Dart’s new LS Next block in production:

Written by Moore Good Ink Earlier interview with Richard Maskin • 9.240in deck height • Cylinders extended by .375in (effective deck height 9.615in) • Stock & aftermarket LS components utilized • Available in standard 4.000in & 4.125in bore sizes (4.200in maximum) • Manufactured on homeland soil using premium cast iron   In Dart’s dyno room on April 4, their new LS Next block was undergoing its final stages of testing before making its production debut.  “It produced 740hp @ 7,000rpm,” said its creator Richard Maskin “and it sustained 700hp for a long way.” Configured with 4.155in bore and 4in stroke the 434cu in test engine made 600ft lbs of torque. See original story here →  Introduced by General Motors in 1997, the purpose of Dart’s LS replacement block is to exploit greater potential from the engine, particularly in the reduction of windage and improved lubrication. To keep the tests simple and meaningful Dart used a distributor and a carburetor. In so doing they isolated the effects of modern ignition, fuel injection, and electronics from the equation. “It’s got a mechanical roller camshaft in it,” said Richard, “because I wanted to be able to rev it to 8,000rpm with the existing springs. It makes over 690hp @ 8,000rpm. It has a real flat power curve emphasizing its suitability for street use. It’s got a small cam in it, 255/265. It’s got our Cathedral-port heads, GM intake manifold, and a conventional-looking oil pan. It has, however, 12:1 compression ratio.” To monitor the oil level during testing, a sight gauge was installed on the side of the engine. Because the lubrication system... read more

Emperor of Engine Masters Challenge: Kaase claims purse

By Ben Mozart, Photography by Moore Good Ink: It takes uncommon pluck to enter an engine performance contest—what happens if you finish 39th? Developing racing engines is a serious business. Your reputation, your record of success and your credentials are constantly on the line. Despite the obvious reservations, however, entering the annual Engine Masters Challenge is generally beneficial for all competitors. Some engine builders bring along unusual or rare engines, knowing the media will fill pages with their editorial in the aftermath of the competition. Others build engines not to compete for the best average power output at all, but instead with peak power in mind, knowing their achievement will also receive recognition. Importantly, most if not all engines will be photographed and featured in the magazine articles during the following twelve months. So even if the event turns out not to be the shining hour you’d hoped, entrants gain much more recognition for their engine shop than by staying at home. For the front runners in the dyno room though, tension is usually high and interestingly the contenders deal with stress in very different ways. Some like Accufab’s John Mihovetz remain quiet; deep in thought he scarcely issues a word. On the other hand, the face of Chris Thomas, Kaase’s right hand man, is profoundly focused. Kaase himself seems to play it like a sport—with a lighthearted gusto, but plays to win. Lima, OH: The 2013 Engine Masters Challenge, the eleventh in a series first started in 2002, was won by Jon Kaase Racing Engines. His fifth victory in the Challenge, he collected a purse just under $70,000. When the reward amounts to more than any Pro Stock race... read more

Titus: World’s first aftermarket Cleveland engine in production

By Fergus Ogilvy Photos by Moore Good Ink A regular top finisher in the annual Engine Masters Challenge, Mark McKeown is a man with a prolific output of engine improvements in his résumé, not least the Ford Cleveland. But even with thirty years of Cleveland toil and achievement in McKeown’s background, it takes exceptional gallantry to resurrect a low-volume engine block—a block that was first conceived almost half a century ago. The fact is though, he had the daring, the energy, and the resilience to see it through and now it’s in production. The Titus will be his hallmark: a defining moment for all Cleveland aficionados who will benefit by his incentive.   Waldorf, MD: Revived by MME (McKeown Motorsport Engineering), the world’s first aftermarket Cleveland engine is now in production. It is called Titus. Accepting standard Cleveland accessories and hardware, these new larger displacement blocks are available in aluminum or cast iron, with deck heights of 9.2in or 9.5in and with bore sizes ranging from 4.00in to 4.20in. As anticipated, MME’s Titus engines are suitable for street or strip use and for most forms of drag, oval track, and road racing. Needless to say they operate in naturally aspirated form or with nitrous, turbochargers, or superchargers. More importantly, though they are designed to handle extreme power, they mate to stock components and operate easily in standard street cars. Unlike the original Cleveland block, the lubrication system has been redesigned for priority oiling to the main bearings with the ability to adjust oil flow elsewhere. In addition, the main webs are designed for solidity, providing the greatest amount of... read more

