The Block is BACK! Bulldog Performance Joins Mopar Connection For 2019/20


A few of you might recall when Lansing, Michigan engine builder Muscle Motors was featured in a story by Hot Rod Magazine unveiling an incredible new engine block that could be machined as either a big block wedge or Gen2 Hemi. Titled “The Block”, the offering came out of necessity given the drought of suitable stock and replacement engine blocks. Racers competing in Super Stock, Super Comp, and other classes running big-block Mopars were quickly gobbled up anything available, leaving sportsman racers, owners of street machines and performance enthusiasts out in the cold.

Not since Mopar Performance’s line of wedge and Hemi “Mega Blocks” during in the mid-1990s, had something truly innovative hit the market, and it looked like Muscle Motors had truly, finally done it. Cast and machined entirely in the USA, the new engine block featured stronger main webbing, each filled in for added strength; and priority oiling that supplied oil to the main and rod bearings prior to the lifters, ensuring lifter failure won’t happen as a result of total loss of main bearing oil pressure. Equally, the block came at 4.495″ bore, with a .250″ wall thickness at 4.500″ bore.

The innovations continued; The Block was available with 9.980″, 10.200″ and 10.720″ ​deck heights, meaning you could literally order this as a 400, 440 or 426 Hemi. The cam bore was machined either for a 55mm roller or 60mm slider. Four of the five steel billet main caps were cross bolted, and the entire block was fitted with with ARP fasteners. Additionally, all plugs and seal retainer came included with each purchase.​​ Oh yeah, and it was already approved by the NHRA ​for ​Stock and S/SC classes. Even the block was machined for both wedge or Hemi motor mounts, making swapping out K-members obsolete.

Everything sounded great, right? Then Muscle Motors appeared to close its doors and The Block vanished…or so people thought. Thankfully, The Block was never Muscle Motors’ to begin with. The Block was the brainchild of Bulldog Performance, and still belongs to them! It took quite a bit of effort to begin putting out the fires left by the shop’s closure, but today, Bulldog is producing blocks and satisfying its patient customers – we know, we’ve personally witnessed the pouring of two iron blocks during a visit prior to the PRI Show in December 2018, a story we’ll publish here shortly (see the image below).

Priced typically at $3,975, each block is made to your specifications, so prices and delivery dates are subject to change per customer. So again, the ultimate iron wedge/Hemi engine block is alive and well, and available for order at Bulldog Performance (give them a call at 317-869-8689) and all of us at Mopar Connection are excited to help get the word out! Look for Bulldog’s ads here as well as future announcements, feature articles and more – and maybe you can finally get that Hemi you’ve always wanted!

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching Mopar Connection Magazine. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story. He's also the co-author of "The Chrysler B-Body Restoration Guide."

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    • Kevin Shaw
      Kevin Shaw 11 March, 2019 at 19:36 Reply

      Again, a large portion of complaints and issues pertaining to the initial run were two fold: bad partnerships and quality control issues pertaining to the foundry.

      Bulldog procured the services of a new foundry, which we visited, and were impressed with what we’ve seen.

      Orders are being taken and fulfilled currently, and the back order is thinning rather quickly. Give them a call!

  1. Avatar
    Craig Grabanski 7 September, 2020 at 22:57 Reply

    Kevin, Your credibility and the Magazine are at stake!
    Based on your endorsement of Bulldog Performance and The Block I have chanced ordering a 440 wedge block. I spoke with Richard and mailed my deposit which he has cashed. I have requested an invoice and receipt for the transaction but to date have neither that or any information when the block will be ready to ship . After further investigation Bulldog’s address is a residence. Can you assure your readers that your story regarding Bulldog Performance is correct and not another Muscle Motors scam?

    • Kevin Shaw
      Kevin Shaw 8 September, 2020 at 08:24 Reply

      1. Please don’t threaten me or Mopar Connection Magazine (it’s not the best way to make first impressions, Greg). You decided to make a purchase. You submitted the money for a down payment. You’re responsible for your own actions.
      2. Yes, Bulldog Performance is operated out of Dick’s large home shop where much of his prototyping is done. All casting and final machining is farmed out to facilities that Dick has established relationships with over the years, but the address itself is a residence. (I’ve been there personally.)
      3. I hope prior to purchase that you discussed with Dick expected deliverables, a time frame, etc. as he (as well as many others) are facing incredible demand. This influx of demand results in several weeks and months of back orders. A European customer recently aired his grievances here because he didn’t understand that these engine blocks are not sitting on a shelf waiting to be shipped out. But rather, each is made specifically to the customer’s request.

  2. Avatar
    Craig Grabanski 9 September, 2020 at 00:30 Reply

    Kevin
    I was not threatening you or your magazine only voicing my concern over the article you wrote. It is hard to have trust in the press these days, with sloppy research or reporting, who can you believe?

    Hot Rod Mag did the story on Muscle Motors and the word on the street is a lot of people got screwed or so the story goes.

    When I read your story endorsing Bulldog Performance I was jumping for joy to see someone was now producing a Pro block. I posted on a couple of Mopar web sites about the new coming of “The Block” and boy did I get hell from the masses. I do want to thank you for your quick response but want to point out one thing…….my name is Craig not Greg. Have a good day and remember your stories do influence people choices.

    • Kevin Shaw
      Kevin Shaw 9 September, 2020 at 04:41 Reply

      Craig, my apologies for the name confusion on my end (I’m not sure how I fumbled that). Just to be clear, the article we’re commenting on is an announcement, not an endorsement. Subsequent articles have reported on Bulldog’s progress, new products and even toured the foundry where the blocks are poured. But Mopar Connection Magazine has never “endorsed” any one engine block maker. (Particularly as we have 3 currently advertising on the magazine.)

      And please don’t conflate Mopar Connection with CNN, MSNBC or the hyper-politicized mainstream media. We’re a car magazine. Our job is to get folks excited about new shiny things and want to buy, build or finish their project car. There are no Woodwards or Bernsteins here. We’re just car guys who know how to throw together a good article and run a small business.

      Aftermarket Hemi blocks have NEVER been an easy acquisition despite what the old guys would say. Even Direct Connection had supply problems – Mopar Performance in the early 2000s was a nightmare and today’s Mopar isn’t all that better either. Backorders run YEARS deep and most blocks require re-machining. Keith Black, World, Callies… the list goes on. Heck, I own the magazine and I myself can’t get one without waiting a couple years or forking over a bug chunk of cash.

      The rise, fall and return of “The Block” is a wild one; and sadly, when Muscle Motors stalled out, temporarily closed its doors, and reopened the word-of-mouth damage was already done. Worst of all, Dick Bradshaw was thrown under the bus despite not being responsible for what Muscle Motors did. Thankfully, Dick’s helped “make good” on many (if not most) of the customers “screwed” by MM. And he’s been hustling to keep up with the tidal wave of demand.

  3. Avatar
    Kevin Adams 19 February, 2021 at 15:55 Reply

    This is all fine and dandy, but the real question is: when will you start casting iron genIII blocks with the same kind of love and big bores so we can build real world stomping cubic inches that will drop into our late model MoPars? The aluminum block is ok if you have deep pockets, but I’m not a fan of using a 6.4/392 block and putting a long arm crank in it. Rod angles, piston heights and clearances get a bit hairy going that way. I’d rather build something with the same old school specs as a vintage 440. What say you?

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