RPM Magazine January 2018

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 19 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 Manager: Chris Biro 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




Chris Biro

and now for a little...



t’s customary in this first issue of the New Year for me to welcome everyone (new and returning readers, advertisers and supporters) to RPM and give a brief history of its life thus far. So, WELCOME to RPM. We are a different kind of car magazine—we’re innovators not imitators and RPM is a car mag built for you. We encourage readers to think of RPM as their magazine, one that is created each month with the same core values, vision, and focus that we had 19 years ago. That vision was to create a REAL WORLD, REAL TIME car magazine revolving around high-power cars, street or strip, and one that would be continually shaped by our reader’s interest and input. We envisioned a place focused around cool builds and fast cars, period, regardless of who owns them, drives them or races them, or what they are worth. As always, this issue is packed with fresh, exclusive content ready for you to enjoy. Going into our 19th year it’s safe to say that we’ve evolved by leaps and bounds over the years. We’ve changed paper stock three times, from newsprint to better newsprint, to a gloss cover and then finally to the full gloss full-color magazine you see here. We’ve been copied countless times (which we consider a compliment), including the style, content, physical size of the magazine, and even when we moved to a gloss cover, there were others to follow suit. When we were a start-up, photography was still 99% film, which meant negatives or quality scanned images were used for the magazine. With that said, I’d like to personally send a huge thank you to the world’s innovators for bringing us digital photography! Nineteen years ago we were handing out free magazines everywhere possible to spread the RPM word and continue to provide thousands of free magazines to special events around the world each year. Now, RPM is subscribed to in print in 34 countries and digitally worldwide through Magzter. RPM hit newsstands 10 years ago and is now sold on well over 5,000 newsstands in three different countries. Wow, what a ride it has been! Here’s a good one: right around 2007, people were asking what we were going to do when everything goes digital and there are no more printed magazines? The quick answer would be, go digital, which we did but nonetheless, our print readers have always received RPM first. We’re also proud to say that over the course 19 years we have had increased readership EVERY SINGLE MONTH, and our digital magazine has followed suit.



How did RPM become to be the world’s top independent car mag? We’re glad you asked. As hardcore horsepower people, we would see so many incredible machines in our travels yet rarely would any of them end up in the pages of the major magazines we were subscribing to so faithfully. We were starting to see the same cars and same names in the same magazines and websites, and even the tech articles seemed to get repetitive and distant from what the people on the streets and tracks actually wanted. And the project cars—as regular gearheads we just couldn’t connect with them. Our magazine had to be more about the people and cars that keep the performance and race industry gears turning—the people who bust their

butts and knuckles just for the love of horsepower and their cars—the same cars that weren’t ever considered for the pages of the so -called “major” magazines of the time. These are the folks wrenching on their iron in garages late nights to get them ready for the street, track and shows. In RPM, there had to be the proper mix to satisfy everyone’s appetite for power. This new formula caught on pretty quick and before we knew it, with the consistent growth and continued refinement of RPM, here we are in 2018 with page after page of high-quality, high-horsepower excitement! Every issue offers an opportunity for any one us regular hard-working car enthusiasts to be in the pages of the world’s new major car magazine, RPM MAG.


RPM is the performance and racing world’s only “real-time” “current-dated” magazine. We reinvented the concept of actually having current information in a current-dated magazine that gets to readers just before the cover date month. For example; this issue is labeled JANUARY 2018 (not March or April), and should show up on your doorstep or handheld device the last week of December to the first of January. And it will have current information in it that is not more than 30-45 days old. We just never understood the concept of getting our January magazines in November and seeing content from August in it.


If you bought this copy off the newsstand, picked it up at your local speed shop or dentist’s office, or were handed it at a car event, you can get your own copy of RPM each and every month delivered right to your door…or handheld device. As most of you already know, the best way to get RPM MAG first is by subscribing in print. We’re also on over 5,000 newsstands (including large stores such as Walmart, Books-A-Million, etc.) in the USA, Canada, and select stands in the UK. By continually adding new smaller “mom & pop” operations, chain stores and large nationwide retailers to our existing locations, RPM is out there and in the face of the public… but if you still can’t find RPM in a store near you, by all means drop us a line with your ZIP or Postal code and we’ll see what we can do. You can also order your online subscription to RPM at www.magster.com and, just like our print subscribers you are the first to get the latest issue of RPM to your handheld device, tablet or computer. We also have our FREE RPM APP for handheld devices available for download in both the Apple and Google Play/Android stores. RPM’s FREE fully interactive E-MAG is enjoyed worldwide and can be found at http://rpm-mag.com/ rpm-e-mag. This is the full, unedited issue of RPM published online 15 days after its newsstand release. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us, we promise NO phone-trees and that WE, the senior staff, not an intern or overseas operator, will respond personally to your emails or calls. From all of us at RPM, we wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2018, stay safe and remember, keep the shiny side up!

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

ADVERTISER INDEX ACC Performance................... 19 Accufab Inc.......................... 107 Aeromotive........................... 95 AFCO..................................... 66 Alan Johnson Performance (AJPE)................................. 61 Alston Race Cars.................... 40 Applied Racing Components (ARC).................................. 37 ATI Performance Products..... 46 Auburn Gear........................ 100 Autoglym............................ 110 AVAK/Ridgegate Tools........... 51 Baer Brakes......................17, 59 Bear’s Performance............... 56 Be Cool................................ 113 BES Racing Engines................. 9 Bill Mitchell Products.......12, 32 Blade Runner 2049................ 96 Blower Shop............................ 5 Borla................................... 112 BTE Racing............................ 48 C&C MotorSports................. 103 Calvert Racing Suspensions... 27 Canton Racing Products........ 76 CFE Racing Products............ 103 Chassis Engineering...........8, 42 CN Blocks.............................. 92 CNC Motorsports................... 79 Coan Engineering.................. 62 Competition Products........... 64 Covered Wagon Trailers......... 96 Crane Cams........................... 77 Crower.................................. 36 CVR Products....................... 108 DART..................................... 18 Design Engineering..........49, 78 Diamond Pistons................... 38 DIY Auto Tune/MS3-Pro EFI... 10 Drive Train Specialists (DTS)... 13 DRIVEN Racing Oil................. 26 Dynocologists........................ 21 Dynomite Dynamometer...... 13 Dynotech Engineering........... 94 Ed Quay Race Cars................. 24 Edelbrock.............................. 28 Energy Suspension................ 80 Energy Suspension/Karbelt... 20 G Force Racing Transmissions.42 Geostorm.............................. 50 Granatelli Motorsports.......... 41 GZ Motorsports..................... 35 Harland Sharp....................... 21 Harwood............................... 90 HoleShot Wheels................... 82 Holley.................................2, 87 Howard’s Cams...................... 23 Hughes Performance............... 7 Induction Solutions............. 104 Indy Cylinder Head................ 84 Innovate Motorsports............ 43 JE Pistons.........................31, 98 Jesel...................................... 14 JW Perform. Transmissions.... 92

Kinsler Fuel Injection............. 85 LenTech Automatics.............. 86 Lokar Perf. Products............ 102 MagnaFuel............................ 18 Magnuson Superchargers...... 99 MAHLE Clevite Inc............... 111 Manton Pushrods.................. 93 Meziere Precision Mfg............. 8 Mickey Thompson Tires......7, 12 Miska Trailers...................... 101 Mr. Cool................................. 94 MSD Ignition......................... 24 Neal Chance Converters....25, 65 Nitrous Pro Flow.................... 37 Nitrous Supply...................... 89 Parts Pro Perf Centers.......... 116 Performance Improvements.. 22 Perf. Plus Connection.......23, 59 Philadelphia Racing Products (PRP).............................56, 63 Powermaster Performance.... 22 Precision Turbo...................... 53 ProCharger............................ 91 Proform Parts...................... 109 Pro Systems Carburetors... 19,47 PTC........................................ 39 Quick Fuel Technology........... 32 Quik-Latch Products............ 106 Racecraft............................... 33 Racepak................................ 34 Racequip............................... 81 RAM Clutches........................ 83 Renegade Racing Fuels......... 52 Rhodes Race Cars.................. 45 Ross Racing Pistons..........5, 106 RPM Magazine Subscribe!.114 S&W Race Cars...................... 95 Scorpion Racing Prods............. 9 Shafiroff Racing Engines..11, 44 Sharp Trailers........................ 39 Smith Racecraft..................... 88 South Dakota State Fair......... 11 Steve Morris Racing Engines. 29 Strange Engineering............. 16 Summit Racing Equip.....20, 115 Taylor Cable Products.......... 105 TCI Automotive...................... 35 Ti64....................................... 98 Tom’s Upholstery................... 14 Trick Flow.............................. 15 TRZ Motorsports.................... 17 Tuned By Shane T.................. 60 VP Racing Fuels...............30, 97 Weinle Motorsports.............. 82 World Products..................... 86





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

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated—For 19 STRAIGHT YEARS RPM Magazine has been the ORIGINAL Voice Of Wild Street Machines and Extreme Drag Cars WORLDWIDE! Don’t Settle For Less! We DELIVER Insane Fast Cars and Bring You NO POLITICS... JUST ACTION! Your ONLY “Real Time” “Real World” Car Mag...PERIOD!



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

RIDES Street Race is Back!..........................................................

Mission: Accomplished................. 54 One man’s dream of building the world’s fastest Viper becomes another man’s obsession


Terminal Condition................................................ 8

This Fourth-Gen Camaro is proof that fully escaping the impact of “The Bug” is probably a losing effort


Overkill ...........................................................................86 Rod Bollini’s pro street Dodge Dakota is too much…and that’s just right!


Rockin’ & (Slip) Rollin’................................................50 We put our new Klutch Tools 52-inch slip roll to the test to fabricate some curvy sheetmetal goodness!

All Bent Into Shape....................................................78 We put the Rogue Fab air-over-hydraulic Model 600 tubing bender through the paces!

Project Homegrown COPO.........................................88

Purple Rain................................................................ 20 Mini but mighty, this grudge racer Chevy LUV doesn’t just look fast, it is!

The crew at Misener Motorsports gets the PHC Camaro rolling and ready to hook up thanks to AFCO struts and coil overs

Trick Your Truck: Dually Makeover Edition.................96

We give our two-decade old tow rig a much needed facelift thanks to Overkill Fabrication, Fuel Off-Road, and MetalLugz

Shop Talk................................................................... 32 To ruin or not ruin a perfectly good hood? That is the question...

Project Acadian Update..........................................102 Blow the dust off and get to work...it’s time to bring that parked street bruiser in the garage back to life on the street and strip!



We blow the dust off of an east coast favorite and hit the track

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



hances are, if you picked up this magazine, you already have it. If you don’t, you most likely soon will. With both genetic and heritable strains identified already, many of us acquired it either from a family member like a dad, grandfather, or uncle or a neighborhood friend with a tool

box and a crowded garage. Try as many of us might to overcome the condition, the stark reality is that it is typically carried to the grave, with the host paying dearly in terms of time, finances, and other resources all in the name of symptom management. Referred to in medical journals as gearheadia performancia hemoautomotivus, which translated

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literally means “high performance auto in the blood,” most refer to it simply as “The Bug.” This is the story of one of its victims—due to federal patient privacy regulations, a sufferer we will refer to simply as “JT.” If the car looks or sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the very same JT you’ve read regularly in our Shop Talk column right here in RPM. JT got The Bug early in life, and he places the blame on the shoulders of his father and brother. “My dad was a master craftsman. He did it all, from cars, fabricating, HVAC and wiring, to plumbing, carpentry, and even taxidermy. If it was broken, he could fix it, and early in my childhood, he was extremely strict and demanded I watched him fix everything he was

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

working on, especially cars” JT said. Although JT might have resented the demands at the time, over the years, he began to realize the value of the process. “Dad gave me my first car when I was 14 years old and helped me turn it into my first racecar. Just before my 17th birthday my 1964 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass was ready for action,” he said. “My older brother Mike, who was my Dad’s first protégé, added a 1980s three-color pro street paint job to my car, and just like Dad, taught me along the way.” Living less than a mile from famous Englishtown Raceway Park, JT took the Olds there every Wednesday night and every weekend he could. And while the performance side of The Bug had already

shown its face, the aesthetic symptoms weren’t far behind. “I was addicted to the pro street movement of the 1980s,” JT admitted. “I had pictures of Rick Dobbertin’s blown and twin-turbo Nova on my walls where a Farrah Fawcett poster should have been,” he said. As The Bug went in the early 1980s, JT had it bad. However, he nearly broke free from its clutches as the responsibilities of adulthood started to take hold instead. “Somewhere in the middle of things, life started to happen as it does for many of us,” JT reflected. The Olds long gone, eventually his dirt bike and daily

BIG TIRE BRAWLER The General debuted the fourth-gen body style in 1993 near the end of pro street’s first wave of popularity, making a tubbed ’94 like this a bit of a rarity. The induction tubing poking out of the VFN fiberglass hood looks killer and goes nicely with the “restrained aggression” theme of the build.

