July 2016 RPM Magazine

Page 1



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@rpmmag.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 regard to design, performance, and power! RPM Magazine does not sell its mailing list or share any of the confidential information regarding its subscribers.


RPM Magazine has been a world leader in motorsports publishing for 17 years and has support locations in Ontario, Canada, Alabama, Texas, and Virginia, along with contributing writers and photojournalists worldwide. If you have a story that may fit within the focus and scope of RPM Magazine’s coverage, please email our Editor In Chief at editor@ 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 12 times per year by USA Publisher’s Agent, 10387 Main Street, Suite 300, Fairfax, VA 22030.

For advertising information contact

TRISH BIRO .............519.752.3705.......trish@rpm-mag.com

Periodicals postage rate is paid at Fairfax, VA and additional mailing offices.

Art & Graphics Director: Toby Brooks

Postmaster: Send address changes to:

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




Toby Brooks

Don’t wait...



s I write this, summer has officially hit my little corner of the world. In West Texas, that means the kids are finally out of school, the afternoon breezes are burn-your-nostils-hot (and usually filled with dust), and it is time to get your ride ready for some cruising, racing, or both. After taking in the second installment of our new Road Trip series, it is clear to me that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m sure you’ve heard that old axiom before, but how could our all-new multi-site recurring series be an old idea? Let me explain. The idea for our Road Trip series was simple: organize a recurring handful of events hosted in different parts of North America to showcase the core of what we at RPM are all about: the grassroots love of high performance American iron. I wish we could take credit for it, but the truth is that it is a classic magazine move. But it still works. When I was a kid, one of my favorite car mags did a series of features back in the mid’80s called “Cruisin’ USA.” It started much like our Road Trip series, but without the benefit of the internet and social media, it was simply publicized in the magazine a few months before it began with a new site announced in each subsequent issue. Although it started slowly and was lightly attended at first, the series grew incredibly popular over time. It is unclear whether it was intentional or not, but there were some shenanigans associated with those events on more than one occasion. Bad info got circulated that the mag’s editor and photo staff ould be in town. People showed up hoping to catch their eye only to discover no one but locals were in attendance. Cops were called to control the disgruntled crowds. City leaders made angry phone calls to the publication on Monday mornings to complain about the disturbance only to discover it had been nothing more that rumor. In retrospect, it was actually pretty funny. Fast forward to 2016, and we are seeing a similar surge in popularity of our events. Despite a litany of problems just getting there and even some hiccups once we arrived, our first event in Phoenix, Arizona was a great time. A full day of racing at a national event-caliber venue followed by a well-attended cruise/shown-shine made for a fantastic day and generated a number of features that you’ve either already

been able to see or will see in the coming months. Likewise, our recent stop in Midland/Odessa, Texas was also a boatload of fun, but it was a decidedly different feel. With no dragstrip onsite, our entire purpose was to meet new friends, see cool cars, and shoot as many features as possible. With less than two weeks’ notice, we relied on local Paul Spaulding to pull together a darn impressive collection of cool cars at a venue tailor-made for just such an event. So where do we go from here? Well, here’s where you come in. Unlike those mag readers of old, we implore you not to go spreading unsubstantiated rumors that we are coming to town if we haven’t announced it ourselves. That will only end up making cops, mayors, and locals angry (not to mention the likely unpleasant phone calls our fearless Editor-In-Chief would probably have to field because of it!). No, don’t lie about it. BE about it. While we certainly can’t come EVERYWHERE, if you’d like us to consider coming to your town, we’d love to hear about the opportunity. We basically need to be assured that the visit will help us identify at least 6-12 feature cars suitable for publication in the magazine and enough interaction to let us meet some friends old and new. A festival-type atmosphere with good food, good music, and good fun for the whole family would be an added bonus to help your cause. From there, it simply comes down to logistics. If the date works and we can devote at least one staffer to make the trek, then you’ll get the chance to host a Road Trip. And we’ll get the pleasure of covering it. Unlike other publications, we don’t try to tell you what’s cool and what isn’t. We love events like this because they provide us a chance to listen to you as you tell us. It’s our way of putting our finger on the pulse of the street machine and doorslammer drag racing scene. But it’s your heartbeat we’re after. We already have plans for at least one stop in the Northeast as well as another in a West Texas city. Stay tuned to both the mag and our social media outlets in the coming months, and if we tell you we’re coming nearby, get out and come see us! Just don’t tell your buddies we’re coming if we didn’t say so. That’s just mean.


Project Street Thunder...........................................................

We sit down with automotive artist/designer Rod Burke to put our thoughts down on paper


THIS AND MORE IN THE NEXT RPM! july 2016 | RPM Magazine

ADVERTISER INDEX ACC Performance................... 33 Accufab Inc............................ 29 Aeromotive......................... 106 AFCO..................................... 21 Alan Johnson Performance (AJPE)................................. 11 Alston Race Cars.................... 44 Applied Racing Components (ARC).................................. 35 ATI Performance Products..... 45 Auburn Gear.......................... 83 Autoglym............................ 111 AVAK/Ridgegate Tools........... 87 Baer Brakes......................10, 32 Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.............. 92 Bear’s Performance............... 24 BES Racing Engines............... 40 Bill Mitchell Products............ 58 Blower Shop............................ 5 Borla..................................... 98 Browell Bellhousing.............. 38 BTE Racing............................ 19 C&C MotorSports................. 106 Calvert Racing Suspensions... 15 Canton Racing Products........ 26 CFE Racing Products.............. 30 Chassis Engineering...........8, 59 CN Blocks.............................. 79 CNC Motorsports................... 85 Coan Engineering.............20, 62 Competition Products........... 96 Crane Cams........................... 17 Crower.................................. 43 CVR Products......................... 94 DART..................................... 18 Design Engineering............... 57 Diamond Pistons................... 77 DIY Auto Tune/MS3-Pro EFI... 97 Drive Train Specialists (DTS)... 27 DRIVEN Racing Oil............... 108 Dynocologists.......................... 9 Dynomite Dynamometer.... 104 Dynotech Engineering........... 34 Earl’s Perf. Plumbing......40, 101 Ed Quay Race Cars............... 109 Edelbrock.............................. 95 Energy Suspension......... 41,100 Engine Research & Development (ERD)................................. 42 Erson Cams............................ 41 Extreme Coastal Cruise.......... 47 G Force Racing Transmissions.92 Gibtech Pistons..................... 25 Greyhound Package Exp........ 79 GZ Motorsports..................... 59 Harland Sharp......................... 9 Harwood............................. 112 Holcomb Motorsports........... 51 HoleShot Wheels................... 76 Holley.................................... 80 Howard’s Cams.................... 105 Hughes Performance............... 7 Induction Solutions............... 48

Innovate Motorsports.......... 103 JE Pistons.........................39, 99 JET Performance................. 104 J&K Converters...................... 58 LenTech Automatics.............. 89 Lokar Performance Products.107 LUCAS Oil Products.................. 2 LUCAS Oil Racing TV............ 102 Lunati.................................... 91 MagnaFuel............................ 84 Magnuson Superchargers...... 97 MAHLE Clevite Inc................. 46 Manton Pushrods................ 105 Meziere Precision Mfg............. 8 Mickey Thompson Tires......7, 24 MSD Ignition......................... 14 Neal Chance Converters....22, 64 New Century Performance.... 14 Nitrous Express...................... 89 Nitrous Pro Flow.................... 35 Nitrous Supply...................... 66 Parts Pro Perf Centers.......... 116 PBM Performance Products... 30 Performance Improvements.. 10 Perf. Plus Connection.......11, 34 Powermaster Performance.... 16 Precision Turbo...................... 13 ProCharger.......................... 113 Proform Parts...................53, 80 Proformance Racing Trans..... 42 Pro Systems Carburetors... 23,76 Philadelphia Racing Products (PRP).................................. 37 PTC........................................ 76 Quick Fuel Technology........... 32 Quik-Latch Products............ 109 Race the North...................... 67 Racecraft............................... 36 Racepak................................ 27 Racequip............................... 81 RAM Clutches........................ 82 Renegade Racing Fuels......... 52 Rev-X Oil Products............56, 93 RJS Racing Equipment........... 90 Ross Racing Pistons................. 5 RPM Magazine Subscribe!.114 S&W Race Cars...................... 65 Scorpion Racing Prods........... 12 Shafi off acing Engines..12, 20 SM Race Cars......................... 84 Smith Racecraft..................... 28 Steve Morris Racing Engines. 61 Strange Engineering............. 63 Summit Racing Equipment. 115 Taylor Cable Products............ 39 TCI Automotive...................... 88 Ti64....................................... 33 Tom’s Upholstery................... 87 Trick Flow.............................. 49 TRZ Motorsports.................... 31 Tuned By Shane T.................. 18 VP Racing Fuels..............52, 110 Weinle Motorsports.............. 31 World Products..................... 88

Made in aMerica & designed for: • STROKERS • NITROUS • TURBOS • BLOWERS • NaTURaLLy aSpIRaTEd Ross carries hundreds of proven, race winning, domestic and Sport Compact piston designs to fit virtually any engine combination. along with an extensive line of piston accessories and coatings, Ross has over 35 years of experience in the design & manufacturing of custom piston applications! Call or go online to see what Ross Racing pistons can do for you.

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july 2016

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

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated—For 17 STRAIGHT YEARS RPM Magazine has been the ORIGINAL Voice Of Wild Street Machines and Extreme Drag Racing WORLDWIDE! Don’t Settle For Less! We DELIVER Insane Fast Cars and Bring You NO POLITICS... JUST ACTION! Your ONLY “Real Time” “Real World” Car Mag...PERIOD!



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



Best of Both Worlds. ........................ 54 Nick and Patti Mueller’s ’55 Chevy shows that all-out performance on the dragstrip doesn’t have to come at the expense of all-out cool on the street

Road Trip: Texas................................................ 40 It’s true...things really ARE bigger in Texas!

One. Eight. SevenTY..........................................8 This murdered-out Chevelle was built for one purpose: to be awesome on the street AND the strip!



Finding the One..........................................................82 We walk you through all the steps, trials, and triumphs of selecting our next project cars

How Did You Get Hooked on Cars?................................94 What or who do you have to thank (or to blame!) for your automotive passion?

