Video: Listen to this 940hp, 411-cube Holden V8 scream

This big horsepower, naturally aspirated V8 donk pieced together by Molinari Race Engines is bound for Dom D’Agostino’s street-and-strip LX hatchback

Photographers: Shawn McCann

Gather ’round, Holden V8 fans; this one’s a doozy. Ever encountered a 900+hp all-motor plastic before? Ange at Molinari Race Engines has screwed together this absolute screamer for Domenic D’Agostino’s street-and-strip LX Torana hatch, aided and abetted by Pete Murray at Horsepower Engineering. And then check out the video at the bottom of the yarn.

First published in the August 2023 issue of Street Machine

It measures in at 411ci, and while it uses a Torque-Power Little Paw cast-iron block, arguments we’ve seen online that it’s somehow “not a Holden” as a result are pure nonsense. The Little Paw accepts OEM-style Holden cylinder heads, crankshaft, timing case and bracketry, and this engine retains the factory firing order. It is simply an aftermarket block, and this mill is no less a Holden than an SBC built using a Dart block is a Chev.

“I first built the car in 1996, and it’s only ever had a Holden V8 in it,” Dom says. “At first it was a red 308 with an Edelbrock Performer on it. Then I went to VN heads, then the first stroker combo. Ange has always built my engines, and I said to the boys that this time we were going to have a fair-dinkum crack.”

That fair-dinkum crack yielded a monumental 944hp and 600lb-ft on ETS XPRODRAG 3 fuel, turning to 8800rpm with a single carby on a cast manifold – impressive numbers in anyone’s language.

There is a surprising amount of off-the-shelf hardware in the engine, including the Scat steel crankshaft and Oliver rods. Pistons are custom CP forgies to suit the meaty 4.175-inch bore, because cubes were an important component of making the heads perform like they were designed to. Compression is a lofty 14.75:1, which was the ceiling for this combo while sticking with a flat-top piston.

Cylinder head castings are Torque-Power 240s with Victory titanium valves, T&D 1.75:1 rockers, PSI valve springs and considerable R&D invested by Pete in the porting department. The Torque-Power block is designed for a 50mm cam core, and the camshaft in this combo is a custom Comp Cams solid-roller, acting on BAM .904 bushed offset lifters and 7/16-inch Jet Engineering pushrods.

The induction system consists of a Torque-Power Domi Paw single-plane intake, topped with a custom Ray Edwards 4150 BX4X big-blade, four-circuit carburettor.

“It made more power than we expected, and we were a bit amazed by the way it carried the torque; from 6800rpm to 8300rpm, it didn’t drop under 590lb-ft,” says Dom. “The car is untubbed and runs a 255 radial with standard-style suspension, and it went 9.48@142mph on the old factory Holden-block combo with a lot less power. It might end up a little heavier than it was, but eight-something has always been the goal.”

Is this the toughest naturally aspirated V8 ever built? We reckon it might be.


Very few engines this serious look this good, but Dom’s hatch is a stunner, and the mill had to match. The inlet manifold copped 40 hours of external polishing for a show-like finish, and the billet rocker covers are one-off custom pieces from Fastlane Industries. “I disassembled the Clear View oil filter, painted it and reassembled it, because I wanted it the same silver as the rest of the bits on the engine,” says Dom. “Everything on the engine has been looked at – if it’s not HPC-coated, it’s two-packed.”

Molinari Race Engines
Morwell, Victoria