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


Publication Return/Address Change Information


USA RPM MAGAZINE (USPS Periodical #023474) is published monthly 12 times per year by USA Publisher’s Agent, 10387 Main Street, Suite 300, Fairfax, VA 22030.

For advertising information contact

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

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

Art & Graphics Director: Toby Brooks

Postmaster: Send address changes to:

Special Events Managers: Chris Biro, Raymond Knight events@rpm-mag.com Special Events Sales: Trish Biro: 519-752-3705 trish@rpm-mag.com Subscriptions/Address Changes: Circulation circulation@rpm-mag.com General Inquiries: 519.752.3705 info@rpm-mag.com




Chris Biro




e’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our RPM Magazine advertisers and readers for your overwhelming support, and also welcome you to our 18th year of

RPM! We’ve stuck to our guns, kept our promise and kept RPM “REAL”...18 years later RPM is still all about YOU, and YOUR cars and stuff that YOU are into—street, strip and once in a while, just to shake things up, something completely off the wall. But no matter what, we want to assure you that we intend to continue to set the trends instead of follow them, innovate, not imitate and above all continue to give you the best original, exclusive high horsepower badass rides and cool real world tech and articles you deserve in the world`s top car mag! In our continuing effort to support the automotive performance and race industries, we’re once again offering a chance for related companies to take advantage of our “Industry Distribution Program” which sees FREE

copies of RPM Magazine sent to performance & racing related businesses in the USA and Canada. So, if you own, operate, or manage any type of performance or race business (ie: speed shop, performance, race or chassis shop, manufacturing firm, installation facility, warehouse, etc.), you need to sign up for your FREE subscription to RPM Magazine today! Simply complete this form and send it in along with your business card and you’ll start getting your complimentary copy of RPM, right to your business door each and every month. Because MORE RPM is ALWAYS better, we also offer an enhanced program that enables you to order MORE copies of RPM for an incredibly low price to either give away free to your best customers or sell on your magazine rack. Industry Distribution Program info can also be found at www.rpm-mag.com and completed online! Or by simply emailing trish@ rpm-mag.com. Do it today!


Tin Floored..........................................................................

We finish up the tinwork on Project aPocalypSe Horse with some cool tools from AVAK/Ridgegate and Eastwood


THIS AND MORE IN THE NEXT RPM! february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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february 2017

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

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

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


COVER CAR Shift’ed Thinking.............................................26

This ultra-clean Chevy has more than good looks going for it…

The Hand Off.............................................. 54 This classic street/strip 1962 Impala has been successful on the strip for 15 years...and the wins just keep coming!

In the Raw.......................................................................8 You’ll be shocked when you find out what powers this off-the-wall Nova!



LS Xciting.....................................................................38 This nitrous-assisted LS burnt copper fourth-gen

Camaro is anything but boring!

Shop Talk: Some Things Just Take Time.......................90 There’s no shortcut to the right way to complete tasks on your project car


Caged, Braced, and Suspended....................................96 Our Homegrown COPO gets some new goodies from S&W Race Cars and MPR Race Cars

Notched Like None Other.............................................106 Rogue Fabrication’s VersaNotcher provides unmatched versatility and adjustability in a hole saw tubing notcher

The Tunnel of Despair.................................................. 110

We pay tuition at the School of Hard Knocks and fab up a bead rolled sheetmetal transmission tunnel

Old School Cool.......................................................78 A family heirloom that just keeps getting better—and faster—with age!


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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he West Coast. It’s often the place for trend setting—where styles and looks originate. Why is it that something cool is even cooler when we can say that it started in Cali? Maybe the west coast is a haven for the more outrageous of new ideas—a kinder place where the absolutely outside-the-box thinkers can go, knowing they won’t be labeled by the haters and naysayers for being different as they plan their next creation.

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www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



We gotta come clean: when Alex Gutierrez approached us about featuring his Nova, so many things went through our minds. We had doubts, but with an open mind we forged ahead and arranged a photoshoot during the recent Street Car Super Nationals in Vegas. Since the inception of RPM 18 years ago, we have always


tried to be open to everything horsepower-related and give the people that bust their knuckles on their hot rods like Alex the shot at some serious coverage in a mainstream magazine. And sometimes that means stepping outside of our own comfort zone and daring to be different ourselves. It used to be that stick-

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

ing one North American manufacturer’s engine in another’s body was taboo with most everyone in the circle of hardcore car enthusiasts. The purists—who were the majority at the time—would call it things like cross contamination, bastardizing etc., and sometimes it would even stir up some pretty strong feelings

BARENAKED CHEVY The 1969 Nova used as the base for Gutierrez’s project was complete and solid and is a true SS small block stick car. It was his choice to leave his creation in bare metal, not just to be different, but also to better display the level and extent of work his shop did on the car. It has certainly attracted a lot of attention on both the drag strip and car show scene.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



in a select few. So going one step further was almost unheard of, and for those who dared to dabble in using an offshore manufacturer’s motor in an American car, well that offending individual would often end up very lonely at most any car event. Today however, changing times and a worldwide economy have led to acceptance of things that even


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

just a few years ago were grounds for instant ostracization. So before you go judging Gutierrez for his rather, no wait—his extremely—raw Toyota-powered 1969 Nova SS, read on. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, we think you’ll find that he’s a motorhead just like you, only he has simply used a different mode to express his creativ-

ity in making his hot rod unique and fast…and he has 1,200 reasons to back that up!


You’ve probably heard the saying “it’s all in the packaging,” referring to the successful or dismal performance of a new product based on the packaging. Usually, if one wants to show off their work, packag-

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


ing will be flashy, but instead of glitz and glitter on the outside Gutierrez chose a different direction for the Nova—one that would let his work speak for itself. So don’t let the wrapper fool you, this Nova is built with the best parts and the highest quality workmanship possible, and oh yeah, it hauls ass, too!


The Nova was purchased by Alex for $5k from Livermore, California in 2010 and he chose this particular car because the body was in amazing condition


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

aside from some minor dings and dents. Also, and strap yourself down now because this will be the tough part for some to swallow: it is an original SS, small block, 4-speed car with the fairly rare color combination of Cortez Silver paint with blue interior. “There were a handful of people that didn’t agree with me, ‘ruining the car,’ as they put it,” said Gutierrez. Ok, we’ve all had our huge gasp, now let’s try to move on...


Like we said, it isn’t budget or time constraints that saw this machine running around

IN THE RAW WORK IN PROGRESS? What do you notice first? The unpainted fiberglass rear bumper or the top-shelf workmanship of the custom wing and parachute mount?

naked. It actually took almost six years to build the car, so it was all in the plan, says Gutierrez. “The car is in bare metal,” he continued. “I felt that keeping it this way for the first while after it was built was the best way to display

my work.” Gutierrez operates Big Head Motorsports in Orangevale, California and although the body isn’t perfect on the SS, it serves to accurately display the condition of the car itself and metal and fab work his shop is capable of

without paint or body filler hiding anything. Some might consider this to be a completely bizarre approach, but it’s one that has brought a ton of attention to the car, Gutierrez and his shop…so in a nutshell, it worked!


