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EDITOR IN CHIEF.........................................................CHRIS BIRO

RPM Magazine is a REGISTERED TRADEMARK of Revolution Publishing & Media Inc. RPM Magazine is a worldwide motorsports publication distributed in 34 countries and can be found on popular newsstands in the USA, Canada and select newsstands in the UK. If you cannot find a copy near you please call 519-752-3705 or email To subscribe to RPM go to or email Trish Biro at, or call 519-752-3705. The focus of RPM is to bring a diverse mix of high performance street and race automobiles to life within its pages including race cars, musclecars, hot rods and street legal machines with an emphasis on the “EXTREME,” including fast doorslammer and outlaw forms of drag racing. Not familiar with these types of cars? They are considered to be the top-shelf of the industry and are on the edge with regard to design, performance, and power! RPM Magazine does not sell its mailing list or share any of the confidential information regarding its subscribers.


RPM Magazine has been a world leader in motorsports publishing for 18 years and has support locations in Ontario, Canada, Alabama, Texas, and Virginia, along with contributing writers and photojournalists worldwide. If you have a story that may fit within the focus and scope of RPM Magazine’s coverage, please email our Editor In Chief at editor@ Submission of an article does not guarantee that it will be published. Revolution Publishing & Media Inc. (RPM) / RPM Magazine IS NOT Responsible for errors or omissions in ANY advertisement or article. Advertisements may be rearranged or altered at the sole discretion of RPM to allow the ad to fit in the space purchased by the advertiser. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE ANY ADVERTISING WHICH WE CONSIDER TO CONTAIN MISLEADING, OFFENSIVE OR FALSE INFORMATION. REPRODUCTION OF ANY INFORMATION HEREIN IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT.

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Chris Biro




t’s safe to say that re-running my CONGRATULATIONS! Editor’s Rant has now become tradition in RPM. This particular installment has been one of the favorites among readers, so we definitely don’t want to leave it out to finish off 2017. It usually sparks thoughts of “the way things were”, or maybe that getting back to basics or adopting a grassroots approach isn’t such a bad thing sometimes. Or, it might just get a chuckle on a dreary December day, and that’s ok, too.



Before you read on, just to be clear, I am all for progress, innovation, science, better health, and moving forward, however, some things–read “some” things–just might make more sense the way we used to approach them. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this with the spirit in which it was written. Congratulations! CONGRATULATIONS to all those born in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and yes, maybe even some born during those crazy 80s! First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. They took aspirin, ate bleu cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, white bread, and tuna from a can. Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking! Mom didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet, she worked only if she wanted to. We would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags, and riding in the back of a pick-up on a warm spring day was always a special treat, not a crime. If someone cut us off while driving we’d flip them the bird, and they would return the favor, without getting out a bat, knife, or gun at the next light. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. Take-out food was limited to hot dogs, fish and chips, and maybe a pizza. You didn’t line up at the drive-thru for your morning coffee but got up earlier and made it yourself. Even though all the stores closed at 6:00pm and didn’t open on weekends, somehow we didn’t starve to death. We shared one soft drink with four friends from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We could collect bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy a whole bag of penny candy, sports cards, bubble gum and some fire crackers. We ate cupcakes, white bread, and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in them, but we weren’t overweight because... WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We’d leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us, yet we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes! We’d hop-up our bikes with banana seats and long forks and didn’t need some guy on the TV reality show of the month to tell us how to do it.

We built tree houses and played in river beds with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. We did not have any video games at all, and when we did finally get them it was for occasional entertainment with the whole family. No 200 channels on satellite TV, no DVD movies, no surround sound, no personal computers, no internet, internet message boards and forums or social media, no cell phones or other handheld devices and no texting... we did have friends though and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. We were given pellet guns, jack knives, and slingshots for our 10th birthdays. We played with toy guns that looked like real guns, only because it was cool. And every young boy wanted to be a policeman or fireman! At 13, we learned to drive the family car at the empty mall parking lot on Sunday. Christmas was Christmas not Xmas. No really, it was! We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled out for them. Football, baseball and hockey had tryouts and not everyone made the team. And those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! Getting onto the team was a privilege based on merit, and not due to special rules, threats, fear, or guilt... There were very few football, hockey, or soccer moms and dads who cared more about their kids becoming the next million-dollar star over just letting them play and have fun. Strange but true! If a company we bought something from made a mistake, we gave them the benefit of the doubt and simply called them about it, and they either fixed it or they didn’t, and they would live with the word of mouth (good or bad) AFTER we gave them a shot at fixing it. We did not go on social media (because there was none) and smear the company’s name first. We did not talk back or we’d get spanked, and knowing that kept us in line…most of the time. Our teachers used to belt us with big sticks, rulers, or leather straps, and knowing that kept us in line…most of the time. And bullies always ruled the playground at school, until someone stuck up to them. The idea of a mom or dad bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 70 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility, and we LEARNED how to deal with it all! And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS! You were allowed to grow up as kids, before the lawyers, governments, and big businesses regulated our lives for our own good. You may want to let your kids read this so they will know how brave their parents truly are. Have a great holiday season and fantastic 2018! Chris Biro, Editor In Chief

december2017 | RPM Magazine

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Be sure to check out our Performance Directory on page 68!

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated—For 18 STRAIGHT YEARS RPM Magazine has been the ORIGINAL Voice Of Wild Street Machines and Extreme Drag Cars WORLDWIDE! Don’t Settle For Less! We DELIVER Insane Fast Cars and Bring You NO POLITICS... JUST ACTION! Your ONLY “Real Time” “Real World” Car Mag...PERIOD!



THE SO Much Horsepower Packed Into One Place... That Place IS RPM Magazine!

RIDES 2017 Top Guns....................................................................

Real Deal......................................................... 54 A real Corvette body. Street driven. And yes, it can bang off 6-second quarter-miles, too!

Resurrection ...........................................................86 This C4 Corvette was left for dead, but Jeff McCormick almost single-handedly brought it back badder than ever!

GT-Oh So Fast............................................................... 8

Unique ............................................................................ 94 This record-holding Opel is a testament to one man’s

Jimmer Kline quickly regrouped after writing off his first ’66 Tempest and built this legit 7-second Goat.

commitment to the sport he loves.


PROJECTS & TECH WORX ® Works hard so you don’t have to................. 92 We put two of WORX® new 20-volt lithium-ion tools to the test!

Extreme Weight Loss Challenge: Episode 3............100

Flight 57........................................................................ 40 This classic shoebox Chevy is ready for takeoff!

We find rock-solid voltage at a feather weight with Go Lithium Batteries

Products & Innovations: Nice Neck!.......................106

We try out the new AutoPlumb AN cooling system water neck adapter

Shop Talk....................................................................34 Data logging: old gearheads can learn new tricks!

Little by Little.......................................................108 We continue prepping our project car for paint and handling a number of other details



We’re back again with our annual installment honoring our favorite rides of the year!

december2017 | RPM Magazine | december 2017



t was graduation night 1988 when, while driving his 1966 Tempest, Jimmer Kline was rear ended, totaling the Pontiac. However, as luck would have it, while on his way to the Holland Police dept. to get the report,

he just happened to find a decent ’66 Lemans with a basket case ’66 GTO. Now that’s what we call rebounding! Kline quickly resold the running Lemans and was able to get back what he had paid for both cars, and as for that basket case

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GTO, here it is today: a wild, legit 7-second street car. Kline was first hit with the urge to go fast just as most red-blooded American boys – while working with his dad on cars. By the time he was in high school and got his license he started street racing. “I had several different cars from Mopars to Fords to Pontiacs with blown big blocks in them back then,” told Kline. It wasn’t long before some of the local car guys took Jimmer under their wing and helped him get further involved in the local car culture. He started to take more of a leadership role and would help out

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

other motorheads and before long, once he was out of school and working, he started helping out part time at night at Gun Lake Performance, after his 9-5 day job. After a few years there and building the GTO he started installing cages and helping local guys build their cars. This would all snowball into Kline opening up GoFast Productions in the early 2000s. Back when the GTO was first brought back to life, Jimmer equipped it with a big block/turbo 400 combo and a little bit of nitrous. “At that time I was running it with small tires and clicking off times of low 10s in the early 90s,”

he added. Pretty quick for a street car of the day. It was at this time when Kline decided to get a bit more serious and added a tube chassis to the Goat under the guidance of Jeff Covey at Gun Lake Performance. The latest mods earned high 8s in the quarter mile, not bad at all for an iron headed 468 with nitrous. By 2002, Kline and his cohorts worked their way up to a 622ci nitrous motor that got the car to run a best of 7.69 at 183mph, and that’s weighting in at over 3500lbs! He started to follow the NMCA races but eventually parked the car and yanked the motor in order to start a new

VIEW FROM BEHIND The license plate says so much more than just the name of Jimmer’s shop!

STYLIN’ AND PROFILIN’ The pin-on fiberglass cowl hood fits so well with the lines of the ’66. | december 2017



project. The GTO was be resurrected in 2007, however, with a 540ci nitrous motor, “I needed something to play around with the local guys in West Michigan with,” Kline said with a grin. More recently, Jimmer upgraded the chassis to a 7.50 certification and the displacement to 565-inches making it a consistent 7.90ET/170mph car. “It has always been street driven through-

out its life,” he said. The original GTO is equipped with that 565-inch mill that started with a 4.610-bore Dart Big M block filled with a forged steel Callies crank, GRP rods, and Wiseco nitrous pistons along with a Reher Morrison roller cam. Profiler heads hold T&D rockers and the intake is a Profiler Sniper II modified by Visner Engine

BEWARE THE EVIL TWIN SISTER What’s better than one 7-second GTO….TWO! Especially when the second is 7-tenths quicker!



december 2017 | RPM Magazine

STRIP | december 2017


GT-OH SO FAST PLENTY OF POWER Equipped with parts from Callies, Wiseco and GRP along with Profiler heads and intake, a Pro Systems SV1 carb and nitrous from Induction Solutions, the GTO is capable of 7.90 ETs in the quarter all day long. A Dart block based 565-inch big block sits between the rails of the 7.50-certified tube chassis.

Development that holds a Pro Systems SV1 carb. Induction Solutions supplies the nitrous via a direct port system and plate system. Naturally aspirated, the mill sits just a shade over 1,000hp, plus at least 600 more ponies

courtesy the nitrous. With great power comes great responsibility (to put the power to the ground) and Kline chose Carl Rossler’s TH210 Turbo 400 transmission with Neal Chance bolt together converter to do just that. Out back sits


a heavily fortified Dana 60 rear with 4.10 gears suspended by a ladder bar/ Strange coil over setup. The car sits low, with just a slight rake thanks to the round tube chassis with funny car cage that carries a 7.50 certification.


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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

Paint, which as you can see looks two different colors depending on the lighting, was completed by Darrel Rose from Belmont MI in 1991 Camaro Teal Green base coat clear. Inside the car, the first thing you notice is the chassis mods

highlighted by the funny car cage. From there, Kline went with a mix of factory original items such as door panels, headliner and dash along with a host of items to help in the race department, including a full array of Autometer gauges

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1710RPCT | december 2017


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and B&M ratchet shifter with carbon case. Of course, even with such a large body to deal with, there was no way Jimmer could have fit the massive rear wheels and tires without sacrificing the rear seat for the

wheeltubs to hold them. “The best time I had with the GTO was racing my son in his tube chassis ’66 Acadian at an 8.50 index race,” tells Kline. “I ran 8.51 and he ran 8.50, but I tree’d him and

won the race! I love racing with my boy.” “It has taken 29 years to build the cars and they are never done,” added Kline. But what exactly does he mean “cars”. Well, it seems that so much has happened since


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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

JIMMER KLINE’S 1966 GTO STREET/STRIP (We’ve also included tech info on Kline’s “Evil Twin” GTO for those daring enough to challenge just never know what car he will show up with on race day.)

SPECIAL THANKS “Jeff Covey at Gun Lake Performance who taught me and helped me build the tube chassis in the car. Ron McKey with Perfit Corp/Engine Pro warehouse for helping me with the parts combination and supplies. Dave Visner with VED for cylinder head/manifold design. The whole GoFast community that have helped wrench, modify, rebuild, and spare their personal time to help from the beginning. Tina Kline for supporting my hobby.”

