When legendary AMSOIL Engine Masters participant Jon Kaase considered the new Vintage V8 Class for the 2015 Challenge, he contemplated engine possibilities with the cold pragmatism of a serious competitor. One of the key requirements from Kaase’s perspective was the availability of an aluminum cylinder head. As Kaase explains, “An aluminum head allows almost unlimited modifications, and in an unlimited class like this year’s Vintage category, we wanted a head that can be machined and welded or modified.” Topping the Mummert heads is a custom adapter mating the heads to a tall Edelbrock small-block Chevy tunnel ram. The bottom end was built with a Bryant billet crank, Carrillo rods, and custom Diamond pistons. The result is a 400ci engine putting the squeeze on the mix at a 13.9:1 ratio. To work with the mushroom-tappet arrangement of the Ford Y-block, custom lifters were manufactured by Trend, with a Comp Cams billet flat tappet orchestrating the movement. Kaase custom-fabbed a long set of tri-Y headers and installed an MSD ignition system to light it off.
So what is the effect of all of these mods on this ancient Ford? How about numbers that would leave any builder of the latest hardware slack-jawed at the results. Torque started off strong at 526 lb-ft at the 3,000 rpm bottom of the test range, and twist only ramped up from there. Peak torque recorded measured 596 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm. On the power side, Kaase didn’t disappoint, with peak output showing 584 hp at just 5,500 rpm. That was plenty of power and torque over the rpm range to net a class-topping score.