Attention Stock Car Racing Promoters The South Dakota State Fair is currently seeking a Race Track Promoter interested in leasing the Dakota State Fair Speedway to manage and operate a summer racing program. Dakota State Fair Speedway is located in Huron, SD on the SD State Fairgrounds and is a 3/8 oval dirt track with grandstand seating for 6,000. Interested individuals can contact Peggy Besch at the SD State Fair at 605-353-7343 or email peggy.besch@state.sd.us for more information.

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



ONE COOL CUSTOMER Out back, the narrowed Dana 60 rear makes way for the massive Mickey Thompson meats, while the front end has been treated to a billet grille and a modified VFN ’glass hood.



january 2018 | RPM Magazine


driver Corvette followed suit. “I was just a normal dude driving a Ford Bronco, II,” he lamented. But The Bug wasn’t gone. It was just lying dormant searching for an opportunity to strike again. Over 20 years later, JT had managed to medicate his condition through car magazines, TV shows, and NHRA drag racing and working on the cars and motorcycles of friends and family in his shop, but he didn’t have anything of his own other than a Harley to wrench on.

That was about to change. “My friend Scott is an avid drag racer. Every time I went to his shop, we would talk about his Chevelle and his most recent racing exploits,” JT said. Scott invited JT to spend the day at the track and encouraged JT’s young daughter to come along, as well. In retrospect, it was the trigger event that threw JT squarely out of remission. “It was like a needle in the vein of a former junkie,” JT admitted. Making matters even more serious, JT’s 8-year-old wondered aloud

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


TERMINAL RAD RED RAT The well-dressed 572 big block has been equipped with a trick polished Spectre Performance twin tube induction setup with a CryO2 carbon dioxide chiller system to cool incoming air on demand. The attention to detail is superb.

why her dad didn’t have something of his own. After speaking with his wife about it, she agreed. The girls were on board and ready for dad to get back in the game, and The Bug came on more fiercely than ever. The search was on for a new build. JT went to a Super Chevy show in search of an appropriate

starting point. The typical Nova, Chevelle, or Camaro would have sufficed, but JT had nearly talked himself into a fifth-gen COPO replica. Then he spotted it: a 1994 Camaro that had already been back-halved. Although the interior was in tatters and the paint had seen better days, the pro street strain of gearheadia performancia hemoauto-


motivus kicked in at the mere sight of those 33x21.5 Mickey Thompson rear tires. A week later, JT was the proud owner of a pro street fourth-gen Camaro. While a good-looking start, once JT dug in, he discovered that the car wasn’t as clean as advertised. The rear suspension was a hack job and the tinwork was a mess. He


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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

promptly repaired or replaced everything, utilizing mild steel to construct a new back-half ladder bar setup with coil overs on a narrowed Dana 60 rear. Up front, a new QA-1 tubular K-member was installed along with coilovers. A 4-wheel disc brake setup helps slow the roll, while the Moser 35-spline axles and Richmond 4.10 gears

ensure the differential could keep pace with the power JT had planned. To that end, JT happened upon engine builder Jason Leindecker of Leindecker Racing Engines who helped piece together a 572 ci Merlin big block. A Scat forged crank swings Scat rods with JE 11.5:1 pistons. Brodix aluminum heads were lightly mas-

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www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


Some parts are not legal for sale or use on any pollution-controlled motor vehicles.


WHAT’S MEAN, NASTY, AND RED ALL OVER? While the Victory Red hue looks killer topside, a peek underneath reveals that a number of components including the fabbed fuel cell, narrowed rearend, and ladder bar suspension have also been treated to JT’s meticulous detailer’s touch.

saged before the Merlin intake and Pro Systems 4150-style carb were bolted in place. A custom CO2-chilled air intake system from CryO2 and Spectre Performance keep the atmosphere headed into the mill cooled, while a pair of Cerakoted custom-fabbed headers route the exhaust rearward. Backing the lopey roller-cammed Rat motor is a Rossler TH400 trans. An ATI 4,500 RPM stall converter is more than up to the task of coupling the motor to the 3-speed automatic. For the most part, the Victory Red exterior remains stock but has been treated to some updates. A VFN fiberglass hood has been modified to clear the taller-than-stock induction setup, and a pair of custom ground effects


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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

have been partnered with a billet grille for a custom look. Rolling stock for “Big Red” consists of a set of Weld Racing Pro Star wheels, 17x4 fronts with 215/60-17 Champion tires coupled with 15x15 rears shod with MT Sportsman Pro rears. Inside, JT treated the car to a full re-wire along with a 10-point mild steel cage (sanded and painted by his wife). That shabby chic interior was fully updated to racing cool with a pair of aluminum buckets draped with red G-Force cam-lock harnesses. Autometer gauges and a custom switch panel were stuffed into the factory dash. The end result is a sleek and stylish cockpit as well suited for a trip to the ice cream shoppe as it is a pass down the

quarter-mile. “I’m thrilled to be able to say that at 50 years old, I finally have the pro street car that I dreamed of back in the ’80s,” JT said. “I’m looking forward to cruising this summer, but my girls are going to have to take turns, because Big Red only has two seats,” he added with a grin. Through the process, JT says he’s thrilled with what it has meant to his family. “My daughter learned the very same lessons I did from my dad while helping me. She was really a big part of this and helped me a lot in the shop. The time we spent together is priceless to me and perhaps some of the most precious times we have ever shared,” he added. By his own admission, the new “family” car has


SPECIAL THANKS “Shawn Kroll who helped with numerous tasks on the build and Jason Leindecker of Leindecker Racing Engines (“brothers for life through this process”). Matt Zeilenbach of Convenience Collision for paint and body help, Joe Funk of Funk Signs for the rally stripes, and my wife and daughter who helped and supported throughout the build."

Chassis Type & Mods: Owner-fabricated mild steel backhalf with 10-point cage. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: QA-1 tubular front K-member and control arms. QA-1 coil-over shocks. Aerospace Components disc brakes. REAR: Ladder bar setup with Z-bar and Koni coil-over shocks. Wilwood disc brakes. Body & Paint: VFN fiberglass hood. Custom ground effects package. Billet front grille. Victory red basecoat/clearcoat paint. Engine: 572 ci Merlin BBC built by Jason Leindecker of Leindecker Racing Engines. World Products Merlin III block with Scat forged crankshaft, Scat H-beam connecting rods, & JE 11.5:1 compression pistons. Brodix cylinder heads with custom porting and 3-angle valve job equipped with Ferrea valves and Scorpion 1.7 ratio roller rockers with stud girdles. Custom roller cam with COMP lifters. Induction & Fuel Delivery: Merlin aluminum intake with Edelbrock 2-inch spacer. Custom Pro Systems 1000 cfm 4150 carb. Custom Spectre dual plenum top hat and cold tubes. Design Engineering Cryo2 air & fuel chiller system with Aeromotive A1000 electric pump and regulator. Electronics & Ignition: MSD Power Grid ignition with MSD Digital 6-AL2 box, MSD Pro Billet distributor, and MSD spiral core plug wires. RPM Performance data logger. Exhaust: Custom fabricated 2 1/8-inch primary headers with 3 ½-inch exhaust. Entire exhaust Cerakoted by GSD Coatings. Transmission: Rossler Turbo 400 with trans brake. ATI Fuel & Blown 9-inch converter with 4,500 rpm stall. Differential: Narrowed Dana 60 housing with Moser 35-spline axles and Richmond 4.10 gears. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 17x4 Weld Racing Pro Star wheels with Champion 215/60-17 tires. REAR: 15x15 Weld Racing Pro Star wheels with 33x21.5-15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tires.

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



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january 2018 | RPM Magazine


CAGED ANIMAL The owner-fabbed mild steel cage sports excellent fit and finish just like the rest of the build. The DEI CryO2 bottle between the tubs might look like a nitrous tank, but is filled with carbon dioxide for cooling the air inlet tubes.

JT recently showed “Big Red” (left) along with Jef Fern’s former RPM-featured twin turbo Camaro (right).

filled a huge void in JT’s heart that was dormant for too many years. “Every now and then I open the door to my shop just make sure it is not a dream, and I’m forever thankful to everyone who has had a

hand in bringing this dream to life,” he concluded. And speaking of life, about that Bug. As Big Red clearly illustrates, JT’s remission was only temporary. As it turns out, his case is terminal.

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


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hat’s not to ‘love’ about a Chevrolet LUV? It’s definitely not a ‘me too’ ride one sees very often on the street, let alone in racing. These light utility vehicles (aka: LUV) are an instant con-

versation starter and the center of attention when and if you actually come across one, especially when it is as easy on the eyes as Heath Hisle’s 1980 LUV. These mini-trucks hit the market in North America around the early 1970’s, entering the scene

just as the compact truck market began growing in popularity. The first generation ended in 1980, although following generations continued on for quite some time. Hisle’s LUV, dubbed Purple Rain—and reminiscent of the early

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


PURPLE RAIN Pro Modified movement—easily stands out in a sea of more commonly seen platforms in racing, however, it didn’t start life as a drag truck. Rather, Hisle hit the show circuit with Purple Rain on several occasions, but found that car shows just weren’t his thing. “A Chevy LUV to most people is an overlooked little truck. To me though, I just love them. My dad owned one of them a long time ago when I was younger, and I always thought that if I could find a nice one later in life, I would buy it,” shared Hisle. Heath stayed true to his plan and found one for sale near Detroit. After reaching out to the seller and

communicating back and forth concerning the fate of the little pickup, eventually Heath and his wife set out on a road trip to The Great Lakes State to check out the Chevy in person, and wound up striking a deal and hauling it home. Being a racer through and through, it was inevitable that the car show scene didn’t play out to Heath’s liking. “I had partnered up with my buddies Brad Schnieders and Jasson Terrell who own Tin Soldier Race Cars to rebuild my 1969 Camaro—which is also a grudge/no time car that I have raced for years —and I needed something to play with during the work, so the truck

seemed like the natural choice,” explained Hisle. Having 20-plus years of racing under his belt, sitting idle while the Camaro was undergoing the overhaul wasn’t an option. Something had to fill the hurry-up-andwait void, so the ’80 was retooled into a grudge/ no-time drag machine. Either Heath or the guys at Tin Soldiers did the work on the truck and the result is a potent grudge racer. After completely redesigning the suspension and shocks, swapping out the transmis-

LUV YOU LONG TIME A whole lotta LUV in the form of a nasty nitroused small block powered Chevy LUV is what Heath Hisle brings to the line on race night. The current 434 cubic inch small block Chevy was built by Cropper Racing Engines.


january2018 | RPM Magazine

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january2018 | RPM Magazine


sion, engine, ignition, fuel system, and basically everything mechanical, the truck was ready to rumble. Despite its pintsized appearance, the Chevy is actually still fairly heavy according to Hisle. The Purple Passion LUV is all steel and maintains all OEM glass as well

and the chassis is constructed of mild steel 2x3 tubing with a custom strut front. Out back a custom 4-link setup with anti-sway bar suspends a braced Ford 9-inch with Strange internals. The current engine is a small block Chevy, built for

WILD WINGED WONDER The truck screams with influences of those early big winged Pro Mods. With the Lexan scoop in place the engine nearly meets the roof line. RIGHT: Jason Terrell wheeling the LUV for Hisle, makes a test hit at London Dragway.

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january2018 | RPM Magazine


heavy nitrous use that Heath re-aquired after selling it to his friends at Cropper Racing Engines who had bought it for personal use, but had yet to use it. The Cropper-built engine is a 434 cubic inch small block Chevy based on a Dart Little M block with a set of Dart 23-degree cylinder heads.



This mouse motor is armed for heavy nitrous use, a system that Hisle designed himself. Out back is a shortened and braced 9-inch filled with Strange goodies. Suspension is a 4-link with anti-sway bar, diagonal link and triple adjustable coilovers.

Crew member Brad Schnieders helps prep the truck for a test hit at London Dragway last summer.

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018



FINE INSIDES Take a look at the fit and finish of the interior…even the door jambs of the OEM steel body are painted and detailed to perfection. There’s room for only one passenger on race day…the nitrous bottle!

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




january2018 | RPM Magazine



DASHINGLY DONE More than just a Friday night racer, the truck has good looks and meticulous detail going for it from its show car roots. Check out the top-shelf workmanship by Hisle and the guys at Tin Soldier Race Cars.

