Most vo-tech programs will teach you how to assemble an engine, but how many let you build a one-off race motor? We caught the students from SAM running their '95 Mustang at the NMCA/NMRA race in Joliet, Illinois, and stopped for a closer look. This engine was built in seven months during the school's engine-block-machining and cylinder-head-machining classes. Not only do the students build the engines, but they also prove their mettle at the track. This engine rockets their 3,050-pound Mustang into the high 8s. On the dyno, the engine made 900 hp at 8,800 rpm and 582 lb-ft at 6,600 rpm. The SAM Mustang is a regular in the NMRA Hot Street class, and the sound of it howling at its 9,600-rpm redline is pure music.
A. Fuel A MagnaFuel ProStar 500 pump feeds high volumes of race gas through an Aeromotive pressure regulator to the float bowls of the 1,000-cfm Holley worked over by Braswell Carburetion.
B. Intake and cylinder heads Topping the block are a pair of Edelbrock Victor Glidden heads and a Super Victor intake manifold, both of which were ported by students in the cylinder-head-machining class.
C. Exhaust The headers were custom-made by students in the cylinder-head-machining class.
D. Block SAM's foundation for power is a Dart Iron Eagle block with a 9.200-inch deck. Doing the hard work inside are a NASCAR-sourced Winberg forged crank and forged JE pistons. A bore and stroke of 4.185 and 3.625 inches respectively make 399 ci that withstand a stratospheric 9,600-rpm redline. The 16.2:1 compression ratio demands 114-octane C25 race gas.
E. Ignition MSD's Programmable Digital 7 Plus ignition controller triggers the Pro-Power coil that sends sparks through the MSD distributor.
F. Camshaft and beltdrive A Jesel beltdrive system turns a Comp solid roller cam. The specs: 284/298 degrees duration at 0.050, and 0.980/0.840-inch valve lift on a 113-degree lobe separation angle. Keen eyes will also spot the beltdriven Jesel distributor.
G. Custom radiator Notice the missing water pump? It's in the radiator, specially built by Ron Davis Racing Products. School founder Judson Massingill says hiding an electric water pump inside the radiator frees up space in the engine bay and allows for quick cam changes when the need arises.
Learn More School of Automotive Machinists; Houston, TX; 713/683-3817; samracing.com