Tension is rising as the Big-Block Shootout continues to shape up. The 454 is done, and now it's time to get the 440 Mopar together. We're sure the Chrysler faithful will be very interested as to how we teamed up the parts, and working with Dick Landy and Summit, we've got a bunch of good stuff.

The 440 Chrysler began life in the early '60s as a 361ci lo-perf engine. Designed for reliable power to push the heavy cars of the day, the "B" engine served it's humble purpose without major fanfare. A subsequent push to 383 cubes opened to door to higher performance levels, and a re-engineered block (with a taller deck) allowed displacement to prosper into the 413 and 426-cube variants (now called "RB", or "raised-block" engines) that became the scourge of Super Stock from 1962-64. In Max Wedge trim, the 426ci versions were underrated at 425 hp (which we're sure they made off-idle), and the factory lightweight Mopars (Plymouth's Belvedere, Fury, and Sport Fury, and Dodge's Polara 330, 440, and 500) are still competitive in several Super Stock classes today.

In 1965, Chrysler realized the need for a more competition-based powerplant to keep their rides ahead of the new offerings from GM and Ford, so the street Hemi debuted and replaced the Wedge design in full-competition efforts. The RB Wedge remained a viable street engine, and was increased to 440 cubes in 1967. This coincided perfectly with the launch of the new Plymouth GTX, and the 440 quickly gained a reputation as a capable street brawler. It later gained such amenities as Six-Pack carburetion in the musclecar heyday, and was still popular as a police interceptor powerplant way into the late '70s.

This history lesson is necessary to prove several points. Firstly, the 440 has humble roots. The basic design was not for competition, so the block was never expected to produce huge power or spin at obscene rpm. The same is true for the valvetrain and cylinder heads; Chrysler went to the Hemi for that stuff. This puts the 440 at a minor disadvantage before our little showdown even begins, with intelligent compromise at every turn.

The 440 has plenty of potential, and can be radically-modified to perform alongside any of the engines produced in its time, but the amount and level of mods required are extensive. In working with Dick Landy, he shared with us both the positive and negative points on building a 440, and we'll pass that info along to you.

The most negative point is one we'll share first. The oiling system on the 440 must be heavily altered to make good use of a hydraulic roller lifter. In addition to custom pressure routing and a much-modified pump-and-pickup assembly, Landy claims the lifter bores must be properly bushed for oil control. We were willing to supply to aftermarket parts to keep the 440 on par with our other contestants, but asking Dick to do custom block machining and lifter bore sleeving in the valley was much more than we required of the other contestants. We compromised, and allowed Landy to run a solid roller profile instead. The lift and duration dimensions on the 440's cam are similar to our other entrants, so we don't feel this will be an obscene advantage for Landy. Considering the cubic inches he's giving away (20 to the Ford, and 14 to the Chevy), we further justified this deviation from our original plan. We think you'll agree with our logic, but we felt the need to share it before we began.

Follow along with us as we piece together a very serious streetable 440. It will run fine on pump gas, but give outstanding power and torque in street trim. The playing field is level, and we feel our little Shootout could provide NBC with higher ratings than an XFL game. Send in the card to get into this contest, and this Summit-supplied, Landy-built thumping RB engine could be powering your B-Body before long.

SOURCE
Dick Landy Industries
19743 Bahama St.
Northridge
CA  91324
818-341-4143
Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909
Akron
OH  44309