Chassis Type & Mods: First car is equipped with a round tube chassis with funny car cage and 7.50 cert. Evil Twin: Chromoly round tube double rail chassis, funny car cage with 6.0 cert. Suspension: Strange strut front, ladder bar rear, Strange double adjust rear shocks. Evil Twin: Strange strut front, four link rear, Menzer double adjust canister rear shocks. Body & Paint: First car’s paint by Darrel Rose from Belmont MI in 1991 Camaro Teal Green base coat clear coat. Evil Twin: Paint and body by Gary Seher from Wyoming MI in 1992 Camaro Teal Green base coat clear coat. Engine: First car is equipped with a 565 ci Dart Big M block with 4.610 bore, Wiseco nitrous pistons, GRP rods, Jesel belt drive, Reher Morrison roller cam, Profiler heads and Profiler Sniper II intake done by Visner Engine Development, T&D rockers and Pro Systems SV1 carb. Power adder is an Induction Solutions direct port system and plate kit (engine is a shade over 1,000hp NA, plus over 600 from nitrous.) . Evil Twin: 670 ci Dart 11.100 Race block with 4.620 bore, Callies 5-inch stroke crank, Wiseco custom pistons, GRP aluminum rods, Dart 11-degee Big Chief heads, Visner Engine Development custom intake and head work, T&D rocker arms, 60mm billet roller cam, Jesel belt drive and twin Pro Systems 1250 Dominators style carbs. The Evil Twin’s power adder consists of two Induction Solutions direct port kits and a plenum kit. (The sister GTO produces 1299hp on the motor plus 3-300 shots on the bottle.). Induction: Pro System SV1 Evil Twin: Twin Pro System 1250 dominators. Electronics & Ignition: Car #1 has an MSD 7531 box and coil. Evil Twin: MSD grid box and coil. Transmission: Both cars are equipped with a Rossler TH210 Turbo 400 with Neal Chance bolt together converter. Differential: Both cars have Dana 60s with 4.10 gears. Fighting Weight: The original GTO weighs in at 3580lbs while the Evil Twin sister car is a svelte 3250lbs. Race Classes: “Heads up, grudge, or anywhere we fit in.” | december 2017




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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

A beefy Dana 60 rear is suspended by a ladder bar/coilover setup with Strange shocks and mile-long wheelie bars that extend rearwards, and they do get used, a lot!


STEP ON IT Kline is not afraid to drive his Goat. After all, you can’t call it a street car if it’s not driven on the street!

GOAT GUTS Inside the GTO you’ll find a mix of original and race equipment, but only two seats. The rear seat had to be tossed during the build in order to fit the wheel tubs that house the massive Mickey Thompson rear tires. But that’s OK, Jimmer found something to put in its place.

that day in 1988 that the once basket case GTO now has a twin sister car, a little trimmer and a quite a bit more evil. So beware would be challengers, when Jimmer Kline says

he’s going home for a minute to change… he doesn’t mean clothes. The evil twin (and it IS hard to tell them apart) is 7-tenths quicker in the quarter! | december 2017



BAD to the BONE >>We’re back again with our annual installment honoring our favorite rides of the year


t has now been three years since we here at RPM put our heads together and decided to set aside some space in our December issue to honor the baddest cars that we had featured over the course of the previous 12 months. The first two years, we actually started an online

tournament pitting feature cars against one another in a single-elimination format that we called the “Top Gun Shootout.” The idea was to let our readers vote to determine exactly which cars were and were not our eight best rides of the year in a field of 32 bracket-style online tournament.

As much fun as the online format was, unfortunately our voting system provided no way of ensuring the results were legitimate. After further concerns following the 2015 tournament, last year we abandoned the fan vote format altogether and instead opted for a staff poll to pick our favorites.

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As you read through the pages to follow, keep in mind that we have done our best to select the cars we liked best, but in the end, these are just our opinions. As Copernicus once said, “I am not so enamoured of my own opinions that I disregard what others may think of them.”

december2017 | RPM Magazine

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R A E Y e h t f o N U G P O T CO-




We just could not possibly overlook Tom Bailey’s incredible 1969 pro street/pro mod/Drag Week Camaro. But who is kidding who...there is nothing on this “69” that is more than a few moments old, as the Skinny Kid Race Cars chassis and the all-billet Steve Morris Racing Engines twin turbo mill are as cutting-edge as cutting edge can be. The car graced our November 2017 cover and has been dropping jaws ever since. While a bit of bad luck hurt Bailey’s chances at Drag Week 2017, he’s got his eyes on 2018 already. -Matt Trombley photos

1969 Chevrolet Camaro | 4,000 hp 615 ci all-billet twin turbo

december2017 | RPM Magazine

Just as we said last year, our selections aren’t meant to create hard feelings, and we at RPM firmly believe that every street machine and high performance drag car is a personal expression of the owner and worthy of respect. However, this list was our best attempt to assemble the

10 (okay, actually 11) rides that we thought were the best of the best. With that said, check out the next few pages to look back on yet another incredible year of killer cars in the pages of your favorite magazine and enjoy our 2017 installment of the Top Guns!


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december2017 | RPM Magazine

CO-TOP GU N of the YE AR

2017 TOP GUNS If you’ve read RPM for any period of time, by now you’ve probably gathered that we have this near-schizophenic love for both extreme doorslammer drag cars AND wild street machines. The thing about both of our 2017 Top Guns of the Year is that although they look like cars you’d see running in pro mod at a major national event, both are street-driven! In Andy Bond’s case, his faux-tina clad 1956 Chevy 210 sports 650 cubes of high-tech rat power in a crazy-cool airbrushed wrapper. It is a stunning mix of high tech and old-school classic all at once and it was plenty to take the cover of our July 2017 issue—and a share of our top honors for the year. -Matt Woods photos



1956 Chevrolet 210 | 650 ci twin turbo big block Chevy | december 2017



december2017 | RPM Magazine

2017 TOP GUNS There’s no shortage of nice and wickedly fast Foxbody Mustangs out there, but the fact that Joey Alley’s Electron Blue 1985 pony had such immaculate build quality and a twin turbo 427 ci small block Ford between the framerails both served to help this incredible Blue Oval stand apart from the rest. The grudge car may be capable of impressive but classified top speeds and ETs, but Alley isn’t talking. Regardless, the April 2017 cover car is gorgeous, and that’s no secret at all! -Tabitha Sizemore photos

A lley


1985 Ford Mustang | 427 ci twin turbo small block Ford | december 2017



december2017 | RPM Magazine


Hou ghtaling


While Gary Houghtaling sometimes has to endure some good-natured ribbing on the interwebs because his mini-tubbed hand-crafted 1965 Ford Falcon doesn’t sport massive rear meats, that doesn’t mean this incredible build is anything short of outstanding. A welder by trade, Houghtaling handled all the impeccable fabrication work himself, and the twin turbo powerplant resides in an engine bay that is clean enough to eat off of. The car was featured in our July 2017 issue and is a shining example of a magazine-caliber car built at home. -Gina Mitchell photos

1964 Ford Falcon | 438 ci twin turbo Ford








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We featured a bunch of pro street cars this year, but we tabbed Dave Sneade’s blown Hemi-powered ’68 Dodge Charger as our Best Pro Street for 2017. The stunning build sports a flawless Crystal Red Metallic paint job along with a street-rod nice alligator-hide interior. With the requisite big-n-little Mickey Thompson tires and a Blower Shophuffed Elephant motor, it is proof positive that the pro street is alive and well. The car was featured in our Street Machine Nationals special issue in August 2017.



1968 Dodge Charger | Blown 528 ci Hemi

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2017 TOP GUNS roger

Some cars ARE fast. Others LOOK fast. Roger Jongerden’s sinister pro mod 1970 Camaro manages to do both, with a low-slung stance and massive screw blower through the hood and a pocket full of 6.30 timeslips, too. The car graced the cover of our October 2017 issue and is one of the nastiest second-gen Camaros (or Camaro-bodied builds) we’ve ever seen. -Tia Elizabeth photos


1970 Chevrolet Camaro | 500 ci PSI-blown BAE Hemi continued on page 80



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implicity and living in our comfort zone is a way of life for most people today. For whatever reason, “fearing



the unknown” has stopped many from achieving their full potential. Before this turns into a self-help, motivational article let’s get straight to the point.

Most of my drag racing friends are between the ages of 45 and 65. I am right in the middle at the spry age of 51. This age group has either progressed


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with the times and fully modernized their approach to performance, or is still living in the past and holding on to the word “nostalgia.” Now don’t get

me wrong—I am all about nostalgic drag cars and race days. In fact, I rarely ever miss one in my area. The gearheads in question are not racing in a nostalgia

1 1: Don’t be afraid of the unknown. We live in a modern time where information is plentiful and free. Do yourself a favor and break out of your comfort zone in the quest to make your machine the best it could possibly be. class though, they are racing in a regular bracket class with those who have evolved with modern technology. When I was building my pro street Camaro, I labored over the decision to incorporate a data logger or not. I’m an old school tuner who still uses a vacuum gauge, timing light, HVAC thermometer, a stethoscope, and can read a spark plug like a children’s book. I consulted many people and received varied opinions. Several older gearheads would never think of incorporating a data logger simply because they don’t know how to operate a laptop computer. That fact boggled me as its 2017 and opening up a laptop in the morning is as routine as getting a cup of coffee for most of us. Some who have actually installed a data logger, surprisingly may not know how to download the data and read it themselves.


They actually bring it to their local tuner to have it assessed. Finally, there are those who just simply fear the unknown, and for lack of better words have adapted the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. This is where I am very different. In my mind, “if it ain’t broke, it eventually will be, so let’s make it stronger and easier to repair.” I decided the best course of action was to immerse myself in this wonderful new technology and learn everything I possibly could about it. As with anything new, when you begin learning about it you have many questions. I looked for answers from people at the track, online forums, and tech sites. When my questions never got answered or the answers never satisfied me, I called all of the major data logging companies and had a notebook handy. Being a good mechanic and

2: If data analysis was not important there wouldn’t be a job title named after it. Data is REAL and an opinion is simply opinion. When you take the plunge to be able to analyze the factual data coming from your car, improvement is not far away.

tuner, I wasn’t overly concerned about monitoring engine data at first. I was more focused on suspension data and how it could help me launch the car better. Prior to data loggers, the only available means to accomplish this was to either know or hire an old pro drag racer to watch your burnout and your 60-foot launch. There are some gurus out there who are suspension whisperers and can tell you exactly what to do based on simply watching you at the track. My research then led me into the wonderful world of engine rpm and driveshaft rpm. I learned how a linear actuator is used to measure shock squat, and the G-force accelerometer is used to help determine how hard the car hits at launch. I was immediately sold on this concept and the thought of being a “one man show.” Asking for favors and deal-

3: This was the first time I connected my lap-top and figured out what all those lines on the graph meant. It was a very cool thing to see Big Red actually telling me what was going on inside her head. ing with varied opinions has never worked well for me. Everyone has an opinion and knows what works best for them, but EVERY car is different and needs to be treated like that. Data is not an opinion, it is fact! So now I am sold on the thought of incorporating a data logger into my new build to help with suspension tuning. But before we make any hasty decisions, I | december 2017




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december 2017 | RPM Magazine


figured I’d look at what else could be monitored under the hood. I’ll spare you with the numerous details and questions that arose from that mission and explain what I decided to incorporate and why. If money was not an object, I would have placed a sensor on everything that generates data. The inside of my car would have looked like an F-16 cockpit. Instead, I took a simple approach and went with an O2 sensor on each bank, an EGT sensor for every cylinder, a fuel pressure sensor, engine RPM, and voltage. This went along with the driveshaft RPM sensor, shock travel linear actuator, and g-force accelerometer that I mentioned above to help with suspension tuning. For all of you oldschool gearhead readers out there, allow me to tell you what ultimately convinced me to monitor engine data. If you read this column regularly you’re aware I’ve shoved ten pounds of “stuff” into a one pound bag. Specifically

