Turbocharged 521 cid Pontiac Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Turbocharged 521 cid Pontiac Engine

Known as the Canadian Chuck Norris, Richard Guido drives his 1965 Pontiac GTO literally everywhere. It's not just a daily driver, but a venerable drag-and-drive competitor thanks to a turbocharged 521 cid Pontiac engine making nearly 1,500 horsepower!

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Known by many in the drag-and-drive world as the Canadian Chuck Norris, Richard Guido has been at this game for quite some time, and he does drag-and-drive in a style all his own. While the rules of drag-and-drive events state that your streetcar must drag race and drive under its own power from track to track throughout an event, the vast majority of folks trailer their “competition cars” to and from these events to save on miles driven and wear and tear. Not Richard Guido. He doesn’t just drive his Pontiac GTO to the close-by events – he drives his car literally everywhere – and it’s a stick shift car.

Richard Guido Pontiac GTO
Richard Guido’s 1965 Pontiac GTO

The trip from his home in Alberta, Canada to Orlando, FL for Sick Week 2024 was 3,000 miles! His GTO makes the whole trip, and then drives back too! In total, for an event like Sick Week, Guido tacks on 7,000 miles, and it’s his GTO’s 521 cid turbocharged Pontiac engine that gets him there and back without problems. Oh, and did we mention Richard isn’t just competing to finish the whole week – he expects to win his class – and has done so at back-to-back Sick Weeks already.

“It’s a stick car with a T56 Magnum in it and two Overdrives, which is what really allows me to drive it so far,” Guido told us. “I’m in the Stick Shift class. In the first year I won stick and the second year I won stick, so I’ve got two orange helmets. I think they’re the only two in Canada. This year, unless Chad Fegley breaks, I’ll probably end up in second place if everything keeps going well for me.”

Pontiac engine
521 cid Pontiac engine

While the three-peat was looking unlikely for Richard, he took a minute to give us the details of his legendary GTO and it’s new engine – a 521 cubic inch Pontiac.

“I’ve been doing drag-and-drive events since 2013, and I’ve always driven to them and driven home,” Guido reiterates. “This one is the craziest for sure because its 3,000 miles to get to the start of the race, then there’s the race, and then 3,000 miles to get home. The car has mud flaps on it and snow tires for the road. It sees a lot of miles and it runs pretty quick too.

Pontiac engine

“I bought the GTO in British Columbia, Canada. It was out of a junkyard 20 years ago and it had the door kicked in and the quarter panel kicked in. I put it in my garage in October that year and I was driving in October of the following year. It beat the shit out of me for a year, so I’ve been beating the shit out of it ever since.

“It’s an original 1965 black GTO with a red interior. It was a 4-speed car, which is what I was looking for. It wasn’t a tri-power, but when I originally started it had a tri-power 498 motor in it, which was a 4.500” stroke, .090” over 400 with a tri-power on it. It was running in the 11s with a 5-speed TKO at that time.”

Pontiac engine

Today, Richard’s GTO sports a 521 cubic inch Pontiac engine that utilizes an aftermarket Pontiac block from Indian Adventures. The heads are Edelbrock wide-port cylinder heads that flow about 360 cfm, according to Guido. The engine also has a Crower billet crank in it, Crower steel I-beam rods, CP pistons, and it’s Edelbrock fuel injected thanks to an Edelbrock Super Victor EFI intake manifold.

My engine builder is Muscle Motors in Strathmore, Alberta, and one recent change we just did is dry decked the block, so it’s still got water that flows from the mechanical water pump through the block, out the back of the block and through the heads,” he says. “I was a little worried because I hadn’t driven it on the street since I did that, but I hopped in the car, drove it 3,000 miles and it seems to be working good. I can add a little bit more boost now because it’s got old rings. The fuel injection/ECU is a MegaSquirt MS3-Pro EVO and it does everything. I’ve been really happy with it.”

Pontiac engine

The Pontiac engine’s valvetrain contains Crower shaft rockers, Manton 7/16thpushrods on the exhaust and 3/8ths on the intake, a Crower 264/268 @ .050 solid roller camshaft with .716 lift, and Crower .904 lifters.

Since I drive it a long ways, I do lash it tighter than the specs, just to make sure that it doesn’t beat up the valvetrain on the really long drives,” he admits.

While the updated Pontiac engine is a newer piece to the puzzle, Richard also upgraded the turbo setup he’s running.

Pontiac GTO

“I’ve been through a few iterations, but when I wanted to put a turbo on, I called up WORK Turbochargers and I told [Reed Partridge] I drive this thing everywhere,” Guido says. “He spec’d out this 94/120 Borg Warner, and I tell you what, it’s been flawless. It does everything I want it to. In fact, I’ve still got lots of room if I want to add more boost. I’m nowhere near the capacity of it yet, but I only run like 17-lbs. of boost out on the track.”

According to Richard, the Pontiac engine made 716 horsepower naturally aspirated, and the large, single turbo doubles that number really quick. At 17-lbs. of boost on the chassis dyno, it made 1,485 horsepower to the tire. That performance has equated to Guido remaining very competitive in the Stick Shift class, and even running some PRs.

Pontiac engine

“I got a new personal best on day one when it went 8.61 at 161mph,” he says. “It then went 8.85 at 158mph. I’m hoping it’ll be back in the 8.60s-8.50s, but I’m restricted to an 8.50 by my cage and my certification.”

Richard’s GTO ended up running an 8.51 at 166mph on day 3, an 8.78 at 161mph on day 4 and an 8.80 at 156mph on day 5 for an average of 8.71 at 161mph, and securing his second-place finish in Stick Shift.

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].

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