Slinging the slugs is a Scat crank with K1 rods and a super-secret grudge race nitrous spec COMP Cams camshaft was used. An Edelbrock

Chassis: All mild steel 2x3 with custom strut front. Suspension: FRONT: Strange front struts and shocks. REAR: 4-link with anti-sway and diagonal bar with Penske triple adjustable coilover shocks. Body & Paint: BASF Passion Purple. Engine: Cropper Racing Engines-built 434 cubic inch small block Chevrolet, Dart Little M block. Dart 23 degree cylinder heads, Scat crank, K1 rods. Comp cam. Comp lifters. Jesel belt drive, Moroso oil pan and Moroso valve covers. Induction: Innovative Racecraft Lexan scoop with IRD 4150 carburetor. Edelbrock intake. Power Adder: Hisle Nitrous Tuning custom 3 stage nitrous system by Heath Hisle. Electronics: MSD front drive distributor. Transmission & Driveline: Stinger powerglide transmission with either Ultimate Converter Concepts or Converter Design Specialist torque converter. Differential: Braced 9-inch Ford with Strange internals. Tires & Wheels: Billet Specialties with Hoosier tires,10.5 x 28 rears and 24-inch fronts. Performance: No time, no tell! Special Thanks: Heath sends special thanks to several folks who have helped with Purple Rain along the way: Tin Soldier Race Cars, Stephan Stringer at String Racing, Steve Hudspeth at Hoosier Tire, Mike Abney at NX, Jon Bitler at IRD, Taz at Sketch Pad, Killer Koatins, Instant Karma Racing, Innovative Racecraft, Tim McAmis Performance, Leash Electronics, Eric Davis at Penske Shocks, and Steve and Pretty Rob at NAPA in Cynthiana, Kentucky.

intake is topped with a Jon Bitler IRD 4150 carburetor and Innovative Racecraft Lexan scoop. The nitrous system is one of Hisle’s own

designs from “Hisle Nitrous Tuning.” “It’s my personal hodgepodge of N20 parts from NX, Induction Solutions, and also Applied Nitrous Tech-

nology. It will flat out move some nitrous,” he added with a smile. The purple Chevy transfers the power to the ground by way of a tricked-out

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018



PURPLE PEOPLE If the LUV is Purple Rain, then Hisle is the Prince and his crew is the New Power Generation! Left to right: Jason Terrell and Brad Schnieders of Tin Soldier Race Cars, Heath Hisle (kneeling), Heath’s wife, Shauna.

Powerglide trans built by Stephen Stringer at Stringer Racing. Torque converter selection depends on race venue. “We have an Ultimate Converter Concepts by Lenny or a Converter Design Specialist by Greg

Slack,” said Hisle. For Heath, it is always about the next step, so another powerplant is already in the works for this little purple brute. And no, we didn’t forget to mention performance, but as we have become accustomed to hearing “grudge racers will always have their secrets!”



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january2018 | RPM Magazine

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story and photos by


e’ve all had to make extremely hard decisions when it comes to our cars. Perhaps


the most difficult ones are those that will affect the look of the car permanently. I recently faced this self-imposed dilemma when I considered incor-

porating CryO2 chilling in our family Pro Street Camaro. Making the commitment to keep the air and fuel that was entering my




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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

combustion chamber cool was the easy part (the facts/ reasoning for which I’ll share in a future article). Finding or making a dual-plenum top hat that

would accommodate two 4-inch cold-air tubes that would serve as a home for the CryO2 air bulbs was a bit of a challenge. After months of research


and phone calls, though, my persistence paid off, and I found the right people to help bring my brainchild to fruition. When all of the parts finally arrived, I wasted no time and began to mock everything up. My plan looked absolutely amazing on paper, but presented many obstacles. With an already high-rise Merlin intake, a 2-inch Edelbrock spacer, Pro Systems carb, and Spectre dual plenum top hat, there was no way the 572 and all of the above goodies were going to fit under my 6-inch VFN cowl hood. I’m a firm believer that necessity is the mother of invention, so there was no turning back. I was fully committed to getting the hood to work, whatever the cost. This project is not an easy task to perform correctly by any means or under any circumstances. Sure, you could cut a giant

1: There was NO WAY this hood was going close. The gap went from 2 inches in the nose to well over 8 inches at the cowl. The pressure was beginning to set in.


hole in the hood and leave it or mate an old pro stock-style snorkel over the hole and call it a day. To add insult to injury, not only did I want to keep the somewhat stock looking hood, I also wanted it to open like it did when it was stock. This meant there would be some crazy compound angles to figure out as the hood was closing. The dimensions would change as the angle of the hood got closer to the cold air tubes and then once again when it was fully closed. This also meant that clearances would have to be cut in to manage the sweep of the hood as it pivoted down and around the projecting geometry of the plenum and tubes. Anyone who has ever worked on door hinges knows exactly what I’m talking about here. Take a look at any door in your house, and you’ll see a slight inward angle on the leading edge of the

2: These small little holes were only possible after hours of measuring.

door to compensate for the fact that the edge of the door travels in an arc that has a radius equal to the door width. That angle allows the leading edge of the door to clear the jamb and contact the door stop molding, while the outer edge is ever so slightly larger to maintain a presentable gap once the door is fully closed. The same phenomenon occurs on car door hinges. If you are building a car from scratch and fabbing hinges, then you know that the hinge pivot point has a critical impact on your leading edge door gap, and more importantly, avoiding collision with the fender, or in this case preventing the hood from colliding with the plenum. Perhaps the even more challenging part is that the tubes sit high enough in a few places that they are actually more than halfway above the plane of the hood when closed—meaning that

3 3: This simple idea of graphing each cut proved itself to be an invaluable part of the process. once the hood sweeps past the halfway point of the tube and rests in the fully closed position, the hole will tend to look too big in that area if not treated ever so carefully. It still has to clear during the sweep, but you don’t want a huge gap once closed. Quite the conundrum, but a fun challenge at that! I saw it in my head and knew what I wanted, but there was no way to even begin this process without an extra pair of hands to somehow hold the hood in the spot your eyes told you would be the correct position.

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018





4: The finished product actually turned out better than I envisioned. It has become a focal point whenever the car is on display with the hood closed.

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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

Knowing that engineering this was a bit out of my wheelhouse, I put out the gearhead distress signal to the only guy I would trust with such a task. My buddy Shawn, whom I have mentioned in past articles, is an old school gearhead with the added bonus of a college degree in engineering. I highly respect his intellect and his ability to blend his two worlds together. We both agreed that measurements needed to be taken but labored over where and how to begin. We eventually made a jig in the engine bay that we squared up with materials laying in the shop. We then taped up the cold air tubes and the dual plenum top hat, and set the hood nose down in place. It was a horrific sight, to say the least, and scared me even more than I was before we started. Why was I scared you may ask? With the front of the hood resting in its place on the car, the clearance began at 2 inches off the fender and worked its way to well over 8 inches at the back. It’s not that the top hat was sitting

too high, but rather that the 4-inch cold air tubes run all the way to the front of the car. There was no way to use smaller tubes due to the CFM requirements this combination required. This is where x-ray vision or the home shop x-ray machine would come in real handy. Ideally, we could trace the projection of the tubes onto the hood surface and begin cutting. Since neither of these were at our disposal, good old garage engineering and patience would have to do. We took what seemed like a hundred measurements of the hood, tubes, and other reference points on the fenders to figure out what we called our home datum, or point of origin on both tubes. Using those same reference points, we were able to transfer the point of origin to the hood. This gave us the first point of entry at equal places relative to the tube. This was hypercritical because as close as the tubes are in size and location, they are not perfectly symmetrical. Even a degree or two off will

change the clearance hole dramatically, so if we had assumed equal geometry on both sides it would have looked awful. We both took very deep breaths and said a prayer, realizing the drill bit was loaded in the chuck, and we had approached the point of no return. Oh, and anyone who knows the fourth-gen Camaro body well, you know that the hinges are set way back in the cowl, making the sweep radius huge everywhere, so careful attention needed to be paid to the most forward geometry to ensure we avoided collisions during closure, but without over-clearancing for a poor final fit upon full-closure. So the two of us stared at that hood and at each other, and decided to check our measurements for the 101st time just to be sure. We took the hood off for the first of over 30 times that night and decided to begin surgery. I was so stressed that I handed the drill to Shawn and told him if anyone was going to ruin my perfectly good hood, it could not be me. After a


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5: Starting a job like this normally requires you to see it through to completion without any interruptions. Our schedule that night left us with no other options. This hood was getting done, and it had to be completed by 7am! 6: Let’s face it, drilling holes and using an air saw on fiberglass does not take a rocket scientist or even an advanced gearhead. Knowing where to drill those holes and how much to cut, does take some serious engineering. few explicits, he agreed to drill the first hole that would enable us to see if we were in the ballpark with our measurements. We used a drill bit just big enough to stick a silver “Sharpie� marker in so we could make a mark on the freshly taped tubes. Let me tell you, as I


watched that drill bit make contact with the fiberglass, I felt the full weight of my CryO2-chilling decision crashing down on me, and knew Project Hood Clearance was officially underway. Before we proceed, it’s important to note that having Shawn 1,200 miles away is a

hardship I’ve reluctantly learned to live with. So in order for my gearhead soul mate to help me with this project, he had to agree to my perfectly reasonable request, and fly in from Florida. Naturally he was on an extremely tight schedule, and therefore Project Hood

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SHOP TALK Clearance had to be completed over the course of a sleepless night—just to make things a bit more interesting! Back to the shop. The first hole had now been drilled, and we carefully placed the hood back on the car. We then removed the cap from the silver Sharpie, placed it in the new hole and scribbled a mark on what we hoped was the center of the right side cold air tube. Holding our breath, we lifted the hood off and smiled at the sight of our success. The mark was indeed in the exact spot our measurements had predicted. This achievement was precisely what we needed – it was like a B-12 shot giving us the confidence boost we needed to forge ahead. We wasted no time and drilled four more holes (two on each side of the original), and again were pleased to see our marks remained dead center on the tube. Just when you think it’s safe to keep drilling holes, Shawn says, “get your air saw and a new blade.” After seeing the horror in my face he went on to explain that the tube was not flat it was round. Every 1/8-inch of tube that would stick out from the hole changed every measurement we originally took. The two hours of measuring we did were only good for drilling the first few holes in each side. The rest of the job would require many small cuts with the air saw and “eye-balling” it every step of the way. We alternated between sides with every cut so we could get a true visual of where we were. It was exciting to slowly watch the gap between the hood and the fender slowly diminish. Taping the tubes and graphing our progress after every cut proved to be the million-dollar idea. Each time we removed the hood, we saw where the next cut had to be. Shortly before sunrise, we had made 32 cuts on the driver side and 28 on the passenger. We feared cutting too much and

ruining what was once a perfectly good hood. Making the 1/16-inch and 1/8-inch cuts was painstakingly slow, but kept us in check every step of the way. In the end, Project Hood Clearance turned out to be a huge success. We pulled an all-nighter and were able to attach the hood to the hinges, opening and closing it with no problem whatsoever. Just as we were finishing up, my wife woke up and came out to the shop to see the fruits of our labor. She was blown away with how it turned out. She admitted that she could not see or imagine what we were trying to accomplish, and why it was going to be so difficult. After looking at it for a while she said, “it looks like the horns of a bull, you should call the car El Toro.” Shawn and I looked at each other and knew she was spot on, but the only problem is my daughter named the car Big Red a few years ago, in honor of its big tires, big block, and the fact that it is red. Given we already have Big Red license plates, decals, and signs for my shop, El Toro will have to be its middle name for now. It’s always fun to watch people walk up to my car and hear them say, “Oh, look, a turbo car.” Then they get closer, can’t find any turbos, but notice the purge tubes and a few solenoids and say, “oh it’s a nitrous car.” That’s when I stand up and tell them it’s all motor, but I chill the air and fuel with CO2. Without fail the next thing they say is, “I love the way the hood fits over the tubes.” After thanking them, I share a little story about a good friend, a sleepless night, and the question of whether to ruin, or not ruin, a perfectly good hood. Thank God it was “or not!” Until next time…keep wrenching!


7: Kids, listen up. When your teacher starts the lesson on how to read a ruler, please pay close attention! I wish this was as easy as reading a ruler. We needed to make a jig in the engine bay and find the exact places to take those ever so important measurements.


9: We’ve all had to make extremely hard decisions when it comes to our cars. Perhaps the most difficult ones are those that will affect the look of the car permanently.

