460ci small-block Ford engine – Mill of the Month

When a naturally aspirated engine is making north of 2hp per cubic inch on pump fuel, you know it’s impressive

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

THE GUYS at Dandy Engines screwed this 460-cube small-block together for Darren Crampsey’s XT Falcon, and it’s good for a very healthy 930hp on pump juice. Fill the tank with race gas, and that number climbs to over 970hp. Those are serious figures for an aspo small-block of any persuasion, much less one with a single carby and unported, off-the-shelf heads and an as-cast intake manifold.

This article was first published in the November 2018 issue of Street Machine

“We built the engine a while back and it used to make 870hp on pump and 890hp on VP Racing Fuel,” Dandy’s Frank Marchese explained.

“Darren loves chasing power even though he doesn’t race often, and he approached me about trying the new Higgins Racing heads and intake manifold on the combo. We changed the camshaft to suit the flow figures for the heads, but the bottom half of the engine remained the same. When we re-dynoed the engine it made 930hp on pump fuel, run after run, 20 times in a row.”

The block is from Dart, while the rotating assembly consists of a Callies crank, Oliver rods and Diamond pistons. The camshaft is a COMP solid-roller with a 55mm core, over .800in lift and around 260/270 degrees duration. Compression is a lofty 13:1, and while that seems high for a pump gas engine, Frank maintains that it’s not a problem as long as you get the combo right. “When the camshaft is ground for that kind of compression ratio you can run it on pump fuel; we’ve gone upwards of 13.5:1 on pump before.”

The Higgins Racing heads and manifold are clearly doing their job on this engine. They are Higgins’s own design and casting, and Frank literally whipped them out of the box and plonked them on the engine, topped with a custom-built BRE Dominator. The heads are loaded with 2.2in intake and 1.65in exhaust valves and T&D rockers, while the pushrods are another Aussie-made product from Jet Engineering.

“The heads were outstanding on the flowbench,” said Frank. “They’re probably not the best-flowing Ford heads on the market, but as something that someone can buy and run off-the-shelf, that makes them outstanding. The guy who helped develop the port design and the manifold is a NASCAR guru, and everything he said was going to happen happened.”

Oiling is catered for by a Moroso pan and Titan billet pump, while the ignition system is an all-MSD affair and fuel is delivered by a MagnaFuel 500 electric pump. Those awesome-looking headers were handmade by the late Craig Brewer.

“The goal is to put the motor in Darren’s XT and push the boundaries and see how fast we can go with this combination,” said Frank. “We were expecting to see some good numbers on the dyno and it performed really well. Dynos can be nasty things; sometimes you go in with high expectations and come away disheartened. Not this time!”

Dandy Engines,
Carrum Downs, Vic