427-cube Dart LS Next – Mill of the Month

Dandy Engines’ Frank Marchese is no stranger to dangerously fast twin-turbo V8s, and his latest creation is set to be a 2000hp, balls-to-the-wall LS screamer

Photographers: Ellen Dewar

Darren Mood and the crew from Mood Motorsports in NSW are known for their high-end race and street car fabrication, so when they wanted a donk capable of making George Younes’s VY ute the quickest 275 radial car in Australia, Frank at Dandy was the first port of call.

This article was first published in the October 2020 issue of Street Machine

“I basically treated this build like one of my twin-turbo small-block Fords,” Frank says. “I used a lot of lessons we’ve learned over the years from doing those, including my car, and applied it to this.” Frank has a fair bit of experience building high-end LS gear as well, notably the mill in seasoned Drag Challenge combatant Mark Drew’s low-seven-second LH Torana.

Frank started off with a Dart 427 LS block and kitted it out with a Callies Magnum crank, BME aluminium rods, Gibtec pistons and a custom-grind Dandy Engines/Pro Line USA solid-roller camshaft. Oiling is taken care of by an external belt-driven oil pump and a wet sump from ASR, while the top end consists of a pair of rectangle-port All Pro heads dressed with Jet Engineering pushrods, Jesel rockers and a bunch of other good fruit. Those heads mate to the block surface via a combination of Dandy Engines combustion chamber-sealing rings and copper head gaskets to keep the water and oil from making lukewarm coffee.

Finishing off the package is a beautiful Plazmaman intake manifold and custom-engraved valve covers, the former getting the job of taking the pounding from a pair of Precision GEN2 Pro Mod 88 hairdryers. “They’re very similar to the turbos I used on my XW, so they should well and truly be capable of the boost and power the boys at Mood Motorsports are after,” says Frank.

So far the engine has only been run up in aspirated form, but it still punched out a lazy 740hp. “It’ll have the turbos thrown on when it goes into the car at Mood Motorsports, so I’ll fly up to Sydney once it’s ready and tune it,” says Frank.

Much like Frank’s XW, the car will also be using a FuelTech FT600 ECU as brains, and Frank has flagged that boost in the vicinity of 60psi is not out of the question. “We’ll turn it to 8500rpm to start, but if we need to turn it harder we can push it to 9500rpm,” he says.

Figures like that will be needed for the car to take it to the best of the 275 radial crowd, with both Frank and good mate and customer Steve Bezzina having run six-second passes on the small tyres. Needless to say, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on where this donk lands in that crowd once we’re allowed out of our stables again.


While they haven’t made their way onto the mill just yet, the Dart LS will be force-fed by a pair of GEN2 Pro Mod 88mm turbos, which should deliver nearly 60psi of boost and power north of 2000hp.

Dandy Engines
Carrum Downs, Vic
Website: dandyengines.com