Every so often, we hear about something like Gary Conley’s 1/4-scale V8 engine that catches our attention. Gary is a machinist and hot rodder from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and his latest endeavor, the supercharged “Stinger 609,” is the first-ever mass produced miniature V8 engine. You may remember our first look at fully operational, scale gas engines in TRJ #29 when we featured a beautifully crafted miniature Offenhauser built by Broomfield, Colorado’s, Ron Bement.
The Stinger 609 has its roots in one of Gary’s projects from the late-’90s when he was contacted by Chrysler and licensed to engineer and build a scale version of their Dodge Viper V-10. Several years later, a fire at the foundry destroyed everything except the molds for the V-10 heads. With years worth of work obliterated, Gary set about designing an entirely new engine based on a shortened, eight-cylinder version of the original ten-cylinder heads. Aside from the modified cylinder heads, everything was designed from scratch, and the new engines even featured the distributor mounted out front at an angle as a nod to some of Gary’s favorite V8s from the past.
With the exception of the actual castings, Gary handles everything in house. He machines the molds used to create wax models which are then sent to a foundry where components are gravity cast using the investment casting process (also known as lost wax). The individual components are then machined, assembled, and tested in Gary’s shop. It’s an extremely labor intensive process, but the result is essentially a hand-made miniature 6.09 cubic-inch V8 capable of producing nine horsepower at 10,000 rpm in its supercharged version.
The naturally aspirated Stinger 609 costs right around $5,700, while the blown version is available for $7,500. Gary’s first production run of 40 engines sold out before they were completed. He is now in the middle of another production run of 70 engines, but those, too, are already spoken for. “I sell them all over the world,” he says. “Every corner of the U.S., Sweden, Indonesia, Greece, Russia, and many to Africa and Australia.” Many of the buyers are engine collectors who display and run them on engine stands in their private collections and museums, while others opt for installing them in quarter-scale remote control boats or automobiles.
Gary is a hot rodder himself, with a blown Chevy-powered Deuce Vicky in his garage and one of seven ’62 Ford M-Code Thunderbirds on the way, so he also offers scale hot rods to go with his mini mills. He offers Stinger 609’s installed in a fully functional, quarter-scale ’23 T-bucket or ’34 Ford roadster and he’s got a 1/4 scale rear-engined dragster in the works as well. You can see the Stinger 609 run at Gary’s website, www.conleyprecision.com.
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