No Couch Potato..............................................24 Ned Couch’s 1981 Corvette will get up and go!

Hey, Nice Dimples!......................................................104 We try out a set of precision machined dimple dies from NEXGEN Offroad to add style and rigidity to any sheetmetal project



We Found the One...Twice!...........................................82 RPM introduces a wild nostalgia Ford build and new-school Chevy supercar clone as two new magazine projects

Chippin’ Away.............................................................106 If the details didn’t matter, Project aPocalypSe Horse would probably be done by now!

Imported From Detroit............................... 40

Dalton Theobald proves that American iron is still plenty appealing to the Millennial generation


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


story and photos by

Toby Brooks

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july 2016 | RPM Magazine

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t’s a familiar formula in hot rod and street machine circles. Slammed stance. Custom wheels (preferably with black anodizing or powder coating). And gallons of matte black paint slathered over every square inch of sheetmetal.

But there’s a reason the formula is so familiar. It works. While an automotive artist working with any other color palette certainly can make his or her ride look aggressive, the murdered-out (or ‘187’ due to the police radio code for murder) look

www.rpm-mag.com | july2016



all but guarantees an end result that is one part sleek and nine parts rip-yourface-off nasty. Take this blacked-out 1970 Chevelle currently owned by Abilene, Texas-based insurance agent Daniel Salsman. When we saw this nasty Bowtie roll in


to our recent Road Trip: Texas event, we knew we had to get a closer look. We weren’t disappointed. “I originally built a pro touring 1970 Camaro with an LSX swap for autocross events,” Salsman said. Unfortunately, autocross competition isn’t exactly

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

rife in the Abilene area, so Salsman found himself with a nice toy but no one to play with. “I felt that I could get more enjoyment by trading for a pro street car and driving to our local 1/8th mile dragstrip,” he said. So the search was on for a fat-tired

STONE COLD KILLER With the requisite matte black paint everywhere, a Harwood cowl induction hood, and black anodized Billet Specialties wheels, Salsman’s Chevelle provides any would-be challenger all the clues he or she should need to know this Chevy isn’t to be challenged.

WASHIN’ DARKS? Kelly Buford of Abilene, Texas fabricated the cool single parachute mount so Salsman can drop the laundry after a pass at the track while still displaying the license plate in the factory location.

www.rpm-mag.com | july2016



CONTEMPORARY COOL Yeah, it’s blown...but you won’t find a big R ots blower poking through the Harwood cowl hood, here. A polished F2 ProCharger lurks beneath. ride to cruise the streets and blast the strip—with no orange construction cones required. The search led Salsman to the Chevy you see here for sale in New York state. It had been purpose-built to be competitive in Drag Week and tour style events, but the owner hadn’t been able to


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

participate due to his work schedule. After months of negotiating, a trade was finalized and the Chevelle was headed to the Lone Star State. Not content to simply roll in a storebought ride, Salsman tore in to make the car an even better performer. “I have been working on and racing my own car’s

since before I even had a driver’s license,” he said. “While growing up, we had several project vehicles around the house to tinker with. My dad and I built my first car, a 1977 Camaro, in the driveway of my childhood home and we would work on it every day after he got off ork. I’m sure he wanted me to work on

www.rpm-mag.com | july2016



july 2016 | RPM Magazine


SPARKLING RAT The all aluminum 540 cubic inch Donovan big block sports an F2 ProCharger, a FAST EFI system, and lots of polished aluminum.

my own cars back then so I would have more pride in something I built and worked on with my own hands rather than just buying something,� he added. When the starting point is awesome to begin with, those efforts to improve his new ride were destined for success. The car had originally been constructed to compete in the New York area with the Outlaw Street Car Association (OSCA) and national drag-ndrive events. Keeping

in the spirit and letter of the law of such street car events, the factory firewall was maintained, however, extensive chromoly fab work and the backhalf was completed by Performance Concepts in Mokena, Illinois to make room for the fat rear tires. A custom 4-link setup is suspended via Strange double-adjustable shocks in the rear, while Global West 2-inch drop spindles have been partnered with Strange single-adjustable shocks up front.

The Performance Concepts braced 9-inch housing was equipped with Strange 35-spline axles and Strange 4.56 gears. Strange disc brakes were installed in back, while Wilwood discs were employed up front. With the chassis complete, attention was turned to the motivation for the all steel Chevy. An all aluminum Donovan 540 big block was assembled by Carl McQuillen Racing Engines in LeRoy, New York. Details are scant

www.rpm-mag.com | july2016



BUILT TO HAUL The big Mickey Thompson ET Streets out back add to the sinister appeal and help the big Chevy hook up whether on a prepped surface or not. The beefed and braced 9-inch rear was fit ed with goodies from Strange Engineering by Performance Concepts in Mokena, Illinois.


on the top-secret rotating assembly and camshaft, but the best RPM intel can gather is that the combo runs boost-friendly 9.5:1 pistons. The blower-prepped short block is topped by polished Dart 18-degree cylinder heads with T&D Machine roller rockers as well as a Dart aluminum intake set up for EFI with 160-pound Smart Fire injectors. A FAST Classic EFI system controls the squirt sequencing and an Aeromotive A1000 pump keeps the pressure where it needs to be.

An F-2 ProCharger has been overdriven to produce up to 38 pounds of boost and a Nitrous Express intercooler spray ring kit has been added to cool the compressed atmosphere. An MSD 6AL electronic ignition lights the fires, while custom ceramic coated Vito Antonicelli 2 ½-inch to 5-inch collector headers route the spent fossil fuels appropriately. The custom owner-fabricated 5-inch oval tubing minimizes back pressure while maximizing ground clearance, and the Antonicelli 5-inch

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

racing mufflers keep the exhaust note near (but probably not under) OSHA acceptable levels. A Stef’s Fabrication 7-quart oil pan assists in keeping the wet-sump system working optimally, while a Meziere water pump keeps things cool. A pair of McQuillen fabbed valve covers add a finishing touch to the highly polished components in the engine bay. With the current street tune and 7 pounds of boost, the combo was good for 1083 rwhp and 812 ft/lbs of torque at 7,000 rpm.

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july 2016 | RPM Magazine

BLACK ON BLACK Inside, the Chevelle sports lots of factory pieces like the black door panels, dash, and headliner but has been updated with Kirkey drag seats, 3-inch harnesses, and a full cage. The factory gauge cluster has been updated with a carbon fi er hydrodipped piece that has been stuffed full of AutoMeter gauges and a Billet Specialties steering wheel has been added to match the hoops on all four corners. Backing that kind of power is no task for a stock transmission, so a beefed-up GM TH400 with a BTE valve body was assembled by Freak Show Performance Transmissions. A Hughes 4,800 stall converter provides further driveline fortification, as does a Denny’s Drive Shaft fabricated 1350 3.5-inch driveshaft. The car rides on a matched set of Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels, with 15x4s up front and 15x15s out back. The black anodized

and machined hoops have been shod with Mickey Thompson ET Street tires, with 26x6R15LTs up front and 32x17.5-15LTs out back. The combo adds to the murdered-out mystique present throughout the build. And speaking of that look, the black on black on black on black look springs from the SEM Hot Rod Matte Black applied by Mike Ruscio and crew at CMJ Customs in Hamlin, New York. The car is all steel with the exception of a Harwood glass hood and


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DANIEL SALSMAN’S 1970 CHEVY CHEVELLE SS STREET/STRIP Chassis Type & Mods: Chromoly 4-link backhalf by Performance Concepts in Mokena, Illinois. Suspension: FRONT: Factory control arms with Strange single-adjustable shocks and Wilwood disc brakes. REAR: Custom braced Ford 9-inch with Strange 35-spline axles and 4.56 gears. Strange double-adjustable shocks. Strange disc brakes. Body & Paint: SEM Hot Rod Matte Black by Mike Ruscio at CMJ Customs in Hamlin, New York. Engine: Donovan all aluminum 540 ci big block built by Carl McQuillen. 9.5:1 compression pistons, DART 18-degree cylinder heads with T&D Machine roller rockers. Induction & Power Adder: Dart aluminum intake with 160-pound Smart Fire injectors and FAST classic EFI system. Belt-driven F-2 ProCharger overdriven to produce up to 38 pounds of boost. Nitrous Express intercooler spray ring. Aeromotive A1000 electric fuel pump. Electronics: MSD 6AL box and MSD distributor. Transmission & Converter: Freak Show Performance transmissions GM TH400 with BTE valve body. Hughes 4,800 rpm stall converter. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 15x4 Billet Specialties Street Lite black ano wheels with 26x6R-15LT Mickey Thompson tires. REAR: 15x15 Billet Specialties double beadlocked Street Lite black ano wheels with 32x17.5-15LT Mickey Thompson ET Streets. Performance: 1,083 rwhp and 812 ft/lbs torque on the chassis dyno. Quarter-mile performance is top secret (grudge).


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

ONE. EIGHT. SEVENTY. bumpers. Kelly Buford in Abilene, Texas fabricated the custom parachute bracket and fuel cell, but the body is otherwise unmodified. Inside, the car is a cleanly executed contrast of classic looks and modern

performance and safety. Kirkey Pro Street Drag seats have been covered with black cloth to compliment the factory door panels, dash, and headliner installed by previous owner Stacy Spears at his shop, 5-Star in Medina, New

NOT TO BE CROSSED If the looks of the Chevelle aren’t enough to strike fear into any wouldbe challenger, the sound of the whining F2 ProCharger and the 540 rat blowing through custom 5-inch oval exhaust certainly should be.



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COOL NITROUS BOTTLE, BRO The white Nitrous Express N2O cylinder behind the seats isn’t actually for nitrous injection, but rather a means to quickly chill the intercooler. With the push of a button, Salsman (left) actuates a solenoid that sprays the face of the air-to-air unit and can lower inlet temps by as much as 20 degrees, which is literally pretty “cool” in the notoriously stifling West Texas heat.

York. An SCS Cheetah shifter and a polished Billet Specialties steering wheel add form and function, while RJS 3-inch 5-point harnesses keep occupants snuggly anchored in the cockpit. A full set of Autometer Ultra Lite gauges round out the interior upgrades.


