While a big 8-71 Roots supercharger on top of a V8 engine signifies brute strength and power, nothing denotes racing sophistication and elegance like four Weber carbs. So many milestone racecars had Webers in the ’60s and early ’70 that’s it’s impossible not to associate them with a winning image. And the timeless design of both the downdraft and sidedraft styles continues to draw attention today.
During a visit to BEP Performance for help in installing a direct-port nitrous system, EngineLabs noticed a 383ci small-block Chevy with a classic 4-Weber induction, and immediately the camera was refocused in that direction. This particular engine was headed for the engine bay of a Porsche 914, hence the low side-mount position of the Renegade Hybrids external water pump. The engine’s long-block hardware is rather conventional: GM block, Scat stroker kit and a set of Edelbrock E-Street cylinder heads with 9.5:1 compression ratio. The top end features a Weber setup and intake manifold from Jim Inglese — who is the godfather of Weber carb systems. This engine made 458 horsepower on the BEP dyno with 443 lb-ft peak torque.
By coincidence, we noticed an almost identical 383ci small-block with Webers on YouTube and discovered it was built by Darryl Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Automotive for Jim Inglese’s personal street rod project. It too has a Scat rotating assembly and Edelbrock Performer RPM heads set up for 11:1 compression.
“You can run higher compression with those carbs sitting right on top of the runners,” explains Fitzgerald. “You get fewer lean spots and less detonation.”
Comp Cams ground a custom solid-lifter cam for the engine, based on the cylinder head choice and induction.
“Jim wanted the old school sound,” adds Fitzgerald.
In fact, the slight reversion mist above the Webers at full speed, as discovered during the dyno run, may be the result of getting that sound through a cam with increased valve overlap.
“That happens sometimes with those carbs,” sums up Fitzgerald, noting that the engine pulled 440 horsepower on his dyno with peak torque of 450 lb-ft.