Rebuilding A Virgin 427 Engine - Rat Attack

A look at rebuilding a virgin 427.

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With crate motors getting cheaper and cheaper, the idea of rebuilding an engine yourself is getting harder to justify—that is, unless you just have to have those critical numbers cast on the block dating the powerplant as an original. Case in point is this 427 we will be focusing on that was built by Brent Lykins of B2 Motorsports. Brent has been building engines for about 10 years, and went into business for himself at the end of 2007. He's also a BSME (Mechanical Engineer), but building engines is his passion. Brent build all brands, but we won't hold that against him because he owned a fully redone '73 Corvette, with a 355, an M20, and a 3.55 rear, about which he said, "It was a fun car."

Anyway, Brent has a customer named Mark Kassab, who is an avid muscle car guy and has made a living out of restoring and selling them. The engine Brent is rebuilding is an L35 390-horse 427 from a '68 Corvette convertible. Mark wants to retain the originality of the car by rebuilding the Rat, but told Brent to make it more powerful and a bit better to drive. Brent retained most of the visible parts like the block and heads, but modernized it, mainly in the way of a roller cam from Crane supported by an Edelbrock intake. After it was all said and done, the motor put out 468 hp—a far cry from only 390!

1305 Rebuilding Virgin 427 Engine Used 2/24

1. So what does 40 some odd years of abuse look like? Something like this. As you can see, the engine has definitely been used, and upon closer inspection it’s still the stock bore. It’s hard to say what really happened to this engine throughout its life, but one thing is obvious: A piece of metal or something got in the rear cylinder and bounced around. The head was perfectly fine, so it looks like it just impacted the aluminum piston.

1305 Rebuilding Virgin 427 Engine Rocker Body Clear Big 18/24

16. The design of the rocker body clear big valve springs very well. Brent set the preload by zeroing then going another 3/4 turn.

1305 Rebuilding Virgin 427 Engine Oil Pan 19/24

17. “For the oil pan gaskets (also Fel-Pro), I like to use a layer of Gascacinch between the block and the pan gasket. You let it tack up, and then when you put the gasket on, it’s an instant bond. It keeps the gasket from moving around on you,” the builder said. “I then put a paint-thin layer of RTV on the gasket, and then set the oil pan down. That picture actually shows a Melling select pump, but we switched oil pans, so I ended up with just a standard volume Melling. I weld the pickup to the pump once I have a pickup to pan clearance of about 0.375-inch.”

18. After buttoning up the rest of the motor and installing the factory intake, Brent strapped the engine to the dyno. “We did initially dyno the engine with the factory intake manifold and Q-Jet. It made 422 hp at 6,000 rpm. Not bad, but not enough so we are going to try a different carb and manifold set up.” Torque was 453 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm.

1305 Rebuilding Virgin 427 Engine Holley 23/24

19. The new carburetor used is a 750cfm, Holley 3310 with vacuum secondaries custom built by Scott Perkins Carburetors in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

1305 Rebuilding Virgin 427 Engine Torker 24/24

20. Changing to the Torker intake and 3310 Holley bumped us up to almost 468 hp and 458 lb-ft with 38 degrees total timing.

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