8: This entire process took a lot of thought and was not easy by any means. Sometimes “cool” comes with a lot of labor and effort. Drilling that first hole took commitment to this plan and there was no turning back afterwards. My worst fear during “Operation Hood Clearance” was cutting too far and passing that point of no return.


www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



STREET RACE >>We blow the dust off of an east coast favorite and hit the track!

story by

Chuck Scott


ome of our longtime readers may remember RPM Magazine’s coverage of the Virginia/North Carolina King of the Streets Drag Race Series (KOTS) a number of years back. The small-tire heads-up series

photos by



Jimmy Moore & Becky Compton

started out back in 2005 with just one class and soon expanded to include 5.95 and 6.95 index classes and even select heads-up classes. The series traveled to various venues hitting 11 different tracks in Virginia and North Carolina, but it all started at the then-new Motor Mile Dragway in

Radford, Virginia. After years of traveling and putting my own racing on the backburner to manage and promote the series while also working a 60-hour a week auto damage estimating job and writing for RPM Magazine, I was a little worn out to say the least. So when my son was born

in 2013, the race series was put on hold after the season ended. When it came time to introduce the RPM Magazine 4 Lug Thug project car to the dragstrip this past summer, I soon realized there was no class close to home to run an Ultra Streetstyle car. The small tire class

racing continued on in the Carolinas but my schedule doesn’t allow for much traveling anymore. So I decided it was time to wake up the old KOTS series—only this time without all the traveling and excessive number of classes. Of course the first order of business was venue, and Motor Mile Dragway

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1: You may have seen Thomas Johnson’s car in X275 in the past and more recently running the Small Block N/T class in North Carolina.

4: Number 2 in the points was one of the original King of the Streets racers. Terry “Junkyard Dog” Harris was at the very first race 13 years ago and raced with us every year. He purchased another Street Race veteran Gene Tilley’s Camaro last year and quickly made it his own, and it is a beast. The 565ci nitrous motor makes some real steam. You may remember several years ago the feature on his gorgeous Aztec Gold ’69 Camaro in RPM Mag.


2: You never know what might happen or what will get said at the first round card draw and call-outs before the race starts. Spooled Media’s Corey Stamper gets the camera rolling in case any YouTube worthy drama unfolds.


3: This view became a familiar sight in 2017. The season points champion was Jamie Superstar Umberger and his trusty steed Casper out of the Tick Performance camp. Casper is powered by a turbocharged LS on corn fuel. Jamie is well known in the street car world with his very streetable Mustang. The thing actually has exhaust all the way to the rear axle with mufflers. He doesn’t always do wheelies, but when he does, they are at least halfway down the track. He doesn’t always draw a bye run either… well actually he pretty much always does.


www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


KOTS was the choice. With a planned one-race-permonth schedule, it was a good fit with their existing schedule. And in my opinion, Motor Mile is one of the nicest facilities on the east coast, plus it is located just 45 minutes down the road. Now that we had a place to race, we had to decide on the format and rule set. Originally we considered using John Sears’ Ultra Street rules


since we built the project car to fit that rule set. But after a survey of what cars were within a reasonable towing distance, we decided to lean more towards our original Street Race rules in order to allow more combos like big block nitrous and traditional backhalf cars with small tires. Also, we had to consider the latest trends toward notime racing. A lot of our Street Race alumni had started run-


5: Another Tick Performance hot rod made number 3 in the 2017 points. Matt Goins is a fabricator at Tick Performance in Mount Airy, North Carolina and he put his skills to good use with his bad to the bone Vortech Ysi blown LS mulletmobile—AKA “Stepchild.”

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

6: Johnathan Atkins from Tick Performance brought out his nasty straight -drive naturally-aspirated LS-powered Mustang. I swear it sounded like he was launching that thing at 11,000 rpm!


6 7: At the last race of the year, the cold temperature played havoc with our consistently solid track prep that we had enjoyed all season. Racers like Jeff Guy unleashed the front limiters and made shock adjustments on his Firebird to get down the tricky surface. Loose front ends and big block Chevys on spray make for cool pictures!

8: Even the best classes can’t be successful without the best people working to make it happen. Local retired street racer and KOTS alumni Big Craig ran the scales and slung VP Fuel like a boss all year. His better half Melinda also makes awesome trackside baked beans. Big Craig, Melinda and KOTS staffer Gary Blankenship made sure we stayed well fed with regular cookouts at the scales.


www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


KOTS ning no-time stuff down in North Carolina, and locally they had been running tire-only rule classes that show ETs. Most of the locals have really lightweight cars, though and couldn’t add 500 pounds or more to run our class, so with this drastically changed racing landscape I had to come up with something new that would utilize the best parts of each type of heads-up racing. The fact is that most every class of traditional heads-up racing will eventually implode. What happens is that the same cars win time after time, and after a while, the rest of the racers just don’t want to waste the time and money to come out when the result is all but written on the wall. The very fastest guys light the boards with crazy fast numbers that make the slower to middle of the pack cars lose hope in competing. No-time racing doesn’t have that

problem as—if approached correctly— most people really don’t know what the other guys are running. It is hard to judge how bad you got beat looking at taillights as long as it isn’t by a few bus lengths. The challenge is, though, that eventually it too will end the same way—a guy with a decent fast small block nitrous car that runs 4.90s will eventually get disheartened when the top dogs with 2,200-pound cars and 500ci small blocks gap him by over half a second. After much debate, we decided to do a hybrid of the old KOTS Street Race class mixed with No Time. The weights were dropped by an average of 250 pounds from Ultra Street to make the weights obtainable for both class racers and “No Rules” racers. Next, we turned off the score boards and opted to leave the starting line on an instant green tree.


9: Jason Nolan of Nolan Performance single handily killed our attempt at a daily driver class with his show worthy Vortech YSi SBF Fox hatch. He had to fall back into Street Race and run with the rest of us after that. Waiting for her turn at the scales is our only female racer so far, Lori Thomson. Lori is from a big racing family. Her husband Jay and son DJ both raced in KOTS over the years. Her burgundy Mustang is powered by an 18 degree SBC on nitrous.

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11: Out of the Team Junkyard camp is probably the best looking S10 on the planet. Anthony Mcpeak delivered some solid performances in 2017 and always hangs out a nice blue flame from his BBC nitrous machine.


10: The internet almost broke after this David and Goliath race happened. In his first race Ryan Steele brought out his work-in-progress “Grinch” Mustang. He still hadn’t installed a nitrous kit but decided to run the class anyway at the last race of the season and ended up taking out one of the fastest cars in the class in the first round. Matt Lawrence smoked the tires in his turbo LS coupe, handing Steele the win and the drama lasted for the next week. Ryan then went on to take out Matt’s Black Opps Motorsports teammate in the next round when he broke an axle on the starting line. Ryan then had his name legally changed to Ryan Turbo Killa Steele the next day.

12: The Black Opps boys are known for turbo LS motors, so PJ Hooper campaigned the Black Opps Motorsports street Camaro in 2017. Even though the car was about 500 pounds overweight from his cast wheel 76mm 2,700-pound minimum allowed weight, the car was a contender. Watch for it to come out swinging in 2018 with a S488 turbo that is allowed for heavyweight cars in the Street Race rules.

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



13: Did I mention earlier the 2017 points champ Jamie Umberger’s car is an actual street car? No golf cart or ATV needed. He just drives it to the lanes, the bathroom, or to get something to eat.

14 14: Aaron Bayne was a great example of the combo diversity that Street Race allows. Aaron enjoyed the big weight break for stock block big block nitrous engines. The sharp Fox body was always in the hunt and made it to the finals at the last race of the year. Without times being shown now, traditional qualifying wasn’t going to work anymore, so we went to drawing cards for pairing cars each round. To make it even more “street,” we


january 2018 | RPM Magazine

also allowed call-outs for the first round and permited negotiated starts. If a racer wanted to give their opponent the break or the back tire it was allowed as long as the

starter was informed. As you can imagine, the unusual format made for some interesting and often dramatic events. We did, however, attract all types of combinations,

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www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018

All sheet, plate, and tubing costs do not include any applicable shipping charges. Please contact one of our sales representatives for a shipping quote. Due to flucuations in material costs, pricing may vary without notice. ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE



15: Probably the baddest small block nitrous car to run with us was Zak Grubb and Michael Hick’s D3 Yates-headed Ford. The Trojan Horse disappeared in the middle of the season and went under the knife for some upgrades and weight loss. You won’t see this car turning on the clocks in 2018 and will have to guess at the ETs from here on out.


cars, and characters. Besides being put on by RPM Magazine, Motor Mile Dragway, and Shelor Motor Mile Auto Dealerships in Christiansburg,

Virginia, we also picked up some great sponsors: Qwik Time Towing out of Roanoke, Virginia, Nolan Performance in Salem, Virgin-

16: Another Street Race veteran racer, Tommy Sullivan brought some class and style to the events with his sweet BBC nitrous Chevelle. You may remember a feature on this car several years ago in RPM.

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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018




17: This photo spent some time as my screen saver. The white hatchback OG-LX is Shawn Lovell, son of KOTS veteran Troy Lovell. His white Mustang was my race car 16 years ago. It sat in the guy’s garage I sold it to for years collecting dust until Sean bought it and brought it back to life. It has a different motor and he converted it to a four-eye but it still has my old car number on the windshield. In the other lane is my old friend Tony Hill in his stock block BBF nitrous Mustang, “NOStimus Prime.” Tony was my helper and crew member when I raced the white car in the other lane. He spent many a late night wrenching on the old LX so we could make it to a race.

18: Another former KOTS racer out of retirement is Princeton, West Virginia’s Daniel Bishop. Daniel raced this same truck for years in Street Race along with his dad who raced a white fourth-generation Camaro. Daniel is all about putting on a show.

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january 2018 | RPM Magazine


20 19: NMCA racer Henry Lee fit right into our new format in Street Race with his 76mm turbo SBF-powered coupe and decided to let it all hang out for the last race of the season.

20: The 2017 season turned into a test and tune for the RPM Magazine Project 4 Lug Thug. The car made 11 passes throughout the year while I worked out the new car bugs. Five of those passes were first-round losses. It did win one round of competition with a promisingly quick ET, but a micro-glitch prevented it from making the next call. It ate two bronze distributor gears in those 11 passes. Keep an eye out for a tech article with the cure to that common problem in high-revving Fords with high volume oil pumps. We also plan on finishing our Extreme Weight Loss Challenge article series over the next few months. When we started the weight loss project the car tipped the scales at 3,224 pounds with me in the seat and by the end of the season it was down to 2,970. Still a ways from the 2,700-pound minimum weight the car could race at in Street Race, but we’ll get there. The Thug will be back racing in 2018 much lighter and with a good baseline tune from the 2017 season.

ia, McCarty Performance in Bristol Tennessee, and Proline Racing down in Ball Ground, Georgia. We immediately saw full fields of cars and even our spectator count grew. Given the positive response, it

looks as though we are on to something and look forward to another action packed year of racing in 2018. You can check out the new King Of The Streets at kingof-the-streets. com or on Facebook.








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www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



1: The Klutch 52-inch slip roller (bottom) and 48inch box and pan brake (top)

Rockin’ and (Slip) Rollin’

>>We put our new Klutch Tools 52-inch slip roller to the test to fabricate some curvy sheetmetal goodness


Toby Brooks


here’s a maddening thing about tools: the more you have, the more you want. Whether you are a newbie just beginning to outfit your shop with the essentials or an established fab shop with all the latest and greatest the tooling world has to offer, it seems as though no matter what you have, there is always that need for more. And as you learn, you begin to discover what you didn’t even know you


needed to begin with. Take our sheetmetal fabrication journey, for instance. Two years ago, I had never bent up a single piece of tin. I started simple, snapping up a cheap little 36-inch brake from the local import tool store for around $150. It didn’t take me long to realize that a straight sheetmetal brake isn’t particularly useful for the type of work I had hoped to do, especially at just 36 inches in width. I learned that instead of a standard

brake, I needed a box and pan brake, where individual teeth could be removed to allow you to bend in more than one plane. After searching for the best 48-inch entry-level box and pan brake we could find, we discovered Northern Tool + Equipment’s Klutch #49676 48inch brake, which we reviewed in our August 2016 issue. The new-found versatility was awesome and we put it through its paces bending up the tinwork for Project aPocalypSe

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

Horse last winter. It remains a staple in our sheetmetal fab lab and is used darn near every day we are in the shop. However, as learning often does, we soon discovered that for some jobs, a brake isn’t the best tool for the job. In those cases, we needed a slip roller. What is a slip roller, you ask? A slip roller is basically a trio of long steel dowels or rollers that can be either hand cranked or power fed to pull material through and shape it along the way. In most cases, two rollers form a “valley” while an adjustable third roller pushes the material down into the valley between them, forming a smooth, curved radius in your material. The tighter the third roller is adjusted, the tighter the radius of the finished piece. This can be a great alternative to the sharp bends produced by a brake and is perfect for pieces like transmission tunnels and inner fender wells where the soft curve not only looks smoother, it fits better, too. In particular, we noticed that sharply bent panels that have

been bead rolled don’t always look so good. If a panel is bead rolled first then shaped in a brake, the teeth of the brake typically crush the bead rolled detail, leaving a piece that doesn’t look so good. Alternatively, since the slip roller doesn’t crush the panel in one place, the shape of the bead rolled detail is retained and the piece still looks good. Since our Klutch box and pan brake has been such a great addition to our shop, we thought it only logical to start there before adding a slip roller. And while slip rollers are available in a variety of widths, our first experience with a standard sheetmetal brake taught us to get as wide a unit as possible to begin with. With that in mind, we quickly decided on Klutch’s #49680 52inch slip roller (MSRP $799). With a heavy 16-gauge capacity and wide 52-inch throat, it would be more than up to the tasks we had in mind, bending 20 gauge aluminum or cold-rolled steel panels. We ordered our unit and it arrived at

our local Northern Tool + Equipment within a week. It was securely packaged in a wooden crate and lifted by forklift into the bed of our 1-ton dually. Weighing in at a whopping 500 pounds, it is a beast that really requires at least two burly individuals or a lift of some sort to move around. Once back to the shop, we managed to get it off the bed of the truck partially and lowered it with an engine hoist the rest of the way. At press time we have yet to fabricate a rolling stand for it as we already have for the sheetmetal brake, but we have plans to get it up off of the floor on a sturdy stand with some heavy duty casters soon. For now, it stays right where we left it on the floor. The crank action is smooth and the swingout top roller makes removing material formed into a tube an easy task. Additionally, the three grooves on the lower roller make it easy to form up to 1/2-inch tubing into smooth, sweeping curves, too (a process that can be beneficial

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2 2: This is how the Klutch 52-inch slip roller came packaged when we picked it up from our local Northern Tool + Equipment store. We used an engine hoist to get it the rest of the way out of the truck.


