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Pete Brock on: Being hired by GM at age 19, designing Cobra Daytona, and Carroll Shelby

PG. 28






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08] Behind the Scenes 10] Where It All Began 12] #HOTROD 18] 300 HP Per Liter! 22] Winning the Last Race at Lions Drag Strip 26] Barn-Find Shrine 30] Pete Brock: A Dozen Design Careers in One Man 34] 15-Year, Father-and-Son Chevy Gasser Build 42] One of One: 1959 El Camino SSR Spyder 48] What If Dodge Put Chevy Engines in Challengers? 54] Exclusive! Inside Ken Block’s AWD Mustang 62] 32 Ways to Build a Killer Drag Week Daily Driver 84] Hot Rod Heaven: The Race of Gentlemen

ON THE COVER: Not since Steve McQueen’s 1968 390 GT lit up the big screen has a Mustang flm been seen by so many. Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Team brought the “Hoonicorn” to HOT ROD’s El Segundo, California, studio the day after flming of Gymkhana 7 wrapped for our exclusive shots. Photo by Jorge Nunez.

Contents 92] Nuke-Proof TH400 Automatic Transmissions 94] Scroungers Guide: Vintage Magnesium Wheels 98] How To Spot Eaton Superchargers 100] Recreating the Most Beautiful Dragster Ever Built 104] Methanol vs. Gasoline: Why Racers Switch to Alcohol 110] Why the Original Mustang Is the Best Car Ever Designed 120] Stop Ford 351 Clevelands From Eating Distributor Gears 134] New 2015 Mustang Products 138] Goodbye 2014



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All AFR heads come standard with: Lightweight bead lock 8mm valves that reduce valve float (Big Block Chevy has conventional 11/32 hardware), Premium Pacaloy racing valve springs, 100% Fully 5 axis CNC ported, 3/4” thick head deck, Viton oil seals (not cheap Poly Acrylic) and hardened Chrome Moly spring seats, not just shims. Includes adjustable guide plates for perfect rocker arm alignment. Call for details. AFR heads only.

4220cc SBF Flows 340 CFM 4245cc LSX Flows 360 CFM 4245cc SBC Flows 350 CFM 4385cc BBC Flows 456 CFM

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SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Email, call 800/800-4681 (386.447.6385 international), or write to Hot Rod, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. Please include name, address, and phone number on any inquiries. For change of address, six weeks’ notice required. Send old as well as new address to HOT ROD, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.

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ADVERTISING INFORMATION Please call HOT ROD Advertising Department at 310/531-9183. Related publications include Car Craft, Circle Track, Classic Trucks, Engine Masters, Hot Rod Deluxe, Mopar Muscle, Muscle Car Review, and Street Rodder.

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ADVERTISING General Manager, HOT ROD Network Tim Foss General Manager, HOT ROD Jeff Dahlin Associate General Manager Brian Cox Advertising Coordinator Patricia Ludi General Manager’s Assistant Mimi Hirata To advertise on this magazine’s website, or any of TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s other enthusiast sites, please contact us at WEST Los Angeles: 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; Mark Dewey; Scott Timberlake; 310.531.9900 Irvine: 1733 Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA 92606; 949.705.3100 EAST New York: 261 Madison Ave., 6th floor, New York, NY 10016; Jim Keplesky, 212.915.4000 NORTH Detroit: 4327 Delemere Court, Royal Oak, MI 48073; Joe Didato, 248.594.2542 MIDWEST Chicago: Marc Gordon, 312.396.0620 SOUTHEAST Brit White, 813.675.3479 SOUTHWEST Glenda R. Elam, 626.695.5950 TEN: THE ENTHUSIAST NETWORK, LLC Chairman Peter Englehart Chief Executive Officer Scott P. Dickey EVP, Chief Financial Officer Bill Sutman EVP, Chief Creative Officer Alan Alpanian EVP, Sports & Entertainment Norb Garrett EVP, Chief Content Officer Angus MacKenzie EVP, Operations Kevin Mullan SVP, Enterprises Tyler Schulze EVP, Sales & Marketing Eric Schwab SVP, Digital Operations Dan Bednar VP, Sales Operations Matt Boice SVP, Financial Planning Mike Cummings SVP, Automotive Digital VP, Editorial Operations EVP, Aftermarket Automotive SVP, Content Strategy, Automotive SVP, Digital, Sports & Entertainment VP, Digital Monetization SVP, Marketing EVP, Mind Over Eye

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Creating (and Hiding) a YouTube Phenomenon How do you hide a movie production on the streets of Los Angeles from 10 million people? “We just tell everybody we’re filming a Canadian TV show called Unicorn,” said Brian Scotto, “and nobody wants to stick around to see that.” Scotto would know, as creative director of Ken Block’s Gymkhana 7, and former editor-in-chief of 0-60 magazine, he’s been targeting audiences for years. Tat’s why he came to HOT ROD in 2013 with a rendering of the Mustang on the cover, and why I’m telling you to navigate to to see it in action. Put simply, the Gymkhana 7 Mustang was created for us—a group that may not have known who Ken Block is or what his Gymkhana videos are. Here’s the Clif’s Notes version: Block is a 47-year-old master marketer and race-car driver. Gymkhana is a form of precision driving derived from equestrian time trials. Since 2008 Block has made seven Gymkhana videos for YouTube showcasing his talent behind the wheel. His choice of steed had been a Ford Fiesta rally car, but in Gymkhana 7 he’s saddled up to an 850hp, fourwheel-drive 1965 Mustang for 12 minutes of tire roasting created for our global viewing pleasure.

Hiding the shoot of a video intended to go viral is a strange contradiction. Scotto and I joked about that as we met on set at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Of course, by “set” I really mean the iconic Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange in Los Angeles where the 105 and 110 freeways cross—better known as where the “bus jump” was shot in the 1994 Keanu Reeves’ movie Speed. Tere we were standing next to a one-of-none Mustang and I knew you’d want to see the car up close and see what made it burn rubber the way it does. I asked the Hoonigan Racing team to sneak the car into our studio the Friday afer they were done flming. But I had to be in Ohio that day and feared one of our sister magazines would see the Mustang and post something about it online—but nothing showed up. When I got back to the ofce on Monday, I asked if anyone had seen what was shot in the studio? Nobody had. HOT ROD’s digital art director, Ryan Lugo (who owns two Mustangs), asked me, “Oh, do you mean the girls for Surfng magazine?” Nope. But now I know what stealth technology to use when I want to hide a car from car guys. hHOTROD.COM/David-Kennedy

[How do you hide flming an 850hp, carbon-fber monster from the people of Los Angeles? Shoot at dawn and distract them with surfer girls.


IN MY OPINION Great Advice I’ll Give, Not Take “Research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing.” — Wernher von Braun, German rocket scientist Low-Buck AWD? All-wheel drive has always attracted car guys, but the complexity and cost scares most of us away, but AWD may become more popular now that allwheel-drive drivetrain parts from the Big Three are hitting junkyards. The transmissions, transfer cases, and front axles of Oldsmobile Bravados, Astro vans, Cadillac Escalades, and even Hummer H2 and H3 SUVs could all make great donor parts. Predictions for 2015 Happy New Year, HOT ROD readers! It’s time for me to lay out some predictions for our industry this year. • Ford will debut a 4.0L direct-injection and turbocharged EcoBoost V8. • The popularity of big-block Chevy engines will make a comeback as the Rat motor turns 50. • Mopar will launch a 707hp Hemi Hellcat crate engine.


The 2014 Engine Masters Challenge taught me a lot about pushrod V8s. I learned about Gen III Hemi valvetrains and saw frsthand why Chevrolet W-series engines aren’t the most efcient. That didn’t stop me from pining for a 348 or 409 car I don’t yet own.


People keep writing in to ask if I really work on the car while wearing a skirt. I do! It’s actually quite convenient if you drop a bolt or something, you can catch it in the fabric.


I thought the fallout from 2008’s recession would be the end of factory performance and a huge drop in aftermarket performance components. Seeing what the aftermarket has coming from the 2014 SEMA Show and new performance oferings from Detroit at the LA Auto Show, we are in the next golden age of performance.

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HOT ROD Archives


Motel Madness Nearly 50 years before HOT ROD rolled into Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the 2014 Drag Week, Denver’s Alan Bockla (rear) and Fraser, Michigan’s Logghe, Stefey, and Rupp’s “Te Prussian” both burned the midnight oil replacing pistons and performing valve jobs on their junkyard heads at the swank Trade Winds Motel parking lot in Tulsa. For the Prussian crew, it would be worth the efort. Starting at this 1965 NHRA World Finals event (and through 1973), the winner of the Finals was crowned season champ. Tough Bockla would get bumped, the Prussian crew’s midnight thrash resulted in downing Danny Ongais with a 7.82-second run at 200 mph for the NHRA World Champion Top Fuel crown for 1965. An impressive e.t. for the time, but not quick enough to run with Drag Week’s street cars this year. hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor



#HOTROD Scene by Readers: Featured Artist Travis Hess

Unlike some of our other featured artists, Travis Hess wouldn’t call himself a professional photographer by any means. The Martinsburg, West Virginia–based painter uses Instagram to promote his custom signand car-painting skills, but since his work takes him out to cool races and brings awesome projects to his shop, you’ll get a daily dose of retro-painted choppers and in-progress hot rod builds if you follow him online. Hess doesn’t use any fancy camera equipment—all his images are straight of of an iPhone. “When I need a good car picture, I ask a pro,” he told us, but there’s something really fascinating about the images he shares, glimpses into a life that’s all about cars and bikes and hot rodding.



01] Travis comes by his painting prowess genetically. His dad is painter and bodyman, Bucky Hess, perhaps most well known for racing the gorgeous King Kuda II in the Hemi Super Stock class. “My dad is pretty much my hero,” Travis says.



02] Sometimes it’s worth having to pick fur out of a paint job for the company of a good buddy while you work. Travis says his shop cat, Scraggy, is a little confused about his species. “He thinks he’s a parrot.” 03] Many painters won’t take on the small jobs, since the work required to do a helmet can be more than a fender. Travis will take on anything, from a vintage helmet to a full race car. This lid was gold-leafed and lettered freehand. 04] More freehand work, this time done on location at The Race of Gentlemen in New Jersey. 05] Oh, you know, just giving a roadster ride to NASCAR’s Ray Evernham. INSTAGRAM NAME CAMERA FAVORITE FILTER BEST TIP CARS

@tukipaintsit iPhone Mostly none, don’t want to obscure those great paintjobs. Ask a better photographer for help! 1928 Ford Roadster


Do you have a collection of awesome car photography? Tips on how to take better shots? If you or someone you know should be featured in #HOTROD, let us know at or tag us on Instagram or Twitter @hotrodmagazine.


Thomas Rowe



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Hot Rod Anything!

300 HP Per Liter! The World’s Most Powerful Production Motorcycle Six-speed transmission with chaindriven rear wheel.

120/70 ZR17 tire and dual twin four-piston caliper brakes with twin semi-floating 13-inch rotors, and ABS.

Wet-sump oil system with cooler.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The turbocharged 1.0L engine in a new Ford Fiesta makes 123 hp and the car weighs about 2,600 pounds. The new 1.0L supercharged engine in the 2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2R race bike makes almost 300 hp (296 hp, really, but we’re OK with rounding up) and weighs 476 pounds. That’s why HOT ROD is writing about a motorcycle, and an import, at that— because it’s badass. Badass like the most powerful production superbike ever, trouncing its closest competition by about 100 hp. You

want to talk about power-to-weight ratio? The Kawasaki is carrying 1.5 pounds per horsepower. In car terms, a typical Chevelle would need about 2,400 hp to compare. Granted, it’s a $50,000 race-only bike; we liken this to the Hurst Hemi Dart or Cobra Jet Mustang of the two-wheeled world. But much faster. We’re fascinated by the technology of the little 998cc four-cylinder that uses another production-bike frst: a centrifugal supercharger that was made in-house with


technology from Kawasaki Heavy Industries subsidiaries Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and the Corporate Technology Division. We’re sure to see these on the grounds at the East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) Ohio Mile, the Texas Mile, the Mojave Mile, and other landspeed events. And it’s only a matter of time before one of these engines shows up in a Streamliner or roadster at Bonneville. hHOTROD.COM/David-Freiburger

If you’ve hopped up anything that’s not a car, let’s see it! Hot leaf blower? Bitchin’ gas grill? Customized kitchen cabinets? Anything goes. Email pics and details:

[Four individual 1.97-inch throttle-bodies with dual injectors (arrows).

High-tensile-strength, steel-tube frame. [Kawasaki-built, geardriven centrifugal supercharger with a CNC-machined aluminum compressor wheel that spins up to 130,000 rpm, makes 20 psi of boost, and compresses 7 cubic feet of air per second into the engine without the need of an intercooler.

[The 60.9ci (2.99-inch bore x 2.17-inch stroke), liquid-cooled, inline-four cylinder engine has a 8.3:1 compression ratio.

MEASUREMENTS 190/65 ZR17 rear tire with two-piston caliper brakes with single 9.84-inch rotor and ABS.

Overall length: 81.5 inches Overall width: 30.3 inches Overall height: 45.7 inches Curb weight: 476.3 pounds

Readers’ Projects Want to share your car with the whole world? Send photos and info to

Kristian Preisner // Tempe, Arizona

Rick Meadows // Powhatan, Virginia

Kristian put this all-steel 1934 Ford pickup together Rick’s 1972 Chevelle is powered by a 383ci stroker backed with a 306ci small-block, Trick Flow heads, 177ci B&M by a four-speed automatic and fueled by a Holley Street blower, AOD trans, and a 12-bolt rear. Avenger carb.



Uh-Oh, The Germans Can Make Fuel From Air Audi announced it has developed an ecofriendly, synthetic diesel fuel derived from what its calling e-diesel Blue Crude. Audi says the only resources needed to create the e-diesel are air, water, and electricity. Te process starts by extracting carbon dioxide from ambient air using direct aircapturing technology. Another process takes water and separates it into hydrogen and oxygen by using an electrolysis unit. From here, the hydrogen and the carbon dioxide go through a high-pressure and hightemperature reactive process that results in the Blue Crude, a liquid full of hydrocarbon compounds. Audi partnered with Climeworks (Clime and Sunfre ( for the project, and produces the e-diesel at a recently opened plant in Dresden, Germany. Te automaker says the plant is producing 42 gallons of Blue Crude daily and that 80 percent of it is converted to synthetic diesel. Audi says the e-diesel can be blended with fossil diesel. Te project is the latest in Audi’s quest to make CO2-neutral fuels, which means that there are no net CO2 emissions. Audi has previously experimented with synthetic e-fuels, including synthetic methane.

Courtesy of Audi

hErick Ayapana

Return of the Chaparral Legend?

Courtesy of GM

Dubbed the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT, this concept car was designed by GM’s Advanced Design Studio in North Hollywood, California, along with Jim Hall of Chaparral Cars fame to be downloaded and driven in digital form in the “Gran Turismo 6” video game. As many of you non-gamers will know, Jim Hall and Hap Sharp founded Chaparral Cars in 1962 and changed the racing world with their wild aerodynamics 18 HOTROD.COM/2015/MARCH/

and Chevrolet engines. Could this be a sign of a return to that level of innovation? We hope so. “Jim Hall and Chaparral blended the art of racing with science in an unprecedented way, changing the sport forever and inspiring a new generation to experiment with aerodynamics and unconventional materials,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development,

Purchasing and Supply Chain, in a release. “His race cars were four-wheeled physics projects that proved innovation—and a strong Chevy race engine—could drive you to the winner’s circle.” Over the years, Chaparral created a variety of race cars. Te frst, built by Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes, was a frontengine race car built in 1961. Afer Jim Hall and Hap Sharp founded Chaparral Cars, Inc., the duo built the mid-engine Chaparral 2 powered by a 327ci small-block. Te Chaparral 2 was successful in the 1963 through 1965 race seasons. Chaparral Cars and Chevrolet Research and Development then worked to develop composite monocoque chassis, lightweight alloy powertrain pieces, racing automatic transmissions, and active aerodynamics. Te 1966 Chaparral 2E featured a large wing that produced as much as 240 pounds of downforce at 100 mph. Te Chaparral 2E and 2F race cars were successful in the 1966 and 1967 race seasons, respectively. By 1970, the big-block-V8-powered Chaparral 2J had reached a high point of aerodynamic downforce. A pair of fans sucked air from underneath the car, creating suction and more downforce. hJason Udy


Volvo’s Electric Triple-Turbo Concept Volvo already uses forced induction in interesting ways—like its four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged— but the company is going one further with a new concept engine that uses three turbochargers to make more than 200 horsepower per liter. This High Performance Drive-E concept engine starts with the same 2.0L gasoline four-cylinder that powers many current Volvo models, but adds three BorgWarner turbochargers: two conventional units that are fed by a third electric turbocharger in a compound configuration. Te compressed air from the electric turbocharger (A) is used to spool up two parallel twin turbos (B), which then feed the engine. Te triple-turbo Drive-E concept is reportedly capable of 450 hp, giving this engine a specifc output of 225 horsepower

The Volvo brand got its start as an ofshoot of a ball-bearing company, which turned into a truck manufacturer that eventually sold its car division to Ford, which in turn sold it to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd. The word Volvo comes from the Latin word volvo, which means “I roll.”


48-VOLT SUPERCHARGERS The long-rumored switch from 12-volt to 48-volt automotive electrical systems appears to fnally be coming to market, as Audi has committed to the higher voltage systems in future cars to drive electric superchargers. Aftermarket versions will be next.

per liter. Volvo isn’t giving any details about potential production applications of this new technology, but does say that it is planning to work with suppliers that include AVL, Denso, and Volvo Polestar for potential racing applications going forward. We would not be surprised to see this tripleturbo engine architecture being ftted to domestic manufacturers’ four-bangers. hJoseph Capparella



Courtesy of Volvo



What’s It Like to Win the Last Drag Race at Lions Drag Strip In December 1972, the infamous Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach, California, closed forever with its Last Drag Race festivities. It’s estimated that 25,000 people attended that Saturday night to send the storied track off to drag-race heaven. The final was run well after midnight and won by the Mike Kuhl and Carl Olson Top Fuel team from Orange County. By the time the last pass took place, there was

pandemonium throughout the facilities from spectators both partying and pissed—a strange combo, for sure. Olson was kind enough to give HOT ROD readers a glimpse of what it was like running and winning the Last Drag Race at Lions.

“Lions Drag Strip. I’ll never forget the sounds, sights, and smells of that place. The ‘rare air’ that would flow in from the harbor after the sun went down. The odors of the oil refinery, shooting range, and landfill—all of which bordered the facility and were quite obnoxious, but, boy, how I miss them now. The good times (of which there were many) and the bad times (of which there were too many). I watched my first drag-racing hero, Leonard Harris, perish before my very eyes there and saw far too many other good men lose their lives or become horribly injured before modern safety equipment and systems had evolved. “For Khul and Olson [K&O], the last drag race at Lions was a bit of an unusual outing. We’d recently returned from a nine-month tour, having crashed our frst rear-engine car at the IHRA Nationals in Dallas. As a result, we brought a relatively new Woody [Gilmore] car to Lions that was very much untried. Te good news is it hauled ass right out of the box. If I recall [correctly], we qualifed Second to Cerny and Moody with a 6.0-something, just short of the magic 5-second barrier.

