In our quest to provide the best-possible competition for our Big-Block Shootout, we wanted to create an attainable combination our readers could duplicate, yet share something cool, with those same readers, they may not have seen before. In assembling an engine with a professional, we have the benefit of learning from those who build precision competition powerplants every day. When we chose to work with Paul Pfaff Racing Engines of Huntington Beach, California, we had a golden opportunity to learn plenty.

Pfaff's shop has been modifying big-block Chevrolets as long as there has been big-block Chevrolets, mostly for the offshore boat racing crowd. Regular readers have seen us work with Pfaff to create everything from reliable 426hp small-blocks to 1,500hp supercharged 598ci monsters on 92 octane. The specialty of the house has got to be closer to what we're doing here: a stout 454 on pump gas. If it could be tailored to take full advantage of Pfaff's talents, there'd be more cubes, a supercharger, and EFI on board too, but that's a story for another time. Right now, we've got a stout 454 to build, and some seasoned pros to show us how.

The biggest difference between what happens in your garage and what happens inside the assembly room at Pfaff's has to be the tools and the experience. We can't give you a part number for experience, but we can sure show you some of the cool assembly tools professionals use to guarantee your satisfaction. Keep an eye open for them throughout this story, and remember, professionals get paid for a reason. Getting an engine like this assembled is not cheap, but check out the photos to see why. The precision and perfection measured in a top-notch shop is a worthwhile investment for those who need the best there is. We'd like to be able to build engines at this level ourselves, but we simply do not have the equipment the pros have. We felt showing you some high-tech tools and simple tips could both educate you on how it's done right and justify the money professionals charge. When you wonder how such big power numbers can come from relatively small displacements, the assembly is just as critical as the parts themselves.

Remember, this 454 is not built just to keep the Bow Tie pride safe in the presence of the 440 Mopar and 460 Ford, it's also a prize in our latest contest. We'll be giving this engine away (along with the 440 Mopar and 460 Ford) once the Shootout is complete. The only way to enter is to send in one of the entry forms located elsewhere in this magazine, so we'd suggest you do so. Three different winners will be enjoying these engines, so your odds are better than any lottery. Go ahead, send in the card!