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HRM0716

100 YEARS OF INDY 500

HOW RACE-CAR ENGINEERS OF THE FUTURE ARE MADE

0 5 A YE RS PLUS!

HOW TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD IN A 1937 CHEVROLET

Barn-Find Big-Block Barracuda

PG. 16

AMERICA'S NEW SUPERPOWER

HRM0716

WHY YOU’LL WANT TO EAT, SLEEP, AND RACE IN THIS 645HP VIPER ACR #SUPERCARKILLER

CRAZIEST LS SWAP

MIKE DUNN IHRA

TURBO AWD OLDS

FIRST RACE FORD GT

MCLAREN M8

JULY 2016

50 YEARS OF FUNNY CARS // DODGE’S NEW WING CAR // TAKE OVER THE WORLD IN A 1937 CHEVY

OF FUNNY CARS


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HOTROD.COM EVERY DAY

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ON THE COVER: Through the years, HOT ROD has had HOT ROD Test Cars and HOT ROD Specials. The Test Cars are for bolting parts onto, the Specials are for racing. This 2016 Dodge Viper ACR-HOT ROD Special is for winning the 100th Pikes Peak! Photo by Jorge Nunez.

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Contents 08] 100th Anniversary of Pikes Peak 10] Twin-Turbo Olds Can-Am Engine?!? 12] How Race-Car Engineers are Made 14] The HOT ROD Archives

CONNECT WITH US: HOTROD@HOTROD.COM

16] Big-Block Barracuda Barn Find 18] Voice of NHRA Now Running IHRA 22] Ford GT Working Out Bugs Before Le Mans 32] 50 Years of NHRA Funny Cars 42] Take Over the World in a 1930s Chevy 52] Eat. Sleep. Race. 2016 Viper ACR 64] Indy 500—100 Years of Innovation 72] Plus! Five Craziest Engines of the Indy 500 80] Chevy’s Aluminum Rat Motor McLaren 94] Wildest LS1 Swap You’ll Ever See 96] The V8 Corvette’s First Win in 1956 112] Best-Looking AV8 Roadster 118] How to Cure a Killed Viper Clutch 128] How Much Power Can a Gen III Hemi Take?


©2016 Edgewell

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PEDAL DOWN. PULSE UP.

EDITORIAL Network Content Director Douglas R. Glad Editor-In-Chief David Kennedy Managing Editor Phil McRae Senior Technical Editor Marlan Davis Staff Editor Thom Taylor Staff Editor Brandan Gillogly Staff Editor Elana Scherr Video Host and Producer Mike Finnegan Tech Center Manager Calin Head ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Creative Director Edwin Alpanian Digital Art Director Ryan Lugo ON THE WEB CarCraft.com CircleTrack.com ClassicTrucks.com HOTROD.com MoparMuscleMagazine.com MuscleCarReview.com StreetRodderWeb.com MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS VP, Manufacturing Operations Greg Parnell Archivist Thomas Voehringer

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NOW ANYTIME CAN BE GO-TIME. K&N ® High-Flow Air Filters ™ are designed to increase horsepower with up to 50% more airflow. And with five-minute installation, better performance doesn’t get much easier. Order yours online today. KNFILTERS.COM | 800-858-3333

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. Back issues: To order back issues, visit https://www.circsource.com/store/storeBackIssues.html. Any submissions or contributions from readers shall be subject to and governed by TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s User Content Submission Terms and Conditions, which are posted at http://enthusiastnetwork.com/submissions/. Copyright 2016 by TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

ADVERTISING General Manager Jeff Dahlin Associate General Manager Brian Cox Ad Operations Manager Christy Tryon 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 AM-advertising@enthusiastnetwork.com WEST Los Angeles: 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; Mark Dewey; Scott Timberlake; 310.531.9900 Irvine: 1821 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA 92705; 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: Jen Wittman, 310.531.9896 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 Chief Financial Officer Bill Sutman President, Automotive Scott Bailey EVP/GM, Sports & Entertainment Norb Garrett Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Anastas Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schwab Exec. Creative Director, Mind Over Eye Bill Wadsworth Chief Creative Officer Alan Alpanian Chief Content Officer Angus MacKenzie EVP, Operations Kevin Mullan SVP/GM, Performance Aftermarket Matt Boice SVP, Financial Planning Mike Cummings SVP, Automotive Digital VP, Editorial & Advertising Operations SVP, Aftermarket Automotive Content SVP, In-Market Automotive Content SVP, Digital, Sports & Entertainment SVP, Digital Advertising Operations SVP, Marketing

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STARTING LINE

America’s 240th Birthday In 2016, our nation celebrates its 240th birthday. The Indy 500 and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb celebrate 100th anniversaries, too. How does a brand like HOT ROD celebrate such occasions? We go racing. It’s been 30 years since HOT ROD sponsored a car at Indy and nearly 60 since we last competed at Pikes Peak. The Brickyard wasn’t quite ready for us to race a hot rod this year, but The Race to the Clouds still welcomes production-based cars, so that’s where you’ll find HOT ROD this summer. The last time we raced at Pikes Peak was in 1957, with the Unser family in a Ford Fairlane. That was the year Jerry Unser Jr. took First Place in the Super Stock class with the words “HOT ROD Special” on both fenders. For our return to the mountain, I think it’s only fitting we bring a late-model car to run in a Super Stock class—in our case, a mountain-motored 2016 Dodge Viper ACR prepped to run in the Time Attack. We wanted the V10 Viper [The 8.4L V10 ACR because it’s the modernmountain motor in the day equivalent of a 1969 Dodge Viper ACR Charger Daytona. The ACR is makes 645 hp, Dodge’s new wing car and was but if I have built to slay supercars and hypermy way, we’ll be packing cars costing 10 times as much. a little more Behind the wheel, we’ll put our than that testdriver, Kevin Wesley—a guy come June 26, I read about in magazines for 10 2016.

years before I ever met him. Wesley has been my go-to guy for ontrack performance testing of the current Dodge Viper, Z06 Corvette, Z/28 Camaro, and GT350R Mustang. Wesley also comes with a track record of racing hot rods. He’s the guy who won Car & Driver’s One Lap of America in 1999 in a mid-engine, LS1powered Mosler Raptor. But even more impressive is that he came in Fourth Place overall two years earlier in that event in a 1969 Plymouth Valiant built by Richard Ehrenberg of Mopar Action. Wesley has never raced at Pikes Peak, but giant killing is clearly on his resume. Much has changed on the mountain since HOT ROD was last there. The 156-turn course is now entirely paved. It’s faster, and the competition is more technically advanced than ever before. Our effort begins with shaking the Viper ACR down in both Arizona (track testing) and Michigan (cold-weather tire testing). Next we’ll cage the car and get Wesley into his driver training through both simulation and on-track preparation for the effort. Look to HOTROD. com and the Oct. 2016 issue of HOT ROD for the build-up and the Dec. 2016 issue for our 2016 Pikes Peak race coverage, or join us on the mountain top June 20–26, 2016, to celebrate. hHOTROD.COM/David-Kennedy

Jorge Nunez

CONNECT WITH US: HOTROD@HOTROD.COM 8 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

IN MY OPINION Great Quote “Well, I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with the edge of my hand.” — Jimi Hendrix, from Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Best Wishes This is Digital Art Director Ryan Lugo’s final issue of HOT ROD. His creativity, great attitude, and strong work ethic will be severely missed. We wish him the best of luck. HOT ROD Unboxed You can thank my daughters for bringing the time sink of unboxing videos to the hot rod world. After watching them study toys being stripped of their packaging on YouTube, I figured we also needed to see cool parts unpackaged. Think of HOT ROD Unboxed as our newproduct section for the 21st century. Find it by Googling “HOT ROD Unboxed YouTube.” Carbon-Fiber 9-Inch Housing I’ve seen carbon-fiber wheels, carbonfiber chassis, and more carbon-fiber fashion items than I’d like to—but what I want to see is a carbon-fiber Ford 9-inch housing. Email me if you’re working on one: David. Kennedy@ HOTROD.com.

hHOTROD.COM/Brandan-Gillogly

Although I’d love to add racing Pike’s Peak to my resume, I can’t say I envy Kevin Wesley’s spot in the driver seat. I’d much prefer something a bit slower for my first run. The last time I went to the top was via cog railway, so there’s a lot of middle ground.

hHOTROD.COM/Elana-Scherr

Having just been in a lousy rental car, I understand why most people hate driving and hate cars. Sure, almost every new car will get you to a destination, but if the entire journey is an exercise in boredom and hard plastic, then what’s the point? I’ll risk the occasional breakdown in return for an adventure every day.

hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor

Nostalgia Top Fuel (frontengine) dragsters have more than become their own animal and continue to be as entertaining as any “professional” class in drag racing. Why not elevate them to NHRA series racing alongside Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock?


9/11-9/17 2016

HOT ROD Drag Week® is back for the 12th annual event! That’s right, the original event where streetlegal drag racers run five quarter-mile events in five days at four different tracks, driving their cars 1,000+ miles along the way. Don’t miss the fastest street cars in the world as they compete to break into the 5 second club! Look out for last year’s winner Tom Bailey, Drag Weekend winner Jeff Lutz, and other fan favorites like Dave Schroeder, Joe Barry, Bryant Goldstone, Tom McGilton, plus many more. Exciting time for sure!

SUNDAY

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TUESDAY

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• RACE DAY 1

• RACE DAY 2

• RACE DAY 3

• RACE DAY 4

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• RACE DAY 5 • FINALS

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SEPTEMBER 16 NOON-9PM NATIONAL TRAIL RACEWAY HEBRON, OH SPECTATORS: $15

SPECTATORS: $10 ** CHILDREN 12 AND UNDER ARE FREE WITH PAID ADULT

Catch all the live action in person or follow it on HOTROD.COM/EVENTS


WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

The Other Aluminum Big-Block and the Four-Wheel-Drive Can-Am Car It Ran In

HOT ROD Archives

The Can-Am racing in the 1960s was crazy-time. As close to unlimited road racing as there has ever been, all of the car companies knew you could sell a boatload of cars on Monday by winning on Sunday. Oldsmobile wanted in on that action. Olds had the rep at GM as the “engineering” division and had debuted the monster V8 front-wheel-drive Toronado in 1966. It wanted to expand on its public persona by biting into the Can-Am enchilada. So while most teams were running either small-block Fords

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or Chevys in 1966 Can-Am, Olds snuck in a couple of its own small-block Olds engines in McLaren M1B chassis—and even a Lola, to get its feet wet and see how it fared. Qualifying for most races in that 1966 season, and in the hunt for placing in many of those competitions, it ended the year with fairly good results. 1967 and 1968 were not great years for Olds in Can-Am, but it hung in with 1969 promising to be a goldmine with the introduction of its aluminum 455ci engine and the promise

of two aces in the hole: twinturbocharging and a fourwheel-drive Mike McKee Mk 7/2 space-frame chassis rechristened as the Mk10. Crazy. HOT ROD gave a sneak peek of the all-aluminum 455 on the July 1969 cover, with details inside, though the info on the whole 4WD system was minimal. But we now know that McKee incorporated an Olds ST-300 Jetaway variable-pitch stator transmission from its A-body Cutlass. The small and lightweight trans was modified to give four forward speeds

with the pitch fixed in either high or low. This allowed for a cornucopia of gear ratios to give fine-tuning for the variables of each racetrack. This was mated to a Ferguson four-wheel-drive transfer case. Other than steel sleeves and four-bolt mains, the engines were standard 455 blocks, but made from cast aluminum with a 4.125-inch bore. The crank was a Toronado 455ci forging with 4.250-inch stroke, spinning 8.50:1 Forgedtrue pistons and Carrillo rods. The heads were also aluminum, with reworked intake runners and cast without heat risers. Crower valves and a 320-RD cam were used with 320-degree intake and exhaust duration and 0.555-inch lift, bounced with aluminum roller tappets. Slightly modified stock exhaust manifolds turned backward fed two TRW 375 E10 turbos set at 10.5 psi of boost ramming air through Lucas mechanical fuel-injection set up on a special one-off, cast-aluminum intake manifold. An electronic distributor was located with an adaptor at 90 degrees. The Mk12 was set up for Group 7 Can-Am specs, featuring a 97-inch wheelbase on a space frame of mild steel with a fiberglass nose and body with aluminum sills. The suspension was made up of independent A-arms front and rear. Though in testing it pulled away from the competition in the straights—and corners, too—the brakes were insufficient for the more than 700hp launches, even in this lightweight setup. Testing continued through the end of August without attempting to qualify for a single race, and when GM management told the general manager of Olds, John Beltz, to cool it, Olds’ hopes of ever conquering Can-Am died. hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor


RODDIN’ @ RANDOM

Hot Rod Anything!

Formula SAE Builds the Race Car Engineers of Tomorrow

Juan Carrizosa

The concept behind the Society of Automotive Engineers Formula SAE competition was launched in 1978, and since then has pitted teams of undergraduate and graduate college students from around the world against each other in timed and judged competition.

Formula SAE begins with the premise that the competitors are developing a run of 1,000 cars to market to weekend racers. As such, each team must develop a business case that takes engineering and construction into consideration. Teams must submit a bill of materials,

DO YOU HOT ROD EVERYTHING? 12 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

a design report, and a presentation to juries made up of racing and automotive industry experts who score the teams. These static events make up 325 of the possible 1,000 points in the competition. The remainder of the points are awarded based on the results of the

dynamic events: Acceleration on a 75-meter course, cornering ability as measured on a skidpad, handling using a solo run on an autocross, and a final 13.7-mile race to test endurance and efficiency. Teams must design and build race cars that are safe, fast, and

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: HOTROD@HotRod.com.


Tubing is bent and laser-notched offsite. Once they return, the main structural pieces are placed into a jig and TIG-welded by students. Then the suspension, engine, steering, and pedal mounts can be welded in place.

For strength and driver safety, 1-inch-diameter tubing is welded into triangulated joints that form a driver compartment that must fit a 95th-percentile male.

The 2015–2016 Formula SAE competition has a 178-page rulebook, because engineers and racers love finding loopholes.

Vehicle weight, balance, and cornering loads are factored in to the design of the suspension geometry.

Much like custom cars are built starting from the wheel and tire package, students begin with 18-inch-tall tires mounted to 11-inch wheels on a 60-inch wheelbase and 48-inch track width and build in from there, modeling the car using computer-aided drafting (CAD). ENGINE ECU THE CATCH

[The FIU team, from left to right, starting at the back row: Juan Carrizosa, Hector Trujillo, Jose Tormo, Brian Garcia, Juan Trujillo, Juan Acosta, and Ryan Sheffield. Seated: Allain Fagundo, Luis Rojas, Victor Raymond (in the driver seat), Yussimil Libera, and Jorge Coria.

fuel efficient and are encouraged to try new ideas and methods of construction to seek an edge. For the 2016 competition, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) student chapter at Florida International University (FIU) is campaigning this car. We spoke to Hector Trujillo and Danny Oliva, the vice president and president of FIU’s SAE chapter, about their car. For an example of some of

the construction methods used, the body is designed around a CAD model of the chassis with an emphasis on lightweight and low drag. Oliva explains, “After that, many possible nosecone iterations are run through computational fluid dynamics [CFD] software in order to predict which design will have the least amount of drag. Lastly, a small, 1⁄10-scale, 3-D-printed model can be made to verify

that our results from the computer correlate with real-life test results in the lab on a wind tunnel at our university.” When the body design is finalized, a CNC router carves a fullsize model from foam blocks that is then used as a blank to make a mold for a carbon-fiber body. Large sheets of carbon fiber are vacuum-formed in the mold to create the final body panels. hHOTROD.COM/Brandan-Gillogly

2009 Yamaha YFZ 450R 450cc one-cylinder, five-valve, four-stroke. The maximum engine size allowed is 610 cc, but smaller engines allow for lower weight and better fuel economy. Performance Electronics PE3 Formula SAE competition rules require a 20mm restrictor after the throttle for gasoline engines and 19mm for E85 engines. Danny Oliva, a senior working on the team, told us they worked to design, “a custom intake manifold that not only is packaged well but is optimized to give us the same horsepower and torque figures as a stock throttle.”

Readers’ Projects Want to share your car with the whole world? Send photos and info to HOTROD@HotRod.com.

Scott Buchholz // Oak Ridge, New Jersey

Ken Bergren // Peoria, Arizona

Scott Buchholz’s 1983 Malibu Wagon started as a bench- Ken Bergren and his incredible 1974 Chevy Custom deluxe seat, V6, automatic car. After a two-year transformaentered the 2016 HOT ROD Drag Weekend. His next goal is tion, the wagon now sports an LS backed by a T56 trans. to attend HOT ROD Drag Week™.

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RODDIN’ @ RANDOM

The HOT ROD Archives

1996 20 YEARS AGO

HOT ROD Archives

1976

July 1996 (132 pages, $3): Yes, that’s the world’s first Camaro project car being tortured just as it was two decades earlier—by the same sadistic driver, ex-Editor Jim McFarland (who paid full sticker, $3,639.52, at the end of HRM’s year-long loan). Inside, Jeff Smith modified the 1996 Z28 successor with basic bolt-ons similar to those installed by his ancestors and reported an altitude-corrected 13.91 seconds at 100 mph (versus 14.56 seconds at 98 mph in late 1966). Editor Drew Hardin’s staff must’ve been feeling nostalgic during whatever editorial meeting conceived Gray Baskerville’s illustrated history of thrust-powered LSR cars and Jeff Smith’s comparisons of 1960s’ speed parts to contemporary pieces. (Well done, gents!)

40 YEARS AGO

July 1976 (118 pages, $1): Future historians seeking documentation of mid-1970s hot rodding will appreciate a diversified package that began with European Mercury Capris and closed with Publisher Holly Hedrich’s account of participating in a 50-man “van cram” at his first truck-in. Gray Baskerville produced archive photos of his personal “World’s 10 Greatest Hot Rods” and C.J. Baker, the king of tech tips, delivered 150 backyard beauties, individually subtitled “Better Bleeder,” “Foreplay,” “No Slack, Jack, ” and so on. The low point, journalistically, was a 25-year NHRA history reading like a press release. Skeptics suspected that the bylined “Bart Paul” was really NHRA executives Dick Wells and/or Wally Parks, both former HRM staffers.

60 YEARS AGO

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ITED UNLIM E ARCHIV ! ACCESSry issue

ge of eve r Every pa me One, Numbe lu o V ce n si 8) can bem4 19 . n a One (J latinu nline by P T viewed o mbers of the HO e m l leve n up at ig S . b lu ROD C tRod.com. Club.Ho

July 1956 (76 pages, 25¢): HOT ROD did its part to preserve Ford’s flathead this month. Ray Brock’s tech article broke down the ArkusDuntov brothers’ aluminum cylinder heads that extended the engine block’s competition life beyond the factory’s 1953 expiration date. Motor Trend’s Bob D’Olivo shot the cover and accompanying B&W feature on the car voted America’s Most Beautiful Competition Roadster at Oakland this year. Dave Marquez, whose lift-off steel body detached from a ’32 Ford frame with four wing nuts, ran 130 mph on 75-percent nitro. Racer Brown covered T-birds ranging from a new stocker to Chuck Daigh’s 130-mph, streamlined Daytona Beach roadster. hDave Wallace


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Automotive Archaeology Factory Big-Block Barracuda—Found On Jackstands We’d heard stories about this Barracuda for years. Its one the owner used to drive to the Mopar Nationals and cruise around in every year. It’s not just any Barracuda, either; this one is a real ground-pounder: a factory 1967 Barracuda Formula S, with a 383ci big-block and a four-speed. It’s the first year of the bigblock in a Mopar A-body, and this one was built to be a screamer.

The Plymouth had been laid up for a while with a small engine issue, according to the owner. The car has sat on jackstands ever since. Stuff has piled up under it and around it, but the engine is there and has reportedly been fixed, and it’s now waiting for the owner to get the thing sorted out and back on the streets. That wasn’t the only thing the Barracuda’s Ryan Brutt

16 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

owner showed us in the garage. He had a collection of vintage Mopar items, including some rare floormats, pins, and a Mopar Master Technician socket wrench set in a foam carrier. “This summer we’ll get this thing on the road from its deep slumber,” the owner said. You’d better. We’ll hold you to that. hRyan Brutt


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RODDIN’ @ RANDOM

Take 5 With

MIKE

DUNN hHOTROD.COM/Thom-Taylor

HRM] What makes a Funny Car driver and on-air analyst a good choice for overseeing a racing sanctioning body? MD] I asked the CEO, Chris Lencheski, the same question. He’s got a vision, and there are definitely things I can do to help that—like moving into an international presence and bringing back Top Fuel, I can help with strategy and

18 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

having a better package in 2017. We’re looking to go after a new audience with a younger demographic, and looking at Lencheski’s plan for how he wants to get the younger demo made perfect sense to me. I know being the face of the organization I’ll be shaking hands and kissing babies, but the one thing I understand is that you need great people around you that report to you, and you continue managing. HRM] What’s in Lencheski’s plans? MD] Chris is hiring some good people, and there is going to be a lot of restructuring and changes and good things happening on the administration side. We’re not going to make any great changes on the racing side this year, but next year with bringing back Top Fuel and going international, we’re taking small steps. It’s a five-year plan, but in three years if we’re not going in the right direction, I’ll probably be looking for another job. But I believe in the plan and in taking the IHRA to another level and bringing in some new fans, which would be good for the entire sport. HRM] Will the IHRA own Top Fuel teams and then lease them out, so to speak? MD] We are in a number of discussions about different aspects of what we want to do, so I can’t elaborate now, but I will say we are looking more at a Formula 1 Concorde-type of agreement with the teams, though it won’t be exactly like that. [Editor’s note: Formula 1 Concorde agreements are confidential, but in effect obligate the teams to participate in every race, which brings consistency to the package, making the series more

Bryan Epps

Mike Dunn is like a cat with nine lives. He started out racing with his dad, “Big” Jim Dunn—who still fields a Funny Car team— then moved on to driving Funny Cars professionally (10 national wins), before jumping into Top Fuel dragsters in 1991 (12 wins) for a combined 22 event wins in his driving career. In 2002 he retired as a Top Fuel driver, becoming an analyst on all NHRA drag races broadcast on ESPN. When his contract was not renewed after 14 years with the NHRA’s switch to FOX Sports, Dunn made another about face to become the president of the struggling International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). We say “struggling,” but the IHRA is owned by an investment company with access to billions of dollars. So there are plans for investment and a major overhaul of the IHRA. We caught up with Dunn a few weeks before IHRA’s first race of the 2016 season in Orlando. Dunn is candid, down-toearth, and positive about IHRA’s future prospects.


