Random Blackdog Musings

Any information provided here by guests are their specific opinions, thoughts, and musings which are not the views and opinions of Blackdog Speed Shop, guest are responsible specifically for the content they provide, or otherwise make available through Random Blackdog Musings. Please feel free to submit any story or information to Mikeh@blackdogspeedshop.com and we will consider posting it here for everyone to enjoy.

"There's No Replacement for Displacement"

Blackdog Speed Shop Announces New Engines for LS Swaps 

“There’s no replacement for displacement” is the old adage in hot rodding.  Turbos, superchargers, and nitrous challenge this statement, now more than ever.  But, whether you’re staying naturally aspirated, or you choose to use a power adder to increase power, you will always be limited by the engine that is at the heart of your project.  Whichever way you decide to go, starting with a solid foundation is always the smartest way to go.  If you want to make serious power, eventually you will have to upgrade your engine, whether via a crate engine or using your current block and strengthening from there.  Here at Blackdog Speed Shop, we can spec out a fully custom rebuild, a custom crate engine, or a number of Chevrolet Performance crate engines, depending on your needs.  Here’s a look at two of the more interesting packages Blackdog offers.

The first engine we’ll take a look at is designed for boost.  This is perfect if you have an LSA and want to take it a big step forward.  This short block starts with a Chevrolet block, and from there takes a sharp turn towards strength.  Stepping up from the LSA 378 cubic inches, this goes to 427.  The rotating assembly consists of all forged parts to add a lot more beef than the factory.  A Scat crankshaft, Callie’s H-beam connecting rods, and Manley pistons are assembled with ARP main studs and Clevite bearings throughout.  A custom spec camshaft, optimized for boosted applications, is installed and connected to the crankshaft with a top shelf Cloyes racing billet true roller timing set.  About the only thing reused from your current LSA is the cylinder heads, but they aren’t just taken off and put back on.  The receive a Stage 4 port job and severe-duty valves are installed.  To handle the high heat of boosted applications, the exhaust valves are made of Inconel.  If you are content with the stock LSA supercharger, it gets ported as well, unless you decide you want to really get wild.  This package is more than capable of handling much higher boost than the stock blower, so Whipple, ProCharger, or any of a number of bigger superchargers can replace the stocker, or a turbo package as well.  Close to 50 extra cubic inches, combined with much stronger internals, will provide you with a much higher power potential.  And we would be more than happy to help you take advantage of that.

If the guttural, linear power curve of a naturally aspirated engine is more your thing, we have another package that might get your attention.  Around here, we refer to it as “The 510”.  This is a crate engine package that we developed some years ago in conjunction with our friends at Goodwin Competition.  This engine is based on the wickedly popular LS platform, and easily swaps in place of smaller LS engines due to its ability to use all of the stock LS sensors, as well as front accessories.  Among the largest LS engines roaming the streets, this uses a tall deck block.  Internally, it’s filled with forged components like the LSA short block above, but this package uses higher compression pistons and an NA camshaft to deliver 802 horsepower and 692 lb/ft of torque on pump 93 octane fuel.  We have been driving one of these around in a C6 for about a decade now, and the reliability and power is still amazing.  This engine makes the low-end grunt of a big block, while still giving you the high-RPM horsepower of a small block.  And if you wanted even more power, different camshaft and piston options make that possible on race fuel.  Just bear in mind, this beast requires a stout driveline behind it!  Harnessing this kind of power is no small feat, but the professionals at Blackdog can easily put together a package that will handle these duties for years to come.

When it comes time to increase your power potential, whether you’re looking at naturally aspirated or boosted options, give the Blackdog crew a call at 847-634-7534, email sales@blackdogspeedshop.com, or connect with us on social media and we would be happy to show you some options to make your vision come true, Engines, Superchargers, Turbos, Drive lines we provide it all . . . !

LS Vs. LT: Which Is Best For Your Next Swap?
LS Vs. LT: Which Is Best For Your Next Swap?

Our friends at LSX Magazine explore the pros and cons of LS vs. LT engines for your next 

Blackdog Speed Shop engine swap  LS Vs. LT: Which Is Best For Your Next Swap?

B-Forged Wheels Available - Video
ZL1 1LE: Chevrolet builds a 650-horsepower Camaro track monster
ZL1 1LE: Chevrolet builds a 650-horsepower Camaro track monster

"X" decals are affixed to the sides of the mammoth rear wing of the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Chevrolet engineers say it's to signify the model as the most extreme interpretation of the sixth-generation pony car. If you're an enthusiast who measures a car by how well it romps around a racetrack, you may agree that those "X" stickers are warranted with a Nürburgring lap time of 7:16.04.

