1,400hp 571ci Big-Block Chevrolet
Rick Arias / Compton, CA
Let’s get to the stats right away. On the motor, this big-block makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 850 hp, which is pretty cool in its own right, but you may have noticed a couple pairs of nitrous solenoids in this picture. This engine was built to take up to four stages of nitrous without fear of breaking any parts. On the eighth-mile track at Barona Drags in Lakeside, California, Rick made a 5.80 pass at 120 mph on just a single stage of nitrous. That calculates to low 9s in the quarter-mile. Wait till those other three stages get dialed in!
The intake manifold is Edelbrock’s Super Victor, and it’s topped with a Holley Dominator carburetor, which was custom-built by AED Performance of Richmond, Virginia. This engine runs on 91-octane gasoline; Rick uses 110-octane race gas only on the fuel enrichment side of the nitrous kit.
Those are fully CNC-ported AFR 290 cylinder heads, which are rather small for this application but help deliver the extra torque Rick needs to launch his truck. They come with stainless steel 2.250-inch intake and 1.880-inch exhaust valves, premium springs, and a stud girdle, and their 112cc combustion chambers collaborate with the domed pistons to generate a 12.0:1 compression ratio.
Here’s Ricky’s ’70 C10 after a late-night race in Los Angeles. Don’t let the trailer throw you; he does drive it on the street, often to and from work. He’s owned it for about six years and though its previous owner had installed the four-link and wheeltubs, Rick did most of the finish work and installation of the drivetrain and fuel and nitrous systems. His big-block Chevy is backed by a Powerglide transmission and an Olds 9.5-inch rear axle.
Rick bent the tubing and installed the Nitrous Oxide Systems fogger kit. Fred says MSD’s Power Grid ignition system allows this engine to run on 91-octane pump gas on the street and maintain precise control of the ignition for as much as five stages of nitrous.
Cam and Valvetrain
Fred selected an Isky cam, which, like the cylinder heads, is slightly small for an engine this big. It measures 272/280 degrees duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift and delivers 0.726-inch valve lift through Comp 1.8:1 rocker arms. It is ground on a 112-degree lobe-separation angle. The pushrods are from Manley. Though the engine was built tough for nitrous, it still revs to 8,000 rpm, which is where Rick shifts.
This engine was machined and assembled by Fred De La Cruz at HPS Auto & Marine Machining in Irwindale, California. He started with a GM Performance 502 block and bored it to 4.560-inch. Then he added a 43⁄8-inch stroke Scat crank and 6.700-inch Scat H-beam rods, upgraded with ARP rod bolts, and topped it off with a custom set of Race Tech pistons. Fred used a set of stainless steel top rings, a Napier second ring, and low-tension oil rings. Oil control isn’t a concern, because Rick has a vacuum pump installed, to keep crankcase windage to a minimum. The rings were gapped “for a pretty big shot” of nitrous, and the tops of the pistons were ceramic-coated to withstand the heat.