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Engine of the Week

632 Big Block Reher-Morrison Nitrous Engine

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During the testing day for the 2022 Builder’s Brawl, we got to World Wide Technology Raceway a little early. Our eagerness worked out in our favor, as it gave us a chance to catch up with some of the competitors who were already there. One of them was Joey Baroni, who came to race with his 1967 Chevy II Nova wagon nicknamed Swamp Thing.

1967 Chevy II Nova wagon – Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing is a well-known car among drag racing fans and Street Outlaw fans, but it had been out of commission for some time before Joey took ownership of the car a couple years ago. Underneath Swamp Thing’s custom-painted hood sat a 632 cubic inch big block Reher-Morrison engine, and Joey was kind enough to give us some details about his set up for the Builder’s Brawl.

“The car itself was just sitting idle before we got it,” Baroni says. “Some other guys started it, but we fully disassembled it and repainted it, and we’ve been banging on it for about two years now. I was the crew chief for Ken Clark and I’m still learning every day.”

Starting with a Reher-Morrison powerplant, the 632 big block engine features a pair of Williams carburetors, 13:1 Ross pistons, MGP connecting rods, a Callies crank, 14-degree Oldsmobile cylinder heads, T&D rockers, a COMP Cams camshaft, a Peterson oiling system, a Moroso timing kit, and a Nitrous Express nitrous kit.

Running in the small tire class, Joey was unsure how much nitrous he’d be able to spray while still holding the track.

“I don’t know if we can shoot all of it here, but we’re going to start out with about a 700-hp shot and go from there,” Baroni says. “On a big tire, we were spraying around 1,100. On a small tire, on a good surface, I can squeeze about 750-800. We’ll have to see if we can stay on the track. It’s either going to knock the tires off or it’s going to get on the back bumper.”

Joey also mentioned that he built the headers for the engine himself, as well as redoing the paint job himself, which many people think is a wrap due to the detail of the airbrushing.

“Robby Grant helped in the beginning,” Baroni says. “God rest his soul, he had a heart attack and passed away, but he did the roof on White Zombie and some other stuff and he taught me a lot of things about airbrushing. A lot of people look at this car and Zombie and they go, ‘Oh, that’s a wrap.’ But, when you get up close, it’s not a wrap – it’s the real deal. It’s a lot of detail, such as the demon on the hood.”

Looking good is one thing, but going fast is another, and helping Swamp Thing’s 632 get down the track is BP C25 race fuel.

“We’re running BP C25 fuel because it is a little leaner,” he says. “C23 has the blue additive to it, so it’ll kind of leak out your carbs and haze it up a little bit. It’s supposed to oil it down, but it runs a little rich. The C25 is a little cleaner, runs a lot better, the plugs look good and the motor likes it. It’s making good power.”

The 632, on fuel alone, makes right around 1,300 horsepower, according to Joey. With nitrous, the Reher-Morrison is capable of around 2,500 horsepower. If things go well, Joey hopes to run sub-4.70 in the eighth mile.

“Some of the guys now in small tire are in the 4.50s and some are in the 4.40s – they’re fast,” he says. “You can’t play around. A lot of people think small tire is slow, but it’s not. It’s getting very competitive.”

As for Joey’s participation in the 2022 Builder’s Brawl, he said he was glad when he heard Joe Zolper was putting something together for people who work on their own cars.

“It’s a good group of guys that we all hang around with, so we’re lucky to be with Joe and other people who actually work on their own stuff. A lot of people just pay for it, get it, and then they run it. They don’t do any hands-on work. Every nut and bolt on this thing, we touch it.”

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc./NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]

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