Black with a Vengeance!
The History behind KB Racing Engines
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The Keith Black name has been synonymous with drag racing for many decades. Keith went from peddling parts to service stations to racing boats on the Salton Sea to total dominance of the Fuel market in the 1970's. KB was a true icon. His relentless obsession to improve existing designs was evident throughout his career; He wasn't the first to produce aluminum Chrysler Hemi blocks, but his design was the industry standard. Consider this; Between 1975 and 1984, all National Records in the Top Fuel category were held by KB Blocks. His involvement in developing a clutch that would actually put the power to the ground, (rather than smoking the tires to the 1000 foot mark) was paramount. Hot Rod Magazine included Keith as one of their "Top 100 Hot Rodders," saying "His real contribution to the sport was selling good parts at a fair price." The growth of Keith Black Racing Engines paralleled that of NHRA Drag Racing. Keith first opened up shop in a modest location on Atlantic Boulevard, in 1959. Word of his success in boat racing soon spread to the drag racing community. In 1962, the Greer-Black-Prudhomme sling-shot made its debut. Considered by many to be the single most successful rail ever, the G-B-P car won over 90% of its races. Soon the racing community was beating a path to Keith's door. KBRE soon outgrew its smallish confines, and a larger site was needed. Keith moved the operation to its current location in South Gate, allowing expansion of the machine-shop and a more suitable area for stocking parts. He introduced his aluminum version of Chrysler's 426 Hemi in 1974. This was the fuel category's "bread-and-butter" engine for the better part of the next decade. The KB Block was (and still is) in a constant state of improvement, currently in its 15th stage of development. In the mid 1980's, KBRE introduced its line of GM-offspring blocks. These were intended for gasoline, rather than nitromethane, and were available in both Chevrolet and Oldsmobile formats. Soon after, Keith was involved with Hot Rod Magazine in building the Keith Black Camaro. This monster of a street-car had a 540ci KB Chevy, and was capable of clicking off low 11-second mile ET's and over 1G on the skid pad. Keith was enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1995, with the likes of Roger Penske and Bruce McLaren. His contributions to the sport are numerous and not limited to any one area. The most evident trait of KBRE, throughout its 40+ year history, is the desire to refine, and not to rest on their accomplishments. This winning attitude is carried on by Ken Black who took over day-to-day operations in 1991.