Power Play: Making Big-Block Power With Air Flow Research


High-winding small-blocks sing a beautiful song, but it’s hard to beat the deep and angry growl of a big-block engine that’s ready to tear things up when it’s fired up. To make that big-displacement power, investing in a quality set of heads is a great start and will make achieving high-horsepower dreams much easier. Air Flow Research (AFR) has been in the cylinder head game for along while and their big-block heads are great for generating significant power on any engine.

Quality materials are a must for big-horsepower builds – that goes for the parts in the engine and what is being bolted to the block. Using A356 aluminum on cylinder heads provides a platform with optimum quality, and that’s why AFR uses it for their big-block heads. This allows the heads to have a thicker head deck so they can deal with the high cylinder pressures that come with bigger engines that are generating a lot of power.

Tony Lacrone’s 1968 Camaro uses a set of AFR’s 335 BBC heads on a 572 cubic-inch engine that made over 932 horsepower without any power adders.

Another key component to big cubic-inch heads is durability. The heads have to be able to take the abuse that the user is going to put them through, so AFR has put extra effort into making sure the big-block heads are super stout. Another factor that’s important is how the heads seal to the engine, and that ties back into the quality of the heads and how they stand up to heavy use.

Now, before you go out and buy the biggest set of heads you can find, Tim Torrecarion from AFR has some words of wisdom on what to look for.

“There is a physical limitation on how big a port can be, the water jacket, head bolt holes, and other parts. Now, in some extreme builds, they run no coolant and plug the water ports; however, the port will only be large enough to support the main objective of the build, because we also have to consider velocity and not just flow potential.”

AFR has an assortment of big-block heads that will help you make big power no matter what your combination is. Check out their website here for more information on big-block heads and where to get some for your engine.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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