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Will a Chevrolet 454 V8 work with a lawnmower carb?

April 14, 2017

Ever wondered what happens to a powerful engine when its four-barrel carburetter is swapped for a puny item usually found on a lawnmower? How could it even work? Wonder no longer.

This donk is normally ordered from GM Crate Engines for tens of thousands of dollars, to enhance the performance of your hot rod, Camaro, Corvette or anything else that tickles your fancy. Many Aussie Holdens have been fitted with this engine, too. Displacement is 454 Ci or 7.4 litres. As such, it rolls out of the factory with a dyno-certified 500hp (375kW).

An experiment, put together by a grassrootsmotorsport member, ripped off the standard four-barrel item and welded up a plate to the intake manifold so it could accommodate a diminutive carby from a Tecumseh lawnmower; something with a single air-cooled cylinder, of around 100cc capacity and generating 3-11hp (2-8kW).

Miraculously the engine turns over and works, but won’t rev any higher than 4000rpm. That the engine manages to produce 12 per cent of its original output, or 60hp (44kW) is nothing short of miraculous.

An engine of such magnitude hasn’t been strangled this much since the Malaise Era from the mid-70s, when big-block US cars were hobbled by emissions equipment. Maybe not the most useful experiment, but certainly interesting…

Mitchell is a contributing journalist and features writer at PerformanceDrive. He has been a passionate petrol-head from a very young age. He is excited by the future of the industry, and considers himself as a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the technical aspects of cars. He is also fascinated by new cars that are popping up in developing markets.

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