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V.P. MARKETING/CUSTOMER RELATIONS.......TRISH BIRO trish@rpm-mag.com DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING.........................BRIAN HANSEN brian@rpm-mag.com E-MAGAZINE ASSOCIATE EDITOR.........................IAN RAE ian@rpm-mag.com EVENT MEDIA DIRECTOR.....................................TONY WEBER tony.weber@rpm-mag.com EVENT SUBSCRIPTIONS COORDINATOR.....SHERRIE WEBER sherrie@rpm-mag.com Photographic Contributions: TONY WEBER, TIM LEWIS, BRIAN HANSEN, PETE “BOOMER” ORES, PAUL SCHMITZ, DALE BOERU, LOGAN WEBER, MARK goDragRacing.org, TOMMY LEE BYRD, www.DragStory.com, BRIAN TYLER, GEORGE PICH, TOBY BROOKS Editorial Contributions: IAN RAE, TONY WEBER, TIM LEWIS, CHUCK SCOTT, TOMMY LEE BYRD, BRIAN HANSEN, BEN STRADER, MARK goDragRacing.org, RAY KNIGHT, BRIAN TYLER, AL HEISLEY, GEORGE PICH, TOBY BROOKS Technical Writing Contribution: CHUCK SCOTT, BEN STRADER, SHANE TECKLENBURG, TOMMY LEE BYRD

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For advertising information contact BRIAN HANSEN .....262.325.3926.....brian@rpm-mag.com TRISH BIRO .............519.752.3705.......trish@rpm-mag.com Art & Graphics Director: Toby Brooks Special Events Managers: Chris Biro, Raymond Knight events@rpm-mag.com Special Events Sales: Trish Biro: 519-752-3705 trish@rpm-mag.com Subscriptions/Address Changes: Circulation circulation@rpm-mag.com General Inquiries: 519.752.3705 info@rpm-mag.com

MEET THE RPM TEAM

EDITOR IN CHIEF.......................................................CHRIS BIRO editor@rpm-mag.com

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 circulation@rpm-mag.com To subscribe to RPM go to www.rpm-mag.com or email Trish Biro at trish@rpm-mag. com, 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 regards to design and power! RPM Magazine does not sell its mailing list or share any of the confidential information regarding its subscribers.

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RPM Magazine has been a world leader in motorsports publishing for 15 years and has support locations in Ontario, Canada, Alabama, Wisconsin, Texas & 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@ rpm-mag.com. 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.

Publication Return/Address Change Information USA RPM MAGAZINE (USPS Periodical #023474) is published monthly 11 Times/year, except for a combined issue in January/February by USA Publisher’s Agent, 10387 Main Street, Suite 300, Fairfax, VA 22030. Periodicals Postage Rate is Paid at Fairfax, VA and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: RPM Magazine P.O. Box 24020 Brantford, Ontario CAN N3R 7X3 CANADA PUBLICATIONS MAIL INFO AGREEMENT NO. 40045044 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CDN ADDRESSES TO RPM MAGAZINE P.O. BOX 24020 BRANTFORD, ONTARIO N3R 7X3 OVERSEAS RPM MAGAZINE P.O. BOX 24020 BRANTFORD, ONTARIO, CAN. N3R 7X3


EDITOR’S NOTES

ADVERTISER INDEX

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3rd Strike Performance......... 89 Accufab Inc............................ 37 Alan Johnson Performance (AJPE)................................. 19 AFCO...................................... 48 Applied Racing Components (ARC).................................. 53 ATI Performance Products..... 26 Autoglym.........................65, 89 Bad Attitude Engines............ 44 Baer Brakes......................51, 72 BES Racing Engines............... 19 Bill Mitchell Products............ 73 Blower Shop............................ 5 Boteler Racing....................... 77 Browell Bellhousing.............. 34 BTE Racing............................ 54 C&C Motorsports................... 50 Calvert Racing Suspensions... 38 CN Blocks.............................. 31 Coan Engineering.................. 85 Crower.............................40, 70 CVR Products......................... 69 DART..................................... 24 Design Engineering............... 17 DIY Auto Tune/MegaSquirt EFI..................................... 31 DUI Perf. Distributors............. 43 Dynotech Engineering............. 8 Ed Quay Race Cars................. 51 Engine Research & Development (ERD)........... 18 EZVJack................................. 51 Fast Eddie Racewear.............. 69 Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST)............................... 39 FastMotorsports...................... 9 Fast Times Motorworks......... 50 FORD Racing.......................... 76 Frankenstein Racing Heads .. 12 Gold Living............................ 52 G Force Racing Transmissions.75 GZ Motorsports..................... 81 Harland Sharp......................... 8 Holcomb Motorsports........... 22 HoleShot Wheels................... 14 Holley Ultra Dominator......... 32 Holley Ultra Double Pumper.. 53 Holley Ultra Street Avenger... 64 Induction Solutions............... 23 J&K Converters...................... 75 JE Pistons.............................. 35 Jesel...................................... 74 Jeffco.................................... 12 JET Performance................... 79 Joe Gibbs Racing Oil DRIVEN. 27 K&N Filters............................ 67

Lokar Performance Products. 40 LUCAS Oil Products.................. 2 Lunati.................................... 87 Mahle Clevite Inc................... 68 Manton Pushrods.................. 85 Meziere Precision Mfg........... 73 Mickey Thompson Tires........... 7 Midco Blue Maxx Racing ATF.45 Midwest Converters.............. 32 Mile High Crankshafts........... 10 MSD Ignition......................... 29 Neal Chance Converters.... 11,25 New Century Performance.... 64 Nitrous Pro Flow.................... 64 Nitrous Supply...................... 86 Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS).82 OASIS by Corlor...................... 10 Ohsweken Speedway............ 16 Outlaw 10.5 Racing Assoc..... 81 Parts Pro Perf Centers............ 92 Performance Improvements.. 14 Performance Plus Connection.73 Powermaster Performance.... 51 Precision Turbo/ProInjectors.. 15 Proformance Racing Trans..... 32 Pro Systems Carburetors...20, 43 Philadelphia Racing Products (PRP).................................. 29 PTC........................................ 77 Quick-In Surlok Steer............. 81 Racepak................................ 33 Racequip............................... 80 Race Shop Converters............ 42 Racing Radios.......................... 7 Rev-X Oil Products............17, 78 Ross Racing Pistons................. 5 Rossler Transmissions............ 49 RPM MAGAZINE..................90 Scotty’s Racing Engines......... 21 Shafiroff Racing Engines....... 13 SM Race Cars......................... 21 Smith Racecraft..................... 28 Summit Racing Equipment... 91 Taylor-Vertex......................... 67 Ti64......................................... 8 Tom’s Upholstery................... 79 Trailer-Alarms.com................ 66 Trend Performance................ 36 TRZ Motorsports.................... 44 Two Guys Garage/Truck U...... 88 Valvoline............................... 84 VP Racing Fuels................55, 68 WC Enterprises...................... 74 Weinle Motorsports.............. 18 Weldon High Performance.... 83 Wilson Manifolds.................. 50

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

by

O

nce again time has flown by and 2013 is quickly coming to a close. Going into our final issue for the year we’d like to wish all of you the very best for the holiday season from everyone here at RPM, and may the New Year be good to you all! For those new to RPM, we’d like to first thank you for being part of the new revolution of car mag and also remind you that we publish 11 issues per year with no January issue but rather an early February magazine full of new exclusive content for you to sink your teeth into.The result is that you will only be without your fix of RPM for about two extra weeks. Our team here is made up of working families and after an extremely fast paced year we feel it is very important to spend time during the holidays with your family, so this is our way of making that happen for those who work so hard to make RPM what it is each month. As reported earlier in the year in RPM, the PRI (Performance Racing Industry) Trade Show has been moved back to Indy and will be held Dec. 12– 14. We’ve been doing this show for 15 years now and it simply never ceases to amaze us as to how many performance enthusiasts and racers actually attend. Please come visit us at PRI Booth # 4543 and meet many of the folks who put their heart and soul into creating RPM for you each month. You can get more info on the PRI show at www. performanceracing.com We’re heading into our 15th year at RPM and gain new readers each and every month who can’t get enough of our real world approach to fast cars. As most of you already know, the best way to get RPM MAG first is by subscribing, and as of this writing RPM is enjoyed in print in 35 countries by subscription! We’re also on newsstands (including Walmart, BooksA-Million, etc.) in the USA, Canada and select stands in the UK. By continually adding new chain stores and large nationwide retailers to our existing locations, RPM is out there and in the face of the public everywhere they go… but if you still can’t find RPM in a

Chris Biro

store near you, by all means drop us a line. R P M E-MAG is now enjoyed worldwide and can be found at http://rpm-mag.com/rpm-e-mag. This is the full, unedited issue of RPM published online 25 days after its newsstand release. For 2014, our new Art & Graphics Director is adding some cool new tools and features to the online version of RPM including links to every advertiser! Speaking of the latest greatest talent to enter the RPM mix—as you’re reading this issue right now you should be noticing a pretty substantial change in design throughout the mag. That is the trick work of our new ace designer Toby Brooks, who also happens to be crazy about fast cars, which incidentally was a prerequisite for the job. We’re very excited to have Toby onboard and are sure you’ll agree that his work speaks for itself. Your ONLY Real Time, Real World Car Mag…period! Remember RPM MAGAZINE is the performance and racing world’s only “real-time” “current dated” magazine with current exclusive articles! So this issue is actually labeled a DECEMBER 2013 magazine (Not February or March 2014), and it should show up on your doorstep or local magazine rack sometime between the last week of November and first week of December. And guess what? It will have articles and info in it that are usually LESS than 30 days old, instead of 3-6 months. We call that being “current not ancient!” In a world filled with everyone and anyone creating a website or blog to tell the same stories with the same names in them over and over againthose same stories that months later are in the same magazines month after month and year after year, we believe that it is a breath of fresh air to get real world, grassroots fast car articles that we can all identify with… and that IS RPM! See you in 2014, stay safe and keep the shiny side up!