“As the night wore on and we kept going rounds, the place got more and more out of control. Te entire length of the return road was lined with cars and trucks, and the party was on. Everyone in the place was in a strange mood—somewhere between having the time of their lives and attending a funeral. Mixed emotions abounded everywhere, and the K&O team was no exception. “On one pass back up the return road, I remember running over a football that had gone astray from a pick-up game in the feld behind the return road. Fortunately, there was no serious damage to the car. Te football was trashed. I thought we were going to be attacked by the players whose game we’d obviously cut short. “Some of my most vivid recollections of that night include, so many race cars that the pits were jammed to the max. Tere were even a few cars that had to pit along the return road, because there just wasn’t another square inch of space in the pit area. Tere were so many spectators that the sherif made Steve Evans, Lions’ last manager, close the gates at around 6 p.m. No problem for those locked out, though, they just pushed over the chain-link fences and



swarmed in like ants. Security initially tried to stem the tide, but quickly threw up their hands and walked away. I don’t know how many fans attended the Last Drag Race without purchasing tickets, but it would have to have been in the thousands. Sufce it to say, the place was packed like a can of sardines. “In the fnal round, we were supposed to run against Cerny & Moody for the money. Unfortunately, they broke a motor in the semifnal, and Evans inserted Jeb Allen [whom Moody had beaten] back into the show on the break rule. Jeb had lost a very close race to Moody, so we knew we’d have to be on our game. “When we got back to the pits following the semis, we made a very disturbing discovery. Due to severe tire shake, the motor plate was broken from top to bottom on the lef side. Te lef wing stay-rod was also broken, although the main uprights looked OK. Without a spare motor plate, Kuhl worked some of his shade-tree magic. He drilled a series of holes in both pieces of the broken plate and used baling wire to fasten them back together. Tis lash up wasn’t tight by any means, but at least it would keep the motor somewhere close to

HOW LEGENDS START Lions Drag Strip was the frst dragstrip to use rollers built into the staging area pavement to start dragsters, which weren’t built with starter motors. Lions’ were electric powered, and attributed to CJ “Pappy” Hart, one of Lions’ early track managers. Other strips used the starter roller idea, but they used car engines to spin the rollers instead of an electric motor.

the proper location. It wasn’t very sanitary, but we weren’t going to let a little thing like a broken car stop us from running the fnal. “Mike then used a large amount of baling wire (he always kept a big spool of it in the trailer) to wire the wing back into place. As I recall, he used four or fve wraps about 4 feet long each to keep the wing from folding back. “When we went to the line for the fnal, the scene was absolutely surreal. By now all attempts to control the crowd had been abandoned. I honestly think the security staf took a look at what was happening and headed for the hills. Tere were hundreds of people



Last Race at Lions Drag Strip, Cont’d in the staging area, and as has been mentioned before, spectators were actually sitting on the single Armco guardrail all the way down to the fnish line. As Jeb and I maneuvered onto the roller starters, the thought crossed my mind that if our heap made it all the way to the fnish line under power, as soon as the parachute deployed, there was a very good chance the motor was going to jerk loose from its baling wire connections and hit me in the back. Tere was, also, the prospect of the wing supports failing and causing the car to swerve out of control. I quickly put these concerns to rest as I concentrated 100 percent on the task at hand. Just getting of the rollers and to the pre-stage was a challenge, thanks to the dozens of drunks and dopers who were pushing in for a more profound nitro experience. “A few of the starting-line crew fnally managed to push the crowd back enough for Jeb and I to stage, and the race was on. I distinctly remember several things: Te car was on a decent pass. Tere were people where only the guardrail should have been, and I really didn’t want to pick any of them of, so I stayed as close to the centerline as possible. I ran over several beer and wine bottles on the track, and I can vividly remember the crunching sensation as I hit them. I just hoped they weren’t doing any damage to the car. Later inspection indicated there was damage, but not enough to afect the handling or structural integrity. “If I recall correctly, we ran a 6.20 in the fnal at around 220 mph. Jeb was right behind in a very good race. We were both very proud of the fact that the last Top Fuel race at Lions Associated Drag Strip had been a good one. I held my breath as the chute deployed, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when the engine stayed put. Ten, and only then, did I begin to appreciate the fact that I’d won the most important race of my life. Other races were more prestigious [NHRA

Winternationals, IHRA Nationals, Bakersfeld March Meet, and so on], but this was defnitely the sweetest victory of my drag-racing career. I’d practically grown up at Lions, and I couldn’t think of a better way to bring my personal experiences there to a most memorable conclusion. “Given the mayhem that was taking place in the pits, on the starting line, and on the return road, both the K&O and the Allen family teams had decided we’d stop on the track, and when the push trucks and crews arrived, we’d simply wait in the shut-of area until the smoke cleared (literally). Between the marijuana smoke, the outhouses being torched, and the bonfres, the whole place looked like the Watts riots. “Afer about a half hour, the fres were starting to subside and both teams pushed slowly back up the track to the starting line. Tere were people with pickaxes digging up chunks of the track for souvenirs. All of the signs had been torn down, and people were even unbolting sections of guardrail to take home. It was the most insane scene I’ve ever experienced at a drag race, and I’ve experienced more than a few. “Evans brought over our complimentary bottle of Cold Duck (I guess Champagne would have exceeded the budget), which we opened and passed around to the crew for a swig in celebration of our victory. Afer a round of congratulations from friends and fans and the obligatory photos, we pushed the car back to the pits, loaded everything into the trailer, and went home. By that time, it was too late for dinner as all the restaurants were long since closed. I fnished of the evening with stout bourbon and 7UP at the house, and ran through a litany of emotions. “Every once in a while I drive by the site on the San Diego Freeway, and the memories come fooding back. To me Lions was drag racing’s Camelot. I’ve been to and raced at a lot of tracks around the world, but none had the magic that Lions did.”

[Carl Olson with his new Woody car—so new there was no time for paint. But there was time to quickly letter “K&O Da Fast Guys.”


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Automotive Archaeology

Memorial Charger

Ryan Brutt

I worked at a NAPA Auto Parts during college to support my habit of looking for barn finds. The parts counter gave me access to nearly the entire car community, so I’d get a steady stream of leads. One rumor that came up repeatedly was of a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T


squirreled away nearby. I was able to determine a vague location, so I drove up and down every road in that area until I found a house that ft the profle. I knocked on the door, and an older gentleman asked how he could help me. I told him I’d heard about a 1970

Charger sitting around, and he invited me into the garage to take a look. To get to the Charger, I frst had to make my way past numerous Harley-Davidsons, but on the other side was a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T. It was a 440ci car with a 727 auto on the foor. At

some point, someone had hacked up the foor for a four-speed. Te current owner’s son had originally owned the Charger, but he had been killed in a tragic accident. Te R/T still gets tinkered with, but it exists more as a memorial. hRyan Brutt

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Brandan Gillogly

Take 5 With


BROCK Pete Brock not only transcends racing, he transcends transcendence—how’s that for a lead to an interview? Each one of his careers could be a book by itself, he’s had quite a few, and they’ve been all over the place—but they’re all places hot rodders would like to be participating. Brock was the youngest GM Design hire in its history, a Shelby America driver, the designer of the Daytona Cobra, a successful factory racing head with Datsun and his BRE Racing enterprise, a leading manufacturer of hang gliders, a design teacher, author, and photojournalist. Can there be much more in him at the age of 78? Sure, he’s currently manufacturing the trickest race car trailers around. Tat’s an intimidating resume, but you needn’t be turned of; like you, Brock considers himself a hot rodder at his core. We sat down with him to fll in some blanks around his time at Carroll Shelby’s testing the Cobra, designing and building his Daytona Cobra, and to get his candid take on what was going on inside Carroll Shelby’s head. hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor

HRM] Your working life is a whipsaw of one job and then you go to something completely diferent. Do you have ADD, or what? PB] [Laughs] I’m interested in so many diferent things that when something presents itself, I feel it’s important to go in that direction. When I frst heard about Baja, I thought, man, I’ve got to go run Baja. I didn’t know anything


about it; I just thought it was too cool not to do. It seems that whether it’s hang gliders or building race cars or whatever, I just take time of and do it. I just add it onto what I’m already doing. Like working for Shelby—I was there several years and then that got cut of when Ford came in and basically took over the program. So what else was I going to do? Luckily, I was able to work for Nissan, so that flled up the next few years. Then when I had the BRE shop over in El Segundo, California; I would pass that big powerplant by the beach, and that’s when guys started fying hang gliders of that giant sand dune they dug out for the base of the plant, and that’s where hang gliding started. I’d drive by there and see these guys fying bamboo and Visqueen gliders of that hill, and I wanted to do that too. Eventually, we had the World Cross Country championships in the Owens Valley. We’d be fying 300 miles at 15,000 feet. We reinvented the airplane. It was a lot like the hot rod culture in SoCal; the whole fying culture developed right there on Torrance Beach. HRM] So you dropped BRE and started building hang gliders? PB] When Datsun USA President Mr. Katiyama was forced into retirement, the whole new management team cut of racing and I didn’t have anything to do. I could see my future was in building gliders—it was beginning to be a worldwide market. We became the largest manufacturer of gliders in the world at that time. But times change and different things come along, and when a new one came along, I grabbed it and took it to see what I could do with it. For me it was an exciting thing and I

[Designer, racer, race-team manager, teacher, journalist, builder, hang-glider designer, and manufacturer—where do we start and fnish describing the incredible life Pete Brock has led in his 70-plus years successfully shooting from one endeavor to the next?

don’t think I have ever done anything in my life as exciting as ultralight fight. I love racing, it’s fantastic, but there’s nothing like hooking into a thermal and climbing out of it at 2,000 feet doing circles in a 90-pound glider. HRM] Then why did you stop? PB] I screwed up my back moving some furniture and couldn’t do it anymore. I had to have my back operated on and that cut out my fying. The other thing was that it got to be such a large business all of the lawyers started looking at it and product liability came in, and we started spending as much money defending ourselves in court as we were taking in profts. HRM] So then you went from that to journalism? PB] I started doing some writing, like the book on the history of the Shelby and the Cobra [Daytona Cobra Coupes: Carroll Shelby’s 1965 World Champions]. That took two to three years, but after it appeared, I got so many people asking me if I would continue to write and take photos. I was teaching automotive design at Art Center. All of these opportunities would come to me like covering Le Mans. I would say, “No, I’m teaching,” and I’d hang up the phone and think I was out of my mind. These guys are ofering to pay my way to go to France and cover Le Mans and I just said no. So I started doing more writing, and I did it for another 15 years. HRM] You’ve been vocal about your disappointment in modernday road racing. Why? PB] Prior to the 7.0L Chevys in Can Am, a lot of the development was with low drag, and that was my interest—to make cars aerodynamically efcient with low drag. But as soon as you got an excess of horsepower, it changed the whole scope of racing because now it was how much downforce you could create because you had more than enough horsepower, so you were going with more and more downforce, and that completely changed racing. Now hardly anyone lifts anymore. The skill of the driver has taken a totally diferent turn, and that’s one of the things I believe made racing die of. Now you try to get more and more out of a car with a thicker rule book, and you have these very expensive development programs that gain you 0.002 of a second on certain tracks—and cars have to change for each track. Costs

have gotten berserk. And development on the engine is set at the beginning of the year, so if someone is doing something [that increases performance], you can’t just go back and incorporate it, you’re stuck. It just seems your hands are tied all of the time. If you look at how exciting NASCAR was in the early days, with Curtis Turner and Smokey Yunick, and the great ideas they came up with, and how to cheat—that was a fantastic way of racing because the rules were so loose it allowed you to innovate. It wasn’t really cheating; it was how your mind worked things out. Now with data acquisition, it’s easy to fgure everything out on the computer, so you lose the essence of what racing really is. HRM] What would fx this? PB] One thing to make road racing better is go back to more production cars; limit tire sizes so that adhesion is limited, taking more driver skill. Also, limit the aerodynamics, get rid of the wings, make anything [aero aid] attached to the body protrude no more than 3 inches of of the body. That’s why in the golden era of SCCA production racing when Porsche, Toyota, Datsun, and Triumph were all running in C/Production, you couldn’t change the exterior of the body much, so here was all of this money being poured into racing cars that looked like what you drove on the street. The fan following for each of the brands was fantastic. But when they started allowing one guy to run bigger tires or certain aero aids, then you get into this balancing thing where you want to make everybody equal. That’s not what racing is about. Racing is about how you can be smarter than the next guy, so if you take away the rules and make basic limitations for weight, how much rubber you can put on the road, and amount of fuel you can carry— leave it at that and don’t change the bodies—it would be better. If you went to stock bodies in NASCAR, all of the speeds would come down. They’re trying to slow the cars down anyway, so you could do it automatically with real stock bodies. It’s that simple. HRM] Why don’t they do it? PB] I think the sanctioning bodies know where their bread is buttered, so if a company comes in with a bunch of money then that will ensure the rules stay the same and they don’t obsolete whatever is running. Remove aerody-

namic fxes and get back to improving performance by reducing drag, which transfers to production cars—which helps corporate fuel economy—and allow a lower minimum weight so we get back to more exciting materials like what they are using in the C7 Corvette. I think racing is such an exciting thing to do that if you start tying people’s hands then all of the creativity is taken away from the real thinkers.


Shelby was a silvertongued devil.”

HRM] So were you being creative with the rules? PB] When we were racing the Datsun 2000s, there were eight or more rules in the SCCA rules book written strictly around our cars because we came up with ways to take the existing rules and interpret them. There was a rule that said if the rule wasn’t in the book, you couldn’t do it. So you couldn’t put an air dam on a car. But it also said air scoops for the brakes were legal. I invented the air dam for racing in production cars; we were the frst to put one on a production car when we put them on the Datsun 2000. So I just put ducting for the brakes all across the car and made a gradual turn to the scoops on the side and there was no way they could say that it didn’t conform to their rules, so they fnally said all air dams are legal. I did it originally not as an air dam but because I wanted to get air up to the radiator, so I had to block of the air going underneath the car and create negative pressure behind the air dam so you had positive pressure in front of it to suck air thru the radiator more efciently. Once we did that, the car was instantly fast. That was the real fun of racing—fguring out diferent ways to get around the rules. Sometimes we would protest our own cars because the rules said the chief steward could determine if a car was illegal, so we would protest the beginning of the season and get a ruling on something, because once the ruling was set, it had to carry all of the way through the season. You had to fgure the politics and read the rule book and that’s one of the things I enjoy most about racing, to read through the rulebooks. You get them to agree their own rules agreed with the solutions I came up with. HRM] Were you a good driver? PB] I was a good club driver. As soon as I got out racing with the real [pro] guys, I wasn’t there. There were just certain guys that were better, and

Next Month: Pietro Gorlier

In 1966 flmmaker George Lucas’ frst movie was about driving a Lotus-23 around Willow Springs with Brock doing the driving. It was a student flm called 1:42.08, A Man and his Car, Brock still has vivid memories of what was preoccupying Lucas’ mind. “Lucas kept talking about how he wanted to do this sort of modern-day Buck Rogers movie, but with all of these creatures in it,” Brock says. “I was thinking, yeah right, that just doesn’t sound good—it sounded sort of dorky.” But Brock was gifted with a unique lesson years later after watching Lucas’ Star Wars. “I remember thinking that this proves you should follow your dreams to as far as you can go with them, and don’t give up,” says a somewhat chagrined Brock.


[Here’s Brock with the scale model of what would become the Daytona Cobra for Carroll Shelby. Fastforward 40-plus years and he’s been involved in the reincarnation of his seminal design in the form of kit versions, even including an electric-powered version.

you don’t fnd that out initially. It’s like being a boxer—you can work your way up through golden gloves and get to the top, and then you fnd out you can’t beat the top four or fve guys. Racers are the same way, and that’s why club racing is so much fun—you’re not going against Fangio and Moss every weekend. HRM] You wanted to race for Shelby, but Bill Krause ultimately got the seat. PB] Yes, and actually I tested faster than him. I was so pissed at Shelby because he promised me I could race, but when I look back, I had maybe 10 races in my log book and Billy had been running sprinters and dirt and other tracks for years—the guy was just so race savvy. That was his advantage. So Shelby made the right decision, but it sure pissed me of at the time because I thought I deserved it. Shelby was a lot smarter than I was. The minute that Cobra was successful, there was a line outside Shelby’s door: Bob Bondurant was there, Gurney was there, Bob Holbert was there—all of the top drivers at that time wanted to drive for Shelby, so who was he going to pick, me or one of them? HRM] Why didn’t you quit Shelby when he said you wouldn’t drive? PB] Because that was the top team at the time, there was nothing else out there as good as the Shelby team. Not being corrected and having total control over the Daytona project—what it was going to look like, how we were going to build it. That was an opportunity you couldn’t pass up. It was really swimming upstream because everybody was against it, and yet I knew there was real value to what the Germans had fgured out in the late1930s. Of course, the war came along and they didn’t get a chance to do any of that stuf; and all of the data was there, but no one had ever used it. I was just lucky to have found it and say, “Hey, this is a real speed secret.” So the combo of American horsepower with good aerodynamics changed the way racing went. HRM] If Shelby wasn’t behind the car, why did he allow it to proceed? PB] We got enough interest when I got the sketch done that he took it to Dan Lovetchure and the guys at Goodyear, and they’re the ones who put





the money up. I asked him what the budget was and he said, “We didn’t have one.” HRM] So how were you able to start? PB] Shelby gave me the Cobra that belonged to Skip Hudson because the clutch had exploded and sheared the steering and he crashed the car at Daytona. We pulled the body of of it and then reverse-engineered the chassis, and the whole process was done crudely. I never had a drawing board in the place because I never told Shelby I worked for GM as a designer—I wanted him to think of me as a race driver. When I drew that car up, I drew it on the foor in the accounting ofce on butcher paper because we couldn’t aford to go out and get Vellum. There was no time to fgure out where the hinges on the door were going to go or how we were going to make the latches on it; you know, all of that kind of important stuf was fgured out by the talented guys in the shop. HRM] But everyone else at Shelby’s saw the greatness in it, right? PB] No. When we started building the Daytona, the only guy that made the thing happen at Shelby was Ken Miles—everybody else in the whole company was against building the Daytona. They thought it was dumblooking and wouldn’t work, but Miles knew. He had built a couple of specials himself. Being English, he knew some of the things that the Germans were testing and researching in the late-1930s and knew that we should convince Shelby to continue doing the project. So the car was literally

build around Ken. We went out and tested it and the car was fantastic, and then we got ready for Daytona and Shelby pulled him out of the car and wouldn’t let him drive it. Ken was so angry he left for the day, but he came back because there wasn’t another place for him to go, just like with me. He stayed and proved he was a team player. Everybody was down on Shelby because he was screwing Miles over on the program, so fnally he let Miles back into the car. HRM] What changed? PB] I believe it was ego. Shelby didn’t want Miles driving because he thought he would be more famous than Shelby. HRM] What did you like about Shelby? PB] During the era he was doing the Cobra development and bringing the guys in, he was a great leader. He was full of BS and it was a great learning experience being around him because he would pick anything out of the air and say it, and if it seemed to work and people believed it, then we would go ahead and do it. So it was fun watching him because it was that goodold-boy thing where he wasn’t being malicious or anything, he just used the talent he had and that was his talent— he was a silver-tongued devil. HRM] What didn’t you like about Shelby? PB] That he would attack people just to try and put them out of business because he thought they were in competition, and in some cases he was so uninformed about what was

really going on. Like the Cobras—he got completely out of the Cobra program to get into the GT40 program, and then the whole kit-car industry grew up around that car and what he had created. At frst, he helped all of those guys out, patted them on the back and said it was wonderful that they were doing it. When he realized how big the industry was, then he thought he should do it himself and he started building his own cars. Well, to do that he was ordering parts from these other people that had their own Cobra businesses, and then he would try to put them out of business. Like the Kirkhams, even when they were supplying most of Shelby’s Cobra parts. Shelby would go to them and say he would buy their entire year’s worth of production and sign a contract. They called me and asked if they should do it and I said, “As long as you get the money up front.” But if you let a car out the door, you’ll lose money. Shelby paid that way for two years and then fnally [Kirkhams] got a great big order and Shelby’s truck driver said he forgot to bring the check. He went back with a bunch of cars on the transporter and Shelby told them he wasn’t going to pay them—that they owed it to him. That almost put [Kirkhams] out of business. HRM] Who was the best driver during those Shelby years? PB] Dan Gurney was the best we had driving for us and he proved it in so many ways. The guy that had the rawest talent that never got to use it was Davey McDonald. If he hadn’t been killed at Indy, he would have had the same greatness as Dan and Ken Miles. [Brock’s “Datzilla” 1972 Datsun 510 has an injected small-block Chevy under the hood.


