Enjoy 440 Block stories, opinion, and features from across the car world - Hagerty Media
Though the chassis of the ’37 Ford race car is making progress, the Chrysler 440 V-8 that belongs between its frame rails has been languishing in a corner … until now. Davin tore the powerplant down a while ago and now the 440 is finally getting its day in the sun—or, at least, its day in the machine shop.
Before the massive hunk of iron can get dropped off for final cleaning and machining prep, Davin attends to the little things that separate the best engines from the rest. Any engine builder can chase marginal gains in horsepower; that’s not Davin’s goal. Rather, he’s cleaning up the casting flash to improve oil drain-back and to prevent any large chunks from breaking off and getting pumped through the bearings with the oil. The process takes a bit of time, but peace of mind rarely comes free.
The engine is then declared ready to go and hooked into the back of the ’46 Ford pickup for the short drive over to Thirlby’s machine shop. Typically this would be its final stop, but for this Chrysler, Thirlby is only the initial destination. The cleaning will take place here; final assembly and dyno testing will occur at Apex Tuning. However, first the block needs to be preserved a bit to ensure that all the work done to clean it up is not wasted.
The first step is to oil down the block. Thanks to modern aerosols, this is an easy step and keeps the block from becoming a rusty mess after a few days of sitting in a plastic bag in the corner of the shop. If you’re also at this step with your own engine project, don’t be shy: This oil should be seen as an investment. Right before the block is machined, Davin will wash it all down and then the chips can fly to make way for new, oversized pistons. That’s for a later episode, though, so be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to catch the episode as soon as it goes live.