Gary Bowman likes horsepower. He also likes horsepower in lightweight cars where the power can be the most effective. Gary’s last E-ticket ride was a Backdraft Cobra replica with a Ford Racing 427ci Windsor stroker pumping out 550 hp at the crank. It was fun, but he tells us it just wasn’t enough to scratch that itch. No, he wanted more power, or in his words, something “rowdy.” It would also need to be low maintenance, and run on pump gas, too. It just so happened Gary had a new Backdraft Cobra replica on order, and an empty engine bay to fill.
Enter Brent Lykins at B2 Motorsports. We’ve followed along with several of Brent’s engine builds in the past so it’s no surprise to us that Gary sought out Brent to build what essentially boils down to a race-spec engine, detuned to run on 93-octane fuel and not require constant maintenance—a staple of race engines which are regularly torn down to replace wear items each season. This meant no “spring eater” cam profiles (as Brent calls them), long service valvetrain parts, and simple, yet effective carburetion.
Brent’s foundation for this street-spec race engine would be one of Dart’s 9.5-inch deck SHP blocks with a 4.155-inch bore. Coupling the monstrous bore with a rotating assembly consisting of 6.250-inch long Oliver billet rods swinging on a Callies Dragonslayer crank with a 4.100-inch stroke nets 445 cubes of “oh my God!” Topping the engine is a set of custom-ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge Race 225 heads and an Edelbrock Super Victor with a Quick Fuel carb. The valves are actuated by a solid roller cam with 0.700/0.690-inches of lift. Brent calls it a hybrid street/race build. We simply call it 662 hp of Ford small-block heaven! Check out the build in more detail on the following pages.
Topping the engine is a set of custom-ported Trick Flow Twisted Wedge Race 225 heads and an Edelbrock Super Victor with a Quick Fuel carb
1. The base for the 445-cube Windsor is this stout Dart SHP block. The Dart casting features a 9.500-inch deck height, increased wall thickness and strength where it counts, priority main oiling, provisions for OE-style roller lifter and guide hardware, and splayed four-bolt-main caps (on 2, 3, and 4).
2. Lykins preps the block for the build by finishing all machine work (settling on a 0.0038- to 0.0040-inch piston to wall clearance and a 9.490 deck height), installing brass core plugs and screw-in oil gallery plugs. You can also see the Petersen dry-sump adapter on the block’s filter pad and nice hex-plugs for the block’s coolant drains. A fresh coat of high-temp black paint finishes off the block nicely.
3. At the nose of the block, we can see Lykins has already pressed in the cam bearings and screwed in the gallery plugs, but still has the front core plugs to press in (not normally found on production small-block castings).
4. Flipping the block casting over, the Dart SHP gets a full brace of ACL main bearings for the Callies Dragonslayer crank to ride on in comfort. You can also see the custom oil pump block off plate Lykins made to seal the oil passage now that the pump will be mounted to the engine externally for the dry sump system.
5. A close up of the beautiful Callies crank shows the Mallory “heavy metal” slugs used to internally balance the reciprocating assembly. You can also just make out the chamfered oil feed passages as well.
6. Securing the Callies crank into place are Dart billet steel main caps. Here, you can easily see the oil feed chamfering mentioned in the previous caption, and the splayed bolt configuration of the three main caps in the middle.
7. The cam Lykins used is a custom solid roller from Bullet Racing Cams. A solid roller was deemed necessary for the power and rpm this Windsor was going to see, even though there is some maintenance involved (setting lash, etc.). The cam is a fairly stout 0.700/0.690-inch lift with duration at 0.050-inch lift of 260/265. The lobe separation angle comes in at 109-degrees and intake centerline at 107-degrees. Lykins is pointing to a small area that requires additional clearance to accommodate the Jesel belt drive timing cover that is used in this application.
8. It’s almost a shame to hide these beautiful forged slugs inside the engine! Lykins went to RaceTec Pistons for a custom set of pistons for this build. They feature 1.5/1.5/3mm ring grooves (that will be filled by Total Seal rings) and full-floating pins secured by wire locks. The piston dish is 20cc with the valve reliefs configured for the Twisted Wedge valve locations.
9. The RaceTec forgings are mated to a set of Oliver billet rods. The rods for this build are 6.250-inch pieces and will use ACL rod bearings as well.