Miles was great. He did the best engineering development and he was the easiest on cars. Dan and Davey were equals, but had two totally diferent styles of driving; Ken was perfectly on the line, and Davey was the dirt-track guy on pavement. HRM] What was the most exciting time in racing for you? PB] As much as I enjoyed driving as a club racer, I think it was more fun racing as a team manager with Datsun because I got to race against guys like Cas Casner, Bob Tullius, Richie Ginther, and Shelby. Those guys were all running their own teams, and competing against those guys with the talent I had working for me was just fantastic. I had Turner Harris, Jimmy Horton, and Matt Tilton, John Nef, Bruce Furness—we had some magic and really had fun because you could create stuf. That collective enthusiasm of the team was more fun than being an individual driver. HRM] You were the youngest hire in GM Design and designed what became the Stingray racer. Why did you leave that? PB] I had just turned 21 when I found an ex-works Cooper race car, and I wanted to be a racer, so that’s when I quit GM. My goal had always been to go racing and I realized after I had a chance to work with Bill Mitchell and Zora Duntov and Harley Earl on the development of the Sting Ray that this was pretty big. Then I was looking around for the next big project to do and it wasn’t there. So I fgured I better go out and do those things I wanted to be doing, so that’s why I left.

I think racing is such an exciting thing to do that if you start tying people’s hands then all of the creativity is taken away from the real thinkers.”

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A Father and Son Project With a Twist

Thom Taylor

Dominick Damato HOTROD.COM/2015/MARCH/ 35


[Dave wanted a street/strip, versatile Chevy gasser and went with this Ray Romito–built big-block at 496 ci. Open chamber iron heads and the Edelbrock tunnel ram are throwbacks. Spinning a beefed Jerico four-speed trans and Strange 9-inch rear, the old sedan takes the launches in stride at such storied tracks as Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. hWhen Tinley Park, Illinois, resident Dave

VerSchave sold his 1966 Nova—featured in HOT ROD (Dec. 1994 issue)—he started to search for a car that he built in his head as a kid afer watching the movie American Graffti. When he found a $2,500 1955 Chevy sedan in the local paper (that he ended up grabbing for $1,500) his American Grafti gasser build began. Te car’s rear wheelwells had been cut sometime in the 1960s, which was perfect for what Dave wanted, and the body was a rust-free and straight splendor, but the foor and frewall had been victim of multiple engine, trans, and rollcage combo clobberings. Dave hand-formed a new foor and trans tunnel, created a frewall for the 6-inch setback the engine would need, and grafed in wheeltubs robbed from a 1970 Cuda. Te rest of the body needed only light massaging to be factory fresh. Wanting both a street and strip car, he enlisted Ray Romito at Romito’s Racing Engines in Mokena, Illinois, to build a 496ci big-block Chevy using an Eagle crank and H-beam rods connected to JP pistons, and some old cast-iron open-chamber heads


[Nice and tidy. The frame horns are owner-fabbed 2x4-inch rectangular tubing, while his son, Al, made the straight-axle setup, running Wilwood 12-inch discs front and rear. Those fenderwell headers are also the product of Al. The contrast of the silver, chrome, black, and orange suits our eyes plenty.

[Out back Al fabbed the simple, straightforward ladder bars and hung the Strangebraced 9-inch. He also built the fuel-cell mounting brackets. Chrome QA1 coilovers suspend and dampen the ride.

In tro Sh du oc ct kin or g yP ric e! ea ch


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[The classic 1955 Chevy sedan rear is highlighted by radiused wheel openings done some time in the 1960s. ET wheels are reminiscent of the rare gusseted American Torque Thrusts of the mid-1960s. California one-piece bumpers and blue-tint windows harken back to the West Coast gasser wars.

[The beefed Jerico trans is attached to a Lakewood bellhousing hiding a McLeod clutch and fywheel. Moroso 9-inch deep-sump pan hides Melling Select pump.

he bought back in the 1980s, which Sam Giano ported. An old Edelbrock TR2-X tunnel-ram intake is topped with vintage 6109 Holley 750-cfm double pumpers that the Holley Shop restored. A Lunati solidlifer fat-tappet cam and lifer, with Crower steel roller rocker, make up the valvetrain. Spark comes from an MSD Blaster coil, 6AL controller, and MSD 2 Step rev limiter. John Naples in Orland Park, Illinois, who also chipped in to install the blue tinted glass, handled the wiring. Te transmission is a Jerico Performance four-speed with a 3.09 First gear to help launch the 3,600-pound Chevy. Te rearend


[The tank and bracketry were fabbed by Al VerSchave, owner of AVS Fabrication. Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors in Sandwich, Illinois, did all of the upholstery.

is a Strange Engineering-braced 9-inch Ford with Strange 35-spline axles and spool spun with a 4.88:1 rear gear. Te dual exhaust running through the frame is 3-inch-diameter tube with Dynamax mufers. Coating Specialties in Chicago Heights, Illinois, applied the ceramic coating to the AVS-built fenderwell headers and complete exhaust system. Dave’s last task before parking the project in 2000 was fabricating the 2x4-inch rectangular tube front framerails to accept a straight axle. While the car sat for eight years, Dave’s son, Al, got busy building his skills as a journeyman fabricator. Once Al started his own

fab shop—AVS Fabrication (—he was the one who pulled the sedan out of hibernation in 2008, determined to help Dad fnish his sedan. Al built a 12-point chrome-moly rollcage, straight axle, rear ladder-bar suspension, fuel-cell mount, exhaust system, and a few other brackets necessary to get the 1955 closer to completion. Obviously, Dave credits his son as being a major factor in completing this huge project. One part of the project that was never in question was the quality and type of paint and fnish for the Chevy, as Dave has been doing custom paint jobs for more than 40


[Here and there are stars and stripes decorations, including here on the Vega pitman arm.


[The original V-trim has been turned into a slick battery shut-of switch— that’s ingenious.

[The Moon tank sticking through the grille opening, hoodpins, and framehorns are classic Tri-Five gasser cues.

[The door panels are the work of owner Dave VerSchave, who painted the aluminum panels to mimic actual upholstery. Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors aptly stitched the upholstery. Stick is a vintage Hurst shifter.

[The Tom Daniel Monogram model kit of the late-1960s called “Badman” inspired the 427 graphics. Additional inspiration from Dave’s childhood is the Schwinn “Orange Krate” Sting Ray bicycle.

years as DVS Designs. Using the Tom Daniel “Badman” 1955 Chevy Gasser model kit as inspiration, Dave combined Sunset Pearl and Tangelo PPG hues to create a custom orange pearl mix, working the 427 stripe into the paint, before clearing everything in PPG 2021 clearcoat. Dave chose ET Wheel 15x12-inch rear wheels and American Racing Torque Trust Pro 15x 4-inch front-runner rims. Mickey Tompson 31x14.5-15-inch ET Streets on the rear and BF Goodrich Silver Town 6.40x15-inch front tires continue the nostalgic theme. A Vega box handles the steering chores, and a Kugel underdash master cylinder keeps the frewall uncluttered. Wilwood 12-inch discs do the stopping front and rear.

Dave Schober of Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors in Sandwich, Illinois, did the seats, headliner, carpets, and the rear seat delete panel. Dave restored the dash and applied the airbrushed door panels that appear to be upholstered, and also painted the Schwinn “Orange Krate” banana seatlike four-speed trans tunnel. Since completion in March 2014, Dave’s Chevy has seen a lot of street use, as well as stomps through the quarter-mile at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. We like that Dave didn’t get buried in pinpoint 1960s gasser accuracy, yet nailed the era with a few minor nods to today that make it better than the perfect 1960s gasser sedan. HOT ROD


CROSS-EYED CAR-BUILDING What Do You Get When You Cross an El Camino and a Chevy SSR?

hBeing hot rodders we all have those “what if” hallucinations of cross-eyed car building going on in our brains. Maybe it’s gas fumes, clutch dust, or the nitro from Saturday night that triggers these nightmarish detours into automotive anarchy. Te diference between most of us and Steve Barton, however, is that he has the means to see his brain burps turned into reality—even if they take an inordinate amount of both scratch and skill to pull of. Back in the day, Steve had a 1959 El Camino—Chevy’s frst foray into car/truck genius— which he wished he had kept. Flash-forward a few decades and Chevy’s SSR seemed like the right replacement for that contemporary El Camino he yearned for. So he bought one

Thom Taylor


Bob Carpenter

[You can clearly see the SSR windshield and retracting top in this image, but the 5 inches of body added to the bottom of the 1959 El Camino and narrower body width are not so apparent. Much of the chrome trim was made by Jordan Quintal in either brass or machined aluminum.



[Builder Jordan Quintal of Super Rides by Jordan says the tailgate and tonneau cover were the two most difcult parts of the car to create. To get all of the surfaces to fow properly the tailgate was cut up into 11 sections and then welded back, with a bunch of metal shrinking going on in the process. The SSR/El Camino is 7 inches narrower in the back and 11 inches narrower in the front from a stock 1959 El Camino.

of the frst 2003s he could get his hands on. He liked how it rode and handled, and its cool retractable top, all wrapped in a Chevy warranty, but he wished it were more dynamically styled. You know, more like a 1959 El Camino. And that’s when the crazy idea crashed into his brain. Much like mixing oil and water, he wondered, why not skin the SSR with a 1959 Elky and have everything in one neat package? Working with Jordan Quintal at Super Rides by Jordan in Escondido, California, on a couple of successful projects gave Steve the confdence to run his Elco idea past Jordan, who’s apparently up for anything. Steve dropped of his SSR and followed up with a gutted 1959 El Camino with what appeared to be good sheetmetal and not much else. Jordan’s plan was frst to eyeball the two disparate trucks and then take some measurements before cutting up anything. He discovered that the SSR body is 5 inches taller than the Elco’s, so grafing the two necessitated adding those 5 inches to the bottom of the Elco body. And just to add to the fun, he also found that the SSR is 11 inches narrower in front and 7 inches narrower in the rear. Obviously, there would need to be a lot of dicing and slicing because Steve and Jordan wanted to retain the dash, interior, and especially the retracting top of the SSR. So it was settled—everything would have to hang of of that SSR central passenger compartment. A new frame was fabricated by Jordan to mount the SSR cabin lower relative to its original position, but also to bolster the vibrationprone structure known to be an inherent problem with stock SSR’s. Te new frame also allowed for the use of narrower-than-stock Heidt’s independent front and independent rear, necessary for a better track width for the hybrid 1959 sheetmetal.


Te door hinging, door structure, and jambs from the SSR were retained, along with the windshield and top. 1959 Elco doorskins, which had a similar section profle, were attached to the door inner structure. Te rear quarters were shortened, narrowed, and tied to the cab. A new grille was fabricated, making for an easy solution to the narrower front. Te rear was a diferent matter. Jordan had to slice and stitch the tailgate to make it 7 inches narrower. He cut the tailgate into 11 pieces and then welded and heat-shrunk the metal to get all of the design elements to line up and fow back together like nothing had been done. Jordan’s fnal metal-fab exercise was the creation of the metal tonneau cover and bed, which he made by using the bed foor and sides from a late-1980s Chevy pickup. Troughout the build Jordan and Steve wanted to maintain a reasonable amount of factory-looking details and trim, which explains the painted, ribbed bed and sides. Also in keeping with some semblance of a factory look, Jordan machined brass trim, which looked similar to 1959 El Camino trim, but ft tighter and was crisper than the factory aluminum trim. Te original bumpers had to be narrowed, and then chromed along with the machined trim. All of the stock SSR electronics, the 5.3L Vortec V8 engine and transmission, brakes, and interior appointments were retained. Jordan created engine covers from aluminum, which were painted to match the House of Kolor Blueblood Red exterior, applied by SoCal Paint Works in Santee, California. For a fnal custom touch, the wheels are one-of billet aluminum six-spokes by Larry Dove. Steve says, “Tis looks so natural it seems like it was easy to do, but it wasn’t.” With life’s little interruptions the project started and



Anything difficult is going to be expensive.” — Steve Barton 03 04

05 01] What’s interesting about this image is how everything looks stock. Though the retracting mechanism and top were left alone, the raised lid and cabin surround both had to be fabricated and adapted to the folding mechanism. Notice how everything from the original SSR interior, including the seatbelts and clips, was retained. 02] Some of the original trim like the headlight buckets and parking lights were retained, while other gingerbread like the grille and hood trim were made in brass and then chrome plated. It all helps blur the line between custom and OEM that Steve and Jordan were after. 03] The Vortec 5300 V8 found in Steve’s SSR was installed into the new frame fabbed by Jordan. He also created all of the inner structure and engine covers within the engine compartment. Again, with no chrome and attention to detail it all looks like factory OEM on steroids.


04] Looking like it was manufactured this way from the factory, Jordan found a 1980s Chevy truck bed and sliced it up. We especially like the gas filler tubing and exposed hardware including the lid hinge. 05] Stock taillights and trim were used, but they were heavily massaged to fit tight to the body, painted body color, and then new trim was created from brass stock and attached to the leading edges for a factory-looking presentation. 06] The original SSR interior met with rave reviews when introduced in 2003, and Steve concurs. So he had Jordan keep everything as created from Chevy alone. Jordan held all of the interior points including the doorjambs, door inner structure, top and windshield, and built the rest of the car front and rear off of the central SSR cabin. HOTROD.COM/2015/MARCH/ 45


The only problem I have is the crowds that gather when I park it anywhere—you know I do drive it.” — Steve Barton then stopped a couple of diferent times. “Jordan really stuck with it. I knew it was difcult, and anything difcult is going to be expensive, but I feel it was worth it to get what I wanted. Te only problem I have is the crowds that gather when I park it anywhere—you know I do drive it,” Steve says.


Tis collaboration worked out so well that Jordan is building another car that makes this SSR/El Camino look like stirring paint. You’ll have to wait to see how building cars can be compulsive, complex, and crazier with each progressive project when client and builder start car tripping in sync. HOT ROD

INTRODUCING THE CLUB FOR ALL THINGS HOT ROD! Basic Membership includes: i Annual digital subscription to HOT ROD magazine available on any device, any time, anywhere! i Members-only discounts on other hot rod fueled magazines. i Access to a nationwide network of discounts that let you save hundreds of dollars a month on partners in categories like: 5ihcach]jY•FYghUifUbhg•Gdcfh]b[;ccXg•HfUjY` ;]Zh7UfXg•9`YWhfcb]Wg•9bhYfhU]baYbh•5B8ACF9! i VIP benefits exclusively for The Hot Rod Club members. i Members-only content and early access to stories and projects from the HOT ROD magazine staffers.

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CHALLE Jesse Kiser


NGING hCris Gonzalez, owner and operator of JCG Restoration & Customs

( in Oxnard, California, has built some of the baddest Pro Touring cars around, including the Blu Balz Camaro, an over-the-top muscle car that lef Italian supercars in its wake. Cris’ latest project, a 1970 Dodge Challenger, moves down the color spectrum from blue to purple, but it might have Mopar lovers seeing red. Fabrication, suspension, and mechanics—Cris is good at everything, except Mopar engines. Under the hood of the Challenger is a Mast Motorsports LS3. “I get a lot of disappointment at the track when they fnd out it has an LS engine, but then they’re amazed at how fast it is,” Cris said. People tend to forgive a lot for the sake of more horsepower.

Te LS in the Dodge makes 605 hp to the fywheel at 6,500 rpm along with 540 lb-f at 5,500 rpm. Te big challenge is putting that power to the ground, even with 12-inch-wide tires. “We’ve pretty much found [their limit],” Cris said. “It grips so hard in the front, we don’t have many issues. Now it’s about playing around with [the rear] springs. When we get some springs, we can get some forward launch.” A Holley EFI Hi-Ram intake (installed afer our photo shoot) moved the torque curve higher into the rpm range and made the car manageable on the bottom end while exiting corners. “I don’t have the torque trying to spin my tires [now],” Cris said. “On the road course, rolling through a couple esses, I want to be able to roll on the throttle and not get sideways.” How did Cris end up building an LS-powered, road-race

[The vibrant color comes from PPG Plum Crazy. The car looks heavy, but hits the scales at 3,350 pounds due in large part to the JCG narrowed fberglass bumpers, along with a fberglass hood and decklid.



[The team built the car to the proper ride height, mounted the wheels without fenders, and then custom-built fenders around the wheels. The widened sheetmetal houses huge Forgeline ZX3 wheels: 19x11s in the front and 19x12s in the rear.

Challenger in the frst place? He teamed up with long-time friend and owner of Blu Balz, Karl Dunn, with the goal of building a car specifcally for the Ultimate Street Car Invitational. Karl had been competing in Optima events with a 2007 Saleen Mustang. If you’re a Ford guy and weren’t ofended by an LS-powered Mopar, you may not want to know where the LS was before the Challenger: Karl’s Saleen. When a customer of JCG expressed interest in the Mustang, Cris put the original drivetrain back in the Saleen and PLUM CRAZY

traded the Ford for the Challenger. Ten, since he had the LS ready to go, it went right in the Dodge. Te Challenger was a 10-year-old restoration with decent paint and a straight body. JCG built the suspension basing it on Blu Balz’ C6 front clip. JCG builds a C6 spindle of its own design and assembles them in a jig. Cris worked with JRI ( to produce a special set of JRI/JCG coilovers with Eibach springs for the Challenger. Te only part on the front suspension not built in-house

1970 marked the frst year Plum Crazy (FC7 paint code) was ofered on Dodges. The Plum Crazy option returned in 2010 with black or white stripes and signature badging on the seats.

WATCH IT! Search user name “JCG Customs” on YouTube for videos of the Challenger on the track with on-screen vehicle speed and engine rpm.


02 01] No, it’s not a Mopar, but the power and ease of parts acquisition make up for the lack of brand loyalty. The Mast Motorsports LS3 aluminum block has a 4.070inch bore and 4-inch stroke, resulting in 416 ci. Callies forged crank and H-beam rods round out the bottom end with 11.2:1 compression. 02] Kooks stainless-steel longtube headers let the LS3 breathe into 3-inch Borla and custom X-pipe.















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CHALLENGING THE RULES [Operated by the Ultimate Street Car Association (, the Challenge is a two-day event where street-legal cars are put to the test with a poker run, autocross, speed-stop challenge, style judging, and road-course race. Entries collect points on how well they do at each challenge. The Challenger has won the Lingenfelter Performance Engineering Design & Engineering award while chasing overall class points for the series.

are the Speedway Engineering sway bars. It took the team only 10 months to fnish the complete build. Lightened to 3,350 pounds, the car is designed for a road course, so for the autocross Cris removes the rear swing arm so the Challenger can transition weight faster for tight back-and-forth turns. On the road course, however, the car needs to be stif. “We don’t want a big ol’ sloppy car,” Cris said. “Right now, we’re dealing with a

four-wheel drif.” At the Optima event in Daytona, the LS starved for oil on the long, steep banks. Currently, the engine is awaiting its return afer fxing a spun bearing. For the last couple races, a Chevrolet Performance 525hp LS3 crate engine has flled in. It’s down by 80 hp compared to the Mast Motorsports mill, but that engine will return to the car for future races. HOT ROD

01 02

01] JCG and a group of autocross friends who drive Miatas and Corvettes rent out the local airfeld and set up a diferent autocross track at least once a month. It’s a racer’s dream, plus it doubles as a test bed for new parts. 02] Speedhut gauges handle rpm and speedometer duty while an American Autowire system takes care of the wiring. The car uses a complete AIM Sports data-acquisition system to report back from the track. 03] Sparco racing seats hold Cris and passenger in place. A complete Safecraft fre-suppression system, when pulled, can douse fames under the hood, interior, and trunk simultaneously. JCG built the four-point rollcage.



