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.

Cylinder Heads
Any domestic OEM passenger car or commercially available aftermarket OEM replacement, two-valve-per-cylinder cylinder heads that meet all other rules are acceptable. Raised runner heads that meet all other rules criteria are acceptable. Purpose-built racing heads, such as GM DRCE, Dart Big Chief, and other similar racing heads are not allowed. Multiple spark plugs per cylinder and/or overhead camshafts are not allowed.

"Domestic OEM passenger car" and "aftermarket OEM replacement" cylinder heads must retain compatibility with unmodified OEM passenger-car intake manifolds, exhaust manifolds, and rocker assembly location. Aftermarket cylinder heads that maintain compatibility with factory intake and exhaust bolt patterns while maintaining a factory-type rocker design and location are acceptable, even if factory valve angles, valve spacing, and/or valve location have been moved from the OEM design by the aftermarket manufacturer. These engineering alterations from the OEM design cannot be altered any further than the way they are manufactured and offered for purchase from the aftermarket manufacturer. Valves must retain as-manufactured valve angles (+ or - 1-degree) and as-manufactured valve location (relative to bore centerline) as originally cast. Cylinder head decks may be milled as long as the milling does not affect the valve angle more than the 1-degree variance allowed by the rules. Machining the valve angle back to within the 1-degree specification after angle milling the heads is not allowed. Any valve-seat size and/or valve size is acceptable. Any commercially available stainless steel valve is acceptable. Titanium valves and/or springs are not allowed.

Unlimited porting, polishing, welding, and/or filling the inside of the intake and/or exhaust ports is acceptable. Modifications to the exterior surfaces of the intake and/or exhaust ports, such as welding and/or adding additional material to increase port size or to alter the port design, is not allowed. The exterior surfaces of the ports, which include the intake manifold and/or exhaust manifold mating flanges, must remain "as-cast" by the manufacturer and cannot be altered in any way. Fastener holes on the intake manifold and/or exhaust manifold mating surfaces must remain as-manufactured and cannot be altered in any way. Flange adapters that connect the exhaust ports to the header are not allowed.Aftermarket raised runner heads (with OEM bolt patterns) equipped with spacer plates on the intake surface in order to properly mate with the intake manifold are acceptable. The spacer plates can be aftermarket or fabricated, but they must duplicate the OEM bolt patterns, and no fasteners can be added to, removed from, or be altered as part of their design. Spacer plates that change the manifold bolt pattern relative to the cylinder head or the intake manifold and/or slotting of intake manifold bolt holes to attain alignment are not allowed.

Any commercially available, non-programmable ignition system, including points, electronic, or capacitive discharge that use a single battery-powered distributor and coil are acceptable. Crank triggers, magnetos, and ICTs are not allowed. Independent ignition timing switches or devices of any kind are not allowed. Ignition timing advance and/or retard must be controlled by the mechanical weights and springs as manufactured in the distributor for this purpose. Locked-out distributors are acceptable.

Engines designed and produced by a domestic OEM with distributorless ignition systems or engines that have been modified to accept a distributor are not allowed. Engines must be equipped with a distributor, ignition box, ignition coil, spark-plug wires (with suppression shielding), and related ignition wiring designed for easy connection to the dyno. Spark-plug wires must be commercially available, and their design must remain unmodified. Electrical power will be supplied to the ignition system by a single 12-volt source.

Any commercially available, single four-barrel carburetor (including Dominator-type) is acceptable. Fuel-injection and/or water-injection systems are not allowed. Carburetor gaskets and/or spacers are limited to a maximum total height of 2.25- nches (measuring from the carburetor base to the top of the intake manifold carburetor flange surface). All engines will use an electric fuel pump supplied by the dyno facility, and each engine builder will determine the fuel pressure. All engines will be supplied with specified 91-octane unleaded gasoline.

Air Filter
Any commercially available street-style air filter and air-filter housing is acceptable. All engines must be equipped with a 14-inch-diameter x 3-inch-tall air filter and air filter housing while running on the dyno. Modifications to the air filter or the air filter housing are not allowed. Filtered lids are acceptable and are considered part of the air filter housing. Velocity stacks and/or stub stacks are not allowed.

Any commercially available camshaft is acceptable. Custom-designed and custom-ground camshafts are acceptable. Solid roller and hydraulic roller designs are acceptable. Mushroom-style and Schubeck brand or styles of lifters are not allowed. Lifters must be unmodified out-of-the-box parts and cannot be altered in any way from their manufactured as-new state. Offset lifters are acceptable.