Salsman is aware of the car’s best performance to date, but he isn’t talking. “I plan to grudge the car in Texas, so those numbers are a closely guarded secret,” he said slyly. What he IS doing, however, is enjoying the car and letting others enjoy it, too. “While driving

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

to the drag strip, I stopped at a red light and a young boy in the car next to me rolled down his window and asked if I would pull over and let him look at the car,” he recalled. Salsman complied with the request and visited with the aspiring hot rodder and his dad for a bit. “I let the boy sit in

the car and start the engine. His smile was the biggest I have seen in a long time,” he concluded. In the spirit of full disclosure, though, that’s likely quite similar to the look on this author’s face the first time he laid eyes on the car, too.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



aking an interest in cars and tinkering is one thing, but taking your hobby to the next level and undertaking to build your own cars from pretty much scratch is a completely diffe ent experience.It is one that is definitely not meant for the weak or those lacking the level of sticktoittiveness needed to stay the course. If you ever have the privilege of spending time with the one and only Ned Couch, you will quickly find that with 40-plus years of drag racing under his

belt, he is quite the well-rounded, seasoned car guy and racer, and definitely no “couch potato!” Laid back, easy-going, and confident, yes, but Ned has learned a thing or two about race cars in the past four decades and it shows. With the skills he’s acquired, he is more than capable of building a car that looks good, hooks hard, and runs fast. Ned’s development of racing knowledge began back in the ’70s, with a 1968 Camaro Z28 4-speed. “I street raced the Camaro and went to Ohio Valley Dragway in

1976.” It was around this time that he met now longtime friend, Phil Capito who street raced a 1965 Mustang 4-speed. “I went to the track with several different fast stick cars every weekend just so I could learn more about the chassis and motors that other racers had,” explained Couch, who would then take that information and see how he could apply what he learned to his own car. And for those times when Ned needed to see the changes he had made from the sidelines rather than feel them from the



july 2016 | RPM Magazine


story and photos by

Tabitha Sizemore

LARGE AND IN CHARGE The former pro stock style scoop tells the story of what is between the rails of this wicked Corvette.

“Their pistons are awesome, we use Gibtec flat tops in our Small-Block Modified engines and in every Comp Eliminator engine we build. The specifications are exactly what we call for and their service is impeccable. We have yet to put one in an engine that didn’t improve the power”– Tom Martino, MB Race Engines

Custom designs to fit your needs...fast! Phone: 303.243.3340 and visit: GibtecPistons.com

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


NO COUCH POTATO SITTING PRETTY The Corvette at one time had the front end melted off f om an engine fi e and was recovered from a Corvette salvage yard by Couch.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine


ALWAYS IMPROVING Couch learned his chassis setup skills through watching, doing, and keeping records of what worked and what didn’t. Long gone from the Vette are those pesky short 4-link bars that made for lots of trial and error track days. driver seat, his friend Phil would take over driving duties to allow Couch to watch for the results of the latest experimental setup changes to the chassis. Couch built several other cars as the years passed from the 1970s to the present, rounding up more and more know-how as time passed. Interested in all things horsepower,

Couch also built several cars for the street including a 1934 Chevy, a 1929 Plymouth (that he built with his dad), a turbocharged 1992 Mustang, and a 1969 Camaro. Today, his 1981 Chevrolet Corvette is a pristine example of the culmination of his years spent in the pits and behind the wheel. The many years

of educating himself, applying his knew found knowledge, and watching the results are evident in this wild Torch Red Vette. The sleek bowtie is as fast as it gorgeous, turning heads while toting a hefty 760 cubic inches of naturally-aspirated horsepower under the hood. At first, the Corvette was a multi-pur-

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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


NO COUCH POTATO LEGIT The hoodscoop doesn’t lie as even without it, the intimidating championship pro stock motor towers from the engine bay. The long and low Chevy weighs just 2,700 pounds. pose ride. Couch drove it to work and to car cruises for several years, all while spending some time with it at the track, as well. “I always liked Camaros, but I had driven several diffe ent years of Corvettes for street cars, so when I could not find a ’69 Camaro body to build, I


thought the Corvette would be a better race car and be more aerodynamic. However, to be completely honest, it was still my second choice to the Camaro,” shared Couch. Built for rod runs, car shows, and the occasional drag race, the ’81 didn’t start out quite so ravishing and was actually

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

purchased from a Corvette salvage yard. The frontend was melted off rom an engine fire and it took Ned three years to build the car before he could start driving and racing it in 1995. “At the time the combination was a 454 cubic inch pump gas motor with a 4-speed and a

4-link,” recollected Couch. Partnering up with the Corvette did come with obstacles as Couch explained. “The biggest problem was that no one knew how to set the chassis up, mostly because the 4-link bars were only 12 inches long. So I purchased every setup book

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



NED COUCH’S 1981 CHEVY CORVETTE Chassis Type & Mods: NHRA 25.5 cert full tube chassis by Fast Chassis. Suspension: Strange struts, AFCO Big Gun coilovers. Body & Paint: Torch Red paint by Lambert’s Body Shop in Louisville, Kentucky. Engine: Sonny’s aluminum block with 4.900 inch bore space, 11.625 inch deck height. 14-degree Olds Dart Big Chief heads. Bryant 5.65 stroke crank, Wiesco pistons. Induction: Sonny’s sheet metal intake and carb linkage. 4-Pro Systems split Holley carburetors, 610 CFM each. Electronics: 75301 Digital 7 MSD Box, 3-step MSD, Racepak system. Transmission & Converter: Bruno/Lenco 3-speed air-shifted with manual override option. Greg Slack updated bolt-together 9-inch converter. Diff rential: Fast Chassis Fab 9 rearend. Best Performance (eighth-mile): 4.83 at 143 MPH, 1.10 60-foot time.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

The naturally aspirated monster still has functional factory t-tops. For those days Ned feels like cruising. available and then went to the track to test. I would make a pass then move the 4-link to a different setting and write down the results. I kept track of the 60foot, 330-foot, and eighth-mile times and every other bit of information possible until I found the best setup.” The hard work and pursuit for knowledge paid off ather quickly, as in 1996, Couch won the Chevy High Performance bracket race and Editor’s Choice award at Beach Bend in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In 2001 however, the Kentucky native sampled his first heads-up race and decided to make the change to the Pro Street class, where he debuted in 2005.

As the saying goes, there is no replacement for displacement, and the Corvette ended up with a 760 cubic inch IHRA Pro Stock championship motor and the naturally aspirated ’81 has posted a personal best elapsed time of 4.83 at 143 miles per hour in the eighth-mile. The ’Vette chassis has gone through several changes over the years. Originally, the Chevy was a square tube backhalf car, taking about a year to build. Years later, in 2004, the upgrade to round tube was made and Fast Chassis had the car back in Couch’s hands within six months. The latest iteration, completed in 2011, had the gang at Fast Chas-


LIGHTING THE HIDES John Phillips rolls out of a long smoky burnout, getting ready to make a pass at Beach Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


NO COUCH POTATO sis upgrade the car to full tube chassis to save weight. The ’Vette now rolls across the scales at a trim 2,725 pounds with driver. As one can imagine, with 40 years of drag racing experience filling his resume, Ned has quite the personal account of wins, losses, and close calls over the years. More recently though, he has put his accumulated knowledge to work to help others in


addition to racking up his own accomplishments. “I work for myself doing auto upholstery. My company is Seat Cover King and on the side I also tune chassis for everything from 600-horsepower street racers to 2000+ horsepower pro street cars,” told Couch. Ned has also made many friends during his years being involved with fast cars and would



A pair of AFCO Big Gun coilovers smooth the ride out back.

Ned has tunnel and belly pans under the car for added aerodynamics, but from this angle the ’Vette looks pretty slippery even on the topside!

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

like to send his thanks to some that have helped him along the way. “Since we first met, Phil Capito has helped me maintain all of the race cars I have owned,” says Couch. “And he also helps with lining me up at the starting line. Mark Lohr helps with the Racepak and laptop information. Fast Chassis has helped build all of my cars and has given me use of their equipment to maintain

story continued on pg. 35

NOTHING TO HIDE HERE The Torch Red Corvette is all motor—all 760 IHRA pro stock pedigreed cubic inches! The Big Chief heads were updated by Mike Stark in 2004 with oval design port work and all new titanium valves.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


LOOK AT THAT TWEED Couch has gray light weight tweed interior covering removable aluminum panels throughout the ’Vette’s cockpit.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

NO COUCH POTATO them. And thanks to Dale Meer’s Racing for working with me on all of my dyno and engine needs.” Surely to continue on in his endeavors in fast cars, Ned Couch has become many things to the many people involved in his inner circle of power junkies, but one thing he surely is not, is a couch potato.

ALMOST...ALMOST...ALMOST...STOP! Couch lines the ’Vette up with friend John Phillips behind the wheel.

MOUNTAIN (MOTOR) MEN Left to right: Ned Couch, Phil Capito, and Mark Lohr.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016




Toby Brooks

>>It’s true. Things ARE bigger in Texas! 1. A great crowd of diverse West Texas street machines gathered on short notice on a beautiful day. 2. A blown pro street first gen Camaro or a hot flamed and chopped top street rod? The Road Trip had ’em both! 3. & 4. The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum played a great host for the event. 5. The Midland/Odessa area is perhaps best known for its role in the oil and gas industry or for high school football, but our event proved there is no shortage of hot street cars in town, too!


july 2016 | RPM Magazine


fter the last adventure we had during our Road Trip: Arizona, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit we were a bit apprehensive about doing it again. However, things couldn’t have gone smoother on April 30th when Paul Spaulding and his group Heads-Up Street Cars graciously hosted us at the Permian Basin

Petroleum Museum for our second installment in the Road Trip series, this time in West Texas. When we arrived at 10 am, Spaulding had already gathered up nearly 100 cool cruisers ranging from street rods, rat rods, late model muscle, pro street, and pro touring rides, nearly filling the auxiliary parking lot at the Petroleum Museum facility.


