Mitech Racing Engines in Placentia, California sports a lengthy list of record setting engines, particularly in land speed record racing. They also specialize in custom engines for racing and street applications; among them some radical Chevy big blocks equipped with Arias hemi heads. These heads are highly popular with racers and particularly with street rodders for their massive, in your face, we mean business looks that pretty much dominate a car’s appearance (see photo above).
Nick Arias, Jr. introduced his radical new 3-pushrod hemispherical-head conversion for big block Chevys way back in 1972. Intended to bring the Chevy V8 on par with the Chrysler Hemi in Top Fuel Eliminator, it never quite achieved that goal, but it quickly became a roaring success in drag boats, tractor pulling and various other drag racing classes. These early versions all used the Chrysler style oiling system. Arias subsequently introduced a follow-on Top Fuel version in 1975 called the “10-Liter.” This was a clean sheet design with greater displacement and the camshaft raised 5-inches to provide clearance for very long strokes and to reduce valve train harmonics with shorter stiffer pushrods. It also featured shallower combustion chambers and valve train geometry similar to the Chrysler Hemi. Drag boat racers and tractor pull builders adopted it as a significant upgrade, but the NHRA objected to the technological changes considering them too far of a departure from a production-type engine and subsequently banned the engine from Top Fuel.
The 8.3L version ultimately passed on to Fontana engines, Minor Brothers and B&B Performance where it enjoyed considerable success in Top Alcohol applications. B&B currently produces the cast versions for Fontana Engines and the Minor Brothers produce the billet versions. B&B also makes the gear drives and camshafts for both the 8.3L and the 10L engines.
In 1998 they revived the 10L engine to power Nick Arias III’s Bonneville lakester. The result was a 636ci normally-aspirated powerhouse built in conjunction with long time associate Mike LeFevers at Mitech Racing Engines in Placentia, California.With minor development, the 1,000 HP gasoline-fueled lakester put Nick Arias III into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club at better than 272 MPH. A second lakester owned by Fred Blanchard has run over 250 MPH with only 439 cubic inches in a big block Chevy based version also running gasoline. An ongoing program with LeFevers assembling and testing revisions and customer engines for racing and street applications has subsequently expanded the Arias head’s rising popularity in street rods and custom exhibition drag racers.
In 2004 the heads were again revised and changed to the current two-pushrod configuration with simplified valve train geometry and Chevy style oiling through the pushrods like a standard big block. For street rodders the appeal is obviously the visual charm of the massive hemi-head valve covers conveying a larger than life “bad boy” image. The Arias heads are powerful performers capable of meeting a variety of performance needs from drag racing to hot street rods and marine applications.
The heads have been FIA homologated and approved by the APBA for offshore marine racing and high-end hot rodders and show car builders love its robust, visceral appeal. We spoke with LeFevers and asked him to show us some of the many variations now available. He subsequently provided the accompanying look at the many variations of the Arias hemispherical head now in use. If you see something you like Arias is only a phone call away and Mitech Racing Engines has all the experience necessary to build any combination that strikes your fancy.
The Arias BB-AH big block Chevy head kit easily adapts to most 10.200” and 11.200” deck G.M. factory or aftermarket blocks, with a few minor modifications. The heads are poured from 356 T-6 alloy and they incorporate full water jacketing throughout. Extra thick decks guarantee combustion sealing and resist coolant seepage. They use the conventional 2-pushrod setup, with one intake and one exhaust pushrod activating new needle bearing roller tipped rockers.
The Arias bolt-on kit or complete Crate Engine package is ready for the street rodder having the desire to stand out from the crowd; or the hardcore racer looking for the power and torque of a genuine Hemi® for their Rat Motor foundation. This is the same cylinder head that dominated drag cars & boats and tractor pullers for the last four decades, with today’s technology built in. Note the following specs.
8.3L and 10L heads, cams, gear drives