attractive to broadcasters buying the broadcasting rights. The teams are then guaranteed a percentage of that commercial revenue.] Taking the series overseas means increased costs, and though right now it’s a bit of a moving target, we would have Top Fuel run all of the events both here and internationally in 2017. For the other classes, we would keep the current format the way the Nitro Funny Cars are run, Nitro Motorcycles, Pro Mod, and Pro Stock. Initially, they will probably run in the North American series because of the cost of running internationally. But we’ll take the “D1” series, which is what we will brand the new Top Fuel series, and take them internationally to complement whatever class structures they have in each country. As the series grows, if there’s demand for other classes, we will bring them along. We have the basic structure for the plan we want to do, but obviously, a lot of it is going to be based on the global licensing and broadcasting agreements. It’s going to take time—it’s not going to happen overnight. HRM] So will the emphasis be expanding outside of the United States to the exclusion of expanding inside the United States? MD] We don’t want to go head to head against the NHRA, but if there are some good venues and tracks in other places in the United States, we would look at expanding, but we are looking to expand in Canada because there are some good venues there. We have looked at all of our tracks and all of the venues, and we want to keep the series to 16 races next year, but realistically we are looking at 12 to 14 races right now. HRM] Most, but not all, of your races are in more remote, smaller markets. With the loan debt assumed by the previous administration, can you pay that down with smaller markets? MD] Especially in Canada, the smaller tracks draw well, and just because it’s not situated in a heavily populated area doesn’t mean it can’t draw. Some of those areas draw very well because, quite frankly, there isn’t a lot to do. Our next race is in Orlando, and I’ll be there talking to the fans and racers to see how we can improve things. There’s room to improve, even though I feel IHRA does a good job. IHRA has always had a great Sportsman series,

and I want to make it second to none— which I understand is a lot easier to do than taking the D1 series internationally. Obviously, IHRA has lost a lot of money and right off the bat Lencheski dropped two races this year off of the schedule, which created a lot of controversy. We’re going to lose money this year, but not as much as in previous years, and then next year we are looking to make money. There will be more OEM involvement, which I think would be really exciting. There are a number of initiatives we have to make it better for the teams, the sponsors, and the tracks, which will be good for drag racing and the fans—hey, don’t I sound like a president? [Laughs] Where did Mike Dunn go? Look, I have a lot to learn from the managerial side, but we’ve really got a good team. I’ve never shied away from a challenge, and I’ve found that the hardest things I’ve done have been the most rewarding. HRM] NHRA has had trouble filling 16-car fields throughout pro drag racing, how is the IHRA going to do any better? MD] Great question. First of all, we are going to be eight-car shows. But we will have two house cars, which will be owned by the IHRA, with a crew chief and full crew to run them. There’s a lot of good drivers on the wayside right now—Whit Bazemore, Larry Dixon, Melanie Troxal, Spencer Massey—to spice up the show, so we’re looking at bringing them in on a personal services contract to come in and drive, which means there will be six teams left. The next thing is we are going to go over the schedule to make sure there are no conflicts in scheduling because, to be honest, we don’t expect all of the Top Fuel teams to say, “Oh, look let’s run all of the IHRA events,” and also I don’t want to do that. They [NHRA] have a good show over there, so I don’t want to take from that. I envision once we get this all together we can sit down and say what the purse will be and maybe we’ll get some of the teams to say they would send a team over to see what would happen. Also, teams are always looking for young drivers, so a Kalitta or Shumacher or Force might say, “Hey, I’ve seen this young driver, lets put him into the IHRA series and see how he or she does.” If we go into Brazil or Australia, they will want to be down there and that will drive a lot of teams to put a car in our series because their sponsors want to

be there. And with fewer races in the series, it will cost less, and so our challenge is to make the value better in the overall series to make the numbers work for the racers. HRM] As new president, what’s your number one challenge? MD] The biggest challenge for me is to make the IHRA viable as an international series—that’s the goal. It’s not going to be easy, but Lencheski knows how to monetize the sport in a way that will benefit the racers, associations, and sponsors. As IHRA grows, so will our teams, our sponsors, and member tracks. We’ve already started by signing Suzy DaSilva with Los Angeles–based Competitive Edge Media and Marketing to assist all IHRA membership tracks and future partners with media planning and strategic communications. HRM] Lencheski has said the problem with the IHRA isn’t a drag-racing issue, it’s a consumption issue. What does he mean? MD] Here’s the thing, I’m a Funny Car quarter-mile racer—it’s my roots, my love, and my passion. I’ll be 60 in September. That’s what our core fan likes. I took my 18-year-old son with me to the Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield a couple of years ago, I was the Grand Marshal. It reminded me of when I was a kid going to Lions Drag Strip or Irwindale and watching from the stands, and I loved it. He liked it and likes cars, but he didn’t get what it was all about. Kids want to be engaged in the process, so the consumption part is how are we going to involve that young person and new fans about what is happening on the racetrack, as opposed to guys like me that like seeing eighth-mile burnouts and a quarter-mile run watching from the stands—and we’re going to have that, by the way. We want to engage them in the race, not just that race, not the run, but the whole race, and I think we have the plan to do it. HRM] Any hard feelings toward NHRA? MD] No, absolutely not. It was a decision FOX made. They wanted to go in a different direction, and they hired a guy that wanted to take it in a different direction. I’m not best friends with him, but I have no animosity toward the NHRA. Everything I have in my life, I owe to drag racing, and a big part of that was NHRA, though I’ve raced IHRA and other series, too. That would be

TOP FUEL DRIVING NOW AND THEN

I’ve got the Force syndrome, I start talking and then go off in a different direction.”

— Mike Dunn

“One of the reasons we were able to make superstars back in the older days was that track prep was nonexistent, so the driver had to run on asphalt, concrete, 10-foot prep, bad tracks. The driver made a big difference. I like that aspect from the old days. Those drivers who were not so good, the track came to them— the tracks they could handle they did well, but they couldn’t race well on all tracks. All of those different racing surfaces you had to be able to drive, and with inand-outs or two-speed transmissions or whatever. So the driver was bigger in the equation than they are today. Today the crew chiefs try to take the variable away from the driver. “Would I like to be driving now? At this point, no—those days have passed me. To drive once or twice? Sure, but the desire to race a 24-race series, no. To be competitive, would I really have it and still want to do this? You gotta have that fire, and that’s why John Force is so amazing, that he still has that passion, he’s still driven. Look, I can hang with the kids, but old guys like us we need a bit of recovery. Getting up in the morning, it takes a little longer. The aging process means it takes a little longer to do things and you can’t do it quite as often.”

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 19


RODDIN’ @ RANDOM

like saying I have animosity toward the sport. I love drag racing, and even if there were some personal reasons why certain people didn’t like something I said on TV or it benefited someone that didn’t like me, if it was for the good of drag racing, I would say it. HRM] Can people be members of both IHRA and NHRA? MD] I don’t know, but as a past winner in NHRA, I’m entitled to a hard card for every race, so maybe we’ll see, though I don’t know whether I’ll have time with everything I have to do for the IHRA this season. HRM] Can tracks? MD] No, but the Professional Drag Racers Association [PDRA] and Arizona Drag Racing Association [ADRL] and all of those can run both IHRA and NHRA events— though an NHRA event can’t run at an IHRA track, and vice versa. HRM] Will IHRA be quartermile racing? MD] We are looking at that because some of the member tracks are eighth-mile tracks and some of the tracks we’re looking at overseas might not be set up to run quarter-mile, so we’re looking into that. If we do eighth-mile overseas, then we’d be looking at unleashing over 300 mph in the eighth-mile. We want to be flexible and not say we will or won’t do only certain-length races. HRM] How did you feel about NHRA’s decision to go to 1,000 feet in 2008? MD] I’m a quarter-mile Funny Car guy, but I understand. It’s not my cup of tea, but I’ve promoted it since 2008. You know, it’s better to run 1,000 feet or eighth-mile than not at all. The reality is you either have to slow the cars down or shorten the track, there’s no two ways about it. Do you want unregulated cars running out there, because the truth is these cars are capable of running over 360 mph right now. Let’s be honest, those that say, “Well 1,000foot racing is real racing because it’s unregulated,” well, you’ve got rev-limiters from eighth-mile to the 1,000-foot mark, so these cars are not unlimited.

HRM] How do you feel about buying a seat in drag racing? MD] I blame the crew chiefs for that; I hate that they do 50-foot burnouts on the throttle stop. The crew chiefs say, “Well, the clutches won’t be right if they do a burnout.” Well, what they’re doing is taking the driver out of the equation. One of the things I used to tell them and they didn’t like hearing was to take the throttle stop off and let the driver do a burnout, and the crew chiefs would say, “Well, I’d have to put 21⁄2 inches of throttle travel in the car,” and I’d say, “Well, if you could have a driver that could handle 1 inch of throttle, then that would improve their reaction time and make for a better driver.” The air gap in the clutch—the difference is between putting three grams more or three grams less of clutch—you adjust, as my dad always used to say. Drivers used to do these nice, long, smoky burnouts and wouldn’t use much of the clutch, and I know it heats the clutch and changes the tune, but you can adjust for that. One of the funniest things I saw was when Bruce Smith had the Four-Wide races when they wanted to have an exhibition of the Four-Wide with the losers from the first round. John Force was one of the Funny Cars and said, “Yeah I’ll do it.” So Force is out there and he knows it’s not a race, so he does this 800-foot burnout and backs the car up and wins the race and makes the quickest run of the weekend, and I thought, “Well, where’s your argument for short burnouts after that?” And it also goes back to drivers paying for rides. I was on the backside of that, where if you had talent, a driver could actually make some money driving. HRM] Why did you quit drag racing? MD] [Laughs] I needed a job. My Funny Car ride ended in 1991 and the only ride that came along was in Top Fuel. I got my Top Fuel license in Jack Clark’s Top Fueler and ran three races. 1993 came along and Darryll Gwynn was looking for a driver and some sponsor money to go with it, and I had a sponsor, La Victoria. So they got together with the spon-

sors Gwynn had. When that deal ended in 2001, there were some opportunities to continue racing, but they were not of the caliber I wanted to do. Part of it was I had been racing long enough that I thought if I can’t be in contention for the championship, and the TV deal was there because I had already gone to do an audition, so when that came up I signed a one-year deal with ESPN just to make sure. Once the renewal came up, I looked at what was out there for a driver and you could see the transition already taking place where the driver was becoming less important to the aspect of racing—and don’t get me wrong, you need a very good driver to win today, someone like Antron Brown—but I could have maybe gotten into a top-five car, but without the chance of getting a championship. I looked at that and took the TV deal because I just couldn’t be the best that I thought I could be driving a car. HRM] Would you have driven for your dad? MD] No, because my dad didn’t like paying for drivers and I didn’t like driving for nothing. My dad was my crew chief in 1991 on the Top Fuel car and that was definitely great racing with him. I don’t know if he liked me being his boss, though. HRM] What were you looking to do after it became clear your broadcasting contract wasn’t going to be renewed? MD] When this job came up, I was at the PRI Show looking to run a nostalgia Funny Car. I have friends that wanted me to come over and drive, so I was looking around to see what I could bring to a team, and then sell my T-shirts and pay my bills. After I saw that I wasn’t going to have the TV deal, I thought I’d take a year off and do some mountain-bike riding, which I still love to do, and I was going to look around and see what opportunities were out there and then, suddenly, this offer came up. For about six weeks, there was a lot of conversation back and forth between Lencheski and myself and I didn’t want to take this on unless I knew that I could succeed.


Far From Failure: What Racing the Ford GT Does for Ford Despite a Rough Start, Ford Hopes a Racing Program and a $400,000 Street Car Will Improve All of its Products Elana Scherr

Alex Wong and Elana Scherr

hThe new Ford GT was designed in secrecy. Only people crucial to the project even knew there was a project. Meetings were held after normal working hours and were discussed in code, with no placement on official shared calendars. The design room was locked with a physical padlock rather than the standard keycard, so even operations managers didn’t know there was anything going on in the basement. The engineers risked their relationships by keeping the secret from their friends and spouses. The vast majority of Ford employees only learned about the car a day before its debut at the

22 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

2015 Detroit Auto Show. Soon after the unveiling, Ford announced it would race the GT and take it back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, hopefully to recreate its famous 1966 win on the 50th anniversary of that triumph. It will be an awesome photo op, but for Ford, racing the GT is more than a PR stunt. It’s a chance to test new technologies in the fire of actual competition, on a global stage. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is still a big deal, and winning it would be a triumph for Ford, which wants its products to be compared to BMWs and Porsches in the minds of international car shoppers.


[The 2016 24 Hours of Daytona marked Ford’s return to a factory-backed GTLM race team. It’s a lot of money and heartache to race a brand-new car. Why are they doing it?

We went to the first competitive effort for the Ford GT—the 2016 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. It didn’t go well. The results—7th and 9th in an 11-car class and 31st and 40th overall—were hardly what Ford fans or Ganassi Racing were hoping for. The first gearbox issue struck the No. 67 car just 20 minutes into the 24-hour race, sending driver Ryan Briscoe into the garage with the car stuck in Sixth gear. There were hopes it was an isolated incident, a bad solenoid, and Briscoe was optimistic after the car was sent back out on track. The No. 66 car avoided trouble for longer, with driver Joey Hand swap-

ping the class lead with the Porsche and Ferrari teams for several hours until a mistake during a pit stop damaged a brake line. From then on, things just got worse for both GT teams. A loose diffuser cut two tires on the No. 67 before it was pinpointed as a problem. Gearbox gremlins kept reappearing, slowing, and even stranding the cars on track. The teams kept repairing and returning to the race, but frustration was evident on every face, and the drivers went from setting the class’s race pace, to just trying to make it to the checkered flag.

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 23


FAR FROM FAILURE

Online response has been brutal, with plenty of keyboard crew chiefs holding up Ford’s problem-plagued race as proof that the program is a failure. On this, we disagree. The number of new race cars that have won their first race out wouldn’t fill a jury box, so this is normal brand-new baby problems. Sure, 2016 is the anniversary of the GT40’s 1966 Le Mans win, but everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten that the car made its first track appearance in 1964, and that first outing—and every one afterward until the MkII in 1966—were disasters (coincidentally, often gearbox-related disasters). We know that when it’s running, the GT is competitive. While the winning Corvette had a fastest race lap of 1:44.563, the No. 67 Ford GT laid down a best lap time of 1:44.391 at Daytona. So, assuming that Ford doesn’t spend several hours in the garage next race, you can see we’ve got a proper competition going here. The real measure of success for the modern Ford GT team was if it could accelerate the learning curve from two years to two months and show up at the 12 hours of Sebring in March with the problems worked out. We got our answer when the GTs finished Sebring in Fourth and Eight Place after a high point leading and a low point when the No. 66 crashed in the rain. “This has been on a napkin for a long time,” said Raj Nair, product development vice president, when we asked how long the GT idea

24 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

has been percolating at Ford. Formally, the project started about 18 months ago with plans of racing tied in with plans of the super street car. The return of the GT has been greeted with enthusiasm, but not everyone is excited about the new version. A Ford GT club member we spoke with expressed disappointment with the engine choice. “My 2005 is what the ’60s cars were,” he said. “Big V8s, very inspired by the original car. The new one, the V6? It doesn’t sound right.” “This isn’t just about the past,” says Dave Pericak, Ford Performance director. The 2005–2006 return of the GT was a definite tribute car, so similar in looks to the original GT40s that you might need a double-take to recognize its more modern attributes. A few have been raced, but never as a factory effort. The new GT is more of an evolution, what the GT40 might have led to if Ford continued racing it after 1968. It may share the same mid-engine layout, lowslung body and Y-shaped hood area as the previous GT-cars, but the rest of the design is high-tech and forward-thinking. The goal is to develop technologies that will work in future Ford products, not just to pander to baby-boomer nostalgia. Pericak knows there are some folks who don’t understand the reasons behind the V6, or Ford’s entering Le Mans in the lower GTLM class rather than the flashy—and faster—Prototype class, but he says


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FAR FROM FAILURE

01 02 03

04

05

06 07

01] The race started out great for the Fords, both No. 66 and No. 67 were running fast laps and it was thrilling to see Ford versus Ferrari just like the GT40 days. Interesting note here, the third red, white, and blue car in this field is the No. 72 SMP Ferrari. We heard some grumbling in the Ford pits about its paint scheme. “We announced ours first,” Dave Pericak told us. 02] The Ford GT-R is a racing version of the GT street car scheduled for a 2017 public release. It shares much of the body and engine, but has a fixed wing rather than the street car’s active aero.

it’s all part of a larger plan. “The 3.5L in the GTs on the track was tested as the EcoBoost in the [Daytona] Prototype cars Ganassi won Daytona with [in 2015]. Then the next generation became a street engine. That’s what we should be doing, using racing to improve production. That engine will go in the [F-150] Raptor and in other production vehicles. With what we spend on racing, we could develop a whole new product. We need to race things that will move into production, help us train our engineers to develop new tools, and understand new technology.” Speaking of the Ganassi Prototypes, how do those dedicated race machines compare to the “production” GTLM cars? Is the engine identical? Can the powerplants switch from one to the other? Not easily, but primarily for reasons of packaging. Internally, the 3.5L in the Prototype and in the GT are the same, but they use different turbo plumbing and different turbos. Motor mounts and transmissions are not interchangeable, and the electronics between the two classes aren’t plug and play. The engines in the racing GT and the street GT are also close sisters, but not twins. Again, they use different turbos and tubing, and the street-car V6 will be backed by a seven-speed Getrag transmission, while the track car uses a custom Ricardo sequential gearbox. Even with some hardware and aero differences—most noticeable being the large fixed wing and larger carbon diffuser—the track Ford GT is remarkably similar in many respects to the upcoming street car.

26 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

03] The GTLM practice and qualifying was in heavy rain, making it minimally useful to the teams as far as set-up and handling for the race. Driver Joey Hand of the No. 66 car said he was surprised they even ran in such weather, describing the conditions as, “treacherous.” In the No. 67 car, Ryan Briscoe said his goal was just to avoid wadding the car up in the wet. “There was a lot of standing water, and I was just trying to keep it on the track, to be honest.” 04] The best thing for any team to see at an endurance race is an empty pit box. Unfortunately for Ford, it wasn’t a common sight during the Rolex 24. 05, 06, 07] Ganassi Racing runs the Ford GTLM program as well as the established Daytona Prototype teams. It was all hands on deck when the gearboxes had to come out of the GTs.

The road-going GT you can buy (well, maybe not you, but some lucky, rich version of you) will have the same engine and the same basic dimensions as the GT we see on track. That’s a marked difference from, say, the Corvette C7.R, which shares little with any Z06 package you can pick up at your Chevy dealer. Pericak says the accelerated development of the GT has made the street car into a track-tested machine from day one. “One of the benefits of doing a road car and a race car at the same time is being able to take what you learn from the race car and put it into the street car during the design process.” All that technology doesn’t come cheap, and you shouldn’t expect to see the new GT sitting among the Mustangs and F-150s at the Ford dealership. Would-be GT owners will need to apply and receive approval to purchase one of the 250 planned 2017 GTs, and to prevent GT scalping, Ford says it wants first-right-of-refusal on the resale of any new GT. It’s got to be a strange feeling for anyone wealthy enough to be considering the GT to be told, “Yeah, we might take your $400,000, but we might not, and also there are rules.” This kind of buyer screening is common amongst exotic supercars, but it’s a bit out of the ordinary for Blue Oval customers.


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FAR FROM FAILURE

[A 24-hour race is really more of a 31-hour race. Cars and crews showed up at the track early on Saturday morning, and by the time the green flag dropped a little after 2:31 p.m., everyone was already thinking about nap time. By midnight, everything is a blur.

Desire for a new GT has led to a scramble among eager 2005 and 2006 owners to prove their worthiness. “We’re all trying to stand out,” said owner Brian Stormer, who owns a stable of sport and supercars, including multiple 2005/2006 GTs. Pericak says Ford wants to see the new GT get driven, so Ford GT or GT40 ownership will be taken into account when reviewing the applications, but there are no plans for encouraging any independent GT racing teams. If you want to race big leagues with factory backup, you’ll be better off in a Mustang. “For the GT350-RC, customer participation is the goal,” Pericak told us. For the GT on track, Ford has its hands full with the factory effort. If 250 road cars seems like a limited edition, how about a look at

28 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

the race cars, of which there are currently a grand total of four—two in America and two in Europe, all built under the experienced eye of Canadian race shop Multimatic Motorsports. Ford chose Multimatic because of its familiarity with carbon fiber, which makes up the supporting structure of the GT as well as its bodywork. Chip Ganassi Racing was picked to head up the GT racing project not only for its experience with the engine but also for Chip’s reputation with organization. Because Ford wants to run the GT in American IMSA racing and European WEC racing, it needed a leader who could work with both programs and make sure the cars were identical and there was no wasted effort in testing and development. This includes driver training as well as technical details, and the WEC drivers and mechanics were


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FAR FROM FAILURE

01

02

03 04

01] GTLM cars are allowed to run more sophisticated aero in 2016, not just in the front splitters but in multiple winglets and wheel spats as well.

03] The street-car Ford GTs we’ve seen at car shows run exhaust out through two center pipes, but in the race car, these are used to mount the rearview camera and radar.

02] The different engines and power-adder combinations allowed in IMSA racing make for a symphony of engine notes; the Corvette C7.R’s naturally aspirated 5.5L V8 sounds like a dragon’s hungry tummy grumble, fiery and sharp. The Viper lows like a bull moose, and the GT’s six-cylinder Ecoboost has an odd turbocharged whoosh that builds in intensity as it approaches and drops to a bass twang as it passes. Imagine if Conway Twitty was a V6.

04] The cars were grimy and battered by the race end, and the teams were, too, but everyone seemed ready to clean up and start again at Sebring. Driver of the No. 66 car, Joey Hand, summed it up by saying, “For me, it was pretty awesome. I got to take the first start in the Ford GT, I got to lead the first laps with the Ford GT. We’ll be major contenders in the long run.”

a part of the GT’s testing before the Daytona 24 and during the race. Before the start of the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Ford GT’s only public racetrack appearance had been the open testing at the Roar earlier in January where the cars were fast, the drivers happy, and mechanical issues were so nonexistent that the crew started worrying about how well everything was going. “Chip [Ganassi] has a lot of experience, and he’d always say he was afraid we hadn’t had too many issues,” said No. 67 driver and 12-time IMSA race winner Ryan Briscoe, discussing the unexpected problem of no problems. That’s the rub, though, you can’t make a problem show itself until it’s good and ready, and the GTs on the test track, in the simulations,

and at the Roar performed perfectly. Then came the green flag in the 2016 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Really, though, Ford should be happy about the online fracas surrounding the debut. It means people are watching the race and actually care about which brand wins. Not only can we relive the Ford versus Ferrari battle that birthed the original GT40 but we have an American grudge match as well. Think of the bragging rights we hot rodders will have at the next Cars and Coffee when both the Corvette and the GT run down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. “This car is gonna run an American flag everywhere,” Pericak said. “It is literally red, white, and blue.”

30 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


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Comparing Vintage and Modern Funny Cars The First Funny Cars Showed Up in the Mid-1960s, How Have They Changed in the Last Half Century? Elana Scherr

Wes Allison, Brandan Gillogly, and Elana Scherr

hRace cars develop in fits and spurts. Only rarely can an innova-

tion be traced back to one specific person, although often it’s whoever first won with a new idea or who gets credit for it. The modern Funny Car—that nitro-burning, carbon-fiber shell set a-trembling over a front-engine tube chassis—has its roots in the A/FX classes running in 1964 and 1965. Jack Chrisman’s nitro-burning Comet in 1964 showed the crowd-pleasing abilities of a Top Fuel dragster in a dealer showroom suit. The name is rumored to have come from the altered-wheelbase bodies that followed in 1965. They looked “funny.” The first flip-top car bodies over dragster chassis showed up in 1966, and that seems to be where the NHRA is marking its 50th anniversary date for the birth of the Funny Car. To celebrate the anniversary at the 2016 Winternationals, NHRA invited owners of original vintage Funny Cars and Nostalgia Funny Cars to display their cars, and in the case of the Nostalgia cars, even do a few exhibition passes. We thought it was a good opportunity to see how far the technology has come in the floppers, so we got a walk-around in the John Force pits with

After we spent some time crawling around the display cars, we met up with John Force Racing’s general manager. Dean Antonelli is no paper pusher. He worked his way up from bottom end on a fuel car to crew chief, and he took

32 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

Funny Car expert Dean “Guido” Antonelli, who pointed out some of the differences between a 2016 machine and, say, “Jungle” Jim Liberman’s 1969 Nova—a reproduction of which was in the display paddock. Before we get into the puke tanks and bulletproof blower blankets, though, let’s talk real quick about the Nostalgia Funny Cars. Most of the cars on display for the anniversary celebration were either active or recently retired Nostalgia cars. The organized racing of vintage-looking fuel cars started in the late 1990s. Like most race cars, there were folks here and there who kept ’em going in smaller events before that, but they really started getting attention around 2000. As the class took off, it got official rules, mostly involving safety requirements. The structures were beefed up and the seats and cages got more protection. Today’s Nostalgia cars have the body models and paint of the original cars, but the chassis underneath are basically the same as John Force’s car, so when you look through the photos in these pages, you’ll see active Nostalgia racers, older Nostalgia racers, and a few original 1960’s spec.

time to walk us around John Force’s Peak-sponsored Chevy Camaro, about as modern and high-tech a Funny Car as you’ll find on this planet.


