We can remember a time when a big block that pushed 500 cubic inches and 700 horsepower was just short of unbelievable. Heck, that’s small block territory nowadays. If you really want a powerplant that gets your car noticed, you have to push way past that.
And 600 cubic inches and 920 horsepower worth of all-aluminum big block Ford will definitely get you noticed.
As you might have guessed, building the 600-cubic-inch big block involved some creative thinking too. The engine had to meet some very tough criteria:
- Make at least 900 horsepower
- Be streetable with a broad, usable torque curve
- Operate on premium pump gas
- Use as many off-the-shelf components as possible
To fill this very tall order, we went to Evanuik Racing Engines in North Versailles, PA. Jim Evanuik and his son Jim Evanuik Jr. are well-known for their drag and circle track motors, and they hit the parts books and put together a combination to meet our street performance requirements.
Block and Reciprocating Assembly
If you want an all-aluminum big block Ford, there is only one foundation to use—Ford Racing’s 429/460 Race Block. Cast from 356-T7 aluminum, the block weighs a mere 179 pounds, and can support up to a 4.625-inch cylinder bore and a 4.600-inch crank stroke. The block has 4-bolt billet steel main caps, cast iron cylinder liners, and uses roller cam bearings. Quite the stout piece.
Crower supplied a 4.500-inch stroker crankshaft and a set of 6.7-inch long Pro Mod billet connecting rods. The crankshaft and rods are CNC-whittled from 4340 chromoly steel and are strong enough to support well over 1,000 horsepower. Rounding out the reciprocating assembly are custom-made JE forged pistons. The pistons have a .350 dish to produce 10.4:1 static compression with the 91cc chambers in the Trick Flow PowerPort A460 cylinder heads.
Big power and cubic inches dictate a pretty radical cam. The Evanuiks speced out a COMP Cams solid roller camshaft with 264/274 degrees duration at .050 (308/318 degrees advertised duration) and .751/.720 inches of lift. It sounds pretty hairy for a street car. But keep in mind the engine’s large displacement and the fact SR61 has a Richmond Gear six-speed manual transmission, and the cam makes more sense.
Cylinder Heads and Valvetrain
The heads are Trick Flow Specialties PowerPort A460s. The aluminum heads feature 340cc intake and 172cc exhaust ports, 91cc chambers, 2.300-inch intake and 1.88-inch exhaust valves, 1.640-inch double valve springs with titanium retainers, and machined valve locks, guideplates, and rocker arm studs. The rest of the valvetrain consists of Comp Cams roller lifters, 1.7-ratio Crane Gold Race roller rocker arms, and Comp Cams chromoly pushrods.
Electronic fuel injection offers superior drivability and efficiency compared to dinosaur-era carburetion. But nothing looks more intimidating—or sounds better at full throttle—than a pair of Holley Dominator carburetors on a tunnel ram. The Evanuiks went with 1.050 cfm Dominators and a Trick Flow A460 tunnel ram to satisfy the 600’s big appetite for air and fuel. This setup may not be as precise as EFI, but with 800-plus ft.-lbs. of torque on tap, who needs precise?
The spark-processing system for the 600 is as high-tech as it gets. The distributor-less system features an MSD crank trigger unit and eight Blaster coil packs controlled by a programmable MSD CPC digital ignition box. You can program the CPC system’s timing curve, individual cylinder timing, boost timing curve, vacuum advance, rev limiters, and a host of other parameters via a PC and MSD’s Pro Data Plus software. The CPC ignition and coil packs are remote-mounted under the dash; the only things you see in the engine compartment are the plug wires.
There were two concerns when it came to the 600’s oiling system. The first was efficiency—having enough petroleum to keep the engine well-lubricated without drowning the crankshaft and causing drag and oil aeration. The second was clearance—no way was a large capacity, wet sump oil pan going to offer enough ground clearance for the lowered 1961 Ford Starliner for which it was destined.
The solution was a dry sump oiling system, consisting of a Stef’s aluminum oil pan, four-stage gerotor oil pump, and 12-quart oil reservoir tank. The shallow pan provides plenty of clearance, and with most of the oil held away from the crank, oil foaming and drag are virtually eliminated.
The big block’s 2 1/8- to 2 1/4-inch stepped primary headers were fabricated from stainless steel. The header tubes run parallel to the ground for clearance and dump into fabricated flat collectors built directly into the Flowmaster Delta Flow mufflers. The rest of the exhaust is NASCAR-style flat oval “boom tubes” from Dr. Gas.
That covers the big Ford’s heavy artillery. But other, perhaps less flashy components should also be mentioned. For example, Jim Evanuik Jr. built a serpentine belt front accessory drive system virtually from scratch. The alternator is one of MSD’s APS units, and the harmonic damper is from Fluidampr. The plumbing is all stainless steel braided
hose and AN fittings from Earl’s.
What Does She Make?
A lot, actually. Strapped to Evanuik Racing’s Superflow dyno, the 600 made huge power from the get-go. After break-in and an oil change, the first power pull netted 900 peak horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 795 ft.-lbs. of torque at 4,500 rpm. After some fiddling with the Dominators and timing, the 600 hit the mark—920 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 810 ft.-lbs. of torque at 4,500 rpm.