4: You know that you spun the tires, but exactly when, how long did it last, and what engine RPM did this happen at? Sure, I had to fabricate the bracket to hold the sensor and buy a new pinion yoke that could accommodate the magnetic collar, but the results that are visible on that graph far outweigh any obstacle or purchase I had to make. a 572 cubic inch Merlin big block into the tiny engine bay of a 4th gen Camaro. Custom making my set of 2 ⅛ inch primary headers into a 3 ½ inch collector and fitting them into that leftover space was a monumental task that took every bit of ingenuity, skill, and patience I had. It has become an all day job to change spark plugs on my car. I even had to make my own socket to remove 5 of the 8 spark plugs. Cylinder 2 is the only accessible one and takes all of a few minutes to change. To add insult to injury, the engine cannot be removed from the top side. The k-member has to be unbolted and the entire car lifted off the k-member. This is the price you have to pay to remain as street as possible using the stock front frame rails and an aftermarket tubular k-member. So back to the point, if I had a misfire during a pass and needed to locate the cause, it would take a full day of investigating to find and fix the problem. Something as


simple as an O2 sensor will tell me which side of the engine is not running to spec and the EGT sensor will tell me EXACTLY which cylinder is at fault. My friends, that is priceless! The ability to see the fuel pressure at every increment of the pass is also priceless. There is simply no time, nor is it safe, to watch your fuel pressure gauge, oil pressure gauge, tach and shift light while driving your car during the 9 seconds of fun or whatever your time may be. If you’re an already accomplished mechanic, having this data is like having your own dyno. You can tune your car to absolute precision and leave all of the guesswork back in the 1960s. When I decided to pull the plug and purchase my new addiction, I went with RPM Performance Products. I had the pleasure of talking with Randy who is the owner and engineer/developer of the product. His outstanding customer service and answers to the many questions I

5: This amazing device enables you to see what happens to your suspension at launch. It will tell you exactly how far and how long your shocks squatted during acceleration. Combine that data with G-force acceleration, and driveshaft speed and you have factual data. 6: The O2 sensors provide vital information on combustion and that ever so sensitive air/fuel mixture. Up until this wonderful piece of technology the only way to get this data was to find someone who was a spark plug whisperer. This method is extremely time consuming and no matter how good you are, it is not an exact measurement of data. The hardest part of this whole process was getting over drilling into a set of freshly ceramic coated headers and welding these bungs into that brand new piece. I should have thought that out before I sent them to get coated.


had, made the whole process of learning this new technology feel a lot better. Like all of the other companies out there, they offer many different kits that cater to specific needs and/or budgets. Besides purchasing the data logger and the necessary sensors, I decided to add

their digital dash to the mix and bring my car into modern times. The digital dash is programmed at the factory to work with the system you designed and components that you select. I also like that it has three programmable warning lights that you can assign wher-

ever you wish. This will help keep your eyes focused on shift points and keep the car straight instead of looking around at an assortment of gauges. The system came complete with its own software program that was simple to install on my laptop. The software has a very easy to

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SHOP TALK read instruction manual to help coach you along the way. My first attempt at logging some data came from a 3 second test pass in my driveway. I could not wait to plug the laptop in and download my first group of data. I have to be completely honest with you, I spent so much time researching what, why, and how to monitor all of the different vitals of a car, I neglected to do any research on what the data actually looked like. So I opened my first file and saw a really cool graph with multi-colored lines all over it. I may have looked like I knew what I was doing, but this was all Chinese to me. So back to school I went and took a deep dive into the operations manual to learn how to read and make some sense out of the data. It took me a while to find out what style graph I preferred and where/what all of my sensors looked like on the screen. Like anything new, with repetition comes skill. My quest to modernize didn’t end with that alone, I decided to incorporate the MSD Power Grid and have the ability to customize my timing curve to meet the demands of a specific street or track. I remember when I was 18, and a mechanic at a Cadillac dealership in Maryland, there was an amazing street racing scene that happened every weekend. Cars would gather at a local mall, callouts were made, and we drove to a different spot every weekend. Thanks to my genius dad teaching me very young, I was ahead of the tuning game for my age and the time. I had two fuel cells in my car and drove around with what we called “high test” back in the day. It’s what we call “super” today. The small cell I had in the trunk was filled with 112 octane race gas. I brought a vacuum gauge and a timing light with

me and set the timing to the ragged edge of detonation for my night of racing for beer money. This proved itself to be a winning trick but also had its downside as I had to remember to reset the timing and switch over the fuel in order to head back home. In the event I had to leave in a hurry, which happened quite often, I was left overheated or out of gas. Having the ability to control timing based on an rpm curve is the answer to that problem. I am proud to say that “old gearheads can learn new tricks.” When the young guys see me with my laptop at the track, they smile and give me the head nod of approval. To all old-school gearheads out there who are contemplating making the leap into the land of data logging, I say go for it. Forget about the unknown and the fear of not knowing. Fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real, or Failure Expected Action Required. Take the action and first learn how to use a laptop. Ask your children or even grandchildren to teach you. Then do your own research and see what you want and need to monitor on your car. I had the ability to make my own brackets, mounts, and installed/wired the complete system myself. If that’s not in your wheelhouse, there are a ton of places that not only offer this service but are experts in the area and can coach you along the way. It’s time to modernize and step up your game. Do yourself a favor and at least look into it. The time it will save you and the factual data you’ll obtain will become one the best decisions you ever made with your car. Until next time…keep wrenching!

7: This is the brain that collects all of the data and enables you to send the data to your lap-top for analysis. It’s not as scary as some people make it out to be. Note my custom power board in the back. I love doing electrical work.

8: I took the extra step and purchased the digital dash to compliment the data logger. I even figured out a way to fab it in the original dash piece. Randy at RPM pre-programmed it to work with all of the functions I was going to monitor. I love the ability to have real time access to everything that is going on in my car. Seeing the O2 sensors doing their thing and giving me air / fuel readings makes everything a lot easier. | december 2017


story and photos by



he 1957 Chevy is perhaps one of the most iconic cars ever built. It is a symbol of freedom. From its post-war styling cues, to its overwhelming popularity, people went

crazy over this piece of American muscle. The overall look of the ’57 Chevy was actually inspired by jet fighters. The quarter panels were shaped like the tail of an F-86 Sabre fighter, while the lower edge of the

rear bumper caps had a blacked-out area that emulated the exhaust ports on the jet, and the headlamp bezels were designed to look like jet engine intakes. The designers didn’t stop with the body style, though, they

even installed a jet-age (for 1957) instrument panel which included a trio of circular pods for the gauges. Directly in front of the driver sat a large circular speedometer with white numbers on a black background, and

With Pro Line Racing Engines and Diamond pistons, Q80 Racing team resets quarter-mile doorslammer record at 5.46 seconds and 272mph “Diamond’s contributions have been invaluable.” Doug Patton, Pro Line Racing Engines

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FLIGHT 57 REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT The iconic lines and wings of a ’57 are right at home next to any airplane.

a red indicator needle that completed the styling cues from the cockpit of the Sabre Jet. Chevrolet wanted its customers to know they were sitting behind something almost supersonic. For Massapequa, Long Island resident Tom Reeks, the ’57 Chevy represents much more than an iconic muscle car, though. Tom’s particular “Shoebox Chevy (as they became known) is a symbol of liberty and freedom from the many hardships he has faced in life. It represents overcoming adversity and


rising from it like the proverbial phoenix. It represents dedication and hard work. And last, but certainly not least, it represents his passion for cars. Tom first laid eyes on the white Chevy in 2005, just one month after purchasing a stock blue one. It was love at first sight, and he knew he couldn’t live without it, so he made a deal to trade the blue Bel Air for the already modified mid-10-second white ’57. Tom raced the car as it was until he blew the engine, transmission, rear, and in his own words, “everything in

between.” The big bodied Chevy, better known as White Lightning, got its first major upgrade in the form of a 496 nitrous engine, a new Turbo 400, and a Moser 9-inch rear with 3.90 gears. This upgrade took White Lightning from the 10-second class and put her deep into the 9s. Tommy ran the car with that combo for 10 years while he satisfied his need for speed and addiction to horsepower. The ’57 saw its next upgrade with a new 598 cubic inch engine and a 4.56 gear to try and get

december2017 | RPM Magazine | december 2017


FLIGHT 57 WHEELS UP Flight 57 is next in line and cleared for take-off. Styling cues on Chevy’s classic body style are not subtle here, as the F-86 Sabre (inset) was the inspiration behind this beauty. more wheel speed. This combo made significant improvements bringing White Lightning into the high 8s, which only furthered Tom’s need for more speed and backing up the ’57s “supersonic” legacy. In his own words Tom explained, “I was making a great pass—wheels up in first gear and staying up into second. As soon as it got down, I shifted into third and the wheels were up once again! Then all at once, the motor

grenaded, and me being the guy I am, I kept my foot into it until the end of the quarter-mile. That was the end of that chapter and it was time to get serious!” For most of us a high-8-second wheel standing pass is serious enough, but not for Tom and his ’57. He had big plans in mind and just needed to find the right shop to turn his vision into a reality. The first step was to contract Shafiroff Racing and have them build the new

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CORNFIELD FUN During the photoshoot, Tom said the ’57 would hook on this cornfield runway. While he was confident in his chassis tune, we were hoping he wouldn’t get stuck.

heartbeat of this nostalgic piece of American iron. Shafiroff started this task with a solid foundation that includes a 598 cubic inch Dart block. A Callies crankshaft and rods are connected to a set of JE Pistons slugs that push a pump gas friendly 11:1 compression ratio. Helping this beastly big block breathe is a Competition cam and lifters, Brodix heads, Brodix valves, and Jesel rockers. Fuel is fed into this thirsty ’57 via an Aeromotive fuel


december2017 | RPM Magazine

pump and regulator into a custom built Williams 1250 Dominator that sits on top of an aluminum MBE Sniper intake manifold. This combo was dyno’d to almost 1000 horsepower. And with the addition of an extra 800 horsepower from the Induction Solutions X275 nitrous system, White Lightning is closing in on 1800 ponies. Keeping this supersonic 57 cool during flight is a Griffin radiator/shroud/ fan combo and a Meziere electric water pump.

White Lightning for the most part has its factory dash intact. Tommy used a Racepak digital dash to monitor all of the vitals during takeoff. Aluminum racing seats, a CO2-assisted M&M Shifter, 12-point rollcage, and the Edelbrock nitrous controller complete the racing look of the interior, and remind everyone this is not your Grandpa’s ’57. Tom decided to trust the fate of his ’57 in the hands of two Connecticut natives, Mark from MRC Race Cars and

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UNDER THE HOOD There is no hiding the intentions of White Lightning’s big block. This 598 is plumbed for 800 extra horsepower of nitrous.

548 cubic inch big-block ario, California dyno tested a Vrbancic Brothers Racing in Ont ched with an Edelbrock mat ds or 24° CNC cylinder hea Chevy with Edelbrock/Musi Vict over 1,550 horsepower . This combination resulted in Super Victor II intake manifold and 1,100 ft-lbs. of torque! Manley dual-spring valve ds feature an extra thick deck, Edelbrock/Musi Victor 24° hea ilable bare or complete. for up to .880” lift. They are ava springs and titanium retainers 270 tor intake manifold #29 The Edelbrock Super Vic e larg tch ma the ports to features a 3/4”radius in ds. hea er ind cyl t por oval CNC’d for a variety of custom This manifold is suitable er, ow sep hor h hig n der for mo cylinder heads required HP. + 950 g kin ma s ine large displacment eng FOLLOW US ON:




december2017 | RPM Magazine


TOM REEKS’ 1957 CHEVROLET “WHITE LIGHTNING” Chassis:12-point cage 7.50 cert. Funny car-style driver’s side cage. Backhalved with 4-link and modified original-type front suspension. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: AFCO BNC double adjustable shocks and Wilwood brakes. REAR: Custom Santhuffs shocks with Strange discs. Body & Paint: GM Code 11 with red mother of pearl. Removable fiberglass hood, doors, and deck lid. Engine: Shafiroff 598 CI big block with Dart block, Brodix aluminum cylinder heads, Callies crank, Callies rods, 11.0:1 compression JE pistons, Jesel valvetrain. Induction, Fuel Delivery, & Power Adder: MBE Sniper intake with a Williams 1250 cfm Dominator style carburetor. Aeromotive regulator and fuel pump. Induction Solutions 800-hp port nitrous system. Electronics: MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD Pro Coil II, MSD Power Grid, Edelbrock Progressive Nitrous Controller, Racepak datalogger. Transmission & Driveline: Select Performance Turbo 400 with a Reid Super Case. Select Performance 10-inch nitrous converter with a 3,500 rpm stall. Nassau-built custom driveshaft. Differential: Fab 9 Ford 9-inch rear differential with Strange 40-spline axles and 4.10 gears. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: Sander Engineering 15x4.5 with Hoosier skinnies. REAR: Sander Engineering 15x10 with Mickey Thompson 32x16 slicks. Special Thanks: “I would like to thank Mark from MRC Race Cars, Paul from Total Induction, Steve from Induction Solutions, Eddie from Select Performance, Frank Calabro, my road dog Big Phatz, and lastly my faithful crew chief Fortune Hayes for his tireless work and dedication to making White Lightning the best she can be."

