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Horsepower Factory: The High-End Engines of PRI 2017

Taking the first step toward the winner’s circle means having an engine that can get you there. Be it NHRA Top Fuel drag racing, land speed record-setting, Super Stock diesel truck pulling, or 160-mph offshore boating, these days it takes a pretty wild combination of parts to get to the top. From monster-size blowers and 100+mm turbochargers to billet-aluminum blocks, heads and cranks, these power plants are at the top of the food chain. They use methanol, race gas, spiced up number two diesel and nitro-methane to help get them there—and they produce anywhere from 1,600 to 10,000 hp in the process!

Find out what makes these fire-breathers tick below—and stay tuned for the latest and greatest products stemming from PRI 2017.

A ’57 Chevy Packing 3,500 HP

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As crazy as it sounds, being king of the street in the modern Street Outlaws era means if you’re not working with an engine that’s capable of producing north or 3,000 hp you might as well stay home. Thanks to a 540ci big-block from Vinson Race Engines, Jeff Lutz’ ’57 Chevy fits right in. A Callies crank, GRP rods, Icon pistons and a Crower camshaft reside in a Trick Flow aluminum block, while Pro Filer Performance Products heads fitted with T&D Machine Products’ rocker arms (and anchored via ARP studs) sit up top. Precision Turbo & Engine injectors, an Aeromotive fuel pump, a BigStuff3 EFI system and an MSD Pro Mag 44 bring fuel, spark and engine management into the equation, while a pair of 98mm Precision turbos force boosted air into a Pro Filer/Boninfante Friction intake.

Hemispherical-Headed 1,600 HP Big-Block

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Sonny’s Racing Engines had multiple engines on hand, scattered throughout the show. This big cube, “hemispherical-headed” big-block Chevy piqued our interest to say the least. Displacing 940 ci, the big Bow Tie mill sports 5.300-inch bore spacing, a Bryant Racing billet crank, Carrillo billet-steel rods, Sonny’s proprietary pistons with Trend tool steel pins and Total Seal rings and the aforementioned hemispherical cylinder heads, which Sonny’s calls its “Next Generation” units (they are fully CNC machined in-house). On 93 octane, this naturally aspirated beast produces 1,600 hp and 1,360 lb-ft of torque.

Fastest LS Engine in the World

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With a goal of sending this ’70 Camaro through the 1320 in 5-second intervals, David Adkins is also pursuing the quarter-mile title of “fastest LS engine in the world” with this ride. Built by Baker Engineering and utilizing a Noonan billet-aluminum LS block and Thomsen Motorsport intake, the 427ci V8 is about as light as they come—and the entire car tips the scales at just 2,400 pounds. Thanks to a pair of 94mm Garrett GTX5533R Gen II turbos, the potent LS cranks out more than 3,000 hp. All that power is harnessed by a ProTorque converter-equipped TH210 (Turbo 400). The car will be a regular in Outlaw Pro Mod and Radial vs. the World throughout the 2018 racing season.

423-MPH LS

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For the epitome of speed, visitors to the ARP booth were greeted by Kenny Duttweiler’s record-setting land speed engine. The LS-based mill powered George Poteet’s “Speed Demon” streamliner to a 423.521 mph average at Bonneville, which was good enough for the Blown Fuel Streamliner record. Starting with Dart’s compacted graphite iron (CGI) block—chosen by Duttweiler because of its siamesed cylinder bores, priority main oiling and scalloped water jackets—it makes use of a Crower crankshaft, Crower rods with ARP 2000 bolts and fly-cut, 9.0:1 compression Diamond pistons. A Comp Cams’ billet roller camshaft is actuated by Trend pushrods and a set of Dart’s 10-degree aluminum LS heads incorporate Jesel lifters and shaft-mounted rocker arms. Siemens 225-lb injectors, a MoTeC ECU and twin Pro Mod 88 turbos from Precision also played an intricate role in the streamliner’s voyages beyond 400 mph.

