Lucky number six. Will it be for some? We don't know, but it's sure going to be fun finding out who's got the most power and the best combination to win the 2005 Jeg's Engine Masters Challenge. This is actually the sixth year of the challenge, but most only remember the last three. That's okay; the first two years were much smaller in scale and didn't benefit from nearly as much exposure. Now, thanks to companies like Jeg's Mail Order, Dynamic Test Systems (DTS) dynamometers and Shell Gasoline, we've managed to turn our little dyno race into a full-blown mega-shootout, bringing some of the biggest and brightest in their fields together for a weeklong dyno bash full of fun and prizes.

History of the JEMC
It started before the turn of the century. In some meeting room, in some office building somewhere that no one can clearly recall, the editors of Popular Hot Rodding wanted to do a story showcasing the talents of the engine builders, more than the drivers of their finished products. The idea was simple: When a race is won, it's typical for the car's driver to get all the credit. Sometimes the applause will trickle down to the car's owner and crew, but rarely, if ever, does the engine builder get noticed. We thought that was unfair because without engines, it'd be kinda hard to win the race. But there was no sure way to give the engine builders their dues without introducing too many variables that would affect the outcome of the race.

Now, remember that at the time, dyno racing had never been thought of. To some, that made about as much sense as filling up your toolbox and pushing it down the track just to see which crew had the most muscle to win.I mean, who would think of racing just the engine and leaving the rest of the car in the trailer? Well, we did. It was groundbreaking and it was cool. So off we went in search of competitors willing to enter our little-known hair-brained idea of a contest.

Actually, this thing had sorta been done in the past on the chassis dyno. At events all around the country chassis dynos were brought in and cars were strapped down just to see who could be crowned the power king. It's kinda cool because even if you lost the race due to a missed shift or something, you could still take home a trophy and top honors for something. But even then, it was the car and it's owner who got all the gold, not the engine builder. Sure, sometimes the car's owner might be the engine builder, which gives us all the more reason for a shootout like ours--where anyone can enter--and anyone can win.So the idea lay before us: Create a challenge that would showcase the engine builder, not the car or the driver. It was a surmountable task, but we had no idea how big it would become.

The Jeg's Engine Masters Challenge
During the first year, we invited three competitors to build an engine based on the loose "rules" we created for the challenge. They showed up with identically sized small-blocks-one from Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler--to make sure everyone got their fair share. The contest went well, and everyone seemed to feel that we were on to something. The following year was laid out the same, although it would be big-blocks this time. Three engine builders showed up with their versions of street engines for the challenge, and the winner, Dick Landy, showed the world that some pretty big numbers could still be made from an old Chrysler Wedge. Then the big sponsors saw an opportunity and stepped in to step up the contest.

With two years behind us, we decided to make the challenge big because it seemed to be working. We invited sponsors to sign up and get their products on the winning engines while offering to pay the winners for their glory. Then we opened the challenge up to the public, accepting applications from entrants around the world and offering them the chance to bring their best and show the rest what they've got. We laid down a strict set of rules and made sure they were all followed. We crowned Joe Sherman king of small-blocks in 2002. The sponsors rewarded Joe with $75K for his efforts, and there was happiness throughout the land. Then, once again, we upped the ante and allowed big-blocks to return the following year. The 470-cid bruisers of 2003 showed the world that you didn't need race gas to make over 750 hp, and a seemingly unstoppable force stepped into the game. Jon Kaase brought one of his famous Ford monsters out to play and showed up the rest of the entrants with his dominating performance. He won over $77K.

This thing had been working pretty well up until now, and we had guys knocking down our doors waiting to enter the next year's Engine Masters Challenge. It was also right around this time that Jeg's stepped into the spotlight as our major sponsor. Fittingly so, Jeg's became the source for all things Engine Masters, and DTS became the official dynamometer of the challenge. Also, the guys at Bill Mitchell's World Products stepped into the light and offered up their facility--equipped with three DTS dynos--for us to host the challenge in. Things were looking bright indeed. That was 2004, and the enigma that Jon Kaase has become to this challenge showed us that once again, a Blue-Oval bomber (410-cid this time) in the hands of an expert could wipe the field clean of all comers. Also, last year was a repeat in the number two slot, as the father-son team of Charles and Donald Williams showed up with their garage-built Chevy, which was enough to take home Second Place two years in a row.

2005: Big-Blocks Are Back!
Last year we allowed 410-cid small-blocks, which showed performance potential of almost 700 hp on pump gas. This year, we expect to see 800 hp from the 509-cid big-blocks we're letting in the door. Now we'll go over the basics of the rules so you have a better idea of what the 2005 Jeg's Engine Masters Challenge will be all about. If you want to get your hands on a complete set of rules, go to: and download a set for yourself.

Any normally aspirated gasoline-powered, domestic V-8 big-block passenger car engine produced by Ford, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, or Buick ("domestic OEM") that meet all rules criteria are acceptable. Factory small-block engines and Olds Diesel-based engines are not allowed. Traditional Pontiac V-8 engines are acceptable. Hemi-style cylinder heads mated to a Chevrolet block or other similar head/block swapping is not allowed.The maximum displacement is 509.0 ci. Cubic inch is calculated by bore x bore x stroke x 6.2832. Bore is measured at the top of the cylinder. Bore and stroke are measured to three significant digits, i.e. 0.001. Cubic inches are calculated to one significant digit, i.e. 509.0. Note that an engine with a calculated cubic inch of 509.1 is considered illegal. Power adders, such as superchargers, turbochargers, nitrous oxide, or other such devices, are not allowed.

Engine Block
Any domestic OEM passenger car or commercially available aftermarket OEM replacement, cast-iron, or aluminum engine block is acceptable. The engine block must retain OEM cylinder bore spacing and OEM block angle. Lifter bores must retain OEM angle (+ or - 1-degree) and OEM diameter (+ or - 0.005-inch). Lifter bores may be bushed. Engine blocks must retain OEM passenger car-deck height or lower. (Exception: Chevrolet-type aftermarket "tall-deck" blocks with a maximum 10.200-inch deck height are acceptable). Raised-cam blocks are not allowed. Any method of artificially increasing the deck height of the engine block (i.e. using spacer plates and/or multiple head gaskets) is not allowed. Head gaskets are limited to a maximum total thickness of 0.060-inch, per cylinder head. The location and number of bolt holes determine block style and/or type.