Ray Banyas used to hand port cylinder heads back when he first started at a shop called Myles Engineering in Cleveland. Roughly 20-plus years ago he hand ported cylinder heads for an alcohol drag engine that belonged to a customer named Dale Wicks. Recently, Wayne Wicks, Dale’s brother, paid a visit to the shop, which is now named Victory Engines, and is owned by Banyas.
Unfortunately, Wayne’s visit included the news that his brother Dale had passed away about a year ago, but in doing so, he left behind a heap of engine parts that Wayne inherited such as a Chevy bow tie block, a Moldex crank, JE pistons, Ferrea rods, and those same cylinder heads Banyas hand ported all that time ago.
Wayne decided to put those parts to good use by having Victory Engines build a 572 Chevrolet engine, which would ultimately go in a ’70 Chevy Nova SS that used to be an 8.90 car.
“This stuff has been in the family forever, and I built the Nova for Dale 20-plus years ago,” Wicks says. “It’s a nice keepsake now. By turning it into a street car I’ll get more use out of it.”
The car used to run a mechanical Hilborn on it, and Wayne wanted to make it a street car, following the trend recently of building 700 hp-plus streetable cars.
“I gave all the parts to Ray and these guys cleaned all the parts up and machined them and got the clearances correct,” Wicks says. “I used the cylinder heads off the original alcohol motor that was in the Nova already. I also wanted to convert the mechanical Hilborn to EFI, but it’s a one piece manifold and with a tall deck I would have had to use spacers. Hilborn hooked me up with their EFI system.”
Banyas and his right-hand man Phil Hartsel got to work on the engine and EFI system.
“It’s a 572-in engine that has 10.54:1 compression ratio,” Banyas says. “The engine has a 700-and-something lift cam in it. It’s for a street car, and the engine was made accordingly so it will run good on the street and isn’t an all-out race motor. The Chevy heads were hand ported by me 20 years ago or so and in need of a freshening job. These parts were old, but practically brand new because his brother never put it together except for the heads.”
Wayne’s Moldex crankshaft is a 4.500” stroke and has 17 pieces of Mallory metal in it.
“In the old days you couldn’t take even a 4.250” stroke crank without putting metal in it,” Banyas says. “Now, your Eagle cranks can balance with no metal on them because they make the counterweights different.”
While Wayne provided a large chunk of the engine parts for the 572 engine, Banyas got a new cam and new Morel Ultra Pro lifters. They also used air cleaners from a Harley-Davidson, which fit inside. However, having eight air cleaners hurts the hp by 140 horses.
“The engine made 847hp at 6,000rpm without the cleaners,” Banyas says. “A 700 hp engine is still pretty good for the street though.”
“If he wants to go to the drag strip he can take the air cleaners out and pick up nearly 150 hp and have some fun,” Hartsel says.
In the video above, Banyas ran the engine on the shop’s Stuska dyno with Wayne looking on in approval.
“I’m pretty happy how it all turned out,” Wayne says. “Victory Engines does excellent work.”
Engine of the Week is sponsored by Cometic Gasket
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