Paul from Total Induction. Mark immediately went to work and rebuilt the chassis into its current 7.50 certified state. A Chromoly 12-point roll cage complete with a funny-car style driver’s cage showcase Mark’s attention to detail. Mark also back-halved the car and installed a set of custom-built rear shocks and AFCO double-adjustables in the front. A custom Ford 9-inch houses Strange axles and 4.10 gears. A Select Performance built Reid Case Turbo 400 with a 10-inch nitrous torque converter is responsible for sending

power rearward. Completing the chassis work and stopping flight ’57 from actually taking off is a Strange master cylinder that is connected to a set of Wilwood disc brakes out front and Strange disc brakes in the rear. White Lightning makes its connection with the pavement through a set of Sander Engineering wheels with a pair of Hoosier 15x4.5 skinnies up front and Mickey Thompson 32x16-15 ET Drag slicks out back. Paul from Total Induction handled all of the wiring, including installing

and setting up the Racepak data logger and the MSD Power Grid. Paul then made sure all of the sensors were working properly and personally coached Tommy’s crew chief, “Fortune,” on the entire system and how it works. Paul also installed and set up the Edelbrock progressive nitrous controller to work with the Induction Solutions X275 Nitrous system. Tommy can’t say enough about how professional these guys are. “Let me tell you, these guys put this car together in three months! To top it off, they came to the | december 2017



track with me and made all of the necessary adjustments and decisions, coaching my crew chief all the way.” White Lightning is an old Islip This is not your grandpa’s ’57. The funny car cage, RaceSpeedway car and an old Hamptons Track pak data logger, super sexy M&M shifter, and Edelbrock car. Tommy proudnitrous controller let you know this car means business.


ly supports Long Island Needs A Dragstrip, and is counting the days until it has one. Until then, you can find White Lightning and Tommy’s awesome group of friends, tearing up dragstrips all over the east coast pushing the limits of their

incredible machines. These guys are a great group of people who love to have fun at the track. They opened up their pits to me and made me feel right at home while I was taking notes and gathering the details for this story. It warmed my heart to see

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december2017 | RPM Magazine | december 2017



OUT TO LAUNCH On this particular flight, the ’57 made its best pass to date of 8.22 @ 162 mph! The manager of the airstrip was a gearhead and gave us clearance for an air strip test pass. Wheels up, no prep, no rubber, airstrip proves that White Lightning gets down the track. On the non-prepped surface the ‘57 not only yanked the wheels but also laid 1500 feet of laser-straight rubber during the 160mph airstrip test pass. Tire wrinkle means one thing: Flight 57 is about to take off. such a close-knit group of friends helping each other out at the track and doing what they love. Do yourself a favor and be sure to visit them in the pits if you ever have the opportunity. Being a grudge racer, I was very happy to find out that White


Lightning is a registered and insured vehicle that can be found frequently terrorizing the streets of Long Island. During testing the weekend of October 20th, the ’57 posted its best time of 8.22 at 164 mph and backed it up with a string of 8-second runs. Tommy

december2017 | RPM Magazine

hopes to get into the high 7s and continue his quest to push the envelope, proudly representing Long Island, NY and honoring the legacy of the ’57 Chevy for years to come. The way I see it, Flight 57 is officially ready for takeoff! | may2017


story by

S tan S mith

photos by

Tia E lizabeth



t’s hard to imagine that this 1966 Corvette was in a million pieces in June 2017, let alone completely untested with a killer new big inch nitrous combo intended to compete in the Unlimited class at Drag Week 2017, but it was. It was late May when RPM staff reached out to Mississauga, Canada’s David Schroeder to join in as a special guest at SMACKDOWN 1 in July to grudge race Tom Bailey. Schroeder could barely resist the invite (I mean who could), but had to be straight up with his would-be hosts. “I’ll do my best,” he said. “To be honest, the car is completely apart and July is not too far off. It might be just the incentive I need to get it together for Drag Week, though,” he added. Who would have ever thought that statement would set in motion a chain of events that would lead David to winning Drag Week 2017. And little did RPM staff know at the time that David’s Vette was in a million pieces in the care of family in Manitoba, Canada, nearly 1250 miles from David’s home and the Smackdown event. Now that’s commitment. As most people know by now,

the short version of the story is that Schroeder made the Smackdown event to run against Bailey, however, Bailey didn’t. He crashed the SICK 2.0 Camaro just two days leading up to the event and couldn’t make it. Tom did come in person though, and offered a helping hand in tuning to Schroeder. So as a consolation to David, it was a good weekend to test the freshly assembled Corvette with a two time champion in his pits. Initially finding it hard to get down the aging surface, by the time the weekend was complete, David had made some serious headway hooking the 2,500-plus horsepower Corvette and running it to the eight-mile. The one good thing about testing on a tough dragstrip is that it prepares the driver for almost anything they will encounter, especially leading into an event where the racing takes place at several different tracks. At this point, Schroeder had just two months to prepare for Drag Week, so he and his crew went straight to work. Taking cars at this level on a lengthy cruise and then attempting to run 6-second passes is not something David decided to do on a whim. He’s actually been

into fast cars as far back as he can remember. “My cousin John and I grew up with the influence of John’s uncle who was a Harley dealer but also a serious hot rodder with several flathead-powered early Fords,” tells Schroeder. “We were young kids in the ’70s and dreamed of cars while visiting his place. My first real car— albeit it a very rough one—was a 1966 Malibu SS 396 four-speed.” After enjoying the Malibu for some time, David bought a 1955 Chevy and, while he had a few other cars along the way, most of his attention was focused on the ’55—that is until he found the Corvette. “The ’55 ran 10.30s in 1992 which was very quick at the time, and that was with an iron-headed 427 with a plate NOS system,” said Schroeder. Over the years, David and his buddies swapped motors several times in the big Chevy including a 454 with BB-2X heads that ran 8.70. “We replaced or upgraded nearly everything on the car: struts, a new rearend, brakes, a Holley Dominator EFI, and a ton of other small things,” he added. By 2009, David was looking for another car when he found

’GLASS STANDOUT The old school look and stance of the Corvette was preserved during all the work it has been through to get to this point. The car’s Grand Sport theme has been a big hit, definitely separating the car from the crowd.

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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

LOOK CLOSELY These airbrushed 872 Turbo Jet badges are awesome!

BIG OL’ (THROTTLE) BODIES The dual 102 mm Nick Williams drive-by-wire throttle bodies poking through the hood provide ample air intake to the gorgeous Visner Engine Development billet manifold. The late Monte Smith plumbed the 872 with four stages of NOS nitrous oxide. Only three have been used by Schroeder to date. | december2017


a 1966 Corvette online. “It turned out Tony Christian was selling the car after having just taken it in on trade. It was pretty cheap as it was a mild steel car certified to only 7.50 and built for a really small person, plus, it really didn’t fit any class of racing. I still liked it though, mostly because it was a real Corvette body and had a bunch of good parts on it.” By now, Schroeder had the Shoebox running strong, and was taking a big interest in tour-style drag events and ran the ’55 at the 2010 Drag Week. “The car had a 454 and a plate nitrous system and finished with an 8.93 average for the week, and we had a blast,” he said of his first Drag Week experience. During the event David would meet someone who became instrumental in his future plans: nitrous tuner Monte Smith. After talking


december 2017 | RPM Magazine

ALMOST FACTORY The body tub of the car is completely original GM stock, including all of the original bracing. David says it is 300 pounds more than a carbon body, but the tradeoff is worth what it adds in character to the street legal 6-second Corvette.

REAL DEAL | december2017


REAL DEAL with Monte, the plan was to build an EFI 598 with four stages of NOS nitrous for the ’55 to compete at the 2011 event. Schroeder didn’t complete the 2011 Drag Week though, and rule changes in store for 2012 meant that the Chevy would be forced into the Unlimited class where it just would not be competitive. He needed a new approach.


CUBES FOR DAYS While the original plans for the Corvette were to redo the chassis to 25.1 spec and race it wherever it would fit, those plans changed when a friend suggested since the ’55 couldn’t be competitive in the Unlimited class, they should build the Vette for it. “At first I thought the idea was crazy,” said Schroeder. “But the more I thought about it the more it

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

made sense and we all liked the idea of taking on the heavy hitters with a production-bodied car.” Schroeder wasn’t interested in taking the beaten path, though. Instead, he wanted something unique for Drag Week, and an original body Corvette is NOT something you’ll see at a dragstrip, let alone driving over 1,000 miles then racing

Here is where things get really interesting. After hitting the wall in 2016 with the 598 nitrous combo, Schroeder thought that since crash repairs were needed anyways, why not up the power and do the work to match it. A monstrous 5.3 bore spaced 872-inch mill now sits between the twin framerails that were built specifically for it. The Visner Engine Development intake is as much a piece of engine jewelry as it is a highly effective intake manifold. | december2017



december 2017 | RPM Magazine



DAVID SCHRODER’S STREET/STRIP 1966 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Chassis Type & Mods: Vito Antonicelli Race Cars completed the original build in 2011 for a 598 ci big block Chevy. Chris Terry Racing double frame railed the car for the 872 ci motor in 2016. Chris also repaired the car replacing everything in front of the firewall, the tail section and all interior work after hitting the wall in 2016. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: Santhuff struts with carbon Lamb brakes including master cylinder. REAR: Penske shocks modified by Chris Bell, carbon Lamb brakes. 4-link with 3-inch anti-roll bar and wishbone. Body & Paint: Dee from Hawley Collision painted the car. Original Corvette body with original framing in the roof and pillars. Grand Sportstyle carbon doors and front end. Engine: Reher Morrison 872 5.3 bore space motor that was purchased used. Engine was built intended for pro mod. Crane Cams cam to survive the street drive and track duty. Jesel 1.9/1.85 rockers for racing and 1.6/1.55 WW Engineering Rockers for the street. Ken Murray from Kens Kustom Autos in Winnipeg performed all custom machine work including changing engine clearances, valvetrain mods, custom spring oilers, custom oil pump mount, all water manifolds, engine plate, throttle body air intake and assembly. Ken also built various housings and fittings related to the cooling system in an effort to make it durable for the street. Induction & Power Adders: Visner Engine Development (VED) intake manifold. Twin Nick Williams 102mm drive by wire throttle bodies. Fuel Injector Clinic 220lb/hr injectors. Monte Smith designed and plumbed the 4-stage NOS brand nitrous system. Transmission & Driveline: Turbo 400 built by PTC, Neal Chance converter. Gear Vendors overdrive Differential: Mark Williams 9.5 inch diff and gun drilled axles. 3.7 gearset. Miscellaneous: Laminova water cooled engine oil and tranny cooler. Delta PAG twin 16 inch brushless fans and radiator. Power Master starter and alternator. Performance (quarter-mile): 6.57 at 217.7 on only its 6th full quarter mile pass with a slow 1.08 60-foot.


Schroeder takes the newly reassembled Corvette for its first test passes during the SMACKDOWN 1 in Sparta, Ontario.