“I’ve been interested in cars since the age of 5,” says Alex. “And I purchased my first car at 19 years old.” That first car

was a 1968 Mustang and Gutierrez immediately started on some simple upgrades like headers and exhaust, and it wasn’t uncommon to see him out with his buddies racing on the country roads of Vacaville, Ca. “A friend, Joey, had a

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



february 2017 | RPM Magazine

IN THE RAW ’72 Monte Carlo (and he still has it) with a big Isky cam in the small block Chevy 350. That was my first experience hearing a thumpy cam and I was immediately hooked!” From that point on, Alex was spending every dime he had to

modify his Mustang while working at a local speed shop and attending Chabot Community College in both the Automotive and Welding programs. Not too far into his education Gutierrez became absolutely hooked on TIG welding and since then has

worked at a few pretty high-profile chassis shops. “I was a chassis builder at Chris Alston Chassisworks when I decided to go on my own about 10 years ago,” he said. Since then, Gutierrez has been providing his services to local racers and

TOY-NOVA As the Nova is stripped of its hood what is revealed is often shocking! A single inlet in the grill of a muscle car is no big deal at any dragstrip today however, it’s what’s behind the turbo that sets this build apart from most others.

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

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

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017




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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

After the gasp and then a moment of silence while they think what the heck it is they are looking at, most onlookers don’t know what exactly this animal is that lurks under the hood other than maybe a plumber’s nightmare. In fact, it’s a Toyota 2JZ 3.0L and although it is equipped with a host of performance enhancing goodies including a sizeable single turbocharger, the stock crank remains inside the modest 183-inch mill. A Precision Pro Mod 88mm turbo will soon be placed front and center to help drop Alex’s times closer to the 7-second quarter-mile mark.


hot rodders from his Orangevale shop. “I do chassis work, headers, exhaust, sheet metal fabrication, precision TIG welding,

fuel tanks, custom hard-line brake systems, fuel systems, wiring, and complete builds,” he added.

SO WHAT’S IN THE BOX? As you can imagine, when you’re pioneering

something so outlandish, the build process can be very challenging. “Because of all the plumbing that goes into a

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

ALEX GUTIERREZ’S 1969 NOVA DRAG CAR Chassis Type & Mods: Factory frame with Big Head Motorsports custom built 10 pt. chromoly cage, Detroit Speed and Engineering sub-frame connectors, DSE mini tubs. Suspension: FRONT: Stock front subframe with TRZ upper and lower control arms. Afco front shocks, Santhuff front coil springs, TRZ Motorsports rack and pinion. REAR: RJ Race Cars ladder bars, Koni shocks, Alston FAB9 rearend and custom built wheelie bar. Body & Paint: Bare metal. Entire car was media blasted and not painted. Fiberglass doors, hood, and trunk lid. Engine: Toyota 2JZ 3.0L. Ferrea valve train, Arias pistons, R & R aluminum rods, Kelford 280 cams, factory crankshaft, HV oil pump, ARP hardware, OCD Works valve covers, Titan Motorsports cam gears, Meziere Enterprises water pump, ATI balancer, custom-built header plumbing by Big Head Motorsprorts, Garrett GTX4202R turbo (changing to Precision Pro Mod 88mm turbo February 2017). Chiseled Performance 2000hp intercooler. Direct port nitrous system used only for spooling the turbo. Induction: Accufab 90mm throttle body, Swift Racing Technologies intake manifold, Injector Dynamics 2000cc injectors, Big Head Motorsports custom burst panel. Special thanks to engine builder Nathan at Horsepower by Gerolamy. Electronics: Motec M84 tuned by master tuner Shane Tecklenberg aka ShaneT. Motec CDL3 Dash, M&W Ignition box, Toyota Coils, Leash Electronics bump box, NGK spark plugs. Exhaust: Custom stainless Yates EFI headers. TiAL wastegates and blow-off valve. Transmission & Converter: ATO Transmissions Powerglide with PTC 10-inch converter. Differential: Chassisworks FAB9 housing with Strange center section, spool, and axles and Richmond gears. Performance: 8.57 @ 155 mph quarter-mile and 5.42 @ 131 in the eighth. Special Thanks: Thanks to my wife who’s put up with this business of mine for almost 12 years. She has been so supportive from the very beginning. on and Bud of Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Chris Alston Chassisworks, John at JB Racing Components, RJ Race Cars, Don Baumunk, Detroit Speed and Engineering, Nathan Geralomy, Elmer of Arias Pistons, Titan Motorsports, OCD Works, Ron Davis Radiators, Weld Racing, Sean at River City Differentials, Strange Engineering, Shane Tecklenberg,, Mike at TRZ Motorsports, ATF Speed, Chris Hill of SPD, Jerry of Meziere Enterprises, and Precision Turbo.


NOT EXACTLY PLUSH Inside the car, the “worn out antique” themed look continues and ends with a well-weathered dashpad and dash. From there, Gutierrez has employed the skill of his business Big Head Motorsports in full force with everything from the custom fabricated 10-point chromoly cage, to wiring and plumbing every bit of the car.

turbo car, packaging was extremely time consuming,” explains Gutierrez. “Everything from the header, intercooler

plumbing, coolant lines, fuel tank, seat, stainless hard-lines, brake lines, etc. were all made from scratch. And there is still so


much to do. That’s another reason that I haven’t painted it, it gives me the option to change things if need be.”

Aside from the fiberglass doors and hood, the car is original steel and Alex preserves the bare metal body with a reg-


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www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



NO CARPET IN HERE, EITHER The trunk is well laid out, neat and tidy but still donned in bare metal. It’s mostly factory panels back here with the exception of the OEM-looking Detroit Speed wheel tubs which fit right in. From behind you can just catch a glimpse of the heavily fortified fabricated 9-inch rearend and ladder bar/coilover suspension.


ular quick wipe down of Gibbs lubricant and says that when he does choose to paint the car he will fit the panels to perfection and go through the entire car before sending it off for body and paint. “So the car will remain this way for a while,” he added. The idea of putting a Toyota 2JZ engine in a 1969 Nova came when Gutierrez attended the 2009 SCSN race in Las

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

Vegas. “There was a Mark IV Supra that was owned by Dana Westover of Virtual Works Racing that was the number one qualifier in his class. The word was that there were racers in the class that were not happy that a little six cylinder was at the top of the pack, and some even claimed that he was cheating. Tech went to his pit and went as far as measuring his turbo, but of course he was 100%

legal. It was at this point that I decided to use this engine, but in a chassis that no one would expect it to be in. I thought it would be a great way to attract people to my work,” explained Gutierrez. “A man once told me, that in order to stand out you have to be outside of the box. So, that’s exactly what I did, and after 50+ shows and several races, it has been well received.

I have won several awards and the car has done its job bringing work to the shop.” The boosted Toyota 2JZ 3.0L packs over 1,200 horsepower and boasts a Ferrea valve train, Arias pistons, R&R aluminum rods, Kelford 280 cams with aftermarket cam gears, an ATI balancer, and the factory Toyota crankshaft. As you might guess, all of the custom work including headers


RACE ‘TIL YOU’RE RAW Gutierrez with his “in the raw” Nova between rounds while accomplishing his dream to compete at the Street Car Super Nationals in Vegas November 2016.


and plumbing were done by Big Head Motorsprorts. The underhood work in the Nova to connect the dots is nothing short of a masterpiece and Alex tells us that the Garrett turbo is soon to be replaced with a Precision Pro Mod unit

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

as he shoots closer to 7-second quarter-mile times. “I’ve had hundreds of people call the car a plumber’s nightmare when I remove the hood,” laughed Gutierrez. Backing the turbocharged Toyota is an ATO Transmissions

tricked out Powerglide with PTC 10-inch converter. The Nova is a small tire car built around a modified stock frame with Big Head Motorsports custom built 10-point chromoly cage, an RJ Race Cars ladder bar set-

up out back (installed by Big Head Motorsports) along with Koni shocks, a Chris Alston Chassisworks FAB9 rearend that was narrowed and welded by Big Head Motorsports and filled with a Strange center section, spool, and axles. BHM also fabbed up the

custom-built wheelie bar and installed the Detroit Speed and Engineering sub-frame connectors and DSE mini tubs. Up front, the stock front subframe was fitted with TRZ upper and lower control arms, Afco shocks, Santhuff coil springs and a TRZ Motorsports rack and pinion.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY... Hmmm, The Strip in Las Vegas sponsor signs seem especially appropriate while this unique Nova takes the starting line! Here, Gutierrez races at the 2016 SCSN event. Seven years earlier at this same event he came up with the idea to build a Toyota-powered American muscle car.

