ProCharged 406 cid Small Block Chevy Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

ProCharged 406 cid Small Block Chevy Engine

In an effort to keep his 1957 Bel Air mostly original, Stew Hill kept the car primarily steel, but opted for a fiberglass hood. Under the hood, however, is a ProCharged 406 cid small block Chevy built by Riegel Engines. Check it out!

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At a certain point in drag racing, no matter if it’s NHRA ranks or those of drag-and-drive competition, many folks alter their cars in an effort to trim weight and make the vehicle faster. However, car owner Stew Hill decided to retain a majority of his original 1957 Bel Air in steel and only went to a fiberglass hood. Of course, the upgrades under that hood are another story as well.

We saw this 1957 Bel Air, owned by Stew Hill, during Sick Week 2023 on day four when competitors were tackling Gainesville Raceway. The car features a ProCharged 406 cid small block Chevy engine and Hill’s co-pilot Ray Schrandt was kind enough to tell us some details about the car, which glimmered in the afternoon sun thanks to its ‘blurple’ paint color.

“It’s a ProCharged 406 small block Chevy with 9.5:1 compression,” Schrandt told us. “The engine has all forged internals from Howards, Ross pistons, a Howards roller camshaft, Trick Flow heads, a Dart block, Howards valvetrain components, a Dean Nickerson blow-through carburetor, a Moroso pan and oil pump, an MSD ignition, and a D-1SC ProCharger.”

With the ProCharger, Schrandt says they run about 6-7 lbs. of boost on the street and about 13-15 lbs. at the racetrack. They even change the pulleys for the street and the track.

“In terms of horsepower, the small block dyno’d at 770 hp,” he says. “The short block was built by Ron Riegel of Riegel Engines. He’s a friend of ours. Ron also uses PMS for his machine work.

“The car has been in the 9.80s, but it usually runs low 10s. It’s heavy. It’s 3,700 lbs., so it’s not the smallest or lightest car out there. Stew wanted to keep it mostly steel. The hood is the only fiberglass part.”

In talking to Ray about Sick Week, he said the street drives had been going fairly well with only a few minor issues.

“We had a rocker arm seize up and we had a little oil leak,” he points out. “Other than that, it’s just been hot. It’s still the best vacation though.”

Both Stew and Ray are well-versed in drag-and-drive competition as they’ve done several Drag Weeks over the years (three), but this was their first Sick Week, and the event met their expectations.

Over the course of five days of racing at Orlando Speedworld, Bradenton Motorsports Park, South Georgia Motorsports Park, and Gainesville Raceway, Stew and Ray managed passes of 10.31 at 132 mph, 10.08 at 133 mph, 10.18 at 133 mph, 10.24 at 130 mph, and 10.35 at 129 mph for an average of 10.23 at 131 mph.

Not too shabby for a 1957 Bel Air and its ProCharged 406 cid small block Chevy!

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – 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].

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