Exactly how good is that time? It's quite good, being 13.56 seconds quicker around the 12.9-mile Nordschleife than the 10-speed automatic ZL1, making the ZL1 1LE the fastest Camaro to lap the famous German track to date

Read the article here

7 Second Rides at Car Craft Nationals
7 Second Rides at Car Craft Nationals

Come see the Blackdog Team at Car Craft Summer Nationals in Bowling Green, KY 7/21/17-7/23/17; and stay late for the Midnight Drags 2017 at the same event - read more below, for event details visit our Facebook page here


It’s Summer Car Season – Time for Restomods to Shine
It’s Summer Car Season – Time for Restomods to Shine

It’s officially summer time which means lots of classic car shows, parades, and rubber peeling along the streets.  A Chicagoland speed shop specializes in high performance vehicle builds for race teams, auto cross, street racers, hot rods, SCCA and Ultimate Street Car Association drivers; however, they also build some of the highest quality, restomods in the nation. 


Based in Lincolnshire, IL, Blackdog Speed Shop is one of the premiere firms building restomods.


What’s a restomod?  The term is a combination of the words "restoration" and "modern" technology.  Restomods are classic cars that are reworked to include systems like four-wheel power disc brakes, modern power plants, modern suspension systems, and all new electronics.  Since many classic cars did not leave the factory with air conditioning systems, most restomods include creature comforts like a/c, power windows, blue tooth navigation and stereos, and of course new modern engines and transmissions.  


For Blackdog Speed Shop, they’ve been building restomods for years, including award winning trucks displayed at World Of Wheels, Black Velvet a 1955 Chevy Bel Air exhibited at the 2016 annual SEMA show in Las Vegas to a Ford Mustang Shelby clone that has been featured in multiple car magazine articles.


Most of the builds are done for customers who have a favorite car that has terrible handling, hard to find replacement parts, or would be their premiere daily driver with plenty of power, gas mileage and cornering ability by adding the proper upgrades. 


“Depending upon what the customer wants, we can customize the vehicle from frame to roof, exterior to interior,” says Eric Wolf Project Manager. 

The restomod market is hot and a growing segment of Blackdog’s business, Our focus is on building restomods for people who want to drive and enjoy them. 

Blackdog uses only the best components and is a dealer for some of the most renowned performance parts manufacturers; they even have fabrication and custom manufacturing capabilities in house.  For Blackdog the key is to understand the vision and emotion the vehicle provides for the customer and bringing that into a modern form that provides performance, pleasure, and passion. Find out more at www.blackdogspeedshop.com


Superchargers 101
Superchargers 101

By: Joel Justus – Performance Specialist

Superchargers are becoming more and more popular these days, both with OEMs and on the aftermarket.  Mostly because it’s a cost-effective way to “boost” (pun intended) performance of an internal combustion engine while still maintaining drivability.  Although there are different designs, they all operate on a pretty basic theory, giving you the reliability and performance that you’re looking for.

First, let’s look at why superchargers work so well.  An engine is essentially a self-powering air pump- the more efficiently the air can get into and out of the engine, the more power said engine will produce.  On their own, they have to suck air into some cylinders by moving the piston down in the bore, which is made possible by combustion in other cylinders providing the energy to keep them moving.  This is why engines produce vacuum, and why we look at vacuum when tuning or assessing health of an engine.  When a supercharger is added, the rotation of the engine not only moves the pistons up and down in their bores, but it also turns an air compressor (the supercharger itself), usually via a belt.  When this compressor is plumbed into the intake manifold of the engine, said engine no longer needs to suck in its own air- it is now essentially being force fed its air.  Since the aforementioned combustion requires air, fuel, and spark to happen, there is now a lot more air to make this happen.  Give that extra air additional fuel, and introduce that spark, and this party has suddenly gotten pretty lively!

Now that you have the “why”, let’s take a look at the “how”.  There are a few different “how’s” in this case, but to keep from getting too long winded, we’ll break it down into two fairly broad categories: centrifugal and screw-type.  I will break them each down separately.