FRUITS OF THE LABOR After almost six years in the making, Alex finally started making test hits with the Nova in August

2015 and since has been working his way down to his current best times of 8.57 @ 155 mph in the quarter-mile (on a pass that was ended early), and a 5.42 @ 131 mph in the eighth with a soft starting line leave

during testing. You can catch the Nova racing in various Outlaw 8.5 classes and Division 7 Comp Eliminator at Sonoma Raceway and Sacramento Raceway, and late in 2016 Gutierrez

realized his goal by competing at the 2016 SCSN, the very event at which he first got the idea to build the car seven years earlier. “That was the most memorable experience to date with the car,”

says Gutierrez. “It has been a goal of mine for a long time, but I couldn’t afford to make it while building the business. To finally make that race was definitely a dream come true.”


www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017




ven though many RPM readers weren’t born yet, we all find ourselves trying

to imagine what it would have been like to own a real muscle car during their first coming back in the sixties, not to mention be

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

out carousing with it on a Saturday night! The thought of driving around in a small block Mustang, Max Wedge Mopar, or big block Chevy,

and meeting up with a host of other badass factory muscle on any given night sends shivers up the spine of anyone even remotely

considered to be a gearhead. The ’60s brought the entire world some of the best-looking cars to ever roll off the assembly line

story and photos by

Tim Lewis

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


SHIFT’ed THINKING LARGE AND IN CHARGE A definite “wolf”! The clean lines of the big Chevy flow great with the factory gold paint. It does not look like a 9-second car but it sure is one. and hit the streets, and that in turn opened up drag racing to become what it is today. And, once you had your Detroit iron parked in your drive, if you were lucky enough to be able to afford a set of Cragars and some wide ovals for your street cruiser, you were the talk of the local hangout on Friday and Saturday nights! For a time during the late ’70s, emissions control took over and robbed us of our horsepower— that is, until technology caught up and found a way to make power and meet emissions standards. The ’80s and ’90s styles saw the birth of the Ford 5.0, and rebirth of the Chevy


5.7, and the next generation Hemi, and today we see the influence of those ’60s and ’70s cars in new models of the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger. Nowadays, at the dragstrips you are likely to see a lot of those ’80s and ’90s cars packed with most any engine combo you can imagine, but there are still some, like Bedford, Pennsylvania’s Jeff Twigg and his wife Rachel who choose the road less travelled. And we’d say that running a small block stick 1967 Chevelle is definitely a road less travelled. Twigg, who turns wrenches to make a living with his brother Darrell at Twiggs Auto-

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

Half-moon chrome headlight covers are another cool ’60s touch. The extensive chrome and stainless treatment of the muscle car era help these cars stand out in a crowd of body-colored side molding cars of the last three decades.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


SHIFT’ed THINKING IT’S STICK-Y IN HERE... The factory look ends when you see the modified trans tunnel that houses the GF2000 G Force transmission being commanded by the Long shifter. The roll cage blends in so well with the stock gold interior color you have to do a double take to notice it. Since this is an untubbed full body car why not keep the back seat installed? That little extra touch helps make the total package even cooler, as does the stock dash and instrument cluster. motive in Cumberland, MD, grew up in the small farming community of Centerville, PA just south of Bedford. The Twigg boys come from a long line of gearheads with their father and even grandfathers all being mechanics. They all loved cars, and since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it was almost destiny that Jeff would have that same passion for power. It all started with his first car, a 1975 Chevy Vega that was initially retrofit with a 283, and then a more able 350. A ’72 Camaro was next for Twigg, only this time a 408 big block with Turbo 350 and 4.88 gears fulfilled his need for speed and netted a 12.20 ET

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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TWIGG’S BACKUP BRIDE Wife Rachel backs Jeff into the water box at EastSide Dragway in Waynesboro, Virginia.

his very first time down the quarter-mile. But like many of us that believe enough is never really enough, another car came along. This time it was a 1968 Camaro with a built big-inch big block, Turbo 400 and 4.56, and with it came a big drop into the mid 10-second zone at the track. “When we were growing up we had a half-mile long straight away which was all concrete nearby,” recalled Jeff. “And

since there was not much to do out in the country, we did a whole lot of street racing.” Eventually though, Jeff and his group of car buddies all started taking it off the street and to the track, and their track of choice at the time was Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown, MD. As time passed, Jeff wanted to try his hand at something different and that “different” would come in the form of this 1967 Chev-

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



CLEAN RODENT The 14:1 compression 427-inch small block built by Twigg looks right at home between the rails. While the 427 was an option in the Chevelle in 1967 but it was certainly not in small block form. The headers were fit neatly in a cutout in front wheelwells. Fit and finish are excellent throughout the car, especially considering that it sees regular track use. elle equipped with a standard transmission. To power the new car, Twigg went back to his small block roots and built a 427-incher. A 4.185 bore along with a 3.875 stroke make up the cubes and a Howards Pro Max crank slings Howards Ultimate duty rods pinned to a set of serious 14:1 compression JE pistons. Dart 200 heads for the naturally aspirated



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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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NEVER CUT No need for a 4-link or ladder bars to get this car down the track, the modified stock-style suspension under the Chevelle gets the job done very well. An anti-roll bar has also been added out back to keep the Chevelle stable and well planted.


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

mill were flowed by Speier Racing Heads and are fitted with T&D shaft rockers. The solid roller camshaft from Demos Cams specs out with a duration of 277 at .050 and lift of 694 and Speier Racing Heads also flowed the Brodix intake which is

topped by a Pro Systems Dominator-style carb. A DJ Safety engine diaper was installed in the event of the unthinkable and the sweet sounds of the high compression small block are expelled through a set of coated 1 7/8-inch tube headers that step-up to mate with the 3 1/2-inch exhaust with x- pipe and Borla mufflers. To help Jeff slam the gears, a G Force GF2000 clutchless trans with Long Shifter provides the rowing motions behind the high revvin’ small block. To keep this GM all GM, A 12-bolt rearend resides out back and has been filled with 4.88 gears and Mark Williams axles. When it came time to look at suspension mods to help hook the big body Chevy, Jeff didn’t want to hack up the stock GM chassis.

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CLEAN ALL AROUND Cragar S/S wheels are timeless! Like them or not, they scream ’60s/’70s street machine and complement the ultra-clean vinyl-roofed Chevelle. The trunk of the Chevelle is a tribute to just how spotless the car is and now houses the aluminum fuel cell, fuel pump, and battery.

BETTER TOGETHER Jeff and Rachel proudly pose beside the Chevelle. Jeff says without Rachel’s support he would not be out racing and the car would not have even been built.