10. The short-block comes together nicely with the piston and rod sub-assemblies being driven home and attached to the crank.
11. Lykins used his ARP rod-bolt stretch gauge to confirm he had the proper rod-bolt stretch of 0.0053- to 0.0055-inch on each rod assembly. Higher-end rods and fasteners usually call for a specific rod bolt stretch versus the more traditional “torque to 45 ft-lb” you see with a press-in rod bolt and retaining nut.
12a. Degreeing the camshaft is made easier with the Jesel camshaft belt drive system installed. The two-piece upper pulley allows for quick and easy cam timing changes without the hassle of disassembly like a traditional double-roller timing chain (at the detriment of adding the belt to your list of wear items to check periodically).
12b. Since Lykins is utilizing a solid roller cam in this build, the solid roller lifters can be used without modification to check cam timing with a dial indicator, as seen in our first photo.
13. Once the camshaft has been degreed, Lykins temporarily installs a cylinder head with a pair of checking springs and rocker arms to double check piston-to-valve clearance. Changing the intake centerline of the cam can change piston-to-valve clearance numbers, so it is best to recheck clearance after any cam timing changes. The Windsor ended up with 0.124-inch clearance on the intake and 0.190-inch clearance on the exhaust valve.
14. Finishing off the block’s lower end assembly is a full complement of ARP cylinder head studs and FelPro MLS head gaskets. Unlike production thin-wall blocks where the water jacket encroaches on the lower row of head bolts/studs, the Dart SHP features blind holes like early Ford small-blocks for fewer possible leak points.
15. Topping the Windsor block off with Trick Flow Twisted Wedge Race 225 heads, Lykins started with bare CNC’d castings and added his own additional port work to them while increasing the intake valve size for better cylinder filling.
16. Final assembly of the Twisted Wedge heads was accomplished with such stellar hardware as Ferrea Competition Plus valves (2.125-inch intake, 1.60-inch exhaust), PAC dual springs with dampers, and Comp Cams titanium retainers with 10-degree locks.
17. For spring locators, Lykins used Comp Cams PN4785 for 1.550-inch springs and set spring installed height for 2.030-inches. Valvespring pressures came in at 240 on the seat and 600 open. That 600 may sound like a lot to our readers, but it is entirely normal for high-performance, solid-roller use with the proper supporting hardware.
18. With the heads fully assembled and ready for installation, you can see the meticulous attention to detail Lykins puts into each build to ensure specs are right on, and measured parts are installed in their proper/original locations.
19. One of the benefits of a dry sump oiling system is the fact that the sump becomes external to the engine, allowing for a very shallow oil pan. This aids engine fitment and allows the engine to potentially sit lower in the chassis for better handling. Aviaid gets the nod here and Lykins chose this aluminum pan for the build.
20. Ready to install the Trick Flow Twisted Wedge Race 225 heads, Lykins wrapped up the valvetrain with Isky EZ Roll bushed solid roller lifters, custom 5⁄16-inch diameter Trend pushrods with 0.105-inch wall thickness, and Crower Enduro stainless steel 1.7:1 ratio roller rockers. The EZ Roll lifters feature a bushing instead of the typical needle bearings for the roller wheel, which dramatically extends their life in high-pressure valvetrain setups such as this.
21. A Trick Flow stud girdle will ensure stable valvetrain actuation at the sustained high rpm range that this engine will surely be subjected to. Also shown here is the Edelbrock Super Victor single-plane intake with 1-inch carb spacer.
22. Getting close to dyno time with the engine, Lykins adds a MSD Pro Billet distributor (with timing locked out), a set of Ford Racing 9mm plug wires, a Jones Racing Products alternator with bracket, and a Meziere electric water pump. A set of wrinkle-finish tall valve covers (to clear the stud girdles) with the B2 Motorsports logo give the engine some flash.
23. The remainder of the front dress includes a TCI Rattler damper and a Jones Racing Products three-stage oil pump.
24. Lykins didn’t install the carb at this time for easier transportation to the dyno facility, but on the dyno, a Quick Fuel Technology Black Diamond Series Q-950 carb was utilized. This is a 950-cfm mechanical secondary model with a new all-black surface coating that is impervious to standard under-hood chemicals/fuels, and it helps reduce fuel temperatures as well.
On The Dyno