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4 3 & 4: To try it out, we cut a piece of 20-gauge steel and marked it for a bead rolled relief like we have used throughout the aPocalypSe Horse build. Using a roll of Teflon tape to mark our corners, we mapped it out with a Sharpie (3) and made a pass through the bead roller to add a detail relief (3). The piece is now ready for forming in the slip roller.

5 5 & 6: If you were to put this piece in a brake, the bead rolled detail would be crushed and the end result wouldn’t look clean and crisp. However, with the piece loaded in and fed through the slip roller, it is contoured without disturbing the detail at all.

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刀䤀䐀䜀䔀䜀䄀吀䔀 吀伀伀䰀匀 ☀ 吀䔀䌀䠀

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


RPM COOL TOOLS when forming treework and other tubing to match the contours of factory panels). The challenge in learning to slip roll effectively is really in the planning. For a piece like a transmission tunnel, for instance, the end of the panel nearest the firewall will require a larger radius, while the end toward the passenger compartment will require a smaller radius, requiring the fabricator to either pull the panel through the slip roller in a curved manner rather than straight through like we did on our test piece or play with the adjustable lower roll tension


settings from one side of the unit to the other. As with any tool, it is only as good as the individual using it, but there is no question that our Klutch unit has added a whole new range of fab capabilities to our shop. We can’t say enough about the versatility of the Klutch unit. It can form panels up to 51 3/16 inches wide to a minimum radius of 3 inches. As with other Klutch tools, it comes with a 1-year warranty. With other comparable units priced as much as triple the cost of our unit, it is hard to beat for the hobbyist or pro shop alike!


7 & 8: The completed piece turned out great! A panel like this can be formed instead of a series of bends in the brake and the smooth appearance adds a sleek, finished look. The real challenge in combining bead rolled details with slip rolled forming is really in the planning, as the bead rolling is best done on flat, unformed panels first. However, a step relief could easily be bead rolled on each side of this panel to make it sit flush as a bolt-on piece.

january 2018 | RPM Magazine



Northern Tool + Equipment www.northerntool.com http://bit.ly/2j7vWTt 800.221.0516

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


story and photos by

Toby B rooks


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january 2018 | RPM Magazine


hawn Beard is a car guy. The Midland, Texas native says it was cars that got him through a scary period of his adolescence and it is cars today that give him reprieve from the pressures and demands of business and life. “I have always had a passion for automobiles in general starting at a very early age. My passion grew tremendously at the age of 15 when I was diagnosed

with a Glioblastoma Multiform 4 brain tumor,” he recalled. Doctors gave Beard two months to live without treatment and perhaps six months to live with surgery. Needless to say, the outlook was bleak. However, it was during this time that Beard says he spent every waking moment in his hospital bed doing one thing: pouring over car magazines. “Cars became a major part of my life and my recovery,” he said. “I

wanted to get out of the hospital and drive, therefore giving me the will to live. No matter what was going on in life, I could get in a car and forget about it. It’s still that way today,” he added. Fast forward a couple of decades, and Beard not only survived his brush with death, he’s thriving. Along with wife Heather, the Beards are raising two young boys of their own (Mason age 6 and Landon

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE At first glance, the Viper throws off an unassuming, low-key hot rod look with the matte black wrap and aircraft-inspired graphics. However, if the twin Precision Turbo blowdriers poking through the carbon fiber hood isn’t enough to tell the whole story, perhaps the massive Bogart wheels with Hoosier slicks are.

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


SLEEK AND SINISTER From the top, the twin turbos look exactly like turbine inlets, making the militaryinspired aircraft graphics a perfect fit. Out back, the Lexan hatch is still operational, while the carbon lift-off hood reveals the incredible V-10 mill.


january 2018 | RPM Magazine

READY FOR LAUNCH The big Hoosier meats fill the tubs completely, while the fortified and fabricated Mark Williams rear diff rides on a Haas four-link with Penske shocks and features chromoly Haas wheelie bars.

...ACCOMPLISHED age 2) in West Texas while Shawn works in the oil and gas industry. But that love of cars is now stronger than ever. And with it, a purpose to help a friend’s unfulfilled dream become reality. “Ray Hofman, a friend of mine, started having this car built in 2005. His goal was to hold the Dodge Viper record in the quarter-mile,” Beard said. Since this type of car had never been built before, everything on it was custom and one off. As the car neared completion, the company Hofman had commissioned to build the car suddenly closed its doors. The unfinished Viper was shipped back to Ray where it sat for few years in his shop on a lift. Periodically, Hofman would mention getting back on it, but inevitably other things would come up. The nearly-completed car was an impressive piece, even if not quite ready to run at the record books. It sported a chromoly Jerry Haas Race Cars (JHRC) backhalf with a custom strut front end. A Mark Williams fabricated 9-inch rear filled with 3.89 MW gears and 40-spline MW axles was suspended via a JHRC custom four-link and Penske shocks out back, while Strange struts were

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


MISSION... installed up front. A full quartet of Wilwood 4-piston disc binders was installed, and a set of Bogart aluminum wheels with Hoosier tires were bolted in place. Perhaps the most original and groundbreaking part of the build lie under the carbon fiber nose, where a bored and stroked 540 ci Dodge Viper V10


LABOR OF LOVE powerplant had been installed. Starting with a factory block, engine builders John Edwards and Jeff Morys selected a custom Moldex billet crank with Carillo aluminum rods and JE pistons. Meanwhile, fully outfitted custom Stryker aluminum heads were lightly massaged before being torqued in place. Other goodies like

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

a Dailey dry sump oiling system and a one-off Stryker billet camshaft were incorporated for maximum performance, while an incredible Beck fabricated aluminum sheetmetal intake was installed and fully equipped with massive injectors all controlled by a MoTec EFI system. Force-feeding the gorgeous intake is a

Beard purchased the car with one goal in mind: to finish what his friend Ray Hofman was tragically unable to complete and see to it that the car lay down the quickest and fastest-ever recorded quartermile pass for a Dodge Viper in history. To make that happen, he had to first see the car through to completion then chase away all the new car gremlins in order to make that historic pass. Thanks to the help of family, friends, and a talented crew of others who were also committed to the goal, the Dodge did just that and blasted a 6.78 @ 211 mph pass in Ray’s honor.

pair of Precision Turbo 91 mm units installed topside and plumbed via 1 7/8-inch custom ceramic coated headers that dump just behind the front wheel openings. The exhaust note when the fun pedal is smashed is ear-splitting and unlike anything you’ve ever heard on the street or at the strip.

Inside, the car features a 6.0-certed cage and lots of carbon fiber panels. A Grant GT wheel and air shifter provide driver input, while the combo of a MoTec digital dash and a quartet of dash-mounted AutoMeter gauges display the cars vital signs. Lightweight Lexan windows have been installed throughout. While details as to exactly what remained to be completed when Hofman took the car back are somewhat lost to history, the point is the that the formidable machine didn’t need much to be completed to

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018



january 2018 | RPM Magazine

...ACCOMPLISHED SHAWN BEARD’S STREET/STRIP 1997 DODGE VIPER Chassis Type & Mods: Chromoly backhalf with strut front end by Jerry Haas Race Cars. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: Strange struts with Wilwood 4-piston brakes. REAR: Jerry Haas Race Cars custom 4-link suspension with Penske shocks and Wilwood 4-piston brakes.. Body & Paint: Custom matte black vinyl wrap with gloss black graphics. Carbon fiber hood, front fascia, roof, and doors by A.R.T. Lexan windows throughout. Engine: 1997 Viper V10 (originally 488 ci) factory block bored and stroked to 540 ci. Engine built by John Edwards & Jeff Morys. Moldex billet stroker crankshaft with Carillo aluminum rods and JE 10.7:1 compression pistons. Stryker Cylinder Heads one-off billet camshaft with Jesel solid tie bar lifters and COMP Cams chromoly pushrods. Stryker aluminum cylinder heads with ARP studs and Jesel roller rocker arms. Factory Dodge Viper valve covers. Dailey dry sump oiling system with custom fabricated pan and accumulator. Induction & Fuel Delivery: Beck fabricated aluminum intake manifold with MoTec EFI. Dual Weldon electric pumps. Power Adders: Twin Precision Turbo 91 mm turbochargers. Custom twin core air-to-water intercooler. Electronics & Ignition: MoTec EFI controller with coil-near-plug ignition and 10—count ’em 10—cowl-mounted MSD HVC-II coils. Transmission & Driveline: Rossler 210 Pro Mod automatic transmission with Pro Torque converter. Differential: Mark Williams fabricated 9-inch housing with full floater, Mark Williams axles, and Mark Williams 3.89 gearset. Exhaust: A.R.T. 1 7/8-inch custom-fabricated headers with Cradin Coatings ceramic coating. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 15x3 Bogart polished wheels with Hoosier front runner tires. REAR: 15x14 Bogart polished double beadlocked wheels with 33.5x17-15 Hoosier tires. Performance (quarter-mile): 6.78 @ 211 mph.


take its rightful place as the world’s quickest and fastest Dodge Viper. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be—at least not yet. In 2014 the unthinkable happened: Hofman was tragically taken in a plane crash while flying a historic warbird military aircraft. As sad as his untimely passing was, Beard said he never stopped thinking about the Viper and the fact that his friend never got to reach his goal. Determined to do something about it, roughly a year later,

Beard approached Hofman’s widow Janna and asked if she would sell him the car. He shared with her how he intended to finish the journey in Ray’s name. She gladly accepted and approved. “So now the pressure was on me to fulfill a promise I made to his wife and four sons, Byron, Justin, Dylan, and Jayden,” Beard said. With failure not an option, Beard recognized that he needed to build a team with the knowledge and expertise to ensure success. “My first call was to

David Weaver. David worked for the shop that closed down and was project manager on the Viper. When I told him what I was doing he nearly jumped through the phone eager to help,” Beard recalled. It quickly became apparent that it was just as big as a deal for Weaver to see the car go down the track as it would have been for Ray. Weaver explained how the Viper had been a huge chapter in his life that he never got to finish and he was more than up to the challenge to


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MISSION... see it through to completion. With a technical expert who knew the car now on board, Beard still needed a shop, driver, and tuner. He reached out to Drag Week legend Jeff Lutz and his team who also gladly accepted the challenge of bringing the car up to date, while Lutz himself personally accepted the job of piloting the car to the world record. The final piece of the puzzle was a tuner to help dial the car in. The Motec setup in the car all but demanded a call to Tuned By Shane T., and Shane was happy to assist on site and remotely. Over the next several months, Lutz and his crew worked to bring the formerly cutting-edge 2005-era build up to modern standards. With the car ready to go, Lutz loaded it up and


headed for Florida while Beard, Weaver, and videographer Justin Kirkham of Skinny Kid Productions boarded planes headed that direction, as well. Once everyone arrived, the team jumped into action. Team Lutz and Weaver were all over the car making final adjustments. Shane T was actually in California connected to the car wirelessly. The team successfully worked through the majority of new car gremlins with one exception: the air shifter. They could not get it to work correctly. Try after try with Lutz making a few short hits on the track, it simply would not work.

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

JAW DROPPING The view of the high-mounted 91mm Precision turbos is impressive enough, but the more you look, the more incredible the build becomes. A Beck fabricated aluminum intake sits up top, while a Dailey dry sump system labors below. And check out the near-dozen MSD coils on the cowl!