Centrifugal superchargers are basically a belt-driven turbo.  The engine belt turns the impeller by means of a small gear reduction box.  The design of the impeller on this style of supercharger is very important to the efficiency, and therefore its power output, just like it is on a turbocharger.  These mount on the front of the engine similar to things like your alternator or air conditioning compressor, and connect to the engine with a series of tubes. 

The other style of supercharger is a screw-type supercharger, or “roots” style.  In this case, the belt turns essentially a long gear, or screw, which turns its partner gear, using that to compress air much like a typical oil pump.  This style mounts on top of the engine, in place of the intake manifold, so the only tubing used is before the air is compressed.

Each design has its own advantages and disadvantages, so what will work best for you will really depend on how you want to use your car, and like everything else in this hobby, every enthusiast has their own preference.  One of the biggest things to look at is heat.  Horsepower makes heat, so the more power that you make, the more heat you also make, regardless of whether you use a supercharger or not. 

However, this is magnified when using a supercharger, because compressing the air also has the byproduct of heat production.  We fight this using intercoolers.  These days, it’s common for the screw type blowers to have one or two smaller “bricks” internally- tiny radiators that the air passes through prior to entering the engine.  These bricks have coolant running through them, and in order to extract some of that heat out of the air charge.  These are known as air-to water intercoolers, since the air is cooled by a liquid. 

Centrifugals typically use an air-to-air intercooler.  These look similar to a small radiator, usually mounted in front of the engine radiator.  The air charge is pumped through the intercooler before it is plumbed into the vehicle’s throttle body.  While both have their limitations and their strengths, the best method really depends on how you will be using your car.

If this has gotten you really “charged” up, give us a call.  We would be happy to chat with you about your vehicle, and work on putting together a package that will fit your individual needs.  We work with a number of different manufacturers, so we are sure to be able to fit your needs and push you back in your driver’s seat.

Can't Believe

Can’t believe


The old car took 3 years of tweaks to earn the trust of my wife for a long trip and this kind of opportunity doesn't happen often.

 In May we decided to leave the brand new Buick Regal GS, manual 6 speed, slot car, super highway cruiser parked in the garage and jump in the 47 Ford for a 3500 mile week long biz/pleasure trip to North Carolina.  The car had been built with a pro-touring attitude including a ZZ383, coil over shocks, big Wilwood brakes, power rack, wide KDW’s and a 5 point harness system. The idea was to show up at a track day and prove that a fat fender car can compete. But before the track day season opened, this trip came together – what better way to see how the car performs than with a long haul. As we pulled out of the driveway my wife said “I can’t believe I agreed to this”. We sprinted down from the Chicago area to Pinehurst N.C. and my mom came out to greet us. The first words out of her mouth were “I can’t believe you drove this car”. No doubt the car was stiff, we were beat and I had the shocks adjusted as soft as they would go. The next day we ran to Greenville S.C. to visit more relatives, not a far trip but the words were the same “I can’t believe you drove this down here”. The following day it was a hop and a skip to Hickory N.C. to visit old high school friends. When we pulled in the first words were not what I had become accustomed to “Where is the trailer parked” followed closely by “no way! I can’t believe you drove this”. After a couple days of boating and drinking it was time to see if the old girl would get us home, but first, how does any track day guy pass up an opportunity to drive the Tail of the Dragon? We arrived early on Friday morning to find out it was “Mini weekend” at the tail. I pulled in the parking lot to make shock adjustments while my wife went for souvenirs. As I came out from under the car I looked up to see a group of Mini owners hovering over me and one guy says “I can’t believe you are going to drive that on this road”. After shoeing them away and making sure my wife understood how 5 seat belts all come together, we hit the Dragon.  About a ¼ mile in I noticed headlights from a Mini trying to gain on us, well at this point I had a pretty good handle on what was coming up and said to my wife “hang on I’m going to pick it up a little”. As the Mini and the ringing in my ears from her screaming faded we came to the end.  The car needed to be put back into soft mode for the long ride up north. I pulled into another parking lot and dove under the car, as I exited from under the bumper the guy in the Mini pulled up and said “I can’t believe that old thing handles so good” I apologized for holding him up but he acknowledged that wasn't the case and commenced asking about the old car with the Corvette chassis (I smirked). The ride home was uneventful except for many pictures being taken of the two crazy people driving an old car at 75 miles an hour. When we pulled in my wife said “I can’t believe we just did that” and as I was smiling at her I thought “I can’t believe it either” We had pulled off what many hot rodders only dream about and the reason is because they probably “can’t believe” it can be done. 

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