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On the Dyno at Speedway Motors Racing Engines

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It’s February here in Nebraska, and that means that we’re not only very cold, but also looking forward to some big matchups coming up in the sports world. In that spirit, we went to the dyno cell at Speedway Motors Racing Engines to cook up a little engine showdown. Here are some videos and specs on some engines that have recently been put together by the Racing Engines crew, then put to work on the dyno.

540 Big Block

Let’s start this off with a killer. Speedway Motors Product Manager Josh Sullivan had this 540 put together for his second-gen Camaro drag car. The car currently runs 11’s with a nitrous 454, and they’re hoping that spraying this engine will put them in the 9’s.

It’s a tall-deck Brodix block stuffed with 6.535” H-beam rods swinging ICON forged pistons squeezing a 10.5:1 compression ratio. There’s some magic in the BB2 Brodix heads that were ported by Reher-Morrison for another engine before Josh got ahold of them. The Comp cam has a 110 LSA, 281/290 degrees of duration at .050, and .800”/.767” lift. It tickles Isky solid roller lifters, Manley pushrods, and 2.25”/1.88” valves. It’s all topped with a Brodix single plane intake and an AED 1050 Dominator.

The 540 is bound for Josh's Camaro drag car.

What kind of power did this monster make? How about 760 hp @ 6300 rpm and 673 ft. lbs. @ 5600? Not too shabby for something built to run on pump gas and be dead nuts dependable for drag and drive events and pass after pass on spray. We can’t wait to see the old Camaro on the track!

Supercharged Nailhead

And now for something completely different. When we said “blown Nailhead,” you were picturing a Roots blower on something bound for a traditional hot rod, weren’t you? Instead, what we have here is a 401 Nailhead with a crank driven Paxton blower(!) that’s bound for a ’60 Buick Invicta built by CAL Automotive Creations. It’s a wild car with a ton of amazing fab work, but the engine is a work of art on its own. The bottom end is supported by a custom girdle to help it handle the boost, and it’s topped by a one-off twin-plenum intake with individual butterflies in the custom throttle body feeding each bank. Custom CNC machined valve covers are a nod to the old Buick covers with a modern twist. Once it’s all in the car, there will be matching covers on the intake and intercooler plenum. The blower necessitated some clever fab work to make all the accessories work, so many of them are mounted backwards. This thing is nuts.

There's so much going on here, it has to be seen to be believed.

This session was not about banzai pulls meant to wring out every ounce of power. Instead, the CAL crew wanted to make sure that it would be very drivable in the car. They were also under a deadline, with the car set to debut at the GNRS not too long after the engine was on the dyno (where it won the coveted Slonaker award). The engine still made well over 500 horsepower and 550 ft. lbs. at 5000 rpm on a very conservative tune that still had way more power and rpm in it. You may not be able to hear it in the video, but the exhaust note from idle to 5,000 is sweet music, accentuated by the whine of the blower.

604 Crate Engine

Maybe the least exotic of the hardware featured here, but still worthy of our shootout is the good old CT400 604 crate. These things are everywhere in circle track racing classes that mandate a sealed engine. It’s all about leveling the playing field level by keeping things from getting out of hand with open engines. But these workhorses are still worthy of some kudos. After all, a 400 horse 350 that runs WOT reliably race after race, night after night, season after season is nothing to sneeze at.

Ever wonder what’s inside? 604’s are the hotted up version of the 602, and actually have some trick stuff going on inside. The 4-bolt blocks are CNC machined and filled with a forged crank, powdered rods, and hypereutectic pistons. The cam measures 208°/221° intake/exhaust at .050” with .474”/.510” lift on a 112° LSA. The real magic of the 604 is in the 23° Fast Burn heads with lightweight beehive springs and 1.5:1 roller rockers. An 8-quart pan helps keep everything alive on the track.

Speedway motors sells IMCA-approved 604 crate motors as assembled by GMPP, and then fully dyno tested at the Racing Engines shop. That means that they’re broken in with a proprietary program, individually tuned for lash and timing, and ready to race.

So far, we've just seen a few of the most recent projects to pass through the dyno. To make our little shootout here more interesting, we went back in the archives to include a few older projects that we’ve done with Zach and the crew at Speedway Motors Racing Engines.

Up first is the undisputed horsepower king, the might 410 sprint car engine. Zach is a bit of a guru on these things, and this one was an absolute monster:

We also had Zach help us add some zing to a BluePrint 383 crate for our ’32 roadster project:

And finally, the little 5.3 that could, bound for our C10 project. We’re still amazed that this thing made the power it did with such minor work:

In the end, Josh's 540 wins among the most recent projects, but that Nailhead could be a contender with a more aggressive tune and some more rpm. The 410 sprint car engine comes out on top of the overall list here, but he Racing Engines crew has had plenty of engines way more wild than these on their dyno. You can bet that we'll be there with a camera the next time something interesting is happening, and we'll be sure to report the results to you here. But for now, which of these are you choosing for your hot rod, muscle car, or racer?

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