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COMPARING VINTAGE AND MODERN FUNNY CARS

THEN On a modern Funny Car, instead of the single round fuel keg of a vintage car, there are two tightly fitted tanks. The larger holds the fuel—14 gallons of the nitro mix for every run. The smaller tank is the dry sump for oil, which runs along the frame to the engine in thick, protected hoses. “Funny Cars went

THEN How do you stop a missile? The older cars don’t even have front brakes, and later ones got small steel discs. The modern ones have carbon rotors. Plus the

THEN One place where the old stuff is more complex than the new stuff is when you look at the suspensions. “The early Funny Cars had springer front ends,” Antonelli said. “Now the suspension is solid. From front to back, the chassis

34 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

NOW to dry sump in the late ’80s,” Antonelli told us. When Snake and Mongoose were racing, they’d be dropping a hot oil pan when it was time for teardown, just like most of us do in our garages.

NOW big parachutes on the back, but we’ll get to those later.

NOW is the suspension, tuned with slip joints.” Basically, a modern fuel car is a nitro-powered spring.


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COMPARING VINTAGE AND MODERN FUNNY CARS

Speaking of engines, how does the 496ci Hemi in Force’s car compare to the 392, 426, and big-block Chevys of old? A funny thing we noticed in the pits is how many cars were on display with 427ci Ford SOHC motors between the framerails. The “Cammer” made a brief appearance in early fuel cars, and it might have been a real contender if Ford had provided the same support to its racers as Chrysler did to the 426 Hemi guys. It didn’t, and the 426 became the base engine for all nitro drag racing to this day. The SOHC engines look awesome, though, so we’re seeing a lot of restored cars done to a time when they were running the Ford engine. You might also notice a big-block Chevy in the Jungle Jim Nova. In the 1960s, racers were still free to experiment with engine choices, limited more by the durability of stock iron blocks than any formal ruling. Wiring on a vintage car was pretty basic. The modern cars have sensors checking everything, so you’ll see wires and pneumatic hoses running along the inside of the frame. Keeping those sensors in good shape is a challenge. “If there’s any sort of explosion or fire, we basically rewire the car,” Antonelli said. The upside of all that work is that the RacePak data recorder can tell a crew chief exactly where a car is pulling hard or falling on its face along the 1,000-foot race line. “There’s less for a driver to do now,” said Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, reminiscing with some fellow pioneers of the sport. “The driver doesn’t have to come back and tell the crew exactly what’s happening with the engine. The computer can tell them.”

THEN

NOW

36 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


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COMPARING VINTAGE AND MODERN FUNNY CARS

In the modern Funny Car pit, everything is much more regimented. The same Chrysler-based, billet-aluminum blocks and heads sit under Chevy, Ford, and Dodge-labeled bodies. There isn’t a single part of a 10,000hp nitro Hemi you could find in a junkyard and little that would swap over from a ’Cuda convertible crossing the auction block at Barrett-Jackson. The bore and stoke, even the cam placement, is different. The vintage cars were generally topped by 6-71 blowers in magnesium cases. Force’s car has a longer, more efficient 14-71 blower. The headers are longer to get the flames away from the body, and everything is wrapped in ballistic blankets to prevent rods and pistons from punching out of the engines and through fuel lines or fans. There’s a lot of a new Funny Car that’s proactive damage control. The engines have a large ring gap, which means they have a lot of blowby. To keep from pressuring the valve covers, a breather takes the oily mist and runs it through the frame back to a “puke” tank, where it rolls through mesh in a controlled swirl and then returns to duty, depressurized and air-bubble-free. The tanks are larger and easy to see on Top Fuel dragsters, where they sit behind the cockpit like beer kegs.

THEN Funny Car bodies have been fiberglass for a long time, but today’s are thinner and lighter, made of a carbon-fiber and Kevlar blend that’s both flexible and abrasion-resistant. A lined metal firewall protects the driver’s cockpit, and its here that we see the biggest differences from the early years. “In those vintage cars, there was 3 to 4 feet around the driver,” Antonelli said. “They were not very secured.” Surprisingly, real driver safety changes didn’t take place until after the tragic death of Eric Medlen in 2007 and

THEN In the back of the Peak car, the slicks are so fat they almost touch in the center. “The old cars were on bias tires,” said Antonelli, with no hint of nostalgia for those days. “They were little, maybe 12 to 14 inches wide, 32 inches tall, and there were numerous brands making them. You’d see different tire choices. Now we all run Goodyears. They are 37 inches tall and about 16.5

38 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

NOW the very near death of John Force that same year. “In the 1980s, the drivers were almost prone, to get the roofline low,” Antonelli said. “They started raising the cages in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until after Medlen and John’s crashes that we really got all the support on the sides, the neck restraints, more safety on the rollcages.” Today’s cages and chassis are more strictly inspected and controlled, down to the heat-treat on the tubing. It’s a huge difference from the thin bars of the 1960s cars.

NOW inches wide. There isn’t enough demand for more companies to have interest in making Funny Car tires.” Each set of Goodyears on a nitro car costs about $2,800, and a tire can be ruined with a single bad launch. If everything goes perfectly, a set will last seven or eight runs.


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COMPARING VINTAGE AND MODERN FUNNY CARS

THEN The development of the bodies from the altered-wheelbase cars to the wind-tunnel-blurred shapes of today is one of the Catch 22s of Funny Car racing. Everyone loves the recognizable Mavericks, Mustangs, Barracudas, and Camaros of the early racing days, but the sleek shapes and large, adjust-

THEN The last thing you’ll see on any Funny Car (literally) is the parachute. Again, the basic idea has remained unchanged over the past 50 years, but the placement and materials are more sophisticated. “The early ’chutes were from aviation,” Antonelli said. “Now they are purpose-made for stopping

40 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

NOW able wings on the new cars allow them to reach speeds that Raymond Beadle in the Blue Max Mustang or Danny Ongais in Leong’s “Flyin Hawaiian” Charger could only dream of. “We try to keep as much identity in the car bodies as we can, while still being competitive.” Antonelli said.

NOW race cars. It’s a bigger panel and made from Kevlar, not nylon. It’s safer and more reliable.” The details may change, but the goal of Funny Cars remains the same: go fast as hell, but get the driver back in one piece.


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Coupes d’état A Handful of Washington Car Guys are Making Vintage Rallying as American as Baseball and Apple Pie Chris Shelton

Chris Shelton, Gerard Brown, Danny Day, and Alex Schauenauer

hThe wind blows hard at the southernmost tip of South America. How hard? “One day we were driving along with the wind at our back,” Danny Day, an apple broker from Yakima, Washington, explains. “The pumice rocks kicked up by the tires blew forward over the top of the car and danced on the hood.” At one point, another team spun their car around, just to get air to flow toward the radiator. And a week or so prior, Danny inadvertently spun his own car— on its side. Though they were more than 7,000 miles from home driving cars more than 70 years old, Danny and his teammates—a grad student, a plastic-bag maker, a stunt man, a soda bottler, and a pharmacist—kept driving to the end of the world in three 1930s Chevrolets the color of Old Glory.

42 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

WHAT IS VINTAGE RALLY RACING? Rally driving pits car against clock over a predetermined distance. The term dates older than a century, but the rallying experienced by these three teams from Yakima, Washington, began in 1987. That year, Historic Rally Car Register founder Philip Young appealed to Pirelli Tire to sponsor a rally—a touring-style rally with vintage road cars at legal speeds (wink, nudge). The 6.2-million viewers who watched The Great Chase, BBC’s documentary of the 1988 Pirelli Classic Marathon from London to Cortina, Italy, testified Young was onto something. People want to do more with old cars than just look at them. With that the Endurance Rally Association (ERA), the first


classic-rally organization, was born. In the 30 years that followed, ERA organized 60 major events crisscrossing more than 50 countries. Though the rallies began as road-going affairs, their promoters soon sought the roughest paths between two points. Case in point, passages in the revived Peking to Paris event get as rough as SCORE’s Baja 1000, and cover nearly nine times as much ground. It also crosses politically tense nations like Iran.

WHO DOES THIS KIND OF RACING? We met Bill Shields, the plastic-bag maker and owner of the white

1938 Chevy on the following page after the 2010 Peking to Paris event. He and Danny Day, the guy who owns this blue 1938 Chevy, ran a 1939 Dodge coupe in that 2010 event. If it sounds a little curious that two guys from a farm town in Washington participated in such a global venture, brace yourself. “Two other guys from Yakima—Rand Elliott and Leslie Roy—told me about Peking to Paris,” Danny says. They ran a 1935 Ford. “I sort of got the bug and got on the Internet to read about it. Later on, Bill and I got together for dinner and I asked if he knew of Peking to Paris. Before I could say anything else, he goes, ‘I’m in!’” “Two days later, he tells me he found a car, that ’39 Dodge,” Danny continues. Though rally greenhorns, Bill and Danny placed a

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 43


COUPES D’ÉTAT

01 02 04 05

01] Air conditioning, a full cage, refrigerated cooler, and full interior makes Bill Shields’ 1938 Chevy a little heavy. So he found creative ways to shed weight. Case in point, those innocent-looking fenders? They’re carbon fiber. 02] We wouldn’t expect to see billet in a vintage rally, and you won’t as long as it’s covered by paint. Bill Shields ran Wheel Vintiques’ 16-inch billet version of the 1937–1945 Chevy 3⁄4-ton pickup wheels. His and Bill Dolsen’s cars run 215/85R16 tires. It’s a tire size common the world over. 03] To reduce the number of spares the team carried, car builder Bob Strode extended each Chevy’s frame to accommodate the same leafspring packs front and rear. It also has the secondary benefit of increasing suspension travel and improving spring-rate consistency over that travel.

respectable 23rd out of a class of 68 cars, many of which were piloted by endurance-rally veterans. In fact, they held third position until a suspension failure set them back. Upon the team’s return to the USA, Bill sold the Dodge and Danny began scheming how to build a car of his own. “Chevrolets are the best cars for these rallies so far,” he says. “They’re light, tough, and easy to fix. If you go back over the last 10 years, you’ll see that’s what wins that class.” If you go back 75 years, you’ll see that’s what won the endurance rallies that inspired these contemporary races. Bill and Danny weren’t the only ones scheming. “I went to a wedding party and two friends of mine talked about returning from the Peking to Paris rally and how much fun they had,” says Bill Dolsen, another Yakima local. “They mentioned this Argentina rally coming up in a year or so. I told my wife that sounded like fun. That not only planted the seed—she helped me water it. “Bill [Shields] and I have been friends for years—I broke a lot of Jeeps trying to keep up with him,” Bill Dolsen continues. “Initially, I was looking for some sort of British car, but you can’t get parts for those. The following day, Bill [Shields] calls and says he has a ’39 Chevy he bought from a high school friend of his.” The transaction actually netted two cars: Bill Dolsen’s 1939, the red one, and Bill Shield’s white 1938. “That’s how we got started,” Bill Dolsen says. Given the opportunity to build three similar cars, Bob Strode, the builder of the 1939 Dodge, was tasked to devise a plan. “I built all three cars at the same time, sort of a production-line operation,” Bob says.

44 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

03 06

04] All three Chevys run a variation of Chevrolet’s venerable 250ci inlinesix. A few things like the hefty full cage seen here inspired Bill to go bigger on his—he stroked his with a 292 crank. 05] Driving on a certain side of the road is a hard habit to break, but it’s one that can get you in trouble in countries where they drive on the left. The crews applied stickers to their windshields to remind them what side to stay on. 06] Understandably, fuel isn’t always great in the hinterlands. Each car runs a water separator of some sort.

TO BEND THE RULES Specific class designations vary by event, but race cars break down into two basic categories: Vintage for any 1941-and-earlier vehicle, and Classic for 1942-and-later non-commercial vehicles. Beyond the commercial-vehicle ban in the Classic class, there are no hard-andfast rules as to what the ERA forbids. For the most part, the car must be modified in period-correct ways and in the spirit of the competition. Competitors still take liberties—for example, the 1939 Dodge that Bill Shields and Danny Day drove from Peking to Paris in 2010 came with independent front suspension when new. But the IFS really isn’t all that robust, so builder Bob Strode grafted a Chevy C10 1 ⁄2-ton truck crossmember to the chassis and ran a combination of C10 lower arms and late-model stock-car upper arms. Yeah, those parts came out decades after 1939; however, even if the promoters and competitors knew the difference, they probably wouldn’t care. Just about every vehicle entered in the competition violates at least a few rules. As far as most are concerned, if it keeps a car off the side of the road, then it’s fair game. Entry fees alone for these events are far from inexpensive. At the end of the day, this is an amateur deal with no reward beyond a plaque and the admiration of your peers. To minimize the number of spares, Bob made each of these Chevys a functional carbon copy of the others. The foundations are Superior Glass Works fabricated chassis with tubular crossmembers and a four-point cage. To minimize the number of unique parts, he standardized wherever he could. For example, he extended the front of the frames to accommodate the same leaf springs front and


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01] Staying within the spirit of the event means running a manual transmission if a car originally came with one, but no one said anything about what make of transmission. All three cars were built with Tremec TKO-600 five-speeds. 02] A GPS is totally optional and probably not all that useful when you don’t know the names of the routes you’ll take. However, a rally timer like the Monit is mandatory. It counts off distances based on GPS coordinates. 03] Bill likes to push the boundaries of rules. Technically, the Vintage Air system doesn’t violate the spirit of the event because it existed in automobiles as early as 1933 and made it to full production in 1939.

rear. That way each car could get away with one spare main leaf. He also pulled from the factory parts pile for things like the 1947–1954 pickup front axle and brakes. Each corner mounts a PRO Shocks damper. Bob took a few liberties with the rules for durability’s sake. He used Ford 9-inch rear axles with Yukon gears set on limited-slip carriers. The vehicles’ era dictates manual transmission, but the promoters sort of turn a blind eye as to what kind of manual transmission. So Bob chose the Tremec TKO-600. He also chose the 250ci version of the 1963-and-later Chevrolet inline-six, although the one in Bill Shields’ white car swings a 292 crank. The engines use small-block Chevy connecting rods and JE forged pistons with only an 8:1 static compression ratio, a deference to Third World fuel quality. Wally Dehnhoff, who built the engines, also cleaned up the ports. Comp Cams made the valvetrain, from the hydraulic-tappet cam to the roller-tip rockers. The engines all wear a complement of Clifford manifolds and headers. Bill Shields initially ran a FAST EZ-EFI injection system, but protests required he revert to the same 390-cfm Holley carbs the other two Chevys use. Danny’s ’38 started out as a nice driver, so he took the opportunity to save some money by leaving the body alone. TJ Winters and Art Ries finished the car and mounted a pair of Recaro Specialist M seats and a JAZ fuel cell. The blue car rolls a set of Wheel Vintiques’ version of Chevrolet’s 3⁄4-ton 1937–1945 wheels with 7.00R15 tires.

46 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

03 05

06

04] Each car got at least a four-point roll bar, but Bill, knowing his own temperament, specified an eight-point cage. He also opted for a full interior. That cooler is refrigerated. 05] Spares take space, hence one reason Bob standardized the spring lengths. He also mounted the spares cleverly—in this case, behind the bumpers. 06] Bob also made every cubic inch of the car count. Brackets mount everything from the spare tire and jack to steering arms and even spark plugs. Also note the spare distributor in the corner.

Bill Dolsen’s ’39 started a bit rougher. Dirk Porter patch-paneled the lacy sections and massaged the body back into shape. The color choice was inevitable: Bill is the Central Washington Coca-Cola distributor. “It’s the same paint we use on our Coke trucks,” he reveals. He used a set of 16x6 smoothie-style wheels with 215/85R16 tires. Bill Shields’ ’38 testifies to his overkill personality. He hired Mitch Dehnhoff, Wally’s brother at The Trick Shop, to finish the car to nearshow-car standards and spray it in his trademark white. Bill’s car also got a few amenities like a Vintage Air climate-control system. Like Danny’s car, Dolsen’s and Shields’ cars got Recaro seats; however, they also got interior treatment by Judge Dunning at Judge’s Custom Upholstery in Ellensburg, Washington.

YANKEE INVASION OF SOUTH AMERICA The three owner-drivers met their respective navigators in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the 2013 Cape Horn rally. “You really don’t know what you’re getting into,” admits Joe Farina, a pharmacist and Bill Dolsen’s navigator. “You know the general route, but you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re going to see.” That’s because you don’t use a map. “You use this book, a tulip book,” he explains. “It tells you to go like 35 kilometers and [look for] a sign that says ‘Mendoza’ on the right side. So about the time you


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01 02 01] The rally organization stresses certain modifications like skidplates. Bob Strode built aluminum skidplates; however, because aluminum is somewhat sticky when dragged across rocks, he lined them with ultrahigh-molecular-weight (UHMW) polyethylene. It’s a material Bill uses in his bag-manufacturing facility. 02] Sometimes modifications hide in the most inconspicuous places. The steering arms are cut from 4130 chromoly plate.

start dozing off, you go, ‘Oh s**t, we’re at 36 kilometers!’ So as a navigator, you’re always on alert for things.” It’s a route that saw these Washingtonians cross the ArgentinaChile border six times. “The border crossings, I was a little worried,” says Alex Schauenauer, Bill Shields’ navigator. He has firsthand experience; Schauenauer is an Argentine expat (as well as stunt man, in case you missed the earlier reference). “It’s whoever’s law is at the crossing, so you don’t know what’s going to happen. But the group really organized it well because [crossing the borders] was the quickest, simplest thing. It also made it easy because they admired the cars and what we were doing.” The 3,720-mile run took them through some of the most extreme terrain in the Americas. It’s also some of the most scenic: the Mendoza vineyards, the Andes, the snow-capped Villarrica volcano, Patagonia, the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Magellan Straits, and Ushuaia, also know as “The End of the World.” But it’s no sightseeing trip. “They call these vintage-car endurance rallies, and ‘endurance’ is the key word,” explains Michael Day, Danny’s son and navigator (and at that time a recent graduate with a Spanish major). “The majority was unpaved, at least 65 to 70 percent dirt roads. And they’re grueling—the whole car shakes all day. You have to hold out for every day, not only your car but yourself too. “Meanwhile, you’re watching your tulip book,” he continues. “As the navigator, you have to tell the driver when to speed up or slow down to hit your mark.” And if things couldn’t get any more stressful, a penalty awaits those who arrive early at the checkpoints. “The point

48 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

03

04

03] All three cars use PRO Shocks adjustable dampers and 3⁄4-inchdiameter antiroll bars. The bars are a little on the trick side, coming from the NASCAR world. 04] Bill Dolsen’s and Danny Day’s cars run modified 250ci Chevy sixes. Wally Dehnhoff built them with JE pistons, Comp Cams valvetrains, and small-block Chevy connecting rods.

isn’t to get someplace fastest; it’s to get there within a narrow window of time,” Michael explains. It’s easy to screw up, even when you’re trying to do the responsible thing. “We thought we were good on time, so I thought I’d ease off to be a little safer,” Danny says of the day he put the team’s blue ’38 on its side. “We were coming into a sweeping right-hand corner on a crowned road with loose gravel. I lifted off the throttle when I shouldn’t have and the back end started coming around. Next thing I know, the front hits the ditch and we go over and slide on the side. We were doing really well, like third. Then we were in the twenties,” he laments. They patched the car up, but TJ Winters had to bring the car back to the state you see it in now after the rally. The Days clawed their way back to a respectable 13th Place finish. Bill Shields and Alex Schauenauer came in 17th, and Bill Dolsen and Joe Farina, the rank amateurs of the group, came in tops of the bunch at 10th. Though it wasn’t one of the three Yakima teams, another team from the Northwest—Pam and Chuck Lyford—won the show. In another 1938 Chevy, no less.

THE MONSOON TO RANGOON Then in 2015, ERA announced another new venue, this one unprecedented. The Road to Mandalay promised to be the first time hordes invaded Burma (now Myanmar) since 1942. Bill Shields and Danny Day registered their respective cars and enlisted Scott Herbstman and Ron Doyle as navigators. Bill Dolsen sat this one out.


COUPES D’ÉTAT

01

02 03

01] The cars are a mix of custom and production parts. For example, Bill Shields used Classic Performance Products’ version of the GM master cylinder and booster opting for an underdash pedal assembly, though these cars originally mounted the master cylinder under the floor. 02] Bill Shields ran throttle-body injection system for a while, but now all three cars use a 390-cfm Holley four-barrel.

“We started in Singapore, which is a very metropolitan, structured city,” explains Ron, Danny’s navigator. “The second day was our first timed section. It was in a plantation with a lot of rice paddies and palm-oil trees. We’re going down these narrow roads with 8-foot ditches on both sides in a 1938 vehicle going as fast as we possibly can—like 70 mph! Danny looks over at me. My legs are locked against the firewall. He yells, ‘Whaddaya think?’ ‘Well, I think I’m in high school again!’ It reminded me of one of those times where you’d drive as fast as you could along a ditch bank!” “We went roughly 5,000 miles in 28 days,” he continues. “It took a few days to get the hang of things. Ours was one of the faster cars, so we started later than the others. That turned out to be a real advantage; if we ever questioned taking the right route, we’d just watch along the side. If there were people lining the road waving, you were in the right place.” “You get into a rhythm, but it’s tough,” Danny admits. “It’s especially bad in places like Malaysia, where you drive on the left side of the road” Their solution was to stick arrows to the base of the windshield to indicate the drive side. The trip went from Singapore through Malaysia and into Thailand before crossing into Myanmar. “A lot of it was poorly asphalted road,”

50 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

04

03] Bill Strode’s brother, Jim, made these air filters from the stock housings. He gutted the oil-bath element and mounted K&N cone-type elements. He made the offset base to clear the radiator rods. 04] Bill Dolsen and Bill Shields run a Flaming River column with a Momo wheel, but Dolsen stayed true to vintage motorsports with a leatherwrapped reproduction of a Bell Auto Parts steering wheel. Judge Dunning at Judge’s Custom Upholstery trimmed their cars.

Danny recalls. In Burma [Myanmar] itself, all the roads were handmade by conscripted labor. You’d see women sifting crushed rock in baskets that they’d lay out and cover in hot tar. The only men were on these little rollers. There was more asphalt than I anticipated, but it wasn’t a great driving surface.” “They put us on this new highway, but it was so wash-boarded that you couldn’t drive faster than 60 mph without getting air time every now and then,” Ron says. “Well, after like 25 miles of needing a mouth guard, the road totally flattens out. Well, OK, that’s where the regime must’ve changed! “It goes from a horrible two-lane road to four lanes to six lanes to eight lanes, bigger and bigger toward the city center,” he says. “Very few vehicles on the road. Very little infrastructure for residences. No gas stations or grocery stores. Just this city of modern buildings with no people in it. It was unreal.”