The day the Hemi Cuda took flight

By Fergus Ogilvy: Photos courtesy of Jim White Almost fifty years ago, toward the end of the 1965 drag racing season, Chrysler and their Southern Californian Plymouth Dealers Association underwrote the costs of constructing and operating a blown nitro 426cu in rear-engine Plymouth Hemi Barracuda Funny Car. The proposition that brought together the Chrysler Corporation and the Southern Californian Plymouth Dealers Association was conceived by the late Lou Baney. Lou, who was already running the “Mongoose” in the Yeakel Plymouth Center’s Fuel dragster, could see the potential for exploiting a new Hemi Barracuda Funny Car in exhibitions and Match races. The moment was right and the deal was struck; B&M Automotive were contracted to construct the car, Dave Zeuschel to prepare the engine, and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen to drive it. The origins of the Funny Car The term Funny Car had derived from the appearance of Chrysler’s Ram Chargers a year earlier. The corporation’s competition department had moved the rear axle assembly forward on the chassis in an attempt to improve weight transfer under acceleration, thus increasing the car’s traction. Also, funny by today’s standards, this Fuel car, those that run on nitro methane, and others from that era exhibited a conspicuously high front ride height. Constructed with leaf springs resting on a simple front beam axle the high front ride height was most probably adopted for its ability to transfer weight quickly to the rear end during full acceleration. However the practice came to an abrupt end when the “Mongoose” unleashed the new 1965 Barracuda on its first full quarter-mile run at Lions’ drag strip in Los Angeles.... read more

Don Garlits:

How his severed foot led dragster design to its most defining moment By Sam Logan Don Garlits’ front-engine race car career ended at Lion’s Dragstrip in 1970. “His 2-speed transmission exploded and severed a portion of his right foot—from the middle of his foot to his toes,” Tom McEwen explained. “We rushed him to a hospital immediately where he remained for a month. His wife, Pat, flew to Los Angeles and I gave her my Cadillac and put her in a hotel. We visited Don each day and took him sci-fi books—he enjoyed science fiction: outer space, black holes and all that. But it was in the hospital that he dreamed up the first rear-engine dragster.” “Big Daddy” of innovation Always influential, constantly seeking a technical advantage, Garlits was determined to reduce the driver’s exposure, particularly feet and legs, to exploding engines and transmission parts.” By eradicating the conventional rear axle, Garlits’ rear-engine dragster was the greatest innovation since 1954, when Mickey Thompson moved the driver’s seat behind the rear axle that marked the creation of the slingshot era. “We had a lot of success with front-engine cars,” said Don Prudhomme, “then Garlits came out with the rear-engine dragster and that changed things overnight. It made the front-engine cars obsolete.” Garlits sold his first rear-engine chassis to Tom McEwen, who won the Bakersfield March Meet soon after. In 1971 Don Garlits returned to professional drag racing with his Swamp Rat XIV and won two of his next three Top Fuel Eliminator events. The only remaining impediments to the success of his engineering prowess lay in changing the steering ratio... read more

