Big cylinder heads, roller camshafts, and monster cubic inches help produce impressive power figures. Each month we test a variety of power combos using many of these cool parts to bring you the latest tire-shredding buildups, dyno results, and track numbers. But much of the engine-building excitement takes place outside the pages of the car-magazine world. These guys rely on combinations assembled in hometown garages and shops to develop huge power. No crate engines or catalog motors here. Just custom engine builds with off-the-shelf components to power their hot street cruisers and weekend haulers.

To scope out the action we spent plenty of time at the track, lurking around the dyno rooms, and on the street, searching for the best engines we could find. Cumulatively, we logged plenty of miles, but in the end we were rewarded with potent mills and the chassis to harness them. No boring powerplants here, only real-world, and only those that scorched our fancy, including machines that sported 800 horses with people who aren't afraid to drive them on pump-friendly petrol.

In the end, we had a difficult time whittling down to our favorites, but suffice it to say, we certainly found 10 of the coolest combinations; each of which stands out on its own and deserve full merit for its achievements on and off the street. We should note that most of our heroes prefer pump gas and, without a doubt, that's just the way we like them. Is there a pay-off to building something similar? You better believe it. With the big dyno numbers or killer e.t.'s, these guys are the envy of their neighborhoods, leaving us in daze, and pushing us to be more like them.

Mike Saiki '72 Corvette Mike Saiki's 700hp 377ci small-block- powered Corvette produces some very low e.t.'s with an easy-to-follow combo. Just use a relatively light car and steep gears, and build an engine combo that produces low torque to help traction and high rpm. Add in a 300hp nitrous kick, a real loose converter, and a set of Mickey Thompson rubber and dip into the 8s. As Mike puts it, "I roll out on the motor about a car length, hit the nitrous, and keep just a little tire spin happening so that the front of the car doesn't yank the wheels up."

SPECS
Displacement 377 ci
Block Motown block w/four-
  bolt billet caps
Bore x Stroke 4.155 x 3.48 inches
Compression 14.5:1
Rod 5.85-inch, aluminum
GRP  
INDUCTION
Carburetor Holley 800-cfm
Intake Edelbrock Super
Victor  
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams hydraulic roller
Valve lift 0.700/0.670 inch
Duration @ 0.050 268/279
Lobe separation 110
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR aluminum 227
Valve size 2.10/1.62-inch
Rockers Jesel shaft rockers,
  1.55:1

Power Adder
10,000-rpm nitrous plate

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission Steve Sharp TH400
Converter Coan 8-inch, 7,000-stall
Rearend 12-bolt Corvette
Gears 4.56:1

Rear Rubber28x11.50 Mickey Thompson ET Street

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 708 @ 7,600 rpm
Peak Torque 579 @ 5,900 rpm(motor, 879 w/nitrous)
Performance 8.98 @ 155.5 mph
60-foot 1.38

Steve Mundy '72 Camaro
Steve Mundy's '72 Camaro was one of the most impressive cars we saw: big rear tires, a mammoth big-block, and a loud rumble at idle. Steve bought the ex-racecar online minus the engine. The guys at Ace Machine in Riverside, California, assembled the 564ci Rat, and Westech Performance dyno-tested the engine. When we first arrived to shoot Steve's Camaro he told us he just checked with his insurance company, and we could take the Camaro for a spin around town. One thing we especially liked was the Camaro's license frame that reads "9 seconds on pump gas."

SPECS
Displacement 564 ci
Block Dart iron
Bore x Stroke 4.530 x 4.375 inches
Compression 10.5:1
Rod 6.385-inch
INDUCTION
Carburetor Holley 1050-cfm
Intake Edelbrock Super Victor
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams solid roller
Valve lift 0.742/0.715 inch
Duration @ 0.050 271/280
Lobe separation 112
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR 335 rectangular-port aluminum
Valve size 2.30/1.88-inch
Rockers Comp Pro Magnum,
  1.7:1
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission Powerglide w/
transbrake
Converter TCI 8-inch
Rearend Narrowed 12-bolt
Gears 4.30:1 w/spool

Rear Rubber33x19.50 Mickey Thompson Sportman Pro

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 839.3 @ 6,300 rpm
Peak Torque 773 @ 4,900 rpm

Les Hays '56 Chevy
With nearly 2 tons to move, Les Hays wanted to make certain that he would not have a power problem. So he assembled his own 588-inch big-block that converts pump gas into over 800 happy horses. Les's engine develops huge power by flowing lots of air through a set of Air Flow Research cylinder heads that flow 385 cfm measured at 0.600-inch lift. The bumpstick is a very big solid roller. We had a chance to hear the thunder of this motor and can attest that it is awesome.

