Nelson Racing Engines adds supercharged 1,200-hp LSX V8 to its offerings

427-cubic-inch hot rod motor barks and bites

Nelson Racing Engines, based in Chatsworth, California, started screwing together super-high-powered engines in 1996. A staple among the Hot Rod and SEMA set, the company recently landed in the middle of the enthusiast world with the custom 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 designed for the SSC Tuatara that produces 1,350 horsepower on 91 octane and 1,750 hp on E85. NRE might be here to stay with lumps like its latest crate motor, spotted thanks to Muscle Cars & Trucks, a supercharged 7.0-liter LSX-based V8 making 1,200 horsepower.    

The package starts with the Dart LS Next block, fortified with extra thick cylinder bores, longer cylinder barrels, and larger head bolts, six of them per cylinder. Bored out to 427 cubic inches (seven liters), NRE fits hardened internals like a billet crankshaft, 4340 alloy steel forged rods, and custom forged pistons to manage boost supplied the intercooled 4.0-liter Whipple supercharger. When Autoblog contacted Tom Nelson to find out how this motor is different than the 427-cubic-inch 1,000-hp LS motor NRE released earlier this year that uses a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger, he told us it comes down to the blower. "The blower on the four-liter doesn't fit under most hoods because it's pretty big and the throttle body mounts backwards."

When asked if the new 427 was part of NRE's Daily Driver series, Nelson replied, "It definitely could be daily driven, but the cam that's in it sounds more like a hot rod." A racing temperament doesn't mean racing fickleness, though. Nelson explaining that the engine ECU "can self-correct" thanks to "a safety package [that has] all these sensors, so if the air/fuel ratio or the oil pressure or water temperature is outside a specific target, it goes into a limp mode or shuts itself off." That makes this a barker of an engine with the bite to match and a muzzle so it can't bite itself. 

NRE assembles each engine in-house — and the Dart LS Next blocks are cast in the U.S. — then runs units on its dyno to prove every horse is in the pen. The whole caboodle costs $25,999, but unlike many crate motors, NRE also includes the ECU, wiring harness, and sensors to plug-and-play. For anyone who would like to run four-digit horsepower under their GM hood every day, Nelson said he's got a 427-ci twin-turbocharged daily driver that puts out 1,500 horsepower for $28,999, and two blown 427-ci daily drivers, one with 1,200 hp, the other with 1,000 hp, both retailing for $25,999. As if 2020 hasn't given us enough reason to say this: What a time to be alive.


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