Unlike most, he was not interested in doing a backhalf car, and suspension-wise he did not even consider a ladder bar or 4-link. The stockstyle suspension was left in place and aftermarket upper and lower control arms were installed along with Strange double-adjustable shocks. Up front, TRZ control arms were used with Strange double-adjustable shocks bolted into the stock location. Rolling stock on the ’67 comes in the form of a set of cool retro-styled Cragar SS wheels with 15x8 rears skinned with Mickey Thompson 28x10.5 slicks to get the big Chevy hooked up and leaving wheels-up when the clutch is dumped. Jeff is quick to hand out thanks for not only the help he has had in building and racing the car, but also for simply being able to participate in something that he loves so much. “Thank God for giving me the


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

talent and ability to do what I do and thanks to my wife Rachel for all of her support and for being with me at the race track. Thanks to my friends T and Dustin Strickland for helping at the track and with the car and a special thanks to Eric Kitchens for putting together the Pro Stick race series and to all of the other racers and friends who race with me in it.” Jeff must be doing something right, as at 3,200-pounds, the naturally aspirated Chevelle has ran a 6.30 elapsed time in the eighthmile and 9.97 out the back door in the quarter. So not only is this car a looker, but it has the numbers to back it up. Twigg has gone as fast as 110 mph in the eighth and 135 in the quarter and races in the Pro Stick series. As you can imagine, bracket racing a stick shift car is not an easy task…“but it sure is fun!” exclaims Jeff every time he gets behind the wheel of the Chevelle.


HOOP HANGER There’s not much better than seeing a ’60s piece of American hot rod art defy gravity. When the clutch is dumped the Chevelle almost always leaves wheels in the air. Here, Twigg prepares for launch at Sumerduck Dragway on a hot July night.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



february 2017 | RPM Magazine

story and photos by


Camaro have been quite successful in a relatively short amount of time in the heads-up drag race circuit. Jimmy isn’t new to the racing scene altogether, as he’s been wheeling since his high school

days. But it wasn’t until recently, just a couple of years ago in fact, that Gillen got a breath of nitrous and miraculously, things changed. We all know that when the go-fast bug sinks its fangs, it’s hard

to shake loose, and the same holds true with this Indiana native. After several years of tinkering with a 1991 Camaro in high school, Gillen got the heads-up fever. “I drove a ‘91 Camaro B4C (police prepared) RS.

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PRETTY AS A PENNY This quick LSX nitrous’d Gen 4 Camaro has already made its mark in the heads-up race scene. The car has been sprayed in Burnt Copper Metallic Pearl plastidip and sits on a custom torque arm suspension out back with AFCO double adjustable rear shocks.



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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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The car went from running 14s in the quarter to low 9s with the help and guidance of my dad, Rob Gillen, over the course of about seven years,” shared Jimmy. With various engine combinations—from small block electronic fuel injection to LSX powered on nitrous—the 1991 Camaro got faster and faster, all while maintaining its street-worthiness. Kids will be kids, though, and it probably goes without saying that as Gillen found more power, along came more trouble. “As the car got faster, the less I enjoyed driving it on the streets and the more trouble I got into. After multiple tickets and getting busted for street racing, it was time for a change.”

Building a car with direction seems to be easier said than done, and sometimes we wind up busting knuckles just to build a quick car that sees nothing more than a few TNT nights. “All I did with the car was hit up the local Wednesday night test and tune sessions at Lucas Oil Raceway,” shared Gillen. However, that all ended for Gillen in the winter of 2013 when he decided to say farewell to the ol’ high school hot rod. The allure and excitement of the headsup world had latched on like a parasite. Once he put a ZEX perimeter nitrous plate on the car, Gillen was hooked. He entered his first heads-up race at Lucas Oil Raceway. “It was a race put on by Mike

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



Stark,” told Gillen. “The class was called Muscle Street. My car was way off pace with the front runners, and I was a first round duck. But I still had a blast pushing my street

car into the 5s in the eighth-mile.” Against his wife’s wishes, as she was quite fond of the Camaro, Gillen sold the ’91 as to go any faster, the RS was going to need a

lot of chassis and safety upgrades. So now the hunt was on for the next project. A Chevy man at heart and armed with the desire to add diversity to the heads-up world,

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine






Lunati has the perfect camshaft for your drag race application. New state-of-the-art computer lobe profiles provide higher lift under the curve, resulting in increased power and throttle response. Tailored power bands also create more usable horsepower and torque for when it matters. Each camshaft utilizes a premium core made in the USA – and all adhere to strict quality-control standards.






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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

LSX-CITING LS POWAH! The 440-cubic inch LSX under the hood was built by Rule G Motorsports using an Eagle crank, Eagle rods, and Wiseco pistons and is topped by World Products LS1 heads, a twopiece cast intake, and Pro Systems carb. Gillen purposely avoided one of the common go-tos and strayed away from the Fox body platform. Months of searching the web lead him to this 1993 Camaro rolling chassis that was located up in Pennsylvania. When your Dad gives an order, you follow it and it was the elder Gillen who told Jimmy right from the start when they found the new rolling the

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



SPRAYIN’ The Chevy utilizes a Nitrous Outlet single stage Stinger plate for juice delivery. While a VFN fiberglass dash was used for weight savings, the factory door panels, stripped of their power option trimmings, remain.

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine


JAMES GILLEN’S 1993 CHEVROLET CAMARO Chassis Type & Mods: SFI 25.5 Chassis by Jay Beeler of Pennsylvania. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: AJE K-member and A-arms. 2-inch drop spindles. Koni double adjustable road race valved front struts. Custom travel limiters. Wilwood manual rack. REAR: Custom torque arm suspension. AFCO double-adjustable rear shocks. Body & Paint: Burnt Copper Metallic Pearl Plastidip coating from www.dipyourcar.com. Sprayed in house, with electric sprayer. Engine: Rule G Motorsports built 440 cubic inch LSX. Eagle crank, Eagle rods, Wiseco pistons. CFM Performance worked 15 degree World Warhawk LS1 heads. Jesel Pro Series Shaft rockers. Induction: Port-matched Mast Motorsports cast two-piece 4500 flange intake. Pro Systems Dominator style carburetor. Power Adder: Nitrous Outlet single stage Stinger plate. Tuned by Rule G Motorsports. Electronics: MSD 6LS 6010 ignition box. Stock LS truck coils. Leash Electronics progressive nitrous controller. FAST wideband. Transmission & Converter: Mike McKinney-built Reid case Powerglide trans with 9-inch Coan nitrous converter. Differential: Fabricated Ford 9-inch, Mark Williams aluminum third member and 40-spline gun-drilled axles. Performance (eighth-mile): Best ET and MPH: 5.14 @ 137 mph at Knoxville Dragstrip, July 16, 2016.

chassis, that they were done with being a test ’n tune racer and that they needed to find a good series and race it. And simple as that, the Gillens’ tenure as a TNTer came to an end. Shortly after the purchase was made, Gillen heard tell of a newly resurrected series in the area: the Outlaw Street Car Association. With several classes to choose from within the OSCA, Gillen picked his poison. “I thought the

new class, Nostalgia True Street, would be a good fit for me,” told Jimmy. Not letting any grass grow under their feet, he and his dad began building the car with the new class in mind, and the ’93 was completed and race ready by May of 2014. Just in time for when the OSCA would be hitting the strip at Lyons Raceway Park. The car petty much fell together for the father and son team. A lot of the work done by

the previous owner and builder just seemed to fit with what Jimmy was trying to accomplish with the car. That, along with help from fellow racer and good friend Charlie Polly—who Gillen also purchased the original 418 cubic inch LS engine and many of his old parts from—helped get the Camaro ready for race day. Gillen’s success began immediately. The first season with the OSCA he set the ET and MPH records

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



for the class, and finished second in points. Although successful, there were some mishaps along the way. All good teams have a learning curve and Gillen’s crew was no different. But despite a few stumbles during

BEHIND BARS The SFI 25.5 chassis was built by Jay Beeler of Pennsylvania.

