376 cid Mopar Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

376 cid Mopar Engine

Building engines for customers is what pays the bills, but its not very often that engine builders get to go head-to-head for bragging rights outside of the racetrack. So when Jack Barna of Valley Performance and Machine Service heard about the Race Engine Challenge, he wasted no time putting together this 376 cid Mopar engine. Find out what went into the build and how he faired on the dyno!

Building engines for customers is what pays the bills, but its not very often that engine builders get to go head-to-head for bragging rights outside of the racetrack. Enter the 2018 Race Engine Challenge. Held in Charlotte, NC in October this year, the dyno competition pinned engine builders up against one another on an average horsepower per cubic inch basis. The competition was divided into two classes – a Hemi canted valve class and an inline valve class.

When Jack Barna of Valley Performance and Machine Service heard about the opportunity to prove his engine-building worth, he wasted no time.

“We decided to run the Race Engine Challenge last March,” Barna says. “The competition was average horsepower from 4,000-7,500 rpms, and the rules were max compression of 11.99:1 and max camshaft lift was .775˝.”

Barna first got interested in engines and racing during his high school days. He rebuilt his first engine at the age of 16, and he’s been doing it ever since.

“After school, I was just working a regular job, but I was still racing,” he says. “I started building a motor, and that turned into several motors. I started doing more and more engines and it soon became difficult to find someone to get the machine work right. I just couldn’t get the tolerances I needed, so that’s when I finally decided to start buying my own equipment and then officially opened up Valley Performance and Machine Service in September 2001.”

The three-man machine shop is capable of doing everything in-house with the exception of crankshaft grinding. The shop does a little bit of everything, but its main focus is drag car, circle track, street rod and restoration.

“I’m kind of Mopar guy myself,” Barna says. “I’ve always been into the Mopar crowd, so that’s my specialty, but obviously we do Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, etc. We’re good at doing them all.”

Recently, Valley Performance put up a new building that is 2,750 square feet, which for Barna, is as big as he wants it to be – for now.

“I’ve got room to expand,” he says.

One of the reasons Barna wanted to enter the Race Engine Challenge was to obviously prove he can compete with the best of engine builders, but also to drum up Mopar business. Naturally, Barna entered the competition with a 360 Mopar engine.

“We wanted to run a Mopar because I’m trying to pick up some Mopar business because it’s a small niche I want to focus on more than anything else,” he says. “We went with a 360 Mopar that’s actually a Magnum with Edelbrock Victor heads on it.”

Barna says they chose to build a small block mainly because of the cylinder heads. The Edelbrock Victor head is capable of flowing a lot of air, has a nice chamber and it makes a lot of power.

“In our class for the Race Engine Challenge we were running against Chevy LS engines, a Ford with Yates C3 heads, and some pretty bad motors as far as trying to make a Mopar compete against that stuff,” he says. “We knew we had to have something really good.”

The displacement rules were a minimum of 370 cid and a maximum of 490 cid. Valley Performance chose to stay on the small side because if you go too big you put the engine at risk of running out of airflow. The dyno runs would go up to 7,500 rpm.

“We didn’t want to starve the motor at all,” Barna says. “We actually bored the motor .100˝ over and ended up at 376 cid. So we were just over the minimum. We chose to go .100˝ over to unshroud the heads to get as much room around the valve to help the heads breathe a little more.”

In total, Barna and his team at Valley Performance and Machine Service put a lot of work into this engine – to the tune of 300-400 hours.

“We built our own four-bolt caps and we put bay-to-bay breathing through the main tunnel,” he says. “We blocked off the whole cam tunnel in the engine so there’s no oil dripping on the crankshaft. We also built a custom deal so we can change the cam timing in 10 minutes.”

The ability to change cam timing quickly came in handy since competitors only had 35 minutes to make 10 pulls.

“We changed cam timing and we picked up 20-25 horse on the dyno,” Barna says.

The Edelbrock Victor cylinder heads also got plenty of attention. The shop had them on the flow bench roughly 30-40 times for performance tweaks. The shop also had to take a W2 tunnel ram and completely redo it to make it fit the Edelbrock heads. The foundation of the Mopar engine was a factory block, which made Valley Performance one of the few at the Race Engine Challenge to go that route.

“We’re running a factory stock block that we had cryogenically treated, which made it 30 to 40 percent stronger than factory,” Barna says. “We’ve got a company in Grand Rapids, MI about a half hour from my shop that does the cryogenic stuff. I’m a believer in that stuff. We’ve been doing more and more of that lately.”

Aside from the block, Barna also had the Hughes rocker arms cryogenically treated, and would have had more parts treated, but came under a time crunch.

The engine also has a heat-treated Eagle crank and Eagle 6.250˝ H-beam rods in it. The stock stroke for the crankshaft is 3.58˝ and Barna de-stroked it to 3.558˝.