Two new upgraded clutch assemblies for 2014 model ZL1 Camaro

By Sam Logan For smooth drivability, use organic disc series for up to 800hp For higher power, use metallic disc series (1,000 to 1,100hp) For racing purposes use metallic series for 750hp and over Columbia, SC: To transmit aftermarket power adder increases applied to the 2014 model ZL1 Camaro, RAM has announced two new 10.5in dual-disc upgraded clutch–flywheel systems.  Direct replacements for the original equipment 10in dual-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel arrangement, Ram’s new systems are distinguished by their greater clamping power, lighter weight, and special friction materials: 300 series and 900 series. The 300 series is described as an organic friction type that with light pedal pressure transmits up to 800hp under normal circumstances; that is conventional tire compounds, gearing, and weight. On the other hand, the 900 series is characterized by its metallic friction materials that transmit up to 1,000 to 1,100hp. Residing in the hub of the outer clutch disc, urethane encapsulated springs resist four times the compression rate of uncoated springs. To sustain greater torque loadings, Ram’s cover assembly, which is equipped with a nodular iron pressure ring, develops clamping pressures of 2,400psi. Also worth noting, a special billet aluminum flywheel is provided with dimensions that properly position the clutch discs on the OE transmission input splines. Better still, this new flywheel-clutch assembly (PN 80-2112) weighs 50lbs compared with the rather hefty original at 65.5lb.  For further information contact: RAM Automotive Company 201 Business Park Blvd. Columbia, SC 29203 Telephone (803) 788-6034 or visit:... read more

ChumpCar endurance racing

By Martha Maglone. Images by Moore Good Ink. Dawsonville GA: This past weekend, November 2-3, forty-one ChumpCar teams arrived at the new two-mile AMP (Atlanta Motorsports Park) race track for fourteen hours of endurance racing: seven hours each day, 9am till 4pm. Not including the required safety equipment, roll-cage, racing seat, racing harness, etc—ChumpCars must be valued at less than $500. This is the value assessed by the general market, not the amount paid for the car. Vehicles valued in excess of $500 are handicapped and as a consequence compete over a longer distance. Five Borg Warner engineers from Asheville, NC, driving a 1984 Mazda RX7 finished in 22nd place and confirmed the event cost them $400 each, including all their traveling and racing expenses. Not bad for fourteen hours of racing!   ChumpCar races range in duration from 7 hours to 36 hours and teams are compelled to operate with a minimum of three drivers. Each driver is limited to two consecutive hours of racing. Driver’s can, however, exceed one stint, provided a one-hour break exists between each stint. In addition, all registered drivers must complete a minimum of one hour behind the wheel. Pit stop durations have a five-minute minimum requirement.  An intriguing endurance concept, ChumpCar has many elements to its credit, not least competitive long-distance racing, an abundance of seat time for the drivers, premier race tracks on which to compete, full entry lists, and enthusiastic parts suppliers rubbing their hands safe in the knowledge that long-distance racing means vibrant parts sales. During the last twelve minutes of racing, the two BMWs that had led the field and battled for... read more

Little M 305: Dart introduces new engine block

By Ben Mozart Late last week Richard Maskin revealed that Dart Machinery is releasing a new engine block, the Little M 305. Refreshingly, this is a direct replacement for the now obsolete 5-liter power units so prevalent in Chevrolet cars and pickup trucks from the mid-nineteen seventies to the mid-nineties. Camaro models employed the 305 from 1976 to ’92; it was even installed in the 1980 Corvette not to mention its popularity in boat propulsion. But curiously, the 305’s resurrection was initiated from a much more improbable place: the amphitheater of the Sprint car arena. In recent years, French Grimes, head of Virginia’s RACESAVER organization, shook the Sprint car establishment by transforming the struggling 305 class from disarray to order. In fact Grimes, a master organizer, has emerged with almost 1,000 race cars competing in what has become one of this country’s most successful racing series. But RACESAVER’s remarkable growth forced the obsolescent 305 engine blocks virtually out of existence—until the dynamics of Dart intervened. Standard bore 3.720in Maximum bore 3.800in Complete water flow around all cylinders Small-bore full water-jacket block with all the sensible features of the acclaimed Little M Lifeline for 1,000 Sprint car campaigners: RACESAVER ® relishes prospects Troy MI: Dart Machinery has unveiled a new 5-liter engine block. It is known as the Little M 305 and its arrival is hotly anticipated as its predecessor neared extinction. Created as a direct-replacement for GM’s 305 small-block, which was used extensively in Muscle cars, passenger cars, pickup trucks and boats from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Dart’s most immediate need is to satisfy the demands of RACESAVER... read more