FAMOUS PURPLE CARS In 2005, Australian car company Holden built the Efjy, a beautiful concept car that looked like a chop-top lead sled in purple. The Purple People Eater is one of the gnarliest hot rods ever dreamed up. A six, 2-bbl carb, blown big-block-powered Model A, it’s chopped and channeled running on radial slicks. It’s still driven to SoCal shows and races. Named one of the Top 100 Hot Rods, the Frankenstude was designed by HOT ROD stafer Thom Taylor. The car was a 1948 Starlight coupe with a 1951 nose and hood, 1950 model front fenders, and 1947 model rear fenders.

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If the flatbed or tow truck has to come get you, 9 out of 10 times I’d count whatever happened as a crash!” — Ken Block “


Exclusive! KEN BLOCK’S 1965 FORD MUSTANG An All-Wheel-Drive Burnout Machine Built to Break YouTube: Gymkhana 7 Brandan Gillogly

Jorge Nunez



01 02


Ken Block, cofounder of the DC Shoe company, rallycross driver, and all-around action-sports junkie, altered the world of YouTube forever when he released Gymkhana Practice in 2008. Te 4-minute, 26-second display of driver skill, tire smoke, and speed— shot at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in California—featured Block in the driver seat of a 500hp, allwheel-drive Subaru Impreza. Gymkhana Practice was shared around the world faster than Block killed the Subaru’s BFGoodrich tires, and it launched a 007-esque online video franchise that’s now on its seventh flm. HOT ROD was tipped of by Block’s Hoonigan Racing team that Gymkhana 7 (released Nov. 17, 2014, see it at news/ofcial-KenBlock-gymkhana7-video/) would feature a carbonfber-bodied 1965 Mustang built by ASD Motorsports (ASDMotor in Charlotte, using rally-car race chassis parts and powered by a stompy RoushYates V8. Tis new car, known as the “Hoonicorn,” was to mix the rally-car hardware Block races with the powerband and exhaust note HRM readers love in a 12-minute flm shot on the streets of Los

Angeles. Four months before ASD even had a Mustang, design was underway using Solidworks. Shop owner Ian Stewart knew packaging an AWD, V8 drivetrain in a compact Mustang would be tough, so he bought a sideview line drawing of a 1965 Mustang and measured a Mustang parked on the road to doublecheck the drawing’s hood height, rocker height and length, and cowl location. Using those reference points, a fullyworking 3-D model with suspension of the car was built in Solidworks. Te suspension was especially tricky, as the Hoonicorn was designed around a set of Tarmac R40 wheels that have quite a bit of ofset in the front. Te brake system had to ft inside the wheel and the suspension had to cycle within the fender fares while keeping torque steer to a minimum and allowing plenty of steering angle. Starting from scratch, Stewart designed a suspension using billet aluminum

spindles and upper and lower control arms that ft the packaging and manages only 0.850-inch scrub radius. Te car that became the Hoonicorn was born as a 1965, six-cylinder, three-on-the-tree, four-lug base Mustang. It wasn’t in pristine shape, but it was relatively rust-free and wouldn’t require an inordinate amount of patch panels that could slow down the build. Te frewall and foor were cut out, leaving the rockers. Because Block is tall and the Mustang is so small, the foor was lowered 3 inches to keep his helmet away from the roof. For the cage and chassis fabrication, the car was built on ASD’s 15-inch-thick honeycomb chassis plate. Te plate is 12x5 feet and has a bonded steel top that is drilled and tapped with ¼-20 holes on a 1-inch grid. Te plate allows ASD to build CAD fxtures that bolt to the plate and fabricate the suspension and chassis points exactly where they need to be. As for the Hoo-

01] The Ford smallblock uses a Barnes dry-sump oiling system, critical in keeping the bearings supplied with oil when the car is experiencing extreme lateral acceleration.

02] A set of threepiece forged Tarmac R40 wheels from Fifteen52 were given a matte-gold powdercoat before being ftted with 295/30R18 Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires.

03 04

03] Using one-of billet upper and lower control arms and heavy-duty joints, the front suspension is rallycross-inspired and looks like a hybrid between road-race car and a desert truck, although few of either have AWD.


04] Massive billet aluminum arms transfer suspension movement from the lower control arm to cantilevered centermounted coilovers front and rear.

ASD has worked with Roush-Yates on many late-model Mustangs built for competition, so their go-to engine was a 410ci RoushYates Ford small-block topped with D3 cylinder heads for a proven reliable powerplant. The heads are a previous-generation NASCAR design and are incredibly efcient at removing heat from the combustion chamber, even with restricted airfow. Stewart told us, “The engine can run at 240-250 and not care.” The heads are topped with a Kinsler stack injection that’s controlled by MoTeC EFI. A two-piece bellhousing milled from 6061 aluminum mates the Ford smallblock to the Sadev ( transmission. Stewart said it took around 70 hours to design, due in part to relocating the starter to clear the front driveshaft. The 2-piece bellhousing allows for quick clutch inspection. Handling the V8s power and torque was also a challenge. Frank Rehak at The Driveshaft Shop in Salisbury, North Carolina, told us that his shop made custom CV joints for driveshafts and each axle in the car, including three for the two-piece front driver-side halfshaft. Starting with GKN CV-joints, tighter tolerances were machined in the races and cages to reduce the tendency that any spinning driveshaft component has to pick up harmonic vibrations. Because even the driveshafts of the Hoonicorn see up to 8,000 rpm.



01 nicorn’s cage, ASD had to balance safety, rigidity, and aesthetics, because the car was basically built to flm, at least initially. Stewart told us, “Te main goal was to make [the car] look badass and be safe.” Tat meant the usual 15⁄8-inch, 0.083-inch-wall tubing was used to surround Ken’s driver seat and create double door bars. Stewart called up an old friend, Jason Burke from Burke’s Metalworks in New Zealand, to help out on the fender fares that widen the track 5 inches on each side. Te fares, air dam, and front split-



ter were shaped in steel frst. Te parts were then removed from the car, reinforced from the rear, and made into plugs for carbonfber panels. Stewart told us that Burke was able to handfabricate panels and see them on the car faster than if they’d been designed in Solidworks and machined molds, with the beneft of knowing how the fnal results would look. In addition, the rear fares are also carbon fber, as is the dash and inner door panels, while the outer door skins are composite. HOT ROD

FROM KEN BLOCK HIMSELF HOT ROD] Why a notchback? Ken Block] I went with the notchback because I felt it had a more aggressive and sinister appearance. Also, my buddy [and Formula Drift driver], Vaughn Gittin Jr., had done a fastback a few years ago, so I wanted to make sure our projects were very diferent visually. HR] Why a 1965 Mustang in the frst place? KB] The 1965 was chosen because it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Mustang taking place in 2015. It’s just sort of a cool anniversary to align with. HR] How do you like the V8 versus turbo four-cylinders?


KB] I love the engine in the Hoonicorn, the instant torque delivery is a lot of fun and really helps make the car very easy to control during Gymkhana maneuvers. I still love my Ford EcoBoost motors in my Fiesta race cars, but the V8 in the Mustang just feels amazing. HR] Was it tough getting back into the race car after being in the Mustang? KB] Ha! It was, actually. The frst car I got into after driving the Hoonicorn was the WRC Fiesta, which only makes around 330 hp. I kept telling the engineers it felt slow and they just laughed since they knew we’d come straight from Gymkhana 7 flming.

01] The interior is race-car Spartan, with carbon-fber dash and a bead-blasted aluminum trans tunnel. The handle nearest Block’s driver seat is the shifter for the sequential six-speed Sadev transmission. A strain gauge in the shift lever detects pressure and interrupts the ignition briefy to allow the dog-box gears to engage smoothly, even with the throttle planted. The billet Hoonigan lever is for the rear brakes. Mounted at the forward end of the tunnel is a MoTec C125 data logger.



02] There are eight toggle switches in the center of the dash. They read: Start, Lights, Fans, Donuts, Ignition, Fuel, Water, MoTec. The “Donuts” toggle activates a driveshaft clutch that allows the Hoonicorn to operate in RWD. 03] A closeup of the dash reveals the custom Hoonigan faces on the Auto Meter gauges. 04] The Mustang uses Tilton 600-Series foormount forged aluminum clutch, brake, and throttle pedals. 05] This undercarriage shot shows the rectangular steel tube chassis and crossmembers built by Autosport Dynamics in Charlotte, as well as the tri-Y headers that lead to oval exhaust tubing and the Sadev ( SC9024/170 six-speed sequential-shift transmission and transfer case. The car has 4 inches of ground clearances and 3.5 inches of compression travel.

HR] Could we convince you to race the Mustang in some other event? What about Pikes Peak? KB] I’d love to race the car at some events, and I’d certainly consider racing it at Pikes, although it may need some boost for the altitude. HR] Did you ever crash the Mustang during the flming? KB] Nope, the flming went pretty well overall.

HR] What is your defnition of “crash”? KB] If the fatbed or tow truck has to come get you, 9 out of 10 times I’d count whatever happened as a crash! HR] Will the car make any public appearances in the next year? KB] Yes, I plan on running it at a few events globally next season. I’ll be announcing where on sometime early in 2015.





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THE HONOR ROLL The Quick 32 of HOT ROD Drag Week’s Daily Driver Class Elana Scherr

Larry Chen and the HOT ROD Staf

hTalk about déjà vu. It was the last day of HOT ROD’s 2014 Drag Week™. We were at Tulsa Raceway Park in Oklahoma and it was pouring. Rain was coming down in a malicious torrent, washing bug guts from windows and pooling in rainbow-streaked puddles under slicks and hastily resealed transmissions. It was almost the exact same scenario as Drag Week™ 2012, when the fnal runs had to be postponed and the Daily Driver bracket race was rained out. Just when it seemed we were doomed to repeat history, the rain stopped and the race was on. Te track crew did a great job drying the track while the Drag Week™ staf took on the difcult task of reducing almost 100 remaining Daily Driver cars down to the quickest 32. Here’s what it took to drive 1,207 miles on the street and then go all the rounds to the winner’s circle.

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RON FLEMING // CLEARWATER, KS // 1972 CHEVY CHEVELLE SS Best Pass: 12.00 seconds at 110.18 mph // Five-Day Average: 12.08 seconds Proving that a trailer queen doesn’t have to stay on the trailer, Ron Fleming took the original drivetrain out of his low-mile 1972 Chevelle and replaced it with a 500-horse crate 502 that he’s already put 51,501 miles on since the swap. “I’ve had this car for 41 years,” Ron told us. “It was a show car, a mirrors-under-the-car kind of show car. It’s way more fun now.” Te ZZ502 engine is topped by a 950-cfm Holley, feeds out to long-tube Hooker headers and Flowmaster 50-series mufers, and is backed by a beefed-up Turbo 400. Te interior is still alloriginal, and it still has the window sticker in the rear quarter-glass.

LYNNETT JANKUSKI // GLENBEULAH, WI // 2000 CHEVY CAMARO Best Pass: 11.81 seconds at 114.08 mph // Five-Day Average: 12.04 seconds Who says you can’t get into the car hobby without going broke? Lynnett Jankuski was running 11s with a car she says she built for less than $10,000 over the course of two years. Te Camaro’s bored-out 2009 LS3 measures out at 377 ci and runs a stock crank, H-beam rods, Mahle fat-top pistons, and a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller with 219/235 duration at 0.050 and 0.607/0.621 lif.

JOHN SITES // OSPREY, FL // 2013 CHEVY CAMARO ZL1 Best Pass: 11.70 seconds at 120.54 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.97 seconds John Sites and his dad drove from Florida to Tulsa to race Drag Week™ in John’s brightred, ffh-gen Camaro. He rowed the gears to high-11-second passes with help from a supercharged LSA. “My father and I have wanted to do Drag Week™ for a few years now. We were originally hoping to bring a 1970 454 Chevelle we have been resurrecting from the dead, but we couldn’t get it together in time, so we chose our back-up car. My Camaro is a 2013 ZL1, it has the factory 1.9L supercharger on top of a stockdisplacement short-block, stock six-speed manual trans. We did make a few changes to it, including upper and lower pulleys, injectors, headers, cold-air intake, and a tune by Matt Sorian at Florida Speed and Power. It has no internal mods like cam or heads, and no nitrous—yet!”



CARRIE WATSON // FARMLAND, IN // 1972 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS Best Pass: 11.93 seconds at 110.85 mph // Five-Day Average: 12.08 seconds

Carrie Watson was on the outside looking in from the number 33 spot leading up to the bracket race, but a last-minute dropout gave her a chance to run. “Tey called my number last and when I heard 89P, I screamed like a girl, hugged my friend so hard that I almost knocked him over, and then started swearing because we hadn’t prepped the car!”

She ended up breaking out, as many competitors did in the cold night air, but Carrie says she’s happy she made it through the week at all, since her 455-powered Oldsmobile gave her a series of electrical gremlins to deal with throughout the journey. Along with tracing shorted wires, running out of gas, and changing numerous tires,

Carrie was also fnishing her master’s degree during Drag Week™. We don’t know for certain, but she might be the only competitor ever to make a low-12-second pass every day and write a 12-page term paper at night. She says next year will be a breeze without homework looming over her head.

ADAM DOREY // MORRISON, CO // 1979 CHEVY MALIBU Best Pass: 11.78 seconds at 111.66 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.88 seconds Here’s another afordable racer. First time Drag Weeker Adam Dorey says there’s about $7,500 in his nitrous-snifng, LS-powered 1979 Malibu. He and co-driver Brad Stapp probably spent more than that on tolls during Drag Week™, since they kept getting lost during the street-driving portion. “We were lost pretty much the whole time. We got on and of the same toll road four times at one point and we went into no fewer than three checkpoints backward of the actual route since we had got ourselves so turned around.” Te car ballooned the torque converter the frst pass in Topeka and cooked a fan switch near Noble, Oklahoma. “It ran the fan until midnight in the parking lot of the hotel until Doug Garrison noticed and told us. I rigged up a switch from the Pep Boys Speed Shop trailer and was back to good, just with a manual fan.”


TOM FAUGLID // OLATHE, KS // 1994 CHEVY C1500 Best Pass: 11.74 seconds at 117.61 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.87 seconds Tom Fauglid’s ½-ton Chevy does towing duty most of the year, so Drag Week™ is really sort of a vacation for the truck. Tis was the third Drag Week™ race for the Chevy, and the ffh for Tom. Moving all 5,100 pounds of pickup to an 11.74 happens thanks to a Vortech supercharger adding 9 psi of boost, coupled with a 75-horse Zex Wet Flow nitrous shot.

STEVE LYON // ALDEN, IA // 1970 OLDSMOBILE 442 Best Pass: 11.72 seconds at 116.45 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.87 seconds “Tis year was our best year yet,” says Steve Lyon, for whom 2014 was a “third time’s the charm” kind of race. Steve and his dad, Joe, have raced the Super Street BigBlock class in Steve’s car for the past two years, but this year they took Joe’s 442 Oldsmobile in Daily Driver. “I had a blast in the bracket race. Tat was by far the most fun I’ve ever had drag racing,” Steve told us. “I had never bracket raced before and fgured I would be out in the frst round, but made it to semifnals. To top it of, we ended winning the award for the quickest Olds this year.” Te big Olds was fairly well behaved on the road, requiring only basic maintenance and one emergency fuel-pump swap. “We had coasted to the side of the road, and a truck driver stopped and asked if we needed anything. I told him we needed a Holley Blue fuel pump, and he said he had one at home and would be back in 30 minutes with it. By the time I got the old pump out, he was back with the one from his house. I installed the pump and asked what I owed him, and he wouldn’t take any payment.”

ANDRE MILLER // CARENCRO, LA // 1992 CHEVY C1500 Best Pass: 11.67 seconds at 115.42 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.83 seconds You wouldn’t guess by looking at Andre’s baby-blue Chevy, but there’s a 406ci Dart motor powering the truck. An Eagle crank and rods move the big pieces and a Comp hydraulic cam opens the valves. A 950-cfm Holley sits on a Comp high-rise manifold, and it spins the Mickey Tompsons through 4.11 gears in a Currie 9-inch rear.



CLARK LAMB // TULSA, OK // 1968 PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA Best Pass: 11.70 seconds at 115.83 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.77 seconds Clark Lamb had a busy winter, as he and his wife welcomed their frst child at the same time he was trying to rebuild the smallblock in his 1968 Barracuda. Somehow he managed to juggle both babies and get the Plymouth out to Drag Week™. Te 360-powered Barracuda runs Keith Black pistons on Scat rods, Edelbrock RPM heads and a Reed solid-roller cam. Clark says his biggest problem during the week was a smoked ignition box that made the car smell like a “burning Radio Shack.” Since Clark is a seasoned Drag Weeker, he wired up the spare and was back on the road.

RYAN MINYARD // LUBBOCK, TX // 1978 CHEVY MALIBU Best Pass: 11.49 seconds at 115.65 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.75 seconds Another LS-powered Malibu, another 11-second car built for less than $10,000. We’re starting to see a pattern forming here. If you want to join the quick ’Bu club, try blowing a 100hp nitrous shot through your LS2 and let some 275/60-15 Mickey Tompsons do the rest of the work.

GEOFF DUGOPOLSKI // HAZELWOOD, MO // 1966 CHEVY MALIBU Best Pass: 10.86 seconds at 123.93 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.75 seconds Geof Dugopolski has won this thing a couple of times. Tis year he brought out a great-looking copper 1966 Malibu he bought from the original owner with only 40,000 miles on it. Since purchasing the car, Geof has had fve diferent engines in it. Te mill that powered him into the 10s during Drag Week™ is a 423ci small-block with an Eagle crank, AFR heads, and Lunati Cam.






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MATT KOETTING // KANSAS CITY, MO // 1968 CHEVY CAMARO Best Pass: 11.64 seconds at 115.01 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.70 seconds Matt Koetting’s metallic-blue Camaro is a 383 stroker build stufed with a Scat crank and Ross pistons. Matt’s dad, Bob, rode with him during the week, and the Koetting crew got awfully good at swapping alternators and jump-starting batteries. “Carrie Watson jump-started my car more times than I can remember,” Matt told us. “Also, Larry Armstrong lent me a battery so that I could run in the bracket race. We decided not to shut the car of again unless we lost.” Matt ended up going three rounds—good thing it was a cool day.

