Dale Amy
June 24, 2011

Dart Machinery has a long and successful history of producing both horsepower and brute strength for Blue Oval and Brand C gearheads. The Motor City-based firm is perhaps best known for its high-flow cylinder heads and race-oriented Iron Eagle engine blocks, but has recently begun production of 427-inch short-block assemblies based on Dart's Special High Performance series of 9.5-inch-deck Windsor-style blocks. These robust iron-blocks are decidedly more street-friendly (and affordable) than the racy Iron Eagle, yet offer a humongous strength increase over a stock 351 casting. They are targeted at the high-performance street and sportsman crowd.

Dart now teams these American-cast-and-machined SHP blocks with quality rotating/reciprocating hardware from top-line performance manufacturers, and even more importantly, harnesses the talents of experienced in-house engine builders to hand-assemble each and every 427 short-block.

Let's be clear: Dart is not in the business of building long-blocks or crate motors. Rather, with this new Windsor-style 427, the company has created a strongly spec'd and precision-assembled short-block foundation. It's the trickiest and most critical aspect of any powerplant, and one you or your favorite engine shop can build upon. In essence, Dart has done the hard, precise work so you can finish it off and bolt together whatever combo suits your purposes, knowing the bottom end will be up to the task.

Still, where's the fun in just showing you some short-block images? Instead, we prevailed upon the talented crew at Dart to show us not just their 427 bottom end going together, but to finish the big-bore beast off with cam, heads, and induction, then lock it all down in the company's in-house dyno cell and generate some real-world numbers for your consideration. For this exercise, the Dart dudes opted to put together a sort of street-bruiser combo with torque aplenty that would be happy to rumble around on a diet of pump gas.

Let's get on with it...

Horse Sense: Drag-racing enthusiast Richard Maskin founded Dart Machinery some 30 years ago in a humble Detroit-area two-car garage. Its growth over the past three decades has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

On The Dyno

With efficiency that stems from years of experience, Tony McAfee and Jeff Lake had our street-friendly 427 test mule strapped down and hooked up in the dyno cell in short order, plumbing it with a set of Kooks long-tubes with primaries large enough to take advantage of the heads' cavernous exhaust ports. To be honest, little time was spent "perfecting" the combo--it wasn't necessary.

We started with a 650-cfm Demon carb, made two or three pulls while experimenting with ignition timing (the combo seemed to prefer about 31 degrees total timing), then bolted on an 850 Demon for a couple final pulls. As you can see, the result is oodles of torque and better than 1.4 peak horsepower per cubic inch. This is excellent performance from a naturally aspirated bullet with pump gas-friendly 10.5:1 compression and civilized cam specs. Equally important, however, is the longevity that can be expected from the high-quality components and fastidious assembly of the Dart 427 short-block.

w/650 Demonw/850 Demon
RPMHPTQHPTQ
4,700516.3577.0523.8585.4
4,800533.0583.2536.2586.7
4,900547.5586.9547.8587.2
5,000556.4584.4559.7587.9
5,100565.7582.6573.5590.5
5,200570.3576.0582.7588.5
5,300577.0571.9590.1584.9
5,400586.5570.4595.8579.5
5,500594.0567.2599.2572.3
5,600588.1551.5602.3564.9
5,700589.5543.1607.6559.9
5,800602.1545.2609.9552.2
5,900605.7539.2619.0551.1
6,000606.7531.1620.8543.4
6,100603.1519.3625.6538.6
6,200617.1522.8627.7531.7
6,300616.0513.6626.1522.0
6,400614.4504.2622.2510.6
6,500611.2493.9617.4498.9