New shaft-mounted rockers emerge for Kaase P-51 big-block Ford

By Freddie Heaney Images from Moore Good Ink Last Friday, one week ago, Jon Kaase’s 4-valve 409cu in Mod motor triumphed in the Engine Master’s Challenge in Lima, Ohio. On Saturday, in Cleveland, Ohio, he visited his 91-year-old father who advised him that the college in which he taught dentistry had closed, that he was unemployed, and that he was seeking work urgently! Three days later, on Tuesday of this week, Kaase celebrated his 61st birthday. Today we release news of his latest P-51 competition rockers. “They passed the scrutiny of their designer Wilfred Boutilier, he said, “so, they’re apt to be good.”    Winder GA: At first glance, Jon Kaase’s new shaft–mounted rocker arrangement for his P-51 big-block Ford cylinder heads conveys stability. To the competition valve train, it contributes both strength and accuracy. However, the new arrangement possesses many more appealing prospects, some of which are concealed. For example, the 0.900in wide aluminum rocker bodies are characterized partly by their 1.650in pivotal length, but mostly by their twin needle bearings. The disadvantage of using a long, single needle bearing with canted valves is that, under high spring loads, the forces tend to skew the needles. As a consequence it drives them into the end of the bearing case and failure soon follows. Beacon of ingenuity As usual, a stroke of genius intervened. Two short needle bearings were introduced: one 1/2in wide (installed on the trunnion’s loaded side), the other 3/8in. This layout provides a space of 0.025in between the bearings which is used to deliver lubricating oil via a hole in the top of the rocker—a feature... read more

From F1fanatic.co.uk

The biggest technical controversy of last season (2006) was the banning of Renault’s ‘tuned mass damper’ suspension system. It put Renault’s championship defence in jeopardy and seriously questioned the impartiality of the FIA. Many in the paddock suggested the governing body were trying to engineer a final championship victory for the retiring Michael Schumacher. In a strange situation the FIA and their own stewards were at odds with each other over the system’s legality – which did little to persuade anyone that the banning of the system was fair. Renault began developing its mass damper late in 2005 and was used on the R25 in the last races of the season. The system essentially consisted of a sprung weight enclosed within the car to dampen the pitching as it rode over bumps. Originally it was only used at the front of the car. As is common practice with new technologies, Renault supplied the FIA with details of the system. The governing body agreed it was safe and legal to use. Renault’s 2006 challenger, the R26, was designed with the system in mind from its conception. For 2006 the mass dampers would also be fitted to the rear of the car. The dampers proved particularly beneficial on the Michelin-shod cars. Inevitably, other teams got wind of what Renault were doing and built their own copies. But none were able to find as much of a benefit from the system as Renault were. At this point the politicking began. Renault made a strong start to 2006 and other teams questioned the legality of the dampers. The matter came before the stewards... read more

Ask the experts at this year's PRI trade show

An all-star panel of top race engine builders will share the stage for a special roundtable forum and Q&A on how to operate a successful race engine business at this year’s Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. Keith Dorton of Automotive Specialists, Vic Hill from Vic Hill Race Engines LLC, Jon Kaase with Jon Kaase Racing Engines, and Ron Shaver of Shaver Racing Engines will take questions from PRI Trade Show attendees during a rare public appearance together on December 13, 2013, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Mark your calendar for Friday, December 13, 8:00 am – 9:00 am in rooms 231 & 232. For more information click... read more

The hot rods that hauled the moonshine

By Martha Maglone Images by Moore Good Ink Attending the annual Mountain Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville, Georgia, is always an agreeable occasion, not least because the town is closed to regular traffic and the Hot Rod prevails. On the Friday afternoon of October 25th, five decades of beautifully restored automobiles—from the twenties to the sixties—began rolling into town in substantial numbers. They had arrived to celebrate the 46th Mountain Moonshine Festival. Inevitably, it was the allure of the glorious Ford V8s of the 1930s that carried the real nostalgia, for it was in those machines that most of the risk-taking old timers ran their moonshine through the foothills of the Northeast Georgia Mountains. For most of them, hauling their illicit corn liquor from Dawsonville to Atlanta during prohibition times of the Great Depression was their only sustenance. In celebration of the moonshiner, here are several coveted examples of their most prized possessions.... read more