THE NEXT RALLY Right now, these Bow Tie–wielding Yakimaniacs are scrambling to attend their next rally. It’s not an ERA rally, but it is the first one of its kind: it’s in Cuba.


THE ORIGINAL

IS BACK! APR 8-10

APR 22-24

MAY 20-22

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MILLINGTON, TN

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EVENT DETAILS

PARTICIPANT DRAG RACING–MULTIPLE CLASSES WITH CASH PURSES • PROFESSIONALLY JUDGED CAR SHOW • EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARDS • NON-JUDGED SHOW ’N’ SHINE • POSSIBILITY OF VEHICLE BEING FEATURED IN A MAGAZINE • PERFORMANCE MIDWAY • SWAP MEET AT MANY LOCATIONS • JET CARS • WHEELSTANDERS

SUPERCHEVY.COM/EVENTS


WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR

DREAM CAR? Elana Scherr

Larry Chen and Jorge Nunez

Everyone Says the Viper ACR Is Too Much for a Daily Driver—We Say it’s Just Right hYou wake up with the windows fogged over and the imprint of the parking brake stitching on your cheek. One leg is completely numb and the lateral support of the racing seat has somehow forced both your kidneys to just below your right lung—at least, that’s what it feels like. Whose dumb idea was it to try sleeping in a Dodge Viper? Also, how hard is it to get drool out of Alcantara? The conclusion is obvious. The 2016 Dodge Viper ACR makes a terrible hotel room. But that is the only negative we could come up with about this car. Have you ever been in love? Not a crush or a passing affection, but a deep, makeyou-crazy, passionate obsession? The kind of thing where you almost dread to see your beloved for fear that the desire has faded, but then you meet again and it’s better than ever? That’s how we feel about the Dodge Viper. We’ve loved it since it first showed up in 1992, a scrappy, dangerous little roadster more muscle car than sports car. Over the years, the Viper has grown into a truly super supercar, but it has always retained a whiff of the outlaw, and who doesn’t love an antihero? “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” Well, that’s only legal in Japan and Norway, but to prove that the 2016 Viper is a completely livable partner, we did the next best thing to marriage: we moved in with one. The Viper we chose for our daily driver

52 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 53


WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR DREAM CAR?

01 03

02 01] The ACR has the exact same powertrain as any other 2016 Viper, because with 645 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, nobody has ever complained that the Viper’s 8.4L (512ci) V10 engine is underpowered. 02] While there’s only one transmission available for Viper—a Tremec 6-speed—there are some different gear ratios, and the ACR shares its gears with the highwayfriendly, cruising Viper, the GTS. Because all the aero that sticks the ACR so well on the track also drops its top speed to around 177 mph, there was no reason to have the short Sixth gear. 03] The chassis basics are the same across all Vipers: same frame and same rear gear ratio of 3.55, although the ACR does have a cool, finned differential cover that SRT says drops fluid temperatures by 20 degrees on hot track days.

These tires were designed to last for a minimum of one tank of fuel at wide-open throttle on a racetrack. —Frank Secondari, Kuhmo tire engineer (retired) experiment wasn’t just any old snake. It was the 2016 Viper ACR, a car that set 13 track records in 2015, beating GTRs, Corvettes, and even the new hybrid Porsche 918. It’s also the most hardcore Gen Five Viper you can get, so if we made it through a week in this car, you can be sure it’s true love. Any Viper story must start at the track, and the ACR (American Club Racer) was designed from the get-go to be a road-course champion. Every detail of the ACR is a careful balance of downforce, grip, and power to make it grab the track and go exactly where it is pointed. The 295/25R19-inch front and 355/30R19-inch rear Kumho Ecsta V720 (Viper Edition) tires are so sticky they are basically street-legal slicks. The carbon-ceramic brakes are so large that standard Viper wheels won’t clear them, and if that’s not enough for you, the optional Extreme Aero package ($6,900) adds in a hood with pop-out louvers, a big rear diffuser, a longer front splitter, additional dive planes, bolt-on brake cooling ducts, and a wing even bigger than the big wing that comes on the

54 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

base ACR. We didn’t fully comprehend what all that meant until we were on track with SRT Engineer Erich Heuschele riding shotgun. “Floor it now,” he said as we aimed for the apex on Chuckwalla Valley Raceway’s turn 7. Floor it? But, we’re in a turn. In a Viper. Floor it? Really? We floored it, and it shot forward without a wiggle or even a blip from the stability control. We were nearly at the end of the straight before we realized that we weren’t going to spin out and die, and from that moment on, we just got faster. Most great track cars don’t show their skills to cautious drivers, but the ACR is excellent at slow speeds and unbelievable at wide open. By the second session, we’d developed faith in the car and found ourselves moved up from the beginner run group for being too fast. Trust us when we say that hasn’t happened before. It wasn’t only on a big track that the ACR let us show off. We pulled the second-fastest autocross time on a tiny, little First gear peanut. The car that beat us? Another 2016 Viper ACR. Tires matter. Downforce is real.


[The 295/25R19-inch front and 355/30R19inch rear tires for the ACR are so radical most tire companies didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to take on the project. Dodge talked to several manufacturers, but Kumho was the one willing to commit to a 20-treadwear tire that promises to hold up on the street like a 200-treadwear bit of rubber.

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 55


WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR DREAM CAR?

[Once air is in a space, you have to get it out again, or else you create lift. Many of the cuts and winglets on the Viper are there not to bring air in, but to direct it out, and sometimes they do both. The dive planes at the front corners of the car generate vortices (air whirlpools) that help pull air out from the front wheelhouse, where it can get trapped by the spinning wheel and tire, and then the vents over the front tires give it somewhere to go. Those are louvered in street form, but are completely removable as part of the track setup.

All of this should come as no surprise. We wrote about the ACR’s impressive track habits when we first reviewed the car in the Dec. 2015 issue of HRM where we basically said, “If you want to go fast at track days, this is the car to buy,” and we stand by that, but what if you want to do more than track days? Can the ACR work as real-life transportation? We left the track and headed right into Los Angeles traffic, where they don’t offer you a point-by when you want to pass. The hardest part about daily driving the ACR is changing lanes, not because of visibility issues, but because your fellow drivers will pace your every move, cellphone cameras up and leased BMWs drifting toward your quarter-panel. Actual visibility from inside the Viper isn’t that bad; we’d say average for a

new car. The sail panel has a blind spot, but the wing sits higher than the rear window, so that doesn’t block your view. We adjusted our sideview mirrors just to get a glimpse of it standing tall above the decklid, making us feel like the gridlocked 405 freeway was the straightaway for a Can-Am race or an asteroid belt we could weave through until we reached clear space and engaged hyperdrive. Once you’re at light speed and the stars stream by on a smooth, clear road, the ACR feels perfect, just twitchy enough to remind you it’s no deadsteering minivan, but not tramlining every crack in the road. On rougher pavement, the shifter starts to jiggle—along with any soft parts of your body. It’s not uncomfortable so much as embarrassing. Think of it as a reminder to work out more. In street mode,

[In 1969, Dodge introduced the winged Daytona, followed by a Plymouth sibling in the 1970 Superbird. Like the ACR, the cars were big-winged, flashy, almost ridiculous as street cars, but record-breakers on track. Also like the Viper, they didn’t sell well, but everyone wishes they had one now.

56 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR DREAM CAR?

the ACR strips away some of its protruding whiskers, but even the short street-version carbon front splitter is a mortal enemy to parking blocks and steep driveways. It’s not impossible, it just requires forethought and an angled approach. We never ended up anywhere in the city that we couldn’t safely maneuver through, so we decided to strike out into unexplored territory. We packed the ACR’s uncarpeted trunk with camping supplies and headed east toward the Arizona desert. At every gas stop—and there were quite a few, as we averaged around 17 mpg during the time we had the car—someone would ask us what it was. This happened the last time HOT ROD had a Viper, too. Somehow, despite its distinct profile and multiple fanged logos, there just aren’t enough Vipers running free in the world to be instantly recognized. Some guesses we heard included BMW i8, Ferrari, and our favorite, a guy at a truck stop who spent 20 minutes telling us about his Corvette that was, “just like this one.” Those who did know their super Dodges were suitably impressed to see the ACR in the carbon-fiber flesh. We were offered coffee at a Salton Sea RV park by a Canadian snowbird named Wayne. “I looked at a Viper a few years ago,” he told us as we admired the snake parked between two campers. “I don’t remember them being so snazzy.” At another gas station, a rather down-on-his-luck fellow stopped midpitch to our photographer and ran over to the


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Dodge. “You’re driving a Dodge Viper?!” he said in delight, and proceeded to give us his entire history with Michigan and Dodge muscle cars. In return, we filled up his gas can. You really can’t be stingy when you’re in the upgraded version of a car that starts at $90,000. “Rev it up!” he demanded as we left, and we weren’t stingy there either. The sound of the Viper is a much-argued topic. Is its 645hp, 6.4L V10 a gruff rumble like a wild boar or an industrial rattle like a delivery truck? That’s too subjective for us to address, so we’ll simply say that we like the sound of the Viper at low rpm, dread its resonance at 2,100 rpm, and adore it at full song. The solution is clearly to go everywhere all wrung out. If you’re stuck at a sonically bad spot, just downshift. Somewhere in those six manual gears is the right rpm for you. Our destination was up against the cacti and mountains of southern Arizona. We got there well after dark, and when we turned the car off, we still heard it roaring in our ears—or was that just our own blood, adrenalized and moving fast? The engine noise faded and became the ticking of cooling exhaust and the hoot of an owl in the scrub brush. “Whooo!

60 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

Looook at that car,” we assume he was saying. When we mentioned to the Dodge folks that we planned to sleep in their car, there were quite a few raised eyebrows, but the engineers were delighted and suggested that, while the cabin might be uncomfortable, the wing would make an excellent loft. Our concerns about damaging the car were laughed at. “Do you weigh 1,000 pounds?” asked Heuschele. “The wing was designed to handle almost a ton of downforce, you won’t break it.” That’s how we found ourselves snuggled in a plaid flannel sleeping bag, mapping constellations from the high perch of the ACR wing and thinking about automotive value. The Viper we had, with the aero package, racy red stripe and carbon framed interior would take $137,290 to put in your driveway. It’s cheap compared to the $900,000 Porsche that it beats on track, but it’s not underthe-couch money. It might be possible for us average schmoes to afford an ACR, but we’d have to use it as a commuter, grocery getter, and depending on one’s finances, living quarters. Hey, it’s all about your priorities. Would you live in a Viper to own one? It could be worth it.


01 02 01] Now, if the wing is very effective at generating down03 force, you have to counter that with some treatment on the front. The hard part is getting the downforce on the front to match because if you only have downforce on the back, you’re going to have a hard time turning the car. It’s a balance of agility and stability. The ACR has the splitter on the front and then adds the track extension. Visualize the air piling onto that long front shelf and sitting there, pushing down on the front of the car. 02] When you take flowing air and you spread it out at the right rate, you’ll generate a vacuum and suck the car down. Diffusers in front and rear take the air that’s rushing under the car and spreading it out to create a vacuum. Seems easy, but if you spread the air out too quickly, it won’t stay attached to the diffuser, so the diffuser is almost half the length of the car and has vertical strakes to help channel the air even during turns. 03] If you’re familiar with the latest-generation Vipers, you might find the ACR interior a little spare, but it’s still got suede stuff, carbon fiber, and leather in all the right places. The trunk is more barren, lacking the upholstery that normally covers the rear brake cooling ducts. To save weight, Dodge removed the jute backing of the carpet and all the rear interior trim. The only speakers are the two little dash speakers and a tiny tweeter.

[If there’s one thing that makes an already flashy Viper even flashier, it’s throwing a monstrous, 74-inch-wide, adjustable, sci-fi fighter wing on the trunklid. That big bookshelf isn’t just for style. The shape of the wing is designed not only to stop the air at its flat plane but hold it there and let it off in a controlled flow.

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 61


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CELEBRATING THE 100TH RUNNING OF THE INDY 500. A QUICKIE HISTORY

2016 Marks the 100th Indy 500 Race Thom Taylor

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Archives, HOT ROD Archives, and Thom Taylor

hOn a sunny, cool Tuesday morning in 1911, 90,000 people showed up to see 40 race cars

(all but one with both a driver and riding mechanic) race for what today would be more than $250,000. Bets were allowed in local bars on which drivers would be killed before the race ended. After all, adorned in only street clothes and helmets made of cloth or leather (roll bars and seatbelts would debut decades in the future), the odds were not if someone would be killed, but which ones. Almost seven hours later, Ray Harroun driving his Marmon Wasp went down in history as the first winner of the Indy 500. He quit racing for good immediately after the race. And riding mechanic Sam Dickson was the only brickyard fatality from that first race. More than 100 years later, we are set to witness the 100th running of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Greatest Spectacle in Racing.â&#x20AC;? With more than a century of racing history, the Speedway story is lush with drivers, races, cars, and builders eager to claim a small part of the immortality that goes with all that it takes to win what has become one of the most watched sporting events in the world. Too much controversy, too many stories, and thousands of cars and drivers have passed through the gates to the Speedway, as well as millions of spectators, for us to present much more than a blink at the race, but here are some highlights to give you a small sense of the enormity of all that the Indy 500 represents.

64 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


[The brand-new 1964½ Mustang leads the 1964 Indianapolis 500, known as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” This would be the last year a “roadster” would win, when A.J. Foyt completed his second of four wins at the Brickyard. Jim Clark, Bobby Marshman, and Roger Ward were in the front grid, with Foyt seen in the No. 1 car in the middle of the second row.

HOTROD.COM

JULY


CELEBRATING THE 100TH RUNNING OF THE INDY 500

IMS

[You always see the first Indy 500–winning photo of Ray Harroun’s race car with that rolling shutter effect of early photos where objects in motion are leaning forward. But here’s a shot of the winner himself after finishing the 7-plus-hour race. He quit racing immediately after this win.

on the city’s main export and most visible spectacle. It was estimated that more than 80,000 of the spectators for that first race came by train. The Indy 500 was an international race and continues to be so today. Mercedes and Benz raced here before their merger in 1926. Peugeot fielded the first dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) engine at Indy in 1912. Even Fiat raced here long before it acquired Ferrari or Dodge. American brands showed interest in the early 500s; Simplex, Buick, Lozier, and Case would typically enter two cars each. In these early days of the Indy 500, Peugeot, Delage, and Mercedes took the majority of wins through 1920. The most dominant American companies fielding top-five finishes were hometown favorite Stutz and New Jersey’s Mercer.

[One of the most exquisite race cars ever built and 1926 winner: the frontwheel-drive Miller 122 driven by rookie Frank Lockhart. This was the first rain-shortened 500, with Lockhart winning with only 160 laps run.

[Inside Lindsey Hopkins’ garage at the 1961 Indy 500 with a good shot of Chief Mechanic Jack Beckley wrenching on the 255ci Offy engine, which was typical of so many Offys that dominated Indy 500 racing.

There were no Indy 500 races held in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I. When racing resumed in 1919, American Howdy Wilcox, driving one of the factory-backed Peugeots, won what would become an American-controlled race, both in terms of drivers and cars. Duesenberg, and especially Harry Miller–built cars, would dominate the Speedway up to World War II. Miller race cars were some of the most finely machined and engineered cars possibly ever. They incorporated unique DOHC engines, front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and took the concept of removing weight to new heights. Duesenberg and Miller traded victories throughout the 1920s, until Miller shut out the competition with consecutive wins from 1928 to 1938 with Miller-powered or Miller-built cars.

Fred Offenhauser, a former Miller draftsman, developed the Offenhauser engine based on previous Miller designs he purchased when Miller went bankrupt in 1933. This DOHC engine would, in various forms power cars through its turbocharged iterations into the 1970s. Maserati finally broke the Miller string in 1939-1941 before cessation due to the breakout of World War II. Racing costs posed problems for drawing other manufacturers, so in 1930, the “junk formula” was initiated to lure more American manufacturers. It banned supercharging, and through other rules changes opened up the use of stock-block engines, lowering costs. In time, entries would come from Buick, Chrysler, Ford, Graham, Hudson, Hupmobile, Packard, Studebaker, and more.

IMS

First race winner Harroun was an engineer for Marmon and was also the 1910 AAA defending national champion. About midway through the race, he took the lead and never looked back, partially due to being the first ever to use a rearview mirror. Surprisingly, only 14 cars fell out of the smoke, dirt, and tires slapping the bricks on that May day. Indianapolis was an apropos place to hold a race devoted to improving the development of the automobile—which was how the race was marketed—as Indy was the center of the automotive universe at that time, with Detroit coming in a close second. Besides their vision of conducting the world’s greatest race, owners Carl Fisher and James Allison (who together also owned the Prest-OLite headlamp company) also visualized the city of Indianapolis becoming the “world’s first horseless city,” which neatly capitalized

66 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


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IMS

CELEBRATING THE 100TH RUNNING OF THE INDY 500

[Tony George Hulman bought the speedway in 1946, after it had been idle during World War II, and proceeded to improve many parts of the track and facilities before the start of the 1946 race. The Terra Haute businessman ran the track until his death in 1977.

[This car became the face of the “British Invasion” of the Brickyard when it competed in the 1961 race. The Cooper Climax entry of Formula I champion Jack Brabham featured a mid-engine configuration with independent suspension and lightweight construction. Though it did not win, coming in Ninth Place, mid-engine cars crept into the race until 1964 when a third of the grid was mid-engine.

From 1942 to 1945, racing was suspended for World War II. After WWII, the track needed major renovations from disuse. In late-1945, it was sold to businessman Anton “Tony” Hulman, who initiated major improvements to restore the track and stadium in time for the 1946 Indy 500 race, also ushering in the beginnings of the Indy roadsters. Aircraft development for the war effort created a perfect storm of race-car innovation, encouraging new shops and builders ready to take on Indy. Frank Kurtis entered his Ross Page Kurtis roadster in the 1946 race, with its light tube chassis where framerails had been the common direction, and offset driveline countering the weight of the driver. This would become his prototype for the prolific Kurtis Kraft series of roadsters—and all Indy roadsters—for years to come. By 1950, Kurtis roadsters would go on to win almost every Indy 500 through the rest of the 1950s. Kurtis’ construction innovations rubbed off on other race-car builders that included A.J. Watson, Ernie Trevis, George Silah, Quin Epperly, and George Bignotti, who adapted their unique takes on Kurtis’ building triumphs. IMS

The 1960s were known as the “British invasion” for more than just music. From the success of Grand Prix racing in Europe, the rear-engine revolution began at the Brickyard with the introduction of Formula I World Champion Jack Brabham’s 1961 entry—a tiny Cooper powered by a Coventry Climax engine, which had been gaining favor in European racing for years in road racing, including Formula I and II. Finishing in the top 10, the handling of the seemingly underpowered, independently suspended machine signaled the advantages of its engine location. In 1965, Jimmy Clark won with a Colin Chapman–built mid-engine Lotus 38 powered by a Ford four-cam V8 with fuel injection, marking the end of the front-engine roadster forever at Indy. Not to be outdone, Dan Gurney developed his Eagle chassis, which had a riveted-aluminum monocoque design. When fitted with Ford quad-cam V8s, they competed handily with the European Formula I cars repurposed for Indy.

[The first win for Roger Penske and Penske Racing came in 1972 with Mark Donohue driving. Penske would become both the winningest team and also longest streak of wins at 16, including the 99th running of the 500 in 2015. Penske is kneeling in the white shirt. It was apparent that Penske Racing’s strategy was to stay in the fray, but not push for the lead until toward the end of the race. When leader Jerry Grant made a pit stop with 13 laps to go, Donohue broke out to lead the rest of the race and take the win for Penske.

68 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

By 1972, McLaren chassis running turbocharged Offy engines became the combo of choice, winning in 1972, 1974, and 1976. The 1972 win was also a milestone as the first of many for Penske Racing’s car owner, Roger Penske, at the Indy 500, which continued— with a couple of dry spells—right up to last year’s win, for a total of 16 victories at the Brickyard, with 17 pole-position starts. No other team in Indy history has had as many victories as Penske Racing, nor have any been successful for as long a period. With the introduction of the Cosworth engine in 1976, it dominated the rest of the decade and well into the 1980s to such an extent that for many years virtually the entire 33-car field was powered by the DFX version of the Cosworth. It won Indy 10 consecutive years starting in 1978, and by the end of that reign was producing more than 840 hp. American chassis like Foyt’s Coyote, Parnelli Jones’ Parnelli chassis, and Gurney’s Eagle could not compete and were replaced by English builders March and Lola, and powered by off-the-shelf engines from Cosworth or Ilmore Engineering. These combos were deviations of Formula I race cars adapted for IndyCar teams. Into the 1990s, Lola and Reynard chassis were used, with powerplants transitioning from the Cosworth DFX, replaced by the 4.0L Ilmore engine branded first as Chevy and then as Mercedes starting in 1995. A purpose-designed pushrod V8 was also developed by Ilmore that won the race in 1994 with Penske. A few Buick V6 engines were also competitive in the early 1990s, and even drag racer John Buttera tried his hand at both a stock block Chevy and Pontiac V8 back in the mid-1980s, but all of the stock blocks seemed to have trouble lasting the entire race.


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CELEBRATING THE 100TH RUNNING OF THE INDY 500

[Juan Pablo Montoya taking the checkered flag at the 2015 Indy 500 in his Penske Racing Dallara DW12 chassis race car. Two engines, Chevy and Honda, powered all of the cars on the grid, with aerodynamics unique to each engine helping to identify what was powering each car. Just ahead of Montoya is the strip of bricks from the original Indy surface.

Starting in 2012, all IndyCar chassis were supplied by the Italian chassis builder Dallara, powered by either Chevy or Honda 2.2L, turbocharged V6 powerplants. The engine also dictated the

aerodynamic package that the chassis uses, making identification of what powers the car a little easier to determine during the race. We would be remiss if we didn’t at least touch on the sanctioningbody politics that have played such havoc on Indy 500 racing over the last 20 years. In 1978, Roger Penske, Pat Patrick, and Dan Gurney founded the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) with several other team owners to oversee open-wheel racing in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. They felt that too much emphasis for money, points, and marketing was placed on the Indy 500 and not enough on the rest of the racing series. Indy 500 racing was still sanctioned by United States Auto Club or USAC, but CART included it in their series, though it was not the sanctioning body.

IMS

[The mass of humanity swarms around 2015’s winner, Montoya, after taking his victory laps and parking in the winner’s circle just below the “pagoda” at the start/finish line. Soon after, he and the Penske team will go out on the track and kiss the bricks—no kidding.

[“Little Al” Unser after his second Indy 500 win in 1994, with the BorgWarner trophy adorned with the faces of each winner, which are added to the trophy every year.