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www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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DECEMBER 2013 Often Imitated, Never Duplicated—RPM Magazine IS the ORIGINAL Voice Of Extreme Drag Racing & Wild Street Machines 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

ACTION

PANIC IN 18 DETROIT THE

Storm Warning!......................................................8

This supercharged Cyclone roars out of the Midwest

Yankey’s Chevy II..................................................... 30

This potent Pro Street Nova packs a powerful punch!

Hot Rod Dream................................................. 66

Barry Cunningham’s 1940 Willys is a rat-motored rodder’s delight

COVER STORY

First on Race Day............................. 46

Bob Perkins’ incredible collection of ultra-rare blue ovals is like a trip through a Ford museum...only FASTER!

THE

TECH & PROJECTS Project Assassin Part II.................................................................................. 28

We install a set of Smith Racecraft’s Assassin leaf spring traction devices on the No-Frills Nova

PROJECT

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

CARS

THE

.................................................................................................................... 38

The Big Bel Air gets a fresh Unlimited Products cowl hood and some Mickey Thompson tires

.................................................................................................................... 72

Lack of a garage is no deterrent as we gut the Mustang and deliver it to Gebhardt’s Pro Cars

.................................................................................................................... 80

We show you the tools, tips, and tricks for a painless DIY backyard alignment

READ COMPLETE RPM MAG BACK ISSUES ONLINE FREE AT WWW.RPM-MAG.COM

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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This supercharged Cyclone roars out of the Midwest

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


story and photos by

N

ineteen-sixty four was a watershed year for the American auto industry, as the phenomenon that would become the glorious, albeit short lived, musclecar craze would drive sales and put mega-horsepower factory hot rods in thousands of garages across North America. General Motors’ Pontiac GTO of that year is generally recognized as the first of the breed, setting the standard for performance and appearance with its new-to-the-marketplace blend of

big V8 power, hood scoops, rumbling dual exhausts, Hurst shifter and racy trim. Ford was soon to get involved in the melee as well, having announced their “Total Performance” program for 1964 as an all-out assault on most every form of motor sports, a campaign designed to boost sales of performance-optioned new Fords and Mercurys for the street. The shining star of the movement was

Brian Wood

undoubtedly the Ford Mustang, which arrived midway through the 1964 auto-selling season. The hottest version of the original “pony car” at the time was powered by a 271-horsepower, 289 cubic-inch HiPo powerplant. This is where John Jinnings comes in. The well-known Ford collector,

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STORM WARNINGS!

ABOVE: Early on a frosty fall morning, John warms up the rear rubber before taking a run through the countryside. INSET: This says it all – in 1964 the Comet Cyclone was shipped from the factory with no chrome trim on the sides, chrome wheels and this distinctive badge. The little car was in the vanguard of the upcoming musclecar explosion.

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builder and racer from Churubusco, Indiana, had wanted a Mercury Cyclone ever since he started building cars in 1982. “The 1964 Cyclone was Mercury’s performance car, but Ford was nervous about it outperforming the 271-horse, 289 HiPo-equipped Fairlanes, Mustangs and Falcons,” said Jinnings. “The Cyclone was a true K Code car, but Ford only allowed it to be sold with a 225 horsepower, four-barrel

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

289 under the hood. As a K Code car the Cyclone had no chrome on the sides but did carry special badges and emblems. The car was available with an automatic or a four-speed transmission.” Knowing John, factory output of an original Cyclone of was of no real consequence, as his track record has proven. He loves power and plenty of it. “In 2007, I located a ’64 Cyclone for sale in Omaha, Nebraska. On the surface, the car was in pretty nice shape. It was painted Wimbledon White and had a white bucket seat interior. Once we started ripping it


down I was happy to find that we had a pretty rust-free car – there was just a small spot on the passenger side floorboard. “Once we were ready to roll I contacted Gary Martz at Martz Chassis in Bedford, Pennsylvania, to see if he had any components we could use,” Jinnings said. “He didn’t have anything for the Comet but did have a unit for the Falcon, so we bought a complete four-link rear suspension set-up from him.” “At the time a company in Australia called RRS manufactured a coil-over strut front suspension, and we had them ship us one of their complete assemblies. In addition, we used Global West control

arms and associated hardware to complete the set-up.” “From there a local guy, fabricator extraordinaire Bill Davis of Bill Davis Race Cars, took over and worked his magic. He installed the front and rear suspension components, tied the subframes together and installed a heavy duty driveshaft loop. Bill’s final job was fabricating and installing a custom exhaust system, utilizing some trick oval pipes from Dr. Gas in Arizona.” Concurrently, work was well under way on the Cyclone’s new powerplant. As is the norm for a Jinnings creation, it was not a run-of-the-mill mill, so to speak.

TOP LEFT: The “family car” front end is offset by the unique and functional hood. Trim work on the car is outstanding and looks as if it just rolled off the showroom floor in late 1963. TOP RIGHT: True to its namesake, the wide-open Cyclone sound roars unchecked through a Midwestern corn field as we hit the open road. BOTTOM: Ovalized exhaust pipes are from Dr. Gas in Arizona.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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STORM WARNINGS! The high-tech electronic power brakes are by California-based ABS Brakes.

The blown 438-inch Windsor stroker was built by Felice Performance Engines in Michigan.

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The Paxton supercharger is front and center in this shot under the Merc’s hood. The blower, combined with a Pro Systems blow thru carb, provides a performance gain of up to 250 horsepower, for a total of 775 with buckets full of boost.

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

“The engine is a 438 cubic-inch Ford Windsor stroker with Victor Jr. heads, Victor Jr. air gap intake, a Pro Systems blow thru carb and a Paxton 1200 supercharger,” said Jinnings. “We run aftermarket shorty headers and electric cut-outs from QTP. The engine was built by Kenny Felice at Felice Performance Engines in Michigan. It generated 525 horsepower on the dyno without the supercharger, and we knew from experience that we could gain from 200 to 250 horsepower with the blower.” “We run an MSD distributor and an MSD 6-BTM Boost Timing Master ignition system,

which allows me to plug in a controller and advance or retard the timing based on boost. When I run premium racing fuel in it I can run a couple degrees advance so that I get around 36 to 38 total. When I run 90-octane pump gas I retard it so that I don’t go over about 32 to 33 total. This allows me to easily switch from pump gas to racing fuel.” “We use the big MagnaFuel fuel pump system with the built-in filters, and run aluminum, stainless steel and braided lines from there to the carb system. Everything is done right – there are no rubber lines or hose clamps anywhere. In fact, I take pride in keep-


ing the engine compartment as clean as possible when it comes to hiding otherwise exposed lines and wiring.” “There’s no room in the engine compartment for a power brake booster, so I found a company in California called ABS Brakes. With their system there’s a pump mounted up under the inner fender panel on the driver’s side. What appears to be a master cylinder under the hood is actually a proportioning valve and I run a hose from that down to the pump. In other words, it’s a very high-tech electronic power brake system.” “The fuel tank we use is actually the stock unit but we put a rear sump in it so that it pulls from the very back. That way we’re forcing fuel to it under acceleration. The MagnaFuel system sits at the rear and pumps everything to the front.” The hot-running Cyclone never actually runs hot, thanks to Ace Radiator. Jinnings had them build the biggest aluminum radiator they could and he then built a core support around it. Accord-

ing to Jinnings, the car has never seen over 190-degress on the hottest days he has driven it. The automatic overdrive transmission was built by Russ Moore Transmissions in Fort Wayne using a Lentech valve body and various Lentech components. There’s a nine-inch rear with 3.25 gears, a Trac-Lok center section and a pair of tough aftermarket axles. Since the Cyclone runs a fairly mild cam with the blower motor, Jinnings is able to get by with a 2800 stall converter, which was also built by Russ Moore. With the mechanical systems under control, the car was handed off to Pro Strip for body prep and powder coating, Evers Collision Works for paint and finally to Krist Kustom Interiors, where all of the trick interior modifications were completed. “Shawn Krist did the interior, and as I do with all of my cars, I wanted it to pay tribute to the factory stock look but be customized in a number of subtle ways,” said Jinnings. “The dashboard in the car is stock, for example, but the

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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STORM WARNINGS!

1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone Owner/Driver: John Jinnings Engine: Supercharged 438 cubic-inch Ford Windsor stroker with Victor Jr. heads and Victor Jr. air gap intake Fuel System: MagnaFuel Ignition: MSD billet distributor and MSD 6-BTM Boost Timing Master Carburetor: Pro Systems blow-thru Power Adder: Paxton NOVI 1200 supercharger Wheels: Vintage Wheel Type 45 – 17X8 front and 18X10 rear Tires: Nitto 555 – 265/35 17 front and 265/45 18 rear Transmission: Lentech AOD Rear: 9” Ford with 3.25 gears and Trac Lok center section Horsepower: 775 with 11 to 11.5 pounds of boost

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Martz Chassis of Pennsylvania provided the rear four-link, coilover suspension set-up. Front and rear suspension installation as well as fabrication of the driveshaft loop, subframe connectors and exhaust system were carried out by Bill Davis Race Cars.

gauges are aftermarket items. The factory speedometer is still in place but it’s now joined by aftermarket fuel, oil, water temperature and volt meter units. There’s also a neat boost-sensitive fuel pressure gauge to round out the engine monitoring package. “When we were building the car I wanted to stiffen the chassis, so we ran subframe connectors from the front to the rear. Bill Davis then tied a roll bar into the subframe connectors and ran it up and over and tied it into the rear suspension. There’s also a second bar that goes from the firewall, up inside the inner fend-

er panel and drops down and ties into the front of the frame to add stiffness there as well. The frame is really stiff, and when you hammer on the gas the car just squats down and goes.” Although he’s an experienced drag racer, Jinnings has only had the Cyclone on the quarter-mile one time so far. “I had the car on the track over at Summit Raceway Park in Ohio a couple of years ago. During the Ring of Fire show they were letting car owners take a shot at the strip. It was really hot that day, and I didn’t want to get the car all slopped up,


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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STORM WARNINGS! Krist Kustom Interiors of Fort Wayne, Indiana, created the bright red interior for the classic Cyclone. The look pays tribute to the factory original with a number of custom touches. One of the ways Jinnings kept to the original factory look was by keeping the stock factory dash and speedometer. All of the other gauges are aftermarket.

so I drove around the burnout box. My nephew, who was sitting in the stands, said that there was still smoke coming off the tires at the eighth-mile mark.” “I’m right at 11 to 11.5 pounds of boost using the smallest pulley I can run. We’re pretty much maxed out at that level, and at 11 pounds we have had the belt start shedding rub-

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

ber dust all over the inner fender panel. With a standard pulley we get from 7 to 9 pounds of boost.” The pristine Merc has won a number of awards, including Top 25 at both the Spring and Fall Grand Rod Run in Tennessee, Final 5 and Best of Class at the Ring of Fire in Ohio, and was named Staff Pick at the Goodguys event at Indy in 2008.