CHRIS MOSELEY // CARROLLTON, TX // 1969 PONTIAC GTO Best Pass: 11.57 seconds at 110.44 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.68 seconds Chris Moseley is another newbie Drag Weeker who found that preparing for the event ofen leads to major wrenching. “I ended up upgrading injectors, turbos, and adding methanol all before the race. I did not have time to tune the car or make any test runs with the changes.” Te frst runs Chris made with the upgraded turbocharged LS were during tech inspection on Sunday before the ofcial start of Drag Week™. Tey didn’t go so well. He blew up the transmission. While the rest of the competitors were still in line for tech, Chris and copilot James were swapping the 4L70E in the pits. “All kinds of people ofered help, including Jef Lutz;

that is when I realized this really is a group of awesome car guys. Even the big-name guys are just like us.” Just as he fnished the swap, Chris realized he had broken the starter terminal, which had him banging on the parts-store door early Monday morning to get a new one. On Tuesday he was at a diferent parts store, hunting down a fuel pump. By Wednesday his car had stopped trying to eat itself and was running mid-11-second passes. On Friday he had one more surprise, but it was a good one. His wife and 3-year-old daughter had fown in from Texas to cheer him on in the Daily Driver race.

SCOTT ABBOTT // HUNTERTOWN, IN // 1970 PLYMOUTH ROAD RUNNER Best Pass: 11.52 seconds at 120.06 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.66 seconds Scott Abbott can do Drag Week™ with his eyes closed. He and his wife, Kim, took their (mostly) orange Road Runner on its sixth DW adventure, and didn’t do any wrenching aside from an oil and flter change before leaving home in Indiana. Scott won the Daily Driver race in 2013, but this year he went out with a DQ afer running too fast for his tech class. “I got a win light in the frst round, but I ran an 11.40 (11.56 dial, double break out). Since the Road Runner does not have a bar, this was illegal. Te tech crew didn’t notice, but I confessed my sins and they politely DQ’d me, and I was done. I was running against that pesky blown LS Corvair, and I just had to cross the line frst. Dang it.”



JEFF SCHULZE // CAROL STREAM, IL // 1977 CHEVY CAMARO Best Pass: 11.55 seconds at 115.82 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.66 seconds Jef Schulze gets some pretty impressive times out of his small-block Chevy Camaro. He’s running a stock crank in a 350 with Keith Black 10.7:1 pistons and Brodix heads. Te transmission is a manually shifed, three-speed automatic with a B&M torque convertor.

WARREN WITMER // EDWARDSVILLE, IL // 1968 CHEVY CAMARO Best Pass: 11.49 seconds at 115.48 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.65 seconds Warren Witmer says that the main thing he’s learned from building his 1968 Camaro is that “nothing is done until you’ve done it twice.” He ran Drag Week™ with his brother, Wendell, in the copilot’s seat. Te drop-top F-body is powered by a Dart block 400 and rides on RideTech coilovers and Hoosier DOT radials. Wilwood discs bring it to a stop at the end of the quarter-mile. Since Warren spent the summer prepping for the race, the Witmer brothers didn’t have too many problems on the road, other than a speeding ticket for Wendell and a scrapedup chin spoiler from trying to park in the dark at checkpoints. “Te support of all teams for each other along the drive was amazing. Not one time did we approach a broken-down competitor without fnding two or three other teams already pulled over to help. Once when we pulled over to refuel from our gas can, we spent nearly as much time waving helpful teams past us as actually pouring fuel!”

WILLIAM CASH // PERRY, OK // 2012 FORD MUSTANG Best Pass: 11.51 seconds at 119.71 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.64 seconds Afer all those Chevys, fnally a Fordpropelled Ford! Bill Cash’s 2012 Mustang is powered by a nitrous-assisted 302. Bill rides on Race Star wheels wrapped in Nitto rubber, and the only suspension modifcations he’s had to do to put the power down are 1-inch lowering springs, BMR control arms, and a panhard bar.



ROSS DUDLEY // COBOURG, ONTARIO, CANADA // 1968 PLYMOUTH ROAD RUNNER Best Pass: 11.55 seconds at 115.54 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.62 seconds When we checked in with Ross afer Drag Week™, he told us he was in Northern Ontario, moose hunting. “Don’t worry about the moose,” he said. “I wouldn’t shoot anything, I just like the camp life.” Ross is an easy-going dude. His lemonyellow Road Runner is a regular sight in the Quick 32 bracket race, but afer a near miss in 2013 where he almost didn’t make the show, Ross decided to step up his game. He made his frst nitrous pass during test ’n’ tune on Sunday, but there was almost a disaster. “When I slammed the go pedal to the foor, I knew by the reaction that it was going to be a good run, but I immediately got a Charley

horse in my right leg. I didn’t want to waste the run, so I held her down. It was the longest 11.44 seconds of my life.” Not only was the run painful, it was also too fast for Ross’ tech class. While other competitors were making last-minute auto parts runs, Ross was at Target buying a small scale so he could add just enough weight to slow the car to legal speeds while still qualifying well in the bracket race. He almost had it dialed in, but broke out in round 2. Maybe it was a good thing, as he broke his diferential during the run. Even that doesn’t upset him much because it gives him something to work on during the cold Canadian winters.

DINO CARDELLA // MANHATTAN, KS // 1998 PONTIAC TRANS AM Best Pass: 11.08 seconds at 122.97 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.62 seconds Mike “Dino” Cardella raced Drag Week™ in 2012 with his 1998 Pontiac Trans Am and had a best time of 11.66. Tis year he came back gunning for the 10s, and he almost got there, recording a best pass of 11.08 with the mostly stock LS1 Trans Am. His average was thrown of by an unreliable nitrous system that would spray fuel, but no N20—better than the other way round! He fnally found the problem in Topeka, Kansas: a wad of Tefon tape in one of the solenoids. “I’m not sure how Tefon got in my nitrous system,” he said. “I don’t even use [that stuf]!”

BRIAN JANKUSKI // GLENBEULAH, WI // 1986 CHEVY CORVETTE Best Pass: 11.30 seconds at 122.78 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.62 seconds Brian works at a dyno facility, which makes tuning his and wife Lynnett’s cars a bit easier. Brian’s 1986 Corvette has a stroked 1973 small-block with Trick Flow heads, a Howards hydraulic-roller cam, and a 700R4 trans tricked out with a PATC HP kit and a 10-inch TCI torque convertor. Brian says it took time to get the Vette to its current reliability. “Over the years, I have destroyed every part of the transmission.” Te rollcage is a new addition and makes the car legal into the 8s, so maybe we’ll see some fast runs from the Jankuskis next year.


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JASON PIPKIN // PLANO, TX // 1986 MAZDA RX-7 Best Pass: 11.13 seconds at 122.06 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.59 seconds If you were surprised to see a 1980s Mazda roll into the staging lanes, then you haven’t been paying attention. Jason has run the 1986 RX-7 in Drag Week™ before, but it used to be Mopar-powered. He’s switched sides, replacing the 360 with an LS2 topped with an Edelbrock Victor Jr L92 intake and Quick Fuel Technologies 650-cfm carb and turning a Comp Cam hydraulic-roller with 0.617/0.613 lif and 231/245 duration at 0.050. To ft the engine in the Mazda, Jason found that headers intended for a 2003– 2006 Chevy SSR worked just fne. Te rear axle is out of a 2005 Ford Explorer, making this a real melting pot of manufacturers. Very hot rod!

SCOTT BROWN // HATTO, TX // 1953 CHEVY BEL AIR Best Pass: 11.13 seconds at 123.19 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.57 seconds Between the patina and the turbocharged 5.3L LS, Scott Brown has all the hippest elements of today’s hot rod scene covered. Besides being cool, Scott’s 1953 Bel Air is fast, and he worked hard to make it all the way to the bracket race on the last day. In Great Bend, the methanolinjected engine melted a piston. Scott fgured he was done for and didn’t bother to turn in his time slip, but his co-driver, Casey Rance, felt diferently. “He said, ‘We still have daylight and are not giving up.’” Scott turned in his slip and put out the word that he was searching for a stock

5.3L rod and piston. Trough fellow racers and social media, the two diehards tracked down some good used parts, pulled the damaged pieces, and had the Bel Air running again just as the sun started going down, much to the surprise of a tow-truck driver who was waiting like a vulture to hook up the Chevy’s carcass. “Te wrecker driver told me he comes to this track a lot and there’s always someone lef here broke down that will need a tow, and I looked like that guy. I kinda laughed and said, ‘Come back in about an hour and we’ll talk.’”

ROBERT PERRINE // TULLY, NY // 1956 CHEVY 150 Best Pass: 11.25 seconds at 113.02 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.54 seconds Like a modern-day Mickey Tompson, Robert Perrine races everything. He’s done half a dozen Drag Weeks, eight Power Tours, 148.7 mph at the Ohio Mile (three times), fve North East Rod Runs, and claimed a True Street title in an NMCA event. His chariot is a two-tone 1956 Chevy, powered by a 421ci Dart small-block Chevy with a Callies crank, Howard rods, Diamond pistons, AFR heads, and a Bullett hydraulic cam. An 850-cfm Holley dumps the fuel in, MSD sparks it of, and the resulting push gets to the track via a Currie rear with 4.10 gears.


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STEVE EDEN // STOCKTON, IL // 1970 CHEVY NOVA Best Pass: 11.32 seconds at 115.41 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.49 seconds Steve Eden is another repeat racer at Drag Week™. He’s done it eight times, won the Daily Driver class once, and replaced fve transmissions in the process. Tis year his TCI 4L80 was backing a 622hp LS3. Te suspension is mostly stock, with the addition of subframe connectors and CalTracs bars.

JON LECHNER // SPRING VALLEY, MN // 1970 CHEVY CHEVELLE SS Best Pass: 11.37 seconds at 116.67 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.46 seconds Te big, black Chevelle of Jon Lechner has been a fve-year project, one that started with a really nice overdrive transmission and the desire to put it in a car. “Tat 200-4R took me out of Drag Week™ in 2012, so I fnally switched to a TH400 and Gear Vendors last year.” Jon did all the bodywork and paint on the SS by himself in his garage. It’s powered by a crate 502 big-block and dynos at 642 hp at 5,900 rpm.

MARK SWANK // AUSTIN, TX // 1978 CHEVY CORVETTE Best Pass: 11.18 seconds at 122.63 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.43 seconds Mark Swank shows there’s more happening in Austin than just hipster music festivals. His nitrous-assisted disco Corvette was almost dipping into the 10s during Drag Week™. Tat’s fast enough to blow the gold-chain jokes out of the mouths of the haters. He’s raced Drag Week™ before with his childhood friend, Bill Alexander. “We’re both big company boring executives,” he told us. “Drag Week™ is our annual guy trip, a chance to pretend we are young again.” Bill and Mark swapped of on driving duties, although Mark blames Bill for the last run which saw the Vette lif the front tires and nearly swap lanes before breaking out at the fnish. “We are horrible bracket racers, but we gave them a show.”

TOM FRANKS // HOMER, IL // 1993 FORD MUSTANG Best Pass: 10.93 seconds at 124.73 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.28 seconds You may remember Tom Franks from when he raced a blue Foxbody in the Small-Block Power Adder class. “Tat car got way too slow for SBPA, so I’m building a new one,” he told us. Te new car wasn’t ready for 2014, so he raced his “summer driver.” Proving that it’s hard to beat a Fox for cheap power, Tom’s pony boasts a stock block 302 with good used internals. Edelbrock heads and a $20 junkyard Explorer intake sit on top, and it goes fast thanks to a Hellion turbo system with a custom-built 61mm turbo. Tom is looking forward to getting back in the fast classes, though. He says high-10s are boring when you are used to the 9s.


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MIKE MEYERS // WOOD RIVER, IL // 1969 CHEVY CORVAIR Best Pass: 10.94 seconds at 127.02 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.02 seconds Mike Meyers has been the number-one qualifer for the bracket race before, so it’s a testament to the incredible quality of cars at Drag Week™ this year that he came in Q3. Mike’s 1969 Corvair is as clean as it is fast. Te creamsicle body sits on a 1987 GM G-body chassis and is powered by a supercharged LS2 mounted up front.

TROY CLAERHOUT // RICHMOND, MI // 1985 FORD MUSTANG Best Pass: 10.83 seconds at 122.66 mph // Five-Day Average: 10.98 seconds Here’s another story of scraping together for a budget build and then racing your way to the fnal day of Drag Week™. Troy Claerhout says he was making minimum wage when he frst started work on his Fox-body Mustang. It took him and his father-in-law three years and $7,000 to build the car, which is now powered by a stroked small-block Chevy boosted by a NOS Sniper wet nitrous kit.


There are many awards given during Drag Week™, but only one declares the recipient to be not only a superior racer but an exceptional human being as well. The Spirit of Drag Week™ award is given to the participant who most represents the core values of Drag Week™: perseverance in the face of adversity—mechanical or otherwise—and support for their fellow racers. For 2014, it was not an individual but a group of racers who claimed the honor: the Gebhart family was our Spirit of Drag Week™ winners. The four brothers, Billy, Boone, Darren, and Dale; along with their dad, Bill; and Billy’s daughter, Rachel, stood up together at the awards ceremony to accept the coveted prize. Just their struggles getting to Drag Week™ alone would have quali-


fed them for the Spirit award. Getting fve vehicles from various states of not-running to the tech line for the frst day of Drag Week™ involved weeks of sleeping on couches and wrenching in rainstorms. Then Drag Week™ itself was a series of midnight runs and hotel rooms they never even got to check into. That they even still speak to each other after the race is a testament to their brotherly bonds. “Usually, Darren is mad at me through the winter,” Billy told us, “but he forgives me by the next summer.” Just in time to start the Drag Week™ 2015 build! Family and hard work on the road are part of what earned the Gebharts the Spirit of Drag Week™ award, but what really cinched the deal was how they stepped up in 2013 to help a fellow racer in need. “When Steve [Bowyer] got sick, his brother asked if we could help get his rig home to Arizona,” Bill said. “We had been friends with Steve since our very frst Drag Week™ in 2006. He never took help from anyone, but he loved to give it, so when he asked for a favor, of course we said we’d do it.” Later, when Billy’s friend John Hindley Jr. saw Steve’s Valiant for sale, the Gebharts encouraged him to buy it so they could get the car back to Drag Week™ in honor of Steve, a deed that did not go unnoticed by Steve’s sisters. “Steve’s sister, Joyce, hugged me and said, ‘Thank you so much for what your family did for ours,’” Billy wrote in his detailed Drag Week™ story on (well worth a read). This focus on family is what the Gebharts say is the best thing about Drag Week™. “If you look around the race,” Billy said, “there are so many families. Fathers and sons, husbands and wives. It’s really what it’s all about.”


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WACO DAVIS // HUTCHINSON, KS // 1965 CHEVY BEL AIR Best Pass: 10.85 seconds at 113.75 mph // Five-Day Average: 10.93 seconds You want a good-looking hot rod? How about Waco Davis’ 1965 Chevy Bel Air. Waco got the car 25 years ago, as an all-original six-cylinder machine. “My father bought it for $300,” he told us. It’s had a series of engines in it, currently it’s sporting a 355ci Dart mill. In high school Waco did all the bodywork and paint, and over the years, his whole family has wrenched on the car. Te Bel Air even survived a tornado. Twice! Afer that, making it through Drag Week™ must have been easy.

RUNNER-UP: CHAD ADDISON // PERRYSBURG, OH // 1970 CHEVY CHEVELLE Best Pass: 11.33 seconds at 117.81 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.45 seconds Te bracket-race fnals came down to Chevrolet versus Mopar, and it was hard to pick a crowd favorite. Chad’s sorrows had started when he wrecked his tow rig and had to drive his Chevelle 550 miles to Tulsa. He made it through the gates with 14 minutes before tech inspection lanes were set to close. Ten the transmission went out on the frst test pass, and Chad completed all of Drag Week™ shifing from First to Tird. Still, he managed to make the Quick 32 up to the semifnals. Afer the quarterfnal win, pulling in to the lanes against Waco Davis, the big-block wouldn’t start. Panicked, Chad popped the hood and saw that the trigger wire to the solenoid had come loose. Race rules would’ve allowed Waco to stage his car and let Chad get disqualifed for taking too long, but that’s not the way any of us want

to win. Waco shut his car of to give Chad time to get running again, and all of Chad’s fellow racers rushed to his aid, getting him started up and into the staging beams, where he managed to take the win. “I’m not going

to lie to you,” he said, “I broke down coming back up the return road (me, not the car this time).” He raced John Hindley in the fnal and lost, but keep reading to fnd out why he was happy to take Second Place.

WINNER: JOHN HINDLEY JR. // TUCSON, AZ // 1967 PLYMOUTH VALIANT Best Pass: 11.04 seconds at 119.51 mph // Five-Day Average: 11.22 seconds

Last year Drag Week™ lost one of our favorite racers, a nine-time participant and true enthusiast, Steve Bowyer, who passed away in his hotel room during the 2013 event. Steve’s family was worried about what to


do with his 1967 Plymouth Valiant, as they didn’t know how to get it home or how to get it to a new home with someone who would appreciate it as much as Steve did. Enter the Gebhart family. Te Gebharts, who race

Drag Week™ en masse and were the recipients of this year’s Spirit of Drag Week™ award (sidebar, page 80), not only got the Valiant home afer last year’s race but also helped fnd it a place in John Hindley Jr.’s garage. John’s wife then surprised him with the Drag Week™ entry and rode shotgun throughout the event, which John says went fawlessly. “All I did during the event was a few jet changes, a water pump, load and unload all our junk, and set tire pressure for track and street. We had relatively uneventful travels, just really enjoyed the trips, scenery, and all the people who were checking it out along the way. I was happy I could help give the Bowyers some closure and complete the week in Steve’s honor. Te car has given me a newfound energy in my hot rodding, and reminds me to enjoy life.” John (and Steve in spirit) took the win over Chad by a mere 0.0171 second at the stripe. We couldn’t have written a better ending. HOTROD

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Hot Rods Storm the Jersey Shore for The Race of Gentlemen III

hMeldon Von Riper Stultz III is a young, brash, street-savvy en-

trepreneur living outside Asbury Park, New Jersey. He incessantly tinkers with vintage bikes and cars, and holds down jobs doing bodywork and repairs in local shops—all the while conjuring up ways to promote his brilliant racing ideas. In 2012, Te Race of Gentlemen put Meldon and his Oilers Car Club on the map. Te inaugural race (HRM cover story, Mar. 2013)


Scotty Lachenauer

was fueled by social media and word of mouth through the strong hot rod presence based on the Jersey Shore. Te Race of Gentlemen was created to be a kick-in-the-chaps to bloated car shows where spectators lounge on lawn chairs and hover over their latest auction fnds. It’s a stripped-down, leaner, faster, and louder version of your typical car show—a place where tradition is frst and patina’s not a dirty word.

[Nothing like a little up-close-andpersonal with a sand-shredding 1923 T highboy roadster to get that perfect shot. Andrew Kohler digs in deep by putting the power to a 1936 Ford axle, ft with a Halibrand Culver City centersection.

For the past two years, the kitschy summertime playground of Wildwood, New Jersey, has been the show’s home. Stocked with cool, retro motels and a more than ample beachfront, the resort town has given Meldon and the Oilers the perfect real-estate option to hold their sandblasted event.

NIGHT OF THE TROGLODYTES PARTY Heading down the Garden State Parkway on Friday morning, we ran across several rodders as we rolled into town. By the afernoon, vintage unmufed bikes were racing around the pin-straight byways that make up the roadway grid in Wildwood, and spontaneous parties sprung up in every neon-blazoned motel open for business.



[Flag girl supreme Sara Francello grabs some air as the competitors took to it to the eighthmile. Driver Zack Suhr gives the crowd a hefty dose of “beach to the face” as he takes of on the eighth-mile run on the beach at Wildwood, New Jersey. The 1929 roadster is powered by a Model A engine and sports a “wagon-wheel” rollbar. The car is a recreation of a race car once owned by family members. The original was raced in the Keystone Roadster Racing Association more than 60 years ago.