Andre Radiotis photo

in the top class at a tour-style event. “So the Vette was purpose built for Drag Week,” said David. The initial build took 10 months and Schroeder would get his feet wet in the Corvette at Drag Week 2014 with a 598-inch big block Chevy nitrous combination between the

rails. From there it was a learning experience, and one of his fondest memories to date is changing out the pistons at one of the tracks during that event. By 2016 he was becoming known for his original body Corvette. Unfortunately though, David tagged the wall during a pass at the

2016 event, and while he was fine, the Vette suffered some serious damage. The overhaul following the accident was substantial as Schroeder also wanted more power, enough to easily run 6-seconds at any track. For the power needed to compete at that level, David


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got his hands on an 872-inch motor. Chris Terry Racing double frame railed the car to accommodate the new 872 bullet while also replacing everything in front of the firewall and rear section that was damaged (or not up to the task). The 872 is a 5.3 bore space Reher Morrison piece intended for pro mod action. Chase


Night from Crane Cams designed a cam to survive the street drive and still open the 2.700 intake valves close to 1.100. Isky bushing keyway lifters were used and 1.9/1.85 Jesel rockers are installed for track use while 1.6/1.55 WW Engineering rockers take care of street duty. Visner Engine Development built the intake manifold, which was ru-

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

mored to be the largest they had done to date, and the two drive-bywire throttle bodies are Nick Williams 102mm pieces. Injectors are 220lb/hr and a Dominator EFI system was used including Holley coils. Power adder wise, Monte Smith designed and plumbed the four-stage NOS brand nitrous system (only three of which have ever been used).

SEATING FOR ONE The inside is Spartan at best. An original-style dash and door panels remain, otherwise it’s all about weight, performance, and safety. Twin NOS nitrous bottles ride shotgun during track action, while lots of carbon fiber helps make up for the extra weight of the original body tub. | december2017


Aside from the dash and door panels, there is very little Corvette left inside the car. Surprisingly, David even opted out of adding luxuries such as cup holders for the long drives involved in tour events. Other than the Holley Dominator screen sitting front and center, most notable inside is the maze of bars to give the car its certification to run sixes and the twin blue nitrous bottles mounted to the passenger side floor. You may have noticed the Corvette Grand Sport emblems on the dash and body of the car. “We didn’t want the car to look like a pro mod,” explained Schroeder. The paint and body theme was actually inspired by a poster of

GRAND CHAMPION Grand Sport emblems and a number of original trim items are a cool touch to match the overall theme of the Vette. For street duty, and fitting to the Corvette, sidepipes are installed on the car that have Burns Stainless mufflers built into them.

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continued on page 76

“We were just talking about Monte Smith a few days back,” said Schroeder. “We remembered something he once said to us; ‘Just about anybody can order up a turbo combo to win Drag Week but to win it with a nitrous motor, now that would really prove something’. We’ll definitely miss you on our side of the power adder wars Monte!” A PTC Turbo 400 transmission with Neal Chance converter was used along with a Gear Vendors overdrive. Out back, the Mark Williams 9.5 inch diff is filled with MW gun-drilled axles and a 3.70 gear set, and is hung by a 4-link/coilover setup with 3-inch anti roll bar and wishbone.



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REAL DEAL SPECIAL THANKS TO... The late Monte Smith was a big influence in building a nitrous car to compete at this high of a level. Much of the build and engineering of the car was done by John Ens in his three-car garage in Winnipeg, Manitoba along with help from several friends including Fred Mattis on general fabrication, Tom Warga on wiring, Bill Watson and Paul Gagnon on welding. Also, many thanks to John Ventresca from Protech for tuning. | december2017


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the road race version of the 1966 Corvette on David’s wall. “We knew people would either love it or hate it,” he added. As it turns out, Schroeder’s Corvette was becoming well-known (prior to his big win), in part, because of that


Grand Sport look. Dee from Hawley Collision in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada painted the car which, as we said, is an original Corvette body with all of the original framing in the roof and pillars. Schroeder says that all of this adds about 300

pounds of extra weight versus carbon, but it definitely gives the car its own identity. The doors are Grand Sport style carbon units as is the front end. 2017 is where our story started with

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

LOCKED AND LOADED The SMACKDOWN event was in July, just a few months before Drag Week. That’s not a lot of time to prepare a high level fresh build such as this for the event’s top class! | december2017


REAL DEAL Saturday: We did two 330 test hits, the first decent back to back tests with the 872. Days earlier we discovered 4 of our 8 Holley coils were not grounded correctly. Sunday: We went through tech and did one test hit with three stages. We switched from a Powerglide to a Turbo 400 from PTC but the car had never been in high gear under power. I lifted early and went 6.60 at 196. We were thrilled as the fastest previous pass was a 6.85. Monday: No changes to the car and did a full pass to 6.57 at 217.7 with a soft 1.08 60-foot. Tom Bailey did a 6.51 but we knew it was a long way to Friday and our goal was to finish and run a six second average, so we packed up and headed for the road. Switching the rocker arms and loading up would typically take two hours with John doing the rocker swap and me changing tires, fuel system, and exhaust. The drive was about 270 miles to St. Louis Gateway and was uneventful. The weather was nice in the 80’s and the car didn’t not go over 180 degrees, and dropped to 160 as the sun went down. We have a 16-gallon fuel cell and got about 10 mpg. The car was spinning about 2,200 rpm at 65 mph with the help of the Gear Vendors

David Schroeder rebuilding his Corvette to compete in Drag Week. Even though the intention was to simply make it through the entire grueling event and post some respectable times along the way, somewhere in the back of his mind, on his bucket list, was

overdrive. We got to hotel around midnight and got some sleep. Tuesday: We woke up at 5 am, drove to the truck stop across from Gateway and swapped rocker arms and changed oil. We had a very strong headwind as Hurricane Irma was coming up north, but we did not change the tune and the car went 6.60 at 214. Again, we were very happy with that and started to pack up for the 280 mile drive to Byron Dragway. We felt terrible for Tom Bailey who was out after breaking a connecting rod and hurting his motor. We were in first but were not thinking about the win as Friday was still 800 miles away. The drive had a lot of interstate which is not typical but we had an uneventful drive and were in the hotel sleeping well before midnight. Wednesday: We woke up at 5am again and drove to a truck stop for the rocker swap and oil change. Noticed exhaust lifters were going away but still spinning smoothly so we left them in. Called Isky and had them overnight a new set to Great Lakes Dragaway. The car shook the tires when the second stage came on but I peddled it and drove to a 7.04 at 196 and again we were happy to leave after one pass. We inspected

the thought of actually winning the Unlimited class…ok David, you can check that one off the list now, well done! Be sure to check out the “Drag Week Diary” above detailing Schroeder’s journey to the winner’s circle.


the lifters again and decided to leave them in. We had spares but they were needle bearings and we felt the short 150 mile drive to Great Lakes would be doable. Thursday: We woke up to fog at 5 am and decided to do the rocker swap in the hotel parking lot and skipped the oil change. Great Lakes has events 6 days a week from spring to fall and had 7,500 people there, the biggest Drag Week race I had been to in seven years. We moved the second stage forward and gave it a bit more timing after the previous day’s tire shake. This smoothed out the pass but the car was drifting out of the grove in the big end and I shut it down early but still went a 6.75 at 196. We put our new lifters in which was the only major issue we had all week. We had noticed our fuel pressure for the street pump had dropped from 68 to 40 on the drive so we pulled the tank and saw that our fuel line on our governor was leaking so we replaced it and headed out for the 200 mile drive back to Cordova. We had one more breakdown as more of the fuel lines in the tank were breaking down so we replaced the remaining fuel line which only took about

by David Schroeder

ten minutes. Got to the hotel a bit later but still sleeping by 1am.

Friday: We woke up at 5 am and did the rocker swap at the hotel. The short 20 mile drive to the track felt like the longest ever as we knew we were close to our goal and only had to run a low 8 to win. Got to the track and changed the oil. The track was not as good as earlier in the week as it was a very hot day. The car shook the tires when the second kit came on and I peddled the car to an 8.0 at 135 mph. This was enough to secure the win but not the 6 second average so we did not celebrate too much and got the car ready for another pass. We miscalculated with our tune as with the poor air we were down on power so we turned up the power moving the second and third kits in earlier. The car got out of the grove early so I peddled several times and did a 7.04 at 209. We missed the second fastest drag week average by 3 hundreds of a second but were still happy to average 6.81, take the win and have a car that was still in great shape and ready for more!

LIGHT ‘EM UP Schroeder heats the tires in preparation for his time run at Cordova Raceway during the 2017 Drag Week event, which he won with a 6.81 average! -Ken Cox photo



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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

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2017 TOP GUNS mike


1963 Plymouth Savoy | 540 ci Cross Ram Max Wedge The Max Wedge Mopar is a classic muscle car powerplant that you don’t see every day—and beloved by Pentastar fans. However, when stuffed inside a unique body style like Mike Rehl’s Plymouth Savoy, the cool factor goes up even more. The smooth frost white hue and the tricked out Torque Thrust wheels add timeless styling without screaming for attention. The clean build landed a feature in our November issue, and Mopar purists rejoiced. -Mike Rehl photos


december 2017 | RPM Magazine


While many of the cars on our list feature home-built aspects, Dominic Palazzolo’s 1964 Comet takes our Home Build award for 2017. The exquisitely detailed turbo’d 408 ci Windsor provides plenty of power but still resides neatly under the unassuming flat hood. Meanwhile, cool teal interior color is splashed elsewhere throughout the build to add to the cool factor. Also snagging a spot in our November issue, it provides evidence that not every car we feature has to boast 2,000 hp or blast 6-second ETs. -Mike Trombley photos


1964 Mercury Comet | Turbocharged 408 ci Windsor | december 2017


2017 TOP GUNS jim

They don’t come much cleaner than Jim Zeek’s gorgeous 1969 Judge, a March feature car. With a Dominator-equipped tunnel ram atop the 535 ci Pontiac mill, it is all Poncho power. Throw in the fact that the combo was good for nearly 1,000 hp without the 400-shot of nitrous, and this sleek rocket is ready, willing, and able to consider the evidence and “judge” the competition to be too slow. photos


december 2017 | RPM Magazine


1969 Pontiac GTO | 535 ci Pontiac with 400 hp nitrous system



This retina-blazing tri-coat red Mustang was featured in our October issue, and the plate says it all: NASTE 95. With a poked, stroked, and juiced SBF, Johnathan Insley’s potent pony can click off 5.20s in the eighth and look darn fine doing it, making it a perfect pick for this year’s Top Guns.

1995 Ford Mustang | 427 ci small block Ford with plate nitrous

-Tabitha Sizemore photos | december 2017


2017 TOP GUNS lafe

Earning our award for “most likely to be fun and comfy to drive on a cross-country road trip” is former Kentucky State Trooper Lafe Owens’ plush but punishing 2011 Ford Mustang. The blown 5.4L mill puts the car in the nines, but is still civilized enough for daily driver duties. The car appeared in our May 2017 issue. -Tabitha Sizemore photos


2011 Ford Mustang | Supercharged 5.4L mod motor

december 2017 | RPM Magazine


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bought it wrecked in 2003,” said Ohio-native Jeff McCormick. “The passenger door was hit so hard that


the rocker was in the middle of the passenger seat,” he added with a pained expression. Where most people saw a lost cause, the versatile and

skilled McCormick saw a budget-friendly opportunity. Building a top-end pro streeter had long been a goal, but life and cash flows were huge constraints. “I

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

was a regular on the streets of Dayton, Ohio back in the “Cruising USA” days chronicled in another car magazine. I saw Scott Sullivan’s pro street Nova in

1979 and knew then and there that I would someday have a pro street car and it was going to be blown,” he said. So what if it took 30+ years for For more information visit | december 2017


RESURRECTION him to get it. He almost single-handedly crafted his dream from the ruins of a nearly destroyed Corvette. After paying $4000 for the car, he managed to strip off anything he wouldn’t need and funneled those funds right back into the build. “It took so long to build the car because my wife Barbara and I were raising three girls and all three were going to college. I wasn’t going to take any money out of the household to build it, so I did side jobs and bought and sold parts to finance the build,” he said. In the process, he proved that you don’t need to be a hotel magnate or an oil baron to have a wickedly-cool pro street creation. Meanwhile, McCormick saved even more coin by doing almost everything—and we mean everything—on the build himself in a two-car garage with basic hand tools. The first step in the journey back from near-death was to get the C4 shell straightened


out. He fabricated a full tube mild steel 1 5/8-inch chassis from scratch, using Corvette brakes and suspension components up front with a custom 4-link out back. The narrowed 12-bolt rear was equipped with Strange axles and Richmond gears along with Wilwood disc brakes and the completed frame was painted using a screaming yellow hue for a unique look. While the chassis went together, McCormick also got busy building a potent blown big block backed by a Tremec SKO600 5-speed manual trans. The 433-ci rat motor was filled with an Eagle crank and rods along with boost-friendly Diamond pistons. Patriot aluminum heads and a Herbert solid roller cam round out the essentials, while the polished 6/71 Weiand supercharger has been spun to push around 10 pounds of boost. A pair of blower-prepped Holley 750 carbs were topped with a carbon fiber

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

McCormick’s Vette is smooth and slippery from any direction. With the handcrafted reverse tilting hood up, the well detailed blown big block Chevy is on full display, while a narrowed 12-bolt rides out back. The build is particularly impressive when you consider McCormick handled nearly everything except boring the block from a 2-car garage without high dollar tools!