RIGHT: The tidy trunk compartment of Jinnings’ Cyclone holds a pair of heavy duty Optima batteries as well as the original owner’s manual and related paperwork.

“I drive the car upwards of 2,000 miles a year, and it does great on the highway, getting around 16 miles to the gallon if I mouse it around a bit. The Lentech automatic overdrive

tranny helps a lot, too.” “Thanks to everyone who helps me with these projects, especially the crew at Evers Collision Works, Kenny and Chris Felice at Felice Performance Engines,

Bill Davis at Bill Davis Race Cars, Gary Martz at Martz Chassis, Shawn Krist at Krist Kustom Interiors, Joe at ProStrip, and Ace Radiator.”

The Cyclone sits on a coil-over front suspension unit by Australian firm RRS. The front shock towers were raised three inches to gain the desired front body height and stance.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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DRAG RACE ACTION

THE

PANIC IN DETROIT Pat McGowan MotorCity Muscle Challenge launches a 9” attack on Milan Dragway story by

I

t was another banner year in 2013 for the perennial headsup drag racing capital of the world, Milan Dragway. Records were set and broken at the first Friday of every month race that is nearing its 10th anniversary. Roughly nine years ago when it was merely a 10.5 Outlaw

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

event, I approached Milan Dragway’s Chris Baxter with an idea. At the time we were campaigning a car in the NMCA Pro Stock class and wanted to do less traveling and more “MotorCity” racing. My idea was to put together and run an “All Motor” class with rules loosely configured around NMCA, NSCA

and NMRA naturally aspirated 10.5 rules. Chris agreed, and if I put together rules, got the sponsorship for the class, and hired an artist to design a logo, it was a go. We built it, and they did come. They came from Ohio, Canada, and Indiana and of course, all over Michigan.


Jack and Bill Ketchum’s all steel/factory glass 1969 Rambler features a stout owner-built 424 ci AMC with Indy heads and intake and a Pro Systems carb. The car has run a 9.35 @143 mph best 1/4 mile to date. John Gacioch photo

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


PANIC IN DETROIT supercharged “Street Cars”. Rewind just a bit now to 2012, when I was hanging out at the August Heads Up event with my friend Lou Santiago (of Kirt Collins’ 1970 Camaro 496 is fully street legal. The car runs on E85 and features Dart heads, an aluminum intake, Accel DFI, and Musclecar TV, SRD bars from Smith Race Craft. Kirt’s dad bought him the car in Horsepower 1988 when he was just 15 years old for $1600. Dave Rocheleau photo TV, and currently Velocity’s Fast forward to 2013 and unless you Car Fix) showing him what headsare a racer or fan that has been living in up racing in the MotorCity was all a cave in Afghanistan, you’d know that it about. I shared with Lou the plight of is hands down the most successful and the Naturally Aspirated (N/A) racing exciting annual series in North Amer- maturation cycle. People love winica. Milan Dragway’s All Motor Class ning. People love bragging even more. has certainly matured from its humble The challenge is to beat your best and beginnings of low 9 second cars to a everyone else’s best as well. The class field that is very close to 8.0’s, and has started morphing into what it is toeven had a few racers enter into the “7 day; a no holds barred “Outlaw 10.5 Second Club”. Yes, you read it correct, N/A” class. Don’t get me wrong, it’s naturally aspirated, 10.5” single carb awesome, but for the guys who startcars running numbers that used to be ed out in the N/A class, they got outreserved for nitrous, turbocharged and spent and eventually couldn’t make

the field or just quit trying to expend money beyond their programs natural (financial) boundaries. Cars that initially frequented the All Motor series started to languish in their garages and drivers sat in the grandstands to watch. I told Lou that I thought the solution was to bring it down a few notches (OK, a lot of notches) and base a new class on a 9” slick with a maximum of 525ci big block and 427ci small blocks sporting a 4150 carburetor as the norm. I went out and purchased a P&G so the engines could be pumped by the technical staff and sealed to insure no “creative interpretation of cubic inch rules” was being exercised. The weights would harken back to the old NMCA-NSCA weights of 3300lbs for a big block and 2950 for a small block. 50lb weight breaks would be given to stock suspension cars and rules made to give a very firm and level playing field were established. The idea was to bring a completely new heads-up class to Milan and present it as a way to get the old N/A cars out of mothballs. It worked.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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PANIC IN DETROIT Arnold Pezzino has owned this 1991 Mustang for over a decade. He’s currently got the car set up with a 427 ci SBF running a Dart block, Trick Flow heads, and Braswell 4150 carb. The car features a tried and true Powerglide tranny and stock suspension with the exception of some TRZ components and K-member. It is plated, insured, and fully street legal. Mike Grosso Outlaw photo

Along with Milan Dragway’s acceptance of the new class idea, a key role to the success of the MotorCity Muscle Challenge has been Patrick James of Pro Systems Carburetors who stepped forward and committed to sponsorship of the class. Patrick saw the potential of an All Motor “Lite” class as being a way to improve market share with the heads-up racers as well as promote the growth of racing at an affordable level. Pro Systems has had tremendous success in overall racing with their products and

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

is known globally for their incredible support to not only their customers but to the sport itself.

FLEXING THE MOTORCITY MUSCLE

With GM, Ford and Chrysler pushing and shoving their way back to the Musclecar Wars of the 60’s and 70’s with the introduction of the COPO Camaro, Cobra Jet Mustang and Drag Pak Challenger, it was obvious this is a perpetual flame burning in the souls of the Big 3. In a per-

fect scenario we will be having 2012 COPO Camaro, Mustang Cobra Jet or Drag Pak Challenger factory drag cars lining up against a vintage piece of history and let the brawling begin. Who wouldn’t love to see a new COPO Camaro against a 1966 Chevy II Nova, running door handle to door handle as if they were glued together going down the track? I mean really, this’ll happen at the MotorCity Muscle Challenge, mark my words. The Big 3 love to compete and more so, they love to win.


“With the All Motor cars now running in the 7’s, it is definitely not for everyone,” stated Milan Dragway’s Chris Baxter. “The MotorCity Muscle Challenge class is a little more entry level, so we expect to see a large group of racers in 2014 battling it out in the class. There will be a lot of wheelstanding, blowingthe-tires-off and great side-by-side race action for the fans at Milan Dragway. We would like to thank Pat McGowan for helping create the class and Pro Systems Racing Carburetors for being the class sponsor.”

This ’68 Camaro SS of Patrick McGowan sported a potent 515ci rat built by Eric Simone of SHP. With a Pro Systems E85 carb, a custom chassis and cage built by Rich Eldred of FMP, and Holeshot wheels with Hoosiers, he was still able to blast a 9.60 @140 mph through the full exhaust—impressive numbers given the hefty “3350 lbs. with fat a$$ driver” curb weight. photo

Angry Spider

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PANIC IN DETROIT

This 2002 Firebird is owned by Dave Henniger. It features an owner-beefed 427 ci LS (what else?) engine with stock LS7 heads, a factory intake, and a FAST XFI system. Henninger further improved the car with a BMR torque arm, a 12 bolt Moser rear, and a Joel’s on Joy Powerglide. TCT Photography photo

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Having rules that promote competition without giving clear advantages was the goal and the biggest conundrum in reaching that goal was cylinder heads. When asked to comment on the rules in MotorCity Muscle Challenge, engine builder Eric Simone from SHP/Shotgun Hemi Parts stated, “A class like MotorCity Muscle Challenge presents unique challenges when trying to make an N/A car quick, especially on a 9” tire. It requires more than just simply trying to out-power everyone else in the class by employing the obvious of spending the most money. Racers all want to dominate and want easy solutions to winning. It’s just the nature of competition, but that’s what makes the MotorCity Muscle Challenge different. Having a 9” tire rule, a cubic inch rule and an OE

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

type cylinder head rule all working together forces the big money class-killer engine equipped cars out by making a competitor do ‘more with less’. It’s clear that the intent of this class is to be more inclusive and economical to compete in, no matter the brand. These rules will challenge the engine builder, driver, and suspension tuner every round, no matter what they bring.” The MotorCity Muscle Challenge currently has a myriad of combinations, from an LS427 based 2002 Firebird to 1980 small block Ford Fairmont, to a pair of small block 1966 Chevy II Novas and beyond. The cars that have entered are gorgeous examples of classic musclecars treading the 9” waters successfully with beautiful wheelstanding launches demanding the crowd’s attention.


