It's pretty amazing, the types of engines you can build today with any budget. If you're ever under the gun and need a quick and sloppy rebuild, we've shamelessly gotten away with simply hand-boring the cylinders and slapping on new rings and bearings. Sure, it sounds medieval, but it works. If you have a few extra bucks to toss around, the options are just about limitless.
Take this month's cover story. Each staff editor had to come up with a plan and build a complete engine for $5,500. Some may question the difficulty in slapping some parts together. But we know it's more than that. It's about taking the time to really sort out a complete package, all the while keeping in mind the power curvers we were trying to achieve. I don't have to say it, by now many of you know my passion lies with drag racing-yet ironically, I ended up with the smallest of cubic inches.
Granted, this "showdown" was more of how you can build three individual engine variations for the same price; still you better believe the staffers were unequivocally plotting ways to outdo one another. However, as it was intended, the price cap ultimately kept us in check.
Yes, as many of us predicted, the strokers' added inches created monster torque everywhere, but as far as I'm concerned, the littlest Mouse was in a league of its own with its crisp, raspy idle, wide powerband, and ability to pull 7,000 rpm like it was nothing. Considering I generally go for bigger cubes, this gave me a newfound appreciation for what the little bullets can do. Are you wondering what I would have done differently, given the opportunity to build a stroker instead? Nothing. I'd still go with a single-plane manifold, a big-duration, solid flat-tappet cam, and as much compression as I could get. Matter of fact, I'd do the same with a big-block. It's not like the single-planes would kill the bottom end on the street. There's more than enough torque that you could easily spare some and never miss it. Hey, I can't help it; that's just who I am.
What about you? What would you build for $5,500? Would it be similar to any of ours? E-mail me (see below) and let's compare notes. And don't feel confined to the given budget-go crazy; while you're at it, tell me the types of builds you'd like to see from us. Would a 283ci or 305ci small-block even tickle your fancy? Want more stroker combinations? How about big-inch big-blocks? You name it and we'll build it, or at least make fools of ourselves trying. Don't forget to tell us what kind of chassis you plan on dropping these into. And if you've already built them, I want to know the results, including the dyno numbers and dragstrip times, assuming you have them. Until then, catch ya on the Net. CHP