the first season out with a whole new car and purpose, Gillen persevered, and became quite a tough competitor. “Our first time out testing the car was at Indianapolis to get ready for the first

Nostalgia True Street race. Testing went well and the car stayed together. Towing the car back to the trailer to load up for the night, though, we made a sharp left hand turn towards our trailer and because we had

some slack in the tow strap, the car rolled into the rear tire of the 4-wheeler. “The ATV tire ripped through the VFN fiberglass nose of the Camaro like a saw blade!” exclaimed Gillen. Lacking in time

but not on creativity, with the combination of some duct tape and rivets, the nose was presentable enough to make the first race. Besides, pretty doesn’t necessarily win races, right? Their very first

race with the OSCA after getting the car completed the Gillens showed up untested on the first generation Mickey Thompson 275 radial tire—which was actually their first time ever on a radial tire! “On our first

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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Trick Flow’s PowerPort ® 365 aluminum cylinder heads were designed and built for you to win races. These extreme performance race heads for big block Chevy engines flow a massive 424 cfm @ .900" lift. The high-strength castings can withstand enormous amounts of compression and RPM. Rectangular-shaped 365cc CNC Competition Ported runners, 119cc heart-shaped chambers, CNC bowl blended valve seat transitions, 24° intake valve angles with 4° side cants, and the highest quality valvetrain components help make PowerPort 365 heads the best choice for your car. Use PowerPort 365 heads on your engine and turn your goal of winning into reality! Dyno Results PowerPort 365

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www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



Left: Rob Gillen guides Jimmy into the beams at US-60 Dragway under the night sky. Below: Gillen lays down a nice clean pass at US41 Motorplex in Morocco, Indiana

BEEFY REAR A Competition Engineering fabricated 9-inch rearend with 40-spline axles was used to transfer the power from the Glide to the tires.


qualifying pass, I had a huge nitrous backfire on start-up,” tells Jimmy. “Somehow the nitrous was armed and it blew a hole in the hood. Pieces of fiberglass were everywhere! It also taco’d the throttle blades on the carburetor.” With no back-up parts

or carburetor, Gillen thought they were finished, but as they say, the racing family is the best family, and fellow racers were there to help. “Adam and Isaac Preston came to the rescue with a loaner carb. We went into eliminations not even

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

having had a shot at the track.” Never say never though, and despite the nearly catastrophic start to the day, Gillen took the ‘93 Camaro into the finals, but an unexpected wheelstand gave the win away. That’s when the realization hit and as Jimmy said, “we said

to ourselves, ‘I think we can win one of these.’” Now, the Burnt Copper Chevy has went from fubarring fiberglass to blistering the track and the most recent 440 cubic inch LSX has propelled the small tire Camaro to a best of 5.14 at 137 mph

at Knoxville Dragstrip. The Gillen’s LSX is a pretty trick piece and was built by Rule G Motorsports using an Eagle crank and rods with Wiseco pistons. Topping your short block with the right cylinder head is a pretty important decision and

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Gillen chose World Products Warhawk LS1 15-degree heads and had them worked over by CFM Performance and equipped with Jesel Pro Series shaft rockers. A portmatched two-piece 4500 flange intake is topped with a Pro Systems Dominator-style

Rob Gillen (left) with son Jimmy (right).

carburetor. The equipment to back up the potent mill comes in the form of a Mike McKinney built Reid case’d Powerglide with 9-inch Coan nitrous converter. To take the hit of a nitrous car, a tougher than nails fabricated

Ford 9-inch with 40-spline gun-drilled axles transfers the power to the Mickey Thompson 3352R 26-inch Pro Bracket Radial tires. Out back, in the suspension department, the Gen 4 Camaro gets help from a custom torque arm suspension with

AFCO double adjustable rear shocks while an AJE k-member and a-arms support 2-inch drop spindles, double adjustable road race valved front struts, custom travel limiters and a manual rack and pinion steering up front. Like we said, since his very first taste, Gillen has been hooked on nitrous oxide. The hit of juice on the Camaro comes via

a Nitrous Outlet single stage Stinger plate system that is tuned by engine builders Rule G Motorsports. With multiple wins notching his belt in such a short period of time, and a strong and optimistic future in the racing scene ahead of him, Gillen would like to thank the folks that have helped him along the way. His wife, Meghan, for always

supporting his racing and travelling that goes along with it. His daughter, Elsie. Rob Gillen, his dad, crew chief, tire guy and transporter. His mom, Julie Gillen. Mike McKinney for an awesome transmission. Along with David Wiley, Matt Means, Charlie Polly, Mike Stark, and Jason Lancaster of the OSCA.



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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


story by

Toby Brooks

photos by

Patrick & Jen Williams



arry Baker felt it coming. Like an unstoppable freight train, there would be no avoiding it. At best, the Catoosa, Oklahoma native was hoping to contain his affliction on his own terms. But after building and campaigning a 1978 Malibu, a trio of Camaros, and a 1955 Chevy, the entire Baker family had come to the realization that they all


had acute and severe cases of Go Fast Fever. However, with each new build, the complexity and price associated with running a progressively faster car resulted in a painful realization: in order to become more competitive in regional and national events, it would be far more cost effective to purchase a completed car and update it as needed as opposed to piecing together another

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

new car from scratch. “After we built my dream car—a 1955 Chevy—and campaigned it in Drag Week 2015, we realized that we were not nearly capable of being competitive. We decided the best way to go faster was to find a car and buy it,” he said. After frequenting Facebook, RacingJunk, eBay, and Craigslist for months, the Baker

CLASSIC IRON MEETS MODERN POWER While a big ol’ Roots blower poking through the hood is still cool, the twin turbos barely peeking through the cowl hood provide an understated tease of the power that this perfectly stanced classic Chevy has aboard. And yeah...those Oklahoma plates are legit. The car is street legal!

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


SEXY TWINS Holderidge initially ran the car with a 409-based mill for a while but eventually decided on a 515 ci BBC with a pair of 88 mm turbos.


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

THE HAND OFF family finally found a suitable candidate. Inclusion criteria were significant, including a 6.0 cert chassis steel-bodied GM car with turbos or a ProCharger. After narrowing the search to a ’69 Camaro and this 1962 Impala, Larry was able to work a deal with original builder Mike Holderidge who was retiring from competition to transfer ownership of the red Chevy. Originally built as a rolling business card for Holderidge’s Seymour, Wisconsin-based Race Shop, the then-daily driver was treated to the full-on race treatment, coming together as a 409-powered tube chassis grudge car in 2001.

Holderidge began with a full chromoly double rail chassis built to SFI 25.1/25.2 specs. Up front, a pair of Strange double-adjustable pro stock struts are equipped with Strange carbon fiber rotor disc brakes. A skinny pair of 15x3.5-inch Weld Alumastar wheels have been equipped with 27x5-inch front tires. Out back, a custom triangulated 4-link with Koni double-adjustable shocks suspend a fabbed 9.5inch full floater rear filled with 40-spline axles and Richmond gears. Matching Strange carbon fiber disc brakes help slow the massive 16x16 inch Weld double beadlock Alumastar wheels shod


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www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017 wrap




with Hoosier 33.5x1716 Quick Time Pro tires. The original factory steel body was updated with a VFN Fiberglass front clip, doors, and deck lid along with a full complement of Lexan windows to reduce the formerly heavy Chevy’s heft.


Holderidge added a custom fabricated rear wing for high speed stability and a pair of sleek air intakes to feed the nasty twin turbo rat motor before massaging the clean classic lines in preparation for a slick PPG basecoat/ clearcoat Flame Red paintjob.