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Tel: 248-362-1145 | december 2017


RESURRECTION dipped shotgun scoop for a classic pro street look with just a hint of a modern twist. The Moroso aluminum valve covers were treated to the same effect. McCormick also fabbed the entire exhaust behind a pair of “too small” Hedman coated headers, but the system has recently been upgraded since our photo shoot with 8 individually mufflered zoomie header tubes for a funny car look that is still (just barely) officer-friendly on the eardrums for street duty. As with every other aspect of the build, McCormick handled all paint and body on the car himself, too. Other than returning the sleek C4 lines back to their normal pre-collision state, he fabricated a set of one-off reverse actuated hood hinges to give the Vette a standard-style hood opening. He also whipped up a cool pro stock-style aluminum spoiler, then blocked the GM body to perfection before applying the Summit Racing two-stage jet black finish. A single retina-searing yellow center stripe accented with metallic silver adds some visual pop and ties the exterior to the wild looking chassis. Rolling stock for the Chevy consists of a set of sinister black anodized and machined aluminum Cartel wheels—15x4s in front and double beadlocked 15x15s in rear. Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires carry on the iconic pro street look with 26x7.5-15 skinnies up front and 31x18.5-15s in rear. With the miles-deep black paint, incredible


low-slung stance, and killer tire and wheel combo, the car looks strikingly similar to a 1/24 scale Revell pro street C4 Corvette model kit that was released in the 80s. Last up, McCormick also finished up the interior of the car—not that there is much interior to finish in a tubbed Corvette. A pair of Kirkey Layback drag seats were covered in black cloth before being secured into position, while RCI harnesses keep the occupants safely strapped in place. McCormick hand-fabricated an aluminum dash to replace the factory plastic unit, also incorporating carbon fiber inserts before stuffing it full of AutoMeter Sport Comp gauges. With the car complete, Jeff and Barbara made the trek to the Street Machine Nationals in DuQuoin in 2016 and again in 2017 and have also hit a number of other events and local cruises. Plans for the future include an EFI system and a bug catcher scoop for even better street manners, and the McCormicks are happy to finally have the long-term project out of the garage and pounding the streets. Not long ago, there was no shortage of naysayers quick to claim that pro street was dead. We’d counter that if that were the case, one look at this loud, impractical, low, fat-tired monster is all it takes to realize that it isn’t true anymore. Just like this C4, it’s been resurrected.

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

It’s a tight fit, but the Corvette cockpit has been built for safety and style.

Jeff and wife Barbara enjoy cruising the Vette all summer long at events across the country. | december 2017



WORX ® Works hard so you don’t have to! >>We put two of WORX® new 20-volt lithium-ion tools to the test


Toby Brooks



f you’re a fan of power cordless tools, then you will love the latest offerings from WORX®. We got our hands on a pair of their WORX® 20-volt lithium-ion Worksite Lights, and let’s just say they “shine.” Most of us arrive with our trailers, cars, or RVs during the dark, so having an instant light that provides big power available anywhere at the click of a button is priceless. We first thought our WORX® lights would stay in the trailer or RV and come out occasionally as needed, but we’ll be honest: with around two hours of run time and lumens that would light up a small stadium, we’ve used them for the track, unloading at the show parking lot, campsite hook-up, working under the hood of the family SUV, even doing drywall repairs in the attic! The only problem we’ve discovered with our WORX® 20-volt lithium-ion Worksite Lights is how to get them back after we loan them out! Do yourself a

favor (especially those who have borrowed ours), get yourself a pair today! Hint, they would also make a GREAT Christmas gift! The worksite light is housed in a tubular frame with a rigid foot plate as its base. The frame incorporates a comfortable foam grip, which serves as a carrying handle. The high-performance tempered-glass LED light’s frame rotates north to south 360º. Run time with the 1.5Ah battery is approximately 90 minutes. With a 2Ah battery, it’s two hours; and with the WORX new 4.0 Ah battery, the light will operate up to four hours continuously. The WORX® 20V lithium-ion Worksite Light (WX026L.9, $49.99, work light only) and the (WX026L, $89.99), which includes one 1.5 Ah battery and a 5-hour charger is available at and online retailers including Amazon. The worksite light is covered by the WORX threeyear limited warranty. Next up is the latest greatest offering from

WORX®...Ok we’ll admit it, we’re hooked on their products! The new WORX® Hydroshot Cordless Power Cleaner allows you to clean everything and anything without the hassle of plugging in or hooking up to hose. It’s simple: the Hydroshot pumps fresh water from a hose, bucket, pool, or lake into the cordless power wand and provides high pressure to take care of most any wash. This handy tool is the first-of-its-kind, cordless, powered water nozzle that either connects to a garden hose or can draw fresh water from remote sources with its auxiliary hose. Multiple spray settings are provided to perform a wide range of power-cleaning tasks, as well as gentle watering. The Hydroshot weighs only 3.7 lbs including battery, and with its two-speed trigger delivers water pressures of 58 to 94 psi for watering and 200 to 320 psi for power cleaning. That’s up to five times more water pressure than a standard hose and nozzle. When drawing

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

water from a lake, river, or pond, the siphoning hose even has a sliding float to keep the weighted intake away from the bottom to avoid drawing up sand, mud, or debris. Run time in shower mode is up to 30 minutes continuously, and other run-times vary according to the selected spray pattern and speed. Since we have multiple WORX® 20V MAX tools here at the RPM shop, we simply change out the battery as needed. Just like with our WORX® Worksite Lights we found the uses for the Hydroshot to be endless—whether it was for our cars, trailers, RV or even the siding on the house, we’ve certainly found 101 uses for this handy cordless (and hose-less) tool. To reach out to WORX® social media links visit: Facebook: https://www.facebook. com/worxus?ref=hl; Twitter: https://twitter. com/WORXTools;Pinterest: http://pinterest. com/worxtools and Instagram: @WORXTools.



刀椀瘀攀琀 ⬀ 刀椀瘀攀琀 一甀琀 ⬀ 刀椀瘀攀琀 匀琀甀搀


1 & 2: We unpacked the WORX® Worksite Lights, charged the batteries and immediately put them to work! 3: We’ve used our lights dozens of times in the short time we’ve had them, including shedding some light in and around our car trailer during those late night arrivals.

䴀甀氀琀椀ⴀ䘀甀渀挀琀椀漀渀愀氀 唀渀氀椀洀椀琀攀搀 倀漀猀猀椀戀椀氀椀琀椀攀猀 䄀嘀䄀䬀 䴀愀砀䐀甀琀礀 䘀氀攀砀 吀漀漀氀 䬀椀琀


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刀椀瘀攀琀 ㄀⼀㐀ᴠ ⠀㘀⸀㐀洀洀⤀ 刀椀瘀攀琀 一甀琀 ㄀⼀㈀ᴠ  ⼀ 䴀㄀㈀ 刀椀瘀攀琀 匀琀甀搀 㔀⼀㄀㘀ᴠ ⼀ 䴀㠀 

4 & 5: When you open the Hydroshot box don’t be shocked on how much they were able to pack into it. There is literally something for every wash job imaginable, including a multi spray nozzle, siphon-style soap bottle, soft brush and window squeegee with sprayer! 6: We also used the Turbo Nozzle (shown on left) to maximize the potential of our new Hydroshot, especially for bugs and ground in dirt. Both the multi spray (right) and turbo nozzles quick-connect into the wand extension (background). 7: The Hydroshot is great to give our MISKA Trailers RPM event rig a quick hassle-free cleanup after arriving at a venue. There’s always water nearby for our bucket and the best part is that no 120V power is required!

刀椀瘀攀琀⼀刀椀瘀攀琀 一甀琀 䐀爀椀氀氀 䄀搀愀瀀琀攀爀猀

䔀û漀爀琀氀攀猀猀 愀渀搀 䔀ϻ挀椀攀渀琀 䜀攀琀 琀栀攀 樀漀戀 搀漀渀攀 昀愀猀琀


䄀嘀䄀䬀 刀嘀䐀 愀渀搀 刀一䐀 䐀爀椀氀氀 䄀搀愀瀀琀攀爀猀 ∠ 䰀攀瘀攀爀愀最攀 琀栀攀 瀀漀眀攀爀 漀昀 瀀漀眀攀爀 琀漀漀氀    昀漀爀 攀û漀爀琀氀攀猀猀 爀椀瘀攀琀椀渀最 ∠ 唀瀀 琀漀 ㈀砀 愀猀 昀愀猀琀 愀猀 洀愀渀甀愀氀 琀漀漀氀猀 ∠ 匀洀愀氀氀 瀀爀漀漀氀攀 昀漀爀 攀砀琀爀攀洀攀 瀀漀爀琀愀戀椀氀椀琀礀 ∠ 唀猀攀 礀漀甀爀 搀爀椀氀氀 昀漀爀 搀爀椀氀氀椀渀最 愀渀搀 爀椀瘀攀琀椀渀最⸀    一漀琀 漀渀攀 漀爀 琀栀攀 漀琀栀攀爀⸀ 䴀漀搀攀氀猀

刀嘀䐀ⴀ㄀ 㨀 唀瀀 琀漀 ㄀⼀㐀ᴠ 爀椀瘀攀琀猀 刀一䐀ⴀ㄀ ⴀ嬀匀⼀䴀崀㨀 唀瀀 琀漀 ㌀⼀㠀ᴠ 漀爀 䴀㄀  爀椀瘀攀琀 渀甀琀猀





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刀䤀䐀䜀䔀䜀䄀吀䔀 吀伀伀䰀匀 ☀ 吀䔀䌀䠀 | december 2017



december 2017 | RPM Magazine

story and photos by

Tim Lewis


ersonally, I like the road less travelled, to stay off the beaten path, keep away from the monkey see monkey do mentality, boldly go where no one…. well you get the idea. The world we live in today, with every-

thing and anything posted on the web and social media, has made being “unique” more difficult than ever. It’s just plain tough to be original. Despite my love for all things horsepower, when over 90% of the field at a drag race is the same bodystyle, sooner

or later everything starts blending together. I get it, some cars are more popular or lighter, or cheaper to build etc. Heck, most of us at RPM even race or drive the most popular models out there, but that doesn’t take away the excitement we feel when we see

something completely unique. And Allyn Armstrong’s Opel definitely fits in to that category. This very quiet and unassuming man from Kingston, Nova Scotia, along with his brother John own A&J Automotive and Machine and are literally

The Opel has a great stance. The small (but big for the car) tires tuck nicely under the quarters. The Cyclops-looking scoop was engineered to maximize the volume of air that could be forced in to the engine, which is not only a work of brain power but also a work of art. Above, Allyn heats up the 10.5-inch wide Goodyears for another mid8-second pass. | december2017


UNIQUE legends for their ingenuity and engine building prowess in the eastern parts of Canada and the States, and well beyond. A&J build mostly race engines for drag racing, off-road and boat racing and boasts a full machine shop with CNC machines for blocks, heads, and cam cores. The Armstrong boys, who were both inducted into the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in November 2009, are no strangers to horsepower. Allyn, who has been building engines since the mid1960s, started his racing days with a 1956 Chevrolet. The ’56 was powered by a high-winding 327 with a 4-speed transmission and was pulling double duty as both his street transportation and drag car. His first real dedicated race car came when he found a 1953 Henry J and began building it for the strip. It seems that his outside-the-box thinking got started early on, as when it came time to power the car, a flathead or small block would have been an easy choice—but not for Armstrong. Instead, he decided on a straight-six from GMC to power the little Kaiser. “This was the first car I ever owned that needed to be on a trailer,” said Armstrong. Little did he know at the time that this was the start to what has become almost 50 years of

drag racing. Allyn, who is also known as a master of welding, also builds his own chassis and the ’71 Opel GT you see here was built in-house. Now when I say built in-house, I mean everything was done right in his own shop. This particular compact Buick started life as a real car back in in 1971. The passage of time has seen many Opels either fade away or be turned into street machines—or like Armstrong’s—race cars. These cars, which I personally have been in love with since I was a kid, have a very interesting story behind them. The first generation Opel GT of 1968-1973 debuted to the public as a styling exercise in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt auto shows. The styling of the GT was often said to be similar to the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette which went on sale in September 1967. That’s where the term “Poor Man’s Corvette” came from. As far as racing, they were an instant hit with gasser and comp racers in the late ’60s and early ’70s. During 1968 to 1973 a total of 103,463 cars were sold and in North America, the GT was sold at Buick dealerships. Eventually, production of the Opel was ended with GM execs saying a redesign was in order to remain competitive with up-and-com-


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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

This car screams innovation! 34 years of trial and error with an Opel that many fans and racers alike remember from its start. The narrow fabricated 9-inch rear is tucked neatly under the narrow body.