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


THE SNAKE’S GUTS By this time it was getting late in the day and the track was about to close. The team spoke to a couple of the other racers and got a pot going to pay the track to stay open another hour. Finally, with only about 30 minutes to go, Lutz said, “Screw it. I am just going to shift it out

Jeff jumped in and with the car dialed in to 32 pounds of boost (the setup is capable of at least 40), it carried the front tires all the way down the track to run a 6.78 @ 211. The entire team erupted when the board lit up, punctuating a challenging quest to finally see Hofman’s dream become reality.

manually, we are out of time.” As Lutz started getting his suit on and was just about to get into the car, Beard got a text from Shane T. in California: “It’s good! Let it Eat!” At that point, the shifter started ratcheting back and forth on its own proving it was fixed.

continued on page 76

‘14 - ‘17 C7 ZO6


Inside the Viper is all business, where plenty of carbon fiber and chromoly tubing await any soul brave enough to get behind the Grant GT wheel—including Beard’s oldest son Mason, age 6 (far right). The passenger location is occupied by the water-to-air intercooler, and a spun aluminum CO2 cylinder is on board for chutes and shifters. Stroud safety equipment keeps the pilot safe, and the factory in-dash CD player still works... along with all the factory lighting!



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Page 68


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“Little did we know Lutz was having the ride of his life on the other end—and I don’t mean in a good way,” Beard recalled. The parachutes did not deploy properly, forcing Lutz to bring the car to a halt on brakes alone with a short shutdown area. The binders got so hot that several lines burned in the car, causing smoke and small splatters of oil to go inside the car. Finally bringing the Dodge to a halt, Lutz was good and the car was remarkably still in one piece—but it was definitely in no shape to make another run that night.


Shawn & Mason Beard enjoy time in the shop with Shawn’s recordsetting Viper.

The near-miss investigation later revealed that the angle of the chutes needed to be higher to compensate for the GTS Viper duck bill rear spoiler that had kept the twin laundry bags out of the car’s slipstream. “All in all, we left the track with a victory,” Beard said with a satisfied smile. While the original plan had been to go deep into the 6s, that will be left for another day. Perhaps most importantly, one man’s mission of upholding a promise to a fallen friend and his family had been accomplished.

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

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Wooo Nation's Keith Berry drove his Z06 Corvette to victory at the 2016 “Lights Out 7” event at South Georgia Motorsport Park. His 4.500 inch bore-space, Small Block Chevy engine was built by Pro Line Racing LLC, using a Crane Cams custom-made, tool steel WoooDoo WoooDooo™ Cam.

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www.rpm-mag.com | january2018



All Bent Into Shape


1: Starting at $650, RogueFab’s M600 tubing bender puts a powered design within reach of most fabricators. The unique upright design offers incredible versatility and with more than two dozen total available dies (both round tube and square) and 180-degree radius bends, the unit has capability only seen on units costing thousands more.

>>We put the Rogue Fab air-over-hydraulic Model 600 tubing bender through the paces


Toby Brooks


or most every RPM reader, the goal is to have the fastest and nastiest car (or truck) you can afford. And for the vast majority of those individuals, the only thing more satidfying than that is to actually do it yourself. A big step in that direction is to equip your shop with the fabrication tools needed to complete heavy fab chores like building a cage or backhalf all by yourself. Until recently, acquiring an entry-level tubing bender usually meant a manual unit with limited capability for as little as $250-$300 and up. While many such tools can provide quality bends, most are limited in terms of bend radius, bend range capacity, and other factors. And if you wanted to make the jump to a powered bender, you needed to save your pennies because powered bend-

ers would increase that cost to several thousand dollars. For most, there was no way to justify that expense unless you were a production shop bending tubing all day every day. Until now. We featured Rogue Fabrications VersaNotcher in our February 2017 Cool Tools article and were impressed by the overall quality and ease of use. It made us throw our old tubing notcher in the trash because it was such a better tool. That’s why we were so excited to get our hands on the RogueFab M600 air-over hydraulic bender and put it to use. We weren’t disappointed. The M600 starts as an unfinished, unwelded kit for as little as $650. With the addition of a $100 air ram from your local import tool store, you can have a powered bender with one die for well under $1000. But that is only the beginning.

The true strength of the M600 is the impressive assortment of dies and upgrades available. With 15 different round tube dies, 12 square tube dies, a thin wall attachment for chromoly tubing, an HD upgrade for bar stock and other heavy gauge material, and even things like a convenient cart with die storage, a fully-equipped M600 kit could eclipse the $2,000 range. However, an apples-for-apples comparison to other available options would quickly show you that a machine with comparable capabilities from another manufacturer would probably cost $5,000 or more, making the M600 a clear choice on value alone. However, fabricators never select tools on value alone—they have to work well, too. And here’s where the M600 really shines. Just like the VersaNotcher, it doesn’t take long using the M600 to realize that it was

engineered and built by someone who really understands what makes for a user-friendly tool. The M600’s rotary draw design ensures quality bends and material is loaded in easily with a clamp on one end as the machine draws the other end over a bending die with a pressure die. Commonly, thinwalled materials will flatten out over the bending die, producing an oval rather than round tube that not only looks bad, it is structurally weaker perpindicular to the arc of the bend. RogueFab has solved this issue with an exclusive thin wall attachment that adds a cam-operated 2-axis adjustable pressure die to help keep the tube from deforming as it is drawn over the die. The M600 is easy to set up and adjust, using polyvinyl-dipped quick pins and return springs that draw the bending die assembly and

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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

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2: RogueFab takes pride in designing, testing, and building their tools in the USA. Based in Sandy, Oregon, owner Joe Gambino doesn’t just sell tools; he builds and uses them, too. You can see him putting his stuff to work on the Rogue Fab YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/user/ RogueFabrication).

3: The M600 is incredibly versatile and can grow with your capabilities and budget. We chose the optional pre-assembled and powder coated unit, but RogueFab also makes the unit available as an unwelded, unfinished kit. We also went ahead and got the upgraded thin wall attachment, perfect for chromoly tubing to prevent deformation.


4 4: Terry Podschweit loads in a piece of 1 1/2-inch chromoly and lubes the die with white lithium grease. RogueFab sells a Bend All lube that is even better , as it leaves no residue that can affect welding, saving time from clean-up.

5: Tim Braddy and Brian Podschweit give the M600 a turn with some 1.75-inch tube. With an inexpensive airover-hydraulic ram, making repeatable bends is as easy as pushing a button. The M600 can bend up to 2-inch solid steel bar stock. Try that with your manual bender!


www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


COOL TOOLS air-over-hydraulic ram back to starting position with the simple twist of a provided machined thumbwheel. To say we have been impressed with the M600 is a dramatic understatement. We look forward to putting it to use on other projects in the future, but have already used it to form new strut bars for Project aPocalypSe Horse. If you are in the market for a new, upgraded, or even your first tubing bender, be sure to check out the RogueFab M600 first. You won’t be sorry!

9 7


9: Another cool upgrade is RogueFab’s tube rotation/ index gauge. These digital units are perfect for making complex 3-D formed tubing bends with the help of Bend Tech software (more on this in a future issue!).

6: Steve Yates used the M600 to form new strut bars for Project aPocalypSe Horse

6 7 & 8: Completed bends are clean and wellformed. Even thin-wall chromoly tubing retains its shape in the M600.


january 2018 | RPM Magazine

SOURCE Rogue Fabrication 503.389.5413 www.roguefab.com

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january 2018 | RPM Magazine

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ro street comes in many flavors. If you think of fat-tired rides like language, then there are plenty of “accents” based in region, based in availability, and based in personal taste. Some opt for sleek and modern, while others go for the wildest, most over-the-top build they can conjure up. It’s safe to say that Brighton, Illinois native Rod Bollini falls squarely in the latter category. One look at his insane 1991 Dodge Dakota is all it takes to hammer home the idea that if a little is good, a lot must be better. “I started building cars when I was 15,” Bollini said. A Mopar enthusiast from day one, that first car was a 1973 Gold Duster given to him by his grandmother. After it met an untimely demise in an accident, Bollini moved on to a blown pro street 1977 Ramcharger that he still has today. However,

the urge was there to build something even more off the beaten path in celebration of pro street’s recent resurgence in popularity. “I always wanted a V-8 Dakota that was totally different. I don’t like cookie-cutter builds,” Bollini remarked. As a result, the fun-loving Illinoisan acquired the truck in trade, then spent the better part of the next decade to develop what is arguably the wildest, most radical pro street Pentastar pickup the world has ever seen. First, the low-slung stance with big-n-littles took more than one attempt to meet Bollini’s expectations, but the end result is dead-on perfect. Out back, Bollini installed a mild steel Chassis Engineering backhalf and cage himself using 1 5/8-inch DOM tubing. A custom 4-link was partnered with Strange single-adjustable coil overs to suspend the short-

Toby Brooks

ened Dana 60 housing. The rearend was set up by Vance Miller, and was stuffed with Strange 35-spline axles and Richmond 4.10 gears. A pair of 15x15-inch double beadlocked Billet Specialties Street Lites have been shod with 33x21.5-15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman SR steamrollers in back, while matching 15x4 Street Lites roll up front. Strange disc brakes have been mounted on each corner and plumbed with custom stainless hard lines to help the Dodge stop as quikly as it starts. Up front, Bollini initially debuted the truck with the deepest static drop he could find, but opted to redo the front suspension over the winter of 2015 to get it even lower. Steve Yates of Yates Performance Chassis modified the stock frame rails to fit a custom Mustang II setup with Air Lift bags and Bell Tech shocks to get the Green Monster waaaay down in

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018



Bollini’s Dakota is many things, but subtle it ain’t. Whether it is the towering blown Chrysler powerplant, insane 34-skull airbrushed paint job, or narrowed Dana 60 rearend, it is a modern take on the classic in-your-face pro street style of the past.


january 2018 | RPM Magazine







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the weeds. In order to tuck the tires, Yates had to modify and narrow the stock front track width by five inches, but the end result is clearly worth the effort. The towering pile of polished aluminum wretched excess reaching skyward from the hoodless engine bay is no more or less subtle than the rest of the build. Bollini started with a 440 ci motor scavenged from an RV, only to discover that he couldn’t equip it with a 500 ci stroker kit after the initial machine work had already been done. Undeterred, Bollini called up Indy Cylinder Head, who were ready, willing, and able to help him see his vision through to reality. First, an iron Chrysler block was equipped with 9.5:1 compression Ross pistons swinging from Eagle 6.76-inch rods on an Eagle 4.150inch stroke crankshaft. A custom-ground Indy Street blower-spec solid roller cam by COMP works in unison with the aluminum Indy SR310 cylinder heads that have been equipped with Indy adjustable roller rockers. Topping the whole glorious concoction is an Indy blower intake with a Blower Shop 8/71 billet huffer sporting dual 750 cfm Demon blower carbs and a polished converted

Enderle Big-N-Ugly injector hat. The hat has been modified to accept a K&N filter from a 2009 Subaru. As if that weren’t enough, Steve Yates also bent up a cool 150-shot NOS Cheater nitrous system on a custom plate. An 8-quart Milodon pan houses an Indy custom high output oil pump with swinging pickup to keep the internals adequately lubricated. An MSD 6 BTM ignition and Pro Billet distributor handle sparking chores, while the remains of spent gases are routed rearward through custom owner-fabbed and Nitro-plated 2 1/8-inch collector headers. The 3.5-inch exhaust and Flow Master Hush Power mufflers dump just ahead of the rear wheel openings. A Vintage Air Maxi-Cool system was also installed to keep occupants comfy on longer cruises. Once complete, the combo was good for more than 900 horses and almost 850 ft.-lbs. of torque. “When Russ at Indy Cylinder Head faxed me the dyno sheet showing that the engine did 916 hp at 6,400 rpm on pump gas, I was blown away,” Bollini said. Backing the potent mill is a beefed-up Chrysler 727 3-speed transmission assembled by Coan. A Mopar Performance 8-bolt flexplate

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www.rpm-mag.com | january2018



has been affixed to a Coan 2,800 rpm stall converter. A custom shortened 3-inch driveshaft then couples power from the tail shaft to the rear housing. Given Bollini’s the-crazier-the-better approach to pro street, paint and body on the Dakota is necessarily wild and over the top, too. Body mods include shaved door handles and a smooth tailgate skin along with a Carriage Works billet grille. Additionally, fabricator extraordinaire Steve Yates again came to the rescue, whipping up a custom front spoiler, rear wing, and nitrous bottle mounts. James Tucker and Tony Weber performed the initial prep work before handing off to Daniel Deren for the Synergy Green/House of Kolor Kandy Green pain and insane airbrushed graphics. The 34 skulls are so detailed that you can actually see them sweating, and the effort was good enough to walk away with a 2015 Street Machine Nationals Legends of Pro Street Best Paint award.


