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500 hp Big Block Engine Combos - Cover Story

7 Hot Big-Block Street Engine Combos

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SpecsDisplacement: 460ci, bore x stroke-4.360x3.850Carburetor: 850-cfm Holley HP or DemonIntake: Edelbrock Performer RPM, PN 7166Heads: Ford Racing Super Cobra Jet aluminum head, 2.200/1.76-inch valves, 72cc chamber, 290cc intake volume, PN M-6049-SCJA (assembled)Compression: 10.5:1Camshaft: Ford Racing hydraulic flat-tappet cam, 300/310 adv., 234/244 degrees @ 0.050, 0.562-/0.588-inch lift, PN M-6250-A443Headers: Hooker 131/44-inch primary pipeExhaust: 3-inch exhaust with Borla mufflers

Chrysler 440There are many acknowledged Chrysler wedge engine-builders, but few with Dick Landy Industries' (DLI) Mopar engine-building experience. According to Landy, you can make 500 hp with a 0.030-over 10:1 compression raised block (RB) 440 using heavily ported 906 iron production cylinder heads, but this requires a tremendous amount of work and no guarantee of reasonable durability. A lightweight alternative is the Mopar Performance aluminum Stage VI heads. With larger 2.14/1.81-inch valves and excellent flow potential, you can easily crank out another 50 hp with these heads over the stock iron castings.

Because the heads flow so well, Landy suggested a reasonable DLI hydraulic flat-tappet cam with 280/290 degrees of advertised duration along with 0.480-/0.502-inch lift and a 108-degree lobe separation angle. The Stage VI heads required the Mopar Performance Stage VI single-plane intake matched up with an 850-cfm Holley carburetor. Combine that with a set of 2-inch Hooker headers and a 3-inch exhaust, and you have what it takes to make well over 500 hp.

SpecsDisplacement: 440 ci, bore x stroke-4.320x3.750Carburetor: 850-cfm Holley HP, PN 0-4781C Intake: Mopar Performance Stage VI, PN P5249358Heads: Mopar Performance Stage VI, PN P4876311Compression: 10.5:1Camshaft: DLI 280/290 degrees advertised, 0.480-/0.502-inch lift w/108-degree lobe separation angleHeaders: 2-inch primary pipe Hooker headersExhaust: 3-inch exhaust with Hooker mufflers

Cadillac 500ciThe Caddy is by far the biggest of our street heroes, but also affords Cadillac fanatics the easiest task to make the five-bill mark. Richard Potter of Cadillac Performance Parts in Soddly-Daisy, Tennessee, gave us a quick power tour.

Potter says that the Cadillac production iron heads have enough potential that with two days' worth of grinding, you can port a set of 902, 250, or 950 casting number Cadillac heads to raise the port flow up to 500hp levels. The heads have a high nickel content so they're hard, which is why it takes so much time. He also adds 2.190/1.840-inch valves (2.000/1.625-inch are stock). With the small 76cc chamber, the engines need a big dish for the 0.060-over piston to get the compression around 10:1 to run on pump gas.

Potter prefers to spec his own custom cams that Comp Cams grinds for him. Because the engine is so big, it can handle a flat-tappet hydraulic cam with 255/245 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift with 0.550 to 0.560-inch valve lift. Note that the exhaust duration is shorter than the intake. Potter says the exhaust is so good, he prefers less duration on the exhaust side.

For a street engine, Potter says the Edelbrock Performer intake works best, but it will max out at around 5,000 to 5,200 rpm. He offers a Dominator style intake, but it's too big for the street. For carburetors, it's tough to beat the 800-cfm stock Q-jet for driveability, but he also likes the 850-cfm Holley HP carb for all-out power. As for exhaust, Sanderson makes a block-hugger 171/48-inch header that seems to work well, but this will depend upon the body application, especially if you're planning on an engine swap like a 500ci Cad into a '55 Chevy or a Henry J.

The Cad does have two weak spots. According to Potter, the valvetrain is "worthless," and he recommends his Cadillac Performance rocker arms. The other area is the stock cast-iron connecting rods. Potter prefers to use Oldsmobile-forged rods that are only slightly shorter. Other than that, Potter says the nodular crank can handle the easy 550 hp this combination can grunt out.

SpecsDisplacement: 500ci, bore x stroke-4.300x4.304Carburetor: 850-cfm Holley HP, Race Demon, 800-cfm Q-jetIntake: Edelbrock Performer, PN 2115Heads: Stock 950 cast-iron heads, heavily ported 2.190/1.840-inch valvesCompression: 10.2:1Camshaft: Comp Cams, custom-grind hydraulic flat-tappet 255/245 degrees @ 0.050, 0.550-/0.550-inch lift, 110-degree lobe separationHeaders: Sanderson 171/48-inch primary pipeExhaust: 3-inch exhaust with DynoMax mufflers

Dept. 5.0
2700 California St.
CA  90503
HO Enterprises Performance Automotive Engines (PAE)
Dick Miller Racing
TA Performance
16167 N. 81st St.
AZ  85260
Holley Performance Products (Lunati)
1801 Russellville Rd.
P.O. Box 10360
Bowling Green
KY  42101
Ford Racing Performance Parts
44050 N. Groesbeck Hwy.
Clinton Township
MI  48036
Kooks Custom Headers
North Bayshore
Dick Landy Industries
19743 Bahama St.
CA  91324
AirFlow Research (AFR)
28611 W. Industry Dr.
CA  91355
Mopar Performance Parts
Demon Carburetion/Barry Grant
Cadillac Performance Parts
World Products
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