On Friday, the Oilers threw a “Night of the Troglodytes” party at the Surf Comber Motel. Te road was closed out front, and an impromptu car show soon sprung up. Bikes packed the parking lot while bands played on the inn’s upper deck. We got there in time to witness Andrew Kohler kickin’ out the jams with his band, “Te Telltale Signs.” Saturday morning brought dark skies and a spittle of rain. As the tide receded, the contestants corralled their rides onto the surfside dragstrip, which was packed tight from the previous high tide. Like previous years, there was a smattering of contestants from all over the country. Mike Santiago once again cruised in from Washington with his single-seat speedster. Te boys from Colorado were also in attendance: Scotty McCann and son Bryan from Deluxe Speed Shop, along with friend Willie Snyder—all sporting Fords decked out with all sorts of speed goodies. Also back for another round was Mike Nicholas from the Hot Rod Hill Climb, driving Cal Kennedy’s specially prepared Chevy roadster sporting a Wayne 12-port motor. Tere was defnitely a horsepower upgrade over last year’s event. Speed parts and





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04 01] Friendly challenges popped up quickly on the beach. Andrew Kohler always brings something fast to TROG, and this year was no diferent. His 1927 T roadster is motor-vated by a 1951 Ford V8 topped with a Weiand intake and a pair of Stromberg 81s. Here he takes of in a friendly matchup against Mike Nicholas and his sand-eating T-33 Chevy roadster.


02] Scott McCann, owner of Deluxe Speed Shop, in Commerce City, Colorado, took us for a few runs in his hoppedup 1932 with a built fathead. Running all out on sand is a much diferent feel than pavement—it’s like you’re gliding but with a measure of control. Next time we’re bringing our own car.

03] Mike Nicholas brought Denver’s own hot rod hero Cal Kennedy’s recreated T-33 Chevy Roadster to the beaches of Wildwood to put the Wayne 12-port motor through the paces. Needless to say, the six-banger was one of the top performers of the day and also took honors for “Most Awesome Sounding Powerplant” at the race.

04] The Race of Gentlemen organizer Meldon Stultz atop his trusty Harley—a combination of a 1938 UL engine in a VL chassis.

05] Do two less (or two more) windows make a diference? Oiler Car club member and TROG partner Bobby Green and his 1932 fve-window take on Scott McCann and his three-window Deuce to fnd out.

locked rear diferentials were far more common, meaning bigger starts, faster runs, and more rooster tails—much to the crowd’s delight. Unfortunately, due to the tide, racing was cut short by mid-afernoon on Saturday. Sunday morning greeted participants with blue skies and perfect race conditions. Viewers got their money’s worth, watching traditional rods and bikes tear up the eighth-mile beach course. Te race lasted from ebbing tide to incoming, and only quit once salty ocean waters engulfed the entire course. When it was all said and done, the feeling on the beach was electric; the drivers were having a blast and it showed. Te races fowed well, and there was very little downtime. Many of the matchups showed heated racing from competitors. Racing on sand is truly a cool thing, but ultimately, it’s the underground feeling of Te Race of Gentlemen that makes this event. It’s the sensation you’re part of something so unique and so needed. Te Race of Gentlemen is more than a rehash of times past, it tugs on those same heartstrings that made us love hot rodding for what it was—and still is.

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03 04

01] Stogie-smoking Matt Picaro (who made it a point to tell us John Belushi was his idol) consistently tore up the beach in his fatheadpowered 1931 Model A roadster.

02] Drivers line up in the bright sunshine of day 2 of The Race of Gentlemen, led by Bryan McCann (left) and Willy Snyder (right) from the Deluxe Speed Shop of Commerce City, Colorado.

03] Gasket Goon’s car club member Josh Kohn reacts to the fag in an attempt to get a nose out on Matt Cholerton and his 1928 Model A Speedster. Josh runs a 32b four-banger in his 1931 coupe, while Matt runs a 1932 B engine with a Lion Speed Head.

04] Lars Mapstead rips up the beach in a true vintage racer in the near lane. Early hot rodder George Morris acquired this car in high school in 1944 and built the rod into a dry-lakes racer that ran at Bonneville.

05] Justin Altman in the Villains car club No. 154 fnds his moment of Zen riding the foam line back to the starting line. His car of choice is a 1928/1929 roadster on Deuce rails. The 59A block is capped with vintage Edelbrock heads and topped with a vintage Eddie Meyer 2x2 intake and Fordscript 94s. Handmade aluminum hood and hand-punched louvers complete the look. HOT ROD



Nuke-Proof Automatic Inside the TH400 That’s Strong Enough For Pro Mod Racers and Durable Enough For Drag Week’s Quickest Street Cars Jason Sands

Rob McGafn

[Rossler Transmissions builds TH400s that have proven themselves in 4,500hp Pro Mod cars and logged thousands of Drag Week™ miles coupled with Gear Vendors overdrives in 6-second street cars.

hRossler Transmissions ( has become synonymous with building some of the strongest auto transmissions in the industry. Tis year’s Drag Week™ saw almost all of the heavy hitters—Tom Bailey, Jef Lutz, Joe Barry, Doug Cline, and Larry Larson—running Rossler’s TH210 transmissions, which is a closeratio two- or three-speed automatic transmission based on the GM TH400. Rossler calls them “TH210” or “Turbo Glides” due to their numerically higher First gear and because he builds them with so many of his own proprietary parts.

TH400: 61 YEARS OF R&D Rossler saw the need for a close-ratio three-speed automatic to handle immense power without overwhelming traction. His TH210s are ft with a taller First gear, 2.10:1 (versus 2.48:1 in the TH400s). Second gear checks in at 1.40:1 (versus 1.48:1 in the TH400s), while Tird is a standard 1:1 ratio, although Rossler explained that many diferent First and Second gear ratios are available so a customer can tailor a transmission to his engine’s powerband. Carl Rossler told us, “Many people build something with the philosophy that if it breaks, they’ll just put a stronger part in there. We have no problem reinventing the wheel and using diferent parts all together.” In this case, that means Rossler has his own machine shop cranking out gears, shafs, and drums nobody else can buy, to specifcations he doesn’t share with anybody else. Rossler’s highest-horsepower transmissions begin with Reid Rac-


ing ( TH400 cases packed full of his own specially designed components. Shafs are oversized and made of 300M—or an even stronger material “designed for airplane landing gears,” Rossler says. [Editor’s note: We suspect AerMet 100 alloy.] Te transmission’s internals are reportedly held in alignment better due to Rossler’s own roller-bearing supports. Te TH400’s weight is also cut by using custom 7075-aluminum drums with steel sleeves, which are said to provide 10 times the strength with 4.5 pounds less rotating mass. A larger drum permits a revised clutch count (with larger clutches) to provide more power-handling capability through all three of the gears. Five- and six-pinion steel planetary gears are ft with Torrington thrust bearings to handle torque and thrust loads. Rossler can build a transmission to weigh as little as 103 pounds (without torque converter or oil), but explained that in applications making more than 1,000 hp, strength is more important than weight reduction. Rossler also helps builders with automatic transmission fuid selection, suggesting lightweight synthetic ATF or even a hydraulic tractor fuid, depending on the application. Another thing that Rossler was adamant about was that he wasn’t just building transmissions that could handle power, he was also building safety. “Some people use parts that may or may not last, and a lot of times they’ll be OK,” Rossler says. “But if something like a drum explodes, you’re looking at a bomb under your car that can cause a very severe injury to the driver. Tat’s why we don’t skimp on anything.” It’s also why safety blankets, bells, and afermarket cases are used on every build. HOT ROD





Scrounger’s Guide: Magnesium Wheels Most vintage magnesium wheels were used as racing wheels, so many of them have been the victim of curb smacks, aggressive tire changing, flying rocks, tools, and exploding parts. Some scrapes in magnesium wheels can be machined down, but machining magnesium presents a whole world of challenges unto itself: magnesium catches

fire at 880 degrees Fahrenheit, burns hot, and is virtually impossible to extinguish. So inspect vintage magnesium wheels for damage from decades of racing abuse or storage—keeping in mind repairs will be more difficult than with aluminum or steel wheels. hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor

[Most magnesium wheels are cast in a one-step sand casting (like these vintage Americans and Halibrands) or hot-forged from magnesium alloys ZK60 and MA14 like the Motor Fly front wheels from the early 1970s. Small imperfections and pits will be present and telegraph that these are the real-deal magnesium wheels. When large craters, imperfections, or cracks are present, you should pass and not settle for wheels that will end up needing excessive fxes or wheels where the integrity has been compromised.

[The next problem with magnesium is it corrodes (or oxidizes) easily, especially when exposed to water. Craters can form in magnesium and can grow in diameter and depth from continued humidity exposure. The pitting here (arrow) developed from moisture present between the wheel and inner tube. Initial water exposure can be detected by a fne, white, furry growth or powder on the exposed surface and can easily be rubbed of, but once oxidation occurs it can progress quickly.




Thom Taylor

Magnesium Wheels, Cont’d

[Top right: Many manufacturers coated magnesium wheels with a gold treatment called Dow 7, which looked like a variegated gold or gold/green anodizing. Remnants of this coating can be seen on this American Racing Wheels front wheel. Sometimes the rim edges would be turned on a lathe to create a smooth surface and eliminate the as-cast roughness. In many cases, the spokes or entire wheel will have been painted some time in its past, as even highly polished magnesium will corrode over time. [Top left: Look for cracks in tight transitions or hard edges, which are more susceptible to stress damage than generous fllets and round surfaces. If the wheel was polished at some point, make sure an overzealous polisher didn’t grind down desirable wheel features or eliminate them altogether. Be familiar with the crisp details of the desired wheel to catch otherwise irreparable lost design characteristics in the vintage wheels you inspect.

[Above: Magnesium wheels are easy to distinguish from aluminum by their generally dark, dull- gray surface, like the 16x11inch American wheel on the right. Occasionally, they will still retain their as-delivered coatings. [Right: Once you score a set of magnesium wheels, it’s important to wrap and then store them in a dry environment until you are ready to use them. Be aware that many magnesium wheels destined for the street cannot withstand pothole hits or the stresses of cornering, especially mounted on a heavy car. For this reason, you may want to look into newer aluminum alternatives that mimic the original magnesium wheels you are interested in.

Next Month: First-Gen Hemi 96 HOTROD.COM/2015/MARCH/

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Spotters Guide

Eaton Supercharger Rotors 01



01] Perpendicular ribs are a dead giveaway that this is a Magnuson product, although intercooler housings on some of its newer superchargers can obstruct the actual rotor case. 02] Regardless of manufacturer, all superchargers that use Eaton rotors will use a cast bearing case that varies by rotor diameter. For example, TVS 1900 and TVS 2300 rotors will use the same bearing case even though the rotors difer in length. 03] TVS stands for Twin Vortices Series and means that the four-lobe rotors are twisted like a helicoid. They are designed to operate dry, upstream of the fuel injectors.

SCREW SIZES The Eaton TVS rotors found in the 2015 LT4 V8 measure 3.94 inches in diameter, while the TVS rotors in the factory LSA and LS9 as well as the Roush supercharger measure 4.40 inches in diameter. The smaller rotors displace less air for any given length when compared to the larger rotors, but they are stable to a higher rpm.


Supercharger cases vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Magnuson uses a ribbed exterior that looks a bit like a waffle, Roush’s Mustang superchargers use a herringbone pattern of ribs, and Edelbrock’s E-force superchargers vary from a streamlined 6-71 look for carbureted V8s to its late-model Corvette applications that look a lot like factory GM superchargers. What they all have in common is they all use Eaton’s TVS rotors and geardrives inside, the same rotors and forged gears you’d find in a 2012–2014 Ford GT500 or a C6 Corvette ZR1. From the outside of the case, these rotors are indistinguishable from Lysholm-style rotors used in Whipple and Kenne-Bell superchargers, but you can often see the cast bearing plate found on every supercharger using Eaton rotors. Different rotor diameters use different bolt patterns, so if you want to know the rotor size, you’ll have to dig in deeper. hHOTROD.COM/Brandan-Gillogly

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Start to Finish Steve Anderson

Tail of the Dragster [Once the Woody Gilmore chassis was restored to the way it left his shop in 1966, the next step was the bodywork. This is how Hanna’s shop received the famous Top Fueler, sans even engine mounts and a motor plate. [The frst step was to determine the exact engine location so a motor plate could be fabricated. Everything was worked forward or backward from this critical point. The bottom of the body was trimmed and attached.

Metal fabrication can look like magic, and for hot rodders it continues to be a source of interest and fascination. In 1966 Tom Hanna, who created many of the one-off aluminum bodies for Top Fuel dragsters in the 1960s and 1970s, built what is considered one of the most beautiful dragster tails: an enclosed chute pack and rollbar-long tail body for Tom Hoover’s Woody Gilmore–built car. Over the years the dragster was used and abused and somewhere lost that gorgeous tail. When Steve Andersen found the remnants of the car in 2004 and decided to restore/recreate it to its 1960s glory, he convinced Hanna to create a new tail. The dragster was known as the “Fishbowl” dragster from a tale Hanna fabricated when a journalist asked him why there were wedge-shaped holes in the body. Hanna said Hoover loved fish and wanted to put an aquarium in the body of his Top Fueler. The indents were really there for cosmetic wood inserts, but the story got passed along, and the Fishbowl moniker stuck. Follow along to see the closest thing to magic HOT ROD can present—flat aluminum sheets turned into what will appear to be a single-piece, stamped-aluminum dragster body at Tom Hanna’s shop in Wichita, Kansas. hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor

[04.22.2011] [04.25.2011] [04.26.2011] [05.02.2011] [05.06.2011] [06.08.2011]

[The simple fat side panels roll around the bottom chassis tubes and are Dzus-fastened to nest the adjoining panel. [A close-up shot of the bottom plate.

[The butt portion of the seat was formed from fat aluminum sheet in this English wheel. Rolling the metal back and forth forms a crown in the metal in all directions. [Once the metal is trimmed and welded into the rolled back, it looks like it was stamped into this shape.

[The back of the driver seat was formed to ft within the frame structure.


[The top of the nose was roughed into the panel at the front of the engine with a dolly and fle to develop the transition into a smooth surface. As the metal is worked, it starts to harden, creating the possibility of cracking. Heating it to around 800 degrees Fahrenheit changes the aluminum structure to allow it to be worked further to be able to eliminate the bumps and heat shrink areas of excess metal.

If you’ve built or restored your car and have documented it in pictures every step of the way, we might be able to use your story in HOT ROD. Contact us to find out. Mail: HOT ROD Start To Finish, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. Email:


[With the outside surfaces completed, the reliefs were boxed for strength and appearance. Eliminating raw edges created a solid, quality part that is both attractive and functional. [A plywood form was created to work the tip of the nose. Foam was inserted into the voids of the form and sanded down to check the surface development before mimicking the part in aluminum sheet. [The form could be removed and worked of of the chassis on a workbench for easier access. Two halves were formed and then welded together. The weld was fled down and then welded to the rest of the nose.

[The front of the body top was also boxed of for strength and appearance.

[06.17.2011] [06.21.2011] [06.21.2011] [07.01.2011] [07.08.2011] [08.08.2012]

[The fnished nose looks like an elaborate, substantial stamping, but we know better.

[The motor plate has been trimmed to the desired shape to be used as a form for the cowl panel. Note that more than a year has passed since the front portion of the body was completed.

[A panel was welded into the back of the engine transition to add strength and eliminate the fragile raw edge.



[Now it’s time to tackle the tail. A cardboard template was made to determine the overall profle. This was transferred to plywood to begin creating the buck, which was used to form the tail. [Once the profle was determined, a series of sections were created to form the outside surfaces the body sides were formed around. This stage also gave everyone a closer idea of what the fnished body would look like. The builder could now stand back and eyeball the crowns and transitions and make necessary changes before forming the aluminum.

[The bottom of the tail was roughed out.

[08.16.2012] [08.29.2012] [09.19.2012] [09.21.2012] [09.25.2012] [11.04.2012]

[Continuing with the tail sides, the bottom section of the sharp rib was formed.

[The top section of the rib and tail were now welded and fnished of.

[The surface takes the shape of a lazy “S,” so the transitioning portion of the bottom was created and then welded to the previous panel, giving the appearance of a single stamped piece once it’s fnished.

[The back panel was relieved and worked to tie into the bottom. Obviously, all of the panels needed to be easily removed for access to diferent sections of the chassis. [The top of the tail was formed one side at a time around the plywood buck. The “fshbowl” windows were later cut into the fns and fared to add strength and a nice visual transition.


[The chute structure was then added to the chassis, which allowed for the extreme rear of the body to be determined and completed.



[Once the end of the body was trimmed an inner panel was welded into the tail to add strength and eliminate the raw edge.




[The cloisonné Hanna badge was recessed into the cowl panel.

[Finishing touches include this metal brace for the Plexiglas windscreen, the windscreen itself, and creating the teak inserts.

[Tom Hoover checking out the view he so fondly remembers from the cockpit of his 1966–1968 ride. This dragster ran both Chrysler Hemi and Ford SOHC power. It’s being recreated in its Hemi version.



Why There’s Power in Methanol

Racing’s Alternative Fuel [Jef Lutz’s 2014 Drag Week™–winning 1957 Chevy burns gas on the street, but Scott Murray and Lutz switch to alcohol on the track and pour in 5 gallons of methanol before every quarter-mile pass.

Methanol has come back in a big way, with many race cars making the switch and even some street vehicles running the stuff. This begs the question: What is it about methanol that gives it an edge over gasoline? A popular discussion among fuel enthusiasts is how energy-dense a particular fuel is. While that’s important when discussing engine efficiency or brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC), a much more important question when discussing power output is the fuel’s maximum-power air/fuel ratio. For instance, in a gasoline engine, an air-to-fuel ratio of roughly 12.5:1 (12.5 parts air to 1 part fuel) is about right for maximum engine power. In the case of methanol, an air-tofuel ratio of 4:1(4 parts air to 1 part fuel) is considered slightly on the


rich side, but will allow the engine to make its maximum power. While it’s true that gasoline has a higher energy density (about 18,400 BTU/pound) than methanol (9,500 BTU/pound), if you can burn three times more methanol than gasoline per power stroke, you can make more power. An engine that flows 1,000 cfm of air (about 70 pounds worth) means that on gasoline, the engine will consume about 5.6 pounds of fuel based upon its 12.5:1 max power ratio, giving a total energy output of (5.6 pounds x 18,400 BTU) or 103,040 BTUs of energy. If we do the same calculation on methanol, we get 17.5 pounds of fuel burned, and (17.5 pounds x 9,500 BTU) or 166,250 BTUs of energy—that’s a 60 percent greater energy output.

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Anyone explaining that methanol “burns cool” is actually talking about the enthalpy or latent heat of vaporization of the fuel. When a liquid changes into a vapor (as it does in an internal combustion engine) heat energy is required for this transformation. And since heat is the enemy in engines—leading to all sorts of problems like an overtaxed cooling system, detonation, and even melted pistons—the more heat energy a fuel can suck out of the combustion process, the better. Gasoline, when it undergoes a phase change can suck out about 150 BTUs of heat energy per pound of fuel, which results in a temperature drop. Methanol, on the other hand, takes 506 BTUs per pound of fuel of heat energy to make the phase change. When we look at our above example of an engine flowing 1,000 cfm of air, the 5.6 pounds of gasoline will take about 840 BTUs of energy, versus 8,855 BTUs for methanol—more that 10 times as much. This is what makes methanol such an effective fuel in forced-induction applications like turbocharging and supercharging, and it absorbs so much heat that an intercooler often isn’t even needed.

