as an everydaycommuter, mind you, but it would be nice to be capable of extended roadtrips, anytime, anywhere, at the twist of the key. It would be nice topull power brakes and A/C without the engine wanting to stall at idle,maybe with an easy 12 inches or more vacuum at idle. It would also benice if that idle would sit between 800 and 850 rpm without the clatterand instability of a deep lope.

Sure, a melodic and steady rhythm ofpower from the headers, exhaust, and cam is acceptable, but not thatragged-edge big-cam stagger that blows out enough toxic hydrocarbongasses to make your eyes water. It would be nice to have the quiet,maintenance-free operation of a hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft. It wouldalso be nice to a have a torque curve that starts right when you can useit, pulling strongly against a high gear ratio at low rpm withoutstumbling. Better still if that torque will carry up the rpm ladder tomake peak horsepower in the neighborhood of 6,000 rpm. So far, the goalsaren't too difficult to achieve, but wouldn't it be nice if it made asavage 600 hp on the street? That would be a great street engine.

Theengine we are building here is an attempt to meet these insanelyincompatible objectives with a regular 440 without any overly exoticcomponents, but rather through a carefully considered parts selection.