Jeff Jones and Denny Paynic teamed up on the fresh interior that is clean and straightforward. The smoothed dash has been painted to match the exterior and is now adorned with the signatures of many of Bollini’s childhood heroes, the Legends of Pro Street. Leather-wrapped seats have been partnered with 5-way harnesses for style, comfort, and safety, while a dash full of AutoMeter relays all the important data. A billet steering wheel provides a highly polished finishing touch. Subtle, it ain’t. But Rod’s thrilled with the end result, for the attention the truck has garnered, and most importantly for the new friendships he has formed as a result of the build. And like spoken accents, everyone is a bit different and some might even say the SkullZilla is just too much. And that’s just right!

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

The well-appointed leathertrimmed interior is the work of Jeff Jones and Denny Paynic along with more Daniel Deren custom airbrush work on the dash. Meanwhile, Steve Yates handled the wicked air-ride slam up front.

www.rpm-mag.com | december 2017


HOME Grown




1: When we last left off with Project Homegrown COPO, it had just been rolled out of the paint booth at CT Auto Collision with a miles-deep black paint job.

Stan Smith

>> The crew at Misener Motorsports gets the Camaro rolling and ready to hook up thanks to AFCO struts and coil overs!




hen we last checked in on Project Homegrown COPO way back in the June issue, the guys at CT Auto Collision had delivered an incredible

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

straight body and glass-like deep-as-the-ocean black paint job. We also spent some time on interior details that could be done much easier while the car was a bare shell. Then, race and show season came and our project

team was preoccupied with events in two countries, and unfortunately, despite several attempts to wrench on it, Project Homegrown got overlooked in favor of work that needed to be done immediately. No worries

though, like we always say, RPM projects are real world/real time and we hit stumbling blocks just like all of you. Well, here we are in January 2018 and we now have a rolling chassis. Project

3-5: A tube crossmember was welded in place for clearance purposes then the whole assembly was painted and installed.

3 5

2 2: Factory crossmembers were removed from the front subframe as per the COPO Build Book.


www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



6: Once the front frame was installed Misener sourced OEM parts as needed to allow us to install these trick new AFCO Big Gun front struts part #30032 with AFCO springs and caster/camber plates.



january 2018 | RPM Magazine

7: These Mark Williams 40-spline gundrilled axles with lightened flanges and 5/8-inch studs will hold up to anything we can throw at them!

8 & 9: Fresh out of the box is our complete set of AFCO Big Gun X Double Adjustable Twin Tube rear shocks Part #3860BGX‌ and we just couldn’t wait to put them together, even before we installed them on the car!


frontman Jay Misener of Misener Motorsports wanted to get the car rolling in some fashion before it was taken from CT to a small shop with less traffic to allow for less interruptions during assembly. To get the car rolling, modifications were made to the front frame as per the COPO

Build Book we showed you last year. The existing crossmembers were cut out to make room for the deep LS 7 oil pan and long tube headers, and a smaller tube crossmember was welded in place. Once the entire assembly was painted, it was installed in the car along with the factory rack and pinion and


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www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


10 10 & 11: We borrowed a few sets of wheels and tires for mock up. The first set of Welds shown didn’t have the correct offset but the Centerlines did, so that is what we will use for our final rear wheel configuration.


january 2018 | RPM Magazine



12: Things are looking really good out back of our COPO tribute. If you’ve had a look at a real one, we think you will agree that we went the extra mile to exceed the factory fit and finish.


13 13: Project Homegrown COPO is ready to roll! Now we just need to make a wheel choice... tie rod ends as well as control arms and spindles that were obtained through a salvage yard in basically new condition. The new double adjustable AFCO Big Gun struts part #30032 with AFCO springs and caster/camber plates were also installed. Our AFCO Big Gun struts feature: • Double-adjustable design to dial in your chassis. • “Lock Down” BIG GUN valving including the best frontend control on the market. • Click-by-click adjustment. • Fully independent compression and rebound adjustments.

• 35mm piston diameter; up to 37% larger than competition. • Indexing compression adjuster for increased clearance options at the base of the strut. • Custom valving available; widest possible range in the industry. • BNC compression valving to smooth out wheelies. • CAD designed and FEA optimized. • Rebuildable and revalvable as needed. These AFCO struts are trick to say the least and will be an important part of getting our Project COPO down the track. “In

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most applications and classes, controlling weight transfer is key to making successful passes,” says AFCO. “Racers and chassis builders across the market requested a strut that can be used to control front end travel hydraulically instead of mechanically with a chain or cable. The engineering team at AFCO nailed it. The AFCO Big Gun strut offers tuners the ability to ‘lock down’ the front suspension to create a smooth weight transfer event.” Next, a temporary set of axles were set in place out back and before long the COPO was rolling. Once back at its top secret location we ordered up a set of Mark Williams 40 spline gun drilled axles with lightened flanges and 5/8 studs. We hit the jackpot a few months back when we found (through a fellow car guy), a lightly used Mark Williams aluminum center section with lightweight spool, 4.86 gearset and ceramic bearings. Once our axles arrived, Misener installed them along with the rear AFCO Part #3860BGX double adjustable twin tube rear coil over shocks using their upper


mounting plates. We then borrowed a few sets of different wheels for mock up. Drag radial competitors require a unique valving package to control the rear suspension and properly apply the radial tire to the track. The Big Gun X Double Adjustable Twin Tube shocks are specifically valved for high horsepower drag radial tire equipped applications and feature: • Double-adjustability with the broadest range of adjustment in industry. • Big Gun X valving: specifically valved for high horsepower applications. • Great for BIG or SMALL tire doorslammers. • Rebuildable and revalvable. With the rearend assembled and both front and rear suspension looked after, we now have a legit rolling build. There is a lot more to it than that, but we don’t have the space here to explain the number of small things that will be encountered during a from-scratch build such as this. Things like master cylinder and

january 2018 | RPM Magazine







14-18: If you are building a tribute of your own, do yourself a favor— find a good GM dealer that understands your project when doing a build like this. DeGroote-Hill Chevrolet has been our go-to guys for everything OEM on our COPO tribute.

19 19: We also developed a solid contact with a local auto parts recycler early in our project for like-new used parts such as our body parts and things like this steering column.

brake pedal, steering shaft, door handles and latches, mirrors on the car, as well as items like the trunk seal and taillight trim have to be sourced correctly as without them authenticity falls apart. “This project involves building a car from scratch,” explained Misener. “We had an empty body tub and we want to not just meet, but exceed the quality of a ‘production COPO’, so we spend a lot of time on sourcing correct GM fasteners and parts for the car on top of the right

performance parts for the job. We’ve had some great help from some quality companies which has definitely helped take some of the load off. I’d like to thank our trusted source for GM parts being used on our Homegrown COPO, DeGroote-Hill Chevrolet Buick GMC, their help has definitely made our lives much easier.” Watch for an updated motor plan in an upcoming issue as we get our Homegrown COPO ready for power.

SOURCES AFCO 800.632.2320 www.afcoracing.com

DeGroote-Hill Chevrolet Buick GMC 519.842.9026 www.degrootehill.ca

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018




story and photos by

Toby Brooks

>>We give our two-decade-old tow rig a much-needed facelift thanks to Overkill Fab, Fuel Off-Road, and MetalLugz



ne thing we weren’t ready for when we started Project aPocalypSe Horse was how to get it from place to place during construction (and hopefully comple-

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

tion). Although hauling race cars and high-performance street machines is no big deal for much of our readership, yours truly had never had anything more stout than a half-ton pickup and a borrowed open

trailer before. But with the project taking on a life of its own, we decided we need to step up to at least a 3/4-ton truck and an enclosed trailer. So began our search. After looking for a used dually or 3/4-ton,


good friend Kim Gough of Metalcrafters of Monmouth contacted me. As it turned out, he had a super-clean 1995 V-10 Dodge Ram 3500 that had been relegated to gathering dust in his shop even though, in


2 its day, it had been quite a looker. The truck even won “Best Daully” at the Street Machine Nationals in the late 1990s. With a full Ride Tech air ride suspension and a host of other tperformance and aesthetic mods, it was already a pretty cool piece. And with less than 55,000 original miles, it was like a time capsule. Despite its age of 22 years, it was about as clean

of a classic Dodge as likely exists on the planet. We promptly sold our 1/2-tom GMC and made the deal for Gough’s old Ram. We drove it home and immediately put it into daily driver duty. But as with any custom ride, no matter what has been done, it isn’t really yours until you put your own touches to it. With that in mind,

4 2 & 3: Our eBay power convertible mirrors quickly changed the look of the truck and added safety at the same time. Flipped up, they allow us to see around our Covered Wagon enclosed trailer, while flipped down, the black textured appearance sure looks more contemporary than the old stainless factory units did.


4 & 5: We pulled the factory bumper and billet grille off before using the Overkill Fabrication adapter brackets to bolt on a 2014 Ram HD bumper sourced online.

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018


TRICK YOUR TRUCK we set out to give the ol’ rig a facelift. Our first step was to update the outside mirrors and front end. The factory polished stainless mirrors looked dated, plus were inadequate for trailering. We found a pair of power convertible mirrors on eBay for around $100 and slapped them on. They immediately updated the look of the truck, not to mention added safety for when we’re towing. Up front, the full billet treatment has been popular for a while, so we decided to switch it up, too. We discovered Overkill Fabrication’s bolt-on 2014 Dodge HD bumper adapter brackets. Using a new bumper we sourced online, the Overkill brackets allowed us to bolt a brand new style Ram HD bumper right up, instantly making our truck look two decades newer. Coupled with a 2000 Ram Sport grille, the fit of the new Dodge bumper is remarkably good even though it was designed for a completely different truck.

While we were at it, we decided to add a full complement of LED lighting up front and replace all factory lights with new LED units. The look is high tech and significantly brighter than the old incandescent technology the truck came with from the factory. With the front end fit up, we next moved on to tires and wheels. The factory 16s just weren’t cutting it, and we knew that combined with the new front end, a set of 20s would really bring the truck into the 21st century. New tires were also a MUST, as the front tires on the truck were 18 years old and the four rears were 22-yearold factory originals! After shopping around, we picked the Fuel Off-Road Cleaver gloss black/machined Duallys. The directional style looks great and the black finish will tie in nicely with our new Covered Wagon trailer. We also decided to add some sinister Bond-villian-esque wickedness by bolting them on with MetalLugz trick

6: Even without paint, the new HD bumper and Ram Sport grille completely transformed the look of the truck.


7 7: Hitting eBay again, we sourced a 28-inch LED light bar and a quartet of LED driving lights. After welding up some brackets we mounted them all and wired them up. While we were at it, we also replaced the tired and yellowed factory headlamp housings with one-piece ultraclear units and swapped in LED bulbs, too.


8: The factory 16-inch wheels had stainless simulators when we got the truck and, believe it or not, the 22-year-old factory rear tires! Nothing changes the look of a car or truck like wheels, so we ordered up some Fuel Off-Road Cleaver Duallies. JE_BBC_RPM_2015_Layout 1 8/11/15 2:29 PM Page 1

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9: The Fuel Off-Road Cleaver Dually wheels dramatically improved the Ram’s look, and the addition of the chrome MetalLugz spiked lug nuts (inset) added even more style. While our slammed air ride-equipped truck is on the ground, many duallys today are stock height or even lifted, meaning the Cleavers’ off-the-shelf fitment sent both the front and rear wheels outboard by about 3/4 of an inch in front and over an inch and a half out back. To make up for the difference, we opted for a set of bolt-on fender flares...again sourced from...you guessed it...eBay. 10 & 11: With the front end fit up and ready to go, we took our parts and pieces to Ben Brewer’s crew at 13Sins Garage for prep and paint. In addition to painting the grille shell and front bumper, head paint tech Carlos sprayed a pair of new smooth replacement door handles and even the factory antenna mount. The old-school textured handles stand out...and not in a good way. While shaved handles look cool, they just aren’t practical on a daily driver. Instead, we opted to swap in some color-matched units to replace the faded textured factory units. We also ditched the factory antenna and installed a Performance Engineering black anodized billet valve cover stud in its place. Pretty cool, huh?