Gasoline offers a fairly narrow tuning window. The maximum-power rich air/fuel ratio of roughly 12.5:1 is about 85 percent of its 14.7:1 stoichiometric value. Methanol on the other hand, can go as rich as 4:1, which is about 62 percent of its stoichiometric value of 6.45:1. In fact, many race engines run as rich as 3.5:1, without affecting power. In a gasoline engine, running rich can cause pops, stumbles and backfires, whereas methanol usually pulls through any overly rich mixture and just keeps making power. Want to go on the safe side and run extrarich? With methanol there’s very little downside to doing so.

SO WHY DON’T WE ALL RUN METHANOL? Since methanol makes more power and is more friendly in supercharged and turbocharged applications, why don’t we use it instead of gasoline? Because there are drawbacks. Because it has a richer air/fuel ratio than gasoline, running methanol means reduced fuel economy. It’s also very corrosive, and can eat through fuel lines if left sitting. For racing, however, methanol makes for a very good fuel, so expect to see more of it at the track near you.


To see a real-world example of just how potent a fuel methanol could be in a performance application, Riverdale, California’s Richard Brown took his 9-second, 434ci, small-block-Chevy-powered 1932 Ford coupe and made the switch. On gasoline, the car made 584 rwhp with the 8-71 blower motor and 789 rwhp with a pretty healthy dose of nitrous. With a swap to methanol, the coupe knocked down 808 rwhp without nitrous—and with no other changes


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My family would make a horrible reality show. Nobody would yell, get arrested, or pick a fight with a baby. So when my brother told me he was getting married—to a lovely girl with an equally peaceful family—I was like, “Oh great. This is going to be a super-boring wedding where not a single person gets drunk and barfs on the cake.” Luckily, the wedding was 400 miles away, and that meant plenty of time for mechanical drama, especially since Tom and I decided that taking his 1969 Dodge Charger R/T up I-5 was a totally legitimate plan and not at all one that would find us pulled over 30 miles from our hotel, filling the radiator with water, one 9-ounce bottle at a time. It took 14. Once the car stopped audibly boiling, we drove it to a nearby AutoZone for some stop-leak. It would not be our last parts store stop of the weekend. The morning of the wedding found us attempting to jumpstart the Charger, which would crank, but not fire. Further testing—with the coil wire held against a valve cover while cranking the engine—pointed to an ignition problem. Parts store visit number two. About an hour before the ceremony, we had a new ignition box on, a new coil, and a spare battery in the trunk. Then we found a vacuum leak. Visit number three. By this time my dad, cousin, and a family friend had joined us, and all I could think about was how my mom was going to kill me if we came late to the wedding covered in grease. Happily, the car started and I had my first, but probably not last, party preparations involving a bar of Lava soap. It was a beautiful wedding. hHOTROD.COM/Elana-Scherr





[Let’s toast to relationships with spark.



Thom On Design

The Best Car Ever Designed

Any designer telling you he or she knows the secret to good design is either a liar or foolishly overconfident. In most cases, successful design is a maelstrom of good and bad ideas,

targets, politics, hallucinations, hunches, manufacturing and cost compromises, egos, and body blocks. To me a good design doesn’t need an explanation or a nudge.

The best design embodying that idea in the last 50 years or so would have to be the original Ford Mustang. Grandmas, children, plumbers, spinsters, politicians, hot rodders—it didn’t matter; the Mustang had a resonance cutting through consumer niches and broad segments, selling like nothing ever had. In its first full year of production in 1965, it sold 560,000 units, with only three body styles: the hardtop, convertible, and 2+2 fastback. The 1965 Ford Falcon saw 186,000 built, but that was spread over two-door and four-door sedans, hardtops, wagons, convertibles, and various separate models like the Futura and Sprint. I use the Falcon as a benchmark because it was cheaper;

offered a diverse portfolio of body styles, powertrains, and options; and shared many parts with the Mustang. It should have outsold the Mustang, but it didn’t. I can only point to its design as the differential. When Chevy’s Mustang, the Camaro, came out almost two years later, it sold 220,000—less than half of the Mustang’s 1965 production. After the initial surge, Mustang sales should have leveled off, yet 1966 production was more than 600,000, and a slightly revised 1967 design saw figures dip slightly with just less than 500,000 units. That’s good design. You can’t explain the appeal—it just looks compelling and just continues selling. hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor




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For a high-performance street car, at a minimum you want a precision, three-angle valve job with relatively wide seats able to stand up to years of hot rodding. Quickie parts-store valve jobs won’t hack it on a hi-po street car, but neither will a full-competition job with angles and seat widths chosen to maximize high-lift fow on a race car. The latter may actually reduce low- and midrange performance in realistic street-cam lift ranges. With the advent of automated, single-pass valve-grinding machines, greater than three-angle or even blended valve jobs are becoming more common, but the principle is still to select angles that enhance fow in the cam’s operating range. hHOTROD.COM/Marlan-Davis




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[When grinding the seats on used valves, the margin (area between the seat and the valve head’s frst angle) should remain as wide as possible. The exhaust valves are especially susceptible to burning when the margin is too thin.

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[Mt. Holley, North Carolina’s Scott Mays is the fourth owner of this Candy Apple red, 351Cpowered, 1970 Mustang Mach 1.

[The high-option car sports a Shaker hood, slats, louvers, spoilers, and front disc brakes. BFGoodrich Radial T/As ride on Magnum 500 wheels.

[The primary failure was stripped teeth on a succession of soft bronze distributor drive gears, likely due to a high-volume oil pump.

The 351 Cleveland in Scott Mays’ 1970 Mustang Strips Distributor Gears. We’re Gonna Fix It. Marlan Davis

THE COMBO Scott Mays purchased his 1970 Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Cleveland (351C) engine through Craigslist. “It’s a true Mach 1,” Mays says proudly. “The previous owner had the engine rebuilt but could not recall most of the specs. He told me the original block was bored 0.030 over. I didn’t know the cam specs, but from the way the car ran, it felt pretty huge. Externally, the engine has an Edelbrock Performer intake fed by an Edelbrock 750-cfm carb. A Mallory distributor lights the spark. Exhaust is through FPA headers, dual 2.5-inch pipes, and Flowmasters. The owner claims the compression ratio is around 10:1, and the car runs fine on 93-octane gas.” When the engine was rebuilt, its original iron 2V heads were replaced with Airflow Dynamics (AFD) 351-2V aluminum castings. A major upgrade for an old Cleveland, these free-flowing, closed-chamber, Australian castings flow enough air to make over 600 flywheel horsepower on an optimized engine, yet their improved intake and exhaust ports remain in the stock 2V


location so existing intakes and headers can still bolt on. As installed on the car, Mays says the heads had “huge triple springs and adjustable roller rockers.”

THE PROBLEMS Mays’ problems began soon after purchase. “I noticed excessive valvetrain noise from the beginning. Turns out there was a broken rocker on No. 3 cylinder. I replaced all the rockers with Crane Energizer aluminum rollers, but the car still seemed a little noisy.” There were also hard-start and driveability problems “that seemed to me to be fuel-related. I tried bigger jets with some success.” Still, “the car has always been hard to start, especially when cold.” The worst was yet to come. As Mays tells it, “One day I was driving down the freeway. There was a pop and the engine just quit. My mechanic friend, Mike Harvey, put two and two together and saw the distributor wasn’t turning. I cranked it and there was no oil pressure. I was fortunate that the engine just

Marlan Davis, Jesse Kiser, Jef Mills, and Katie Trabelsi

didn’t grenade.” Mays pulled the distributor and found a bronze gear with serious “tooth decay.” Soft bronze gears are usually used with high-end hardened billetsteel mechanical roller cams. In theory, the softer bronze sacrifices itself over time to protect the harder steel. That’s not a problem for racers who expect to periodically inspect, tear down, and replace engine parts, but it’s generally not a good plan for a street-driven car. Not knowing what type of cam was in the motor, Mays replaced it with another bronze gear. Within 500 miles the latest gear also began showing signs of abnormal wear.

THE DIAGNOSIS We sent the Mt. Holley, North Carolina–based car to Motorsport Connections in WinstonSalem. Owner Billy Revis has been around forever and can wrench on just about anything— as you’d expect from a facility located in the midst of hardcore NASCAR country. Revis removed the distributor. He observed “pieces of material coming off its distributor gear.”

A bad distributor or incorrectly machined block were initial suspects. To check, Revis put the damaged gear in the lathe and turned it down smooth to eliminate the teeth, then reinstalled it on the distributor and inserted the distributor into the engine. He pushed down on the unit while rotating the engine. “I was looking for excessive drag on the hole inside the block where the distributor gear passes through and picks up the oil pump driveshaft. No problems were observed.” The distance from the distributor housing mount (against the block) to the bottom of the distributor gear on Mays’ Mallory distributor was compared to that on a standard-replacement, parts-store Ford distributor and checked. They were identical. With either distributor bolted in place, the clearance between the bottom of the gear and the top of the internal boss in the block was also within spec. Because two different distributors had the same dimensional measurements and developed the same within-spec clearances when installed in the block, Revis concluded the block

If your car has a gremlin that just won’t quit, you could be chosen for HOT ROD to the Rescue. Email us at and put “Rescue” in the subject line. Include a description of your problem, your location, and a daytime phone number.

[Motorsport Connections’ Billy Revis fxed the Mustang. His shop is a complete tune-up and repair facility, complete with chassis dyno.

machining was likely to spec. Revis next pulled the cam. Its integrally cast distributor drive gear also showed wear, “because the cam had been screwed up from the previous gear failures.” Revis had a local machine shop examine the cam’s wear pattern. According to Revis, “We thought the cam was sitting too far back in the block. Like a rearend ring-and-pinion, you want the wear pattern in the center. The observed cam gear wear started at the center and went all the way back off the teeth.” Several decades old, Mays’ existing cam turned out to be an ancient Comp Cams’ flat-tappet hydraulic, that—like any proferal iron flat-tappet cam—is compatible with standard OE-style distributor gears (not the bronze gear that had been installed). We sent the cam back to Comp for analysis, where its quality-control department says total runout was within acceptable parameters for a used cam. It also checked for flutter (tooth-totooth error), which, according to Comp engineer Billy Godbold, “Can be a bigger issue than runout as that results from errors in the tooth shape. We limit flutter to 0.002 or 0.003 inch, depending on the application. From its visual appearance, I assumed yours would be very ‘notchy,’ but this was not the case.” Having observed debris flak-

[A Tri-Tec polymer distributor gear, a standardpressure Melling oil pump, and a new Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam cured Mays’ ills.

[Strip the rubber of the tires—not the teeth of the distributor gear! Post-repair, Mays’ Mustang picked up almost 15 hp at the rear wheels.

[The Mustang originally came of the assembly line with the H-code 351C-2V motor. Mays says, “The original block is still in the car.” The previous owner had the engine rebuilt, but couldn’t recall many specifcs about which hot rod parts had been installed. It did have a fairly big cam and free-fowing AFD aluminum heads.

ing off the damaged gears, Revis checked to see if the rod and main bearings were OK. “We dropped the Milodon replacement oil pan, then pulled the main and rod caps. The bearings looked good with no scouring.” It turns out that due to the previous parts breakage, “Mays

had flushed the oil system three times,” which probably saved the motor. However, with the pan removed, Revis found a highvolume oil pump installed on the motor. That’s not recommended on Ford street engines. Official Ford Racing literature states

The car now runs so hard I actually broke a weld where the passenger-side traction bar attaches near the leaf spring!” — Scott Mays, post-Rescue

that “running a high-volume oil pump with production bearing clearances can cause abnormally high oil pressures and possible premature distributor gear wear.” There’s also the possibility that on a Cleveland with its notoriously inefficient stock oiling system, a high-volume pump can suck a stock-sump pan dry. Revis adds that on a Ford, “If the oil pump sucks up any debris inside it, it can jam up the pump and snap the oil pump shaft. If a heavy-duty oil pump shaft is installed in an attempt to



01] AFD heads are a great upgrade for a Cleveland, but the rest of the combo must be coordinated to take full advantage of them. Mays’ huge triple valvesprings weren’t a good ft with the engine’s hydraulic fat-tappet cam. Pre-Rescue, Mays broke one of the engine’s as-equipped rocker arms but had fxed that problem himself by upgrading to a set of Crane Energizer roller rockers.

01 02

03 03] Revis doesn’t think the valvetrain issues caused the distributor gear failure, but they may have overwhelmed the original rockers. At least the engine builder took care to correctly align the pushrod guideplates to the AFD heads’ valve locations: Note how the ’plates were sectioned, then tack-welded back together (circle).


04] It’s unknown if this particular Mallory Unilite distributor originally came with a bronze gear, or whether the original owner had installed the bronze gear in response to a previous gear issue. 05] To aid in checking distributor drag, internal clearances, and free-play, Revis made an expedient checking fxture by turning down the damaged bronze gear teeth in the shop’s lathe to yield a perfectly smooth surface. Installing the distributor back in the block, he found no excessive rotational or clearance drag.

06] Maybe the block or distributor were wrongly machined? To fnd out, Revis measured the distance from where the distributor housing seats against the block to the bottom of the distributor gear. He checked the Mallory distributor against a standard parts-store replacement distributor. Both measured the same.




02] Excessive spring pressure likely caused Mays’ rocker arm failure. “There was enough spring to turn 10,000 rpm!” Revis says. “The lifters were adjusted down to almost nothing. In this case, I think it was plain adjuster error. But it does create more cam drag. With excessive oil pressure, this can hold the exhaust valve open too long and eventually burn a valve.”

crutch the problem [not the case on Mays’ car], it can break the bronze gear to the distributor.” Moving on to other issues, the huge valvesprings installed in the heads may have been purchased as part of a head-assembly package by the original owner, but they were monstrous overkill for a hydraulic flat-tappet cam. At a minimum, they’ll bleed-down the hydraulic lifters, causing a noisy valvetrain. That can also mess with the lash settings. In extreme cases, too much pressure can wipe out flat-tappet lifters and cam lobes. The pushrod length may also have been wrong for this combo. Nevertheless, in Revis’s opinion, Mays’ “rocker arm failure and the distributor gear problems aren’t related.” The rocker failure was most likely from the excessive valvespring pressure and improper valvetrain geometry; the gear problems—whenever they first started—were likely initiated by the highvolume oil pump.

THE FIX Revis attacked the problem from three axes: installing a modern, coordinated camshaft and valvetrain, changing to a composite distributor gear, and replacing the high-volume oil pump with a standard-pressure oil pump. In the valvetrain department, Comp Cams brought Mays’ Mustang into the 21st century, replacing the ancient flat-tappet hydraulic cam with a modern Magnum 290HR retrofit hydraulic-roller grind, beehive springs, and additional coordinated valvetrain components including the correct-length pushrods needed to establish proper valvetrain geometry with AFD’s heads and the new, taller, roller lifters . The new setup has proven much more streetfriendly than Mays’ old cam. Although it’s a roller, Comp manufactures the cam from a material compatible with stock distributor gears. However, doing his own research, owner Mays discovered Tri-Tec Motorsports had just released a carbon ultra-poly composite distributor



Ford Racing






07] This is Ford Racing’s ofcial gear location dimension. Don’t be shy about drilling an entire new shaft hole rotated 90 degrees from the existing hole if the dimensions are of. 08] The center of the gear’s roll-pin hole to the bottom edge where it contacts the block’s internal support boss measured the same for both the destroyed bronze gear, the gear from the parts-store distributor, and the new Hi-Tec polymer gear. 09] With the distributor bolted down, Revis checked the clearance between the bottom of the gear and the internal block support boss. It came out to 0.010 inch—Revis says anything from 0.010 to 0.020 is OK. You defnitely need at least some free play, or the assembly will bind. 10] Tri-Tec’s new lightweight polymer Cleveland distributor gear is compatible with any cam material. The rollpin hole comes only partially drilled to permit perfect fnal alignment on the shaft. Revis checked the original shaft hole to be in the right location, so he merely lined up the gear hole with the shaft-hole, then drilled through to the Mallory’s 3⁄16-inch pin-hole size. 11] Mays’ existing cam turned out to be an old custom Comp Cams dual-pattern hydraulic fat-tappet 286AH-10 custom grind originally developed to crutch the fow mismatch between an old 4V Cleveland head’s huge intake ports and poor exhaust ports. It wasn’t really the right ft for the better-balanced AFD heads and Mays’ otherwise mild intake and exhaust setup. 12] The old cam’s distributor drive-gear teeth were chipped. Once the cam gear gets damaged, Revis believes installing a new distributor gear is “like putting fresh brake pads on a tore-up rotor.” But it’s really a “chicken-andegg” conundrum—which caused the initial failure, an incorrect distributor gear damaging the cam, or a problem with the cam billet and/or gear machining?




Comp Cams


01] Perhaps the cam had excessive endplay? Revis checked the clearance between the timing sprocket boss plate and frst cam journal. At 0.004 inch +0.001 inch, “it miked identical to sample Ford production cams.” Different thrust plates and cam sprockets also checked within spec. At this point, we mailed the cam to Comp Cams for analysis. 02–03] Comp checked the old cam with its cumulative gear runout gauge fxture that measures runout, futter, and cumulative error. Comp shoots for under 0.007 inch total cumulative error on new-manufacture cams; the returned used cam was still under 0.010 inch, the point at which Comp engineer Billy Godbold says, “Durability issues would become evident.” Even with the scoured gears, the observed gear contact pattern—aka “futter”—was also within spec. Despite Mays’ huge valvesprings, the lobes checked OK, too. 04] Comp Cams upgraded the mismatched valvetrain with a modern Magnum 290HR hydraulic-roller grind, retroft hydraulic-roller lifters, beehive valvesprings with complementary retainers and keys, a three-keyway true-roller timing set, and correct-length Hi-Tech pushrods that develop the proper valvetrain geometry with the splayed-valve Cleveland heads and taller hydraulic roller tappets.

gear that fits the Ford 335-series (Cleveland and Modified) and 385-series (429/460 big-block) distributors. Previously available for more “mainstream” engines, poly-carbon gears have gained a following due to their light weight, no break-in requirement, and—most importantly, in this case—compatibility with any cam billet material. Tri-Tec was happy to contribute one for the Rescue. Revis buttoned the engine up using Fel-Pro performance gaskets, then broke in the new


cam and valvetrain on Havoline mineral oil and a WIX oil filter. After break-in, he final-filled the engine with “the good stuff”: Rotella 15W-40 diesel oil that still has lots of anti-scuff ZDP agents (although they’re not strictly needed with a roller cam), plus a premium Motorcraft performance oil filter whose bypass valve opens at a higher pressure than the valve in standard-replacement filters. Final warm-overs included “going over the valve lash twice. We adjusted the rockers to zero-

05] Comp’s selected Magnum retroft hydraulic roller is a single-pattern grind: Unlike original stock factory iron Ford heads from the muscle-car era, the improved AFD heads don’t need exhaust-side help. Revis prefers Red Line prelube for all of Motorsports’ new cam installs.


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lash, plus ¼ turn. We put in 12 degrees of initial lead at the crank, with a total of 36 degrees centrifugal at 3,600 to 3,800 rpm.”

284H-3 (1.73:1 / 106 ICL) 294H-3 (1.73:1 / 114 ECL) 3112 (1.73:1 / 106 ICL) 3112 (1.73:1 / 114 ECL)

0.650 0.600





The engine makes more power and torque on Motorsport Connections’ Dynojet chassis dyno. According to Revis, “The roller cam, standard oil pump, and lower-friction springs are all worth real power.” There have been no further distributor-gear issues. A pleased Mays says, “The car is much smoother in power; you can really tell the difference with that roller cam. Cold starts are better. It seems to be a little stronger; it has more torque. It runs hard!”

