Gary Conley’s 30-year quest to manufacture a true production V-8 engine in quarter-scale almost went up in smoke twice, once in 2001 when a foundry fire claimed all his critical molds, and later when oil smoke proved a stubborn problem during run-offs of the engine. Conley overcame the first setback with years of sheer determination.

The second issue required a Sunnen MB 1660 honing machine, abrasives, and some Sunnen know-how. Today, the man for whom "Perfection is almost good enough" has a business building his Stinger 609 V-8, with a long backlog of orders from collectors and hobbyists around the world, and he credits honing as the process that helped him come up with a "smokin' hot" product. (Learn more about Gary Conley and his engines at www.conleyprecision.com.)

Conley's Stinger 609 is neither a toy nor a novelty: it’s a serious engine built for high performance and durability. Modeled on a Viper V-10 and available in naturally aspirated or supercharged versions, the Stinger has a dry-sump, pressurized lubrication system, electronic ignition, electric starter, split main and rod bearings, steel valve guides and seats.

The bore is about one inch, with a 0.952 stroke. The crank and cam are 4140, casehardened to 20 microns deep and then ground. The engine uses freestanding, full-wet, cast-iron liners.

On the cosmetic side, investment casting gives exceptional detail to the engine parts cast in 356 aluminum and hardened to T6, such as the pan, heads, valve covers, crankcase and timing cover.