Intake Manifold
Any commercially available, single four-barrel, single, or multi-piece, cast intake manifold is acceptable. Tunnel rams, sheetmetal, and/or composite manifolds are not allowed. Porting, polishing, filling, welding, and/or sizing of the interior surfaces of the intake runners and/or ports is acceptable. Modifications to the exterior surfaces of the intake ports and/or manifold, such as welding on additional material to increase port size and/or to alter the port design, are not allowed. Using an intake manifold that is designed and cast for use on a different make or family of engine is not allowed. Intake manifolds may be drilled and tapped for additional coolant paths, but additional material may not be welded onto the intake manifold for this purpose.

Rocker Arms
Any commercially available, stud-mounted rocker arms are acceptable. Shaft-mounted rockers are not allowed unless they were an OEM offering (Mopar, Buick, etc.). Multiple rocker shafts per cylinder head are not allowed unless they were a factory design (e.g. Chrysler Hemi). The maximum rocker arm ratio is 1.8:1, unless the factory OEM passenger car engines of the same family were produced with higher than 1.8:1 ratios. All rocker arms must retain the OEM mounting design and location.

Any commercially available, chassis-style exhaust headers are acceptable. Headers must be unmodified and designed to fit a '55-and-later passenger-car chassis without modification to the vehicle or the chassis. Port matching of the header flange is acceptable. Any-diameter primary tubes and collectors are acceptable. Header sets that were designed and manufactured with slip-on style collectors are acceptable. Modifying and/or replacing the as-manufactured slip-on style collector(s) is not allowed. Custom headers, header kits, multi-pieced headers, fenderwell headers, and headers designed for trucks are not allowed.

Commercially available headers designed and sold with a removable pipe section for chassis clearance are acceptable but, builders choosing to run this style of header must contact the Rules Committee for a written "header exception" ruling.

Crankcase ventilation systems that vent to any component of the exhaust system are not allowed. Bungs for Lambda 02 sensors are acceptable and may be used during the competition; all other bungs must be capped.

Only commercially available street-style mufflers are acceptable.

Oil Pan
Any commercially available chassis-style wet-sump oil pan is acceptable. Oil pans must be an unmodified, out-of-the-box part designed to fit a '55-or-later American production car chassis without modification to the vehicle or chassis. Dry-sump systems and vacuum pumps are not allowed. Oil pans designed for trucks are not allowed. External crankcase ventilation and/or oil drain-back systems plumbed externally that return oil to the pan are not allowed. Builders choosing to run windage screens or scrapers can do so only if they are already part of the as-manufactured oil pan design or are attached without any modification to the block or oil pan. Oil system accumulators are not allowed.

Engines that were OEM-equipped with external oil pumps may use an external oil feed line(s) with a maximum I/D of 5/8-inch. External oil feed line(s) connecting the OEM-style external oil pump to the oil pan and/or the engine block are acceptable. Belt-driven external oil pumps are not allowed. Oil pans must remain as-manufactured and unmodified.

All engines must contain at least 5 quarts of motor oil during each dyno pull. Engines must be shipped "dry" to the certified dyno site, along with at least 5 unopened quarts of oil, to verify the oil quantity and contingency. Any commercially available oil additive is acceptable, but is not required.

Any commercially available performance coating is acceptable. The application of thermal and/or friction coatings can be performed at any time prior to the competition on any part. Coating a part is not considered a modification, and parts that cannot be legally modified, may be coated.

All engines will run specified 91-octane unleaded gasoline.

Tools and Supplies
Contestants are required to supply all necessary tools, spare parts, jets, gaskets, a timing light, shop towels, etc..., in order to complete their final engine assemblies, tuning adjustments, modifications, and/or repairs. Tools, spare parts, jets, gaskets, timing lights, shop towels, etc., will not be supplied by the dyno facility or Primedia, except those needed to install and remove the engine from the dyno.

Participants are responsible for coordinating and funding their engine transportation to and from the Engine Masters Challenge competition dyno site. All engines must be delivered to the dyno site at least five business days prior to the first day of competition; any engine that arrives "late" may be disqualified from the competition.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, and food expenses that may be incurred while attending the Engine Masters Challenge dyno event.

