How much power is enough, and just how much can our healthy g-Force Hemi deliver? The owner of the g-Force 'Cuda, Bob Johnson, looked at the extravagant output of the all-aluminum Hemi in an abstract way. Johnson relates, "The 'Cuda is not something we are putting together to conventional standards, not in looks, not in construction, and certainly not in performance. The car will push the limits, and then we'll shoot for a hell of a lot more, and that might just put us where we'd be satisfied." What does it take to be satisfied with the output of this metal warrior's powerplant? Five hundred and twenty pounds of aluminum dynamite, blasting the competition with 870 dyno-verified horsepower and a violent 780 lb-ft of torque should be enough to satisfy the most wanting power junkie's addiction.

Johnson pointed out that power was going to be key to the car's character, "You don't build a machine like this tube-framed terror and come up short on the punch line. You'd dammed well better have something special and it has to have the right power curve to do the job." Indy's chief engine builder Ken Lazzari massaged the combo for just that balance of output with the right curve. Lazzari explains, "Everything was keyed for meeting the goals of good street manners, and a power curve that comes on hard initially, but doesn't let go, pulling huge power up top to where the car will be able to really use it."

Lazzari continues, "We build engines that are significantly larger, but this displacement was selected for balance. We have so much torque down low the chassis guys will have a real job harnessing it at this level, so there isn't a need for more size and bottom-end. These heads at this displacement, with the rest of our combo, just keeps building power as the tach swings up. Get it in a street car and nail it, and you don't have to let go 'til over 7,000 rpm." A high-revving powerband that tastes like a Trans-Am small-block of yesterday, but scaled up to 572 ci of Hemi power, making double the power, and doing it tractably on pump gas. Indy's combo redefines g-Machine power.


* Denotes peak

Indy's engine-building wizard, Ken Lazzeri, is in an enviable position. If your career is built on creating some of the nation's best engines, then what better home than Indy Cylinder Heads? What's the advantage? The definition of engine builder takes on a new twist at Indy since these guys actually manufacture the major components that make up the engines. Indy literally is in the business of building engines, with their own blocks, heads, intakes and more. Going to Indy for a custom or crate engine is like going to the source-a concept that couldn't be entertained when dealing with OEM factory components and building with an OE engine as a base. These parts are designed at a serious custom engine shop solely for the purpose of building serious custom engines for a variety of applications.

Lazzeri has the grab bag of specialty components at hand to build the right combo for the task at hand. For our g-Force Hemi, the constraints, which drove the selection of components for the build, included the targeted output, fuel requirement, drivability goals, and long-term durability. It helps that Indy has the hardware, and no one knows it better. Ken pointed out that other applications might benefit from other versions of their Legend-series Hemi.

As Ken puts it, "Our Hemi engines tipically displace between 5228-636 cubes with 605 being our most popular combo. We build quite a few 572s, and for this application that was the best choice, but for other applications the larger engines might be the right way to go. Ken notes, "The foundation based on our parts, and the bottom end, can take substantially more power. A blower could add 500 hp to the output of a package similar to this, while an engine with more cam and compression could clear an easy 1,100 hp or more. Other builds may benefit from fuel injection, depending upon the vehicle builder's wants. The street requirements of this build directed us to scale back the cubes, compression, cam, and port volume, basically turning what could be a race engine into a street piece you can drive around. Shrinking the package also works well for endurance, with less loading in aspects critical to engine life, like with valvesprings. This combo may seem like a monster when considering the raw power figures, but in fact, it's under-stressed, and the result is low maintenance and long engine life."

Think all this engine voodoo is just some mental exercise? Think again. This Indy g-Force Hemi is born to run, and run it will. The car the g-Force Hemi will reside in was initially penned by Chris Ito of Ito Concepts (Dallas, Texas) and has some subtle-yet major-changes to the original '70 Cuda shape. Virtually every panel of sheetmetal will be cut, chopped, narrowed or otherwise pounded into submission to create the look for the g-Force 'Cuda. Below the surface, no stone will be left unturned. A set of custom Art Morrison frame rails will be home to a C5 Corvette suspension, and the g-Force Hemi will be set back and lowered for better weight distribution, a flat hood line and suspension clearance. A Getrag transaxle (which we previously and incorrectly identified as a C5 Corvette transaxle) will be housed in the rear for a truly world-class suspension. The finished product will debut at the 2005 SEMA show starting November 1, and PHR will have the exclusive story. After that, the 'Cuda hits the open road-as in "open road racing" and "setting the 0-100-0 world record for a street-legal car." We'll be there when it all happens, so stay tuned!