SPECS
Displacement 588 ci
Block Merlin block w/splayed billet caps
Bore x Stroke: 4.560 x 4.500 inches
Compression 10.25:1
Rod 6.700-inch, Scat
INDUCTION
Carburetor Holley Dominator
  1,050-cfm
Intake Edelbrock 454R
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams solid roller
Valve lift 0.714/0.714 inch
Duration @ 0.050 266/272
Lobe separation 112
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR aluminum 335, CNC-ported
Valve size 2.30/1.88-inch
Rockers Jesel Sportsman,
  1.7:1
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission TH400, Remac
Transmission
Converter Continental 9-inch
Rearend 9-inch Bill Thomas
Enterprises, Detroit
Locker, Strange
33-spline axles
Gears 4.56:1

Rear rubber
33x21.50 Mickey ThompsonSportsman Pro

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 837 @ 6,500 rpm
Peak Torque 773 @ 4,900 rpm

David Ross '00 Camaro
When Dave was just 19 years old, he bought his '00 Camaro new. For the first few years he meticulously detailed the Camaro and won several car shows in Stock classes. After a few dozen events he needed something more exciting, so he decided to make the engine larger and add a blower. With some help from the guys at Morgan Motorsports in Reseda, California, an ATI-1SC supercharger providing 12 psi, and a reworked big-bore LS1 motor, the F-body missiles easily into sub-9-second e.t.'s.

SPECS
Displacement 388 ci
Block LS1 Big bore, resleeved
4.125-inch bore
Bore x Stroke 4.125 x 3.75 inches
Compression 9.6:1
Rod 6.125-inch, H-beam
INDUCTION
Fuel injection 80mm MMS
  throttle body
Intake Holley ported/polished
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Lunati hydraulic roller
Valve lift 0.585/0.585 inch
Duration @ 0.050 232/236
Lobe separation 112
CYLINDER HEADS
GM, Stage III LS1
Valve size 2.10/1.60-inch
Rockers Jesel SS, 1.1:1,
  nonadjustable

Power Adder
Procharger D-1SC tuner kit w/custom tubing and front-mount intercooler setup

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission Rancho TH400 manual valve body
Converter 3,500-stall race converter
Rearend Moser 9-inch, Detroit
  Locker, 35-spline axles
Gears 3.70:1

Rear Rubber
28x11.50 Mickey Thompson ET Drag

NUMBERS
Peak horsepower 576 @ 6,400 rpm
Peak torque 718 @ 3,400 rpm
Performance 9.76 @ 139.66 mph
60-foot 1.48

Craig Boone '69 Camaro
Craig Boone designed his motor to power this G-machine rapidly through the turns and quickly down the dragstrip. The 421-inch small-block is built from a Motown all-aluminum block that is topped off with AFR heads modified by Slover's Porting Service in Sun Valley, California. Ollie's Machine Shop in Van Nuys, California, completed the engine assembly. Fuel delivery is electronic with an ACCEL DFI unit. With 445 rear-wheel horsepower, Craig spends Saturday afternoons looking for unsuspecting Viper and Z06 owners. The F-body keeps contact with the ground using suspension items from DSE, Global West, Hotchkis, and Guldstrand.