The weather was absolutely perfect, and we got straight to work shooting features. Unfortunately, in doing so we really didn’t get to enjoy and interact with many of the the participants and spectators who made the trek to the venue. By the time we shot







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6. & 7. We had hoped to shoot this cool second-gen Trans Am, but missed the owner before he headed out. 8. This super clean dropped ’90s GM sport truck was parked right next to a cool classic Chevy pickup. The camaraderie and diversity at the event was tremendous. 9. We shot a full feature on this wicked blown and injected big block Nova owned by Big Mike Givens. This pro street beast is as nasty as they come! 10. Texas is known for pickups, but they are usually jacked up diesels or duallys. The Road Trip: Texas event brought out a great showing of cool street trucks, though. This pair of square bodies is but a small sampling of the style and quality that was on hand.

several cars for features, the day had slipped away from us and it was time to pack up and go back home. If you were there and we didn’t get a chance to say hello, don’t take it personally...we were just so blown away by the number of quality cars on site that we got immersed in the work. Plans are already underway to head back south

for another stop soon when hopefully we can spend a bit more time while still shooting some killer cars. You’ll see two cars from Road Trip: Texas in this issue, and there will be more coming in the next few months. Stay tuned and be ready, as RPM just might be loading up and Road Tripping to YOUR hometown!

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



f you’ve covered as many shows, drag races, and other events like we have, you start to become a bit of an automotive anthropologist. Typical demographics tend to emerge, with even build styles making it fairly easy to identify likely owners nearby. We won’t share our super-secret formula of build stereotypes here, but rest assured, they are usually pretty accurate.

That’s why we were so confused at our recent Road Trip event in Midland/Odessa, Texas. With no shortage of beautiful street machines and pro streeters, we quickly zeroed in on several that were feature quality. After a quick look at this well-executed 1972 Plymouth Duster, we rapidly surmised that we needed to find the owner and arrange for the shoot. The only problem was, he was nowhere to be

story and photos by

Toby Brooks





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july 2016 | RPM Magazine

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STRAIGHT OUT OF THE PRO STREET PLAYBOOK Although young Theobald wasn’t even around during the first he day of pro street, he seems to have learned what it is all about pretty well. His classic Mopar sports the requisite huge meats out back and the sans-hood Roots-blown dual quads up front. The angry shotgun scoop adds a new twist on a classic look. found. Or so we thought. Desperate for answers, we asked a young bystander nearby if he happened to know where the owner might be, thinking it might even be his dad’s car. Likely no more than a couple decades old, Midland, Texas electrician Dalton Theobald flashed a sly grin. “It’s mine.” While most high performance auto enthusiasts in their early 20s tend to be fans of the The Fast and The Furious/import genre, Theobald comes from a long line of lovers of Detroit iron. It only made sense, then, that


he would build his first pro streeter out of a Mopar that had been in the family for quite some time. “When I was growing up, my dad always had a racecar and I always helped him work on it,” Theobald said. The skills acquired at his father’s side would serve the younger Theobald well once he finally got a ride of his own. “My grandfather brought the Duster home from Indiana and slowly worked to restore it.” After the classic Plymouth was put back into shape, it was given as a gift.

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


Best. Grandpa. EVER. “Four years ago, my grandfather gifted it to me. I got right to work and installed the three link, dropped in the 408, and re-did the interior,” he added. First, Theobald consulted Jimmy Vines in Midland, Texas to install the ladder bar backhalf and narrowed Chrysler 8 ¾ rearend. After cutting the housing down to make room for the big rear tires, Vines stuffed it with Moser 35-spline axles and Richmond 4.56 gears. Strange single-adjustable rear coilovers were installed to smooth the bumps, while Mopar Performance disc binders were bolted onto all four corners to handle braking duties. Up front, the factory suspension was retained but updated


with Strange single-adjustable shocks. Rolling stock consists of a set of Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels, 15x4s with Mickey Thompson tires up front and 15x15s with 31x18.5-15 Hoosier Quick Time Pros out back. With the chassis work complete, Theobald turned his attention to the engine bay. “If I were to do it over again, I probably would have put a big block in it,” Theobald acknowledged. Instead, he opted for a stroked 408 ci small block. Big Al’s Toy Box in Connecticut was tasked with assembling the balanced and blueprinted mill. First, an Eagle forged crank, H-beam rods, and 8.5:1 compression pistons were selected as a boost-friendly rotating assembly. A COMP Cams bump stick was also partnered with

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

...FROM DETROIT CLEAN AND SIMPLE Dusters have always had their share of fans simply because their lines are sleek and unfussy. Likewise, while the pearl white paint on Theobald’s Mopar really pops in the sunlight, it is the well-executed minimalistic airbrushed graphics that add a custom touch without being overdone.

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COMP lifters and rockers, and ARP fasteners were used to hold everything together. Edelbrock aluminum RPM cylinder heads were torqued in place before the towering Blower Shop 8/71 billet huffer spun to push 14 pounds of boost was lowered into position. A pair of Quick Fuel E-85 650 CFM carbs are

fed through a Magnafuel electric pump, and a Hilborn-style shotgun scoop was tricked out with some angry bloodshot eyes on the butterflies. A pair of polished Mopar Performance valve covers add a touch of bling, while a Milodon 8-quart wet sump pan and high volume oil pump keep everything well lubricated.

MSD components, including a 6AL box, handle ignition duties. A Be Cool radiator and Mopar water pump ensure the street-driven bullet stays cool, and a GM single wire alternator keeps the battery fully charged. Spent fumes exit rearward via ceramic coated Competition Engineering headers where they dump

POTENT PENTASTAR Although Theobald says he’d go with a big block if he had it to do over again, the 408 small block that was put together by Big Al’s Toybox is no slouch thanks to the big billet 8/71 Blower Shop huffer and the E-85-p epped Quick Fuel 650 CFM carbs.


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july 2016 | RPM Magazine

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DALTON THEOBALD’S 1972 PLYMOUTH DUSTER PRO STREET Chassis Type & Mods: Ladder bar back half installed by Jimmy Vines of Midland, Texas. 8-point roll cage. Suspension: FRONT: Stock suspension with Strange single-adjustable shocks. REAR: Ladder bars with Strange single-adjustable shocks. Mopar Performance 4-wheel disc brakes. Body & Paint: Factory steel body throughout without modification. Pearl white basecoat/clear coat with multi-colored airbrushed graphics. Engine: 408 small block Mopar assembled by Big Al’s Toy Box. Eagle stroker crank, Eagle H-beam rods, and Eagle 8.5:1 forged pistons. ARP fasteners, COMP camshaft, lifters, and rocker arms. Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum cylinder heads. Induction: 8/71 Blower Shop billet supercharger with dual Quick Fuel E-85 650 CFM carburetors. Hilborn-style shotgun scoop with custom graphics. Electronics: MSD 6AL box and MSD distributor. Transmission & Converter: 727 Torque Flite transmission with PTC 3,500 RPM stall converter. Diff rential: Narrowed Chrysler 8 ¾-inch housing with Moser 35-spline axles and Richmond 4.56 gears. Exhaust: Ceramic coated Competition Engineering headers. 4-inch exhaust tubing with Flowmaster mufflers and bullhorn dumps. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 15x4 Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels with Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires. REAR: 15x15 Billet Specialties Lite wheels with 31.5x18.5-15 Hoosier Quick Time tires.


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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


...FROM DETROIT into 4-inch tubes and through Flowmaster mufflers that exit through bullhorn dumps just in front of the rear wheel openings to elicit a whining, throbbing, shrieking exhaust pulse that isn’t so much heard as it is felt. The entire combo was good for 900 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and an equally impressive 800 ft/lbs of torque. Backing the boosted small block is

a fortified Dodge 727 Torque Flite transmission and a PTC 3,500 RPM stall converter was selected to improve the Mopar’s street manners. Inside, the Mopar has been equipped with an 8-point cage, a pair of racing buckets, and RCI harnesses for added safety. The factory door panels, dash, and headliner were all retained, and the original instrumen-

DON’T MESSWITH THE DEVIL The Duster’s deck lid has been adorned with a detailed Tazmanian devil -devours-a-bowtie mural.

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july 2016 | RPM Magazine

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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


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IMPORTED... SAFE & SOUND The interior of the Duster is a clean mix of factory and aftermarket parts and pieces, with the original Plymouth dash, door panels, and headliner augmented by a pair of custom racing buckets, 3-inch RCI harnesses, a B&M shifter, and an 8-point cage. Auto Meter gauges have also been added to keep tabs on all the important data.



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tation has been augmented by a full compliment of Auto Meter gauges. Shifting chores are adeptly managed by a B&M Pro Ratchet unit, and a dash-mounted ARC model 400 push button panel adds convenience at the, well, push of a button.

Lastly, the factory sheetmetal is unchanged with the exception of the deleted hood. After working out the kinks in the 40+ year old steel, the car was coated in a rich white pearl with purple flip flop that pops in the sun. Matched and

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


...FROM DETROIT highly detailed purple and multi-hued blue airbrushed graphics adorn the car’s flanks, while another graphic of a Bowtie-eating Tazmanian Devil mural on the deck lid adds another pro-Dodge touch. After 20+ years in the making, the end result is a rolling testament to three generations of good old American hot rodding in all of its loud, proud, fat-tired glory. “I worked hard to rebuild this car so that I could go on family cruises and have a car of my own,” Theobald concluded. Judging by the finished product, we’d say mission accomplished. And with a clean pro street ride like this for his very first build, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you Dylan!


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


story by photos by

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS PERFECT STANCE With a full tube twin-rail chassis, this fat-tired shoebox Chevy is low-slung and ready to fl .

!!! 56

july 2016 | RPM Magazine


here are some cars that are just timeless. Th ir appeal began the day they rolled off he assembly line and continues to this day. The 969 Camaro, the 1970 Mustang, and the 1970 ’Cuda all come to mind. And undoubtedly, the tri-five Chevys fit that description, as well.