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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PANIC IN DETROIT Kevin Partin’s 1967 Nova was dragged out of a barn in pieces a decade ago, but today the car sports a clean 427 SBC with a Dart block and heads and a Horsepower Innovations E85 carb. The Powerglide-equipped street legal Duece also runs an AJE bolt-on front suspension kit and Wilwood brakes all around. Mike Grosso Outlaw photo

Dave Henninger (GM Corvette race team Engine Builder and runner-up at this year’s Drag Week) is a long time veteran of the N/A wars. Dave was one of the first champions in the early heyday of N/A wars back in the 90’s. In fact, Dave still owns and races his Camaro that he won the “Real Street” championship with back in 1997. When talking to Dave (who owns the LS427 Firebird mentioned earlier) he said, “this is exactly what the Milan’s Heads Up series needs. This is a way to get all of the

cars that once competed in the N/A classes out of storage and back on the track, where they belong.” Dave went on to say that he thinks the class will be a success because of its overall affordability. “You can take an LS, or big block Chevy and bolt it into your car and be competitive as hell.” Dave runs his LS Firebird on 93 octane pump gas, a full exhaust system as well as a full interior and had his friend, Jim Stykes, drive it to victory in the August MotorCity Muscle Challenge race.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


IN THE 9’S ON 9’S

Already the MotorCity Muscle Challenge has had the gauntlet laid down as many of the cars are running in the mid to high 9 second quarter-mile zone in race legal trim. Once more, when you look at these cars and see an exhaust system and interior inside the cars, you quickly realize what a feat this actually is; to run 9-seconds at class weight. The cars run on everything from race fuel to pump gas. Three cars competing run on E85 (the corn burners we will call them…) and are driven on the street regularly. Although sitting in the staging lanes you get that ever present E85 smell that is a cross between stale milk and soggy wet baby diapers, you can’t help but get a kick out of these cars hanging the hoops, running mid 9’s at $2.89 a gallon. Does it get any better? Maybe, let’s see…

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME…

The car count was steadily rising as the 2013 season came to an end. Cars in the offing will have everything from an original Boss 429 (900+ hp 514ci on pump gas by SHP) to an a unassuming Rambler that is a lethal 9” terror, to clever iterations of old MOPARS using factory Hemis with dual quad manifolds. You see the rules state that if the car came with a dual quad intake, you can run it, and don’t forget those old six-pack combos as well. Look for vintage Hemi and dual quad 427 side-oilers to be duking it out against an LS powered S10 or that Rambler we mentioned. Seriously, check out the lead picture of Jack Ketchum’s 9-second Rambler. It really can’t get much better than this, can it?

Sam Eldy’s 1980 Fairmont runs a 414 ci Windsor with Big Stuff 3 EFI, UPR Suspension, a Joel on Joy’s Powerglide, and an FMP Engineering 8.50 cert cage. TCT Photography photo

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM QUICK TECH THE ASSASSIN: PART II

A

few months back we introduced you to Smith Racecraft’s Assassin leaf spring traction devices and promised to bolt a set of them on our Nova “Test Mule” to see how they worked behind a 940hp (before Nitrous) big block Chevy. With a glove box full of 8-second time slips we’re happy to report that these things really work! Read along and learn more about what makes the Assassin Traction Devices a solid choice if you’re running a leaf spring suspension. Rod & Competition Specialty’s Pat Spangengerg works with car owner Dan Weiss to install the Smith Racecraft Assassin Traction Devices on the 1971 “No-frills” Nova. Although this car does not wear a fancy paint job, the performance of this sleeper more than makes up for the cosmetic challenges! Since the multi-leaf springs were pretty much worn out, Dan decided to also install a new set of Smith Racecraft’s “split-mono” leaf springs. After the new leaf springs were installed, it was just a matter of bolting the front and rear brackets on the springs and lightly tightening the grade 8 bolts that are included in the kit. Once back on the ground the front bracket is lined up so that the rocker stop is centered under the front spring eye and a 5/16” hole is drilled through the spring for the bolt that keeps it in place. With that done all that’s left is to bolt on the bars. It’s that easy!

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Built by C&S in Butler Wisconsin the 11.0:1 compression big block pounded out 940hp on the dyno (without Nitrous). Instead of spending a bunch of his money on paint and bodywork, Dan instead opted to put the money in the engine and drivetrain. His efforts have paid off having run 10.00 @ 136mph naturally aspirated and effortless 8’s on just a 200hp nitrous tune-up.


With over 1,100hp on tap, the No-Frills 1971 Nova gave the Smith Racecraft Assassin Bars a real workout! Weighing in at a hefty 3,600 pounds, on 9” radial slicks and through 3” Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers, the Nova consistently ran in the 8.80’s at 154mph during testing. Our Nova leaves extremely “square” and 60foot times were consistently in the 1.31 (second) range during testing with the bars in the lowest settings on the brackets. Heavy duty! Smith Racecraft manufactures the Assassin Traction devices using chrome moly tubing, Teflon lined rod ends, grade 8 hardware and coats them with nickel plating so that they can stand up to the elements. Assassin Traction devices are currently available for Mopar A-Body, B-Body and E-Body models. GM offerings include the 55-57 Chevy, Camaro/Firebird, Nova, 82-94 S10 and 88-09 Chevy 1500.

SOURCES • Smith Racecraft 214.330.0660 www.smithracecraft.com

• Rod & Competition Specialties 262.781.9044

www.rodandcomp.com

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM PROJECT FEATURE CAR

W This potent Pro Street Nova packs a powerful punch! 30

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

hen anyone even remotely into fast street legal cars thinks of Novas and Chevy II’s, the name that comes to mind is probably Larry Larson. Well how about Devin Yankey? Devin is a 29 year old construction superintendent from Nokesville, Virginia and over the course of the past few years, he, along with his father Blane, have taken a serious interest in 5.90 index class racing as well as the next big thing (you heard it here in RPM first), the “no prep” street car races that are popping up at drag strips all over the country. Devin has

been around the sport of drag racing his whole life and is actually a third generation racer, following his father and grandfather who starting in the 1960’s went by “The Yankey Boys”, so fast cars are definitely in Devin Yankey’s blood. The Chevy II was the body style of choice for Devin’s ride and when the time came to find a car Blane knew just where to start. This Chevy II project actually dates back over 20 years with a build that Blane and a friend had started, then abandoned until the opportunity to resurrect the Nova was right, and that opportunity came about two years ago.


Tim Lewis

story and photos by

Devin and Blane Yankey

The GM Performance 572 is a pretty mild build compared to some of the engines found in cars touring the fast street car scene these days, but the best part is that it is a doable combination by most of us looking to go fast on a reasonable budget.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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YANKEY’S CHEVY II

Running the 5.90 index class at The Duck! This class brings out some of the old street race cars in the northern Virginia area and always has good close racing at the finish line.

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The car started out as the real deal, a 1967 Chevy II hardtop that would soon be Devin Yankey’s dream street/strip machine. When it came time to putting the car together for dual duty, an Art Morrison chassis was used to start the project. A heavy duty Dana 60 rear end was hung under the new rear frame rails along with a 4.10 gear and a pair of 35 spline axles. The 3-link rear suspension was then installed out back with a strut suspension and rack and pinion steering up front. Mickey Thompson ET Street front tires and ET Street 31x16.5x15 rears do a good job of hooking the car

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

up on both prepped and unprepped tracks. Inside the car a 12-point cage and Simpson 5-point harness keep Devin safe. With this being a true street car you’ll find two seats, carpet, headliner and a sound system, but with the sound of the 572 cubic inches of big block Chevy exhaling through 4-inch mufflers, you really don’t want to listen to any music other than the music coming from under the hood! The big block started with a GM Performance Gen 6 572 package with a 4.560 bore and 4.375 stroke. A GM Performance steel


IMAGINE REPLACING THIS

WITH THIS

TOP: The big heavyweight Dana rear diff adds some poundage to the car but works well with the 3-link suspension setup. John Moton Race Cars built and set the car up. BOTTOM: The single nozzle Nitrous Express nitrous system speeds things up a bit when the bottle is on. This is a pretty basic system that was great to get a feel for the car, but don’t be surprised if you see something a bit different here for 2014.

crank and 4340 H beam GM rods hook up to 4340 forged pistons and the camshaft is a hydraulic roller with 0.632 lift. When it came time to get the cylinder heads, GM was once again charged with the task and the choice was a set of GM Performance rectangular port heads with 1.7 rockers. Up top, the intake is a GM Ram Jet with a FAST EFI setup that was installed

by Ev Bernardo of EB3 Motorsports. Bernardo has become well known in the Drag Week scene as well as Outlaw Radial where he races a stock suspension twin turbo Mustang that goes low 4.40’s in the 1/8th. To finish things off, Devin’s big Chevy can get a small extra hit from a single nozzle nitrous oxide system installed in the throttle body “just in case”.

Smartwire solves the complexities of wiring today’s race cars. The power control module serves as a central point for all of the vehicle’s electrical components. Circuit breakers, fuses and relays are eliminated and replaced by the Smartwire’s programmable solid state circuitry to reduce wire clutter and weight.

(949) 709-5555

RACEPAK.com

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM YANKEY’S PROJECT CHEVY CARII Ev Bernardo seen here working his magic on the FAST EFI system. This one of the first times out with the car and Ev came to Sumerduck Dragway to get the car tuned in on a Thursday night test-n-tune session.

Next was to build a tough transmission that would take the beating of both street and strip, and Bernard and Wes Weaver of Weavers Automotive got the call and the go ahead to build the TH400 with a Greg Slack torque converter that is now bolted to the 572. With this set up Devin can cruise around town like most any other street car, but when it comes time to hit the strip for some action Devin has had the 3,400lb street machine run a best of 5.88 @ 119mph in the 1/8th and 9.28 @ 134mph in the ¼. Pretty stout for a real street driven car that you didn’t have to sign a deal with the devil to build. This is a car you can get in and

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

drive to the track or out for a ride in the country with the wife or kids. And much to our liking here at RPM, cars like this are starting to pop up more and more these days. And now, with the “no prep” street race style events gaining momentum, we suspect that you’ll see even more of these types of builds hitting the streets and strips soon. Just like the fast street car scene of the 90’s, and much like the return of Pro Street today.