70 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

Wanting to expand the Indy 500’s significance in open-wheel racing and also offer a cheaper alternative, the Speedway’s head, Tony George, started a new sanctioning body called Indy Racing League (IRL). As mentioned earlier, in 1994, Penske spent plenty to develop a pushrod V8 that capitalized on a loophole for that year’s Indy 500. But many saw the move as increasing the dollar drain many teams were experiencing, and George saw the IRL as a means to rein in spending with new rules the IRL would institute. By 1996, George tried to prevent CART from racing at the Indy 500, allowing only IRL members onto the track. Lawsuits and countersuits started flying between the two bodies, focused mainly on their respective licenses and trademarks. By 1997, George instituted spec changes that increasingly separated CART and IRL cars to the extent that no longer could a team field a single car for the two sanctioning bodies’ races. Soon CART scheduled competing races opposite IRL races, including the Indy 500. CART was considered to have had the better teams and drivers, but as the lure of the Brickyard gained over the years, better teams and drivers began to enrich the IRL, which weakened CART and ultimately put them into bankruptcy. In 2008, CART and IRL unified, but not before losing some great drivers to NASCAR like Dario Franchitti, A.J. Almendinger, and Sam Hornish Jr.; additionally, significant sponsorship was lost and, ultimately, open-wheel racing was replaced by NASCAR in the hearts and minds of American auto-racing enthusiasts. The unifying brought uniformity, which essentially has killed innovation—the thing George was trying to nurture with IRL rules that opened up wider possibilities to other engine architecture, including stockblocks. But IndyCar racing isn’t the only form of racing experiencing this dilemma. Still, the Indianapolis 500 remains one of the most watched sporting events in the world.


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Five of the Craziest Engines Ever to Run the Indy 500 And One School Bus Engine, Too! Thom Taylor

IMS, HOT ROD Archives, and Thom Taylor

hRules regulate racing, but they also stimulate minds itchy to bend those rules into distinct advantages, and that is why these five crazy engines found their way into Indy 500 race cars that, in some cases, were victorious—while others, not so much. Over the decades, Indianapolis has allowed a cornucopia of engine architecture, including turbine engines, stock blocks both blown and unblown, fuel cells (in 1967), supercharged and non-supercharged diesels, steam engines, and a variety of overhead-cam engines—all with certain cubic-inch

72 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

or induction restrictions. In 1967 alone, there were 10 different architectures you could game if you were looking to fashion a winning combination. The potential for engine diversity also gave fans the ability to root for a favorite team, driver, or chassis builder, but also for the occasional oddball engine, which has helped to elevate this race to become the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Read on to see how sometimes great minds can beat the odds.


1952 CUMMINS DIESEL The rules made Clessie Cummins, who owned Cummins Diesel in Columbus, Indiana, create this diesel-powered monster for the 1952 Indy 500. In 1952, the rules allowed a four-cycle diesel engine to be twice the cubic inches of a gasoline engine. Supercharged gasoline engines were only allowed to displace 183 ci, while a diesel could displace 401 ci, whether it was supercharged or not. This was translated into a low-profile rocket powered by a 6.6L inline-six diesel engine that was reported to initially make 380 hp. A part of that power came from the use of a turbocharger—the first one to show up at the

Brickyard. The lay-down position of the engine resulted in a longand-low profile Kurtis chassis housing the monster motor. The team was made up almost entirely of Cummins employees, but they had done plenty of testing and knew what they had. In qualifying, everyone else also knew. With Freddie Agabashian behind the wheel, it ran a 139.104-mph lap, which was 4 mph faster than the 12-cylinder Ferraris, easily winning the pole position for the race. Unfortunately, midway through the race, the turbocharger inlet became clogged from rubber debris, ending the dream month of May for Cummins.

DIESEL ALLEY Cummins also raced dieselpowered cars at Indy in 1931, 1934 (two cars), and 1950.

NOVI V8 Industrialist Leo Welch, whose engine-rebuilding plant was located in Novi, Michigan, hired race-car designer Harry Miller to design and build a V8 engine for the Indy 500. Miller worked with Bud Winfield and Leo Goosen to essentially use two existing Miller 91ci, four-cylinder, DOHC engines with integral heads and mate them to a common crankcase incorporating a 180-degree flat-plane crankshaft. To that they added one of Miller’s centrifugal superchargers, and off they went. If nothing else, spectators noted the unique thundering roar the engine made, due in part to spinning more than 7,000 rpm when the Offy fours of the day were turning 5,600 rpm. Combine that with the two straight-cut cam gears and a geardriven supercharger, and you had quite a noise machine. The crowds loved it. It was said you could be anywhere at the speedway and hear the Novi-powered cars on the track. At the time of its Indy 500 debut in 1941, it produced more than 450 hp, but over the years—and in many different chassis configurations, including four-wheel drive in 1964—it steadily increased output to more than 750 hp. Neither the supercharger, carburetor, or tire technology could handle that type of power. It also had a reputation as a widow-maker, as racing veterans Ralph Hepburn in 1948 and Chet Miller in 1953 were killed during practice. Many a driver described how acceleration would come on quickly from spooling up on the straights, just as turns 1 and 3 required slowing down, with disastrous results. The bad luck that Novi-powered cars experienced became known as the “Novi Jinx.” With such large dimensions and excessive weight, it was an ungainly lunk of an engine in a light-

weight chassis, and nothing could really change that. The methanolbased fuel deemed necessary for the extreme boost generated required a larger fuel tank because of its inherent fuel consumption and added more weight to the equation. And the tires of the period were not up to the extra weight and high speeds, so throw in some extra pit stops for changing tires. Any horsepower advantages were negated by all of these disadvantages. Under Andy Granatelli’s ownership in the 1960s, the engine reached 837 hp at 8,200 rpm. The Novi last qualified at Indy in 1965, coming in dead last with a transmission problem, and tried but failed to qualify in 1966, which was its last appearance at the Brickyard. In all, about 12 engines were built, appearing in nine separate chassis over the decades.


INDY’S CRAZIEST ENGINES

1994 MERCEDES/PENSKE PC23-500I It’s all about the rules, and Roger Penske was a master of finding the gaps hidden between the rules. It’s also about the money, and there was a boatload of money involved in this six-month wonder. In 1991, the rules were changed to allow pushrod engines to be “clean sheet,” as opposed to starting with a stock block, as long as they used only two valves per cylinder, pushrods, and a single camshaft, with no more than eight cylinders. This configuration allowed for more cylinder capacity and 10 psi more turbo boost than other combinations. The response was crickets until Penske took a second look in 1993. Engine designers at Ilmor told Penske that, within the imposed limitations, they could design an engine developing more than 940 hp at a time when most engines were hitting less than 800 hp. Immediately, a program for a V8 pushrod engine was developed by Ilmor and Penske, but it had to be top secret so as not to tip their hand or give teams any time to place a protest that could potentially ban the engine. Cylinder bores were 3.818 inches and stroke was 2.283 inches for an oversquare engine with a 1.67:1 bore/stroke ratio, with 11:1 compression, and peak horsepower of 1,024. In late-1993, this engine was branded Mercedes-Benz with MB picking up the tab. Dropped into a Penske PC23 chassis, testing commenced in January 1994 at Penske’s own track in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, in cold weather. Penske explained to the skeleton testing crew that secrecy was of utmost importance. It would still be months before Penske did announce the engine on April 6, 1994, just a month before Indy qualifying. It was too late for other teams to accommodate the engine in their own programs and too late for USAC, the governing body for Indy 500 racing, to make any rules changes banning the engine since; after all, it met all of their rules. Talking with Al Unser Jr. about this car, he told HOT ROD the

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engine was much faster than anything available, but durability was a real problem. In testing they couldn’t get 500 miles out of it, with the valvetrain not able to take the sustained 500-mile beating. It was such a question mark whether the engine could actually be sorted out for the end of May that during opening 500 practice sessions, Unser Jr. was still at Michigan Speedway trying to finish 500 miles with the engine. While he was lapping Michigan, Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi were taking laps with the Penske/Mercedes cars at Indy. They were careful not to push the cars past the existing lap records so as not to raise questions, as USAC could still make rules changes to even the field. Whether they were sandbagging is not known, as they had understeer problems with the PC23 throughout the month right up to the race. During the race, Tracy was out early, but Fittipaldi and Unser had the race covered until almost the end, when Fittipaldi crashed. Unser ultimately won the race, one of team Penske’s greatest wins, and Unser’s second and final Indy victory. Penske lobbied CART hard to have the Mercedes engine approved for the series, but was unsuccessful, making the engine an Indyonly special. The Penske/Mercedes advantage is also seen as one of the wedges in the CART/IRL split that ultimately caused so much damage to open-wheel racing, as teams were faced with needing two distinct engines and cars to race in both the CART series and at Indianapolis at a time when sanctioning bodies were supposed to be making racing more affordable.


INDY’S CRAZIEST ENGINES

1967 STP-PAXTON TURBOCAR Ken Wallis was a visionary when it came to unique race cars. We’ll feature his turbine-powered Indy effort here, but also note that he was central to Bill Lear’s steam-powered 1969 Indy effort. Wallis wanted to harness the attributes of the Pratt & Whitney Canada ST6B-62 gas-turbine engine, used mainly to power helicopters, for a Brickyard assault in 1966. He took his plans to both Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby, who immediately passed. Then Wallis showed his ride to Andy Granatelli, who became a willing partner

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in this unusual combination. Along with brothers Joe and Vince, the Granatellis worked with Wallis to design a side-by-side chassis with the driver on one side and the 550hp engine offsetting the driver on the other. Another unique feature was that it utilized four-wheel drive. With an aluminum frame, the car weighed only 400 pounds above the minimum weight Indianapolis allowed. The car had no gearbox or clutch. Instead, a single-speed torque converter sent power to all four wheels. Idling at 50-percent throttle, the car would

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launch by merely lifting one’s foot off the brake. As an aid for braking, an airbrake of sorts was mounted behind the cockpit. Secrecy was a hallmark of the effort. Missing the 1966 race, the team continued developing the car for the 1967 500. Parnelli Jones was convinced to drive the Turbocar, leading the entire race until a transmission bearing let go with only three laps until the end of the race and certain victory. The United States Auto Club immediately stepped in to even the

field by reducing the engine intake area from 23.999 square inches to 15.999. Granatelli was back in 1968 with two gas-turbine-powered cars of a completely new design, with both Joe Leonard and Art Pollard driving. These cars also dominated the 1968 500 race, but parts failures before the end of the race knocked them both out. After this year, Indy effectively banned gas-turbine engines, closing another unique chapter in Indy 500 racing.

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MILLER V16 SPEEDSTER Harry Miller was, without a doubt, one of the most—if not the most—creative race-car builders ever. His craftsmanship and designs were impeccable, and his race cars dominated Indy in the 1920s with innovations like front-wheel drive, as well as his various V8 and four-cylinder engines that were designed and machined by his company. And the most successful engine at the Brickyard, the Offy, was originally a Miller design. In 1931, Miller chose to challenge both Cadillac and Marmon, which were held in high esteem because they produced luxury cars with V16 engines. Miller wanted to design and then build his own V16 engine and convinced Cord it needed it. And since Cords were front-wheel drive, this engine would be developed around this

innovative combination. One of the mysteries in all of this was that, at some point, the engine went from becoming a Cord passenger-car engine to a racing engine, still with front-wheel drive. Miller’s engine was modular in some ways because it used fourpiston engine blocks arranged like V8s end-to-end. Each block was topped by a dual-overhead-cam cylinder head, fed by eight MillerAdamson carbs. Impressive does not even come close to describing it. The 45-degree, 303ci V16 featured two valves per cylinder with a bore and stroke of 2.65 inches by 3.5 inches. Eight of the newestdesign Miller-Adamson carburetors fed downdraft intake ports located on top of the blocks, each serving two cylinders, resulting in a 300hp powerplant. William S. White Engineering located in Indianapolis (that won the 1927 Indy 500 with a Duesenberg) owned the car. It was a twoman affair, as this was the beginning of the “junk formula,” where a driver and riding mechanic drove as a team. It featured a De Dion tube axle at both the front and rear suspended on quarter-elliptic springs, similar to Bugatti. Impressive as it was, it never did well, finishing 27th in the 1931 race with Shorty Cantlon driving and Duke Smale the riding mechanic, with a qualifying speed of 110.372 mph. In 1932, Brian Saulpaugh with riding mechanic Steve Gregory qualified in the front row with a 114.369, but failed to finish with a broken oil line. Harry Hartz yanked the engine for the 1933 race, replacing it with a Miller 220ci, four-cylinder engine, and that was the unceremonious end of the Miller V16.

THE SCHOOL BUS ENGINE For some reason bus engines seem to be part of Indy lore. It’s that whole underdog thing. In the 1940s, the Fageol Bus Company sponsored numerous twin-engine curiosities, but they ran Miller fourcylinder engines. The one bus engine story keeping the “little guy” narrative alive happened in 1979 when Minnesotan Roger Rager pulled into Indy with a 10-year-old race car on an open trailer, pulled by a station wagon. The stock-block Chevy engine in the race car was said to have come out of an old school bus rusting in a boneyard.

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Rager wanted a “seasoned” block, thinking heat expansion, loads, and heat/cool cycles would make for a stronger foundation. He just missed qualifying that year, but was back in 1980 with a newer chassis but the same Chevy small-block. Rager qualified this car at 186.374 mph—faster than such veteran drivers as A.J. Foyt, Tom Sneva, and Gordon Johncock. He started in the fourth row. A crash during the race put him in 23rd Place and forever as one of the Indy underdogs that beat the odds.


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HOT ROD Archives


hIn the Dec. 1968, issue of HOT ROD, we ran an article titled

“Chevy’s 427 Aluminum—Better Mousetrap.” The article was about Chevrolet’s upcoming aluminum, 427ci Rat motor that was to appear on the 1969 Corvette’s option list as regular production option (RPO) ZL1. Chevy’s public-relations department and engineering office treated then-HRM Publisher Jim McFarland to a quick ride in a ZL1-powered Vette and a part-by-part look at the new engine’s internal components for HOT ROD’s readers. What wasn’t mentioned was that the ZL1’s lightweight block was a redesigned production version of the Chevrolet research and development department’s aluminum blocks run by Jim Hall in his 2G Chaparral race car from the 1967 Can-Am racing series. Most everyone interested in racing suspected Chevrolet covertly supported teams competing with its products, even though it was against GM corporate policy. At first, Chevy R&D’s aluminum big-blocks were unreliable and the best Jim Hall’s Chaparral team could manage was two Second Place finishes, but in 1968, the 1967 Can-Am championship-winning McLaren team won all but two rounds with 427ci, aluminum, big-block Chevy power.

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 81


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THE AGE OF UNLIMITED ROAD RACING In contrast to today’s safety and environmentally conscious road-racing series (with rules intended to keep a lid on speed), in the 1960s the Canadian-American Challenge Cup was wide open without any performance-limiting restrictions. Better known as the Can-Am, this big league professional racing series was organized by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in 1966 as an experiment to encourage innovation, and these cars became some of the most outrageous sports-racing cars of all time. The car builders and racing teams’ imagination and resources were the only limitation to what they could compete with, but at first only Chaparral took the SCCA up on its invitation to introduce some new technology. For its first three years, Can-Am was a six-event fall series of approximately 200-mile races, held between September and November. That expanded to 11 races when it was combined with the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) in 1969 and ended with five in 1974. Early Can-Am fields were predominantly made up of the same mid-engine, English-built, sports-racing cars that competed in the SCCA’s United States road-racing championship during the summer. The Brits called these cars “big bangers” because they were powered by highly modified American production V8s, but these cars couldn’t use the Big Three’s most powerful engines because their cast-iron big-blocks were too heavy. That limited these 1,400-pound cars to small-blocks, and the most popular was a stroked 327ci Chevy displacing up to 369 ci, which in Can-Am form weighed about 450 pounds and made close to 500 hp in 1966. After Chevy research and development broke the big-block barrier in 1967 with its experimental aluminum 427s, these Rat motors became the dominant engine in 1968, ushering in the Can-Am’s era of “bigger bangers.” The McLaren M1Bs were the most numerous cars in the 1966 Can-Am starting fields and had a tubular-steel, space-frame chassis stiffened with stressed aluminum panels. The championship-winning Lola T70 featured a bonded and riveted-aluminum monocoque (the chassis and body were integrated), so the 1967 McLaren M6A cars were designed this way, too. This was a new beginning for

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McLaren after running an updated two-year-old design, and the team focused on winning the Can-Am championship with its new cars. This included 2,000 miles of track testing before shipping them to the United States. Power for McLaren’s assault on the Can-Am championship in 1966 came from small-block Chevys built by TRACO Engineering in Culver City, California. For 1967 the engine program was taken inhouse by American Gary Knutson, who eventually built McLaren’s Mouse motors in England.


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[Before Bruce McLaren ran aluminum big-blocks, his M6A car was fit with a Lucas-injected smallblock Chevy breathing through a Mickey Thompson cross-ram.

MCLAREN’S AMERICAN ENGINE MAN Knutson was a development engineer who attended the University of Colorado at Boulder with Jim Hall’s brother, Chuck, and was with Chaparral when he met the McLaren guys at the races, leading him to eventually work for both teams. Knutson also spent some time at TRACO before starting McLaren’s Chevy program, and since the team didn’t have a dynamometer in England, he built their first 1967 engines in California, developing them on Al Bartz’s dyno in Van Nuys. Instead of the usual stroker billet cranks, Knutson used new-for-1967 factory 3.48-inch stroke 350 crankshafts as a starting point, adding fourbolt main bearing caps to the two-bolt 350

blocks. The Chevrolet parts bin was also the source for the heads, with 2.02-inch intake and 1.60-inch-diameter exhaust valves, but not much else, with most of the other parts sourced from speed equipment manufacturers. Breathing through a quartet of twobarrel downdraft 48mm Weber carburetors, the McLaren 350 Chevys initially produced about 525 hp at 7,600 rpm, but there was more to come. Back in England, Knutson began thinking about the advantages of the Lucas timed-metered-flow fuel injection on the team’s Formula 1 and 2 engines and contacted Lucas’ aerospace division, which made these systems. Lucas was horrified

at the idea of putting its fuel injection on an American passenger-car lump, but an engineer soon showed up at McLaren’s shop in Colnbrook, England. He had a crumpled cardboard box with an eight-cylinder MKII metering unit, fuel pump, and a set of injectors in it. Knutson was on his own to set up the system and adapt it to the Chevy. TRACO had experimented with fuel injection on the team’s engines in 1966, and Knutson started by installing a set of TRACO’s throttle-bodies on a Mickey Thompson magnesium cross-ram intake manifold intended for Webers. He used a Corvette Rochester fuel-injection distributor housing to drive the metering unit, along with a Vertex magneto in place of a distributor to complete a workable system. Fuel injection added about 25 hp and Bruce McLaren was initially disappointed with this power gain, but with improved throttle response and driveability, the M6As won five out of six races in 1967, with Bruce winning the CanAm championship. There were plenty of other entries from Europe in the Can-Am series, but they didn’t have much success for the first six years, and while Chevrolet engines dominated the racing, Ford also had a strong and persistent presence. Ford’s Total Performance campaign won the Daytona 500, Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans before the Can-Am races began, but Ford only had one win after two years. Ford tried everything—including stroking its 255ci, four-cam, V8 Indy engines to 305 ci—but only Dan Gurney’s victory at Bridgehampton in 1966 driving his Ford-powered Lola T70 (with Gurney Westlake heads) had kept it from being shut out completely for the first two years. Even with Chevy’s aluminum 427s making a troubled debut, all of the competition saw its potential when the lightweight big-blocks showed up in the Chaparral car. That’s when Ford realized it had an opportunity for the 1968 season.

FORD’S TUNNEL-PORT TEMPTATION To compete with Chrysler’s 426ci Hemi on the NASCAR oval and in NHRA drag racing, Ford designed new heads for its FEseries big-blocks with large, D-shaped intake ports that lined up with the pushrods instead of detouring around them. The intake manifold formed the inboard side of the narrow FE heads so that the pushrods went through its runners in tubes and these Tunnel Port heads had monster 2.25-inch intake and 1.783-inch-diameter exhaust valves. Ford offered an aluminum version of its 427ci ultimate weapon to McLaren for the 1968 season, but Vince Piggins stepped in with a counteroffer to supply the hottest team in

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the Can-Am with aluminum 427 Chevys like Chaparral was running. Operating under a covert cloud deep within Chevrolet, Piggins’ Product Promotions group provided parts and technical support for racing Chevrolet products, and Bruce McLaren and his team manager, Teddy Mayer, came to the GM Tech Center for a meeting. With McLaren on board, wooden patterns to cast Mark IV aluminum cylinder blocks were borrowed from R&D and modified to eliminate the internal passages for their dry-sump lubrication system before being shipped to a foundry in Wisconsin. The raw castings were machined and their

iron cylinder liners shrunk in place by Schwartz Machine in Warren, Michigan, with most of the blocks assembled into CanAm kit motors using production L88 aluminum heads and other components. McLaren had the inside track, but Chevrolet Product Promotions made these kit motors available to all the Can-Am teams and independent engine builders like Al Bartz Engines and TRACO. Weighing about the same as an iron small-block, these aluminum 427s were the engine of choice for the 1968 Can-Am season, relegating the aluminum Tunnel Port Fords to be run by the teams contracted to the Blue Oval.


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BIG-BLOCK CHASSIS CHANGES The design of McLaren’s big-block CanAm cars was influenced by its Formula 1 car. With British Racing Motor’s (BRM) underperforming V12 making them uncompetitive, McLaren switched to the 3.0L Ford-Cosworth DFV V8s for 1968. The DFV was designed to take the place of the 1967 Lotus 49’s chassis structure behind the driver and cantilever off the firewall bulkhead with the rear suspension hanging off the transaxle on a subframe. A doubleoverhead cam V8 like the Cosworth is more rigid than a pushrod V8 with nothing on top of its heads, but this didn’t stop Bruce McLaren from taking this approach with his

new Can-Am cars, hanging their aluminum 427s from a magnesium motor plate bolted to the firewall bulkheads like they were made for it. All it took were triangular struts fabricated from small-diameter steel tubing attached to the big Chevy block’s bellhousing flanges with one bolt and to the firewall bulkhead fabricated from square-steel tubing with two bolts. In March 1968, McLaren had its Chevy engine deal, but the aluminum big-blocks wouldn’t be available for some time, so testing began with aluminum L88 heads on an iron cylinder block. A proof-of-concept test hack was made out of an M6A chassis with

its monocoque tub cut off at the firewall, adding bigger brakes and hanging the 427ci Chevy off the back, while the new M8A was still on the drawing board. Bruce McLaren’s first impression after driving this test rig was, “Jesus Christ! There’s never been anything like this!” and the fun was just getting started, with the M8A race cars completed in July of that year. This left almost six weeks to sort out the new cars before the first round of the Can-Am series at Elkhart Lake on September 1, 1968, but between Formula 1 commitments and the English weather, they only managed 500 miles of track testing before shipping the cars. McLaren’s signature overall pastel orange paint scheme appeared in 1967, the beginning of its five-year domination of the Can-Am series with straightforward cars that were described as “ordinary cars, done extraordinarily well.” The M8A’s wheels were located by conventional unequal-length A-arms in front and four-links per side at the rear with coilover shocks, antiroll bars at both ends, and disc brakes at all four corners. The bonded and riveted aluminum monocoque chassis (with a magnesium floor) also appeared conventional when the paper-thin fiberglass body was in place, but it was unique in its simplicity. There were only two bulkheads in the car, and the sides of the tub were open on top and also where they faced the engine behind the driver. For the thirsty big-blocks to complete the approximately two-hour races without stopping for fuel, 37 gallons were carried in the chassis’ torque boxes on both sides of the driver, adding about 235 pounds to the M8A’s 1,450-pound dry weight.