A very short wheelbase can be unpredictable. The Opel uses a long wheelie bar to help get it planted and working off the starting line. Armstrong built the whole front nose for the car. Lightweight and smooth, it helps with getting the car even lighter and more aerodynamic—more ingenuity on Armstrong’s part. Looking straight on at the engine you can see the GM ROX head. Who would have thought one would end up on an engine like this? The trick throttle body was built in-house, too. The factory door plate shows this Opel started life as a real car in November 1970. ing sports cars such as the Datsun 240Z in addition to the end of their body production contract for the car, but not before the Opel became a TV star. The car was featured on the TV show Get Smart with Agent 86 driving a gold GT. In the 1971 movie Omega Man, one of the beginning scenes of the movie is when Charlton Heston enters a used car dealer to find a new car. There happens to be a gold Opel GT along the wall behind him while he looks at a Mustang. Possibly

that same car from Get Smart? And in a 2016 episode of Criminal Minds called “Drive,” Dr. Tara Lewis is seen pulling up in a white Opel GT. When asked by the character David Rossi played by Joe Mantegna who her restoration guy was, she commented “you are looking at him.” But in real life, the GT belongs to the actor Joe Mantegna himself. For Armstrong’s GT, 1983 was the beginning of its new life as a race car. As time passed, updates were made and parts changed out until

eventually Armstrong had the potent class racer you see here. Starting with the stock steel body and its 95-inch wheelbase, Armstrong built a chromoly chassis along with a 62-inch wide 9-inch Ford rearend. This car, with its short wheelbase, can be a handful when it leaves the line, especially with a manual trans, but Allyn’s clutch skills bring it well under control. Up front, Lamb struts keep the car stable and Lamb brakes help slow the super lightweight Opel to a stop.

Rearward, inside the Ford 9-inch hides Mark Williams axles and a 6.50 ratio gear set (you can almost hear the sound of screaming RPMs now!). A 4-link suspension and Penske shocks get the Goodyear 10.5 slicks hooked when the clutch is let go and the Liberty 5-speed is allowed to work its magic at the command of Armstrong. The heart of the little Opel is an all billet 4-cylinder built by Armstrong. The 4.250 bore along with a 2.875 stroke makes

the 163 cubic inches come to life. A crankshaft from the folks at Byrant helps spin rods from M&P which are connected to CP pistons. With such a unique combination that works so well, many racers might be reluctant to give details, but surprisingly, Armstrong, being quiet by nature, was very open about the combination. The cylinder head is a very

trick Slawko Racing Heads GM ROX 4.5 bore space with lots of work done to it. Jesel handles the valve train set up and a billet roller cam helps get things pumping inside the engine. The intake is something that just blows your mind when you see what has gone into fabricating it. The only other place in drag racing where one | december2017


UNIQUE might see these types of odd crazy and trick parts outside of NHRA Comp Eliminator would be among the ranks of the serious sport compact racers. Along with the handmade intake are four Armstrong-built throttle blades and a custom scoop pan. To get the car to fire, Armstrong uses MOTEC. And with the addition of MSD and Racepak the car has sensors everywhere. Reading this type of data from many sources is what helps get a car to run most every time down the track, and this car makes it A to B 9 out of 10 runs! The little engine drinks Sunoco SR118 and the sound you hear from the high revving 4-banger comes courtesy of a lightweight header built by none other than Allyn Armstrong. The Opel has such a unique sound that even when you’re not watching, if you hear it you immediately know who it is. With its carrythe-wheels style launches, ultra-high revs and snappy gear changes the car fits well into the L/Altered category of NHRA Comp Eliminator. With the ups and downs of a number of classes these days and car counts being equally as unstable, I have been actively revisiting class racing. Competition Eliminator (Comp) is often referred to as a “thinking man’s class.” Each “category” within Comp has a different index and, as such, most anything can run in it. In such a highly


contested class of motorsports where wins are tough, Allyn earned a national event win in NHRA from the North East National open series in 2003 and has been setting and resetting records in the class since he started. In the L/A class that Allyn runs, the index is set at 9.37, but as of this writing Armstrong has run as quick as 8.61 at 153 mph and 5.43 at 124 in the eighth. Does it have more left? If Allyn Armstrong has anything to say about it does! “Unique” doesn’t end with the Opel, but extends into Allyn’s views on racing and his commitment to it. Armstrong is admittedly a man who just wants to race and try new things. But it is the drive and ingenuity in people like him that help the sport grow and inspire others to set new goals, if for no other reason than to be that next record holder. The passion for racing in Armstrong is reinforced by his willingness to travel long distances from his home simply to race. Case in point, when I shot this feature he drove just under 1,800 miles to get to Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, PA! Option two for him is to load up the hauler (which in Armstrong’s case is home-built motorhome to hold the car inside) on the ferry to cross the Bay of Fundy and save some 300 miles. Either way, my friends, that is commitment!

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

One look inside the Opel tells you this is a serious machine. Workmanship is topshelf. The cool look of the Liberty shifter is tough to beat, as is the performance of the Liberty 5-speed trans with ACE clutch.

Crew man Dwight Millett (left) and Allyn Armstrong (right). | december 2017



1: For ultimate weight savings we could have went with just one Go lithium 16v battery but with their compact half size and light weight, we decided on a pair instead. Using two will give us even longer run time between charging and more cranking amps. Ol’ 4 Lug’s big Mezerie pro mod starter spins so hard and fast, I have actually had bystanders ask “what kind of battery is in that thing?” Go Lithium batteries are half the size of common racing batteries so you can mount them using standard battery boxes and hold downs side by side. It is also recommended to use a charger designed to be used with lithium batteries. We got the 2 battery combo package that included the matching high speed charger for $1349.99 direct from Go Lithium. You can get a single battery with charger combo for $795.50.



story and photo by

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n our quest to drop major weight from RPM Magazine Project 4 Lug Thug’s portly physique, we took a good walk around the car looking for things that could be trimmed

or plasma cut off and anything else that could be replaced with a lighter-weight alternative. Most standard full size batteries, even ones made for racing, are pretty heavy. If you ever had to carry one far, you

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december 2017 | RPM Magazine

know what I mean. The elite racers have started moving towards much lighter lithium style batteries for weight savings and much higher efficiency. There are several companies out there selling lightweight

lithium batteries but you have to be careful about how they are constructed. Several are just re-purposing smaller lithium batteries grouped in banks that were designed for other uses. Go Lithium


came highly recommended by several top racers due to their quality and balanced prismatic technology. Each Go Lithium battery housing contains four smaller balanced lithium cells. This ensures the cells charge and discharge equally. This not only gives you better performance, but makes the battery last longer, as well.

Go Lithium estimates the life of one of their batteries, if properly maintained, to up to 10 years of normal racing use. When you compare that to having to replace the batteries every 2 or 3 years, the extra cost of lithium is easier to digest. Although weight savings was our original reason for looking into lithium

batteries as an alternative for our project, the weight savings may actually more of a bonus benefit. Lithium battery technology is used in a lot of modern high tech devices, most commonly our cell phones. Another common place is in our battery-powered tools like my old trusty cordless drill with years of everyday


2 & 3: Here is the really good part: each Go Lithium battery comes in at just 8 pounds,11oz on my el-cheepo digital scale. Most common full size batteries weigh around 40 pounds. The project car’s old battery was actually pretty light for a full size AGM style at 27 pounds, 10 oz. Still, a single full power Go Lithium battery is right at 19 pounds lighter. You would get even bigger weight savings coming from a traditional automotive battery. Using a pair of Go Lithium batteries cut our weight by 11 pounds, 4oz. But wait! There’s more!

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2017 101



abuse. You may have noticed when using a lithium powered tool that the power of the tool stays strong until the battery is almost dead. Then all of a sudden it dies pretty quick. Older tools with nickel cadmium

(ni-cad) rechargeable batteries would come off the charger strong but would gradually get weaker as you use it. That voltage sag is one big reason lithium batteries rather than ni-cad make a great power

4: The Go Lithium charger is a compact design with simple LED indicators to not only let you know when the battery is ready, but also if there is a problem.

5: I connected the two batteries in parallel with very short lengths of 2 gauge cable with high quality crimp terminals. Now we have a powerful pair of lithium batteries with the same dimensions as a single full size battery.

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december 2017 | RPM Magazine


6: See? I told you there was more. With a pair of 16v Go Lithium batteries in the trunk, we won’t need an alternator for race day nearly as much as with standard batteries. Our Powermaster alternator is one of the adjustable voltage versions. It can still be used if we are using the car in a cruise or parade situation. It can be put back on the car in a few minutes when needed, but for now, we will take the extra 10 pounds, 14 oz off the nose. 7: The pair of Go Lithium batteries fit perfectly in the 4 Lug Thug’s battery tray using the same hold down. This saves us time on fabricating a new mount for now. We will be re-doing the rear of the car anyway to get more weight out and will knock a few ounces off the battery mount while we are at it. When the rear part of the car was done many moons and many issues ago, we made the rear firewall and all of the trunk floor with steel sheet metal. We will soon cut all that back out to replace it with aluminum and get rid of the old hand-me-down 10-gallon fuel cell for a smaller one. At the time of our battery swap, we didn’t want to do anything to put the car out of race service until after the season was done.

7 | december 2017



8 & 9: Instead of using the supplied terminal bolts all the way around, we used a longer bolt with a nut on one battery. By using a longer bolt and a nut, you can screw in the bolt and then use the nut to tighten down the connection like a stud. This leaves the head of the bolt sticking up a little to give you a good secure place to hook up the charger clips.


december 2017 | RPM Magazine


source in a race car. You get full voltage to your ignition system, solenoids, and electronics for a longer time without an alternator to keep the charge up. Another big advantage is a very fast recharge rate, so it is easy to get your Go Lithium battery back up to full charge between

rounds. By the time your car is cooled down your batteries can be back to 100%. You can use an alternator to keep your Go Lithium battery charged, however, Go Lithium advises to only use one with about 60 amps output and regulated to 17.75 volts.

RPM PROJECT CAR So far I have raced the project car several times with the new Go Lithium batteries installed which involves starting the car multiple times between charges and making passes with a Holley Dominator EFI system with eight coils

along with a nitrous solenoid, transbrake, shift solenoid, parking lights, and a big Holley EFI fuel pump. I even occasionally turn on the ARC bottle warmer when sitting in the lanes for a while. The twin Go Lithium batteries have

never drained below 15.3 volts and always charge to nearly 17 volts between rounds, sometimes having less than 30 minutes of charge time. There would be no problem going a few rounds without charging if in a rush.