A look down low and you find the headers tucked up underneath with the Borla mufflers running down just inside the rockers.


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www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM YANKEY’S PROJECT CHEVY CARII

TOP: The car is spotless outside and just as tidy on the inside. Tilt wheel, carpet, stereo system and tinted windows, this is a car you can drive anywhere. BOTTOM: If you wanna roll the windows up on a cool night of cruising and listen to some tunes you can. And the bottle is right there just in case…. But we didn’t say that!

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Devin is quick to say that he could not have done any of this without the help from his father. “I have to thank my father for giving me the opportunity to be able to own this beautiful street machine and also for teaching me everything I know about cars and racing.” Devin would like to also thank his mother Tina Garrison and stepfather Jerry Garrison for all their help along the way. A big thank you to his uncle David Brewer for being his biggest fan, his wife Jessica for all her support and understanding with “the car thing”, and his children Seth, Skylar and Summer for always cheering their daddy on at

the races. Thanks also goes out to Ev Bernardo for tuning and adding the know-how to get the car to run. So what next for Devin Yankey? Well, now that he’s experienced the sweet addiction of owning, driving and racing a quick and fast street machine, as one would imagine there are some “big changes” in store for next year. He’s keeping it on the down low for now though, all we can say is that the ET’s are really going to drop with the added power in store for this Chevy II.


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM PROJECT CAR

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streetable combination, even with nearly 700hp on tap. The 489 cubic inch big block runs great on 91 octane premium unleaded, never goes over 190 degrees and happily idles right around 950 RPM at stop lights. With its enormous interior, there’s enough room for four passengers and there never seems to be a shortage of “volunteers” who want to go for a spin in the Green Machine!

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Brian Hansen

PROJECT

O

ver the past month we had the new Unlimited Products Cowl Induction scoop installed and swapped out the Mickey Thompson ET Drag 10.5” slicks with a set of P295/65R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials mounted on Weld Racing Woodward RT wheels. After putting a bunch of street miles on the car we’re confident that we’ve built a truly

story and photos by

PART VII: Hitting the Streets


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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PROJECT

RPM PROJECT CAR

Since it was always our goal to replace the bolt-on cowl scoop that came on the car, we finally got around to delivering the new Unlimited Products 5” fiberglass cowl induction scoop to Pat Spangenberg at Rod & Competition Specialties last month. Besides building wicked street machines, Rod & Comp does exceptional paint and bodywork at their facility in Butler, Wisconsin. Since the Turquoise paint can be tricky to match, Pat contacted Matt Holmquist at Auto Paint and Supply (Waukesha, WI) to mix up enough to spray the hood. As always Matt was able to match it up perfectly!

For street, duty a pair Mickey Thompson’s P295/65R15 ET Street Radials were chosen for the big Bel Air. With a tread width of 10.9”, overall diameter of 30”, and section width of 11.9” they fit perfectly when mounted on the 10.0” wide Weld Racing wheels. Utilizing Mickey Thompson’s special R2 compound, these DOT rated tires will not only provide superior traction but also last longer than some of the softer compound tires on the market.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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PROJECT

RPM PROJECT CAR

Drag Racing in itself is tough on the transmission and torque converter, but when you combine lots of street miles into the mix it can create even more wear, so we are running Midco Lubricants Blue Maxx Full Synthetic Racing ATF in our Thompson’s Transmissions TH400. To keep the 489 BBC well lubricated, we filled the 7 quart Canton pan with Midco’s 15W40 Fully Synthetic Racing Oil.

The Unlimited Products “Outlaw” Cowl Induction scoop fit the large hood of our Bel Air nicely. Featuring a wider base that’s 29 ½” wide, and measuring in at 56” in overall length, it easily clears everything short of a tunnel ram setup.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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PROJECT

RPM PROJECT CAR

Our 1966 Bel Air “Green Machine” is a big car no matter how you look at it but weighs in at only 3,350lbs with the big block/TH400 combination. With the Nitrous Supply Pro-Plate our 489 Big Block Brawler engine (built by Bad Attitude Engines) hammered out 1180hp, and 1069 ft lbs of torque during dyno testing.

SOURCES UP NEXT:

Woodward RT’s from Weld Racing are a forged modular design that is light enough for the track but tough enough for street use too. Named after the famous “Woodward Boulevard” that runs through Detroit, these wheels have a traditional look but incorporate some of the latest racing wheel technology.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

With Winter just around the corner in the Midwest we’ll be tucking the Project Green Machine Bel Air away until the ice and snow are gone. Then it will be time to get it out to the track and do some testing to see how quick our big Chevy can cover the quarter-mile. Stay tuned!

• Mickey Thompson Tires 330.928.9092 www.mickeythompsontires.com • Unlimited Products 877.735.7772 www.racingfiberglass.com • Weld Racing 800.788.9353 www.weldracing.com • Rod & Competition Specialties 262.781.9044 www.rodandcomp.com


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM COVER STORY


story by

Brian Hansen photos by

Pete Ores

additional photos provided

Bob Perkins’ incredible collection of ultrarare blue ovals is like a trip through a Ford museum... only FASTER!


FIRST ON RACE DAY

W “Ohio George” Montgomery’s Mr. Gasket Gasser and Hubert Platt’s Match Race Mustang are two of the most iconic Ford drag cars of all time. Yes, those are the original M&H Racemaster slicks that were on the car when Ohio George raced it back in 1974!

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

hen we first heard about Bob Perkins’ collection of ultra-rare Fords, it sounded almost too good to be true. A garage full of low mileage vintage Mustangs, high performance Ford parts and drag cars from the sixties…we just had to see it for ourselves. As we walked through the doors of Perkins Restoration in Juneau, Wisconsin we were literally stopped in our tracks. There, surrounded by a sea of factory original Mustangs, sat Hubert Platt’s 1969 “Georgia Shaker” 427 SOHC Cammer Mustang and “Ohio George” Montgomery’s wicked twin-turbo Mr. Gasket Gasser Mustang in all their glory! Once we gained our composure, Bob began the tour through his incredible collection of cars, performance


parts and Ford memorabilia. Knowing that the drag cars were our favorites Bob said, “if you guys would like to talk to Hubert and Ohio George I can get you their phone numbers. I’m sure that they would be more than happy to reminisce about their cars.” To say that we were blown away is the understatement of the century. Having the chance to talk with the owners of these legendary cars was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Whether you’re a Ford fanatic, drag race historian or involved in anything to do with fast cars, you’ll enjoy learning more about these two living legends and the incredible Mustangs that they drove.

HUBERT PLATT’S “GEORGIA SHAKER” 1969 MUSTANG

Hubert Platt started drag racing in the late fifties in a ’51 Ford with a hopped up Oldsmobile engine. There were also a number of other cars including Mercurys, Desotos and even a ’57 Chevy that he raced before getting factory support from Ford in 1963. Although he wanted one of the new lightweight Thunderbolts Platt was given a 63 ½ Galaxy that was powered by a 427 Wedge engine to campaign. Later on that year though, Hubert got the call from Ford

TOP INSET: These are the original Goodyear Blue Streak Dragway Specials— the hot drag tire to run back in 1970’s

Hubert’s “office” in 1969-1970. Hubert liked the seat so much that when he built the Maverick that followed, the seat was transferred to it.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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FIRST ON RACE DAY

that a ’64 Thunderbolt was available. When asked what it was like to pilot the Thunderbolt back in the day, Hubert recalled, “it was a handful and I really needed to drive that car. It would wheelie because of the short wheelbase and was all over the track since we didn’t have good tires like today. I raced it for about a year before building the Falcon.” Hubert continued, “that ’65 Falcon made me a lot of money match racing. When I first

brought it out it had ‘Little Georgia Shaker’ painted on the doors and after the wheelbase was altered it was called the ‘Shaker III’.” Match racing was growing in popularity at the time and Platt’s Georgia Shaker Fords were feared by competitors across the country. After the 427 wedge-powered Falcon was retired, he campaigned a couple of nitro-burning SOHC 427 Cammer Mustangs with great success. In 1967, Hubert won a couple of national events including the NHRA Winternationals by running 8.49 @ 171mph! Man that was cookin’ back in ’67! By 1968, NHRA Stock and Super Stock Eliminator drag racing between the “Big Three” was heating up and Hubert got

TOP: Ford Drag Team captain Hubert Platt and Assistant Team captain Randy Payne pose in front of Ford Corporate headquarters with their hauler,the Mustang, and Torino.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


When Bob takes the Georgia Shaker to a show it has been known to produce lots of thumbs up responses from other motorists.

behind of the wheel of the new 428 Cobra Jet Mustang as the driver for Tasca Ford and Paul Harvey Ford. One of the most notable wins that year was at the 1968 Winternationals by resetting the SS/E class record with a blistering 11.67 @ 120mph pass. In 1969, Hubert was made the captain of the East Coast Ford Drag Team. “Randy (Payne) and I would travel all over the country giving performance clinics at Ford Dealers during the week, and on the weekends I’d go drag racing. It was a busy schedule but we were doing what we loved! At the clinics, racers could look at our Ford Drag Team Cars and we would try to educate them on what parts they should buy to get the most bang for their buck.” Throughout 1969 and 1970 Hubert and teammate Randy Payne (driving the 1969 Torino) ran their Super Stock Fords with great success. Besides driving the 428 powered SS/E and C/ SA Mustangs, Hubert campaigned the 427 SOHC Mustang match racer featured in this article. At times he

would pilot both the 428 Cobra Jet and 427 SOHC Cammer Mustangs at the same race! By 1970 NHRA had created a new class called Pro Stock and the 427 powered car was campaigned until being retired when Hubert built a lighter Maverick to compete against the likes of fellow racer Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins’ Vega. Perkins bought the Georgia Shaker about 25 years ago complete with the 427 SOHC block, forged steel crankshaft, and even a pair of aluminum heads that had “HP” (Hubert Platt) stamped in them. When Bob set out to finally begin the restoration he vowed not to use any reproduction parts, so every single part on this car is new old stock or was originally on the car. The Mustang was rust-free, however the fiberglass panels needed a little attention since they had sat outdoors for a time prior to purchase. Over the next two decades, Bob scoured North America to collect all of the parts needed to bring Hubert Platt’s legendary match racer back to its former glory (and then some)!