“We de-stroked it .022˝, and the main reason why we did that was to make the motor a little bit smaller and to put a Chevy 2.100˝ rod on the journal,” he says. “We used Ross pistons, which we actually had molds poured for here at the shop and sent them into Ross. The pistons are gas ported with a custom Total Seal ring pack to free up friction and try to get as much power out of this thing. We also used a Bullet camshaft that has a .775˝ lift and duration is .255˝ on the intake and .265˝ on the exhaust at .050˝. The rules were the max camshaft lift was .775˝.”

For the valvetrain of the engine, Barna used the Edelbrock Victor small block heads, PAC valve springs, retainers and locks, and oversized Ferrea hollow stem intake valves. The shop also used Clevite bearings, Cometic head gaskets, Smith Brothers pushrods, a W2 tunnel ram, and it’s got two 880 cfm Holley carburetors.

“At the Race Engine Challenge we made 737 horsepower,” Barna says. “Up here in Michigan we made a best 770 horsepower. When you’re on different dynos on different days stuff changes. Every dyno is different.”

Despite the differences Barna experienced, his 376 cid Mopar served him well. Valley Performance and Machine Service took home first place in the inline valve class. Measuring horsepower per cubic inch, the shop actually came in second overall, regardless of class.

“We were just 1 hp behind the top guy in the Hemi class,” Barna says. “We were pretty proud of that as far as making top end power. We were almost 2:1 horsepower to cubic inch.”

The Engine of the Week eNewsletter is sponsored by Cometic Gasket and Penn Grade Motor Oil.

If you have an engine you would like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder magazine’s managing editor, Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

872 cid Reher Morrison Pro Mod Nitrous Engine

A car like this 1966 Corvette featuring an 872 cid Reher Morrison Pro Mod nitrous engine is trying to kill itself every minute it’s running. But, a lot of this drag-and-drive racing is about loving the car you’re working on and feeling it’s a cool hot rod. John Ens and Dave Schroeder certainly have a cool hot rod, even if it’s a bit different! Check it out!

Ever since we began covering drag-and-drive and attending events such as Sick Week, we’ve been fascinated by Dave Schroeder’s C7 Corvette and its massive nitrous engine. We had planned to speak with Dave and his partner in drag-and-drive crime, John Ens, during the 2023 Sick Week event last year. However, as fate would have it, Dave’s first run down the track at Orlando Speed World that year resulted in his C7 Corvette coming loose at the big end of the track and a bad accident ensuing, where the car hit the near wall and barrel rolled into the opposite wall before coming to a stop. Thankfully, Dave walked away from the crash (seen below) relatively unscathed, but his C7 was done for.

540 cid Supercharged Big Block Chevy Engine

Born without arms, Matt Stutzman, aka the Armless Archer, has excelled at competitive archery. Now, he’s turning his focus to another passion – drag racing. Looking to go 200 mph in the 1/8th mile, Matt runs a Top Sportsman drag car with a supercharged big block Chevy engine. Check it out!

Turbocharged Toyota 2JZ Engine

Damon Elff’s Toyota Supra, which features a turbocharged 2JZ engine, will send you backwards as it revs up. This 2JZ is wicked, and we caught up with Damon at Sick Week this year to get the full scoop on the build.

Turbocharged 5.0L Coyote Engine

This 50th anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet features a turbocharged 5.0L Coyote engine and it’s one of the fastest Mustangs in Mexico. That said, there’s still room for improvement, and Martin Martinez of Junior Performance plans to make it even faster!

Twin-Turbo 572 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

Bryant Goldstone and his AMC Javelin are drag-and-drive staples. Consistently running 6-second ETs, the car is powered by a twin-turbo big block Chevy engine built by Bryant’s father-in-law Norm. We caught up with the two of them at Sick Week 2024.

Other Posts

Twin-Turbo Nissan GT-R Engine

At events like Sick Week, there aren’t a ton of competitors only pushing 6 pistons, but for Trevor Branden, he wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, his Nissan GT-R and its twin-turbo 4.1L stroker engine have done a multitude of events over the years, racking up nearly 200,000 miles since he got the

Nissan GT-R
Big 3 Racing’s ProCharged 540 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

There’s just something about a badass wagon that hits different, and Chuck Stefanski of Big 3 Racing definitely has a badass wagon. The drag-and-drive build was completed in time for Sick Week 2024 where we caught up with Chuck to get the details of the car’s wicked ProCharged 540 cid big block Chevy engine for

Big Block Chevy engine
Cometic Duramax Top End Gasket Kit

Cometic’s Duramax gasket kit includes: 4.130″ bore, .047″ MLX cylinder head gaskets.

Cometic Duramax gaskets
Exposed Hot Rod Features a 572 cid ProCharged Big Block Chevy Engine

In the weeks leading up to Sick Week 2024, we caught glimpses of Leroy Edwards’ custom-built yellow hot rod. With its unique look, even for drag-and-drive, we knew we had to know more about this build and the ProCharged big block Chevy engine Leroy put in it. We got the details in this episode of