Wow, the guys at Arias have done it again. Just when it looked like the world of cool bolt-ons and crate engines couldn't get any better, the famed Arias Hemi-Chevy surfaces in street trim. Yes, the same basic package that powered those awesome Top Fuel cars back in the day is again offered, but now with slightly more civil manners. Basically, two main packages of the Arias Hemi-Chevy are offered: a complete cylinder-head kit to bolt to your own big-block Chevy, or a 540ci Hemi-Chevy Big Block crate engine to stuff in your engine compartment. And a bigger 572 engine may be on the way. But before we get too deep into the details, here's a little Hemi-Chevy history.
During the late '60s, when guys in white coats were building rockets, a machinist named Nick Arias Jr. was toiling long hours in his Gardena, California, shop. Unlike the scientists aiming at the moon, Arias' target was designing the world's first non-Chrysler Hemi-headed big-block Chevy to thrust cars and boats across the earth at lightning speed. Soon the engine came to life, and the Arias Hemi big-block Chevy was successfully powering many offshore power boats and Top Fuel cars. Throughout the '70s, Arias elected a man by the name of Steve Montelli, of Gardena's Montelli Racing Engines, to further research and develop the 8.3- and 10L Hemi Big Block Chevy and to promote the engine at numerous Top Fuel, drag, and power-boat racing events across the U.S. The long hours paid big dividends for Arias and Montelli as the Arias HemiSpherical Big Block Chevy, with its tremendous cylinder-head breathing and combustion capabilities, grabbed many racing records in Top Fuel, Bonneville, and especially offshore power-boat racing.
Today, the Arias HemiSpherical Chevy is available again. But what's especially exciting now is that, unlike its predecessor, which was engineered as a race-only item, the new HemiSpherical Chevy is designed to deliver mammoth power in street cars on pump gas. These new street-version cylinder heads have been improved with superior valvetrain hardware, a better 1.75:1 rocker ratio, relocated rocker-arm shafts, and redesigned and lengthened exhaust rocker arms that eliminate the need for the older, cumbersome third pushrod used on the earlier versions.