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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FIRST ON RACE DAY “OHIO GEORGE” MONTGOMERY

“Ohio George” Montgomery first opened the doors to his speed shop in Dayton Ohio back in 1950 and to this day is still building engines alongside his Son Gregg Montgomery. Known as the “King of the Gassers,” George started drag racing in Ohio in the early 1950’s before the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) even existed. His first car was a ’34 Ford powered by a flathead engine with four carbs and was run at the Bonneville Salt Flats. By 1955 George had a McCullough supercharged Caddy motor with a La Salle transmission in the ’34 Ford and won two NHRA Safari Tours (that’s what the early NHRA races were called). Always looking for a way to stay ahead of the competition, George built a ’33 Willys in late 1958 and proceeded to win the A/Gas classes at the 1959 NHRA Nationals in Detroit, Michigan, beating Jeg Coughlin’s ’55 Chevy in the finals. The icing on the cake was when he won the Little Eliminator at the same race. A legend was born and George’s famous Willys Coupes were racking up national event wins throughout the early 1960’s. By 1964, race promoters on the east and west coasts wanted AA/Gas racers

like “Big John” Mazmanian, Stone Woods & Cook and K.S. Pittman to run heads-up against Ohio George’s supercharged Willys. During the week he’d run his speed shop and on the weekends he’d travel from track to track match racing. “In 1965 Charley Gray at Ford had contacted me and asked if I would help develop their new 427 SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) hemispherical headed engine.” George explained. “I put a 6-71 blower on one of the first Cammers produced and proceeded to win my class at the US Nationals in 1966 with the Willys. The big wigs at Ford were happy to see their new 427 SOHC engine doing so well but didn’t care for the Willys body that it was in, so they asked if I would consider running a Mustang body on the Willys chassis. We had to keep the Willys frame to fit

TOP: Running in the Super Eliminator class at the 1969 NHRA US Nationals Ohio George won his fourth time in this AA/Gas Mustang INSET: Twin-turbocharged engines are all rage these days, but Ohio George was a true pioneer experimenting with twin turbos way back in the early 1970’s!

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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FIRST ON RACE DAY

Bob recently purchased this stunning 1969 Fairlane Cobra just last year from the original owner in Desoto, Iowa. Powered by a 428 SCJ (Super Cobra Jet) this completely original machine shows only 861 miles on the odometer!

This Indian Fire Red 1969 Mach 1 was purchased from Bob Mercer Ford 10 years ago and has only 52 (yes 52!) miles on the odometer! It is 100% original right down to the Goodyear Polyglas tires and still has that new-car smell.

in the rules of AA/Gas, since the Mustang was a “Unibody” design and did not technically have a frame.” George continued, “by mid-way through 1967 we had the Malco Gasser Mustang out and it ran in the 8’s on the first outing! It handled like a dream compared to the old Willys and it set the stage for the 1969 Mr. Gasket Gasser Mustang.” When the 1969 Mustang featured in this article was built, much of what was learned in campaigning the 1967 Malco Gasser was incorporated into the design. Ford made the fiberglass body for the red car in 1968 from a prototype 1969 Mustang body.

Originally powered by a trusty 427 SOHC Cammer, the Mr. Gasket Gasser won the Super Eliminator class at the 1969 US Nationals. Although the Cammer ran very well, it was not what Ford was marketing at the time. As George commented, “Ford was selling the Boss 429 so they asked if I would switch over to the new engine. Although it was great for circle track racing with its largeport heads, it just didn’t seem to work as well as the Cammer for drag racing. I started working with Danny Jones, an engineer at Ford that was involved with the Indy Car stuff. They had experimented with the Schwitzer turbochargers and continued on page 64

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


The Mr. Gasket Gasser sits like a crown jewel among the incredible collection of rare Fords and other memorobilia in Perkins’ collection. Ford’s 427 SOHC Ford “Cammer” is a rare beast. The ultra-rare aluminumheaded engine on the left was built by Ohio George and the one on the right is a crate Cammer that Bob picked up in 2010.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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Chassis Body Suspension Fabrication, Parts , Service

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FIRST ON RACE DAY

From the pristine interior, to the handcrafted headers, and even the pirated Willys underpinnings, the Mr. Gasket Gasser looks just as good today as the day it was released for strip duty in 1969.

we came up with the idea to put two of them on the Boss 429 engine. To manage the two turbochargers we made the engine think it was two 4-cylinder Offy engines, and controlled each cylinder bank separately. Even without the fancy engine management stuff that’s available today, that engine was capable of producing around 1,800hp. Since the tires of the day would not handle that kind of power we would usually ‘de-tune’ the engine so that it was only making around 1,200hp, which would get the car down into the low 8-second zone at over 170mph!”

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Ohio George Montgomery and Hubert Platt, two legendary innovators that carved the path for big horsepower cars of the future. Their tireless efforts both on and off the track helped the performance and drag racing industries realize many of the power-making advancements of today. Imagine for a second seeing a twin turbo big block Mustang tearing up the dragstrip in 1974. Both these guys get an RPM salute for lifetime achievement, as without their breed of motorhead, we’d simply have nothing to write about.


www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM FEATURE CAR

O 66

ne of the most iconic cars in the world of hot rods is the 1940 Willys. These cars were the stuff of automotive dreams spanning many decades in the eyes of car guys and the foundation for some very cool rides in the 50s and 60s. Many of them also showed up on quarter-mile strips as gassers in the 60s when this race category was a mainstay among those involved in the hardcore world of fast hot rods.

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Barry Cunningham has always been an old school hot rod type of guy. He likes the kind of brute force power that can only come from big blocks with big torque and can melt a set of rear tires at will when the gas pedal meets floor metal. Barry has owned many different rides that fit the giant horsepower bill over the years, but his 1940 Willys is a barely-street legal monster that is essentially raw power under a pretty skin.


Barry Cunningham’s 1940 Willys is a rat-motored rodder’s delight story by Jim Sutherland photos by

Jerry Sutherland

The Willys Coupe has always been one of Barry’s favorites because “they were unique,” in his words, and he was fond of the small details such as the split front grille design in the 1940 edition of the car. The stylish Willys has inspired many with its very cool good looks, and like them, Barry was hooked on the cool factor found in this WW II-era classic, so it was only a matter of time and patience before he owned one that suited his taste and horsepower requirements. That day came about four years ago when Barry finally got his dream Willys. The first thing you will notice on the car is the wheelie bars. They are definitely not there for simple decoration because, with a bit of hook, this Willys would get you airborne and in some serious trouble. The second thing to take note of is the license plate. Barry’s Coupe is legally registered for the road. Wheelie bars and license plates together are not something you see every day on a street rod, but it is the combina-

Wheelie bars and license plates are two things that grab people’s attention as soon as they see the Willys. You can bet that those bars are needed when the blown big block gets some hook!

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HOT ROD DREAM

The Willys is loud but not overpowering inside the cockpit, and because the blown big block sits nice and low in the chassis, it doesn’t take away the view out of an already miniature windshield. We have to admit, it was very cool to slip into this hot rod and head out on the back roads.

tion of these two things that attracts the most attention to this particular car. Powering the beast is a 502 Chevy big block punched out to 540 cubic inches of craziness just in case it needs some extra horsepower to get from Point A to Point B in an even bigger hurry. The big Chevy delivers 750 horsepower at the rear wheels with 698 ft. lbs. of torque, according to Barry. And what better way to top it off than by giving it a nice boost from a 6-71 supercharger with twin Holley carbs. All those ponies are transferred through a B&M Turbo 400 transmission with a 3500 stall convertor and Ford 9 inch locker rear with 3.73 gears. The Willys

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

is all street, for now, and might just see the drag strip again in the near future as it does have some history on the quarter-mile. Just in case, a line lock kit has been installed for whenever Barry decides to conjure up a serious smoke show with his itchy gas pedal foot or a serious tire heating burnout in preparation for a Friday night hit at the strip. The front end is a Mustang II setup and Barry commented on how well his Willys handles on the road; however, he has learned through experience that it will break the tires loose at 60 mph if he wants to tempt fate and really put his foot into it. It is definitely a lean, mean street-fightin’ machine with the kind of horsepow-


er that will get you in trouble in a hurry if you choose the down position on the gas pedal. The car has a certified roll bar but Barry has never personally raced it at the track. He believes it is likely about a 9½ second car, so the bar is a mandatory feature when he decides to hit the strip with it. But for now, Barry seems comfortable with street use for the Willys and enjoys the idea that his hot rod can be driven anytime he feels the urge to get behind the wheel to travel well beyond the quarter-mile range. The Willys will often see a drive into town about 12 miles from his home and can get up to 10 mpg if he resists the need for speed along the way. But

Barry answered “much less” when asked what he gets for mileage when he gives in to that need. Also, for that time when taking the car to the track is right, Barry has installed a gated exhaust system that dumps straight off the headers out the side of the Willys. For street use though, the car maintains a nice, but not overwhelming tone, that lets people know what’s coming down the road. The other loud part of this Willys’ equation is the 750 watt stereo system. This kind of audio

Barry chose the cool hot rod rake with the rear sitting just a bit higher than the front. The Willys is just one of those cars that you can get away with darn near anything when it comes to stance.

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www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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HOT ROD DREAM Inside you’ll find a clean hot rod interior accented by a race-ready roll bar, safety harnesses, and B&M ratchet shifter.