0.450 0.400 0.350 0.300



0.250 0.200 0.150 0.100 0.050 0.000

-270 -240 -210 -180 -150 -120 -90 -60 -30






120 150 180 210 240 270


Comp Cams

COMP CAMS SPECS FOR MAYS’ MUSTANG All values in degrees, unless otherwise stated.




BEFORE Hydraulic fat Old custom 286AH-10 32-315-4 290HR 32-541-8 AFTER Hydraulic roller Magnum





























LSA 110

















01] The 290HR Magnum retroft roller profle has less duration but more lift than Mays’ obsolete 290AH-10 fat-tappet hydraulic grind, developing more low-end torque and superior driveability. Today, retroft hydraulic-roller cams are available for bringing nearly any engine into the 21st century. 02] Comp’s Hi-Tech roller race timing set has a cast-iron cam gear and an induction-hardened billet steel crank sprocket with three keyways that permit retarding or advancing the cam 4 crank degrees. The true-roller chain is prestretched and heat-treated with large heavy-duty pins. For emissions compliance some stock replacement timing sets for Ford engines retard the cam. 03] Some traditionalists install a street cam 4-degrees advanced from its as-ground phasing to aid bottom-end response and/or compensate for longterm timing chain stretch. But like many Comp street cams, the Magnum’s intake lobe is factory-ground 4 degrees advanced—so Revis degree’d in the new bumpstick on-center.




[The new springs’ beehive confguration—narrower on top, wider on the bottom—requires less pressure for a given cam profle, reduces spring weight and mass, and permits a smaller, lighter retainer. Beehives are more stable with better harmonics. Their ovate spring-wire confguration increases spring life by handling stress more efciently and developing better heat dissipation.

LESSONS LEARNED When you buy a prebuilt hot rod, try to get the car’s complete info and history. If it’s your own car, keep detailed records in the

first place: Consider assembling a notebook containing a parts list, build sheets, and problem history. Take care when assembling an engine combo—so that it really performs as a combo. In this case, the springs were

wrong for the cam, the original cam wasn’t really a good fit for a regularly driven street car, and a high-volume oil pump was a poor choice for a street-driven Cleveland with a near-stock oil pan and oil system.

PARTS AND PRICES Includes the major parts required to fx the problem. Does not include miscellaneous small parts, labor, tuning, shipping, or sales taxes. Priced 11/13/14 and subject to change. All dimensions are in linear inches or fractions thereof unless otherwise noted.



OIL, engine, Havoline 10W-30, 1qt bottle (used for break-in) CAMSHAFT, Magnum retroft hydraulic-roller, 290HR, 2,500–6,000 rpm operating range LIFTER SET, hydraulic roller, small-block Ford 0.875 od, paired retroft-type w/ vertical link-bar LOCK SET, retainer-to-valve, Super Lock 10°, 1 groove, 11⁄32 valve stem, +0.050 installed height COMP CAMS PUSHROD SET, Hi-Tech chrome-moly, heat-treated, seamless, 5⁄16 od x 7.850 ol x 0.080 wall RETAINER SET, valvespring, 10°, 4140 chrome-moly steel, 1.095 od x 0.440 id, for 26120 spring TIMING SET, Hi-Tech, double-roller, 3-keyway, +4° advance/retard VALVESPRING SET, single beehive confguration, 370 lb/in rate DUPLI-COLOR PAINT, enamel w/ ceramic resin, gloss Ford blue, 12oz aerosol can (for engine touch-up) GASKET SET, exhaust header, 351C-2V, 1.56 x 1.98 ports, perforated steel core w/ antistick coating GASKET SET, intake manifold, 351C-2V, 1.50 x 2.12 port size, 0.060 thk, composite w/ Printoseal FEL-PRO GASKET SET, oil pan, 0.094 thk, rubber-coated fber GASKET SET, timing cover, blue stripe cork/rubber FORD ECCENTRIC, camshaft mechanical fuel pump drive, inner half w/ locking tab LOCTITE SEALANT, anerobic gasket-maker and fange-fller No. 518 red, 50ml tube MELLING PUMP, engine oil, standard-pressure/volume MOTORCRAFT FILTER, engine oil, performance, 22-psi relief-valve (used after break-in) RED LINE LUBRICANT, camshaft break-in and engine assembly, 4oz container SHELL OIL, engine, Rotella 15W-40, 1qt bottle (used after break-in) TRI-TEC GEAR, distributor driven, carbon ultra-poly composite, Ford 335-385 series engines WIX FILTER, Engine Oil (used for break-in) CHEVRON

*16/package; 32 required.




HAV 79630 32-541-8 8931-16 614-16 7974-16 795-16 3121 26120-16 DE1601 1430 1240 1811 TCS45061 Used 37394 M84A FL1HP 80312 SHE 550019905 PP3734-MB-467 51515

7 1 1 2* 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7 1 1

PRICE SOURCE COST NAPA $34.93 Summit $274.97 Summit $540.97 Summit $47.94 Summit $139.97 Summit $54.97 Summit $66.97 Summit $202.97 NAPA $6.49 Summit $19.97 RockAuto $17.77 RockAuto $12.81 RockAuto $9.57 Motorsport $10.00 NAPA $12.99 Summit $43.97 RockAuto $8.71 Summit $7.95 NAPA $37.03 Tri-Tec $125.00 RockAuto $4.35 TOTAL $1,680.30

[Revis noticed the foldover locating/locking tab was broken of on the inner half of the cam’s bolt-on mechanical fuel-pump eccentric (arrow). He later replaced it with a good used piece from the shop’s scrap pile when the new Comp timing set was installed.

COMMON FORD DISTRIBUTOR PROBLEMS If you’re having problems with your distributor in a Ford engine, the following are the most likely culprits, according to Ford Racing Performance Parts. For more detail on how to check for these problems, see the current Ford Racing parts catalog. Little or no shaft endplay: This has been found with both new and remanufactured distributors. Improper endplay may force the gear against the support in the block or hold it up of the support, causing damage. Incompatible gear material: The distributor gear must be compatible with your camshaft’s material. Consult your cam grinder if in doubt. Heavy-duty oil pump driveshaft clearance: Some heavy-duty oil pump driveshafts may not allow an EFI distributor to slide down far enough over the oil pump driveshaft. EFI distributors have a longer shaft below the gear. High-volume (HV) oil pump: HV pumps can cause abnormally high oil pressure and possible premature distributor gear wear. Poor fnish on camshaft drivegear: This can cause premature distributor gear wear. Wrong driven-gear height: Some new and remanufactured distributors may have the gear installed at the wrong height.

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AIRFLOW DYNAMICS AUSTRALIA PTY. LTD. (AFD); Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria, Australia; +61.408.705.942; COMP CAMS; Memphis, TN; 800.999.0853 or 901.795.2400;


18.0 17.0 16.0 15.0 14.0 13.0 12.0 11.0 10.0 9.0




350 330 310 290 270 250 230 210 190 170 150 130 110 90 70 50

2.1 2.4 2.7 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.5 4.8 5.1 5.4 5.7 6.0

ENGINE SPEED (RPM × 1,000) [On Maximum Motorsports’ Dynojet chassis dyno, at the rear wheels the Mustang’s 351C made 329.0 hp and 342.4 lb-ft of torque, a gain of 14.4 hp and 18.1 lb-ft over its as-received, pre-Rescue, confguration. Mays could use a better induction system to develop his AFD heads’ full potential—but then that Shaker hoodscoop would no longer ft right.

FEL-PRO, FEDERAL-MOGUL CORP.; Southfield, MI; 248.354.7700; FORD RACING PERFORMANCE PARTS; Dearborn, MI; 800.367.3788 or 313.621.0771; HAVOLINE, CHEVRON LUBRICANTS UNITED STATES; Houston, TX; 800.533.6571 (general) or 800.LUBE.TEK (tech); LOCTITE BRAND, HENKEL CORP.; Westlake, OH; 800.624.7767; MELLING ENGINE PARTS; Jackson, MI; 517.787.8172; MOTORCRAFT PARTS; Dearborn, MI; MOTORSPORT CONNECTIONS; Winston-Salem, NC; 888.463.2591 or 336.659.8988; NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE PARTS ASSOCIATION INC. (NAPA); Atlanta, GA; 800.538.6272; RED LINE SYNTHETIC OIL CORP.; Benicia, CA; 800.624.7958 or 707.745.6100; ROCKAUTO LLC; Madison, WI; 866.ROCKAUTO or 608.819.6350; ROTELLA, SHELL LUBRICANTS; Houston, TX; 800.237.8645; SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT; Akron, OH; 800.230.3030 (orders) or 330.630.5333 (tech); TRI-TEC MOTORSPORTS (TTM LLC); Swartz Creek, MI; 810.655.3900; WIX FILTERS; Gastonia, NC; 800.949.6698 (application hot line) or 704.864.6748 (customer service);

[Above: The Mustang still has the original Ford cold-air induction system. For safety, Revis “left the carb’s calibration a little fat. With Mays’ Shaker hood, on the highway you get a ram-air efect at speed that you won’t see on a chassis dyno. This may cause the engine to lean out on the top end.” He did adjust the choke one notch richer to address the cold-start issue. [Right: Mays’ questionable high-volume oil pump may have set the whole distributor-gear failure train in motion. Revis swapped it out for this Melling M84A standard-replacement oil pump. “The old screen transferred right over, but I tack-welded it in place for added security.”


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Bill Spizzirri From Schaumburg, Illinois Asks…

Where Does the “336” Come From in the Speed/RPM/Gear-Ratio/ Tire-Size Formula?

Marlan Davis

Q: A:

In the Oct. 2014 Pit Stop, you explained why horsepower and torque always cross at 5,252 rpm. And in the past you’ve published formulas for the relationship between miles per hour (mph), axle ratio, engine revolutions per minute (rpm), and tire size. But where does the “336” constant in that equation come from? Vehicle speed (mph), engine speed (rpm), tire diameter (inches), trans gear ratio, and rear axle gear ratio are all interrelated. If you know four out of five of these values, you can determine what the unknown value is (or what it needs to be to

achieve your desired goals). But to do that you have to convert different units of measurement to a common value: revolutions per minute to revolutions per hour, and inches to miles. There is also the conversion from rotary motion (cranks, gears, and axle shafts) to forward motion at the tire/ground contact patch, which is why you need to factor in tire diameter and circumference. The unreduced formula for finding vehicle mph involves multiplying engine rpm by the number of minutes in an hour (60) and multiplying the tire diameter by pi (π) to find the circumference of the tire in inches. Then multiply both of these individual products together, and divide by the overall

gear ratio times the number of inches in a mile (63,360). “336” is simply the reduced, rounded-off whole-number value of these various constant values. See the accompanying box for the unreduced equation and how it’s “reduced” to the form we use every day with its “336” constant. Unlike other versions of this formula you may have seen, I now include trans gear ratio as a factor. Back in the day, most transmissions were 1:1 in high gear, but today’s transmissions have overdrive high gears, so you need to factor that in as well. This also lets you solve for any trans gear, not just the top gear—which is helpful for determining optimal gear-ratio spreads.

[Moroso’s analog slide rule-style performance calculator (PN 89650) is still available today. The double-sided calculator let gearheads calculate with reasonable accuracy a wide range of performance factors. At the top on the front side is a scale for calculating weight/power ratio as well as quarter-mile e.t.’s and mph based on vehicle horsepower and weight. The bottom half is for fguring out the vehicle speed—engine rpm—gear ratio—tire size equation (assumes 1:1 trans high-gear). In this example, the calculator determined 4.10:1 rear gears, a 3,500-rpm engine speed, and 28-inch-od tires equate to 71 mph.


If you need to run multiple scenarios to hone in on a combo that meets your performance goals, I’d recommend putting the formulas into a spreadsheet or a programmable calculator. There’s also another option that dates back to the “BC” (Before Computer/Before Calculator) days: old-school analog (aka “hand-operated”) rectangular, slide

rule-like, power/speed calculators. Moroso still offers one of the most comprehensive ones, as shown in the photos below. There are also round variations that we used to call “dream wheels.” That style is still available from Iskenderian (PN RATIOCOMP). In a more modern vein, Summit Racing has an online gear-ratio calculator (link, right).

Contacts ED ISKENDERIAN RACING CAMS; Gardena, CA; 323.770.0930; MOROSO PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS; Guilford, CT; 203.453.6571 (general) or 203.458.0542 (tech); SUMMIT RACING ONLINE GEAR RATIO CALCULATOR; gear-ratio-calculator

DERIVATION OF MPH—GEAR RATIO—RPM—TIRE-SIZE EQUATION 1 Mile π Miles Engine Revs 60 Min 1 × (3.14159) × = × ×Tire Diam (In) × Min 1 Hr 63,360 In Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio Hr Engine Revs × Tire Diameter × 1 Mile × 188.496 = Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio × 1 Hr × 63,360 188.496


Engine Revs × Tire Diameter × 1 Mile × 188.496 Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio × 1 Hr ×

63,360 188.496

Engine Revs × Tire Diameter × 1 Mile Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio × 1 Hr × 336.13 RPM × Tire Diameter MPH ≈ [rounded-of] Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio × 336 The equation can be “flipped” as needed to solve for any one missing element. =


MPH × Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio × 336 Tire Diameter

Rearend Ratio = Trans Ratio =

RPM × Tire Diameter MPH × Trans Ratio × 336

RPM × Tire Diameter MPH × Rearend Ratio × 336

Tire Diameter =

MPH × Trans Ratio × Rearend Ratio × 336 RPM

[The fip side of Moroso’s calculator will give you engine displacement (based on bore, stroke, and number of cylinders) and compression ratio (based on chamber/cylinder TDC volume).



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2015 Mustang Springs Eibach // 800.507.2338 The Eibach Pro-Kit and Sportline springs feature progressive rates that were designed to ofer a lower ride height, reduced squat during acceleration, less body roll, less nose-diving during braking, and also better looks. The Pro-Kit lowers the front 1.1 inch and the rear 1 inch, while the Sportline springs drop the front 1.5 inches and the rear 1.3 inches. Price: $329

BY DESIgN Steve Strope’s “Black Ops” Fairlane Wins Ford Design Honors At The SEMA Show Noted builder Steve Strope (Pure Vision Design) pulled off a “three-peat” by winning a major design award at the SEMA Show for the past three years. Strope is a master at attention to detail. And ARP fasteners play an important role in how it all comes together. You should also know there are little design subtleties that set ARP polished stainless steel bolts and studs apart from the crowd. Reduced wrenching, large flanged, 12-point bolts are but one example. All ARP fasteners are proudly manufactured in-house to stringent AS9100 & ISO 9001 standards. Look for the “ARP” stamp on a fastener as your assurance of quality. And check out the new 2015 catalog to see what’s available for your ride.


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EcoBoost Chiller Vortech Engineering // 805.247.0226 // High intake air temperatures are the enemy of any forced-induction engine, so Vortech’s new charge-air cooler is sure to be popular with the EcoBoost Mustang crowd. Promising to drastically reduce heat saturation and be more efective than the factory charge-air cooler, Vortech’s charge-air cooler can support up to 1,000 hp and works with the factory plumbing, bypass valve, and temperature and manifold absolute pressure (TMAP) sensor. Price: TBD

Whoa Pony! Wilwood Disc Brakes 805.338.1188 // Using massive, 15-inch directional rotors and forged-aluminum, six-piston calipers, Wilwood’s Aerolite 6 brake kit for the 2015 Mustang is intended to ofer tremendous braking and the necessary cooling for aggressive track sessions. Designed to work with the factory anti-lock brake and vehicle stability controls, the kit includes all the hardware needed for a bolt-on installation Price: $2,038 (estimated)


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2015 MUSTANG BASELINE Fifty years after the car’s launch, the Mustang still inspires the aftermarket to tinker with it. We expect the 5.0L GT version to be the most popular car with hot rodders, but keep an eye on the performance of the 2.3L EcoBoost and 5.2L GT350 trim cars if you’re looking to build up a new daily driver.


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4/18/14 2:42 PM


The Power of the Gearhead T-Shirt Ed Iskenderian is credited with having invented or at least popularized the logoed T-shirt way back in 1949. In the subsequent 66 years, the car-guy shirt has become a significant point of study in gearhead anthropology, and you may not even realize it, but you’re a student. Tis dawned on me because these days I’ve been allowed out in the general public more ofen than I have in years, a departure from my natural habitat of like-dressed car guys. I realized that, when among a crowd of the washed masses, a car T-shirt easily identifes a member of our breed—a zebra among horses. Within our own herd, the nature of a guy’s shirt inadvertently positions him in the gearhead caste system. Car-Show Shirt: In SoCal, a typical show shirt has a drawing of two or three cars, maybe with a palm tree, and the date of the event. Tese designs tell everyone you’re a power park-’n’polish kind of guy. Retro Style: Dangerous ground here. Pinstriping, distressed lettering, iron crosses, vintage lettering—it can all mean that you truly live the retro lifestyle, but it could also mean you only recently jumped on that Von Dutch bandwagon. Make sure to match with pomade and PBR. Race Cars: Every semi-bigtime racer worth his pit spot has a T-shirt design. Wearing one of these sends the message that

you’re actually a racing insider, or at least you bought the shirt from someone who is. Where you have to be careful is when you wear your own name or car on a shirt. It’s kind of like when a band member wears his own concert shirt on stage. I’m totally guilty. Te Old Dragstrip Shirt: When you wear an Orange County Raceway shirt, and it’s all faded and threadbare, it’s obvious you bought that sucker at OCIR and never bought the reproduction. Instant cred. Not as much as the old guys who still have their Lions jacket, but close. Same applies to old event shirts, or really old speed-parts shirt (remember “Supported by Milodon” or the Center Line German-tank designs?). Trashed: Regardless of the style of T-shirt you choose, ATF stains and welding-spatter holes prove you’re hands-on. Wearing that shirt in public and not caring that you smell like 90-weight and pepperoni says you’re hard-core. Me, I used to collect T-shirts from all the places I’d been. It got to be way too much. I donated that OCIR shirt, gave away shirts from the frst few Power Tours, and threw away the battered ones. I’m down to HOT ROD, Roadkill, and 200 MPH Club. All black. But I still have my 1992 HOT ROD Fastest Street Car Shootout tee. hHOTROD.COM/David-Freiburger

[My most powerful garb.

BEHIND THE SCENES The Car Craft Summer Nationals has become the summer’s biggest street machine show, and it’s moving to get even bigger and with more features. The 2015 event is July 17–19 at the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin. Learn all about it under the Events tab on the new Drag Week™ and Engine Masters rules are out. See them under the Events tab at Did you know you can buy Roadkill T-shirts to support our web show? See MuscleCar Our sister titles in Irvine are moving their ofces down the street into a cool new place. Car I Most Wanted to Build on the Day I Wrote This Need Hellcat.

Best Instagram Pic This Month

[We have sooo many photos from Turner’s Auto Wrecking in Fresno, California, and they have been so popular that we’ve shot a pilot for a junkyard-exploring video show. Stay tuned to Facebook. com/HOTRODmagazine and Instagram @HotRodMagazine.

Coming Next Month:

HOT ROD’s First Engine Masters Challenge COMING

02.06.15 HOT ROD (ISSN 0018-6031), March 2015; Vol. 68, No. 3. Copyright 2015 by TEN: Te Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Published monthly by TEN: Te Enthusiast Network, LLC, 261 Madison Ave., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing ofces. Subscription rates for 1 year (12 issues): U.S., APO, FPO and U.S. Possessions $20.00. Canada $32.00. All other countries $44.00 (for surface mail postage). Payment in advance, U.S. funds only. *Trademark registered. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to HOT ROD, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.






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Ultra-High Performance

Grand Touring All-Season

Grand Touring All-Season



/ MAGZUS.COM / Hot rod march 2015  
/ MAGZUS.COM / Hot rod march 2015