ALUMINUM RAT MOTOR RACE SPECS Gary Knutson built McLaren’s big-block Can-Am development engines at Al Bartz’s shop on Stagg Street in Van Nuys, California. Knutson made do with cast-iron 427 blocks that had four-bolt main bearing caps. He stayed with the blocks’ 4.250-inch cylinder bores and used production 3.76-inchstroke crank forgings machined by the Moldex Crankshaft Company in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. The stock inverted-tooth timing chains were replaced by Cloyes roller chains spinning 0.600-lift camshafts supplied by Vince Piggins’ group. Production solid lifters, Forgedtrue pistons, and Carrillo rods completed the short-blocks. The engines’ dry-sump lubrication systems used external Weaver Brothers pumps driven off the front of the crankshaft by toothed belts. McLaren’s shallow magnesium oil pans were cast by the same foundry as Chevy R&D’s Chaparral dry-sump pans and sat on the chassis ground-clearance line. The 1968 Aluminum L88 cylinder heads had 2.19-inch intake and 1.84-inch-diameter

exhaust valves, but the ports were enlarged and recontoured with Crane aluminum, roller-tipped, needle-bearing rocker arms with studs on top. The magnesium intake manifolds had a 2.9-inch bore vertical throttle-body for each cylinder. A fuel injector sprayed into each of the curved and tunedlength stainless steel velocity stacks. Fuel was routed through the injectors and returned to the tank from the metering unit. Plumbing the fuel systems this way was thought to keep the intake manifolds cooler. The intakes were improved versions of the aluminum manifolds available from Crower. Gary Knutson had the MacKay Brothers make the intakes (along with his Lucas metering units, Vertex magnetos, and tack drives) from magnesium, and they were free to sell them to other engine builders. On the exhaust side, equal-length 21⁄8-inch primary pipes fed into 4-inch collectors, and this combination was good for about 650 hp at 7,600 rpm. McLaren press releases at the time rated them at 620 hp, perhaps to not

completely show their hand. Chevrolet Product Promotions made sure these and other developments were available to everyone running Chevy engines in the Can-Am, and Bill Howell handled Vince Piggins’ group’s liaison with the teams. Howell had done the dyno development of the Mystery Motor and MkIV big-blocks before being invited to join Piggins’ group in 1967, so he knew these engines well and could offer guidance on running them. The only Chevy-powered competitor that was not part of the program was Chaparral with its engines coming straight from Chevy R&D, developed behind closed doors, and they were independently working on a Lucasbased fuel injection of their own. This was being done by Jim Kinsler, who had started his own fuel-injection company in 1965. Kinsler was recruited by Chevy R&D in 1967, leading to the 58mm Weber carburetors on the Chaparral 2G’s aluminum 427s being replaced by Kinsler’s fuel-injection system in 1968.

Fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme joined McLaren in 1967 as Bruce’s teammate, and their pair of pastel orange M8As were the sensation of the paddock when they made their appearance for the first race of the 1968 season at Road America. These cars were still underdeveloped, but that didn’t slow them down in qualifying, with Bruce on the pole and Hulme second quickest, followed by Jim Hall in his aging Chaparral 2G. The race started on a wet track and finished under dry conditions, with McLaren second and Hulme first, although he finished on seven cylinders with zero oil pressure.

Things only got worse at Bridgehampton with Bruce’s engine suffering main bearing failure and Hulme’s throwing a rod, while Mark Donohue won driving Roger Penske’s McLaren M6B with an aluminum 427 Chevy built by TRACO. This was the low point for McLaren’s fast-but-fragile big Chevys, but they were reliable for the rest of the season, finishing first and second at Edmonton, with Hulme winning the race. However, Hulme finished second and McLaren fifth with healthy engines at Laguna Seca. The race was run in a deluge and John Cannon outfoxed the

field by anticipating the weather and winning with Firestone intermediate rain tires on his Bartz small-block-Chevy-powered McLaren M1B. Bruce McLaren’s only win of the season was round 5 at Riverside, and Hulme won the season finale at Las Vegas, where Jim Hall survived a horrific crash— but the 2G did not—with Bruce finishing sixth. Denny Hulme was the 1968 Can-Am champion, with Bruce McLaren second in the final point standings, but the McLarens hadn’t dominated the series the way they had in 1967 and would again from 1969 until 1972.

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UNLIMITED RAT MOTOR RACING [The 1969 427ci aluminum ZL1 was the high-water mark of Chevrolet’s Mk VI big-block power development, producing 525 hp with cast-iron exhaust manifolds and more than 600 hp with tubular headers. Its aluminum cylinder block was a redesigned production version of Chevy R&D’s lightweight block that had been durability-tested in the 1967 Can-Am racing series by Jim Hall in his 2G Chaparral.

ZL1 427 STREET-CAR CONNECTION Vince Piggins saw a future for the aluminum 427s beyond the CanAm, and he lobbied for a production version in 1968, supported by Zora Duntov, who by then was Corvette’s chief engineer. Fred Frincke, who had designed the aluminum L88 heads while he was in Duntov’s high-performance engineering group, was given the assignment to design a production version of the aluminum 427ci block and oversee the project. Neither Piggins nor Duntov saw the lightweight big-blocks as anything but racing engines; however, for them to compete in production classes, they had to be a legitimate regular production option, and the two ZL1 Corvettes that were produced established that. The 1967 L88 was Chevrolet’s first crate motor and many of the L88s along with all the ZL1-powered Corvettes racing at SCCA and IMSA events were engine swaps, while Piggins had 69 ZL1s installed in Camaros as central office production orders (COPOs) primarily for drag racing. Some of the Chevy R&D-designed aluminum blocks developed stress cracks during competition, and there were also some oiling problems, so Frincke added reinforcing webs and gussets, and redesigned the ZL1’s lubrication system. The new-for-1969, seconddesign aluminum heads benefitted from an additional pair of bolts carried over from the R&D engines that went through holes in the outer intake ports sealed with pipe plugs. The Mk IV splayed-valve geometry was unchanged along with the 2.19-inch intake valves, but the 1.88-inch exhaust valves were slightly larger and the rectangular intake ports were more streamlined, with round exhaust ports to match up with tubular headers. The valves and spark plugs in earlier Mk IV heads were shrouded by a secondary squish area that was scooped out, creating an open chamber that produced a cleaner burn with greater airflow for more power. The ZL1’s wild solid-lifter cam had an intake lift of 0.569-inch, while its exhaust lobes had a 0.620 lift with 136 degrees of overlap. The L88’s slightly milder cam carried over from 1968, along with most of the other parts that made up both engines. Besides the ZL1’s aluminum block and hotter cam, the only other part that differed between this pair of street-legal racing engines was a splash shield to keep hot oil from the lifters off of the ZL1’s intake manifold plenum.

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To get the most out of their open-chamber heads, both the ZL1 and L88 breathed through a new version of Holley’s 4150 carburetor. Known as Holley list number 4296, the 850-cfm carb was equipped with an accelerator pump for each of its two float bowls. This dualfeed double-pumper had enough initial fuel flow to dispense with the vacuum secondaries used on previous Holleys in favor of a mechanical linkage. Both engines were manufactured at Chevrolet’s Tonawanda engine plant using a very different approach, with the ZL1s assembled by selected master engine builders in the temperature-controlled white room from matched and balanced parts. The L88s ran down the assembly line with the other production big-blocks, sharing all the same internal parts except for the cam. The 1969 L88s made about 480 hp at 6,700 rpm, while the ZL1s produced up to 525 hp at 6,800 rpm with cast-iron exhaust manifolds that weren’t matched to their round ports, so a set of tubular headers really woke them up. The published output ratings for both engines was 430 hp, the same as the 1963 Z11 along with the 1967 and 1968 L88s. In 1969, Can-Am engine builders didn’t find the open-chamber heads to be much of an improvement, but they appreciated the stronger ZL1 blocks and liked the 4.375-inch-bore version that Piggins’ group made available. With a 427ci engine’s 3.760-inch-stroke crankshaft, these big-bore blocks brought displacement up to 465 ci. With the 1970 4.00-inch stroke 454 crank, displacement increased to 494 ci. It was at this point Reynolds aluminum came out with a new block that had the potential for even bigger bores. To promote Reynolds’ A-390 high-silicone alloy being used to cast Chevy’s 2300 Vega engine blocks, Reynolds supplied Product Promotions with Can-Am blocks with 4.4375-inch aluminum bores that the pistons could run without iron liners. The Reynolds blocks were often bored to 4.500 inches for 509 ci, with a 4.625-inch bore possible. TRW made special pistons for these engines coated with iron by electrolysis and fit with chrome-plated rings to prevent galling from the aluminum-toaluminum contact.


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PORSCHE’S “TURBO PANZER” RAT HUNTER Roger Penske brought the McLarens’ five-year domination of the Can-Am to an end when he announced on October 31, 1971, that he was returning to the series with a factory Porsche team. The cars were known as 917/10Ks (K for “kompressor”). Developed for Can-Am in collaboration with Mark Donohue, these cars had 5.0L turbocharged flat-12s rated at 900 hp with more than 1,000 hp at 7,800 rpm with the boost turned up for qualifying. These engines were heavy and the complete car weighed 1,760 pounds, so the only way McLaren could compete with an opponent that had this much power was with a superior powerto-weight ratio. McLaren’s response was the M20, the ultimate

development of its M8 architecture powered by even bigger 509ci, naturally aspirated, Reynolds-block Chevy producing 780 hp. A turbocharging program for the M20 was said to have produced amazing power, but unfortunately turned these engines into hand grenades. After Bruce McLaren’s death in 1970 (during testing of the M8D at Goodwood), the team’s finale Can-Am win came at Watkins Glen in 1972. Penske’s “Turbo Panzer” Porsches had become an irresistible force and McLaren was up against resources it could only dream about at the time, so at the end of the season, McLaren was done; in two more years, so was Can-Am.

WHO WAS BRUCE MCLAREN? The McLaren name is now associated with Formula 1 racing, where it is the second-longest competing team in the series (after Ferrari). McLaren’s parent company also makes cars and develops automotive technology, but back in the 1960s, New Zealander Bruce McLaren (August, 30, 1937–June 2,

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1970) was shaking up American road racing with his Oldsmobile-powered sports car, the McLaren Mk1. Later iterations, like the ones seen here, were powered by Chevy small-blocks and big-blocks.


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[The 1968 McLaren M8A’s monocoque chassis just looked like aluminum boxes, but the aluminum 427ci Chevy hanging off the back was impressive, topped by gracefully curved velocity stacks towering over a Vertex magneto. The big Chevy needed some help from the triangular struts on either side to double as a structural member, but the Hewland LG500 four-speed transaxle behind it didn’t need any help to mount the rear suspension. [David Kimble draws see-through cars with the body and near side tires on a separate layer, with the contour lines added only as a guide for painting. Kimble says, “This gives a good look at the M8A, unobscured by the detail underneath.” He goes on to explain, “The arcs on top of the velocity stack trumpets are the outline of wire stone guards that were on the car when it was photographed, but didn’t appear on the track for the last two races of the 1968 Can-Am season.”

MCLAREN’S MOST FAMOUS FORD WIN Ford swept the 1966 Le Mans with a first-secondthird victory led by a GT40 driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.

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HOW DAVID KIMBLE CREATED THESE CUTAWAYS “I was a mechanical engineer for 10 years and was working at Al Bartz Engine Development in 1968 while the McLaren team was preparing its cars to race at Riverside near the shop,” Kimble says. “Teddy Mayer, their team manager, was aware that I did cutaways and asked me to do one of Bruce McLaren’s cars, which I inked on vellum with pencil shading on the back. My latest book required step-by-step demonstrations of how I work, and I had wanted to see the McLaren in color since I started airbrushing, so I redrew it and

used period photos from books for color reference. The cool thing about this illustration is that it wasn’t done from a restored car like my other historic cutaways, but from photos I took standing on the trailer that took the car to Riverside in 1968. Three days later, Bruce McLaren won the Times Grand Prix driving the No. 4 M8A, and the only concessions I’ve made to authenticity are losing a diamond-shaped Goodyear decal that was blocking some detail and polishing the wheel rims with my artistic license.”

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THE CRAZIEST CHEVY LS Thom Taylor

hThis is not what it looks like. It is not a restored 1936 Cord Westchester sedan; in fact, this is a modern drivetrain wonder incorporating all of the stock features that made the 1936 Cord so cool and quirky, but this one is powered by a backward Chevy LS small-block. We say the LS1 is “backward” because it’s spinning a Porsche 911 Tiptronic automatic transmission, creating a modern front-wheeldrive masterpiece. Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco, California, got a doozy of a customer in Chuck Thornton, who wanted a completely contemporary drivetrain for his 1936 Cord, but required the car retain

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the front-wheel drive these cars were so famous for. Brizio Street Rods even went so far as to retain the Cord’s factory 1936 electronic gear selector. Yes, the 1936–1937 Cords featured electronic shifting so you could preselect your next gear, then when you were ready for it, you pushed in the clutch and it clunked into gear. So the team at Brizio’s toiled on and off for two years creating the front suspension around the Porsche Tiptronic transmission and Chevy LS engine. Their initial mandate was to utilize as much of the Cord’s original DeDion-type front suspension, but this proved impossible once the halfshafts, trailing arms, springs, snubbers, and


SWAP YOU’LL EVER SEE steering were all factored together. The bulky original suspension needed to be eliminated and a more contemporary independent suspension with A-arms mounted to uprights suspending the drive axles was designed. Tube trailing arms with a stabilizer bar were fabricated, attached to fabricated hub carriers and Porsche halfshafts. Out back, a frontwheel-drive 1970s Cadillac Eldorado gave up its non-driving rear suspension to which Brizio’s add a stabilizer bar. Take a good look at the grille and hood—this is why they are called “coffin nose” Cords. For the electronic shift feature, Brizios somehow figured out that

Rolls-Royce manufactured an electronic shift module in the recent past and reconfigured it so that when a gear is selected, the actuator pushes a rod that manually changes the gear in the Porsche transmission. Porsche’s Tiptronic transmissions function like a manual without a clutch, so the driver manually shifts, though certain downshifting functions are still automatic. Once the preliminary testing was completed, Brizios performed a traditional restoration using colors and materials matching the Cord’s factory configuration.

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irst National F s It in W te e et rv Co d pe el H D 60 Years Ago, HOT RO it a Secret Till N 01 Title—and We’vve Kept Dave Wallace

Bob D’O livo

hCorvette’s success was nowhere near certain in 1956. Model years 1953–1954 had generated fewer than 4,000 sales, combined, leaving Chevy stores collectively stuck with more than 1,000 unsold cars. Chevrolet’s solution for clearing these six-cylinder slugs was restricting 1955 production to just 700 units, despite the added appeal of Corvette’s first V8. Such a desperate move reinforced rumors that GM management was secretly planning to kill the car. Determined to keep his baby alive, Zora Arkus-Duntov turned to sports-car racing for 1956—a tricky proposition, mere months after the Le Mans disaster that claimed 82 lives and set in motion a worldwide motorsports ban. One of those rare 1955 Corvette V8 roadsters had been purchased by Racer Brown, HOT ROD’s esteemed technical editor in 1956. He also obtained one of Edelbrock’s first 3x2 intakes for Chevy’s all-new, 265ci V8. Longtime Petersen Publishing Company photographer Bob D’Olivo credits the resulting combination of power and handling for attracting his late colleague to a world populated almost exclusively by expensive European imports. “In early 1956, we heard that the so-called ‘factory Corvette’ from Michigan would be running at Pebble Beach,” D’Olivo recalls. “So we hopped in his Vette and drove up there. After watching Dick Thompson lose his brakes and get badly beaten by a Mercedes 300 SL, we went to the hotel where Zora and some other mucky-mucks were staying. We found them in their suite, drinking martinis. They told us they’d rather have a second C-Production Corvette on the West Coast than ship this one back and forth across the country. We

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said, ‘Give us a car out here and we’ll make it run, and win races with it.’ Two or three weeks later, we got a call: ‘Where do you want that Corvette?’ “It came with all available performance options: heavy-duty suspension, semi-metallic brake linings, dual four-barrels, Duntov cam. Unfortunately, it wasn’t delivered until the week of the next race, leaving no time to do anything but pull out the convertible top and radio. Firestone’s 170 Super Sports were a hard compound, and the Pomona racetrack [we ran that first race] was a parking lot—smooth blacktop. We didn’t do well. Then we got serious. We won nearly every race we entered after that, in two different series. Thompson ran SCCA meets; Bill Pollack drove in Cal Club [California Sports Car Club], which Chevrolet didn’t care about. “My job was under the car,” D’Olivo adds. “Racer’s was under the hood. I did the brakes, suspension, wheel bearings, and differential. The rules didn’t allow much modification. This being a factory car, representing Chevrolet, we didn’t want to mess things up by giving any indication that it was not legal. We did manage to take out some body roll and lower the center of gravity, though.” One might believe that by entrusting such a critical program to a couple of magazine guys, the world’s largest automaker was more intent on winning “free” ink for its struggling marque than trophies. However, a search of Petersen back issues produced only a midseason tech article by Racer Brown (Oct. 1956 HRM); no follow-up recognition of the first national championship claimed by Corvette. At age 87, D’Olivo himself still questions why editors who cheered on their


Joy D’Olivo

02 03

01] Here’s a familiar scene from an upsetting 1956 season that saw the Corvette, prepared by Petersen Publishing Company staffers Racer Brown and Bob D’Olivo, dominate West Coast competition. Dr. Dick Thompson drove this car and its sister ship to the first national-series championship for a Corvette.

04

03–04] With no L.A.-area road course available for testing modifications, the HRM staffers took to the street, taking turns behind the wheel. D’Olivo’s personal test track was a San Fernando Valley quarry’s perimeter road. “The gate was always open for trucks, but there was nobody around evenings or weekends,” D’Olivo explains. “It had three 90-degree turns. One was a real nice curve.”

02] West Coast headquarters for Chevrolet Engineering’s 1956 road-racing effort was Bob and Ruth D’Olivo’s two-car garage in North Hollywood. D’Olivo’s little sister used his camera to shoot the Venetian Red beauty on the very day it was delivered, exactly as pictured. Officially a privateer entry, the Corvette was licensed, insured, registered (to someone named Dick Jess, a GM employee in distant Oakland, California), and street-legal.

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HOT ROD’S FIRST V8 VETTE 01

02

03 01] Conservatively rated at 240 hp, Corvette’s new eight-barrel V8 option added Carter carbs, a cast-aluminum intake, and a dual-point distributor for just $172.20 beyond the base, 210hp V8. Additionally available from Chevy dealers was a “high-lift” Duntov cam and kit that upped output to approximately 270 ponies—at a steep price ($188.30) evidently designed to discourage all but serious enthusiasts. 02] Production-class rules strictly limited modifications to tuning and basic blueprinting. “We had full access to Chevrolet Engineering,” says D’Olivo, “and Racer spent lots of time on the phone with those guys.” Here, Brown indicates the simple bushing that enabled stock throttle linkage to operate both carbs simultaneously.

two colleagues never wrote that story (though D’Olivo suspects post– Le Mans scrutiny of direct factory involvement). Had research for another article not accidentally turned up these few negatives in the company archive, this success story may well have remained untold and largely unknown. As the 1956 road-racing season progressed, Corvettes benefitted from three phased-in factory innovations. Chevrolet replaced the original three-speed transmission with a box that’s taller, nonsynchro First gear enabled faster speeds entering and exiting turns. Previously, low gear was practically useless, forcing Thompson and Pollack to stay in Second, torturing the brake linings through corners. Another midyear addition was Positraction, a GM option that Cal Club accepted, but SCCA did not (forcing D’Olivo to swap differentials between series). Last but not least was the tiny windscreen seen in later photos. “Removing that tall, heavy windshield was a big

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03] Following their Production-class race, HOT ROD’s hot rodders were known to reappear in the main event, challenging state-of-the-art European exotics. “America’s sports car” is surrounded by a trio of MercedesBenz gull-wing coupes. Having tested one at Motor Trend, D’Olivo described the 300 SL as “practically a race car, right off the showroom floor.”

move,” D’Olivo says. “It took weight off, lowering the center of gravity, and did wonders aerodynamically.” Another midseason improvement came from the fledgling smallblock aftermarket. While the original 265 performed flawlessly, Vic Edelbrock Sr. was given a new motor to balance and blueprint for the car. “The first half, we did nothing beyond tuning—never even pulled it down to check things,” D’Olivo insists. “That just goes to show how good that engine design was, right off the bat. But we felt that a motor balanced and blueprinted by Edelbrock had to be a bit better. It was fantastic! That little engine was beating the s**t out of everybody, and staying together, in the earliest days of the small-block Chevy. When we beat all of the Mercedes 300 SLs by 30 seconds in Seattle, clinching the SCCA title for Chevrolet, it was the result of everything we’d changed: engine, aero, Cd, weight. The combination made a real race car out of it.” This unprecedented, unlikely Yankee upset of the continent’s finest followed Zora’s own flying-mile international speed record at Daytona (150.583 average mph) and John Fitch’s strong finish at Sebring, all of which certified the 1956 Corvette as a world-class sports car. Not coincidentally, sales would shoot to 3,467 units the


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[Dick Thompson, aka “The Flying Dentist,” drove this car in SCCA’s western region and a Detroit-based sister ship, maintained by factory engineers back east. His accumulated points earned the 1956 C-Production championship, a first for any Corvette. A midseason rules change allowed the tiny windscreen, which Chevrolet supplied. Also shown is HRM Technical Editor Racer Brown. Of the three championship-winning teammates, only Bob D’Olivo survives.

[For 1956, Corvette introduced roll-up windows, an adjustable passenger seat, transistorized radio, removable hardtop, and optional seatbelts (installed by dealers from a kit). These racing lap belts were No. 106’s only interior modification until midseason, when SCCA allowed a superlight, factory-issued windscreen. The only manual tranny offered was still the standard three-speed with non-synchronized low.

following model year, assuring the marque’s survival. HOT ROD’s involvement with No. 106 Corvette ended with a bang when Bill Pollack crashed out of a late-season Cal Club meet at Paramount Ranch, California. D’Olivo and Brown towed the car back to D’Olivo’s North Hollywood garage and asked GM to collect it. “Chevrolet offered me everything—the car, tires, wheels, spare parts—for $1,400, which to me was a lot of money at the time,” D’Olivo says, chuckling. “I would’ve had to replace one crunched fender and repaint it. I couldn’t even drive the thing legally anymore, since the windshield couldn’t be reinstalled. Besides, I’d been parking my 1956 Buick on the street all year, and wanted to bring it inside.”

In 1957, Laurence Clark campaigned the Corvette as No. 125— until it crashed, burned, and vanished. According to D’Olivo, Chevrolet tried hard to track the car down for display at 1987’s Monterey Historics, but the trail went cold at an L.A.-area body shop that supposedly had scrapped the remains. Years later, D’Olivo would be introduced to the shop owner, a former racer who “wasn’t too anxious to talk about it. He insisted that the only thing he saved was the roll bar, but I’ve often wondered.”

[Nearly half a century after waving No. 106 goodbye in December 1956, another Corvette is back in Bob D’Olivo’s garage, finally. Now 87, he was Petersen Publishing’s master photographer for 44 years before retiring as photographic director in 1996.

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01

03

Allen Kuhn 01] Although the race immortalized by artist Bill Neale ended with a rare DNF and the team’s only engine failure, D’Olivo remembers this moment fondly. “We were going to pull the motor after this event,” Bob explains. “We told Bill Pollack that if he won his Production race, he could have some fun in the main event—let it all hang out. He started dead last and worked all the up to fourth. He really stood on it on the last straightaway, actually passing this Ferrari before a rod let go.” This original artwork was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours before Neale gave it to D’Olivo.

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02] George Bartelle’s painting identifies all four team members. The portraits depict drivers Bill Pollack (upper left) and Dick Thompson, who respectively dominated their Cal Club and SCCA Production classes throughout the championship 1956 season. 03] This Allen Kuhn photo shot in Palm Springs, California, shows the 1956 SCCA national-champ Dr. Dick Thompson in turn 2 battling a fleet of Mercedes 300SLs. Guess who won—yup, the Corvette.


