After 2020, we all marched into 2021 with cautious optimism, only to be greeted by more of the same, along with a fresh new set of challenges as we all struggled to get the parts we needed for our engines and projects. However, as the year wore on, things opened up, and at least we were able to go places and do things once again. One thing that didn’t change was the awesome articles published on EngineLabs. These were your 10 favorite articles of 2021.
Kicking off this list is an article featuring a video from Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained, where he explains the nuts and bolts of hydrogen combustion, as well as the differences between hydrogen combustion and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Fenske did an amazing job (as usual) of explaining the science behind hydrogen combustion.
Where he and your author differ in opinion, is on his conclusions about the viability of the process going forward. At the end of the day, this is EngineLabs, and I’m probably biased towards internal combustion engines for reasons more than sheer efficiency. However, it appears I’m in good company, as Mike Copeland of Arrington Performance debuted a supercharged 6.2-liter LS that runs on hydrogen combustion at this year’s SEMA show.
So while there are without a doubt some hurdles to overcome for hydrogen combustion technology, I’m happy to say there are some very smart people working to overcome them.
Coming in a number nine is one of your authors personal projects, the LS5.0. We introduced the project in January with the intention of having an entire series of articles for you in 2021. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused massive labor shortages and parts delays throughout the year, which has all led to the block still sitting, bare, on an engine stand.
Some progress has been made however — the block is fully machined, painted and ready for assembly, and as you might have seen in a recent Facebook video, we have almost all of the components for the bottom-end ready to go, and a visit to the balancer after the holidays is on the schedule.
We have some incredible companies supporting the project and some of the brightest minds in the industry in our corner, all of whom appreciate a good experiment. 2022 should be a great year for this project, and no one is looking forward to it more than your author is.
Number eight comes to us by way of our friend Jeff Huneycutt at The Horsepower Monster. Prestige Motorsports took a 9.5 inch-deck 351 Windsor and then poked and stroked it out to over 461 cubic inches. After adding the required top end to move all that air at almost 7,000 rpm, Prestige tested a dual-quad setup against a forward facing 105mm throttle intake, with some surprising results that proved everyone’s hypotheses wrong.
Coming in at number seven on its own, this was actually a follow-up to the number-three article on our 2021 list. This was a video of EFI University’s dyno run of Robbie Blankenship’s N/A 10.5 small-block Ford competition engine singing the song of its people at 10,600 rpm. Obviously that song is appealing to a lot of you, because that simple 19-second video has been watched more than 108,000 times on Facebook alone.
There’s no denying it — even if you are a die hard pushrod-two-valve engine lover — combustion chambers with more than four valves in them are just really cool. In this article, we took a look a five engines that had either five, six, and even seven valves per cylinder. Interestingly enough, of all those wild designs, it appears that the industry has discovered in the end, the four-valve design is the most efficient, overall.
180-degrees from the type of engines we normally talk about, these low-RPM gasoline stump pullers really caught your attention. Part of what was so interesting about the engines discussed, is that gasoline isn’t usually the fuel of choice for something that only uses the first few hash marks on a tachometer. Plus, there list included the fabled “upside down V12” out of the Messerschmitt 109 WWII fighter plane, so that’s always cool.
This Jeff Smith article about a little gas station chemistry has been an absolute runner that you not only found interesting, but also generated more emails asking to further explain details than anything else this year. That explains why, with a publish date 23 days outside of 2021, it sits in the number four spot on the 2021 list. As ethanol continues to increase in popularity in different markets, different blends are being noted for use in different applications, and Jeff breaks down the how and why, in his usual fashion.
Number three on the list but possibly number one on your authors personal list, this deep dive into EFI University’s revamping of Robbie Blankenship’s 402 cubic-inch “mini Pro Stock” engine was a crowd favorite. Just like everyone was amazed about the amount of information included in the article, your author was similarly amazed at Ben Strader’s willingness to share what others might go to great lengths to hide. I guess he really means it when he says there are no secrets in his shop.
The penultimate article on our Top Ten list of 2021 is Evan Smith’s deep dive into Brian Wolfe’s badass supercharged 7.3-liter Godzilla development engine project. Wolfe is a long-time Ford executive, but an enthusiast of Blue Oval performance even longer. So, it only stands to reason that he has been able to extract incredible numbers out of the still-relatively-new powerplant that marks Ford’s return to pushrod engine design. Since the article published, Wolfe has continued to push the envelope of Godzilla performance.
Ok, you had to know this was going to top the list. The new GM LT6 engine had been rumored long before the release of the 2020 C8 Corvette, so when Chevrolet finally announced that there really was a new dual-overhead cam, flat-plane V8 engine debuting in the 2022 Z06, you guys and gals clamored for more information on the engine. This engine is poised to be an absolutely crushing powerplant that will make over 2 hp/ci from the factory while spinning to 8,600 rpm. It doesn’t matter where you brand loyalties lie, this engine is both interesting and impressive.