However, that same appeal comes with an inherent challenge for the aspiring builder. With so many folks using that body style as a starting point for their ride, how can anyone create something that stands out from the pack? For Lake Havasu, Arizona natives Nick and Patti Mueller, the answer was simple: take every aspect of the car and make it absolutely awesome‌then wrap the

whole thing in a street legal package just for good measure. The nd result is a car that is a force to be reckoned with on the track and a ride to be envied at the local cruise. The uild began for the Muellers about three years ago. Nick had a high-end sand car that he had cooled on, wanting to hit the asphalt in a drag car instead. As luck would have


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july 2016 | RPM Magazine


it, the then-owner of the car you see here had built it as an 8.50-certed strip machine but was looking to get rid of it for a sand car. A trade was quickly struck and the shoebox headed to the Muellers’ shop. “At the time, the car had a 615 ci engine that we ran with for the first year as the chassis needed some additional upgrades to get it to meet the 7.50 cert it

currently has, but it was an excellent starting point,” Mueller said. The ull chromoly TIG welded chassis is a twin framerail design with a funny car cage and an A-arm/coilover front setup. Out back, a custom 4-link with chomoly rod ends and an X-brace locator and anti-roll bar suspends the fabricated rear housing in place for consistent hook. Strange double-ad-

justable rear shocks control the bumps and the bulletproof rear has been filled with Strange 40-spline axles, an aluminum center section with an aluminum pinion support, and Richmond 4.11 gears. The ront suspension relies on Strange single-adjustable shocks, while a full set of Strange disc brakes pull the car to a stop after another blistering pass—or

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ROCK SOLID The fabricated 9-inch housing out back has been filled with St ange 40-spline axles, a Strange aluminum center section, and 4.11 Richmond gears. Notice the evidence of healthy burnouts on the tinwork. This beast is no show queen!


a stop sign. The ar has been professionally wired and plumbed, with lightweight braided lines used throughout. With the chassis fully sorted, the Muellers’ turned their attention to the car’s powerplant. Continuing with the strategy of making everything incredible in order to stand out, how does 762 cubic inches of naturally-aspirated Goodwin Racing Engines nastiness sound? Producing just a tick shy of 1,700 horses without a blower, turbo, or a bottle is, in a word, well, awesome! Th se numbers don’t come in a crate, kids. Goodwin started with a custom

Brodix/Goodwin design aluminum block with 5.0-inch bore spacing and a 1 inch raised cam profile. A Callies 5.375 stroker crank went in first, followed by GRP 5500 Pro Series aluminum rods and Diamond 16.0:1 compression pistons with Total Seal rings. A Goodwin 65 mm tool steel cam was selected with the 4/7 3/2 swap to squeeze every ounce of horsepower from the combo. Jesel keyway 1.062-inch roller lifters communicate with the WW Engineering rockers on the intake side and Jesel rollers on the exhaust that have all been mounted atop the Goodwin billet Semi-Hemi heads. With full water jack-

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

ets, bronze alloy seats, copper alloy valve seats, and Victory 2.625/1.900 titanium valves, they feature performance features usually only seen in top-shelf racing applications with the cooling provisions necessary on the street. Are you sensing a pattern here? A custom Jesel 1-inch raised cam belt drive accommodates the altered block, and other parts and pieces like Manton tapered salt heat treated pushrods, Clevite H Series coated bearings, and ARP stainless fasteners throughout ensure top-ofthe-line components for topof-the-line performance. Induction for the monstrous mill consists of an

NO POWER ADDER REQUIRED The 762 cubic inch big block Goodwin Racing Engines mill produces nearly 1,700 horses without any boost or juice, although Mueller already has plans to equip it with a fogger kit before next season.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



NICK & PATTI MEULLER’S 1955 CHEVY BEL AIR PRO STREET Chassis Type & Mods: 7.50 cert full chromoly twin framerail with funny car cage. Suspension: FRONT: A-arm/coilover with single-adjustable shocks. REAR: Custom 4-link with chromoly rod ends, X-brace locator, and anti-roll bar. Strange double-adjustable rear shocks. Body & Paint: Factory steel body with fiberglass hood and deck lid. Factory glass windows with working lights, turn signals, and brake lights. Vermillion and white two-tone basecoat/clearcoat. Engine: 762 ci Goodwin Racing Engines BBC. Brodix/Goodwin design aluminum block with 5.0-inch bore spacingwith 1-inch raised cam. Callies 5.375 stroker crank, GRP 5500 Pro Series aluminum rods, and Diamond 16.0:1 pistons with Total Seal rings. Goodwin 65 mm cam with 4/7 3/2 swap. Jesel roller lifters, Goodwin billet semi-hemi cylinder heads. Dailey 5-stage dry sump oiling system. Induction: HRE billet runner tunnel ram with Holley Gen III 1350 carbs on shear plates. Electronics & Ignition: MSD Power Grid ignition, Racepak data aquisition system. Transmission & Converter: Rossler Pro Mod Max Turbo 400 transmission. PTC 9-inch converter. Fabricated aluminum driveshaft. Rear Diff rential: Fabricated 9-inch housing with Strange 40-spline axles, aluminum center section with aluminum pinion support, Richmond 4.11 gears. Performance: 7.84 at 176 mph.

HRE billet runner tunnel ram with Holley Gen III 1350 carbs on shear plates. Although the ’55 is minus a power adder at the moment, Mueller admits that fast enough is never fast enough. As a result, he’s already lined up a single stage fogger

nitrous system for next season. A Dailey 5-stage dry sump oiling system minimizes windage, maximizes ground clearance, and ensures the big bullet stays well lubed. A Racepak Sportsman data logger has been paired with an MSD Pow-

er Grid ignition for optimal tuning and adjustability. Backing the engine is a Rossler Pro Mod Max Turbo 400 transmission with a similarly bulletproof PTC 9-inch converter that sends the copious power rearward through a fabricated aluminum driveshaft.

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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



WARM ’EM UP Mueller performs a burnout before making a pass at the RPM Road Trip event at Wild Horse Pass in Arizona.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

Body and paint on the classic Chevy is flawless, with the original steel body (that’s right, we said original steel body) updated and lightened up via a fiberglass hood and deck lid. The emovable front end makes servicing the car after passes easier, and the end

result is a 3,360 pound (with driver) rocket ship. The ar features all original glass with working front windows and vents and working headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. The laser-straight body was covered with a classic Vermillion (orangish-red) and white two-

BOOST? WE DON’T NEED NO STEENKING BOOST. The spacious semi-hemi Goodwin Racing Engines powerplant features all the tricks to squeeze out max horsepower, including a 1-inch raised cam in the block and the 4/7 3/2 firing o der swap. The combo is good for nearly 1,700 naturally-aspirated horses.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


BEST OF BOTH WORLDS ALL BUSINESS The 7.50-cert chassis includes a funny car cage, and the billet steering wheel and body color factory dash add some street appeal.

tone paintjob that is split at the Bel Air chrome trim. The ockpit of the Chevy is a combo of racecar safe and street rod smooth, with the full chromoly cage and 5-point Impact harnesses juxtaposed against the billet tilt steering column and the Autometer tach and gauges. Removable quick disconnect transbrake and line lock buttons add function and convenience.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

Continued on page 76

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


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In the trunk, a pair of 16V XS Power batteries flank a custom 18-gallon fuel cell with sending unit (presumably always filled with the good stuff o keep those 16:1 pistons happy!). All fabrication


on the car since Mueller acquired it was completed by former Kalitta Motorsports crew member Jason McNeil at Liberty Racecraft. So far, Mueller has piloted the Chevy to a best of 7.84 at 176 mph

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

LAUNCH The ’55 blasts out of the hole on an early lap at the RPM Road Trip event at Wild Horse Pass in Arizona.

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and is relatively confident that there is plenty more performance left here that came from. With the addition of nitrous and further refinements to tuning, he’s likely to inch ever-closer to mid sevens and 200 mph. And the best part? The Muellers could literally hop back in (after repacking the chute) from just such a pass and grab a couple of ice cream cones from the local soda shoppe. Now that’s the best of both worlds!


july 2016 | RPM Magazine


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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016





Stan Smith

>>We walk you through all the steps, trials, and triumphs of selecting our next project cars


july 2016 | RPM Magazine


ver the past 17 years we’ve featured a lot of project cars, motors and parts installs in RPM Magazine. Some worked out, some didn’t. The big difference is that we’re not afraid to admit that we’re

human, just like you. We don’t live in some good ol’ boys magazine world where everything comes on a silver platter, we get put at the front of the line, don’t run into any major snags and take six months to do two or three years worth of work. We’ll

never claim our projects are the best of the best and will kick butt wherever they go either, because they won’t. Nope, we’re pretty down to earth here, and believe it or not, we operate on a pretty strict budget. That’s not to

say that some of our undertakings, like the aPocalypSe Horse pro street Mustang, aren’t over the top. Indeed they are, but most are pretty regular builds and projects that any one of our readers could copy, and hopefully get similar results.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT Jerry Gary (left) and RPM Editor Chris Biro open the doors of the tiny garage to get a first glimpse of the ’64 Fairlane. This is “reality magazine,” as while Gary had seen the car prior when he was getting it mobile, Biro had not. Over the next number of issues, RPM projects will begin to focus on two new builds. We’ll be reporting on various points during the build of a 2014 COPO Camaro tribute drag car that will end up being a test bed for many iterations of LS power, and we’ll also be bringing you the complete step-by-step story of

LOW MILEAGE, ONE OWNER This is the way Jay Misener found our soon to be “Homegrown COPO” project donor car. Yep, it is a brand new, never used shell that was basically dropped in his lap.

a 1964 Ford Fairlane all-round street/ strip warrior build from scratch, and we mean scratch. Just like you, we have to search for our project cars and sometimes they fall right in our lap, while, as you will soon find out, other times they don’t. Like we’ve said in the past, you have a much better shot at success in a build

if you plan correctly from day one. Now that you have decided that you are either buying a finished car, a partially fi ished car, a complete car that needs a re-do, or starting from square one, it’s time to move on to finding “the one”—

meaning you have to find the right car that fits YOUR budget to use as a base for the build. In this issue we’ll look at both our COPO and Fairlane and show you where we found them and how.


