New Zealand is not a country with a large land mass. In fact, it’s comprised of three main islands, North, South, and Stewart, along with a number of smaller islands, but the country is seemingly chock-full of automotive enthusiasts. One such resident, Karl Chamberlin, recently contracted with none other than Steve Morris Engines — over 8,500 miles away in Michigan — to build a monster of an engine that has a number of responsibilities.
We’ve previously reported on numerous occasions here on EngineLabs about the high-powered engines Morris and his team have become well-known for building for Tom Bailey‘s Sick Seconds and Sick Seconds 2.0 Drag Week machines — among other high-profile vehicles — and it was partly as a result of this notoriety that Chamberlin selected the company to build him a standout engine with similar goals.
“Karl has plans to be able to drive this car from one end of his island to the other — on pump gas — and also take it to the track and turn up the wick on race fuel,” says SME’s Alex Esnaola.
Based around a 5.000-inch bore-space Brodix big-block Chevrolet block and cylinder head configuration, Chamberlin’s bullet puts out — for lack of a better term — monstrous power, even on straight-up Exxon pump fuel from the gas station down the road from SME. Many of the big-power engines SME builds use methanol for fueling, due to the cooling effect the fuel gives to the engine. This one does not, by customer request, and will require the use of an intercooler.
The street-driven goals for this engine had them select gasoline as the fuel of choice, and the engine will be provided to the customer with two different tuneups – one for pump fuel, to be used with the engine set up to ingest a maximum of 20 psi boost, and a race fuel tuneup, which is where things get wild and hairy.
Chamberlin’s bullet uses an intercooler stuffed full of boost from a pair of 98mm Bullseye Power turbos set up to Morris’ specifications. Turbosmart USA‘s wastegates and blowoff valves are used to control boost pressures.
A Moroso dry-sump oil pan and multi-stage pump setup is used, and the belt-drive fuel pump is driven from the rear of the oil pump on the dyno, although Morris says that Chamberlin will be setting it up differently in the car.
One area where SME pays special attention to these types of engine builds is the valvetrain and related components. When an engine is subjected to the stresses of street-style duty, and then asked to perform on a massive level at the track, it’s imperative that the materials and design are up to snuff – nobody wants to be pulling their engine apart every hundred miles to check out the valve lash.
“Some of the developments we’ve made with the Drag Week-style engines find their way into engines like this one,” says Esnaola. “In addition, we’re part of many development projects for our grudge race and other customers that never see the ‘outside world’, but we’re able to take what we learn in those applications and put them to work in others such as this.
Since this development work is proprietary, Esnaola wasn’t willing to share any specific details on the valvetrain components, nor disclose camshaft dimensions — he merely said that they are “adequate for the application.”
And as with most of their recent engine projects, the SME team turned to Holley EFI for fuel and spark control, as it offers the end-user the simplicity they want in a single control package along with the datalogging capabilities required to keep tabs on an engine such as this one.
There’s a pair of 250 pound-per-hour fuel injectors per cylinder from Billet Atomizer — also available at SME — that have been tested across a wide range of applications and found to perform flawlessly.
The engine is run on the dyno in both configurations — pump fuel, and VP Racing Fuels’ C-16 high-octane juice — and the results are nothing short of staggering. On the good stuff, the engine tops out at an insane 4,002 horsepower at 7,200 rpm, with well over 2,000 lb-ft of torque available through the entire test range, with a peak of 2,977 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm.
The size of the engine dictates the RPM peak, and since this engine is a bit larger than many SME builds at 670 cubic inches, it tops out on the dyno around 7,200 rpm. We asked how much boost the engine made on the race-fuel configuration. “As much as we could,” says Morris.
It’s no slouch on pump fuel, either. At the stated 20 psi boost pressure, the engine cranks out a whopping 2,992 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 2,377 lb-ft of torque at 5,800 rpm.
Torque curves are super-flat throughout the RPM range, and horsepower builds swiftly and decisively all the way up to the horsepower peak.
Esnaola tells us that this particular engine isn’t capable of a ton more in its current configuration, but if you can find someone that needs nearly 3,000 streetable horsepower, we’ll tell you that person needs to have their head examined.
This engine is a serious piece of work, but as SME has demonstrated to us with their past builds, it seems to be the norm up in the forests of Michigan. He also hinted around — but swore us to secrecy — on the details regarding another engine project that’s going to put this one to shame, We’ll be covering the as-yet-unnamed engine extensively in an upcoming article.
Put 4,000 horsepower to shame? We’re salivating at the thought of what’s to come from the horsepower wizards at Steve Morris Engines! Stay tuned..