Dyno Site
The qualifying and final-round competitions will be completed in five days at the following location:
World Products
51 Tradezone Dr.
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

Dyno Pulls
Contestants must be present or represented during their dyno testing--no exceptions. Dyno pulls during the qualifying and final rounds will be conducted as follows: Engines will be placed on an assigned dyno as per a published schedule. Contestants will assist the on-site officials and dyno facility personnel in completing the necessary dyno connections and final engine assemblies. Each contestant will then be required to review and sign a dyno checklist form that confirms the engine is ready to compete and can be warmed up to the Engine Masters Challenge-specified operating temperatures of 160 degrees for water (water tower temperature) and 160 degrees for oil. If the engine is unable to achieve these temperatures in a reasonable time period (not more than 5 minutes), Primedia personnel will determine when the warm-up pulls will begin. Mandatory warm-up pulls will consist of three consecutive "medium speed" (approximately 330-rpm-per-second) acceleration pulls ranging from 2,500-6,500 rpm. Competitors will be allowed to check and set ignition advance with a timing light prior to beginning the warm-up pulls. Once the warm-up pulls have been completed, each contestant will then be allowed a "tuning period" of not more than 20 minutes to make as many test pulls, tuning adjustments, and/or repairs as they desire. Contestants who are not able to complete their tuning adjustments and/or repairs in the allotted 20-minute tuning period must run "as-is." Once the tuning period has been completed, the engine will be restarted and allowed to idle until the specified operating temperatures of 160 for water and 160 degrees for oil are achieved. If the engine is unable to achieve these temperatures in a reasonable time period (not more than 5 minutes), Primedia personnel will determine when the competition pulls will begin.

Performance rankings for the competition pulls will be computed using Dynamic Test Systems (DTS) software. Competition pulls will consist of three consecutive "medium speed" (approximately 330-rpm-per-second) acceleration pulls ranging from 2,500-6,500 rpm. Then, "average torque" figures and "average horsepower" figures from the three competition pulls will be averaged, and then added together for a final "score," (as seen in the following example):

Pull #1: Avg. TQ = 482 Avg. HP = 421
Pull #2: Avg. TQ = 485 Avg. HP = 423
Pull #3: Avg. TQ = 484 Avg. HP = 422
Avg. TQ 483.6 + Avg. HP 422 = 905.6 Score

The top two scoring competitors from each of the three dynos will qualify for the Final Eliminations round, which will be run on one dyno. The lowest-qualified engine will be run first and the highest-qualified engine will run last. The six finalists may not remove, adjust, repair, and/or replace any part or component on their engines and may not remove their engines from the dyno facility prior to the Final Eliminations. Once an engine has been re-mounted on the dyno in preparation for the Final Elimination pulls, the engine builder will then be allowed to perform carburetor tuning adjustments and/or check and properly set ignition advance with a timing light prior to beginning the warm-up pulls. All "testing" and "tuning period" procedures will remain the same as in the qualifying rounds.

Rules Enforcement
Primedia reserves the right to tear down any engine for a rules-enforcement inspection. Primedia personnel will conduct and supervise all teardowns. The top three winning engines will be torn down for rules enforcement inspection and contingency sponsor verification. Any participant found to be in violation of the rules or refusing to comply with an inspection request may be disqualified from the contest. It is the contestant's responsibility to verify the legality of all parts, components, and/or modifications on their engine.

Prize Money
Contestants must run the contingency sponsor product on their engines during the dyno pulls in order to qualify for contingency payouts, and it is recommended that you contact each contingency sponsor to determine their payout requirements. Contestants may only claim one contingency product per category. The winning contingency sponsors will pay the following contingency awards directly to the engine builders.

First Place - $2,500 per qualified contingency category
Second Place - $1,000 per qualified contingency category
Third Place - $500 per qualified contingency category

Contingency Categories:
Air Filter
Air Filter Housing
Carburetor Spacer
Connecting Rods
Cylinder Heads
Engine Block
Hoses & Fittings
Ignition System
Intake Manifold
Oil Additives
Oil Filter
Oil Pan
Oil Pump
Rocker Arms
Spark Plugs
Spark-Plug Wire
Stud Girdle
Timing Belt/Chain
Valve Covers
Water Pump

By the time you read this story, all the 2005 Jeg's Engine masters competitors will have already been chosen and are hard at work building their engines. We'll run them all in early October and reveal the winners in issues of Popular Hot Rodding and Engine Masters magazines following. Tune in to see if Kaase can be brought down and who will win the big prize with the biggest engines yet to see the challenge.

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