Serious power under the hood calls for serious sound power while cruising… 750 watts of it! The ‘40 Willys front end is amazing and the split front grill is probably Barry’s favorite part of the car.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

Note the “tame” street exhaust that is backed up by dumps coming straight off the headers for when things get serious.


Hearing the Willys approach is a dead giveaway to the blown big block, but when it is parked and Barry lifts the hood the jaws usually drop!

power might even give Barry a chance to hear his favorite tunes when he has the exhaust dumped into race mode. The Willys has a surprisingly comfortable ride when eased up on the gas and being treated with kid gloves, but it is obvious as the blown big block chugs down the road that it wants a longer leash to play with. A Willys is one of the few cars that you have several different ways of approaching stance, and any way you choose would not be out of line. You can take the pro touring look and slam it to the weeds, raise the front end in a gasser tribute style, or give extra lift to the back end in a classic hot rod style,

which is Barry’s choice. The car’s rake is aided by its 12” wide soft compound street tires, which provide balance between style and function. A look underneath confirms the build quality of the car and Barry’s assessment that his Willys is “built like a tank”. His modest claim that he only “changed oil and plugs” in the car over the winter months seems to hide the fact his Willys is immaculate no matter where you look on the car.

After four years of ownership Barry is just getting used to all of the attention he gets whenever he drives his car, but wherever his travels take him he’s the first to admit that he is truly behind the wheel of his hot rod dream.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM PROJECT CAR

PART 2

story by

Toby Brooks

photos by

Christi Brooks

Gutting Your Horse: Family Edition

L

ast month we kicked off our new pro street throwback, project “aPocalypSe Horse,” that we think will be “the second coming of pro street.” The build is based on a 2006 Mustang GT, a modern body style too new to ever have been given the classic pro street look back in the trend’s peak in the late ’80s and early ’90s. With a suitable builder car in our possession, it was time to get to work. The first step in any build should always be the plan-

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

ning phase, and our project was no different. After putting ideas together and commissioning legendary automotive artist Steve Stanford to bring them to life as only he can, we had a multipage bullet list of parts, pieces, and priorities—and the coolest rendering of a pro street-styled screaming pink Mustang the world has ever seen. With the plans well in hand, it was time to get down to business. Unfortunately, the construction of our new four-bay garage


has been fraught with one obstacle after another. At the same time, we really needed to get the project going. Pro street legend Rich Gebhardt is handling the full tube 4130 chrome moly chassis fabrication and he needed the car pronto. There would be no time to wait for a cushy new shop. We’d be gutting the old girl in the driveway. The idea was to pull the engine, transmission, full interior, trunk, and anything else not essential to the finished car that wouldn’t preclude a rolling chassis. Plans were to strip the car to a bare shell, load it aboard a rented trailer, and head east. Rich is a close personal friend and was even so kind as to meet us nearly halfway, a huge time savings considering the 1,200 mile distance between our address in Lubbock, Texas and his shop in Jacksonville, Illinois. It was go time.

THE LEGEND

Gebhardt is certainly no stranger to the pro street scene. His first feature car was a 1982 Monte Carlo styled after iconic pro stock driver Warren Johnson’s drag car. The Monte earned Gebhardt a few pages in the January 1986 issue of Popular Hot Rodding. He and former wife Jacklyn managed to turn an enjoyable hobby building pro streeters into a thriving business in just a few years, as Gebhardt’s Pro Street Cars opened for business shortly after. The shop quickly became a well-respected epi-

center for drag-styled street cruisers. A wicked little blue 1986 Chevy Cavalier Z-24—a sleepy Avis rental carturned-pro street hero— was Gebhardt’s next splash build. The fuel injected and tunnel rammed big block Chevy-powered bruiser landed the humble Illinoisan a feature in Hot Rod, Car Craft, and the cover of Popular Hot Rodding all within the span of two months in late 1986. However, Gebhardt’s most celebrated and successful car on the then-wildly popular outdoor summer show circuit was his groundbreaking citrus orange 1989 Chevy Beretta GT. The slick little full tube V-6 powered stunner wowed the crowd at the 1989 Street Machine Nationals, taking Grand Champion honors against the likes of big time builders of the era including Scott Sullivan, Matt Hay, Rocky Robertson, Mark Grimes, and Troy Trepanier. While the Beretta was probably the car for which Gebhardt is remembered most often, he has been involved in the build of more magazine-featured pro street cars (26) than anyone on the planet not named Scott Sullivan (the famous “Cheez Whiz ’55 Chevy builder has contributed on 32). However, as the style started to trend downward in the major magazines in the mid nineties, Gebhardt was faced with the reality that continuing to focus his impressive fabri-

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www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM PROJECT CAR cation skills on building pro street cars exclusively was just too myopic. With that, Gebhardt’s Pro Street Cars dropped the “street,” becoming Gebhardt’s Pro Cars in 1998. Gebhardt never skipped a beat. As proof, chassis number 500 rolled out of his modest shop this past summer. That’s no small feat for a guy who insists on putting his hands and his welder on every piece that rolls through the door. After getting to know Rich during and after the writing of my book Sensory Overload: Cool Builders, Hot Cars, and Wild Times at the Street Machine Nationals, a simple conversation about building a new car started to turn serious. Within a matter of weeks, Geb-

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hardt had agreed to complete the first stage of the build, melding classic pro street stance and aesthetics with high tech modern touches like full Ride Tech air suspension and carbon fiber tubs and interior panels.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY STRIPPIN’

With our chassis fabricator selected, it was time to get our one-owner 77,000-mile Mustang GT Premium stripped and ready to go. The first order of business was to gut the interior and trunk. The whole family pitched in. My son Taye, age 7, pulled out all the trunk carpet panels and spare tire. My daughter Brynnan, age 10, helped pull the front seats while my wife Christi pulled

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

1 1-3: With no garage available and a looming delivery deadline, we opted to tear the car down in the yard. The whole family pitched in, with daughter Brynnan helping pull the interior and son Taye gutting the trunk. Hot rodding is passed from one generation to the next, so start ’em young!

3

2


4

5

6

4 & 5: Within a span of about four hours, we had everything from the interior and trunk pulled and stashed anywhere we could find room. A garage sure would come in handy!

6: With the interior gutted, it was time to move on to yanking the wounded factory engine and tranny. The 2-ton shop hoist made it easy, but necessitated moving to the concrete for smooth rolling.

the rear seats and handled camera duty. I tried my best to teach and do everything else. Within the span of about four hours we had pulled everything out of the interior and trunk except the dash and door panels. Rich wanted those left in place so he could build the roll cage to fit tightly around them. No garage to work from also meant no garage in which to store parts. As a result, I now have an attic stuffed with the seats, console, and almost every other part that we hope to sell on Craigslist. With the shell starting to look bare, the next step was to pull the ventilated factory 4.6 engine—the whole reason we were able to purchase the car so inexpensively in the first

place. A quarter-sized hole in the aluminum engine block had been lovingly crafted by the #7 connecting rod during its hasty escape to the freeway on the Mustang’s last ride. It had provided all the bargaining power we needed to get the car for next to nothing. We managed to roll the car to the edge of the driveway and elevate the nose off the ground on a quartet of jack stands. After yanking the aftermarket GT 500 hood (which we later sold on Craigslist for $350) and pulling every bolt-on part and piece we could out of the engine bay including the factory radiator, air conditioning system, anti-lock braking system, and factory exhaust, the wounded engine was ready for extraction like the rotted molar it was.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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7

A 2-ton shop hoist scored on sale at the local import tool store for a mere $125 provided all the muscle we needed to yank the factory longblock. A large floor jack was blocked into place for safety and was used to support the transmission. In retrospect, pulling the engine and manual transmission together probably would have been easier, but given our limited facilities and need to move

8

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the engine and transmission independently after removal, we were going to need to split them eventually, anyway. As a result, we managed to snake the bolts from the rear of the engine and pull the engine all by itself. The damage to the engine was impossible to see when purchasing the car, but as it was being lifted from its former home between the shock towers, the oozing wound was readily apparent. We haven’t performed a full autopsy to determine the extent of the damage, but it seems to be confined to the #7 bank alone.

7: The longblock was stripped as much as possible and readied for removal. 8: Once the wounded engine was removed, the engine bay was further gutted and the factory 5-speed was readied for lowering out of position. 9: The factory #7 cylinder bank sported a hole the size of a quarter that served as a handy spot for the remaining rainwater and oil in the crankcase to exit and spill all over our driveway.

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RPM PROJECT CAR 10: Loaded on a U-Haul rental trailer, the aPocalypSe Horse is prepped for the 1,200 mile trip from Texas to Illinois.

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With the engine yanked, we dropped the transmission and unbolted the driveshaft. Feeling charitable, we sold the transmission for $350 to a cash-strapped young hot rodder in the area. Couple that with the hood we already sold, the front sheet metal, the factory tires and wheels, differential, disc brakes, and

the parts and pieces we don’t reuse in the interior and we’re closing in on recouping the initial purchase price for the value of the unused parts we sell off the car. Score! The freshly picked engine was promptly mounted to a $50 engine stand for easy moving until sold. With that, we had to figure out how to load an unpowered car onto a rented trailer with no winch. A $15 Home Depot nylon strap come-along did the trick. Within 15 minutes we were loaded and ready to go. We had agreed to meet up with Rich in Springfield, Missouri. After a 10-hour drive from Lubbock, we rendezvoused in a Walmart parking lot and promptly unloaded 11: After meeting up at a Springfield, Missouri Walmart, we quickly transferred the car from the rental trailer over to Rich’s utility trailer. Gebhardt (right) has fabricated more than 500 race chassis in his career, many of them intended for Pro Street duty.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine


the car from our trailer and loaded it onto his. Anchored down and ready for her initial steps to Pro Street stardom, our trusty steed continued her trek east in the capable hands of one of the most accomplished chassis builders ever.

