by Mike Magda
Demolition Derby cars are no longer 200,000-mile junkyard scraps begging for a final breath of internal combustion.
“Now they’re custom-built racecars,” notes Jeff Baldwin, whose Baldwin Racing Engines has developed a niche market of building specialized 400-plus-horsepower bullets for cars that will get the snot beat out of them before going to the recycler.
These aren’t warmed over crate motors or refurbished claimer engines scoured from a dirt track. Instead, every derby engine out of the Baldwin shop is assembled from the ground up with new parts. And there is a specific strategy to go along with custom parts just for this crowd-pleasing application.
“Mainly, you’re trying to keep the engine running without water,” explains Baldwin. “The radiators get taken out early, so it’s who can stay running the longest.”
The two most popular engines are 355ci and 383ci small-block Chevys. Starting price is around $6,500 but they can last over multiple seasons with minimal maintenance.
“We’ve got one in right now for a refresh that the guy raced for three years,” says Baldwin, who also builds potent engines for dirt track, truck pullers and other popular competition vehicles in the Midwest. Read Full Story on Engine Labs