If you're on the road this summer to some of the year's hottest events, like the plethora of Super Chevy shows, the drive-til-you-drop Power Tour, and others, keep an eye out for Super Chevy's Road Tour Camaro.
It's a classic looking Second-Generation F-car with contemporary performance baked in. A who's who list of top manufacturers has contributed to the project, from the Hotchkis and PST suspension parts to the ididit steering column. Vintage Air, Trim Parts, Stainless Steel Brakes, Rock Valley, Auto Meter, Lokar, and Headman Hedders are just few of the other participants, too.
Goodmark, the maker of steel restoration and performance parts-like fenders and cowl hoods-is instrumental in the project. They're spearheading the car's construction at Dale Etheredge Auto and Performance, in Covington, Georgia.
Goodmark is no stranger to building a g-machine-style resto-mod-their gorgeous black '70 Chevelle was a hit with enthusiasts, so they decided to complement it by re-scraping their knuckles on another Super Chevy magazine project car.
And while those Georgians assembling the body and suspension may speak with a Southern drawl, the Camaro's engine builders have a distinctly New Yawk accent. They're from World Products in Ronkonkoma, Long Island. They agreed to build one of their insidiously torquey Motown 454 mega-inch small-blocks for the Camaro.
Of course, we wanted to be different-you know, cutting edge. Instead of the typical four-barrel carburetor atop the big-inch Mouse, we wanted a fuel injection system to do the atomizing.
So, you can throw in a nasally Michigan accent (they pronounce "milk" like "melk" up there), too, because that's where the guys from FAST (Fuel Air and Spark Technology) have their tech shop. They agreed to convert the carb'ed Motown motor to a throttle-body-style electronic fuel injection system run by one of FAST's stand-alone, speed-density-type controllers.
The cross-pollination of the FAST injection system and controller with one of World Products' large-displacement small-blocks is a first as far as we know (and as far as FAST or World Products know). World Products sells a crate version of the 454 engine that's rated at around 580 hp and 590 ft-lb of torque with a street-friendly hydraulic camshaft.
Street-friendly definitely is the name of the game for this engine, as the Camaro will see extensive drive time. And while World Products developed the 454 with street cruising in mind, we're taking a few extra steps to make sure its power band manners and idle quality are bulletproof for our F-body's unique exhibition duties.
The FAST injection system will help in that department, but we also decided to try a different camshaft than the one normally specified for the Motown 454 crate engine. It'll be an experiment, to be sure, but that's how you learn what works and what doesn't.
In this first of two-parts look at the engine's build-up and dyno testing, we delve into the short-block assembly. Next month, we'll drop on the heads, take an in-depth look at converting the carburetion system to the FAST fuel injection and let the chips fall where they may on World's brand-new DTS dyno-and with any luck, the chips won't include literal pieces of our experimental engine combination.
Bulked-Up Small-BlockYou can't extract 454 ci of displacement from a small-block Chevy without a lot of material to support those size-XXL holes in cylinder banks.
Forgoing the use of genuine GM small-blocks, World Products has been casting their own version for a couple of years. Besides not having to rely on the supply of core blocks, World Products was able to design a small-block with more meat.
From the outside, however, World Products' Motown block looks just like any other small-block Chevy, and everything from headers to water pumps bolts up to the block like it was one of the General's own. Inside, however, the strengthening bulk of additional iron is seen in the 1-inch-thicker front and rear bulkheads and the cylinders' more pronounced bulge when viewed from the valley.
"All that extra metal makes the engine stronger and more capable of supporting large displacement and high horsepower," says World's Bill Mitchell. "We added material where it would do the most good."
Another plus to the Motown block is that cylinder head bolts go in blind-they don't hit water. Four-bolt mains are standard, and come standard with nodular iron main caps. A race block also is available and it comes with billet steel caps with splayed bolts.
Of course, we went with the race block and its splayed main cap bolts. To arrive at 454 ci, World Products sets a 4.000-inch crank on the main journals and complements it with 6.000-inch rods connected to forged aluminum pistons operating within 4.250-inch bores. Remember, this is a small-block!
We used our connections at FAST to get a camshaft from Comp Cams (Comp owns FAST). Insisting on a throaty-sounding, high-revving solid lifter cam with great idle quality for drivability's sake, they ground us a special bumpstick.
If there's an X factor in the short block, it's the new camshaft; everything else is pretty much off-the-shelf Motown 454 stuff from World. We'll see how the new cam performs once we get the engine finished off with the new FAST injection system.
Remember, you'll have to come back next month to check out the results.
Affordable AluminumWorld's All-Alloy Motown "Lite" Block Doesn't Weigh Much-In Your Car Or Your Wallet
In the first installment of our World Products/FAST fuel injected 454 small-block story, we pointed out that we used World's Motown small-block engine block.
Cast with additional material in strategic areas to improve overall strength, lubrication and cooling, the iron Motown race block weighs about 195 pounds. Not bad, but World now offers an aluminum version of the block which is lighter by nearly one-half!
That's right. Tipping the scales at around 100 pounds-main caps, billet screw-in freeze plugs and all-the aluminum Motown "Lite" block promises to lighten the load of your Chevy while giving it an exotic underhood appearance.
The block is made of 357-T6 aluminum (the strongest alloy available), but its most striking features are the external ribs and valley reinforcing ribs. The external ribs aid in cooling, while the valley ribs connect the cylinder banks and are drilled to cross-feed the lifter galleys with oil.
And while functional, the ribs-particularly the external cooling ribs-give the block an undeniably exotic look, especially with its telltale bare aluminum finish.
"Of course, functionality was the priority when we designed the block," says World Products' Bill Mitchell. "But when you look at those ribs and the aluminum finish, you couldn't help but say, 'wow, that looks cool!'"
Like the iron Motown blocks, the aluminum version has a 9.025-inch deck height, four-bolt mains and it accepts all OE-type accessories. World has a unique way of inserting the steel cylinder liners, too, which prevents oil from being drawn between them and the aluminum bores.
"That oil acts as an insulator and prevents the aluminum from transferring heat from the steel liners," says Mitchell. "It's an issue with all aluminum blocks, but we've solved it."
The Motown Lite block has maximum bore of 4.125 inches, allowing for a maximum engine displacement of 427 ci. Mitchell says a fully dressed engine, complete with aluminum heads, intake and carburetor, weighs less than 450 pounds.
Pricing, however, may be the block's best feature. It lists for $3,495 with billet steel main caps and $3,295 with nodular iron caps. Order it as an upgrade to a World Products Motown crate engine, however, and it'll add just $2,000 to the bottom line-a bargain, if you ask us.
So, who's up for building a small-block ZL-1?More info at www.worldcastings.com