Larry’s Shop

Big Red has been the baddest Camaro for so long, the team’s long-time engine builder, Larry Mollicone, has retired from the performance automotive world. But like many on the team, Larry couldn’t retire from the Big Red family. His old performance shop, Auto Dynamics, is located just a stone’s throw from Pomona Raceway. The shop now is closed to the public, but Larry still is performing his engine-building craft for Big Red, and he takes his job on the team seriously.

This old Auto Dynamics sign once stood proudly outside of Larry’s business before he retired. Now the sign collects dust behind some old car parts and shop equipment. Mark Ewing takes advantage of being the offical engine hauler for Big Red, and gets the inside scoop on the engines.

One of Larry’s proudest achievements is building the ProCharged 598, aptly named The Elephant, for its trunk-like tube feeding the intake manifold. This engine produces about 2,000 horsepower and has propelled Big Red to more than 250 mph; a new feat for Larry. Every powerplant for Big Red has a nickname. The oldest and smallest engine in the bunch is called The Peanut. When it was retired, it was

replaced with the 555-cubic inch, 940-horsepower engine, The Beast. You can see two Beasts (one is a backup engine) fully assembled outside Larry’s shop in the photo.

Any good engine shop wouldn’t be complete without a stack of engine blocks waiting to be repurposed. Another photo shows Larry sending off his latest “Elephant” with Mark, after it was freshened and readied to battle the asphalt at more than 250 mph. In one corner of Larry’s shop is an odd cabinet. It’s where Larry keeps his Ouija boards, which he uses for conjuring up evil spirits to transfer into his engines. Maybe that’s why Larry chose the name, The Beast for the 555 big blocks. Or maybe that’s one of Larry’s secrets why his engines run so well and lay down such big numbers on the dyno. Larry assembles another Big Red powerplant with a Brodix block and heads, as well as Carrillo rods and CP pistons. The partially assembled engine gets checked for proper pushrod length to be used with the T&D Machine shaft rockers. Larry’s shop equipment is old enough to be retired to the machining equipment area at The Henry Ford Museum, but it still does the job right after all these years. Old is gold. That goes for great engine builders, too!

Larry’s Shop engine