We’ll start with the Chevy. Let’s call it a “boneyard find,” for real! Usually when you think of junkyard

discoveries, you picture the old rusty sixties-something sitting in the corner wheels off, engine out, and sinking ever deeper into the mud. So how did this new (meaning never driven), late

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



NOSE JOB After assessing the damage due to the kids playing rough out in the yard (with a fork truck), we saw fit to grab some mint used fenders along with the needed front clip and lower side body skirt/molding.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

model Camaro shell end up in a wrecking yard in Ontario, Canada and discovered by RPM Technical Contributor (and owner/operator of Misener Motorsports) Jay Misener? Easy, just by chance! The hunt had been going on for several months for an LS “test bed� project car by Jay and quite honestly, initially the COPO tribute concept had not even come to mind as yet. The roblem was that most donors were either priced beyond budget or in such rough shape that they were far past a reasonable expense and effort to bring back to life. About three months into the search, during an early morning internet browse, Misener turned up a car for another project. Ironically,

FACTORY FRESH While we were at it, we sourced the rear bumper, trunk lid, taillights and headlights, all from a 2014 donor. after going to look at that car it ended up a no-deal, however, it was located close to a wrecking yard he knew fairly well, which would ultimately be where our 2014 Camaro would be discovered. After the disappointment on that first car, a quick visit to Jay’s wrecking yard buddy

was in order, and not wanting to see us go home with an empty trailer, he led us out back to have a look at something interesting- a 5th gen Camaro body-in-white. As it turns out, the Camaro had been used by a manufacturer as a template to make door weatherstripping and

once they did what they had to do with it, the car was sold basically as scrap metal. Yep, you heard that right, scrap metal. Donned with green doors and some damage here and there due to rough play while moving it around the yard with the fork truck, it was

quickly evident that this might just be the one. A deal was struck, the car loaded and so began the journey. Thoughts of flipping the car were tossed around by Misener early on, that is, until he quickly became hooked on the COPO Camaro factory race car that

Chevrolet had resurrected a few years back. “Once I started researching the new COPO Camaro factory racecars, I became very interested and thought of how cool it would be to build one ourselves from scratch with this rust free body we now had, and at the same time show RPM

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


RPM EXCLUSIVES PLENTY OF SPACE Misener especially likes the roomy engine bay. Plans are to use the Homegrown COPO as a test bed for some LS combinations of all fla ors.

BLANK SLATE Pretty bare bones in here, but it is pretty much like new aside from some leaves and water stains. The plan is to completely media blast the area. We also grabbed the 2014 dash, instrument cluster, steering wheel, and column from that same donor car while we were at it. readers how they could build their own, too,” Misener explained. “Aside from its obvious good looks, one of the practical things I really liked about the car from day one was the size of the engine bay. It looked like we could

put whatever we wanted in there for power,” he added. Be sure to follow the journey of Project Homegrown COPO quarterly and exclusively in the pages of RPM.


One day while talking with close friend Jerry Gary, we found what will be the next major build in RPM Magazine…Project STREET THUNDER.

The story of finding our Fairlane is longer and a bit more complicated than the Camaro and actually started in the summer of 2014. It’s a tale that begins with frustration but ends in a tear jerker, so have your tissues ready.

Our Editor wanted this project to be his own baby—a handson deal where he had his “hands-on” every aspect of the build. “We’ve been doing this for 17 years,” said RPM Editor In Chief Chris Biro, “and I have

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july 2016 | RPM Magazine




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never personally been involved in one of the RPM builds from start to finish. I try to be as involved as possible in all aspects of the magazine, but this is one area I just didn’t have room for on

my plate. Truth be told, I haven’t been able to cruise the streets or even get behind the wheel at the drag strip much at all over the past number of years because of my duties at the magazine.”

The twisted plan to build Project Street Thunder- a Thunderbolt tribute of sorts smashed together with new technology that could cruise 1000 miles (in comfort), run eights in the

quarter and take on most anything that gets in its way- came about in late 2013 and the search for a donor car soon began. “When we got the budget allowance for the donor car for this project I

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thought we hit gold. We found a ’64 in Georgia in July of 2014 that looked good so we had some more photos sent over for a closer inspection. After speaking with the owner who assured us that “he knew exactly what we were looking for as he owned his own hot rod shop,� Biro and a buddy embarked on the 19 hour drive only to be completely disappointed in what they found, turning around and, after a

FINALLY As the car emerged from the shed, things just got better and better. Jerry Gary, Jr. (left) RPM Editor Chris Biro (right) struggle to roll the well-preserved Ford from its resting place. Despite Gary’s valiant prepickupeffo ts on the car’s brakes, it was a tough roll as both front drum brakes still seized almost tight.

good meal, a few beers, and a nights rest, heading 19 hours back to home base… with an empty trailer. Biro himself starting putting out feelers to everyone he’d met over the past 15 years with RPM and many got back with some pretty good possibilities, but none felt “right,” that is until RPM brought Jerry and Shari Gary onto their team.

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FAMILY HEIRLOOM Clayton Denney, Carl’s father, stands with Biro prior to loading the Fairlane on the trailer. Clayton wanted to meet everyone in person (including the Biro family) to ensure his son’s pride and joy was going to the right people, and we like that!

LOADED Biro smiles after finally loading up the Fairlane on Gary’s open trailer…. Gary didn’t enjoy pushing it with the seized brakes as much!

“I had mentioned to Jerry that we were looking for a Fairlane for our next project, then, in December 2014 over dinner during PRI in Indy. He mentioned he may know where one was but was unsure of exactly what year, model and condition it was in,” added Biro. As it turns out, within a few weeks Jerry was able to verify that the car

was indeed a 1964 Fairlane hardtop that was in the process of being pro streeted when the owner suddenly passed away. A very sad way to come across a car, however, perhaps it was meant to be an RPM project car to honor the life and plans of the former owner. After all, could there be a more fitting tribute than to have the car built in the pages of a

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july 2016 | RPM Magazine

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MOBILITY TECHNICIAN Who is this mad scientist! None other than hardcore street car enthusiast Tony Adkins (his wild S10 was featured earlier in 2015 in RPM). Tony was called in to get some type of wheels under the Fairlane and make it mobile! Thanks Tony!

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED Like we said, Carl was getting parts in constantly, even while he was in the hospital. The car came with most everything for the pro street build he had planned.






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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



WISE GUY AND WISE DOG And then there’s this guy! The Fairlane was transported via the open trailer to the Southern Fried Festival in Langley, VA. While there, we not only had a dozen offers o buy the car but we also caught this “Mopar guy” with his dog trying to relieve themselves on it. Watch out for Ron Bookman, not only does he have a real deal mid eight second Dart (Dart Vader, also featured in RPM) but his dog is constantly peeing on non-Mopars, and it looks as though Bookman is taking up the bad habit!


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

magazine read worldwide? The real twist of fate to this already was that the owner’s son-in-law worked with RPM’s own Shari Gary… that is how close to us we found this car. The first order of business was making an offer on the car, and knowing all we had to work with,

our offer was quickly refused. And rightfully so, this Fairlane wasn’t just a shell, but rather came with almost everything to complete the base pro street project dreams of Carl Denney. In between his work at the Virginia shipyards, Carl could be found

creating silver rings from antique spoons which he would sell and donate the money to charity. As time allowed, he would also travel abroad to thirdworld countries to use his skills to bring the necessities of life to the desperately poor. Or, when he could find the time between his

FITTING TRIBUTE Carl Denny with his daughter and grandson at the wheel enjoy the Fairlane after first getting it set in his garage. RPM Mag will do its best to make the car into everything Carl imagined it would be.

THE PACKAGE HAS BEEN DELIVERED The transfer from Jerry Gary’s open trailer to our MISKA TRAILERS mini car hauler/RPM event trailer was made at the Festival and the Fairlane was secured in for the long ride back to the shop.

work, his family, and his charity efforts, he could be found in a small, wooden one car garage working on his pride and joy: his 1964 Fairlane. The car was now in the capable hands of Carl’s wife Pam with support from his parents Clayton and Barbara Denney and his daughters Holy and Amanda. They knew that they did not want to sell the car to somebody, or in particular a company, that would flip it to make a quick buck, and if there was any way possible, they wanted to be able to track the progress of the Fairlane. “Even while Carl was in the hospital he was excited

about the parts coming in for the Fairlane. That was all he would talk about.” said Pam. Then, suddenly, Carl, a young, kind hearted and giving man by all accounts, passed away far too young, obviously devastating the family. Several months later, Pam, after turning down other offers, decided to sell us the car. Their decision was based mostly on the fact that we would honor their husband, father, son and grandfather by turning it into a truly cool street machine for the world to see, and do so with the full intention of including some of Carl’s own plans and dreams for the car.

Not a barn find, but rather a garage find from the coast of Virginia, the Fairlane was all there with the exception of the rear floor section which Carl had cut out for his pro street project. “As we opened the wooden garage doors, we found a tight but tidy workspace with barely enough room to fit a car, let alone work on one. Tucked neatly in the confines of that garage was a solid, original bodied ’64 Fairlane 500 hardtop,” told Biro. “And so the story will continue in the pages of RPM Magazine.” At RPM we believe strongly that every car, street or race, has a unique,

compelling story behind it and Project Street Thunder is no different. Through a special sequence of events or be it some level of divine intervention, the sadness of this story makes way for one man’s dream build to continue, only now it will be shared with the entire world through the pages and webspace of RPM Magazine... and we invite you to join in. Check out next issue as we continue on with Project Street Thunder, get it home and prepare the plan of attack by first trying to put our thoughts and vision down on paper with none other Rod Burke, one of the world’s top automotive artists.

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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016




story and photos by

>>What or who do you have to thank (or to blame!) for your automotive passion?


ost of us can probably think back and remember who or what first got us addicted to cars, but for some of us, we never really had a choice – we were born into it. For myself, as

long as I can remember, I’ve been into all sorts of motorsports. My Dad was an incredible mechanic, a master craftsman and was as old school as it gets when it came to cars and raising his children. We never had a new car, or more

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

Wagon and made it as new as he could. He was always fixing or building something, and he had a rule that I had to watch and help him every time. In fact, I was not allowed to play with my friends until all of the chores were done

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importantly, never needed one. Dad rebuilt and painted our family car numerous times and when it came time to buy my Mom a station wagon to chauffer s to and from various activities, Dad found a used Ford Country Squire


THERE’S NOTHING LIKE YOUR FIRST My first ace car was my Dad’s pride and joy, a 1964 Oldsmobile F-85 that was eventually donned in an ultra-coolfor-the-time pro street paint scheme. I was the envy of a lot of fellow gearheads at school.