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

Speaking of that twin turbo big block, the super cool 409 platform was eventually replaced with a 515 cubic inch mill starting with a Brodix block and Brodix/Sonnys BB5 aluminum heads. Diamond 10.5:1 pistons were partnered with GRP aluminum rods

and a forged stroker crankshaft. A custom grind COMP solid roller lifter cam and lifters work with Manley chromoly pushrods up to T&D shaft-mount rockers. A Peterson 5-stage dry sump system keeps the big Chevy well lubricated, while a

Mezeire electric water pump keeps things cool. An Aeromotive mechanical fuel pump handles fuel delivery chores, while a BS3 ignition system lights the fires. A custom fabricated aluminum intake manifold tops things off to accept the 40+ pounds of

NOT-QUITE-SO-HEAVY CHEVY Despite sharing a name with a particularly light and swift member of the deer family, classic Impalas are notortiously heavy beasts. However, Baker’s version is considerably lighter thanks to the full chromoly dual rail chassis and lightweight fiberglass front clip, doors, and deck lid.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


THE HAND OFF LARRY BAKER’S 1962 CHEVY IMPALA Chassis Type & Mods: Full tube 25.1/25.2 dual cert chromoly double frame rail chassis by the Race Shop. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: Strange double-adjustable pro stock long-version struts and spindles. Strange carbon fiber disc brakes. REAR: Custom triangulated 4-link with double-adjustable Koni shocks with gorilla valving. Strange carbon fiber disc brakes. Body & Paint: VFN Fiberglass front clip, doors, and deck lid. Lexan windows and custom fabricated rear wing. PPG Flame Red prepped and painted by the Race Shop/Mike Holdridge. Engine: 515 ci BBC built by Mike Holdridge & Evan Uerkwitz at the Race Shop. Brodix block with Brodix/Sonnys BB5 aluminum heads. Diamond 10.5:1 pistons with GRP connecting rods and a forged stroker crankshaft. T&D shaft-mount rockers and Manley pushrods. COMP roller camshaft. ARP fasteners. Peterson 5-stage dry-sump oiling system, Mezeire electric water pump, and Aeromotive mechanical fuel pump. BS3 ignition system. Power Adders: Twin 88 mm Precision Turbo turbochargers producing up to 45 pounds of boost Exhaust: Custom stainless turbo headers built by the Race Shop. Transmission & Converter: Bruno/Lenco 3-speed assembled by Larry Baker. Neal Chance converter. Differential: Custom fabricated full floater 9.5-inch rearend with 40-spline axles and Richmond gears. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: Weld Pro Drag Alumastar spindle mount 15x3.5 with Hoosier 27x5-15 tires. REAR: 16x16 Weld Pro Drag Alumastar double beadlock wheels with Hoosier 33.5x17-16 tires. Special Thanks: Mike Holderidge and Evan Uerkwitz of the Race Shop.

boost dished out by the twin 88mm Precision turbos spun by the Holderidge-fabbed turbo headers. Inside, the Impala sports a Kirkey seat

behind a RacePak digital dash and a Grant steering wheel. Simpson harnesses add a further measure of safety, while the Evan Uerkwitz-built

shifter handles the gear changes. To date, the car has posted a best of 6.50 at 221 mph in the quarter, and Baker recalls the weekend he took


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possession of the car. “We had agreed to pick up the car on Memorial Day 2016, and Mike had arranged for us to enter the car in the Memorial Day


Classic at Great Lakes Dragway,” Baker recalled. “Mike was going to make his last pass in the car and I was going to make my first. In the first round of qualifying,

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

we broke the car though,” he added. Both crews—new and old—worked shoulder to shoulder through the night replacing the Bruno brake to get the car ready

ALL BUSINESS The Impala sports a full tube 25.1/25.2 cert chassis and a Bruno/Lenco trans. The RacePak dash and quick release Grant GT wheel along with a host of Stroud safety products.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



february 2017 | RPM Magazine


for the next day. It was a personal and perfect hand off from the car’s previous builder and his crew to the


new owner and crew. Not content to simply run the car as-is, Baker and family have

plans to run the car in the world of no-prep events and possibly even in larger events such as the Texas Mile,

Ohio Mile, Bonneville, or making another run at Drag Week. But in Baker’s estimation, the coolest part of the Continued on page 76

The fabbed 9.5-inch full floater rear has been equipped with 40-spline axles and Richmond gears to deal with the four-digit horsepower. The custom triangulated 4-link suspension rides on double adjustable Koni shocks and helps keep the big Hoosiers and Weld double beadlocked wheels fully hooked.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


Page 68


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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

THE FAMILY THAT RACES TOGETHER... Racing the Impala is a family affair, as the Bakers campaign it across the country. Here, Larry and wife Laurie pose next to the cool Chevy at Tulsa Raceway Park.

car is the fact that it has been tagged, titled, and insured since 1962 and still sports the factory VIN tag. That makes

this rocket a wild—but still street legal—ride capable of cruising the streets or blasting down the track!

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


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february 2017 | RPM Magazine




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t seems that just about everyone in the drag race scene has an opinion about what defines a “street car” as it pertains to class racing. Sit and think for a just a moment about how controversial the topic is and how the debate could get heated rather quickly. We all think a street car, when referring to a car that can be raced in a class that revolves around street legal and/or street driven cars, should be something similar to a car “we” have or are building. Or maybe it’s a buddy’s

car or someone we see plastered all over the internet or TV. Some thoughts are grounded and reasonable, while others are often radical and farfetched. One thing is certain however, if you speak with a hundred different folks, you’ll get a hundred different answers, and each of those hundred individuals most often think they alone are the expert. At RPM we obviously have our own views of what makes up a “street car” and then each of our staff and contributors have theirs, and just as you can imagine, quite often

they differ, too. If you speak with West Virginia native Greg Woolard, though, he’ll proudly share that he feels that he has a real-deal street car. And frankly, we’re inclined to agree with him. His Vermillion Red 1965 Ford Mustang may see its fair share of track time, but it also sees an equally respectable amount of street duty. This particular pony even shuttles the kids back and forth to school from time to time. How cool is that? Dad picking you up from school in an old school hot rod, com-

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


OLD SCHOOL COOL plete with laundry attached to the rear? Lucky kids! We’d say that beats the yellow submarine any day of the week! When you grow up around a particular item or activity, it can be hard to let go of as the years begin to creep by. For Greg, it was a 1965 Ford, which had at one point belonged to his dad, that captured his attention during those impressionable years and it has stuck with him ever since. “My father bought the car in 1982 and restored it. He was a hot rodder at heart


and used to do a little drag racing back in the ’70s,” shared Greg. Under his dad’s ownership, the car had a mostly-stock 289 with a solid flat tappet cam, a Holley 4-barrel carburetor, and a 4-speed trans. Greg often reminisces about just how much fun it was to drive back then. “Grabbing gears on an old Hurst Competition Plus 4-speed is something I will cherish forever,” recalled Greg. Some of his fondest memories were of those times and it is easy to see why the ’Stang has


The Vermillion Red was laid on by Martin Polan. The cowl hood and chute give a whole new look the ’65 that started out as Greg’s dad’s street machine.

february 2017 | RPM Magazine



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MADE IN THE U.S.A. RPM-JAN/2017 www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017 81

