It’s not always just about the engine making power.
“A lot of times you can buy a motor, but then you have to put it in,” says Tom Nelson of Nelson Racing Engines, the force behind this 2,100-horsepower 540ci street driver. “Now you’ve got hundreds of hours of fabrication ahead of you.”
The chore is certainly more difficult when trying to stuff an intercooled twin-turbo big-block between the fenders of a classic ’68 Pontiac GTO, so the plumbing has to be precise if not a little exotic looking when standing alone on the dyno.
“We do everything in house,” adds Nelson. “All the parts are hand shaped. The owner had specific motor mounts. We put the engine in place and basically built everything around it.”
The unique air-to-water intercoolers fit comfortably behind the headlights.
“That’s neat because it unshrouds the radiator,” says Nelson.
“This engine has the 383 Head Hunter cylinder head, and the cam is really mild,” explains Nelson, noting the Brodix head features raised oval ports instead of rectangular ports. “This engine is something you could take on the Power Tour, drive it cross-country. It’s a super mellow camshaft.”
Induction is via NRE’s 88mm mirror-image turbos and Alien dual-injector intake manifold. The twin injector setup allows for “octane on demand” with two tanks feeding the fuel system: one with pump gas for normal operation and one with race gas when the boost demands require more octane. An Electromotive ECU handles all the programming.
At just under 10 pounds of boost, the engine makes nearly 1,200 horsepower and 1,100 lb-ft of peak torque. Triple the boost and the engine pulled 2,100 horsepower at just 6,400 rpm with 1,724 lb-ft of torque peaking at 6,200 rpm.
“To make 2,100 horsepower on a real true street engine, that’s pretty awesome,” sums up Nelson.
If this Goat is getting your attention, wait until you see NRE’s next Poncho project. Nelson has revived a ’69 GTO with a custom chassis that will position a twin-turbo 572ci BBC backwards behind the front seats of the car. NRE will also design and fabricate a transfer case and front and rear differentials to make the car all-wheel-drive as well as mid-engined.