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Merlin/Motion 540-Cube Big Block Engine - The Great American Supercar Engine

Joel Rosen Is Back In Motion With His 21st Century '69 Camaro SuperCoupe And Its 540-Cube Big-Block

By Paul Zazarine, Photography by Bill Erdman, Paul Zazarine

Spread the news:
Joel Rosen is back.
Rosen, the man behind the legendary Baldwin-Motion SS and Phase III big-block Camaros, Novas, Chevelles, Biscayne Street Racer Specials, and Corvette Supercars of the '60s and '70s, has returned with a 21st Century version of the mind-blowing cars that roared out of his shop in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, and terrorized the streets not only in the U.S., but around the world.

He's once again joined by Marty Schorr, who was part of the original Motion Performance group that turned out those legendary "take no prisoners" ground-pounding musclecars. Rosen and Schorr have linked up with a new Motion Team consisting of Joel B. Ehrenpreis and Larry Jaworske.

Together, they're launching a new, limited-production, 12-car build, two-seat '69 Baldwin-Motion 540 Camaro SuperCoupe designed by Kris Horton and powered by a Kinsler-injected, 540ci Merlin/Motion engine. Cranking out over 700 hp, the Merlin/Motion 540 is set back 13 inches on a full tubular chassis for a true front/mid layout. You could call it the "great American supercar."

Billy Mitchell, who built engines for Rosen 35 years ago, was commissioned by the new Motion team to assemble the prototype engine. "Since I built many of the original Baldwin-Motion cars and built and drove the NHRA-record-setting A/MP Motion Supercar Club Camaro," Mitchell says, " I knew exactly what the new car needed... a Motion-spec, 700-plus-hp, all-aluminum 540-inch Merlin big-block."

Rosen and Mitchell teamed up to design the engine to Rosen's specifications. Mitchell began by blueprinting and balancing the engine. The Merlin III heads received a COMP Cams roller valvetrain with a flat tappet camshaft for the initial build. This "Phase I" engine was built with a single 1050 four-barrel with 82/82 jetting on a Merlin X manifold that delivered 630 hp at 5,800 rpm, and 630 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm on the dyno.

Mitchell removed the 4-bbl carb and intake, sealed the engine, and shipped it to Keech's Performance (part of the Motion team) in Sarasota, Florida. From there, the engine went into "Phase II" assembly. Steve Keech picked up where Mitchell left off, and was responsible for completing the engine and installing it in the prototype Baldwin-Motion 540 Camaro SuperCoupe.

A second set of Mitchell-prepared heads was shipped, and these were sent out for polishing. When they returned, they received the COMP Cams roller valvetrain. A roller camshaft, with a custom Motion grind designed by Rosen, was slipped into the block.

The crowning jewel atop the Merlin/Motion's 540 engine is the exotic Kinsler Cross Ram injection system. Rosen worked with Jim Kinsler on the overall specs to produce a precise, computer-controlled sequential electronic fuel injection system to accurately feed the 700-plus-hp the Merlin/Motion engine now produces.

The Merlin/Motion 540 is the first in a succession of engines that can be tailored to the customer's power preferences. Motion can build an engine capable of producing 1,000 hp, if the buyer wishes, for their Baldwin-Motion 540 Camaro SuperCoupe. Since only 12 will be built, however, buyers best be quick to belly up to the bar and order one. Just like the old days at Baldwin Motion, Joel Rosen and the new Motion team's 21st Century Baldwin-Motion 540 Camaro SuperCoupe, with its Merlin/Motion engine, are building the great American supercar again.

Tuning the Tubes
The Kinsler Cross Ram injection system was first used in 1974 by road racer John Greenwood on his big-block Corvettes. Since the rules disallowed stacks poking through the hood, Kinsler laid them down and designed the Cross Ram configuration. The Cross Ram injection system has evolved from Lucas mechanical metered injection to the Merlin/Motion's sequential electronic fuel injection using Bosch 44-pound injectors, controlled by an Accel/DFI GEN VII computerized engine management system.

Because of the precision of its EFI system, the Kinsler Cross Ram injection manifold is the perfect induction system for the Camaro SuperCoupe. In fact, the intake's pattern is so complex, the foundry can only pour one manifold a day. Like the Merlin/Motion engine, each Kinsler intake is hand machined and hand built, so no two are exactly alike

The intake was modified to meet Motion's specifications. The throttles measure 2 3/8 inches and the Bosch 44 injectors are mounted low in the ports. The Kinsler intake is designed to have either upper or lower injector locations. Rosen and Keech preferred the lower position, so the upper boss was removed from the manifold. Kinsler coordinated with Mitchell to port the intake to match the Merlin III cylinder heads.

The concept of Cross Ram injection is simple. The tube length affects the torque and horsepower peaks are in the rpm band. Typically, a shorter tube produces more top end while a longer tube provides more bottom end. The tube's diameter is determined by hp and maximum rpm.

Predicated on camshaft selection, engine displacement, and flow characteristics, Motion and Kinsler ran computer simulations to determine the proper length and diameter for the ram tubes. In the case of the Merlin/Motion 540, the ram tubes are 6 inches long with an inside diameter of 2.50 inches.

The throttle size was reduced to give the engine good driveabilty, but still provides plenty of volume so it will flow enough to hit the hp curve's "sweet spot." The Merlin/Motion 540 with the Kinsler Cross Ram EFI injection and custom Motion grind roller camshaft produces an estimated 700-plus-hp at 6,500 rpm and 585 lb-ft of torque at an estimated 5,200 rpm.

SOURCES
Motion
7806 Mathern Ct.
Dept. SC
Bradenton
Fl  34202
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By Paul Zazarine
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