OLD SCHOOL COOL held a special place in Greg’s heart for so many years. When Woolard’s dad grew weary of the hot rod, it’s not surprising that Greg couldn’t let the old girl go easily. Eventually Greg’s father lost interest in the car altogether, and like we see all too often, the Ford was turned out to pasture and left to itself in retirement, sitting outside for several years. Seeing the Mustang he grew up with wasting away was too much


for Woolard, so when the opportunity came to save the car, he jumped in with both feet and purchased the car from his father to save the forgotten pony from rusting away further to the point of being a simple memory. “I bought the car from my father in 1994 for $2500 and started the process of getting it road worthy.” The project required a year of Greg’s time, but the hours upon hours spent wrenching and

february 2017 | RPM Magazine


Yep it’s a street car‌a REAL street car! Valid tags and a chute just look awesome together! By narrowing the 9-inch rear three inches on both sides, Greg was able to fit a sizeable rear tire almost within the confines of the rather limited stock wheelwells.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


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knuckle-busting on the car proved to be worthwhile once the Mustang was running and driveable again. And for the next few years it served as his daily driver until when, in 1999, Woolard

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made a trip to the local eighth-mile drag strip, and he’ll be the first one to admit that his life hasn’t been the same since! The car has progressed from that basically stock

1965 Mustang to what it is today, and Woolard has always tried to keep the car as streetable as possible during each step of the transformation. “The car is truly a labor of love, and



The 347 SBF was based around a Ford Performance A4 block. The Vortech supercharger pushes through a Mark Sullens E85 blow-thru carb and a lightly massaged Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake. Greg’s ultimate goal is to have an 8-second True Street car, posting three back-to-back 8-second passes at an NMCA event.

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Being 6’ 6” tall the Mustang’s original seat positioning cramped Woolard’s style, so the seat pan was removed and moved back to allow for ample leg room.


february 2017 | RPM Magazine

I have always taken pride in building it myself,” said Woolard. Keep in mind that building a first-gen Mustang is nothing like building a Foxbody. Although there are an abundance of resto parts to build a ’65 Mustang, there are not that many pure performance and race parts available, so many of the components on Greg’s rendition are owner-fabricated or modified to fit. The age of the Ford was not the only challenge presented during the build. Another problem that arose for Greg was his stature. For many who meet him, it may be hard to see eye-to-eye with Woolard as he stands at a towering 6’6” tall, which meant that simply sitting in the car was going to be a chore. “Fitting in the car comfortably was a challenge,” he continued. “So we removed the seat pan

and moved the seat quite a ways back to help.” The cage was also built with Greg’s height in mind and the NHRA-certified 10-point mild steel cage was installed by good friend, Homer Carter. A 347 cubic inch small block Ford now sits between the factory framerails of the Mustang. A Motorsport A4 block houses an Eagle forged rotating assembly with custom Diamond pistons and a COMP solid roller cam. The engine was built in-house by Greg and friends Donnie Kirkbride and Greg Farrell. An amply massaged set of Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads were bolted onto the 347 and, with the help of a blow-thru carb Vortech V7 YSI centrifugal supercharger, the Mustang has run a best of 9.11 at 148 mph in the quarter-mile at Norwalk—just knocking on

GREG WOOLARD’S STREET/STRIP 1965 FORD MUSTANG Chassis Type & Mods: Original frame with mild steel 10-point cage NHRA certified to 8.50. Cage work completed by Homer Carter. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: AJE Colt 65 complete K-member kit with Strange 10-way coil over struts, manual rack and pinion steering and aftermarket shock towers. REAR: Caltrac bars and monoleaf springs with Caltrac adjustable rear shocks. Body & Paint: Vermillion Red painted by Martin Polan. Engine: 347 cubic inch SBF with Motorsport A4 block. Eagle forged rotating assembly. Diamond custom pistons. Comp solid roller camshaft. Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads with work done by Kuntz and Co. Engine built by Donnie Kirkbride, Greg Farrell, and Greg Woolard. Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake with Mark Sullen E85 blow-thru carburetor. Power Adder: Vortech V7 YSI with air to air intercooler. Electronics: MSD 6530, MSD coil, MSD distributor. Transmission: Powerglide with PTC converter. Differential: 9-inch Ford, narrowed three inches on each side. 3.70 gear, spool, Nodular case and 31-spline axles. Best Performance (eighth-mile): 5.69 at 124 mph at Xenia, Ohio. (quarter-mile): 9.11 at 148 mph at Norwalk, Ohio. Best 60’ of 1.30.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



that 8-second door! To get the vintage Ford to hook, Caltrac bars are combined with mono-leaf springs and Caltrac adjustable rear shocks out back and an AJE Colt 65 complete K-member with Strange adjustable struts up front. The setup has managed a 1.30-second 60-foot time at the track.

Once a stick car, a fortified Powerglide trans and PTC convertor now transfer the power back to the narrowed Ford 9” rearend, and there’s a story behind that. A nearly disastrous lesson was learned by a young impressionable Woolard back in 2003 while racing at a Fun Ford Weekend event in




A massive radiator and hefty supercharger tubing can be seen behind the lightly massaged front end. The Vortech-blown Mustang has currently posted a best of 9.11 at 148 miles per hour in the quarter-mile at Norwalk, Ohio.



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february 2017 | RPM Magazine


The ’65 uses an AJE Colt complete k-member kit with Strange coil over struts up front and a Ford 9” with monoleaf and Caltrac setup out back.


Greg and sons (from left to right): Alex Woolard, Adam Woolard, and Greg.

Ohio. “On a qualifying pass I exploded the clutch on the starting line,” Greg explained. “Parts of the clutch came through the floor and hit me in the leg. I got out of the car on the starting line and I was wearing a single layer jacket and shorts. Apparently, I missed the memo that I wasn’t allowed to wear shorts while racing.” Thankfully, though, Woolard wasn’t seriously injured and the transmission swap from manual to auto resulted. Woolard considers himself very lucky to have a great network of friends that help with his Mustang and sends his thanks out to Donnie Kirkbride, Greg

Farrell, Jeff Wilson, Alan Jarvis, and Jessie Nutter. Fellowship and camaraderie are two of the main things that draw Woolard to racing and cars in general; “We all race and help each other out when and where we can. Each one of us have our own field that we specialize in, whether its engines, transmissions, fab work, or wiring, one of us can fix it or build it. And without my friends my car wouldn’t be where it is today!” He added. Greg’s ultimate goal is to have a true 8-second street car; “I want to go to an NMCA race, run True Street, and post three back-to-back 8-second passes.”

!!! www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



SOME THINGS story and photo by


n the high-tech, fast paced world we live in today, people have grown accustomed to getting what they want, when they want it! Instant




>>There’s no shortcut to the right way to knock out tasks on your project car

gratification is the name of this new game, and technology has enabled us to shop online from the comfort of our homes, any time of the day or night. With the added

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

luxury of next day shipping dropping packages directly on our doorsteps, there’s really no need for anyone to leave home and drive to a store. I’m grateful to have

this convenience and take advantage of it regularly for my custom shop business. I could go on and on citing many examples of how fast food, fast coffee, mega

stores, and smart phones have increased consumption levels, but in the spirit of being a gearhead, I will do my best to focus on what truly matters: our cars!

1 1: It took me half a day of just laying under my car drawing pictures of how I was going to lay out some fuel system upgrades. This mock-up aluminum bracket was the result of hours of planning. Interestingly, the fuel pump does not mount in the vertical position that is outlined on the piece of aluminum anymore, though. That plan got revised for the 10th time and it now hangs in a horizontal position.

Another modern convenience is satellite TV and the vast assortment of gearhead shows that grace our TV screen. Some of these shows have incredibly gifted mechanics, fabricators, and painters that make everything look so easy. They also manage to finish building a complete show car in a one-hour episode. While this makes a TV show fun to watch, it has also programmed the average car enthusiast to think everything is easy, and that it only takes a few hours to assemble a car. I watch numerous programs that complete restorations for major events like SEMA or for a “famous” customer in only one week’s time. Having recently completed three of a long list of upgrades I’ve made to my car, I thought about the amount of “real-world time” it takes to perform upgrades to a car. What would have taken less than an hour in “TV time” to complete has

taken me six months. That reality became the inspiration for this article.


