Chris Morus first got into engines as a youngster and has always been interested in making things go fast. He completed several automotive courses and an apprenticeship at a top machine shop in Melbourne, Australia where he caught the engine bug for good.
“After almost 10 years working on modern, mainstream, two-stroke, light and heavy diesel, passenger and high-performance engines, followed by another 10 years working on veteran, vintage and classic engines, in 2017, I decided to start my own business,” Chris Morus says. “It enabled me to combine my love of vintage and veteran cars with American classic, muscle and race engines.”
With almost 20 years industry experience, Chris has successfully covered all facets of complete engine restoration. Today, he still has an eclectic workload. Now nearly five years in with his own engine shop, Elite Engine Building PTY LTD located in Victoria, Australia, Chris does work on engines such as vintage Maseratis, MGs, Alfa Romeos, Flathead Ford V8s, stroker LS engines, and more.
“I don’t do a lot of the same engine, but I do a lot of engines from the same eras,” Morus says. “I specialized in engine builds for veteran, vintage, classic, muscle and race cars. Given the young age of the business, I’m not fully equipped. I do outsource most of the basic engine reconditioning, boring, honing, crank grinding, etc. I’m pretty well equipped for the manufacturing of the required components and I hand build every engine. My plan for the future is to expand the machinery so I can do everything in-house.”
Aside from his vintage work, Chris’ high-performance engines can be seen in applications such as street/strip, circuit and hill climb racing along with ski boat racing. Over the last decade, Chris has successfully settled into his custom engine work and is considered one of Victoria’s leading engine specialists and component manufacturers.
Recently, Elite Engine Building PTY LTD finished up work on a stroker FE build. According to Chris, this particular engine project was previously at an FE specialist shop in America. However, upon receiving the engine and tearing it down, Chris found what he called an absolute mess.
“It was first built and dynoed by a ‘guru’ in America, Morus says. “It was delivered here to Australia and my client immediately had suspicions of the workmanship. He then delivered the engine to me to dismantle and go over. The engine was an absolute mess – pistons hitting heads, valves clipping pistons and a sump full of metal.
“My client had two engines built by this ‘guru,’ so he delivered the second engine and we found the same mess. The second engine had eight salvage sleeves fitted, six of which were leaking coolant.”
Chris started the rebuild with a fresh Ford block and decided t run forged Probe pistons, a Scat stroker crank and I beam rods, ARP fasteners, Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads (reguided, reseated and hand-ported in-house), a COMP Cams hydraulic roller cam (244/256 @.050˝), COMP Cams roller rockers and lifters, PAC springs, an Edelbrock 6×2 manifold with Stromberg 97 carburetors, a regraphed and rebuilt Joe Hunt magneto, and 4 into 1 headers from Hedman.
The FE engine has added cubes and a capacity just shy of 7.5L, courtesy of the Scat crankshaft, and features a static compression ratio of 12.75:1.
“I’m not equipped yet to bore and hone blocks or balance cranks, but all other work was done in-house,” he says. “This FE engine has all the bells and whistles… or as we say here, it’s a hamburger with the lot! The application is for a tow vehicle to transport the customer’s record-breaking Ford Flathead-powered vintage racecars from race track to race track. Those are also engines which we have designed, developed and built in-house.”
The engine was broken in, but still needs its day on the dyno to see what kind of horsepower numbers this FE can achieve, but according to Chris, it sounds as good as it looks!
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original and Scat Crankshafts. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]