JOHN Pilla from Powerhouse Engines and Adam Rogash at MPW Performance have teamed up on countless big-power engine builds over the years, including a number of cars at this year’s Street Machine Drag Challenge like Luke Foley’s 8.0-second VH Commodore, David Best’s 8.5-second VY SS and Adam’s own seven-second VK Brocky tribute.
While those cars are all LS-powered, Johnny is also pretty handy at building tough old school Chev motors too – just look at some of the blown and aspo burnout and speedway engines he’s built over the years. So when Adam went to Johnny with the brief for a twin-turbo small-block Chev for Travis Fink’s stunning ’55 F100 pick-up street car, they decided to push the boundaries and build something unique, with trick Gen II Garrett mirror-image turbos.
Starting with a conventional small-block, Johnny took it out to 400ci and stuffed it with all the good gear including a rotating assembly good for around 2000hp, and a dry sump oil system. However from there Johnny went with a hydraulic roller camshaft, which while common in LS combos, is less common in the older small-block Chev engine series – especially in high-horsepower builds.
Johnny went hydraulic to make maintenance easier for the customer, but it served a massive problem in actually getting the combo to work with the cylinder heads because he was unable to source a hydraulic roller lifter to suit the pushrod-to-cylinder head clearances with the opened up cylinder heads on this package. Eventually Johnny was able to make it all work and produce a fair whack of grunt on the engine dyno.
Wired up with a Haltech Elite 2500 computer and running eight 2200cc injectors and Haltech LS coils, the motor met Travis’s goal and pumped out an easy 1000hp on low boost and E85 fuel. From there, Adam and Johnny tickled up the tune and saw 1200hp on 24psi of boost before the three-inch exhaust restriction on the engine dyno started to hold it back. At that stage the boys reckoned they were almost out of injector anyway.