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Monday, July 09, 2007

 

A masterpiece takes shape

There are true masters in the world of slant sixes. I'm not one of them. Sure, I'm working on an exotic turbo slant six and run the Slant Six Mailing List, but there are many people who know considerably more about these motors than I do. Some of them have been working on slant sixes almost since the first 170 was cast. Others can recite every year and model change in a Mopar A-body down to the stamping used for the firewall, seemingly from memory (it's hard to tell on the Internet if people have cheat sheets).

Doug Dutra, also known as Doctor Dodge, is one such master. He may not have the fastest or most powerful slant six, but he knows these motors inside out, knows what their strong points and their weaknesses are, and has tried all sorts of astonishing mods in the quest for more horsepower. Doug's latest project is a real jaw dropper.

First, a little background. Chrysler built an aluminum block 225 cubic inch slant six for a very few years in the early 1960s. It didn't sell in an era where big cubes were more important than the latest technology, so Ma Mopar pulled the plug. You'd think this would make quite a prize for the slant six racing community. Unfortunately, its open deck construction has head gasket issues that make it hard to run large amounts of cylinder pressure.

Now, take a look at Doug's latest motor, "Twiggy." Compare the deck surface with the one in the above artice. It's a closed deck block. One of the slant six message board members wondered if it was a new casting.

Sort of. Doug's block has an iron plate installed in the top, and molten aluminum poured into the top of the block to transform it into a closed deck block for better cylinder head sealing. There's also some concrete in there, and no doubt the Doctor is going to put some other interesting trick into this buildup. This is a truly incredible example of someone who wasn't willing to accept the limits of what the factory built.

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