For some, racing is no fun when you're constantly wrenching on the motor. Think about it; the whole point of hitting the track is to have fun, hammer the throttle, and slam some gears. The stresses of life dissolve, and you leave your week at the office there-at the office. But when your weekend of racing turns into completely dismantling your mill between runs just to make the next pass, you begin to realize that your night of fun has morphed into an evening of stress and anxiety. With this in mind, we set out to build a powerplant that'll bring back the fun with a serious seat-of-the-pants rush.
A quick call over to Coast High Performance in Torrance, California, landed us a bored and poked 454, netting us a total of 496 cubes. We knew we were going to need the bigger cubes, but we also knew the added inches wouldn't be a surefire guarantee of power. We wanted a slight bump in compression, and matching that to the right induction setup and camshaft would prove to go a long way. To bump up the bang within the cylinders, we went with a set of Probe dome pistons and bolted on a set of CNC-ported Edelbrock Victor Jr. cylinder heads with a Victor Jr. manifold as well.
For the baseline pulls, we used 104-octane fuel, made small adjustments along the way, such as tweaking the Holley carburetor, throwing additional timing at it, and checking the valve lash to make sure they were at 20/22 hot. After break-in, we dumped the Lucas break-in oil, trashed the filter, checked the oil for any metal debris, and added fresh 5W-30 oil with a new filter.
How'd it do? On 104-octane, the 496 pumped out 671 hp at 6,600 rpm and 586 lb-ft at 5,200. Impressive, yes! However, we were curious to see the results on pump gas. Willing to find out, we fired it up for another run at it and churned out an incredibly similar 672 hp at 6,600 and 585 lb-ft at 5,200. You have the numbers, but you have to read on to find out how to build one for yourself.
What We BuiltAn 11:1 stroker 496ci big-block
Check your valve lash, top off the fuel, and enjoy the smell of burning rubber!