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www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016


RPM EXCLUSIVE and everything on his list to fix was complete. To be honest, I was not a big fan of this rule at the time, but looking back I am grateful for the priceless education I received and the ability to fix or build anything. I can recall sitting in my Dad’s 1964 Oldsmobile F-85 numerous times as a child, pushing the clutch in and out for him when he was changing it or the transmission. I even recall the day he had me put a new clutch in it while he sat in the car and pushed the pedal. That car eventually became my first race car, and I learned a lot from it. I grew up with an older brother ten years my senior that epitomized


what a big brother should be, and I idolized him while growing up. He too was a victim of Dad’s rules and became quite the motorhead himself. He got me into building model cars and taught me all about paying attention to the details. He is also the person who first introduced me to drag racing– I loved watching him race his 1959 Ford Fairlane and his 1967 Mustang. My brother also taught me about painting a car as he would custom paint all of his right in our driveway. And it was him who bought me a Snake and Mongoose Hot Wheels race set for Christmas, helped me install a Hurst floor shifter

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

FIRST TIME GOIN’ FAST My first timeslip from the drag strip. How it survived after all these years in such good shape I will never know, but I’m glad it did!

so I could eliminate the 3-speed on the column, and painted my car in typical 80s three-color “pro street” style, making me the envy of all of my friends. We grew up less than a mile from the

world famous Englishtown Raceway Park. Every Wednesday night and every weekend, I would listen to the cars roar down the track and dreamed of the day I could be the fortunate one who made

those sounds. It was at Englishtown that I got the pleasure meeting my favorite racer, Don Prudhomme. I also met Shirley Muldowney, Don Garlits, Bruce Larson, Kenny Bernstein, and a host of other

FUN DAY AT THE PARK Raceway Park drag strip in Englishtown NJ was the place to be on Saturday nights. This original venue winner decal is also a survivor.

greats from the ’70s and ’80s. I was so hooked on drag racing that I actually got a job at Englishtown picking up garbage, just so I could hang out at the track. I’ll never forget the first time I took my F-85 to Raceway Park. I was paired

against a Chevrolet Corvair that was all tricked out and not only got my first timeslip and win that day, but along with it my first class winner decal that I somehow managed to save for the past 32 years. It was that car that I replaced a


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FOURTH GEN FOR THE FAMILY My Camaro drag car is my pride and joy of today and my daughter’s favorite thing to work on.

few transmissions, and even a drive shaft n at diffe ent parking lots around my town. It was in that car I got to know my high school girlfriend a little better. It was that car


that I slowly beat to death but didn’t have the money to repair it afterwards. And it was that car that I sold for $2,000 when my parents needed my help moving to upstate New

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

York. At the time, I was happy to help them and didn’t give it a second thought. My car would have never survived the 600-mile journey to my parent’s new home, anyway.

But as the years have passed and I reflect on the priceless memories I have of that car, I now regret selling her every day. The fact is I never really had a say in becoming a gearhead, but I do remember all of the people who inspired me to become one. I also remember every car and the long list of stories that accompanies each of them. For so many, a car is simply a means of transportation however, for me each car defined who I was at the time. It was my escape from the world, my freedom. Sure, other fast toys were fun but it was the car that I became

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RPM EXCLUSIVE obsessed with. While I may not remember many details from the past 32 years, give me a year between 1984 and 2016 and I will tell you what car I had. My daughter is ten years old now and just like her Dad, remembering all of the cars we’ve owned during her lifetime and associating fond memories with each. I guess by now you’ve guessed she is also a victim of my Dad’s old rule. She helps me fix all of our cars, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, trac-


tors, generators, weedwackers, and leaf blowers and I’m proud to say that her favorite machine to work on is the race car. She has quickly become quite the little gearhead and is by far my best buddy. So then, is this passion for cars genetic or an addiction? Whatever the answer may be, I pray that you can look back on your early days as a gearhead and remember not only how you got started, but enjoy all the lessons and memories that went along with your passion for cars.

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

HANDS ON LEARNING Sometimes just reading about cars in print mags or even seeing them in person at the strip or at a show isn’t quite the same as actually tearing in and getting your hands dirty. RPM’s own Toby Brooks helped his dad Jim Brooks build his first car, this ’72 Nova street machine back in the ’80s. Many father/son, father/ daughter relationships were forged through wrenching on hot rods.




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Hey, Nice Dimples!

>> We try out a set of precision machined dimple dies from NEXGEN Off oad to add style and rigidity to any sheetmetal project


Toby Brooks


abricating pieces and parts for your street machine or drag car takes three things: skill, time, and tools. Typically two out of three can yield passable results. But if you have all three, chances are good that the finished product will be pretty solid. With our project car back on location, we have turned our attention to sheetmetal fabrication. In the coming months we will show you what we’ve learned so far about box and pan brakes and motor-


ized bead rollers. However, for now we wanted to turn our attention to a set of tools that can seriously transform the finished look of your project. The best part is, they are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and—if used properly—should last forever. Dimple dies have been around for decades, but their use in high performance auto fabrication has significantly spiked in the last decade. Using a dimple die allows the fabricator to lighten components by cutting holes in it

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

but actually increasing strength and rigidity due to the added angle of the material. Confused? Don’t be. Think of the difference between flat bar stock and angle iron. Orienting the material in multiple planes makes it stiffer, even if the flat stock is composed of a thicker material than the angle stock. To top it all off, not only do dimple dies add rigidity and shed weight, parts that have been dimpled just look cool. After regognizing that we just HAD to get

a set for a recent tech piece we did on our shop Camaro, not to mention some upcoming projects, we started shopping around. THat’s when we discovered NEXGEN Offroad. Located in Temecula, California, NEXGEN markets primarily to the Baja truck and sand rail markets. However, they have an impressive assortment of parts and tools that will come in handy for a fabricator regardless of whether it is intended to race in the desert or the local strip. Like many fabrication tools, it is difficult

1: The 10-piece kit from NEXGEN includes pretty much any size die you might need for just $399. The small black die to the left with the bolt through it is for Dzus fasteners and can be used anywhere, while all the other dies need to be used with a hydraulic press. In order for your project to turn out perfect, though, you’ll need a good hole saw kit and a drill press or a good punch press, otherwise your cleanly dimpled hole will end up ragged and sloppy, which is no fault of the die.


2: Here you can see the nesting rounded edge that forms the metal to shape after it has been cut with an appropriately sized hole first. Altho gh the dies are made of a hardened allow steel, they are still raw metal and corrode if not properly cared for. We applied a small splash of oil on each of our dies and keep them stored in individual zipper bags just to be safe. to predict what size or sizes any particular project might require. As such, having a full set available is undoubtedly the best bet. NEXGEN offers individual dies or several convenient combo sets. We ordered their largest package, a 10 piece set that includes a Dzus dimple, and one each in 0.50, 0.75, 1.00, 1.25, 1.50,



2 1.75, 2.00, 2.50, and 3.00 inch sizes. The aster kit sells for $399, and all dies NEXGEN offers are made by Latest Rage and have been precision crafted from AISI 8620 carburizing alloy steel and heat treated for extra durability. Typical lightweight aluminum and even light gauge steel used for racecar tinwork is no match

for the heavy construction. Our dies arrived three days after ordering in a USPS Priority Flat Rate box, and the post man probably hated us, because the box was HEAVY. The dies have been overbuilt so that repeated use in a hydraulic press is no sweat. We pulled out our tools and got to work.


3: In this photo, the Dzus die has been threaded through the hole but not yet tightened.

4: Once the bolt is tightened, the aluminum compresses into the shape on the edge of the die. 5: The end result is a smooth, clean radius.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



6 & 7: Stepping up to the 2.5-inch die was easy. After cutting the hole with a hole saw, we placed our test panel in the die (6) and squeezed it into place with our press (7).



8: The finished pie e looks smooth and is now sturdier, too. The biggest thing to remember when using dimple dies or bead rollers is to plan ahead. Many materials can be dimpled before they have been further fabricated in the sheetmetal brake, but not after. The biggest limitation we encountered was towing photo theKen’s width of the uprights on our


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

hydraulic press. As long as your material will fit between the uprights, you are good. The only other thing to consider is the quality of your hole saw kit. Before dimpling, you’ll need to cut a hole in the material to accomodate the die. Poor quality hole saws will leave


9: The first pie e we fabricated that employed the NEXGEN dimple die set was this custom aluminum radiator support. After bending it up on the brake, we used a hole saw to cut fi e holes, then pressed the 2-inch die in place to give it a clean look. ragged edges and diminish the overall result of your finished product. After cutting the hole and placing the die above and below the piece, it really is as simple as pressing the two halves together using a shop press. For some dies with a through bolt design, a handheld hydraulic pump can

be used too (especially helpful for dimpling panels on the car. We couldn’t be happier with our kit from NEXGEN. It added just the finished appearance we were after. If you are looking to take your fabrication work from “homemade” to “hand crafted,” you will thoroughly enjoy this set of cool tools!


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1: It is great to finally see some color going on some parts! In front, you can see the ProCharger blowoff valves that have been treated to a matte gray coating with a transparent raspberry accent, while the Mechman alternator looks great with black anodizing and powder coating.

1 story by

PART 27 >>If the details didn’t matter, Project aPocalypSe Horse would probably be done by now!



ometimes it is important to realize that even when it seems like your longterm project isn’t ever going to be done that you are actually making

july 2016 | RPM Magazine

progress. And it is also critical to understand that other times when it seems like progress has stalled, that things are actually falling into place. That’s our story this month.

