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Big-Block Chevy Engine Build - Project American Heroes: Shock & Awe

Project American Heroes Will Blow Away The Competition Thanks To Its 717-Horse Smeding Performance 572 Big-Block

By: Joe Rode, Mike Harrington, Photography by Mike Harrington

Smeding degreed the cam for 108 1/2 degrees intake lobe center, which equates to 1 1/2 degrees of advance for better low-end drivability.

When we asked Ben why he uses Pro Race, ProStreet balancers, his reply was: "They are very affordable and work excellent." Smeding has never had one fail.

A Canton oil pan (# 15-350) was used. These particular ans fit on '66-67 Chevelles and have a shorter sump to work with Tri-Five steering. The pan is clearanced internally for a large stroke crank and incorporates integral crank scrapers. A Melling standard volume oil pump with a Canton pickup tube was installed before the pan, obviously.

Smeding chose to go with Comp's high body lifters, which are commonly used in high-performance applications. Smeding prefers this configuration because of the added lifter-to-tie-bar-to-block clearance and uses them in higher end applications where the extra cost is warranted. Compare the size of the lifters in the middle to a stock one on the left and an average sized aftermarket lifter on the right. Does size matter? Apparently so.

Because of the thin spacing between cylinder bores on these big-bore engines, Fel Pro metal layer steel Permatorque MLS head gaskets were used. The use of this type of gasket is critical to the engine's sealing. The #1077 big bore gaskets are .041-inch thick, which combined with the piston-to-deck-height clearance of .003-inch, gives a relatively tight total of .044-inch, right where Smeding likes it.

The pre-assembled RHS heads, which have all been gone through, are next up on the list.

An Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake was used with some black RTV to seal the ends and ARP six-point stainless bolts. We also used a trick swivel stainless steel water outlet from Performance Stainless Steel. They so supplied us with a full compliment of stainless steel pipe plugs.

Smeding recommended a Holley Ultra HP 950-cfm carb to feed our beast. This is the latest/greatest that Holley has to offer with anodized billet metering bodies and base plate, four-corner idle adjustment, and changeable idle feed restrictors.

By Joe Rode, Mike Harrington
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