Big-Block Mopar

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Built to make Charli and Chris Wheatcraft’s ’71 Dodge Demon (called “Screamin’ Demon) competitive in the NHRA’s Top Sportsman, 4.50/4.70 Index and Outlaw Quick 8, a thumping 532ci Mopar positioned against the firewall should do the trick. A solid block from Indy Cylinder Head houses a Winberg crank, GRP rods, Diamond pistons and a Comp cam, while a set of Indy’s Predator heads equipped with Jesel keyway lifters and Trend Performance pushrods dwell up top. Aspiration comes by way of a 136mm F-3R ProCharger with an APD Blow-Thru Carburetor. The electronics side of things entails an MSD Digital 7 ignition system, front drive distributor, HVC coil, Racepak IQ3 dash and data logger and a Koni digital shock controller.

Billet-Everything Duramax

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This work of art stems from the minds at Wagler Competition Products, a shop that specializes in all things Duramax. Slugged the DX460 (the only difference between the company’s acclaimed DX500 being its use of a shorter stroke), it displaces 460ci—the maximum allowed in Super Stock diesel truck pulling classes. Things get started inside the solid, billet-steel block with a Winberg crank (anchored via bed plate) swinging a set of Wagler rods. Eight 13.0:1 compression pistons come from Ross Racing and out of a Top Fuel application, albeit with Wagler-designed fuel bowls. The Wagler cylinder heads are an in-house item as well, sporting the highest flowing units in the company’s stable along with its own rocker arms. Fuel comes by way of S&S Diesel Motorsport common-rail injectors and triple CP3 pumps, with a Bosch Motorsport 15.1 ECU controlling everything. This particular DX460 wasn’t sporting any turbo(s), but a single 130mm charger version making 130 psi of boost belted out more than 2,500 hp on Wagler’s engine dyno over a year ago.

1,200 HP... Per Liter!

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Although they may not look any more menacing than the other massive V8’s you find on display at the PRI Show, engines like this are the reason we have 3-second, 330 mph Top Fuel dragsters at the top of the drag racing food chain. This Stringer Motorsports version—a billet-aluminum block and head, 496ci Hemi making 10,000 hp—powers the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster and was parked at the Valvoline booth, one of its primary sponsors. Driver Clay Millican has piloted the rail as fast as 330.47 mph to date, with a best E.T. of 3.631 seconds so far. The dragster finished in Sixth Place overall for the 2017 NHRA season.

Big Boost, Billet Cummins

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The billet-aluminum, triple-turbo, sub-400ci Cummins mills that come out of the Scheid Diesel camp aren’t exactly new. However, owner Dan Scheid has brought his billet-aluminum block program in-house—along with his own cylinder head work. With direct control over some of the most important components of its competition engines (in terms of both durability and power potential), we expect Scheid to continue its reign atop the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League’s Super Stock Class. For the last two years running, a Scheid-built Cummins has won this prestigious truck pulling category. These babies are restricted to good old number 2 diesel fuel (with water injection being utilized, too, but primarily as a means to keep cylinder temps in check) yet are rumored to clear 3,000 hp (give or take) on the dyno. Scheid’s high-end engines such as this often incorporate three turbos in a two-stage configuration, build more than 130 psi of boost and (thanks to the aluminum block) weigh some 130 pounds less than a cast-iron/factory-based Cummins.

5.3L Love

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Anyone looking to breath new life into his or her 5.3L GM V8 would’ve enjoyed seeing this revamped LM7 at the Holley booth. It was graced with a host of parts straight out of Holley’s Sniper line (EFI, throttle body, modular race manifold, etc.), along with Accel coils and a slick set of LS-style, Hooker exhaust manifolds (released earlier in 2017). As you can see, the Hooker manifolds help to accommodate an S400 frame BorgWarner turbocharger as well. We’re told this engine combination is good for 600-plus ponies.

1,950HP Twin-Turbo, Flex-Fuel Big-Block

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Boats are definitely not our forte, but seeing this twin-turbo’d, 1,950 hp masterpiece makes us want one. The brainchild of Factory Billet’s Jim Schultz and Mike Faucher, the 10.0L (605ci) flex-fuel big-block turns out 1,650 hp on 93 octane and as much as 1,950 hp on E90. Thanks to a MoTeC ECU with Factory Billet firmware, the computer self-calibrates (i.e. octane adjusts) to whichever fuel is being sent through it. The quick-revving big-block sports parallel 88mm Precision turbos and spins up to 6,800 rpm. Several years in the making, two of these engines were used to propel Factory Billet’s 51-foot, V-bottom boat to a First Place tie of 161 mph at the 2017 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.

See more PRI power madness! 

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