The criteria for selecting Engine Builder magazine’s inaugural “Performance Engine Builder of the Year” included much more than the ability to put together race-winning engines. Things like community involvement and the support of training and education were part of the mix. To be sure, our 2012 award winner, Ed Pink Racing Engines of Van Nuys, CA, scored high marks in these areas – most notably through their support of the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund (SMSF), which has, over the years, provided close to $2 million in aid to students seeking careers in the automotive industry.
An important means for raising scholarship funds has been the annual auctioning of an engine on eBay. This engine is built entirely of aftermarket components manufactured by SEMA member companies. And it’s been configured, built and dyno tested by the personnel of Ed Pink Racing Engines.
In addition to being responsible for engines that have won the Indy 500, plus captured numerous championships in drag racing, off-road, sprint car, midget and road racing competition, the folks at EPRE also know what it takes to build a top-shelf street motor.
Rather than have a complete, pre-packaged dyno-tested engine for sale, a unique twist to the 2012-’13 program was to tailor the build to the needs of the buyer. The winning bidder, Rod Johnson, met with Ed Pink and Frank Honsowetz of EPRE at the PRI Show and they chose a course of action.
A solid foundation for the build came in the form of a Dart small block Chevrolet SHP cast iron block, which was mated to Dart SHP aluminum cylinder heads. From that point on, the build was the proverbial “clean sheet of paper.” Johnson wanted an engine for his dad’s street-driven 1955 Chevy pickup; something with good performance, but completely docile.
As you know, cubic inches are always a good way to get more power without sacrificing reliability, so a Scat 4340 forged steel stroker crank (3.750” stroke) was selected, as were Scat 4340 H-beam connecting rods (5.700” length) along with Clevite rod and main bearings and Fel-Pro gaskets. An ATI Super Damper augmented the internally balanced engine.
MAHLE forged aluminum pistons (4.145” bore) and Total Seal piston rings were employed in the 405 cid package, which came with a 9.55:1 compression ratio. The Dart heads featured 200cc intake ports, 64cc combustion chambers, and had 2.02” intake and 1.60” diameter exhaust valves; a good balance between air/fuel flow and velocity.
Continuing with the premise of having a streetable power curve, a Comp Cams hydraulic roller (#12-647-8) was used. A set of Manley one-piece chrome moly pushrods connected the Comp hydraulic roller lifters to the Comp 1.6 aluminum roller rockers. This gave the engine a net lift of 0.612” at the valve, with a duration of 248° (intake) and 255° (exhaust) at .050° with zero lash.
A Milodon high-performance oil pump and a 6-quart Milodon pan handled the small block’s lubrication needs, with Driven racing oil utilized. Cooling came via an Edelbrock water pump. An Edelbrock front cover housed a Comp timing set. A set of Hedman hedders, appropriate to the vehicle, was also provided.
All the fasteners used in the build were from ARP. They ranged from 4130 chrome moly head studs, main studs and rod bolts all the way to polished stainless steel 12-point accessory fasteners. The high-performance alternator and starter were manufactured by PowerMaster, while a set of March brackets and pulleys added a nice finishing touch.
To provide the engine with a distinctive “look” and all-around performance a Holley EFI was selected. The polished aluminum injector features a 2x58mm throttle body, a Stealth Ram intake, and fuel injectors rated at 35 lbs. per hour. A FAST distributor was used to signal the Holley ECU, with a Crane HI-6 ignition and coil providing the power to the Moroso plug wires and Champion spark plugs.
The fuel pressure required at WOT was 43 psi, and the distributor had 33° advance. A pair of Moroso polished aluminum valve covers, specially engraved with the SEMA and Ed Pink Racing Engines logo, add to the engine’s exclusivity.
After all the normal break-in procedures were completed the engine was put through its paces on the dyno, with adjustments to ignition timing and fuel mapping made to optimize performance. The engine cranked out an impressive 475 ft.lbs. of peak torque at 4,500 rpm, and exhibited a very wide torque band that showed in excess of 400 ft lbs. for about 2,500 rpm. Peak power was a steady 453 horsepower, which it held between 5,500 and 5,800 rpm. Needless to say, with its broad power band the SEMA/Ed Pink small block will make for an excellent “driver.”
The beauty of the Holley EFI is that the ECU will “learn” the actual driving parameters of Johnson’s Chevy and make the necessary finite adjustments for optimum performance.
Thanks to the efforts of almost two-dozen SEMA member manufacturers and the considerable skills of Ed Pink Racing Engines, a potent, good-looking engine was built to benefit young people wishing a career in the automotive aftermarket. These scholarships are available to university, 2-year college or trade school students, with a percentage dedicated to children of SEMA member employees. A “loan forgiveness” program for paying off student loans for employees of SEMA member companies is also available.
Application information is available at www.sema.org/scholarships.