Okay, forget about crate engines from car manufacturers for a minute, even the new 1000 horsepower big block from Chevrolet. If you thought ten liters was impressive, wait until you rock up to Bob’s Big Boy with this 27-liter behemoth under your hood. Everybody at the cruise in is going to turn away from the thirty-seventh tri-five Chebby they saw that day to check out what you’re rolling in. Because it sounds like thunder. And it powered tanks in the Second World War, so you know it’s stout.
One thousand six hundred fifty cubic inches. That’s what we’re dealing with here, folks. This is basically the same as the famed Rolls-Royce Merlin, but doesn’t have a supercharger, because it wasn’t used in planes and doesn’t need forced induction to compensate for altitude gain. This version, the Meteor, was used in tanks, and this one being a MkV version makes a pretty impressive 650 horsepower and 1450 foot lubs!
This particular engine is available for sale on my local Craigslist for a reasonable $12,000 price. That includes the cart that the engine is on, the oil and fuel tank, fuel pumps and regulators, oil priming pump, and a separate cart with an ignition panel to start and run the thing in situ. Most crate engines don’t even come with that stuff, so this is a super bargain when compared to Mopar’s Hellcrate, even if it doesn’t quite match up on horsepower.
So, as we head into the holidays, think about what kind of car you would swap this beast into. While you’re stuffing your face with turkey and cranberry sauce, give a moment to ponder where you might stuff this engine. Would you put it in a big luxury cruiser and set off car alarms? Would you stick it in the back of the cheapest car you could find and make it do burnouts from now until Easter? Would you chuck a couple of stonking great turbochargers on it and shoot for the moon? Maybe you could do the Allan Millyard thing and build a motorcycle around it?
The benchracing ideas are endless! So what’s yours?