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Big Block Chevy with aluminum blocks - Horsepower!

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Big Block Chevy - Rich Blakely, Irvine, CA

With the Pro Touring push on these days, it’s refreshing that not everyone has decided to take the plunge. Sometimes you just have to subscribe to a little wretched excess. That’s Rich Blakely’s approach. The car was an original ’65 Olds 4-4-2 with a 400ci Olds motor and a somewhat lame two-speed automatic. Rich bought the car five years ago with the plan to infuse some serious power into the pedestrian Olds. We saw the car in Blakely’s shop and were instantly attracted to that large lump of aluminum as if there were pheromones in the air. OK, sure, it’s a big-block Chevy in an Olds. If you can get past your gene-splicing block, then focus on this: It’s an all aluminum big block Chevy 540ci Rat with an equally impressive BDS 8-71 hung on top with FAST EFI. Now this isn’t a methanol-swilling wannabe. Rich and his pal Tim McCurdy built the big block Chevy engine. You might remember Tim’s ’65 Chevelle from the Oct. ’11 issue (“The Postman”). So here are a couple of big block buddies who have built a true horsepower hero that retains complete driveability. With this combination, you have no excuse for not putting miles on the beast.

  • How many times do you see an A/C compressor on a full-boogie, all-aluminum, blown big-block? The accessory drive was especially challenging because it had to clear the fist-wide Gilmer blower beltdrive assembly and still fit behind the nearly stock radiator position. Rich discovered Street & Performance in Mena, Arkansas, had just the bolt-on solution.
  • That’s a Howe aluminum radiator cooled by a pair of 12-inch Spal electric fans.
  • On the fuel-delivery side of things is a complete FAST XFI electronic fuel injection control package using eight 55 lb/hr injectors and 60 psi of fuel pressure fed by an Aeromotive A1000 pump and a -8 AN feed line.
  • There’s more to this big block Chevy motor than just a BDS three-hole bug catcher winking at you. Yes, that’s a BDS 8-71 all polished and pretty, but look closely and you’ll see electronic fuel injectors along fuel rails on either side of the blower inlet and a slick TPS (throttle position sensor) right on the linkage setup. The blower spins at 1:1—no wimpy underdrive for these guys.
  • Behind this monster is a PTS Extreme 2004-R four-speed automatic overdrive feeding a complete 12-bolt from a Currie rearend spinning a set of 3.42:1 gears and the requisite limited-slip.
  • What you can’t see buried under all this polished flash is a World Products Merlin X 9.800-deck alloy block sporting 4.500-inch bores housing a Scat steel 4.250-inch stroke crank and Scat H-beam 6.385-inch rods. JE pistons create only 8.1:1 compression, so this beast can digest pump gas on boost. The cam is a Lunati 232/242 roller with 0.578/0.595-inch lift with a 112-degree LSA.
  • Those are AFR 315cc, fully CNC’d rectangle-port heads dangling 2.25/1.88-inch Ferrea stainless valves in 121cc chambers. ARP head studs make sure all the cylinder pressure remains in the cylinders until the exhaust valves open. McCurry used Comp Magnum 1.7:1 roller rockers and Comp’s new limited-travel hydraulic roller lifters.
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