The new powerplant is a custom-built, 450hp 383 small-block. It began life as a '70 350. A 0.030-inch overbore and a 400 ci small-block crankshaft with 0.270-inch more stroke pumps the number to 383 cubic inches. Service Center (Lomita, California) did the machine work. Heavy duty 4340 forged steel connecting rods are mated to Probe forged aluminum pistons with Sealed-Power moly rings. The compression ratio is a drivable 10.2:1. Working the valves is a stout bumpstick from Engle Cams. The intake and exhaust valve lift is 0.48/0.50-inch. Its duration is 280/290-degrees. Crane aluminum roller rocker arms finish off the valvetrain.
Edelbrock 2.02-intake aluminum heads, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold and a vacuum-secondary Demon 650 cfm carburetor comprise the air and fuel flow systems. Service Center performed some valve bowl blending work and a multi-angle valve job. The oiling system features a high volume Melling oil pump and a six-quart Moroso oil pan. Firing the fuel mixture is an MSD billet aluminum distributor and an MSD 6A multi-spark amplifier. Ceramic-coated Hooker 13/4-inch, four-tube headers scavenge the spent fumes through 21/2 inch diameter, ceramic-coated exhaust pipes to Flowmaster three-chamber mufflers. A tri-core radiator with twin electric puller fans keeps the 383's coolant temperature in check.
The transmission is a 700R4 from R.E.B.S. Specialties in Reseda, California, and the torque converter features a 2,400 rpm stall-speed. The actual final drive ratio is about 2.95:1 with the OD-great for freeway cruising with decent fuel economy. To actuate gear changes, Leroy purchased Flaming River's column-shift, tilt-steering column.
The entire restification took 18 months. The end result is a one-of-a-kind, super smooth '68 with sleeper looks and power. It is as subtle as they come, but upon further glance, is outstanding. The engine compartment, with its totally flat firewall, plus the trick frame and performance chassis are all just as fine as the custom interior and mirror-smooth body.