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Shop Talk - May 2013

Off-The-Shelf & Track Ready

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Back in the Dec. ’11 issue, we assembled one potent supercharged 525ci big-block that produced well over 1,700 hp … all through a Carb Shop–prepped 4150 Holley 950 HP carburetor; some say it was pretty radical, but was it really? When you look at the components we used, you’ll find that each piece was readily available—nothing exotic here.

We’ve gotten a lot of use out of this mill and couldn’t be happier with the results. If you didn’t already know, we don’t just build to showcase what’s available. No, we take it a step further and have no problem pushing our test subjects to the limits. Matter of fact, we even added a larger air-to-water cooler and bumped up the boost levels for an additional kick.

Over the past year and a half, our 525ci has been propelling a 3,400-pound, stock-suspension chassis on 275 radials through various tarmacs on the West Coast. How fast? Let’s say 4.91 at 154 mph in the eighth-mile and 7.48 at 194 mph in the quarter-mile with 60 foots in the 1.18-1.19 range! Admittedly, it takes a lot more than horsepower to consistently produce these times; meaning you need a good crew, a solid chassis, and the know-how to control the available grunt—believe me, that alone can be a challenging task.

If you recall, we took our original Dart-based 454ci that ran an impressive 8.90, and watched it transform into an absolute animal with a few select parts. We upgraded the internals with a Lunati rotating assembly, slightly higher-compression 10:1 slugs, a set of Brodix BB-3 Xtra cylinder heads with matching intake manifold, a custom spec’d COMP Cams camshaft, and a healthy supercharger pushing 38 pounds of boost.

Point being, I say building a competitive powerplant these days is as easy as skimming through the pages of a catalog or surfing the Web. I’d think we’ve proven that, and not from a short-term perspective, either. Our mule had 30-plus pulls on the engine dyno and an entire season under its head gaskets … longevity proven! In all seriousness, our maintenance regime came in the form of oil changes and checking the valvespring pressures at the end of every race. That’s very reliable for a high-horsepower engine; wouldn’t you agree?

Where do we go from here? With the current season over, we’ve already torn apart the engine for a quick rebuild, and we’re also planning to upgrade the lifters from the traditional 0.842 to the larger 0.904 setup. That’s what we’re up to, but here’s what I want to know: What’s your big power combo, and how’s it held up for you? You know the drill, email me at the address listed above.

“Many of our engine builds turn out to be long-term powerplants in various real-world cars.”

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