Old Reliable The Practical 440 Race Motor
Update May 21, 2023 - A version of the book is, as of this date, available as a .PDF file on DVD. The DVD also contains a video. The price is $15 U.S. including shipping and packaging. Send your order to Don Dulmage, Dept. 1962 - 1965 Mopars, Dolmetsch Engine Development, 310 Cty Rd 19, RR#1 Belleville, Ontario, Canada, K8N4Z1. The DVD is mailed immediately by return mail. Cash or checks only. No money orders. Email Don at
Chrysler Corporation used the big block style motor for many years. Lucky for 1962 to 1965 Mopar lovers, that big block motor was found in many Mopars built during these years, and beyond. Or the big block motor may be installed in a non-big block car without a huge problem.
Indeed, it is the simple, reliable power that these cars produce that is an attraction for many people. The words "Max Wedge" invokes as much, if not more, emotion, than pointing out 426 Hemi cars -- unless, perhaps, that Hemi is in a 1964 or 1965 Mopar, of course.
With that in mind, Don Dulmage, 1962 to 1965 Mopar fan, and ex-member of the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse, had published a book detailing how to build an engine that is "reliable, affordable and built with commonly available parts." (Page 6)
Using this formula, Don is able to get 530 to 550 horsepower from a 440 and then to the pavement for consistent mid 11 second quarter mile sprinting in a 4150 pound car.
Here is a summary of the book:
- Chapter 1 reviews the overall motor specifications
- Chapter 2 details ignition
- Chapter 3 goes over carb dial in
- Chapter 4 gets into how to tune the suspension to get all that Mopar torque to the ground.
Chapter 5 is a first hand review by Don on how it feels to drive a Mopar with the engine/tune/chassis combo he has devised.
In 2004 a reprint of the original book, with a page inserted to cover 383 and 400 engines, was made.
All of the tips included in the book have direct application to big block 1962 to 1965 Mopars, though Old Reliable is a 1974 Dodge Charger.
In fact, Don has owned a 1964 Plymouth and raced using a 1963 Dodge, so he has direct experience with these year's Mopars.
Maybe someone, even Don, will take the lessons learned and put them to use in a 1962 to 1965 Mopar. Don still has a 1963 Dodge, and eventually we will see what a 1963 Dodge would do with an Old Reliable 440 big block between the fenders. :-)
Thanks for writing the book and sharing the tips, Don.
Chevy & Ford etc. racers: be afraid, be very afraid. :-)
Uploaded October 6, 1999; revised October 2, 2000; April 6, 2003, September 9, 2004; November 21, 2004; February 1, 2010; February 27, 2011; December 25, 2013; March 10, 2014; May 1, 2019, May 21, 2023