After getting the car back to 13 Sins Garage in Lubbock, we pulled the engine and got started on some cool new finishes. We also got some new parts in to inch us ever closer to finally firing

Toby Brooks

our 529 ci Kaase Boss Nine at long last. First, we realized that with all the additional accessories we had planned for the Horse, we needed a high output alternator. After shop-

2 2: After blasting off the original red anodized finish, e sent the top plates of our ProCharger blow off alves to Billet Connection where Mike Cofini machined the olt hole provisions oversize to accomodate the black anodized Performance Engineering cup washers to lend a high-tech look. 3 & 4: Mike Cofini of Billet Connection made this slick integrated nozzle plate to fit ehind our Visner Engine Development throttle body. It will allow a third stage of nitrous to supplement the twin 8-port NOS fogger kits already installed above and below the intake runners. ping around for a bit, we decided on a Mechman Alternators 150 amp G series billet alternator. Like all Mechman units, it features a 2 year warranty and the killer black anodized billet case looks fantastic. We’ll have more on this when we wire the car in a couple of months, but we couldn’t help but show you a sneak peek this month. Elsewhere, we also received a sleek integrated nitrous fogger plate from


5 & 6: We looked everywhere for a quick release clevis to fit one of our chassis bars o allow the nitrous bottle to be removed without taking out the back window with no luck. Thankfully, good friend and master fabricator Steve Yates was able to make us a set on his Bridgeport using solid chromoly stock. Mike Cofini at Billet Connection. Most famous for their innovative Clear View remote oil filter, Billet Connection can also do some one-off tuff s their schedule permits, so we sent our Visner Engine Development billet throttle body to Cofini. He whipped up a very cool plate that will add a third stage of nitrous in addition to the two NOS fogger kits currently being plumbed at Nitrous Supply in California.

There are certainly times when off-the shelf parts just aren’t available to suit your needs. Such was the case when we started looking for a way to quickly remove a bar from the dual funny car cage to access the nitrous bottle for refilling. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a quick pin clevis anywhere to fit the 1 1/2inch tube that needed to come out once in a while. Although the bottle can easily be mounted in place




www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016




7: Here’s what we started with: a primered 2014 Mustang front fascia panel. We found a six-piece billet insert on the web to clean it up and decided to go with a hex mesh material behind it for a high tech look.

with the rear window out, there isn’t currently any way to remove it once the window is installed due to the twin funny car cage. After unsuccessfully Googling for hours, we were ready to give up. That’s when good friend Steve Yates messaged us that he could make a set from scratch on his Bridgeport. You might remember Yates from last month’s story, as he rode shotgun with Rod Bollini in bringing the car west to Missouri for us. Yates is an incredible fabricator who loves a good challenge. When he heard there was no such thing as a 1 1/2-inch quick release clevis, he got to work and had a pair whipped up in a day. Next month the crew at 13 Sins will

have them installed, so that’s one more problem checked off he list. We also got another install completed this month with the addition of a six-piece billet insert we sourced from the web. Looking for something other than a run-ofthe-mill brushed billet insert, we opted for a black powder coated finish and also added a subtle aluminum hex mesh screen behind it. Before you cry “tuner!” or “heretic!” hear us out here. We love the high-tech tactical look of the hexagon pattern and are incorporating it throughout the build. The hex screen will not only add a bit of protection to the Saldana radiator, Vintage Air condenser, and B&M trans coolers, it will also carry that

8: The first s ep was to cut the center section from the factory lower grille to make room for the billet piece.


9: With the lower grille cut out, we added four billet mounting bars vertically aligned with the billet grille. Before mounting the grille, we cut a piece of aluminum hex mesh to add extra protection and style.

www.rpm-mag.com | july 2016



11 12: By adding in the custom billet mounts for the lower grille, fabricating the mounts for the lower outer grille inserts, and adding in the hex mesh, our grille install was far from a simple bolt-on. Regardless, the end result is clean and cool.


10: Here, the black powder coated billet grille and the aluminum hex mesh can be seen. The look is consistent with the theme utilized throughout the build: high tech and subtle use of texture to create visual interest. We’ll incorporate the material elsewhere in the build later, too.


july 2016 | RPM Magazine

11: We pulled out our Miller MIG welder to craft these brackets for the outer lower openings. Although they look odd from behind, they are completely hidden from the front. The real challenge was to hide the button headed cap screws used to hold everything in place.


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13 & 14: The stock Sanden-style compressor from Tuff Stuff is quality piece, but we decided we need to slick it out a bit. After hours sanding, grinding, and otherwise smoothing it out, it was ready for coating. 15: The end result with the powder coated pulley, cover, and Performance Engineering fasteners looks fantastic.




17 16 & 17: Using Enderle linkage components from Good Vibrations Motorsports, some standard heim ends, aluminum rod, and Performance Engineering cup washers, we created this zoomie slide valve actuator that will be operated by two Hurst NitroStick shifters. The idea is to have a Lenco-inspired look that will actually be functional.


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july 2016 | RPM Magazine


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18-21: Lloyd and the guys at Nitrous Supply got busy plumbing the lower 8-nozzle NOS fogger nitrous system this month, too. It is a tight fit, but thanks to the skilled crew at NS, it was no sweat.

theme to yet another part of the car, which is a nice added bonus. With several other aspects of the build awaiting parts, we turned our attention to other detail items. First, we disassembled our ProCharger blowoff alves and prepped them for refinishing. Although the red anodized factory finish looks great, it wasn’t in keeping with our build’s color scheme. We also wanted to add some Performance Engineering black anodized cup washers and cup caps. As a result, we sent the top to Billet Connection for machining to accomodate the cup washers, then applied a ceramic coating to the upper and lower parts. To add a splash of color, we sent the center sections to

BMC Powder Coating, where a transparent raspberry powder was applied. While we were at it, we completely smoothed the Tuff Stuff ir conditioning compressor, grinding and sanding all factory casting marks and the like before applying a matching tungsten ceramic coat to it, as well. To finish it off, we added a powder coated pulley cover and serpentine pulley and another full complement of brushed stainless fasteners and Performance Engineering cup washers for a stealthy, high tech appearance. Our last task was to start piecing together the linkage for the Miller SpeedSports zoomie slide valves. We decided to turn to Good Vibrations Motorsports, the

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nation’s biggest source for Enderle linkage BMC Powder Coat 13 Sins Garage components. After www.bmcpowdercoat.com www.13sinsgarage.com fabricating a base806.828.1037 806.683.9076 plate from aluminum sheet, we incorporated a number of linkage components to create a functional actuator for the valves that has a Lenco-like Mechman Alternators look. Once our Hurst shifter handles www.mechman.com are back from KG Industries, we will 865.522.6166 finish the install and show you how Performance Engineering they work. www.performanceengineeringparts.com Just as we were going to press 918.243.5588 we also got pics and info about the intricate nitrous plumbing job being Tuff tuff erformance done on the intake by Nitrous Supwww.tuffstuffperformance.com ply, as well. With the lower system 800.331.6562 now complete, the upper system should be done by next month’s KG Industries/Gun Kote installment, and we can’t wait to www.kgcoatings.com show you the finished product. We calvin@kgcoatings.com are pleased to say that progress continues, and with a little luck we Good Vibrations Motorsports should finish the last bit of welding www.goodvibesracing.com on the chassis next month before 800.576.7661 we get ready to apply a high tech, cutting edge Gun Kote finish to the Nitrous Supply whole thing. Stick with us...it’s just www.nitroussupply.com getting good! 714.373.1986




july 2016 | RPM Magazine

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Sport Muffler Kit for 2015-2016 Mustang GT 5.0L

• Features 2.5" stainless steel Ask For Details mandrel bent tubing • Loud aggressive sound PN M-5230-M8SBV • GT350 Quad Exhaust Tips • Includes rear lower GT350 valance

ELITE Series Ultra-Duty Street Headers Hedman’s ELITE hedders are the best you can buy. They have thicker flanges. stronger wall tubing, and a thermal coating that can withstand full-throttle thrashing and torturous towing.

Also Available in New Black Maxx Coating

Buy A New


and receive a

Water Pump

FREE Fender Cover $25 Rebate Check

and a

for details



Offer valid July 1 - August 31, 2016

GM LS-Specific

Ultra Pro Magnum™ Rocker Arms

LS-Specific Ultra Pro Magnum™ rocker arms from comp cams® increase ratio and stiffness over stock rockers, while also increasing lift without the need to swap cams. Available for LS1, LS2, LS3, LS6 and LS-based truck engines in individual sets or kits featuring studs and guide plates.

XR-1A LS-Style High-Output Ignition Coil Set

Designed specifically for PN 30260-T8 high-compression naturally aspirated, boosted or nitrous-equipped applications making more than 1,000 horsepower. The spark energy is comparable to CDI (capacitive discharge ignition) systems without the need to convert. The Smart Coil design also requires no ignitor module.


Valve Cover Adapters

These CNC-machined billet aluminum PN 555701 adapters allow you to use '59-'86 small block Chevrolet valve covers on a '99-'10 GM LS engine platform allowing you to add a unique custom look to your LS-series engine.

SB Chevy Performance Oil Pump • Big Block style with 25% more volume than stock • Extended drive and idler shafts to allow for additional support to eliminate shaft deflection • Screw-in relief valve instead of a pin • CNC machined housing and cover PN 10990

Performance Thermostats

Flex-a-lite® performance thermostats open at lower temperatures, allowing systems to run cooler with Flex-a-lite® electric fans and Flex-a-fit® aluminum radiators. PN 32160 160º, PN 32180 180º

Axle-back Exhaust System

for 2016 Camaro SS

This easy to bolt-on emissions-legal system for the 6.2L V8 is perfect for the person looking for a very aggressive exhaust tone inside and outside the vehicle and features a pair of 409S stainless steel Outlaw Series mufflers with 3.0in stainless steel mandrel bent pipes. PN 817745

Seal-4-Good Reusable Gaskets Multi-layered and made from a special "Dead Soft" Aluminum, which conforms to header flanges for the ultimate seal. They easily conform to small imperfections that a copper gasket simply can not. Due to this construction, these gaskets will not blow out or burn out when properly installed.

HP Series Differentials

Auburn Gear High Performance (HP) Differentials outperform all competitors. Auburn's unique cone clutch arrangement provides the advantage over plate or gear type limited slip differentials. Available for Dodge, Ford, GM, and Toyota applications. Ask for details.

with Max Gear

Maximize Performance Max Gear makes gears run smoother, quieter, cooler and longer without overhauls. A direct reduction of drag in the drivetrain has huge advantage for trucks and other 4-wheel drive vehicles including better gas mileage. Formulated with a friction modifier – no additional additives are necessary.

Bolt Stretch Gauge The ARP rod bolt stretch gauge is highly recommend when installing rod bolts and other fasteners where it is possible to measure the length of the bolt after tightening. It is the most accurate way to determine the correct pre-load in the rod bolt. PN 100-9941


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