For the two days we were at the 2022 Builder’s Brawl, we parked right next to the pit area of Colin Jost. No, not that Colin Jost. This Colin Jost was there competing with a 1978 Camaro and a supercharged 521 cubic inch big block Chevy engine under the hood.
We caught up with Colin on race day at World Wide Technology Raceway to get the details of his setup. As it turned out, much of the work on the big block Chevy was done by Colin himself, along with Rick Wilson of Wildman Performance. Colin also told us this wasn’t your average big block Chevy.
“This engine doesn’t know that it’s a big block Chevy,” Jost says. “Everything is built like a Hemi. Everything is half-inch head studs, Hemi journals, a big 60mm cam – it’s not normal.”
The build utilizes a Brodix aluminum block for the foundation and BB3 big block Chevy cylinder heads finished by Naiser Racing, as well as a 14-71 blower from Kobelco and components from Good Vibrations Motorsports.
“Inside the engine, we’re utilizing a Lunati billet crank, GRP aluminum rods and JE pistons,” Jost says. “We also have a 60mm cam and a Manton rocker system. I think we had one of the first big block Chevy rocker systems that they came up with – all their tool steel stuff – you can’t beat that. Besides all of that, it’s just a piece here and a piece there and hope we can make it work.”
Colin also opted to run a dry sump oiling system despite his ‘78 Camaro not having much space out front and the blower taking up some room, but he makes it work.
“The car doesn’t have a real long front end,” he says. “It’s a standard wheelbase car. It’s not a stretch front end. With the bumper, you may have six inches by the time you put this front end on. There’s just not enough space.”
Colin also told us that the big block Chevy is mated to a Power Glide transmission and the chassis was built by him in San Angelo, TX. When it comes to horsepower, Jost told us the big block Chevy hadn’t been on a dyno, but he estimates it can produce anywhere from 2,000-2,500 horsepower running 35-lbs. of boost.
“It depends on how much timing you put in it,” he says. “You can make all the horsepower in the world, but if you can’t make it go, it doesn’t matter. Menscer Motorsports helps us out on that. We’ve got all Menscer shocks all the way around.”
During the Builder’s Brawl weekend, Jost had a few mishaps during the test and tune day due to the rules of needing to shift yourself. However, he quickly worked out the kinks.
“We’d like to go A to B,” he says. “The rules are a little different here – you have to shift yourself. I’ve never had to shift myself. We’ve always had an air shifter or electric shifter, so I kind of forgot to do that a couple times and we had some electronics problems, but we got that worked out, so hopefully we can go A to B, and if we can, everybody’s in trouble.”
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original and 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]