Well, they're finally here! All you Chrysler fans can rejoice in knowing that the long-awaited Victor 440 heads from Edelbrock are now available. This new offering isn't just a re-vamp of the existing Performer RPM heads; it's a completely new and innovative design that remedies many of the shortcomings associated with the stock head layout. Follow along as we put the new Victor 440 to the test and see how it stacks up to ported and unported versions of its older sibling, the Performer RPM.
When this series of dyno tests started, the Victor 440 heads hadn't even been announced yet. We already had a solid 440 package that we had assembled as a weekend-warrior motor to see what we could do with proven parts without overspending. We had the basic engine ready at JMS Racing Engines in Monrovia, California, where we assembled the top end and used the company's dyno room for the tests.
Hooker Super Comp headers with 2-inch primaries helped with the expelled gases, and Holley
The engine we used is a 466-inch Chrysler big-block that started as a 440 core. We bored it 0.030-over and treated the crank to the poor-man's stroker modification by offset-grinding the stock, forged-steel unit down to big-block Chevrolet rod size. There was a gain of about 21 cid with this trick, making an expensive aftermarket crank unnecessary. Eagle 7.1-inch rods made just for this application were used along with custom Ross pistons that yielded a pump-gas friendly 10.5:1 compression ratio. The camshaft is a mechanical roller with 272 degrees at 0.050 and 0.672 lift with 1.6:1 rockers and was ground on a 110-degree lobe separation angle. The original budget precluded the purchase of any exotic cylinder heads, so we went with the best value head out there: the Performer RPM with a Victor 440 manifold and a Holley 850 carb.
This basic combination made 618 hp at 5,900 rpm and 597 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm. The results were so good with a box-stock head, curiosity got the best of us, and we couldn't help but wonder what a little homegrown port job could do to help. The intake ports were squared up and cleaned with a sanding roll. We raised the roof of the exhaust ports and gave them a modern D shape, but other than that, no major changes were made.
Because longevity was a concern, we left the guides alone so as not to jeopardize valve stability. A lot of attention to detail was paid to the combustion chambers and making sure the valves were unshrouded. Also, the sharp edges left from where the seats were inserted into the head were smoothed and blended. We've found that a multi-angle valve job where the edges on the top of both the intake and exhaust valves are radiused and smoothed really helps with low-lift exhaust flow and relieves any possible hot spots that could lead to detonation. The intake was also cleaned and squared with a sanding roll, but no other modifications were made.