Off-roaders place a special premium on low-end power and part-throttle response, and the most direct path to such attributes is more cubic inches. The folks over at 4 Wheel & Offroad put together a 450 cubic inch small-block Chevy, using some trick components to get big-blockish displacement. The Dart Iron Eagle block uses widened oil pan rails to accommodate the 4.125" stroke crank, the extra deck height keeps the rod ratio somewhat reasonable, and there's enough meat to allow 4.165" of bore. The result is an engine that produces about the same peak power (480 HP) as the 396 LT4 in my Impala SS, but over 1000 RPM earlier. Peak torque is a stout 571 lb-ft at 3,700 RPM. Not enough? Then try it with a 8-71 supercharger, which resulted in over 700 HP and 725 lb-ft of the twisty stuff. It's probably fair to point out that a big-block might make more power for the same money, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want one of my own.


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