The humble Holden V8 has plenty of detractors these days, but one thing everyone seems to be able to agree on is that they sound amazing. Here’s a tip: They sound even better with a belt-driven inlet manifold fitted.
First published in the November 2022 issue of Street Machine
This particular example of positively charged plastic finery was built by Westend Performance for Andrew ‘Macca’ Mcallister’s HT Kingswood. “The brief was for a reliable street cruiser-type engine, but it still makes decent power,” says Westend’s Sam Fenech.
The combo is based on a factory VN-style block and heads, and weighs in at 355ci with around 9.5:1 compression. “We do a heap of these Holdens, so we started out with all the usual block prep you do to them like squaring the block up, a four-bolt conversion with Milodon caps, clearancing for the stroker crank, oiling mods and all your regular machining processes,” Sam explains.
Macca supplied the rotating assembly, which consists of a Scat crank, H-beam rods and a set of JE pistons and rings. The Westend crew applied their CNC porting program to the cast-iron heads, then fitted goodies such as stainless Ferrea valves, COMP Cams springs and COMP Ultra-Gold roller rockers.
The camshaft is a custom-grind COMP Cams mechanical-roller with roughly 250-degrees duration and 112 lobe centres, driven by a Rollmaster timing chain. It acts on Crane roller followers, which in turn convey valve lift north via Manley one-piece pushrods.
The fun stuff rides up top, though – a Blower Shop 6/71 pump atop a Newby Engineering manifold, fuelled by a pair of 750cfm, boost-referenced, E85-compatible Pro Systems carbies.
Turning to just 6300rpm and pulleyed to deliver a modest 7.5psi of boost, the engine spat out a neat 705hp and 700lb-ft on Westend’s engine dyno. “It was still climbing, and it probably would have made around 760 at 6700rpm, but Macca was in a hurry to get the engine back for Red CentreNATS, so we decided not to lean on it too hard,” Sam says. “They had it painted and in the car the very next day!”
It’s often been said that it’s better to be blown than stroked, but Macca reasoned that he should probably have both. And considering he’s living the dream – skidding up a storm in Alice Springs in his 700hp, plastic-powered Kingswood as I write this – they seem like words to live by.
Isn’t she pretty? A polished blower does wonders to dress up an engine, but so does a nice lick of paint – in this case a shade of gold from a Toyota Echo, of all things!
Other sexy bits include the Shaun’s Custom Alloy billet rocker covers, a billet alternator bracket from Lowe Fabrications, a CVR billet electric water pump, Tuff Mounts engine mounts, and Speedflow AN plumbing by Fuelworx.