SPECS
Displacement 421 ci
Block Bill Mitchell, World Block aluminum
Bore x Stroke 4.155 x 3.875 inches
Compression 10.7:1
Rod 6.00-inch
INDUCTION
Throttle body ACCEL 1,300-cfm, EFI
Intake ACCEL
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams w/4-7 swap, solid roller cam
Valve lift 0.631/0.630 inch
Duration @ 0.050 252/258
Lobe separation 106
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR aluminum 210 reworked by Slover's Porting
Valve size 2.08/1.60-inch
Rockers Roller Comp stainless
  steel, 1.6:1
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission Richmond six-speed
Clutch Centerforce Dual Friction
Rear end 9-inch
Gears 3.70:1

Rear Rubber
P315/35R17 Yokohama A032R

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 445 @ 5,800 rpm
  (rear-wheel)
Peak Torque 420 @ 5,000 rpm
  (rear-wheel)

Scott Miller '90 Silverado
Scott Miller knows it takes a truck to haul, so to his factory 355 small-block he's added both a supercharger and a dose of nitrous. With the supercharger, better breathing cylinder heads, and a high-lift cam (minus the funny stuff) the combo has produced over 500 horses and 500 lb-ft on the dyno. To feed those extra horses, he improved the fuel system with parts from Holley. What's especially fun is that on the track the 4,000-pound pickup stops the clocks in the low-12-second zone.

SPECS
Displacement 355 ci
Block Factory Chevy
four-bolt main
Bore x Stroke 4.030 x 3.48 inches
Compression 8.5:1
Rod 5.71-inch Trick Flow
I-beam
INDUCTION
Injection Holley 670 TBI
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Crane Cams hydraulic 240 Compucam
Duration @ 0.050 210/216
Lobe separation 114
CYLINDER HEADS
Trick Flow 175cc
Valve size 1.94/1.50-inch
Rockers Crane Gold
(narrow body), 1.5:1

Power Adder
Nitrous, 125hp wet shot, Whipple Supercharger 6lb boost

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission Chevy 4L80E
Converter The Converter Shop
2600 Lockup converter
Rearend '92 Chevy SS 454 factory 14-bolt
Gear 4.10 w/traction lock

Rear RubberP275/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 511 (motor)
Peak Torque 503
Performance 12.32 @ 116 mph (motor)
60-foot 1.76

Chuck Immormino'71 Nova
This Nova may look like just another show car, but it packs some impressive power. Under the flaming flanks Chuck built a 406 small-block from a stock GM two-bolt main block and added AFR 210 cylinder heads, a hydraulic roller camshaft, a moderate amount of compression, and an adjustable NOS 150-horse kit. An MSD ignition system ignites the air/fuel charge. The package has been dragstrip-tested to power the X-body through the quarter-mile in the low-11-second range.

SPECS
Displacement 406 ci
Block 400 GM two-bolt
Bore x Stroke 4.155 x 3.75-inches
Compression 10.5:1
Rod 5.70-inch
INDUCTION
Carburetor 750 Holley reworked by
the Carb Shop to flow
830 cfm
Intake Edelbrock Victor Jr.
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams hydraulic roller
Valve lift 0.540/0.562 inch
Duration @ 0.050 242/248
Lobe separation 110 installed on a 106
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR 210
Valve size 2.05/1.64-inch
Rockers 1.5:1, Crane Rollers aluminum

Power Adder
NOS 150 kit

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission TH400, manual valve
body built by Denny Savage
Rearend 12-bolt, bearings, Moser
39-spline, Detroit locker,
narrowed, mini-tubbed
Gears 4.10:1

Rear Rubber29x13.50 Hoosier Quick Time Pro

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 525 @ 6,000 rpm
Performance 11.18 @ 128 mph

Mike Morgan '69 Nova
What we especially like about Mike's small-block Nova is that it runs 10s and looks so unsuspecting. The well-thought-out combo is more that just an impressive engine build; it's a total vehicle system that puts the X-body deep into the bottom-10-second quarter-mile class. Gaining power from a 414-inch small-block with lots of compression and no squeeze, engine dyno-testing has recorded over 600 horses. Mike is also a regular at his nearby eighth-mile track, where he dials in his car's 60-foot times.

