Customizing an engine to the customer’s tastes is a task faced by engine builders the world over, and the engine in this video is an 8-Stack injected SBF, built by Doug Aitken and the gang at Prestige Motorsports. The engine, built for customer Shawn Wilson, will be placed into Wilson’s ’32 Ford roadster that has many other custom touches to go with the engine’s unique presentation.
“We decided to build this car after the question was brought up, ‘What kind of car would you drive for your mid-life crisis car?’ Most normal guys would answer the question with a Corvette or Ferrari. For me, the biggest car freak in the world, there was only one true answer and that was the most iconic street rod of all time, a Deuce roadster,” says Wilson.
“The true significance was that I had wanted a ’32 roadster for a long time and yet none had met my criteria – a steel car with a Ford motor. The stars lined up when a friend of mine, Bruce Hines of Rod Link and myself, had been talking about building me a ’32. The timing was perfect; he let me design my dream car from top to bottom,” he explains.
“Then he went to town building me what I think should be one of the nicest ’32s around. The decision to use Prestige to build my motors came down to two things – drivability and reliability. Then their customer service was second to none. In all my hot rod dealings, I had never experienced a group of people so set on doing the right thing and putting out such a top notch product.”
“A neat custom feature on this engine project was the valve cover breathers and PCV valve system. They were removed from the standard location in the valve covers as we wanted the top of the engine to be as clean as possible, so relocating the breather and PCV was essential to the look we were after,” says Aitken.
The crankcase breathers, usually located in one or both of the valvecovers, found a new home in a most unsuspecting place.
The valve covers and intake manifold were modified to use a custom PCV/breather system. Valve covers also had the Edelbrock logo milled off so that the customer’s design could be milled in its place.
“In the search for a remote location for the crankcase breather we decided since we were not using the mechanical fuel pump location due to the EFI requiring an intank pump this would be our location. This was achieved by carefully modifying and baffling the fuel pump block off plate and installing the breather in this location,” he explains.
The crankcase breather system was adapted to the front cover in this unique application.
The PCV system was moved to the underside of the intake manifold; they carefully added baffles to the bottom side of the plenum, which permitted an inline PCV valve to be hidden in the valley – away from view, but in the perfect place for operation. During testing of the engine, they used a clear line to visually ensure no oil was pulled through the baffled inline PCV and into the plenum.
The Borla Induction 8-Stack uses a Holley HP fuel injection system for control.
Also used in the interest of creating a show-stopping look is the Borla Induction 8-Stack fuel injection system; it uses eight individual throttle bodies atop a common manifold base to provide the sought-after look of yesteryear with the performance of today.
Wilson chose to use the Holley HP engine management system for a number of reasons.
“My dad and I were talking about the build before I had put in my order for the motor. We were discussing drivability and my requirements for the motor, which were a ton of power, but the whole family needed to be able to drive it. So another call to Prestige, and we came up with the idea to go with electronic 8 stack injection. We discussed the look of the motor and the finishes we would use to make the modern injection work with a semi-traditional build. I think we hit it dead on,” says Wilson.
“We prefer the Holley system for its self-learning features and ease of use on the customer’s side. Not everyone knows how to properly tune parameters of a performance engine so this is an excellent choice for the novice customers wanting EFI. The fact that Holley systems can also be fully programmable via a laptop without the need of an upgrade allows us to better serve our customers in the future. We can offer over the internet tuning and diagnosis which is a huge advantage to the Holley systems,” Aitken explains.
“Our plan for this car is to hit a few major shows, maybe SEMA in the fall, then drive the wheels off it. Jason Mortenson of Mortenson’s Custom Touch is doing the paint and Todd Kramer will be doing the interior. The only down side of finishing the car is we won’t be able to see the custom chassis that Bruce spent so much time building. Tom Smith and Adam England were also key players in the build – thanks guys!” says Wilson.
More views of the engine installed in the chassis - Wilson is hard at work completing the rest of the car.
The engine, which produces 460 horsepower and 425 foot-pounds of torque on the Prestige Motorsports dyno, uses internals to support that power level with some room to grow in the future. A cast steel crankshaft from Eagle pairs up with a set of forged I-beam steel connecting rods from the company, while a set of SRP Professional Series forged pistons from JE pair with file-fit rings. The pistons have been spec’d out with a compact ring stack and coated skirts to reduce friction.
Rotating assembly parts were selected for longevity, cost, and ease of use. The SRP pistons use a 1.2mm/1.5mm/3.0mm JE Pro Seal ring package and compact skirt design for low drag. The Eagle cast steel crankshaft and forged steel I-beam connecting rods will live forever in this application.
In the interest of street-friendly horsepower, Prestige had COMP Cams custom grind a hydraulic roller camshaft, which actuates a set of Scorpion‘s 1.6:1 billet aluminum roller rocker arms that are placed on Edelbrock‘s E-Street aluminum cylinder heads.
“We do our own seat work and bowl blend on the cylinder heads. This helps us to ensure consistent valve heights, and also enhance the low lift flow numbers, critical on a streetgoing application such as this,” says Aitken.
The completed engine.
To finish off the rest of the build, Prestige selected a set of Edelbrock’s Classic valve covers, then machined off the logo to allow for custom engraving to be applied. A Rollmaster adjustable double roller timing set and Melling oil pump are also used, with a Moroso 7-quart oil pan to seal up the bottom end. Ignition is handled by an MSD 6AL and Pro Billet distributor.
To keep the vintage look going on the front of the engine, a complete serpentine-belt accessory setup from March Performance was employed. Wilson chose the black powder-coated brackets and pulleys to go with the natural-finish alternator and water pump, with all current-day accessory drive technology.
The engine was not developed for ultimate horsepower; instead, it was created to be something that Wilson could drive anywhere on a moment’s notice without fear of overheating, spitting out a gasket, or fouling out a spark plug.
Still, it cranks out 460 horsepower and 425 foot-pounds of torque in the process, motivating his sweet street-rod to what’s hopefully a bunch of show wins in 2015.