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THE BUYER’S GUIDE Engine Components Used by Master Engine Builders From Around the Country—and Now Ready for Your Next Project

hIf there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we are all into engines. It’s practically impossible to be a hot rodder without messing with motors and hopping-up horsepower. It’s in our DNA. We’re all looking for ways to make the engines we have more powerful and more reliable, and most of us only have the budget to build an engine once. So how do you know what to build with? The HOT ROD Engine Masters Challenge is a competition that happens every year at the University of Northwest Ohio (UNOH) in Lima, Ohio. HOT ROD brings master engine builders from around

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the country together to compete in one of five competition classes to see which parts and assembly techniques are really the best. The HOT ROD audience benefits from this competition because it allows them to see what parts professional engine builders use and how they assemble components for the maximum power outputs possible.  We’re showcasing some of the parts that are commonly used to outdo the competition and bring you the HOT ROD Engine Masters Challenge Buyer’s Guide.

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The name of the game for the all-new fuel log by Aeromotive is adjustability. It works like most dual-fuel inlet logs, but without the hassle of finding one that perfectly fits your application. Each carburetor inlet features a ball and socket assembly that swivels +/-20 degrees to allow additional clearance for accessories such as throttle stops and nitrous plates. Once set to your desired position, it locks in place. The log’s telescoping abilities allows a direct fit for 4150- or 4500-style carburetors. The ORB-10 inlet and outlet ports will feed the hungriest big-blocks and adapt easily to Aeromotive A2000 bypass (gasoline) or double-adjustable bypass (alcohol) fuel pressure regulators. The Aeromotive fuel log is also available as a kit, complete with regulator, gauge, and fittings. Price: $361.63

With the increased demand for E85 compatibility, Aeromotive redesigned its 340 Stealth pumps to work with the popular race-gas alternative. Internally, Aeromotive utilizes an encapsulated armature featuring carbon commutators and brushes designed for use with E85 fuel. Additionally, wiring leads extending from the pump have been sealed and terminate with connecters that are specifically designed to withstand the unique properties of E85. The new 340 can be used with standard pump gas or E85 and retains many of the features found in the original 340 Stealth pump. Wiring pig-tail, pre-filter, and associated installation hardware are supplied with the new 340 and are offered with various inlet positions to fit a wide range of applications. Price: $123.36

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AMSOIL has expanded its premium Signature Series synthetic motor oil line by adding a 0W-40 viscosity that is ideal for high-horsepower Chrysler and Nissan applications. Formulated to withstand the stress and high heat associated with these engines, AMSOIL 0W-40 provides outstanding wear protection and promotes engine longevity. AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-40 reduces oil consumption and emissions while resisting thermal breakdown and viscosity loss due to mechanical shear. It maximizes fuel economy and helps prevent sludge deposits to keep engines clean. AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-40 is recommended for Chrysler and Nissan applications calling for a 0W-40 viscosity. Some of the most common applications include—but are not limited to—Dodge Charger 6.1L/6.4L, Dodge Challenger 6.1L/6.4L, Dodge Viper 8.3L/8.4L, Chrysler 300 6.1L/6.4L, Jeep SRT Grand Cherokee 6.1L/6.4L, and Nissan GT-R 3.8L. Price: $11.50 per quart

The all-new Pro Series rocker Stud Kit from ARP ensures top-of-the line quality and durability. The studs are manufactured from premium-grade 8740 chrome-moly and heat-treated to a nominal tensile strength of 200,000 psi. The studs are then centerless ground to ensure concentricity and the threads rolled (not cut) to provide superior engagement and longer fatigue life. Also included in the 16-stud kit are special 8740 chrome-moly flange nuts to secure the rocker arms. These ARP studs are available for many applications, including GM’s popular new 6.2L LT1/LT4 small-block engines. Like all ARP fasteners, they are proudly made in-house at the company’s registered Southern California facilities. Price: $145.94

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The new COMP Cams LSR camshafts use the most modern lobe designs for popular GM LS engines and offer superior performance and durability for both cathedral- and rectangle-port GM LS cylinder heads. Designed for radical street performance and allout race applications, these aggressive profile cams take advantage of today’s newer and better-flowing aftermarket cylinder heads. The COMP Cams LSR camshafts feature higher exhaust duration and overall lift, making them the right choice for engine builders looking for the most advanced camshaft designs you can purchase in an off-the-shelf cam. These cams offer the broadest powerband and the most top-end horsepower of any LS cams ever created by COMP Cams. Price: $399.68

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 105


A Tuner’s Best Tool— Wideband Air/Fuel Ratio Interfaces

Quality HighTemperature Engine Paint

Knowing your air/fuel mixture is crucial to achieving the perfect tune for your hot rod’s engine. Daytona Sensors wideband air/fuel ratio (AFR) interfaces are the perfect aid for tuning carbureted or fuel-injected applications. They can be used both on-road or on the dyno and are highly accurate with less than ±0.10 AFR error. The WEGO AFR systems can be run on a wide range of voltage from 11–18 volt and are fully encapsulated for water-proofing. Unlike some other AFR units that may lose accuracy over time, Daytona Sensors designed its systems with an easy free-air calibration procedure to correct for typical sensor aging effects. The interfaces are available in various kits to fit just about any need including automotive, motorcycle, and other small engine applications. Price: Varies based on application

Eastwood’s 2K AeroSpray high-temp engine paints allow you to paint with the durability and precision of a two-component coating, without the need for a paint gun. Eastwood achieves this by using its unique two-chamber spray nozzle and valve, which allows for a wide spray pattern. This high-temperature paint is formulated with Eastwood’s proprietary nano-ceramic technology to provide a long-lasting and durable finish. These paints are heat-resistant up to 650 degrees F and come in many popular engine colors. Price: $29.99

Daytona Sensors // 386.322.7390 // Daytona-Sensors.com

Eastwood // 800.343.9353 Eastwood.com

Mopar 426 Pistons

Cylinder Heads

The Hemi-Dome Mopar 426 Pistons by Diamond Pistons cover a large array of applications and can even be ordered to fit your custom specifications. Diamond makes pistons with compression ratios to work specifically for street Hemis and race Hemis. These Hemi-Dome Pistons can even be used with small nitrous kits. So whether you are building an all-out, highcompression 426 with nitrous for the strip or something a little more streetable, Diamond Pistons has what you need. Price: Varies based on application

Edelbrock has a complete line of cylinder heads for just about any street or competition engine. Each cylinder head Edelbrock brings to market is engineered, tested, cast, and machined in its manufacturing facilities in Southern California. Every cylinder head is cast from high-quality A356 aluminum and heat-treated to T6 specifications in-house. Edelbrock cylinder heads also use highly efficient ports and state-of-the-art combustion-chamber shapes that offer improved performance throughout the rpm range for great throttle response and top-end horsepower. Price: Varies based on application

Diamond Pistons // 877.552.2112 // DiamondRacing.net

Spark Plugs for the Track

E3 Spark Plugs // 904.567.5994 E3SparkPlugs.com E3 just released its new Racing Spark Plugs series, which is now available for all levels of racing applications. E3 spark plugs are known for their patented DiamondFire electrode, which emits a larger flame kernel faster for increased combustion efficiency and performance enhancement. This technology is now available for more high-performance uses. The E3 Racing Spark Plugs are available in numerous variations to fit your specific racing needs. Price: $5.99

106 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

Edelbrock // 310.718.2222 // Edelbrock.com

Edelbrock EFI Systems Edelbrock // 310.718.2222 // Edelbrock.com

Edelbrock’s complete line of EFI systems gives you several options to choose from when deciding to upgrade your engine to modern electronic fuel injection. Its EFI systems provide excellent throttle response throughout the rpm range, along with smooth engine operation. Edelbrock also offers the potential for improved fuel economy by making the engine more efficient. Edelbrock E-Street 2, Pro-Flo 2, and Pro-Flo XT EFI systems are some of the most complete systems available on the market and give you everything you need to add powerful and efficient fuel injection to your vehicle. All of Edelbrock EFI systems are dyno-tested to deliver provenperformance results. Price: Varies based on application

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


Aluminum Intake Manifolds

An EFI System For Your Supercharger

Edelbrock has several styles of high-performance aluminum intake manifolds to fit many different street and competition applications. Each style of manifold has characteristics that make it ideal for the application for which it is intended. Years of design and testing in the area of induction technology have given the Edelbrock team invaluable insights into which characteristics work best under what conditions. For the ultimate in quality, every Edelbrock intake manifold is cast at Edelbrock’s modern Aluminum Foundry and machined on computerized machining centers at Edelbrock headquarters in Torrance, California. Price: Varies based on application

The XFI Sportsman blow-through supercharger EFI system from FAST makes for a simple swap from carburetor to electronic fuel injection for your supercharged application. The system comes with the easy-to-install EZ-EFI 2.0 throttle-body, supporting up to 15 psi of boost and 1,000 hp at the crankshaft on gasoline. It is more than twice as powerful as any other single throttle-body blow-through product on the market. This system features internal data logging, which uses a wideband O2 sensor and fuel pressure sensors for maximum tuning capabilities. Like other EFI setups from FAST, the XFI Sportsman blow-through supercharger EFI system provides more performance and reliability, improved gas mileage, is safer for the engine, and is more easily tuned than a carbureted option. Price: $1,997.51

Diesel 6.0L Head-Gasket Replacement

Holley EFI Systems

Edelbrock // 310.718.2222 // Edelbrock.com

FAST // 877.334.8355 // FuelAirSpark.com

Federal-Mogul // 800.325.8886 // FederalMogul.com

Fel-Pro Gaskets has developed two new PermaTorque MLS multi-layer-steel head gaskets to address a common combustion sealing issue encountered by many 6.0L diesel engines. The new Fel-Pro PermaTorque MLS head gaskets feature several unique design enhancements that address combustion leakage and other issues encountered in these existing engines. The gaskets include a highly advanced new embossment design that creates increased spring force and a significantly more robust sealing contact than conventional gasket designs under extreme loads. Additionally, the new PermaTorque MLS gaskets feature a highly controlled thickness of FKM rubber in all critical sealing areas. Each gasket is also engineered to easily accommodate engine overbore. Price: $129.95 per pair

Holley // 866.464.6553 // Holley.com

Holley offers a wide variety of EFI systems to work with your application and budget, including Terminator EFI, Dominator EFI, HP EFI, and its all-new Sniper EFI. These systems deliver performance for everyone from weekend enthusiasts to NHRA Pro Stock racers. Holley’s EFI ranges from carburetor replacement, self-tuning systems like Terminator EFI and Sniper EFI to their top of the line Dominator ECU which has nearly unlimited inputs and outputs, electronic transmission control, and drive-by-wire throttle support. Whether you are looking for the best bang for your buck, plug-andplay system for your street/strip warrior, or all-out tunability for the track, Holley’s got you covered. Price: Varies based on application

Innovators West Harmonic Balancers

MegaSquirt Engine Management Systems

For more than 25 years, Innovators West has been building SFI 18.1 certified harmonic balancers using only American components. The balancers are designed for low reciprocating weight and durability using an aluminum case, a stress-proof steel hub, and 1040 steel inertia rings. The inertia rings are spring-loaded and a part of a free-floating, wet-friction clutch pack that works to dampen crankshaft harmonics over a wide rpm range. The heat generated is dispersed via a small amount of fluid inside that also acts as a lubricant. Innovators West offers a wide range of features including lightweight integrated flying magnet crank trigger, overdrive (standard or underdrive), integrated serpentine pulley, matching 8- and 10-rib pulley conversion kits, and internal or externally balanced models for many different engines. Price: Varies based on application

MegaSquirt Engine Management Systems have been used on practically every kind of engine out there, from chainsaws to land-speed racers. For nearly 15 years, racers and weekend engine-swappers have relied on the power, features, and flexibility of MegaSquirt controls. A wide range of MegaSquirt products are available, ranging from extremely cost-effective, do-it-yourself kits to fully assembled products ready to go. MegaSquirt also offers custom plug-and-play and specific engine harnesses to fit your exact vehicle needs. MegaSquirt also boasts the largest feature set, ready to be put to work in your application. Price: Varies based on application

Innovators West // 785.825.6166 // InnovatorsWest.com

MegaSquirt // MegaSquirt.info

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 107


CNC Automatic Vertical Honing Machines

Connecting Rods for Any Application

Traditionally, honing engine blocks can be a tedious job, requiring the machine operator to be present throughout the entire process. Rottler pioneered the concept of walk-away honing and continues to improve on this efficiency with its new H80 machines. These new honing machines from Rottler now incorporate a true vertical stroking design. A problem with previous rocking-head design was turnaround at the top and bottom of each stoke. The machine was unable to change direction quickly enough, resulting in possible inconsistencies in crosshatch angle. The new technologies allow for very fast directional change that minimizes any variation in crosshatch angle at the top or bottom of each stroke. Essentially, the new H80 machines provide a more consistent, accurate and repeatable result every time. Price: Varies based on application

SCAT offers a complete connecting-rod solution for virtually any application. SCAT’s connecting rod product line includes I-beam and H-beam rods from stock replacement to Stroker applications. SCAT’s Ultra Lite Stroker H-Beams have an advanced Formula 1–style lightening hole, which lightens the rod without sacrificing strength. Whether it is Chevy, Chevy LS, Ford, Ford Modular, Chrysler, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Sport Compact, and many more, SCAT is your one-stop shop for all of your connecting-rod needs. Price: Varies based on application

SCAT Crankshafts

School of Automotive Mechanics Classes

Rottler // 800.452.0534 // RottlerMFG.com

SCAT Crankshafts // 310.370.5501 // SCATCrankshafts.com SCAT’s crankshaft product line includes cast cranks for the budget-minded street application and forged cranks for most racing applications. For advanced racing applications, SCAT makes custom billet cranks that offer the ultimate in strength and durability. SCAT’s custom billet crankshafts are for any application up to 43 inches in length, 10 inches in diameter, and up to 6 inches of stroke. SCAT makes cranks for anything from single-cylinder, to V16, to street and strip, to Top Fuel, and everything in between. Whether it is Chevy, Chevy LS, Ford, Ford Modular, Chrysler, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Sport Compact, Tractor Pull, Industrial, and many more, SCAT is your one-stop shop for all of your crankshaft needs. Price: Varies based on application

Versatile Engine Dynamometer

SuperFlow // 888.442.5546 // SuperFlow.com The SF-Powermark engine dynamometer is one of the most capable and versatile engine dynos on the market. It is rated for 15,000 rpm and has a power capacity of 2,500 hp and 1,750 lb-ft of torque. The SF-Powermark has starters built into the system, negating the need for typical bellhousing, flywheel, or engine starters. The included roll-around engine-docking cart makes it possible to adapt various types of engines, while its stainless steel runners make for easy engine support adjustment. The tool tray has cutouts that allow for convenient mounting of ignition system components and storage of spark plugs and lambda probes. The SV-Powermark can be coupled with the WinDyn software system for precise data acquisition and pre-defined test sequences. The new sensor box mounts directly to the boom and includes four LCD displays used to view any channel from the WinDyn software system. Price: Varies based on application

108 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

SCAT Crankshafts // 310.370.5501 // SCATCrankshafts.com

School of Automotive Mechanics // 713.683.3817 SAMRacing.com

If you’re looking to get into the automotive industry as a mechanic, the School of Automotive Mechanics is the place to go. SAM offers a comprehensive catalog of classes, specific programs, and associate degrees to fit your needs. SAM offers programs in cylinder-block, head, and CNC machining, as well as a newly developed Motorsports EFI tuning program. Since its founding in 1985, SAM has provided the automotive and motorsports industry with highly trained graduates who are placed with top engine builders and race teams in NASCAR, NHRA, and IndyCar series. Price: Varies based on application

Street-Legal Performance Fuel

VP Racing Fuels // 812.878.2025 // VPRacingFuels.com VP101 is perfect for high-performance vehicles requiring a high-octane fuel, and in particular for production cars where the manufacturers recommend premium 93-octane fuel at a minimum. In the latest generations of turbo- and supercharged engines, VP101 will deliver consistent optimum performance with increased horsepower and acceleration, better throttle response, and a cleaner burn. In naturally aspirated engines, VP101 allows for higher compression and more advanced timing; in turbocharged or supercharged applications, it allows an increase in boost without fear of detonation. Users can also leverage the fuel’s higher octane rating to step up to a more powerful nitrous oxide system. Oxygenated with ethanol, VP101 meets Arizona and California Air Resource Board requirements, and its octane rating of 101 is the highest of any street-legal fuel on the market. Price: $65.63 (5-gallon jug, online)

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Despite all appearances of living in a garage, I do occasionally spend time in the HOT ROD office. This week I finally cleaned my desk, and underneath piles of tech sheets, race qualifying schedules, dyno sheets, and unfiled expense reports—sorry, Karen in Financial—I found quite a few model cars. The majority were Hot Wheels, primarily Dodges with a couple of Chevys in there for flavor, ’cause even a hardcore Mopar nut can’t deny the appeal of a Stingray or a Vega. Actually, I don’t know where the Vega came from, but I don’t have the heart to kick it out. Out of the dozen cars I unearthed, half were Dodge Challengers, which makes sense, because it’s a car I own, and people tend to gift me with various Challenger models when they find them. My favorite, of course, is the B7 blue one. It’s exactly like the one in my driveway, right down to the not-running part. I know folks who have the exact model for every car they own, but the likelihood of finding a 1⁄64-scale orange Opel GT with basketball dents on the roof or green two-door 1969 Polara with a 440 and a bunch of dog hair in the back seat is pretty low. It’s kinda like that Simpsons episode where Bart is all excited about the customized license plates at the amusement park, but they go straight from Barclay to Bort and he can’t find his name. Most car models go straight from Oldsmobile 442 to Plymouth ’Cuda with no Opels or Polaras in the middle. It’s probably a good thing, or I’d be buried under scale-size GTs. hHOTROD.COM/Elana-Scherr

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[Car models tend to be either super-popular cars like a Corvette or a Challenger, or totally quirky one-offs, like this Timbs Special, a Buick-powered custom from 1948, made by Automodello, which specializes in weird car models.

SEARCHABLE CONTENT • INSTANT DELIVERY MOBILE LIBRARY • VIEW ON ANY DEVICE ORDER ONLINE:

digital.hotrod-online.com HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/ 111


WRENCHIN’ @ RANDOM

Tom Medley

Thom On Design: The Best AV8 Roadster Ever

With the passing of Dick Megugorac in January 2016, known as “Magoo,” I’m reminded that he was one of the tenets in the resurgence of highboy roadsters in the late-1960s. And I would consider this roadster he built for himself in 1973–1974 to be the quintessential traditional AV8 roadster. Ever. An “AV8” roadster is a 1928–1931 roadster or roadster pickup body on a 1932 Ford chassis. The origin of putting a Model A body on a 1932 chassis is simple: A-bodies were considered more aerodynamic, lighter, and as with

most things connected with hot rodding, they were cheap. And 1932 frames accepted flathead V8s, since that’s what they came with. Magoo built this roadster in the 1970s, so he had the advantage of firsthand inspiration from his days as a kid in Santa Monica, California, in the 1940s, hanging with his fellow legendary “Low Fliers” hot rod club members, and then all of those years after to coalesce his ideas. The tire and wheel choice, sizes, and how they relate to the body, are just about perfect.

Those Firestone Dirt Track tires and old bent-spoke Kelsey-Hayes wheels sure look good. And the stance in this profile can’t be improved. Magoo chose a Deuce grille shell and, combined with the smooth hood and flowing black lacquer body, it blends together nicely. The Jack Hageman aluminum hood ties the car together. Magoo went with a dressed Ford flathead/newer Muncie four-speed, spinning a Halibrand Model A quick-change. Shifting a flathead is pure joy, so why not get an ample range of gears and synchro First, too? And a Champ quick-change is too bulky and overkill, while a V8 quickie fits, but Magoo went with the Halibrand Model A quickie that goes so well with its namesake. Only someone intimate with components and highboy proportions would make such a perfect choice. The finishing touch was having wife Lois trim the highboy in red. If you’re considering building an AV8 highboy, don’t bother trying to improve on perfection; copy this and enjoy a hot rod that can never be out of style. And you can feel honored to thank Magoo for the help.

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WRENCHIN’ @ RANDOM

Marlan Davis

Is There a Way to Speed Up Small-Block Chevy Cam Swaps?

You can shave 50–75 percent off the time it takes to swap hydraulic-roller cams in a classic small-block Chevy. LS motors have lifter-guide “gloves” that allow cam removal without pulling the intake and lifters. Now Chevrolet Performance sells a similar glove for the old-gen small-blocks. The gloves supply enough friction to retain the lifters if the rocker arms are backed

off and the cam is rotated two full revolutions to push the lifters up into the gloves. GM PN 88958652 does one bank of lifters, so you’ll need two for a V8 ($28.98/pair at Elway Chevrolet). The gloves only work with OE-type hydraulic-roller lifters; the guide bar on retrofit roller lifters won’t clear and flat-tappets fit too loosely in the glove. Combine them with Comp Cams’

three-piece aluminum timing cover (PN 310, $269.59 direct) that permits pulling the cam out of the engine without disturbing the oil pan, intake manifold, or oil-pan seals. You only need to pull the water pump, the distributor, and the harmonic balancer. On a motor equipped with a distributor, a water pump, and a harmonic balancer (but no other accessories), we found it takes an experienced wrench around 1¼ to 1½ hours to change cams with handtools when the engine is on a stand. This includes new intake and timing cover gaskets and at least a front oil-pan seal; torquing the intake manifold bolts and damper bolt to spec; lashing the valves; and indexing the distributor. With the gloves and three-piece timing cover, that time is cut to as little as a half-hour. Save even more by using airtools.

Contacts CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE; Grand Blanc, MI; 800.577.6888; Chevrolet.com/performance COMP CAMS; Memphis, TN; 800.999.0853 or 901.795-2400; CompCams.com JOHN ELWAY CHEVROLET; Englewood, CO; 800.345.5744; JohnElwayChevrolet.com

hHOTROD.COM/Marlan-Davis

[The lifter gloves (arrows) are a drop-in on later small-blocks machined for OE retention spiders like this one. Holes in the glove also permit bolting the gloves in place on earlier blocks, assuming the casting has enough material between each lifter bore pair to permit drilling and tapping the holes.

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HOT ROD TO THE RESCUE

[Michael Boozer drives his beefed-up 1993 V10 Viper regularly, even on cross-country road trips. “I’ve been to Canada, New York, Phoenix in it.”

[The Viper still has its original red paint. Boozer did upgrade to 2000 Viper chrome rims. “They look better than the plain gray 1993 ones.”

[It became difficult to shift into gear at idle. There was a loud grinding noise, even with the clutch pedal pushed all the way to the floor.

There’s a Grinding Noise When Michael Boozer Tries to Put His Dodge Viper’s T56 Trans Into Gear at Idle. We’re Gonna Fix It. Marlan Davis

THE COMBO Michael Boozer bought his 1993 Dodge Viper back in 2000 with only 5,500 miles on the odometer. Boozer says once he took a testdrive, “I felt the power and thought, ‘Oh my god, I have to have it!’” Unlike some other Viper owners who store their cars year-round in the garage as an investment, Boozer drives it daily during the spring and summer. A few years back, the Viper’s all-aluminum V10 engine had a head-gasket problem. Boozer took the opportunity to have the motor rebuilt: Originally rated at 400 flywheel horsepower, it was massively hopped up to pound out a normally aspirated 790 hp and 690 lb-ft at the rear wheels. Power gets to the ground via the production T56 trans and 3.07:1-geared Dana 44 IRS carrier—both also beefed up to handle the motor’s massive torque.

