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Engine of the Week

Nitrous-Powered 478 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

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Jason Chapman showed up to the 2022 Builder’s Brawl at World Wide Technology Raceway with his 1968 Camaro SS, which houses a badass, nitrous-powered, 478 cubic inch, big block Chevy engine. The Engine Builder team showed up in St. Louis ready for a weekend of drag racing, and Jason was one of the competitors in the High 5 class.

Jason Chapman and his 1968 Camaro SS

We caught up with Jason on test day to get the details of his engine and overall drag car setup. The 478 big block features a Scat crankshaft and Scat connecting rods, a Howards .785 lift camshaft, Brodix BB2 aluminum heads, stud girdles and roller rockers, a Pro Systems carburetor, a nitrous system, an Aeromotive fuel pump, and it runs on M1 methanol.

“We pretty much built our whole car,” Chapman proudly told us. “We painted it, built the motor, built the headers, we modified the car and cut weight where we could, all the interior work such as the roll cage welding was also us, so we did a lot of work, except for some of the rear end stuff that you have to buy. The rest of it, we’ve done.”

Of course, if you’re familiar with the Builder’s Brawl event, or heard about it through us, then you likely know in order to compete you had to build a significant part of your car yourself to even be considered. Jason certainly fit the bill.

His car was beautiful, and his engine sounded great! One of the cooler custom touches Jason had on his big block Chevy was the intake manifold covered in a $100 Benjamin Franklin wrap. Jason said it signified the fact that you’re always throwing money at it and you’re never happy.

And speaking of never being happy, Jason had been running his car/engine naturally aspirated in prior years, but wanted to go faster, so nitrous was the answer.

“Where we race back home, we had been running all naturally aspirated, and we decided we wanted to play a little more, so we went with the nitrous system,” he says. “We have a 200-hp shot right now, but we do also have a 250 and a 300 shot, if needed. After that, I don’t want to push it much farther.”

When asked about horsepower, Jason hadn’t put his big block on the dyno, but told us he built it for 850-875 hp NA.

“We don’t really care what it makes,” he says. “We just want to play with it and go have fun. The comradery and the racetrack is like a family. Everybody is always good to everybody and you meet a lot of great people.”

Aside from the fun the Builder’s Brawl weekend promised to deliver, Jason was also hoping to run in the 5.70-5.80 range in the 1/8th-mile. “If we can be within that, we’re going to be happy,” Chapman says.

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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