While in high school you typically have more time than money. And while your parents are footing the bills that you will inevitably face as an adult, it’s easy to decide that your car is the best place to invest – especially if you’re a car enthusiast.

On any weekend in my neighborhood, any number of my teenage buddies were always up to helping each other pull an engine, rebuild an engine and, part of the hard work – of course – was to reinstall an engine. In the case of this shot, that engine is my freshly assembled 394 cubic-inch (383 c.i.d. + .060 over) Plymouth Road Runner engine: 12.5 to 1 compression ratio from TRW forged pistons, Crane cam, Velasco crank, Air Flow Research cylinder heads, Bart’s machine shop block (cylinder and align-bored and decked).

Once we had installed the engine, hooked up all of the hoses, wires and accessories – the one big reward was starting the new engine and listening to it come to life. The fact that we usually did this without the mufflers installed typically added to the fun (until my parents would tell us to quite the car (“Act your age,” my dad would laugh as he came out to get us to install the mufflers. Funny, at 18 my friends and I all agreed that “no mufflers” was quite appropriate, Dad!).

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