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www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018



12 12 & 13: What a difference! The new mirrors, front end and lighting, color matched handles, and new tires and wheels completely changed the look of the truck. We still have the camper shell that came with the truck and will probably use it for long road trips for more weather-safe storage, but for daily driving we really like the look of the rig without it. The slammed stance and Fuel Wheels with spiked MetalLugz turned out even better than expected!


january 2018 | RPM Magazine

chrome spike lug nuts. Once in place, things were really starting to shape up. Before we sent everything to paint, we decided we needed to address the new wheels’ deeper offset. While our dually is obviously slammed, the flavor of the month in HD trucks is lift-

ing duallys and adding deeper wheels. As a result, all but custom built billet wheels are typically wider than factory fit. In our case, the Fuel Cleavers were 3/4-inch wider up front and a full inch and a half wider in back. To make up the difference, we decided to add a set of wheel





flares to keep the tires flush with the wheel openings. We then sent all the parts off to nearby 13Sins Garage where owner Ben Brewer and crew sprayed everything with a rich coat of Dodge Torch Red. With everything body color and the gloss black and machined wheels in place, the finished result was even better

than we anticipated. The last step was to cover up the scratched-up bed tops where the camper shell that had been installed had worn the finish a bit. We opted for full-perimeter textured black bed rails, tailgate, and bed header trim. We velcro fastened each piece in place so that

14: The plastic bed caps added a finished look to our roughed-up bed tops where a camper shell had been mounted. We velcro-fastened tham so that the camper can be easily reinstalled.


15 & 16: The 20-inch Fuel Off-Road Cleaver wheels with MetalLugz spiked lugs look great.

reinstalling the camper shell will be no problem. With the dually all done on the outside, we’ll be turning our attention to the interior with a full Rockford Fosgate sound system in the coming months. Stay tuned!


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Fuel Off-Road Wheels www.fueloffroad.com

MetalLugz 866.894.3351 www.metallugz.com

13Sins Garage 806.241.5241 www.13sins.com

8 & 9: Ok, what do you do as an encore after raising a Roush Mustang 15 feet in the air in 2015? Simple, go big or go home! Once again, PowerFest sponsor Ken’s Towing flexed their towing and recovery prowess as they raised this massive cement mixer truck to the delight of all. -Brian Milne photos

www.rpm-mag.com | january 2018




YOU CAN’T RUSH >>Blow the dust off and get to work...it’s time to bring that parked street bruiser in the garage back to life on the street and strip!



issing its debut at the July SMACKDOWN event forced hot rod builder Scott Forbes to take a long hard look at his Project Revival Acadian. “We had to slow down, get

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

the budget reeled in and really buckle down to rethink parts of the plan and go a little different route in some areas,” said Forbes. As we mentioned in previous articles, Forbes is committed to doing as much of the build inhouse as possible. What’s

different about that from you and me is that Hitman Hot Rods (owned by Forbes) builds world class hot rods already, so their skill set will be different in various areas of the build. If you recall, Forbes had put his own car on the shelf many years ago in fa-

vor of building a business and helping his customers, which brings us to where we are today – reviving his 1966 Acadian street/ strip car. In our September 2017 issue, we focused mostly on the assembly of the bottom end of the LQ4

2 1 & 2: After the mock-up engine was removed, the Acadian parts were transferred to the iron block— but not before some more checking and double checking for clearances.


www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


RPM PROJECT CAR iron block 6.0L LS motor. Since then, we have installed the L92 heads straight out of the GM boxes with the exception of a set of LS3 intake valves, upgraded valve springs, and a rocker arm trunnion upgrade. “It is amazing how not too long ago an aftermarket head that flowed near or over 300 CFM was considered race car technol-

ogy,” commented Forbes. “Today, the L92 heads found on all LS3 6.2L eclipse those right from the factory with a max flow of 330 CFM with a 260 CC intake runner. These heads do suffer a touch on the exhaust side, but any reputable cam company has a cam that will mask that if you’re building on a tighter budget (See test chart below).


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january 2018 | RPM Magazine


3 & 4: A few coats of Chevy Orange were in order and final assembly begins. The block was studded for the heads to be torqued in place.


5 & 6: Scott’s OCD forces him to do what he is capable of doing and do it to the best of his ability…so he did. The outcome is amazing OEM looking, stainless steel lined, high horsepower capable fuel systems.


These heads are really the only part remaining of Forbes’ original plan, as he is so intrigued by the numbers that he couldn’t resist seeing what 408 CID could make with a head that is as legendary as the old 327 camel humps. “The Acadian made 420 HP with a 355 and set of 492 camel humps and small 1.94 X 1.55inch valves. Game on!” “The other amazing part is the use of roller rockers that, with a simple trunnion upgrade, will accommodate 0.600-inch lift.” He added. “The precision that these motors are built with is amazing. There is no rocker adjustment, although the push rod length needs checking and there is a tool for this which we purchased. We also made a set of solid lifters to throw in our tool box

for future builds.” A bonus to anyone building a similar combination is that with a bit of reading you can find a number of tricks and tips to help make power. Some are obvious, others are not. “The trick that I found interesting, because of how simple it is, is drilling drain holes in the lifter guides to let the excess oil out,” said Forbes. Once valve-to-piston clearances were checked on the freshly-assembled short block, the exterior

of the block was treated to a few coats of Chevrolet orange paint and the cylinder heads were torqued in place. It was at this point that Forbes found himself with yet another dilemma on how to move forward. “Life is about choices,” he explained. “There are always forks in the road that are filled with surprises whether they have come from something unexpected or just overlooked. And this project has been full of both!”

www.rpm-mag.com | january2018


RPM PROJECT UNIQUE CAR Hitman has done many LS swaps but Forbes admits that when doing it for himself, all the rules don’t apply. “Throw a few lost parts into the equation, a motor that had more millage than it was supposed to, class rules, changes, wants, needs, budget… and you soon realize the choices that have to be made.” Originally, a boneyard 6.0L aluminum block bottom end was going to be freshened and capped with a set of almighty eBay steal-deal L92 heads. But after learning more about the amazing offerings by Eagle for these motors, that plan changed to a stroked motor. Throw on a nitrous plate system from Induction Solutions and that would put Forbes in race car territory again. “And so it began,” Forbes smiled. “An iron block, studs, bigger cams etc. all followed. This story reads almost as if there was a carrot dangling in front of me.”

With the long block together, there was still a lot to be done before hitting the strip, though. There’s the induction system that needed to be assembled with the same attention to detail as the bottom end, plus a ton more work in the car itself. Forbes started with an Edelbrock L92 Victor intake and fuel rails, and after that things got complicated…again. “We thought we had a drive-by-wire throttle body that would work for us, but it turns our plug for the OEM 90 MM throttle body is a new model and is not compatible with the LQ4 harness without a jumper harness,” explained Forbes. “To boot, we didn’t like the look of a silicone 90 degree elbow so we installed the throttle body onto an Edelbrock intake elbow and pointed it to the fresh air right away.” To add to the madness, as far as compatibility of the throttle body to the elbow goes, Forbes was amazed to find

7: The same attention and detail was paid to the engine plumbing. Check out how clean and tidy the typically ugly LS steam port plumbing looks.

7 8: The quality of work on the plumbing is as good as it gets. Scott only used about 7-feet of flexible hose at connection points. The rest is all formed hardline!


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RPM PROJECT CAR out that a stock LS3 90 MM DBW throttle body would not fit any aftermarket elbows. It does now, though, as Hitman machined up a spacer that accommodated both bolt patterns, and while at it, they added provisions for the LS3 MAP sensor in the elbow which was necessary, as neither the intake nor elbow provided for it. Next on the obstacle list was fuel injectors. Forbes had a set of new LS7 injectors from the original project that would cover the fuel requirements for this build (unless it surprises him on the dyno). As we know, injectors come in different lengths and have a few different configurations of electrical connections. In itself this is not a major concern, however, the fact that the rail brackets would not fit correctly adds a whole new challenge and meant that new brackets needed to be machined. “Like many builders, I am a self-admitted sufferer of OCD and I can’t settle for things when I know we have the skills and equipment to make them right.” Whether you are a builder or do-it-yourselfer, lost, overlooked, and changed parts can train wreck your project said Forbes. “Something as simple as a specialty bolt to hold your lifter guides in the motor will stop an assembly dead in its tracks for a couple days. Cam and crank sensors that have 180,000 miles on them might make you

think twice about crossing the country on a dragstrip bonanza. A simple change of dampers will throw your belt alignment out the window. All this coupled with budget, personal preference, vision, wants, and needs adds up to money and time spent all for the love of this hobby.” Plumbing is where Forbes says his OCD really kicks into high gear. “I am a big fan of making everything look OEM. This is where the fork in the road had two signs. One: get out your roll of hose and fittings and git ’er done, or, follow the other sign that says: there’s a long road ahead, it may be bumpy, and be careful of the many sharp turns. Guess which road we took?” he laughed. Planning the function was simple, Forbes explained. The EFI system running at 60 PSI had a simple return-style system, but yet another challenge reared its ugly head. Forbes had a pump in leftover stock rated to fuel 2,000 HP, and using it would require fuel lines seen on an oil rig, not a street car. But, in order to save bucks where possible, because he had it, he used it. And with help from the staff at Induction solutions, he also mapped out the nitrous fuel system, also fed by a pump already on the shelf. The second pump would also support all the fuel requirements of this project, but because of the fuel pressure differences between the EFI and the nitrous, Forbes


10 9: Machining the Edelbrock intake elbow. 10: Parts were sourced and those that Forbes couldn’t get he made.

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RPM PROJECT CAR needed to run two systems. Also, because this is a street car, he didn’t want to run a second tank in the engine compartment. We’re sure this is not the first time someone has gone this route, but here is where the OCD comes into the equation. The whole system is plumbed with hand-bent 304 SS tube. Front to back. Stainless JIC fittings sweated onto the ends of the tubes where crimped flex lines will connect the feed lines to the motor and pumps, and there are two 5/8inch lines for the main system and a single 3/8-inch running front to back.

“No one would know this wasn’t there from day one,” said Forbes. “And, there is less than seven feet of hose in the complete system. I know, I know, not necessary, but it is the way I like to do things.” Then engine got the same treatment in that there is very little plumbing exposed. Instead, Forbes and his crew hard-lined as much as they could, leaving just enough hose to take up any vibration. Even the four steam ports on the intake were hardlined into a single manifold before they bleed off the steam to the radiator.


11: Here you can see the billet fuel rail and injectors installed along with the Induction Solutions plate below the Edelbrock elbow.


12: The 90-degree elbow shown here will eventually be welded to an aluminum tube ducted to catch fresh, cool air through the driver’s side fender. Clearance with the radiator is tight but will fit nicely.


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Forbes says once he starts, he has a hard time controlling his OCD for that OEM look. So as you can probably imagine, if he did this with plumbing, what do you think happened when it came time to wire the Acadian? Forbes told us that he could have just used what was there, but because Hitman has wired so many cars in the past, he decided to treat the Acadian to the same attention to detail. (An interesting side note: it’s ironic that building the Hitman Hot Rods business up over the past 15 years kept Forbes from working on the Acadian, and now that he is back at it, all that knowledge and experience is helping make it more than it ever could have been.) “Wiring can be scary to some,” said Forbes. “My advice is to sit down,


make a list of every electrical circuit you are going to need to complete the project. Calculate your amperage requirements under worst-case scenario, for example; night driving, sitting at a stop light, A/C running, engine cooling fans cycling with the tunes cranked. If you don’t want your lights to dim to the pulse of the bass or every time the fans come on, chose the right size alternator.” Forbes called on CVR, a Canadian company, to help in that department and will be running one of their Powerhouse billet 200 amp alternators and GM LS series Extreme starters. Originally, a factory LS engine harness was to be used with the unused circuits stripped out, however, Forbes admits that sometimes things look better on paper, as

january 2018 | RPM Magazine


13 & 14: The Induction Solutions Saturday Night Special nitrous kit plumbing starts to take shape.



15, 16, & 17: Sometimes taking extra time to “make” something work just isn’t worth the anticipated savings. Forbes started with this rat’s nest (15) but opted for a new, well-organized aftermarket unit (16 & 17).



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RPM PROJECT CAR once he got into it he quickly realized that any dollar savings would be quickly used up by extra time spent doctoring something up over buying a proper harness. “With a deadline and the need for reliability, we opted to replace our harness with one of the many aftermarket systems on the market. We will still be thinning it out and tidying it up, but every plug, wire and fuse is included and new. Our list of electrical loads reads much like a modern muscle car on steroids: EFI, electric fans, electric water pump, stereo, and the addition of the Induction Solutions nitrous system which adds two solenoids, as well as the Edelbrock progressive controller. Pretty basic stuff for a 1966 Acadian, right?”


he joked. So where does that leave Project Acadian Revival as of this printing? The motor has yet to be fired as Forbes and his crew decided to plumb and wire the car rather than take the motor to the dyno with a shabby harness and fuel system. So the motor was reinstalled to enable the completion of the various sub-systems including wiring and plumbing. “It will be a long winter in the garage,” added Forbes. “But we’re confident the outcome will be something to be proud of.” Join us a few issues down the road as we catch up with Project Acadian Revival to check in on that OCD Scott mentioned, and also see how the LS fared on the engine dyno.

january 2018 | RPM Magazine

18: The engine is just about ready to head to the dyno as work continues inside the Acadian.

18 19: The Acadian’s CVR Powerhouse billet 200 amp alternator and GM LS series Extreme starter prior to installation.


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