SPECS
Displacement 414 ci
Block: Factory 400 small-block Chevy
Bore x Stroke 4.165 x 3.800 inches
Compression 14.5:1
Rod 5.85-inch Eagle H-beam
INDUCTION
Carburetor Holley 1050 Dominator
Intake Edelbrock Super Victor
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Lunati solid roller
Valve lift 0.730/0.682 inch
Duration @ 0.050 280/288
Lobe separation 108
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR 210s ported by Tony Mamo
Valve size 2.100/1.625-inch
Rockers Lunati, 1.6:1/1.5:1
DRIVETRAIN:
Transmission Turbo 400 Trans w/brakebuilt by Leo
Glassbrenner
Converter Munsinger 8-inch, 6,000-stall
Rearend Moser 12-bolt
Gears 4.30:1 w/spool

Rear Rubber
28x10.50 Mickey Thompson ET Drag

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 641
Peak Torque 547
Performance 10.33 @ 130 mph
60-foot 1.34

Pete Cervantes '69 Nova
By car number nine we finally figured it out. Buy a reasonably priced '68-74 Nova and spend the rest of your budget on the motor and drivetrain. Pete's gameplan enlists a common 383 small-block, some very good-flowing Dart Iron Eagle Platinum cylinder heads, a five-speed trans, and a decent shot of NOS. The combo makes for a very low 12-second e.t. The combination is also well suited for long cruises with the overdrive trans and hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft. Better yet, it's his daily driver.

SPECS
Displacement 383 ci
Block GM 350
Bore x Stroke 4.030 x 3.750 inches
Compression 10.5:1
Rod 5.7-inch
INDUCTION:
Carburetor Holley 750-cfm
Intake Edelbrock RPM Air Gap
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams Xtreme Energy hydraulic cam
Valve lift 0.477/0.480 inch
Duration @ 0.050 224/230
Lobe separation 110
CYLINDER HEADS
Dart Iron Eagle Platinum, 200cc intake runners port/polish stage 1
Valve size 2.02/1.60-inch
Rockers Comp, 1.6:1

Power Adder
NOS Super Power Shot 100

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission Tremec TKO 600five-speed
Clutch McLeod clutch
Rearend Currie 9-inch rearend
Gears 3.75:1

Rear Rubber26x10 Mickey Thompson ET Drag

NUMBERS
Peak horsepower 423 @ 5,500 rpm
(motor)
Peak torque 437 @ 4,500 rpm
Performance 12.00 @ 111.15 mph
60-foot 1.682

Gil Roldan '89 Camaro
The key to Gil's power combo is how well the selected parts complement one another. The cylinder heads, camshaft, and rearend ratio have been chosen to provide good mid- to upper-rpm power from the 383 small-block. The cylinder heads are good-flowing AFR aluminum items and the camshaft a reasonably stout hydraulic roller unit with moderate duration. The rearend ratio is a steep cog, but with the overdrive automatic, freeway driving is accomplished at low rpm. The package with a shot of NOS (applied in High gear only) propels the Camaro to low 12-second e.t.'s-on DOT tires and through the mufflers. CHP

SPECS
Displacement 383 ci
Block GM
Bore x Stroke 4.00 x 4.380 inches
Compression 10:1
Rod 5.7-inch
INDUCTION
Fuel injection Turbo City high-flow SBC TBI
Intake Edelbrock Performer TBI
Controls Turbo City custom
  EPROM
CAMSHAFT SPECS
Comp Cams hydraulic roller
Valve lift 0.510/0.520 inch
Duration @ 0.050 230/236
Lobe separation 114
CYLINDER HEADS
AFR 195cc SBC aluminum
Valve size 2.02/1.60-inch
Rockers Crane Gold Race, 1.6:1

Power Adder Nos 150-Shot Nitrous

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission TCI Super Street Fighter
GM TH700-R4
Converter TCI Street Fighter, 2,600-stall
Rearend GM 10-bolt, Auburn posi
Gears 4.10:1

Rear Rubber
P275/60R15, BFGoodrich T/A Drag Radial

NUMBERS
Peak Horsepower 410 @ 5,600 rpm (motor, 510 w/nitrous)
Peak Torque 435 @ 4,000 rpm
Performance 12.3 @ 114 mph
60-foot: 1.85
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