STILL PLANNING

At this stage, the project is centered around Gebhardt’s custom chassis with a 7 inch stretch to fit the VFN fiberglass front clip and hood. Another cool feature is the full Ride Tech air suspension system that is direct boltin replacement for comparable static suspension drag race parts. This will give us the ease, practicality, and incredible slam that only Ride Tech can provide along with the ability to easily convert to a traditional spindle and coilover setup (with no new fabrication work at all!) should we ever decide to go strip-only duty. Tune in next time as Rich takes the plasma cutter and TIG welder out and starts cranking full guns on the race-ready full tube pro stock/ pro mod style chassis. Hopefully the aPocalypSe Horse will get some new shoes in the form of new brakes, one-off billet wheels, and some new pro street radial steamroller tires.

BUDGET TO DATE:

SOURCES

Expenses: • Used 2006 Ford Mustang GT Premium: $3,200 • Gebhardt’s Pro Cars chassis (deposit): $10,000 • VFN Fiberglass 20052009 Ford Mustang stretched front clip & flat hood: $1,225 Current Total: $14,425 Income from Parts Sales: • Aftermarket GT 500 hood: $350 • Factory Ford 5-speed transmission: $350

• Gebhardt’s Pro Cars 1407 Elm Street Jacksonville, IL 62650 217.370.0308 • VFN Fiberglass 330 W. Factory Road Addison, IL 60101 630.543.0232 www.vfnfiberglass.com • Ride Tech 350 S. St. Charles Street Jasper, IN 47546 812.481.4787 sales@ridetech.com www.ridetech.com

Net Cost of Car: $2,500

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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RPM PROJECT CAR

SET UP FOR SUCCESS: PART 2

Backyard DIY Alignment photos & story by

Chuck Scott

S

o you have finished up your new build and are ready to beat the heck out of it, but you have to get a front end alignment first. What do you do, take it down to the big box tire store and let them take a stab at it? Not many alignment shops will take the time to adjust aftermarket parts or work on your bump steer. The best option is to pay a chassis shop or good speed shop to do it. That can get pricey though, especially if you

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

are the type to change parts frequently or tear things up and will need to re-align often. The good news is front end alignments aren’t rocket science and you can do it yourself if you have a few tools and a lot of patience. In our case, the do it yourself alignment showed our car’s problems and we can fix them without having to drag the car back and forth to a shop. You may remember in our last installment we squared the rear end and leveled the car with the car


in race trim including sand bags representing the driver. We left those sandbags in place and scaled the car to see how it sits right now and look for potential problems. The car scaled decent with about 53% on the nose. We can’t really do much about corner weights other than move ballast around since the rear suspension is true stock type without coil-overs.

1 & 2: No fancy digital four corner scales here. These old-fashioned lever type scales were about $100 more than 10 years ago. They work by a fulcrum configuration pressing on the center of bathroom scales. The arm decreases the actual weight the scales see by one fourth, so the number you get is multiplied by four at each wheel. It’s cheap and it works.

1

2

3 3: I searched alignment turn plates online and found most cost about $600. I found a few pictures where crafty car guys made their own and considered going that route. Then I found Gill Smith in New York. He makes an inexpensive and simple set that are very thin. They lack bearings, a position lock, or degree measurements, but they turn, have indicators at 0, 15, and 20 degrees, and were $115 shipped to my door.

www.rpm-mag.com | DECEMBER 2013

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5: There are many different camber caster gauges available but most stick to a center hub with a magnet if you have a flat steel hub. The hot ticket is the Fastrax camber caster gauge from SPC Performance. I was able to pick up the camber caster gauge from Summit Racing for $149.97 and the optional toe adapter extensions for another $49.97.

4

5 4: To make sure the rivets were in the right spots, I checked them with a degree wheel. They were right on. They include 20 degree marks also but we only will need 0 and 15 degrees in and out.

7

6 6: The toe adapters bolt on in 2 minutes with the supplied longer Allen bolts that replace the shorter ones that attach the lower two wheel clamp guide studs. The Fastrax features a bubble level gauge and adjusts to fit wheels from 13” to 18”.

7: Before we begin, we first check to make sure our garage floor is level by sitting the Fastrax on the floor. If your floor is off a little you can unscrew the setscrew on the side of the gauge and loosen the knob at the pivot point of the bubble gauge. Move the bubble gauge to zero and tighten the knob. If your floor is more than a half of a degree off or the floor isn’t flat, I’d advise finding a better location to align your car. Even though the Fastrax is adjustable for un-level floors, the car will not be level and suspension loading could skew your measurements.

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9: Our first measurement was about ¾ of a degree positive camber. This is due to the 1 inch shorter than stock A-arms pulling the bottom of the wheel in. I prefer the car going down the track with 0° camber.

8

10

8: To begin camber measurements, loosen the large black knob in the center and then turn the gold knob behind it to adjust the height of the Fastrax to fit the guide studs to the outer lip of your front wheel. Once it is adjusted, tighten the black knob to lock it in place.

10: Although practically out of style on drag race Mustangs, we have standard adjustable camber caster plates. To make an adjustment, jack the car up to unload the suspension and loosen the three camber adjustment bolts and slide the plate inwards a little. Tighten the bolts, lower the car and check again.

9

11: Now with the car sitting at rest, I get a reading of half a degree negative camber. I know from past experience this will get me close to zero under acceleration with the front travel limited to around 1”. This isn’t necessarily the best, it is just what I like. Many racers and chassis shops go with 0 degrees with the car at rest. This will usually give positive camber with front suspension extension. I prefer to never have any positive camber.

11

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RPM PROJECT CAR

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13

14 14: Next we move on to measuring caster. With the wheel pointing straight ahead I mark the turn plate wheel with a dry erase marker at the zero indicator.

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12 & 13: I jack the car up from the front until I get 0 degrees camber on the gauge. It measured 1.5� front wheel extension at that point. This is likely the most the car would ever be allowed to travel so I am happy with the camber at this point.

DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

15 15: With our zero marked, we turn the wheel out until the mark lines up with the 15 degree indicator. As described earlier, adjust the bubble gauge to 0 degrees on the caster side of the gauge and lock down the pivot knob.


16

17

16: Now turn the wheel the other way so that the front of the wheel is turned in to the other 15 degree indicator. The bubble gauge now shows the caster measurement. This is where I get my first disappointment, the project car only measured 3.5 degrees positive caster with the top of the strut adjusted as far back as possible. I was hoping for at least 5 degrees. Positive caster helps hold the car straight down the track. More positive caster makes it a little harder to turn the wheel from center and provides high speed stability. Now we move to the other front wheel and repeat the process and set the measurements the same.

17: Once our other front wheel is adjusted, we move on to setting the toe. The toe adapters on the Fastrax are used to hook two tape measures that run to the other side of the car. Even though the Fastrax will stay on our Holeshot Wheels just fine without aid, a couple bungee cords take away the fear of them pulling loose on one side while it is being tugged on from the other side of the car. The toe adapters have three notches to hold the tape measure on each side, but I wanted the tape markings facing up. I used the notches to zip tie the tape measure hooks and it worked perfect. They never came loose.

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RPM PROJECT CAR 18 18: On the other side I used a bar I made from 2 pieces of aluminum angle stock. Normally you would just use a straight edge across the tire here but I don’t like the idea of using the tire’s sidewall for measuring. This simple tool I made with less than $10 of hardware store materials and five minutes time allows us to take measurements off the wheel like the Fastrax does on the other side. To set the toe, just adjust the tie rod ends until both measurements are the same for 0 toe. I set the RPM Magazine project car toed in 1/8th inch or with the front tape measure 1/8th inch less than the rear. This is a typical drag race toe recommendation that helps with straight line stability, especially when you have a little negative camber. If you have ever driven a car with any toe out you know it can be hairier than a beef jerky commercial. The slightest steering input or track irregularity can cause the car to pull hard in that direction. We want to avoid toe out in any situation.

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19: Finally, we move to our other disappointment, the bump steer adjustments. Minimizing bump steer is a tedious repetitive process and sometimes, like in our case, you can’t get enough adjustment to get satisfactory levels of bump steer. Bump steer is when the lower ball joint and the outer tie rod end (where it bolts to the spindle) move in a different arc causing the car to toe in and out during suspension travel. When I installed the front suspension I just guessed at how many spacers to put in the QA1 bump steer kit. Although this picture is with the suspension fully extended, when the car is at rest the lowered stance results in the A-arms angled upwards instead of parallel to the ground. The general rule is to stack the spacers so that the tie rod is parallel to the A-arm for a starting point. Then with the toe set, you jack the car up to its maximum so it will be allowed to

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RPM PROJECT CAR travel and check for tow change. The idea is to add or remove spacers in the bump steer kit until you get the least amount of tow change throughout the suspension travel range. As you add or take away spacers you will need to reset the tow adjustment each time. Usually the tie rods will have to be lengthened as you add spacers to maintain your toe setting. I ended up adding spacers until there was no room left, and still wasn’t able to achieve a small enough bump steer measurement. From the at-rest position to 1.5” of front end extension, I still had about a half inch of bump steer toe in. To keep the current ride height, I would have drill out the spindle for a 5/8 bolt and make a longer bump steer kit. Other options would be offset rack bushings to move the steering rack up higher or the best (but most expensive) method would be aftermarket drop spindles.

Stay tuned for a follow up on how we solve our excessive bump steer problem.

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DECEMBER 2013 | RPM Magazine

PARTS LIST

SOURCES

• SPC Performance Fastrax Camber Caster Gauge #91000, Summit Racing, $149.97

• Summit Racing Equipment summitracing.com (800) 230.3030

• SPC Performance Fastrax Toe Adapter #91100, Summit Racing, $49.97

• SPC Performance spcalignment.net (800) 525.6505

• Alignment turn plates #GSRF-QC-STP180, Gill Smith Racing, $115

• Gil Smith Racing gilsmithracingfab.com (631) 821.5111


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RPM Magazine December Issue 2013