Chris Varni's Orange Crush – Turbocharged 400 cid SBF Engine - Engine Builder Magazine
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Chris Varni’s Orange Crush – Turbocharged 400 cid SBF Engine


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If you’re familiar with the Street Outlaws No Prep competition, chances are you’ve seen a 1988 Fox Body Mustang called Orange Crush. Driven by Chris Varni, Orange Crush features a 400 cubic inch small block Ford engine under the hood built by Nick Dixon and the guys at Pro Street Engines in San Antonio, TX.

This build is our Engine of the Week. Shop owner Nick Dixon first started building engines for Chris Varni back in 2017, and his Orange Crush Mustang has become one of the shop’s best customers.

The car features a 400 cubic inch block from Dart with a billet crank, aluminum rods, Diamond pistons, Total Seal rings, King bearings, a Danny Bee belt drive, and a COMP Cams 55mm solid roller camshaft.


“It’s got a wet sump external oil pump. We also run the Crane Ultra-Pro lifters, Trend pushrods and ARP hardware. It’s got an Edelbrock Victor head – it’s an inline head with a raised runner – it’s CNC ported. We’re using titanium intake valves and Inconel exhaust valves from REV. We run Manley Nextek springs, Jesel shaft-mount rocker arms and an Edelbrock single plane intake manifold.”

The engine is also turbocharged and the kit is built around the entire engine. However, this is something Nick says he’d like to change.

“His whole turbo kit is built around that thing. It’s something I would really like to change on it though. That’s the only restriction on his set up right now is the intake manifold. It’s also got a big 98mm turbo from Precision. He’s still on gas. He runs VP race fuel. We’ve talked about switching over to methanol on the next combo, but I don’t know if we’re going to do that or not.”


The entire engine got all the machine work you’d expect out of a 2,000-plus horsepower engine – line honed, square decked, bored and honed with torque plates, bored for larger cam bearings and the lifter bores, and CNC-ported heads.

“Nothing’s really standard when it comes to performance engines, but it’s standard stuff for us. We do the same thing on almost every engine, whether it’s a 500 horsepower build or a 3,000 horsepower build.”

With this small block Ford all put together and back in Orange Crush, Nick says it makes in excess of 2,000 horsepower.

“As far as times go, he runs well below 5 seconds in the 1/8th-mile. He’s making over 2,000 horsepower on this thing. His car hooks and goes down to the track. It’s ridiculous how fast it is.”


Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade1, Scat Crankshafts and Elring. If you have an engine you’d like to see featured, please email our editor Greg Jones at [email protected] Thanks for watching!

Engine Builder Magazine