Closet Engine Masters! Show Us What You Got …

As you’re reading this, we’ve just wrapped up another AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge at the University of Northwestern Ohio. We’ve been doing the EMC for 10 years, and we’ve seen all kinds of great engines, large and small. Those competitors who participate every year have grown to love the sport, and make it a cornerstone of their yearly program, but we know there are many more engine builders out there—both pro and homegrown—who are silently watching from the sidelines.

What is it going to take to get some of the silent majority involved? We know you want to get in the game, but maybe you’re sitting on the fence. Here are a few interesting things about the EMC that might get you motivated.

You don’t have to be a well-known pro to be in the EMC. Many competitors are enthusiasts like you, building engines in their garage for themselves or friends. We chose a variety of engines every year, ranging from the exotic, to bread-and-butter small-blocks. If you are creating something special for your hot rod and want to show us (and everybody else) what you have before dropping it into your ride, the EMC is for you.

Anybody’s engine can be the subject of a full-blown PHR article. Yes, we do feature the winning engine, but we’re just as interested in the great efforts that are made by all competitors. No matter who you are, if you wrench together a good-running, solidly built engine that looks halfway decent, we will be asking you lots of questions and taking lots of pix.

The national exposure of competing in the EMC is always a plus. Winning isn’t everything, especially in this competition. Many competitors go into the EMC with the suspicion that their specialty niche engine might not end up on the podium—for them it’s about bragging rights in their brand universe. Early Hemi? Ford Y-block? Oldsmobile? Your fans will come out of the woodwork.

Just being at the EMC is an experience you will never forget. It’s difficult to describe the atmosphere when 40 engine builders converge on UNOH every October. Everybody, from the UNOH faculty and students, to the competitors and PHR staff, has a great time, sharing stories, helping each other, and doing photo shoots—there’s even bowling, pizza, and beer on Tuesday night. It’s like a family reunion—with twin turbos.

You don’t need to spend a lot to be a competitor—or to be an EMC hero. Many of our builders use what they’ve got on hand, choosing to massage vintage components or swap meet pieces. Others go with traditional mail-order staples, honing the art of the calculated combination. Readers aren’t just interested in the one-of-a-kind motor made from unobtainium, they want to check out the stuff they can duplicate in their garages. Many local engine builders compete in the EMC only to find there are lots of new customers near and far who identify with their approach.

Next year, we promise to make it worth your while to be involved. We don’t know exactly what form the 2013 AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge will take, but it will be affordable, fun, and simple. Highly streetable and easily reproducible mainstream small-blocks and big-blocks from GM, Ford, and Mopar will be the goal.

Naturally, we will announce the rules and provide the official entry forms on when the time comes, but I’d also like to personally invite any interested engine-building enthusiast to email me your questions, comments, or concerns about the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge at, subject line “2013 EMC.” I promise to respond to each and every inquiry. —Johnny Hunkins

“What is it going to take to get some of the silent majority involved? We know you want to get in the game…”