#3---How to Build Big-Inch Mopar Small Blocks (The book review)
Written by Jim Szilagyi and published by CarTech, Inc.

Dave Hughes

Yes, I know I've never reviewed a book before. It's like dear 'ole mom said "if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all." Until now the Mopar specific books have been very sad, and some are worse, lots of regurgitated pulp that was wrong originally and does nothing to further the movement with constant repeating! The author of this book, Jim Szilagyi, is a Mopar engineer and appears to be a genuine gear head.

This is more of a "how to modify all Small Block Mopars" than it is a stroker only book, something that has been sorely needed with the popularity of small blocks, and the availability of stroker cranks and good heads. I don't agree with all of Szilagyi's positions (which means he doesn't agree with all of mine either), namely, the discussion of the airflow of LA heads vs. Magnums, and the often-repeated tales about thin cylinder walls on later blocks, and the erroneous notion of not using roller lifters in LA blocks when they have been used in such applications for nearly 30 years. However, for the most part, this book is very well written and provides lots of "new" ideas and information. It is written for the reader with some experience, so the neophyte may find it somewhat challenging. The photos are of unusually good quality, well lighted, and properly arranged for clarity of message. The section showing various engine combinations and dyno results is an especially nice touch. We, and others, have seen much greater power outputs with reliability from stock Small Block blocks. Although, these ratings may be an attempt to protect his readers from themselves, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I was disappointed to see the author pander to the parts whores "Smutt & Jugs." The mere mention of them sullies an otherwise authoritative publication.

Szilagyi pushes the 340 Resto and R-3 blocks which are very good pieces. Unfortunately, the 340 block has not been available for about a year or more (not his fault). We haven't tried to order a W-9 or R-3 parts, but if enough people do and Mopar makes them, this can only be good for us all. It will be very frustrating, however, if we can't get them. The problem for readers in this hobby or business is that so many new parts are coming on the market so fast that this book, or any like it, tends to go out of date fairly quickly and, ideally, needs to be updated on a yearly basis. But it takes a year to get it into print, so we always end up with dated material - that is why the internet was invented (by Al Gore). So until the 6.4L Hemi gets here, this will have to do!!!

Bottom line is that this book is a "must have" tool for anyone interested in small block Mopars. On a 5 star grading system, I give this one 4 stars.

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