Street enthusiasts on the prowl for a rare hot-rod engine with an unmistakable “cool” factor and plenty of horsepower should look at the Shafiroff 509.

“It’s for any car where you can see the engine,” says builder Scott Shafiroff of Shafiroff Racing. “People want something different, and those valve covers are staring right at you.”

With dual Edelbrock carbs, the Shafiroff 509 made 615 horsepower.

This prototype was spotted in the Edelbrock exhibit area at PRI and is the first of a retro-409 line of engines that Shafiroff will be offering as development on the project continues. While based on a combination of a BMP/World aluminum block and Edelbrock heads, this particular engine wasn’t a bolt-together project.

“It was a major challenge getting everything to fit with the valve geometry we wanted,” says Shafiroff. “There was about six extra days of machine work and labor in getting everything together.”

The Shafiroff 509 features a 4.370-inch bore with a 4.250-inch stroke, and it has a 10.75:1 compression ratio. This first prototype also boasts a “hot” hydraulic roller cam, and the Edelbrock heads were CNC ported by Indy Cylinder Heads before being fitted with 2.250/1.75 Manley stainless-steel valves. With a pair of Edelbrock 600cfm carbs it cranked out 615 horsepower at 5,800 rpm with 638 lb-ft peak torque at 4,500 rpm on 92 octane fuel.

Other versions of the Shafiroff 509 will be offered with lower compression, a milder cam and as-cast heads.

Shafiroff says future versions of the 509 will be offered with only mild hand-blending on the heads, a milder cam and lower compression ratio, but still have a target of 565 horsepower.

“The key is making it less labor intensive to bring down the price,” says Shafiroff.

The obvious market is the ’61 bubbletop Impala crowd along with other early Chevys, but Shafiroff says he’s getting calls from street rodders and pickup truck owners. 

“You can use and drive this engine,” adds Shafiroff, “and yet it still makes those kinds of numbers.