632 cid Big Block Chevy Nitrous Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

632 cid Big Block Chevy Nitrous Engine

With a storied race history of his own, Sandy Wilkins has taken his passion for cars and engines and turned it into his life. From race teams to Roush Yates Performance to opening Wilkins Racing Engines, he knows how to build high-horsepower engines like this 632 cubic inch big block Chevy nitrous engine for No Prep drag racing. Check it out!

Engine of the Week is presented by

During our summer road trip to the Mooresville, NC and Charlotte area, we got the chance to visit with a number of amazing engine and machine shops. We didn’t schedule time to visit Wilkins Racing Engines while we were there, frankly, because we weren’t familiar with the shop. However, after we drove by the shop a couple of times during our stay, we were compelled to pop inside and see what was what.

We were greeted by owner Sandy Wilkins, who was kind enough to let us in to see what is truly a state-of-the-art engine shop. We were blown away with how clean and organized the shop space was, as well as the caliber of the race engines his shop specialized in.

We came to learn that Sandy is a Wilmington, NC native, who started racing at the early age of 14 with the World Karting Association’s dirt track series. He proceeded to sports car racing with the SCCA at the age of 15, and was state champion after his first year of competition. During his years at NC State University, Sandy was a crew member for Kenneth Trippy Pro Modified Bad Medicine Willy’s, as well as crew chief for his father’s sports car racing.

After graduating college in 1992, Sandy went to work for NASCAR engine builder Charlie Long. He continued to work with the Tripp’s, his father, and Charlie, while systematically building his own drag racing operation, and working his way up to Top Sportsman competition.

Drag racing competition eventually led Sandy to open his own engine building facility in Raleigh, NC. Wilkins Motorsports Racing Engines (WMRE) started in 2006 and was an overnight success. With multiple wins, national records and championships Sandy was soon approached by Roush Yates Engines to head up their new drag racing program. In 2010, WMRE was closed and Sandy became the Drag Racing Program Manager at Roush Yates Performance Engine Group.

After roughly a decade at Roush Yates Performance, Sandy had the itch to work for himself again, and opened Wilkins Racing Engines a few years ago in Mooresville, NC. When we popped into the shop, Sandy had a number of engines in various degrees of completion, but it was a 632 cid big block Chevy nitrous engine that caught our eye. He was willing to give us the full details of the build.

“This is a new customer to us,” Wilkins told us. “We take in new customers all year. One of our fortes is we work on stuff other people don’t want to work on. That said, this is a pretty normal deal. It’s a big block Chevy, 632 cubic inches, features a Callies crank, GRP aluminum rods, Diamond pistons, Pro-Filer CNC-ported conventional-style cylinder heads, and it should make, normally aspirated, in the 1,150 horsepower range. On the one system of Induction Solutions nitrous that the customer runs, horsepower should be in the range of 1,500-1,600 hp, depending on how much he wants to spray.”

According to Sandy, his customer races in No Prep-style drag racing. Sometimes it’s a back half of the track kind of thing, and sometimes it’s the front half no prep, but they have a ‘69 Camaro that this big block Chevy engine will wind up in.

The base of the 632 big block is a Brodix block that is half filled for added strength and stiffness in the cylinder area. The block also has steel caps and a larger cam core to benefit the engine making high horsepower.

“Almost all the engines we get from Brodix, the blocks are half filled,” he says. “We do that because the majority of these are going in drag racing applications, so the cooling is sort of less important than the stiffness. We really like the stiffness for the ring seal. This engine uses an .043”, .043” 3mm ring package, and it is a tool steel ring, and they just seem to work and last a lot better when you have the half-filled block.”

An interesting aspect of this build is that Sandy opted to go with a wet sump oiling system over a dry sump system, and he did so for a few reasons.

“The majority of our engines are dry sump applications, but this particular combination car, the wet sump suits better,” Wilkins pointed out. “With today’s Moroso-style oil pump and pan, you can have a very reliable wet sump engine that makes lots of power. We also choose the aluminum oil pan on every application because it helps with heat dissipation and getting the heat out of the oil. It’s not normally a problem until you get hot lapping towards the end of the weekend. Between round one and round two, the oil temperature cools down pretty good on its own, but the aluminum oil pan really helps get rid of the oil temp as you hot lap and are making passes quicker.”

