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The All-Motor VQ35DE - Part 2: Sizing Up The Competition

Part 2: Sizing up the competition

May 21, 2008
Impp_0806_01_z+all_motor_vq35de_part_2+sportcompactcar Photo 1/1   |   The All-Motor VQ35DE - Part 2: Sizing Up The Competition

Last month we introduced our new engine build project. In case you missed it, we've teamed up with Cosworth Engineering to build one cherry Nissan VQ35DE. As production engines go, the 350Z powerplant is one of the best. From its crisp throttle response to its tenor exhaust note, this V6 is one fine orchestration of parts. With the engineers at Cosworth tuning each component with care, we have little doubt that this will be one of the finest specimens ever assembled.

None of us would have any trouble finding a home for this puppy. As well as the motor fits in the 350Z and G35, the VQ is no longer confined to its usual habitat. The swap era has begun and these engines adapt well to new environments. Our motor would fit nicely into Engineering Editor Chen's S14, or it could finally get Chief Leh to finally build an FC RX-7. I'd probably try stuffing it into an old 510. But the chances of any such scenario happening are absolutely zilch. The odds are slightly better that someone reading this will get their hands on our motor. But don't go shopping for old Z cars with blown motors just yet.

As Chen noted in last month's introduction, we're doing this project as part of the Castrol Syntec Top Shop Challenge. Our motor will only be given away if it beats our sister magazines' projects. While we have no doubt that we are producing the most sophisticated engine of the bunch, this won't exactly be a civilized battle. We're bringing a gun to a grenade fight. If we can avoid the shrapnel, someone is taking home a Cosworth V6. If we lose, someone is going to experience a catastrophic engine failure. We recommend keeping a fire extinguisher and some kitty litter in the car at all times.

Looking at the engines our competitors have chosen to build, most of them appear to be concerned with the first of the four categories. Having the highest horsepower and torque per liter is worth 30 out of 190 total points. Even with the displacement being doubled for running boost, there's no beating small-displacement turbo motors here. SP Engineering is building a 2.6-liter RB26 from a Skyline GT-R for Turbo magazine. 034-Motorsports and eurotuner magazine are going with a 2.3-liter five-cylinder Audi Quattro motor. Import Tuner has G-Dimension working on an SR20DET. Finally, Modified magazine as teamed up with AMS Performance on a 4G63 from an Evo. All of them will be bushing boost numbers to levels you would only find in a dyno competition like this.

Since we do more testing than all our competitors put together, we know what we're up against. For example, in our last Evo dyno shootout (July '07) the AMS car put down 962hp and 617lb-ft of torque to the wheels. That motor was bored out to 2116cc. Bump the power by 20 percent for drivetrain loss, cut it in half for the boost penalty, divide that by the displacement and it was making just over 272 crank horsepower per liter. We would need our bored and stroked 3796cc VQ35 to make 1036 naturally aspirated horsepower to beat it.

Things don't get a whole lot better in the next category, power under the curve. While the smaller motors won't get an advantage for their displacement, the modifier for turbocharging gets dropped. Everything they can put out counts. This is especially scary when we think about the turbocharged big-bore Chevy that Ace Machine is building for Lowrider. That monster is destined for last place on power per liter, but it's going to be hard to beat here. We can only wait and see what Cosworth has learned during 50 years of engine building. We're going to make power way quicker than the little turbos and carry it to much higher revs than the pushrod behemoth. We need to do well here. Those are 30 points we can't afford to loose.

We're at the mercy of the judges for the next one. Three experts will allocate 30 points to the car they deem has the best build quality and craftsmanship. If we get some real engineers on this one, we're in good shape. We'll have CAD designs and flow charts documenting where our power comes from. If Vida Guerra from Livin' the Low Life is one of the judges, we're in trouble. Nobody can beat the lowriders when it comes to gold plating and they're going all the way. On the challenge website, www.SyntecTopShop.com they're talking about spraying the block with candy paint. We don't think we're going to convince Cosworth to go there.

The final category is all or nothing. The engine has to survive a 30-minute drive cycle on the engine dyno. Surviving gets 100 points. Failing gets none. Our motor will pass this test no mater how hard they push it. We can only hope that the motors really get worked. Perhaps some of our Long Beach GP telemetry would make for a good throttle program.

For more updates on the competition, check out the website. Voting has just started on who will win. Bisimoto Engineering's F22A being built for Super Street has 3047 votes at this time. That's good for 73.8 percent. We're right at 44 votes for one percent. The odds are stacked against us, but do you really want an Accord motor?

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