SOURCE Go Lithium Intelligent Power 800.393.9951

10: By using the bolt/stud trick for charging, I was able to get rid of the old remote charging terminals that were inside the car’s OEM fuel door on the right quarter panel. The remote terminals themselves weighed almost 12 oz. Combine that with the mounting plate and the 4-gauge cable that ran to them, and we took off another pound total. That brings this battery project to about 23 pounds off the car. That number would be over 31 pounds if we opted to use just one Go Lithium battery. Stay tuned as our old friend continues to shed the pounds on its way to becoming a lean mean racing machine!



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8 & 9: Ok, what do you do as an encore after raising a Roush 59 1/2” Length, 15” Wide X 14” Tall. This 6” WINDSHIELD is a universal design dash that can be Mustang 15 feet in the air in 2015? Simple, go big or go trimmed to fit. It’s perfect for many drag LENGTHhome! COWL HOOD racing applications. Once again, PowerFest sponsor Ken’s Towing flexed towing and recovery prowess as they raised this massive $295 LIFT-OFFtheir #22206: $419 cement mixer truck to the delight of all. -Brian Milne photos







DECEMBER/2017 RPM | december 2017



1: Adapting an AN hose to a factory-style mechanical water pump and/or radiator used to mean welding an adapter bung on the neck. No more! The Autoplumb water neck adapter installs simply with nothing more than hand tools.



>> We try out the new AutoPlumb AN cooling system water neck adapter by


Toby Brooks


raided hoses and aircraft fittings have been used in drag race and high performance street machine applications for

december 2017 | RPM Magazine

decades. Whether you are plumbing fuel, cooling, braking, or some other fluid transfer system, chances are there is already a part available for your particular applica-

tion. One exception has been in the cooling system, where it has typically required a bit of fabrication work to adapt the standard low-pressure

bung-style outlet on radiators and water pumps to the AN style—until now, that is. Edmond, Oklahoma-based Autoplumb has developed a trick billet

2 2: Our mechanical pump outlet was close to the blower drive mount, and using a standard clamp-style hose would be almost impossible. 3: On most pumps and radiators, the adapter ring will simply slide right over the water neck, but in our application it was a bit too tight. Steve Yates pulled out his handy file and had our PRW pump modified to fit in no time flat.

3 4


5: The completed install clears the blower drive mount and will be much easier to use with a -20 AN hose we’ll be installing soon.

4: Here you see the three-piece adapter ready for install. The adapter ring (bottom) slides over the water neck before the shim (center) is lightly lubricated and snapped in place. The seal is then coated with black RTV before the adapter body (top) is threaded on and tightened using an AN wrench and a strap wrench, ensuring a leak-free fit. aluminum water neck adapter to convert a standard water neck to AN style. Available in four sizes (1.250-1.299 inch, 1.300-1.350 inch, 1,500-1.550 inch, and 1.750-1.800 inch) and in either silver of black anodized finishes, the -20 adapter (MSRP $59.95) can be installed in minutes. The reusable adapter is also particularly practical compared to the typical welded bung, as a water pump or radiator failure at the track or on the street could be replaced with an off-the-shelf part with no need for welding. With our project car, we knew the standard hose clamp on the water pump wouldn’t work because the polished aluminum PRW water pump outlet was perilously close to our Supercharger Store blower drive mount. Initially the plan was to weld a bung on the pump, but after seeing the water neck adapter, we decided to give it a shot. Installation is easy, with the three piece adapter going in place

with simple hand tools. After measuring the water neck outlet and selecting the appropriate size, chassis fabricator Steve Yates pulled out the file to remove a small amount of material from the bung. According to Autoplumb, the adapter ring most often fits over the bung, but in our application it was just a bit too tight to clear. After ensuring a good fit, Yates continued with the install. Before installing the adapter ring, a small piece of installation tape is applied. This tape will later be removed but ensures that the strap wrench gets adequate bite on the ring without marring the ring’s finish. The adapter ring is then slid onto the neck of the water pump, and the shim is lubricated with a small amount of grease and also put in place. The seal is then coated with black silicone and positioned properly before the Autoplumb water neck adapter body is threaded

into the adapter ring. An AN wrench is then used to tighten the adapter body while a strap wrench holds the adapter ring in place. The install tape can then be removed and the completed part can be wiped with lacquer thinner. Autoplumb suggests waiting 24 hours before installing the -20 AN hose, but once installed, your water pump or radiator is now ready for plumbing with no welding. The completed install was a snap and after prepping our water pump, the job was completed in less than five minutes. If you are considering converting your standard issue radiator hoses to the style and function of AN plumbing, you can’t go wrong with the Autoplumb water neck adapter.

SOURCE Autoplumb

405.823.7149 | december 2017



1: Progress continued this month at Braddy Custom Paint, where Brian Podschweidt (left), Derrick Webber (center) and Tim Braddy (right) got all the body mods done from the firewall back before blocking and priming the factory sheetmetal.




>>We continue prepping our project car for paint and handling a number of other details


story by


elieve it or not, we are FINALLY entering the home stretch on Project aPocalypSe Horse, our now fouryear build that set out

december2017 | RPM Magazine

to redefine modern pro street. Unfortunately, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan. Unlike the laughable reality TV shows that would lead the uninitiated to believe a top-quali-

ty build could be thrown together in a week, RPM readers know better. And even if you didn’t, you could look back through our archives over the past several years to see that we’ve

Toby Brooks

hit detours, roadblocks, triumphs, and victories while navigating more than one shop that didn’t live up to expectations. However, through it all we have kept plugging away and managed to get

2: Before priming the body, George Norovich from Norovich’s Pro Street Customs came over and lent a hand, welding up the custom cowl filler panel fabricated a few months ago. The thin sheetmetal requires a light touch and careful welding to avoid heat warpage, but the perimeter weld is the only way to get the smooth look we are after. 3: Last month we showed you how Braddy and Podschweidt notched the rear bumper to clear our S&W Race Cars single wheelie bar. This month, the pair added a fabricated support piece on the back side of the rear bumper to give the notch a finished look. Many have asked why our build has taken so long. In addition to a number of mistakes and re-dos along the way, we’ve also been particular about finishing details like this that take more time but really make a difference when the car is complete. on the very threshold of final assembly. Before that can occur, though, there’s the small matter of getting the car’s Axalta paint applied

by Braddy Custom Paint with Noah Ennis/Shell Shock graphics laid down. With that in mind, Tim and the crew got busy finishing



up the prep work on the car from the firewall back to get it in primer. They’ll also need to finalize the custom flip-off/removable front end, but that’ll need to wait until next month. In the meantime, Braddy and Podschweidt first finished out the wheelie bar opening and custom marker light openings in the

4: With the body square and clean, the crew began masking the chassis and prepping for a fresh coat of Axalta primer. We’ll be adding color soon and will have more details on Axalta’s new coating system, but it is incredible!

4 | december2017



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RPM PROJECT CAR factory Ford rear bumper. They also finished prepping the stretched Hairy Glass fiberglass ground effects, scuffed the new 2013-2014 Mustang factory front valance, and began the arduous task of masking off the previously powder coated chromoly chassis. After 3-4 hours of work wrapping the steel skeleton like a much-anticipated birthday gift, the car was rolled into the spray booth for a fresh coat of Axalta flat gray prim-

er. Once complete and dried, the bumper covers and ground effects were brought in for a matching coat. Elsewhere, the custom tilt off/removable front clip was another story. The chromoly tree is close but will need some additional tweaking as will the stretched and modified front fenders and fiberglass Harwood hood. As Braddy and crew continue prepping the front clip, work on other

5, 6, & 7: With the body mods done and the sheetmetal all massaged to a laser-straight status, the crew rolled the car into the spray booth where Derrick Webber applied a coat of Axalta gray primer. Notice the extensive masking. Before draping the window openings with plastic, the entire chassis was taped off with painter’s tape to ensure the powder coated chassis would be protected from overspray.






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systems continued at Yates Performance Chassis. Specifically, Yates got busy installing two of the three stages of our ProMeth pumpless water meth injection system. The dual two-stage system that mounts to the ProCharger volutes will be critical in reducing charge temperatures and allowing us to run cheap pump gas for easy cruising. While another stage will be installed downstream just ahead of the throttle body, this month we’ll focus on the volute injection. While water meth injection is certainly not new, ProMeth’s pumpless system is certainly a newer application of the technology. A spun aluminum meth cylinder will be mounted in the trunk. The custom cylinder features an o-ring cap and a pressure port that will be plumbed to our on-board air ride tank at approximately 150 psi. Then the feed line goes up to the various stages that are actuated by solenoids almost like a low pressure nitrous system. To conserve meth, the system



december2017 | RPM Magazine





12 8: The Braddy crew hung the rear bumper and mounted the front bumper and ground effects onto stands before Derrick Webber applied a coat of Axalta primer. 9 & 10: The primed bumpers and ground effects are ready for paint.


11 & 12: With the Ride Tech suspension aired out and the ground effects in place, you can see just how slammed the car is. With the touch of a button, it will return to a more practical ride height.

13 & 14: Moving on to the ProMeth injection system, Steve Yates first removed the ProCharger volutes then marked and drilled them for the injector nozzles.


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15: Yates then tapped the cast aluminum ProCharger volute using a 1/8-inch NPT tap. He then installed the ProMeth injector nozzle. will be set up to be actuated via pressure switches in the charge tube. Once boost hits a preset level, the first stage will automatically be activated. As boost further increases, the second stage will kick in. It is an elegant solution that also looks unique and incredibly cool. With the solenoids and hardline plumbing properly fit in place, it looks like a quartet of nitrous systems mounted to the ProChargers. In a word: cool! Once again, hopes are high that next month at this time Tim and the crew will be able to start spraying some color, and shortly thereafter we’ll finally start final assembly. Stay tuned!

16 & 17: With the injector nozzles in place, Yates plumbed up the hard lines and solenoids on the volutes.

SOURCES Braddy Custom Paint


Norovich’s Pro Street Customs West Frankfort, Illinois 618.923.3555

Axalta Coating Systems 855.547.1461

Yates Performance Chassis Grafton, Illinois 618.292.9712


e rear suspension is all Calvert Racing and even includes their etary 9-way adjustable CR series rear shocks (not shown).


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december2017 | RPM Magazine

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Now Available For Gen 5 Camaro

HP Series Differentials

Self-Tuning rep. for details Fuel Injection System Easily bolts onto any carbureted application in a single afternoon, making it the easiest EFI system you will ever install. Simply hook up the system, answer the basic Setup Wizard questions on the hand-held unit, and the system will tune itself as you drive. That’s all it takes! PN 30227KIT Master Kit wit Inline Fuel Pump

Cordless PullzAll

Plow With Confidence!

With Timbren SES

Without Timbren SES

SES Suspension Upgrades provide superior suspension performance under the stress of heavy loads. Each one of Timbren's patented Aeon® rubber springs is engineered to absorb road shock providing comfort and stability.

Ask a Parts Pro sales person for more details

Great for use in the field. When work takes you to more remote locations, bring the mechanical muscle of the portable, cordless PullzAll with you.

PN 885005

(454 Kg)

Ultra Flex Tonneau Lifts or Pulls up to Covers 1,000 lbs.

Includes a SaddleBag storage box for convenient out-of-the-way bed organization, dual rail LED bed lighting system for enhanced night vision, and a

universal tailgate seal. Ask about an Ultra Flex cover for your truck

Plug-n-Play PowerSteps

The automatic, electric-powered running board that instantly extends when you open your door and then hides itself safely out of sight when the doors close for improved ground clearance, aerodynamics, and appearance. Featuring a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Performance Wheels Upgrade the look of your ride with a set of factory performance wheels from Ford Performance. Many different designs, sizes and fitments available. Ask a Parts Pro salesperson about a set for your car or truck


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december 2017 | RPM Magazine


December 2017  
December 2017  

REAL DEAL...Real Corvette Body. Street Driven. And yes, it can bang off 6-second quarter-miles, too! GT-Oh So Fast...Jimmer Kline quickly r...