If you bleed Chevrolet orange, there are some select phrases that ring that tuning fork in your loins-ZL-1, Yenko, L88, Stinger, and 427, just to name a few. In the late '60s, Chevrolet's ammunition in the horsepower wars was a 500-plus pound killer that was chock full of compression, cam lift, and carburetion. Atop this list was the undeniable presence of the 427 L88s that were snuggled up inside the '67-'69 Corvettes.
Rated at 430hp from General Motors, one could drive directly off the showroom floor to the strip and smoke the tires all the way down the track to the tune of 118-plus mph after proper preparation. In the hands of the great tuners of the era, with drag slicks and headers, low 11s were within reaching distance. It was a great time to be a gearhead, with the Big-Three brawling it out across the country
Today, NHRA Stock Eliminator is one of the few havens left for fanatics to witness V-8 American muscle tearing up the 1320. A simple walk through the pit lanes at an NHRA event will find you rubbing shoulders with Hemicudas, GT-500s, Corvettes, Camaros, Novas, and a laundry list of big- and small-block combinations from yesterday and today.
The story begins with a two-bolt main 454ci siamese truck block bored .060-over to 4.310-inch by the man, the myth, the legend, Charlie Weston of Weston Machine of Piscataway, New Jersey. Many of the top NHRA racers use Charlie for their engine block machining. After a thorough cleaning, the assembly process begins with a stock, machined 427ci crankshaft weighing in at a substantial 75 pounds.
Over the years, rules have changed for many reasons, especially when dealing with the lack of available engine parts. Let's face it, few can afford to collect high performance parts from the '60s and risk breaking them, especially when only a handful were produced in the first place. On the Bowtie side of things, GM Performance Parts has you covered with its full line of class-legal reproduction and aftermarket engine components.
We visited Steve Ficacci Racing Engines to check out what was being deep fried over the winter and came across a bare, steel Chevrolet big-block that was destined for greatness. Built for Joe Fasano's AA/SA '69 Corvette, this block would be the starting point for a reproduction engine unlike most, but faster than all-the 427 L88.
Everyone agrees that the factory 430-horse rating was a joke; perhaps a number taken at an rpm well below peak horsepower. Regardless, this build shows there was a lot more inside that legendary mill. The end result of our build was 650 flywheel horsepower and the quickest Stock Eliminator pass in NHRA history.
Follow along and learn how to build one of the baddest of the bad.