Building engines is an art and when it comes to fusing beauty with beast, the team at Steve Morris Engines makes it look easy. Steve Morris and his talented crew create some of the most outstanding engines around. SME was recently commissioned by Grant Fraysier of San Luis Obispo, CA to build what has become an exquisite display of horsepower and torque that not only looks absolutely insane, but has the dyno numbers to match its appearance. Destined for Fraysier’s H1 Hummer sand dragster, The Hummbler, this 615ci BBC is all show and go! If you need more proof, check out the dyno video above and listen to that supercharger scream.
Engine Labs had the opportunity to extract some of the engine’s details from SME’s Alex Esnaola.
“This build started off as a nitrous conversion. The original engine in the Hummbler was a big inch [engine] on three stages of nitrous. It made approximately 1,400 hp but it was not enough to go as fast as Mr. Fraysier wanted. This [new engine] has more than double the power that Grant had,” says Esnaola.
The Building Blocks of Beauty
Because SME’s proprietary knowledge and machining techniques are part of the secret to their success, Engine Labs can’t divulge every detail. But what we are permitted to tell you is sure to satiate your senses. SME began this build with an aftermarket Brodix aluminum block and cylinder heads. Squeezing the air/fuel mixture is a custom designed set of pistons made by Diamond just for SME.
At the front of the line is a belt-driven F-3 series centrifugal supercharger made by ProCharger securely held in place by SME’s exclusive reverse-belt drive system. As you can see in the video this windmill creates 41 pounds of boost at 8,200 rpm and is rated for a maximum of 50 pounds of boost.
The 136mm ProCharger’s breathing is complemented by SME’s custom designed, dyno proven Pro-Volute bell and custom air filter assembly which prevents Fraysier’s Hummbler from inhaling the sandy terrain it treads. Funneling the supercharged air flow is a completely custom billet intake manifold. Its sleek, low profile design gives this engine an appearance you can hardly look away from.
Fuel delivery is accomplished with a Holley Dominator EFI system commanding Moran billet fuel injectors fed by a belt-driven fuel pump. Eight SME smart coils take the place of a distributor in this coil-near-plug ignition system. Optimizing oil flow and ground clearance is an aluminum Moroso dry sump oil pan and belt-driven oil pump. Adding to both form and function, SME designs and fabricates much of what you see on the engine.
“The billet intake manifold, the billet valve covers, the bracketry for the reverse belt-driven ProCharger kit, all the bracketry for the accessories, the fuel manifolds—all of it is designed and manufactured in-house,” says Esnaola.
Nature of the Beast
One challenge many do not consider is the amount of engineering that goes into keeping a engine like this in place. In order to withstand the torsional loads, and the additional weight of the ProCharger ahead of the engine, SME incorporates a 3/4-inch-thick front engine plate and blower drive system into the bracketry that bolts directly to the Hummbler’s frame.
Esnaola says, “This is an extremely robust way to mount the engine and blower versus traditional methods.”
The mounting system allows the Hummbler to harness all of its 3,000-plus horsepower without littering the runway with the talent. What’s more, Fraysier’s Hummbler does not employ an intercooler, or radiator—this sandblaster is designed for short, 300-foot sand drag runs. Because of the short run duration and the use of naturally cooler-burning methanol, Fraysier can get away with fewer cooling implements which makes fitting a monster like this under the hood a bit easier.
Tuning an engine this robust for a challenging environment like the sand is achieved in a fashion you might not expect. Since this engine package is extremely aggressive for the application it is being used for, SME has to put a leash on this beast to allow the Hummbler to perform efficiently.
After some hands-on training from SME, Fraysier will be able to manipulate elements like timing, fuel ramps and pulley diameters, to dial the power up or down, to bring an appropriate amount of aggression to the fight. Fraysier chose this powerful engine package to keep his options open in case he decides to repurpose the engine for a different racing venue in the future – there is flexibility in the combination, and even a bit of what some might call overkill.
As the dyno video illustrates, this 615 cubic inch BBC puts up some outstanding numbers. Even with the ProCharger operating at 82 percent it still pumped out 3,029 hp at 8,200 rpm. The best part was its torque curve that would be better described as a torque line since it had hardly any “curve” at all, creating over 1,800 lb-ft of torque sustained throughout the 5,200-8,200 rpm range, peaking at 2,006 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. When Fraysier unleashes his upgraded H1 on the sunny southern California sand dunes, humbling will be but one of the many feelings the Hummbler will evoke.