Clearly, the big block Chevy has a stout bottom end, and that quality carries through to the valvetrain and cylinder head area as well.

“The Pro-Filer conventional heads are paired with a Jesel rocker system,” he says. “We use either Jesel or T&D. The majority of all of our engines are shaft rocker systems and that’s good for reliability and power. This particular engine has all stainless valves because we wanted to keep the cost down, but in an all-out application we’d be using the titanium valve and the steel rocker.

“Our camshaft is a 55mm. It has a standard cam height. Most of the 632s we do are raised cams, but once again, because of the application and what he was trying to do and keeping the cost a little bit down, we chose the 55mm cam and that way we can use the standard cam height belt drive and parts that are a little bit less expensive. Up top, we have an Edelbrock manifold that we really like for its performance normally aspirated.”

Despite keeping costs down in some areas, this 632 big block Chevy nitrous engine has quality components throughout, and it’s an engine that got machined and built extremely well to the tune of 1,150 horsepower NA and 1,500-1,600 horsepower on nitrous. It just one of many examples of the kinds of engines being built at Wilkins Racing Engines.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade1Elring – 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].

You May Also Like

2,662cc Air-Cooled and Turbocharged VW Engine

This 1969 Volkswagen Beetle was just $600 when Steve Dalton bought it in high school. Having tweaked the performance of the car every year, he’s gone way past that mark and several iterations of the VW engine. Today, it’s a 2,662cc air-cooled and turbo’d VW with a bunch of aftermarket goodies.

There’s just something inherently awesome about seeing a Volkswagen Beetle wheelie off the line at a dragstrip. It’s even cooler when you know the engine making it happen is also a VW and not some sort of swap. We caught up with Steve Dalton, the owner of such a Beetle, during Sick Week 2024. His air-cooled and turbocharged Volkswagen engine competes against a sea of V8 horsepower, and it holds its own, so we wanted to know how the 1969 Beetle and the VW engine got to this point.

Volkswagen Beetle’s Air-Cooled and Turbocharged Engine

This Volkswagen Beetle cost owner Steve Dalton $600 when he bought it back in high school for use as a daily driver. Every year since he’s owned the car, the Beetle and its engine have gotten some sort of performance upgrade to the point that it is at now. Steve is a regular on the

ProCharged 572 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

Inspired to build a hot rod with all its systems exposed, Leroy Edwards used his 50 years of mechanic experience to build this cool-looking car himself. Powering this hot rod is a ProCharged 572 cid big block Chevy engine with nitrous adding an extra kick. Check it out!

big block Chevy engine
Twin-Turbo 6.4L Gen III Hemi Engine

After rebuilding his ‘Lil Red Express truck for the past two years following a collision during the Midwest Drags, Rick Russell got back to drag-and-drive competition at Sick Week 2024. This time, ‘Lil Red Express featured a twin-turbo 6.4L Gen III Hemi engine!

Lil Red Express
All-Billet K24 2.2L Honda Engine

We’ve known JBR Engines owner Jose Bello for a few years, and well before that, we knew his shop was one of the premier shops in the Honda and import engine scene. During a recent visit, we got to see an all-billet Honda K24 2.2L engine coming together for a customer looking to improve upon his 5.86-second quarter mile time!

Other Posts
The 2025 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Schedule

In all, the 2025 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series schedule currently includes 20 races at standout facilities across the country.

Turbocharged Nissan SR20 DET Engine

For a number of years now, Derek and Rita Cho-Sam of DRZA Auto in Tavares, FL have been among our top Nissan engine shops. When we realized that Sick Week would be rolling through their part of Florida, we made arrangements to stop by and see DRZA in person. Derek and Rita gave us a

Nissan SR20 DET engine
When the Industry Comes Together

It’s been said many times and in many ways – this industry of ours is tough to beat – especially when tragedy strikes.

Turbocharged and Nitrous-Boosted 6.7L Cummins Engine

This 6.7L Cummins-powered truck has been Armor Inc. Diesel owner Donavan Harris’ personal project since 2008. The build epitomizes the expertise and passion that Armor Inc. brings to every customer job, and over the years, this 6.7L Cummins engine has seen continuous evolution. Check out where it is today!

6.7L Cummins engine