THE PROBLEM The Viper now has more than 40,000 miles on it, about 10,000 of them on the new motor. Recently, it became difficult to

NEED JUNK FIXED? 118 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

get the T56 into gear. “When I would start the car and let it idle, it would grind when I tried to put the shift lever into First or Reverse,” Boozer explains. “The only way to get it into gear was to turn the car off, put it into gear, and then start it up.” Once in gear and running, Boozer says the Viper seemed to shift OK. Fortunately, the Kenosha, Wisconsin, native lives less than a half hour away from Norm Brandes’ Westech Automotive in nearby Silver Lake. One of a vanishing breed of full-service shops, Brandes fixes just about every component on early- and late-model vehicles alike.

THE DIAGNOSIS Westech’s crew quickly confirmed the grinding noise, then began diagnostics. Brandes explains, “We began by jacking up the car so the rear tires were off the ground. We started the engine in gear, let off the gas, and depressed the clutch pedal all the way to the floor. This should entirely release the clutch disc. With no drag on the flywheel, the wheels should come to a halt in less than one revolution; there

should not be enough momentum to keep them turning. But in this case, the tires kept rotating; you actually had to hit the brakes to stop it. We now knew the clutch was not releasing cleanly.” What if the wheels had stopped rotating within one revolution, but the grinding noise was still present when the trans was placed into gear? “That would mean the problem would probably be with the trans, not the clutch,” Brandes says. With the trans out of the equation, the next step was determining if the problem was in the hydraulic clutch’s actuation system or with the clutch and pressure-plate assembly. “First we bled the hydraulic system. High thermal temperatures from driving a car hard can boil the clutch fluid. That can cause aeration: Just like air in the brake line, it can create a sponginess that inhibits proper clutch disengagement and cause the clutch to slip. Severely overheated hydraulic fluid would turn black, but here the clutch fluid looked basically OK and bleeding the system made no difference.” The Viper was running an upgraded Centerforce Dual

Norm Brandes

Friction diaphragm clutch that is said to be a direct bolt-in replacement. Still, internal clearances may vary. On the Viper’s T56, hydraulic clutch actuation is through a self-adjusting integral throwout bearing. Exercising due diligence, Brandes says, “We also checked for proper bearing travel versus clutch engagement and disengagement distance— the travel was within spec.” One so-called “performance enhancement” pushed by some is increasing the restrictor orifice size in the release-bearing hole. The purpose of the orifice is to ensure smooth engagement even if you side-step the clutch. “Many aftermarket people drill out the orifice for increased flow,” Brandes says. “You should not do it on the Viper; the [stock] size is correct.” This car’s orifice was still at the original OE size. Time for a close look at the clutch and flywheel. Westech dropped the driveshaft and removed the trans from the vehicle, then unbolted the pressure plate, disc, and flywheel for inspection. “We looked at the engagement faces on the flywheel and pressure plate and

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HOT ROD TO THE RESCUE

[Westech Automotive’s Norm Brandes found a clutch issue, then fixed it with a jerry-rigged bench-vise fixture and a couple of prybars.

[Unequal height Belleville spring fingers caused the clutch to drag. Bending them so they were all at the same height eliminated the grinding.

[Boozer’s Viper no longer lets him down in the clutch. Tweaking Boozer’s existing clutch fixed the problem without costing an arm and a leg.

saw some black spots,” Brandes reports. “The spots were pinch indicators, a contact area that showed us where the clutch wasn’t releasing. We inspected the clutch disc. When we set it on the flywheel, it was flat with no distortion. There were no signs of delamination. That left the pressure plate; it had to be exerting uneven pressure on the flywheel.”

THE FIX Fortunately, the contact surface spotting was caught early enough to avoid serious heat damage. Brandes was able to salvage the flywheel and pressure plate faces without resurfacing by hand-polishing out the black spots. With no visual disc damage or distortion, Brandes says the disc was OK for reuse. So what was going on with the pressure plate? Combining clamping parts from his Bridgeport mill plus some scrap steel plate, Brandes built a bench-vise mounting fixture so he could mock up the entire flywheel, clutch disc, and pressure-plate assembly. Once everything was assembled on the bench, Brandes saw the clutch’s Belleville (diaphragm) spring finger heights were uneven. “If everything is right, they should all be at the same height,” Brandes explains. “If not, they’re not correctly adjusted. Low fingers are

[Clockwise, from top left: It was nearly impossible to get the Viper into gear at idle without grinding the fully synchronized T56 tranny’s gears. With the rear wheels jacked up and the car in gear, Westech’s John Wheeler depressed the clutch pedal all the way to the floor; the rear wheels didn’t stop rotating within one revolution, indicating the defect lay in the clutch or hydraulics, not the trans. When bleeding the clutch hydraulic system and checking the integral hydraulic throwout bearing’s travel made no difference, it left only the clutch as the culprit. It had to come out, but what was wrong, and could the existing parts be fixed?

the problem; the finger won’t travel as far, so that area of the clutch won’t cleanly disengage.” Could this be fixed? A new Dual Friction Viper clutch (PN DF985985) is a heavy hit, costing more than $800 at Summit Racing. After consultation with Centerforce, Brandes unbolted the pressure plate so he could array four pieces of key stock with a thickness about equal to the

clutch disc equidistantly around the flywheel contact area. He reinstalled the pressure plate on the flywheel, trapping the keys in position to simulate a fully engaged clutch while eliminating the influence of any slight clutch disc surface imperfections. Next, Brandes measured and recorded the distance from the top of each finger tip to the flywheel surface, then used prybars

Until I got into it, I never dreamed of straightening out a pressure plate this way, but it works!” —Norm Brandes 120 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

to bend the low fingers up to equal the highest finger’s height. “That gives the greatest travel and best engagement characteristics.” But that’s just static clearance. It’s not a 100-percent given that when you push the pedal to disengage the clutch all the different fingers’ movement will remain perfectly linear throughout the range of travel. Other variables, such as subtle variances in the fingers’ lever ratios, profiles, weight, and shape could still throw things off slightly. To check this, Brandes installed a nut and a large, thick washer on the bench rig’s


HOT ROD TO THE RESCUE

extended mounting stud. He slowly turned down the nut, compressing the Belleville spring and levers until at least one key-stock could just be pulled out by hand, then measured the clearance between the pressure plate and flywheel where the spacer was removed. Further slight turns of the nut eventually allowed removing the other spacers one by one. The gaprange difference between the first and last key-stock pieces removed is the total amount of movement-induced distortion during clutch actuation. In this case, the post-adjustment low/ high range came out well within acceptable tolerances.

THE RESULTS All that was left was to put the clutch and flywheel back together in the car, bolt up the

[Westech dropped the trans and removed the clutch and flywheel for inspection. There were no signs of abnormal wear, delamination, or warping on the clutch disc. [Discrete black spots were visible on the flywheel and (shown here) the pressure-plate contact surfaces. Brandes says these are pinch points that indicate where the clutch wasn’t disengaging. “The dragging clutch built up heat, but the problem was caught early enough that there wasn’t enough temperature to permanently heat-check the contact faces.”

[Brandes: “We took light 400-grit sandpaper and simply polished the spots out. Flatness remained within spec.” (Emory cloth works, too.) The bright area (arrows) indicates where one flywheel “spot” has just been cleaned up. Note the radial lines from the original factory flywheel surfacing operation still remain intact.

122 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

[To evaluate the flywheel and clutch out of the car, Brandes rigged up this clamping fixture for his bench vise, using 5⁄8-inch-thick steel plate and thick oversized washers, plus clamping parts and ½-inch studs pirated off his Bridgeport mill. Multipiece Bridgeport or drill-press clamping assortment kits can often be had for less than $50; Enco is one source.


HOT ROD TO THE RESCUE

[The flywheel attaches to the top of the plate via a large centering washer from a Bridgeport clamp-kit plus a long coupling nut. Brandes cut a 1-foot-long piece of 0.125-inch-thick square key-stock into four equal parts to stand in for the 0.130-inch-thick clutch disc, then arrayed the pieces around the flywheel’s contact surface at 90-degree intervals.

[This is the complete pressure plate and flywheel assembly bolted down onto Brandes’ custom fixture. The fingers have been individually numbered so Brandes could measure and record the height of each. The “X” in the 4 o’clock position corresponds to the observed black witness mark area on the bottom side’s contact face.

[Brandes attached the pressure plate to the flywheel, tightening the mounting bolts to 22.5 lb-ft. The equally spaced key-stock pieces align with the gaps between each pair of mounting bolts in the pressure plate “hat,” permitting easy access to the key-stock spacers.

trans and driveshaft, and go for a testdrive. Clutch engagement was now smooth and linear. The trans shifted smoothly and there have been no further problems since. “We don’t know how the fingers got bent out of spec,” Brandes says. “But the Centerforce Dual Friction is a known clutch with a good track record. This one was out of warranty, so not having to install a whole new unit can save big bucks if you do the work yourself.” Really big bucks; if you already have the clamping fixtures and scrap metal needed to fab the vise-holding fixture, out-ofpocket costs are less than $7! Worst case, buying all the necessary clamping parts, steel plate, and quality Snap-on prybars

BEFORE ADJUSTMENT [If the flywheel and pressure plate contact surfaces are parallel (and they are, in this case), all the finger heights should also be equal—but here “eyeball” inspection clearly shows they aren’t. Lower fingers will delay clutch disengagement. You can also see the extension stud screwed into the joiner nut that will later accept additional nuts and clamping devices.

124 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

[The distance between the top of each finger and the flywheel surface was measured with a caliper. Once all the heights are known, the next step is to figure out how to adjust the lower finger heights so they equal that of the highest finger. Incidentally, Brandes says the lowest fingers corresponded to the contact area’s black witness marks.


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HOT ROD TO THE RESCUE

[Brandes raised up the low-height fingers using two Snap-on prybars: an adjustable, multiangle-head, Snap-on PN PBMP16A that serves as a lever plus a fixed head Snap-on PN 650 6-inch bar that bears against a large washer and upside-down flange nut to serve as a fulcrum and tweak-tool.

[Would engagement stay linear during clutch release? To simulate a pedal-actuated release bearing, a ½x3-inch-od washer and a flange nut were installed on the extended metal stud. The nut was turned down 1⁄16turn at a time, compressing the fingers to slowly release the clutch until one of the key-stock pieces could just be pulled out of the gap by hand.

[The gap clearance is measured where the key-stock was removed using drill bits or feeler gauges. Brandes continued slowly turning the nut down until all keys could be hand-pulled. Up to a 0.045-inch range between the lowest and highest key removal point is OK; this assembly came out even better, at 0.011 inch.

[Post-adjustment visual inspection shows all the fingers are now at the same height—compare this photo to the “Before” photo on page 124. The now-blueprinted clutch has performed flawlessly ever since it was reinstalled in Boozer’s Viper.

AFTER ADJUSTMENT

raises that to about $230 (but this stuff can be reused on future projects). As Brandes laconically points out, “Even with a case of beer thrown in, this is still cheaper than buying a new clutch!”

LESSONS LEARNED Once again we see the difference between a “parts replacer” and a true, old-school diagnostician. Most shops would have just

Contacts

MCMASTER-CARR; Elmhurst, IL; 630.833.0300 or 630.600.3600; McMaster.com

Does not include any labor charges, shipping fees, or sales taxes. Priced 03/04/16 and subject to change. All dimensions in linear inches, except as noted.

BRAND

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT; Akron, OH; 800.230.3030 (orders) or 330.630.0240 (tech); SummitRacing.com VALVOLINE (ASHLAND INC.); Lexington, KY; 800.TEAM.VAL; Valvoline.com WESTECH AUTOMOTIVE; Silver Lake, WI; 262.889.4349; WestechAuto.com

126 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

PART NO.

PART DESCRIPTION

AMT.

PRICE SOURCE COST

A. NEW PARTS NAPA KEY STOCK, plated steel, ¼" square x 12" OL (cut into four equal pieces) VALVOLINE FLUID, brake hydraulic, DOT -3/-4 compliant, 12oz bottle (used on hydraulic clutch)

NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE PARTS ASSOCIATION (NAPA); Atlanta, GA; 800.LET.NAPA; NAPAonline.com SNAP-ON INC.; Kenosha, WI; 877.762.7664; Store.Snapon.com

peering up through the Viper’s inspection shield while turning the flywheel a quarter-turn at a time,” Brandes adds. This same analysis and “blueprint” repair is applicable to any diaphragmstyle clutch assembly.

RESCUE PARTS AND PRICES

CENTERFORCE (MIDWAY INDUSTRIES INC.); Prescott, AZ; 928.771.8422; Centerforce.com ENCO; Fernley, NV; 800.USE.ENCO; Use-Enco.com

thrown in a new clutch. Brandes was able to diagnose the problem at its root and properly repair it. “Now that we know what to look for, we could have visually seen uneven disengagement evidence with everything still in the car by

7701783 601457

1 NAPA 1 NAPA A. PARTS SUBTOTAL

$2.49 $4.49 $6.98

B. OPTIONAL SPECIAL TOOLS & FIXTURES These may not be needed, depending on what expedient tools, scrap steel, and clamping devices you already have.

ENCO

SET, step-block and clamp, mixed 52pc assortment, Bridgeport-type mill, 5⁄8" T-slot, ½-13 thread BAR, rectangular, low-carbon steel, 1½" W x 6" L x 5⁄8" thick (for flywheel vise-fixture clamp, cut to MCMASTER- approximately 1½" W x 2" L) CARR WASHER, flat, hot-dipped galvanized steel, 0.531" id x 3" od x 0.265" thk (for vise fixture, od similar to clutch release bearing, stack two to achieve at least ½" thickness)* PRYBAR, fixed rolling head, pointed end, 5⁄16" square stock x 6" OL SNAP-ON PRYBAR, 17-angle multiposition head, screwdriver handle, ½" tip-width x 8" OL *Or use one 3" od x ½" thk low-carbon steel rod (McMaster-Carr PN 7786T32, $5.44), then center-drill ½" hole.

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$44.00 $118.00 B. OPTIONAL TOOLS & FIXTURES SUBTOTAL $221.80 GRAND TOTAL (A+B) $228.78


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PIT STOP

Anthony Asks…

How Much Power Will a Stock 2010 5.7L Hemi Bottom End Take? Marlan Davis

Q: A:

My 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T has a 5.7L Hemi with a six-speed manual trans. How much horsepower can this thing take with a stock bottom end?

On the street, the short-block on a Chrysler 5.7L (345ci) Hemi is reasonably reliable through the 500hp level—assuming proper fuel and spark calibration. However, the traditional normally aspirated approach of adding a larger cam is made difficult by your motor’s stock variable cam timing (VCT), which can generate piston-to-valve clearance issues with aftermarket performance cams. One solution is a Comp Cams phaser limiter kit (PN 5761). Stock 5.7L valves are heavy, so better valvesprings are strongly recommended with nearly any cam upgrade. Because of the complexity of a cam upgrade, consider instead going the forcedinduction route, running a supercharger such as a Magnuson 2300 TVS at a modest boost level, along with a reliability enhancing performance tune. Be aware that detonation from excessive boost, an overly aggressive tune, and/or bad gas can break the stock hypereutectic pistons at any power level, usually on the intake side. Aftermarket forged pistons are the solution here. Regardless of the state-of-tune, the stock powdered-metal (PM) rods may fail at 600 to 650 hp, the stock cast-iron crank bends at 650 hp, and the main caps fracture at 800 to 900 hp. Fixes, respectively, are quality aftermarket forged connecting rods, a stock 6.1L Hemi forged-steel crank (or aftermarket equivalent), and at a minimum ARP main studs to crutch the stock powdered-metal main caps or (preferably) the ARP studs plus Arrington Performance (or equivalent) billet main caps. If in good shape, your beefy TR-6060 six-speed (an evolved T56), is stouter than the stock engine, usually surviving at least 700 hp. The dual-disc factory clutch is reasonably reliable through 600 hp. Taken as a whole, the stock drivetrain’s weakest link is the independent rear suspension (IRS), but at least your 2010 5.7L/ six-speed car has a slightly better Getrag 8.9-inch centersection than the spindly Mercedes rear found in the automatic trans-equipped cars. Beefier aftermarket parts are available.

[The best upgrade for a stock 5.7L is a good blower like this Magnuson sixth-generation MP2300 TVS supercharger with intercooler and an integral bypass valve. Running a low (and safe) 6 psi of boost, this hybrid Roots unit will add about 120 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. It has a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and is California smog-legal under CARB EO D-488-16.

ASK MARLAN A TECH QUESTION:PITSTOP@HotRod.com 128 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/


Arrington Performance

PIT STOP

DC Performance

[Here, stock main cap failure put a “hole” lot of hurt on this block. More than 16-psi boost and/ or stroker cranks and you’re just asking for main cap problems. Around 6 psi with a good tune-up will put you at the 480–500hp level, about the limit for a stock Hemi bottom-end.

Arrington Performance

[Left: The weak link in both 5.7L and 6.1L Hemis are the stock hypereutectic pistons. Detonation from a bad tune or excessive boost will melt the piston tops and collapse the top ring land, regardless of the engine’s overall power level.

A.J. Berge

[Stock Hemi powdered-metal main caps break at the 800–900hp level. This failure occurred even with the added insurance of ARP main studs. The studs lived, though!

Arrington Performance

[This 5.7L oil pump pickup tube failed at 6,500 rpm, taking out the pump and timing set. Unlike the 5.7L, the larger 6.1L motors installed in SRT8 vehicles feature an oil pickup tube with an added retention tab. The 6.1L tube will work in a 5.7 if you also use the 6.1’s extended main cap tubemounting bolt.

Contacts ARRINGTON PERFORMANCE; Martinsville, VA; 866.844.1245 or 276.666.6767; ShopHemi.com AUTOMOTIVE RACING PRODUCTS (ARP); Ventura, CA; 800.826.3045 or 805.339.2200; ARP-Bolts.com

[The ultimate main cap fix is the ARP studs plus billet Arrington caps like this one. Installing new caps requires align-boring the block.

130 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

COMP CAMS; Memphis, TN; 800.999.0853 or 901.795.2400; CompCams.com MAGNUSON PRODUCTS LLC; Ventura, CA; 805.642.8833; MagnusonProducts.com


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PARTS & STUFF

Complete Custom Gaskets Cometic // 800.752.9850 // Cometic.com With all of the parts you’ll need in one kit, Cometic gasket kits can be custom tailored to your application. For example, if you just bought a junkyard 5.3L and wanted to drop the compression a bit to add a turbo, Cometic can add a slightly thicker head gasket to its kit that includes all the related gaskets and O-rings for a complete top end change. At about $300 for top-quality components, it’s cheap insurance against leaks and failure.

Drop-In Injectors AUS Injection // AUSInjection.com AUS Injection offers drop-in high-performance injectors that are flow-matched for accurate fueling for virtually any late-model Ford, Dodge, or Chevy performance car no matter how high your horsepower goals. Nearly every application offers drop-in fit with no need for spacers or wiring adapters for a quick, simple installation.

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Hellcat Tuner Bullydog // 940.783.9914 Bullydog.com As the staff of HOT ROD recently learned, even a Hellcat can have trouble keeping up with the competition when the competition is running modified Hellcats. The X4 Performance Programmer from Bully Dog stores up to 10 custom tunes and comes with dyno-proven tunes already installed.

. (800) 345-0076


Coyote Perimeter Plate ZEX // 800.752.8950 // Zex.com Taking the already potent 5.0L Coyote V8 to the next level with a healthy shot of nitrous, ZEX’s new nitrous perimeter plate adds nitrous and fuel via 12 ports that fog fuel evenly into the plenum for proper distribution. The plate makes for quick, stealthy installation and power levels that can rival a GT500.

Electric Water Pump Davies Craig // DaviesCraig.com.au Davies Craig offers a number of pumps that work with modified factory water pumps, and its newest product replaces LS engine water pumps entirely. Pump and fan controls are used to keep the engine within a set operating range. When started, the pump will pulse on and off in 10-second intervals until the coolant reaches its operating range at which point the pump will work full time. If the temperature increases, the fans will turn on and stay on until the temperature drops. This system is efficient and does a great job managing thermal loads, but a side benefit to racers is that it works when the engine is off. We immediately saw the benefit for racers looking to cool down between passes.


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FINISH LINE

Mission Creep My 1970 Duster needed a new water pump because the motorhome pump housing I’d used had the inlet on the annoying side. Once the radiator was out so the hose connection could be moved to the opposite side of the tank, it seemed like a good time to lift the engine and swap the headers, too. With the front accessories gone and the headers loose, it’d be silly not to just pluck the engine to install that torque converter that’s been sitting around. Then I decided not to put my new converter on the vague old transmission, so I got a fresh one from TCI. With the big-block and TorqueFlite removed, it would make sense to finally paint the engine compartment. And with the rest of the enginecompartment doodads cleared out of the way for paint, it’d be a good time to install a new lightweight master cylinder to go with the Wilwood front disc brakes I want to get because they don’t alter the track width like the factory disc brakes do. The track-width issue affects the wheel fitment. If I need new front wheels with the new brakes, it’d be dumb not to get rear ones at the same time, but I don’t want to order new rear wheels until I return the rear axle that I borrowed. I’d need to order a housing in a custom width for the wheels I want to use. And with the rearend out

of the car, who wouldn’t replace those saggy leaf springs at the same time? And why would I install new springs without CalTracs bars? QA1 shocks would round out the traction package. At this point, the entire drivetrain and half the suspension would be out of the car. That makes a rotisserie paint job seem tempting but too expensive, yet there’s little excuse not to pressure-wash and spraypaint the underside. There’s no sense in doing that until the bodywork and paint is complete, and since the engine compartment needs to be sprayed anyway, I might as well paint the whole car. If the whole car is going to get painted, I’d want to pull out the interior so I can better refinish the jambs, and it’d be wrong to put torn-up old upholstery back into a car with fresh paint. I need new carpet, headliner, door panels, and seat covers. And that will make the cracked dash look worse than ever, so throw that in, too. New paint means I better get the bumpers redone at the same time. And did you know that you can buy reproduction sharkstooth Duster 340 grilles now? My water-pump job is getting really expensive. That’s how it all starts. And more often than not, how it all ends. hHOTROD.COM/David-Freiburger

[You never want to keep a perfectly good car running and driving for too long. You gotta disable it for months to years at a time or you’re no hot rodder.

CONNECT WITH US: HOTROD@HOTROD.COM 138 HOTROD.COM/2016/JULY/

BEHIND THE SCENES

Best Instagram Pic This Month

I’m still working, too slowly, on hiring editorial staff for Roadkill.com and Roadkill magazine. This is being written late on the night before I need to make a truck way faster so I can leave a day later for HOT ROD Drag Weekend West. I finally visited the fully completed, freshly revamped Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. Very different than the old version that I’ve known since opening day in 1994, but very worth a visit. Car I Most Wanted to Build on the Day I Wrote This For our new Roadkill Garage show on MotorTrendOn Demand.com, Steve Dulcich and I have been playing with a 1970 Challenger that was neglected since 1989. Love that thing. It’s called “Vanishing Paint.”

[In the last two issues, I told you I was working on my 2002 Jeep Wrangler. Well, I finally got it done and went on vacation to the 50th annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab! This pic is from @DavidFreiburger.

Coming Next Month:

Two Twin-Turbo Chargers You’ve Got to See to Believe COMING

06.03.16 HOT ROD (ISSN 0018-6031), July 2016; Vol. 69, No. 7. Copyright 2016 by TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Published monthly by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC, 261 Madison Ave., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. 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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