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How to Build Max Performance Pontiac V-8s (S-A Design) Paperback – Illustrated, 15 Oct 2012


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Review

Rocky really did a great job of covering everything and I personally liked the cylinder head information. There is a great selection of heads available for making big power for you. This book brings you up to speed with the latest information so you know what is available today --Engine Professional, Jan, 2013

There are lots of aftermarket goodies for the Pontiac V8s and this book details all of them and includes in-depth reviews of the most important component choices, giving honest and invaulable advice along the way. If you are considering building a traditional Pontiac engine for power and performance this book is a must-have. --TKC mag, Feb, 2013

If you've ever considered building a traditional Pontiac V8 for increased power and performance, this is your book. ---Hot Rod, May 2013

About the Author

Pontiac muscle cars have been the driving passion for "Rocky" James Rotella and his family. Rocky has owned and modified a number of Pontiacs including a 1976 Trans-Am 455 HO. He has contributed scores of articles to High-Performance Pontiac and Smoke Signals. He lives in LaVista, Nebraska.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 30 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be MUCH better! 8 Dec. 2012
By Slivermemembers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you have read the first edition of "Max Performance Pontiacs" by Jim Hand, then this edition will likely disappoint you. While Jim's book contained Pontiac history and admittedly focused on extracting the most power from OEM Pontiac parts, it was also a wealth of technical information that Jim learned (and shared!) regarding everything from the impact of camshaft lobe separation angles to compression to the function of QuadraJet carburetors and Rhodes lifters. He debunks many of the myths of aftermarket parts, focuses on what and why the Pontiac engineers did what they did, AND the need to consider the total combination, with an emphasis on streetability. The aftermarket HATES Jim because he was able to make his streetable 4000 lb. Pontiac station wagon go deep into the 11's at over 115 mph with mildly ported iron Pontiac heads, stock connecting rods, an iron Pontiac intake manifold, and an old Ram Air IV camshaft with Rhoads lifters. How many "Pontiac" engine builders have I talked to who say I need aluminum heads, a Performer RPM intake, a roller cam and forged rods to do the same thing? When I mention what Jim was able to accomplish without all those expensive parts, they scoffed!

Mr. Rotella's book pays homage to these aftermarket "experts". It reads much more like a modern "How to go fast with a Chevy and Aftermarket Parts" than a reference of technical value. He discusses aftermarket options for the Pontiac, but neglects to go into much technical detail about ANYTHING, much less give reasonable recommendations. It's like, "Here is a great aftermarket intake from Edelbrock, and here are great heads from Edelbrock, and here's a great carburetor from Holley". It's like a parts catalog more than a primer on the unique Pontiac engine design, or a go fast manual.

Sigh. It could have been so much more. If you REALLY want to learn something constructive about making Pontiacs go fast, I HIGHLY recommend Jim Hand's version MUCH HIGHER than this one. About all this version is useful for is seeing what the current aftermarket has available for the Pontiac engine.

IMHO.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Update That Covers Much New Ground 8 April 2013
By Donald Keefe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Rocky Rotella has been a pretty busy guy as of late, with his regular contributions to High Performance Pontiac, as well as the ever-growing list of book title bylines. His latest work, How to Build Max Performance Pontiac V-8s is another great book that is a must-read for anyone looking to build a high-performance Pontiac V-8 for racing or street use.

If you will recall, there was another book with the same title, which was written by Pontiac engine guru Jim Hand back in 2004. It too was published by S-A Design/CarTech. The reason for the two books is that when he was approached by the publisher to do a rewrite and update, Mr. Hand decided to pass on the project, as he was happily retired and wasn't looking to commit to another book.

Rocky approached the project from the standpoint that since Hand's book did such a great job of outlining how far you can go with factory parts, there was no need to cover that ground already- Jim's top-notch advice was borne out of years of exhaustive research and testing. Instead, he concentrated on the current state of the aftermarket support for the Pontiac V-8 and the engine combinations that are now possible due to these developments.

The truth is, much has changed in the aftermarket since Jim Hand's book was and that gave Rocky much in the way of new material to write about. Starting with a history of the Pontiac V-8 and its many incarnations, Rotella devotes separate chapters to blocks, crankshafts, connecting rods, pistons and rings, cylinder heads, valvetrain, intake manifolds, exhaust systems, ignition, oiling and tuning, rouding out the book with a chapter devoted to proven engine combinations for street and race from Ken's Speed and Machine, SD Performance, Butler Performance and Kauffman Racing Equipment.

Rocky's version of How to Build Max Performance Pontiac V-8s is a great companion book to Jim Hand's earlier book of the same title. The passage of time and the current state of the Pontiac hobby has necessitated an update, yet Hand's original book is still relevant, especially for those interested in keeping things "old school." For those looking to save time, money and make more power with the updated aftermarket equipment, Rocky Rotella has done a great job of outlining the many choices now available to Pontiac engine builders.
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a useful book but not a great book 16 Jun. 2015
By Mickelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a useful book but not a great book. I don't' think there isn't a single picture that covers how factory accessories should be hooked up. I don't think any of the sample engines in the back are based off a stock 400 block and only 2 are 455's all the rest are aftermarket blocks. There is very little information about using parts from other cars to make performance everything in this book is about buying something expensive aftermarket.

I did learn a lot but I also have a whole list of things that should have been included in both of Rocky's books that were missing.
Would I buy the book again? Yes but not at full price, if I didn't have to.
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read, but lacking in old-school knowledge 21 Mar. 2014
By S. Ribbke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really want to know how to improve my iron heads because I need to use my limited money wisely, It skips along quickly through the iron heads and goes deep into aluminum heads. I am told the older version by Jim Hand contains the coveted chapter on porting d-port heads and don't understand why something of such importance would be left out. The book is a good read though and is very informative, just not for somebody like me who is on a budget. Rocky's other Pontiac rebuild book I think was better for my budget concerns. (I bought that one a year ealier
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing sounds like a Pontiac!!! 30 Aug. 2014
By Doug Marker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a Pontiac V8 engine builder this is the best investment you can make . It gives you history on the engines, how to fix any issues that the Pontiac engines may of had out of the factory. Also talks about all the aftermarket parts that are available today for your Pontiac build. (IT IS A MUST HAVE BOOK)
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