There’s a sci-fi show from across the pond called Doctor Who. It’s about a time-traveling extraterrestrial that transits about in a phone booth. The gag here is that from the outside it’s just a small British-styled police call box, but once inside, it’s cavernous with the catch phrase being, “It’s bigger on the inside.” LS engines are a lot like the good Doctor’s mode of transport, even though the exterior dimensions remain diminutive, the internal spaces can be optimized for maximum displacement. Even so, you can only do so much with the factory block before you run out of room to expand. Racing Head Service (RHS) saw this limitation and decided to design an aftermarket LS block perfect for LS fanatics that want more cubes and a whole lot of race-inspired features.

The block’s cam is raised and RHS spent considerable effort reworking the internal dimensions to accommodate spinning cranks and flying rods. They also addressed oil control and incorporated features like motor plate race mounts for the hardcore crowd and provisions to easily add a dry sump oiling system — all in a package no bigger than your garden-variety GM LS engine. Sweet! For those who don’t mind the external dimensions bumping up a bit, RHS also offers a tall-deck version that is engineered to accept up to a 4.600-inch crank. Combine that with the RHS block’s maximum bore of 4.165 and you get the potential for 501 cubes (8.2L). The cost for the tall and short deck blocks is the same, so going tall is typically the smart choice. This is especially true since RHS offers intake spacer kits (priced around $300) to accommodate the tall deck architecture. In our case we were looking to replace the 402 LS2 in our ’68 project car, so the standard-deck block made more sense since we would be able to reuse our custom headers without modifying them. After settling on a bore of 4.155 and a stroke of 4.250 (the maximum for the standard deck block) our calculator showed a displacement of 461 ci (7.6L). That’s big-block cubes in a lightweight, small-block package; just what the Doctor ordered.

Nonetheless, making power requires more than a badass block, so we hit up Lunati for some of their trinkets to fill the internal cavities of the RHS block. All those cubes require lots of air so we penciled in a set of Mast Motorsports Black Label LS3 12-degree six-bolt heads topped off with a 102mm FAST intake manifold. The rest of the build was filled with top-shelf parts from COMP, ARP, Moroso, Autokraft, Meziere, CHE, and others. Hey, when you’re droppin’ thousands of bucks on a killer block, it makes zero sense to start pinching pennies on the smaller parts. But all the high-end parts in the world are wasted if the install is sloppy, so we contacted Tom Nelson of Nelson Racing Engines to do the critical machine work and help us wrench it all together into a bulletproof package. Nelson typically builds uber-horsepower forced-induction mills, so we figured a nice and simple naturally aspirated build would almost be like a vacation for him. What we found out from Nelson is that doing it right is a lot of work, so we split the story down the middle by building the short-block in this installment and the top end with dyno testing in the next issue.

SOURCE
Automotive Racing Products
1863 Eastman Avenue
Ventura
CA  93003
800-826-3045
http://www.arp-bolts.com
Mast Motorsports
330 NW Stalling Drive
Nagodoches
TX  75964
866-551-4916
http://www.mastmotorsports.com
Competition Cams (Comp Cams)
3406 Democrat Road
Memphis
TN  38118
800-999-0853
www.compcams.com
Nelson Racing Engines
9318 Oso Ave.
Chattsworth
CA  91311
818-998-5593
www.nelsonracingengines.com
Lunati
662-892-1500
http://www.lunatipower.com/
Meziere Enterprises
220 S. Hale Ave.
Escondido
CA  92029
800-208-1755
www.meziere.com
Wiseco Performance Products
7201 Industrial Park Blvd.
Mentor
OH  44060
440-951-6600
www.wiseco.com
Autokraft
N/A
www.autokraft.org
Moroso
80 Carter Drive
Guilford
CT  06437
203-453-6571
www.moroso.com
FAST
3400 Democrat Road
Memphis
TN  38118
877-334-8355
www.fuelairspark.com
Westech Performance
11098 Venture Drive
Unit C
Mira Loma
CA  91752
951-685-4767
www.westechperformance.com
CHE Precision
N/A
www.cheprecision.com
Racing Head Service
3416 Democrat Road
Memphis
TN  38118
877-776-4323
www.racingheadservice.com
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