Just the other day, I was lying on my back under the car, designing how and where I was going to mount the new fuel cell, fuel pump, filters, and fuel lines. My wife brought me something to drink on her way out grocery shopping and asked what I was working on. After boring her with my vision for how I needed to fabricate custom straps to hold the fuel cell and how the fuel pump bracket I designed in my head needs to keep the pump lower than the sump in order to maintain a gravity feed, she quickly stopped me and said, “have fun” and went on her way. A little over two hours later she returned home and found me in the

same position she left me in. “How’s it going?” she asked. I went into another monologue of what my challenges were, and how I planned to conquer them and was once again cut short with, “have fun.” An hour or so later she came out to the shop to bring me some lunch, and yes, she found me in the same spot. This time she asked me to show her what I built, and I had nothing to show her other than a few pictures I drew and a list of very detailed measurements and notes. By the end of the day, though, I fabricated the fuel cell mounting straps and test fit the new design. I also fabricated the aluminum bracket that holds the Aeromotive A-1000 fuel pump and a pre- and post filter. With the proper fittings that were delivered overnight to me, I was able to connect all of those parts to the bracket and perform another test fit. I took some pictures, hit

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 | february 2017


SHOP TECH my red “Easy” button, cleaned up, and went in the house. My wife stopped me before I took my shoes off and in the true spirit of being a supportive spouse asked me to show her what I built today. I took her in the shop and showed her a multi-colored fuel cell hanging strap that I made from scraps of metal I had. I also showed her a 6x14-inch piece of 1/4-inch aluminum that I cut to match the contour of the fuel pump, and drilled and tapped to hang on the center frame rail to secure to the pump and filter assembly. She was very impressed with how I took pieces of metal and custom made them with my own hands. She was however confused why it wasn’t painted and hung on the car after spending an entire day working in the shop. I then went on to explain that the metal had to be prepped before paint. I had to grind the welds and make them smooth, then sand the surface, then clean the surface, then prime it, sand again, paint, sand again, paint again and wait for each coat of paint to dry. She replied with, “Oh I understand. The car shows you watch make it look so easy.” While it may seem easy, SOME THINGS JUST TAKE TIME!


Another great example of something I just went through is putting a crankshaft in a block for re-assembly. The average do-it-yourselfer would think it is as simple as rotating the engine stand upside down, install a new set of main bearings, apply some assembly lube, place the crankshaft into its home, and torque the main caps to spec. This entire procedure can be done within ten minutes…right? After spending a day putting a crankshaft in my 572 Merlin big block with master engine builder Jason Leindecker, I was enlightened on just how time consuming doing things the right way actually is. I will share the steps with you so you can appreciate your local machine shop and engine guru just a little bit more. Once the crankshaft is polished and balanced it is ready to install. The first step is to measure the journals for size, followed by measuring the rod journals for size. The journals then need to be measured for taper from front to back and ensure they are within specs. Now

2: With random scraps of metal found around my shop, I was able to fabricate a custom strap for the new fuel cell. 3: I love it when a plan begins to come together. I just hope it actually fits!



4 5

4: The straps turned out fantastic and finally got approval from my wife. The only thing left is prep and paint.

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5: I started off with a perfectly clean engine bay and decided to completely mess it up by grinding and sanding every hole that was not going to be used, and then spent an entire day welding them closed.

february 2017 | RPM Magazine


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6: With all of the holes welded, it was time to grind and sand the entire engine bay to prep for paint. I thought I was done until my painter put me back to work on it for a few more hours of sanding prep, cleaning and masking.


it is time to install and torque the main caps and check the main housing bore, vertical clearance, and check the horizontal/parting line measurement. You then have to remove all of the main caps. Each bearing shell now needs to be measured for thickness consistency. You then need to place the bearings in the block and re-torque the main caps and set a dial bore gauge to the main journal size. Check each individual main bore very carefully for bearing clearance. Be sure to check/create the thrust bearing clearance and adjust if necessary. It is now time to once again remove the main caps and remove the bearings and clean them in lacquer thinner or an equivalent solvent. Reinstall and lube the bearings and install the rear main seal. You can finally place the long awaited crankshaft into the journals and install the main caps, and torque them one final time to spec. Before you can say you are finished you have to seat the thrust bearing and rotate and check the rotating assembly for interference/binding. If all of this was done

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

with attention to detail, the entire process should take between one and a half to two hours to complete. When you are spending your hardearned money building the heartbeat and life source of your pride and joy, do you want the crankshaft to simply be put back into the block, or would you rather have it measured and re-measured every step of the way and done correctly? So once again, I hope I’ve made the case for why SOME THINGS JUST TAKE TIME!

THE ROAD TO PERFECTION IS NOT A SHORT ONE I recently made a decision to hide all of the wires in my engine bay and give it a fresh coat of paint. After a long staring session and plotting out every move, I first removed the inner fenders and drilled the holes that all of the wires/plumbing would be re-routed to. I then put my welding helmet on, took out a piece of sheet metal and air shears and filled in every hole in

the entire engine bay and firewall that was not being used. Once the welding was done, I needed to grind all of the welds flat. This process took an entire day to accomplish and the engine bay looked even worse than before I started the so-called “improvement.” By the grace of God (and a referral from a friend) I found an extremely talented painter who was willing to paint my engine bay and fix the paint on my car in exchange for my wiring work on a classic GTO for one of his customers. I knew that I needed to scuff the surface of the engine bay before he could paint it, so I broke out the sandpaper and a Scotch-Brite pad and spent a little over an hour prepping the surface. I blew out all of the dust and loaded up the car to take to Matt’s shop for him to work his magic. His first response was, “this is nowhere near ready to paint!” He instructed me on how the surface needed to look and gave me a stack of Scotch-Brite pads and a grinder with a sanding disc on it. Two hours later he gave me the thumbs up and told me to wipe


7: Whe juice was worth the squeeze! All of the prep was certainly worth it. My buddy Matt’s anal approach to how he wanted the engine bay prepped proved my point that “some things just take time.” His finished paint job looks better than what is actually on the car.


every inch of the surface with a solvent he gave me. The car then needed to be completely taped and covered to avoid over-spray on not just the exterior but on my freshly painted under carriage and frame. Once in the paint booth, the engine bay got spot primed, followed by three coats of red and two coats of clear. Was this a bit excessive for an engine bay? Why not simply do a little de-greasing and light sanding, followed by two coats of the finest rattle can enamel? It is completely a matter of personal preference. For me, I felt that because I had invested over $18,000 into an engine to make


it a bullet-proof beauty queen, I did not want to cut corners to save time on updating the engine bay it would call home. To do it the right way, one has to remember that SOME THINGS JUST TAKE TIME! There are endless examples that illustrate the amount of time it takes to build things correctly, and if you are reading this article, chances are you have a solid understanding of the complexity of engineering, mechanics, and fabrication. If you’re a diehard gearhead like me, you’ll probably never stop watching your favorite TV shows that squeeze months of work into a

8 & 9: I stood by and watched as master engine builder Jason Leindecker meticulously measured every bearing with the crank on the bench then again when the crank was torqued to spec in the block. Jason measured and re-measured every journal making sure that everything was PERFECT. This is after cleaning, balancing and polishing it to meet the demands of his (and my) OCD. single one-hour episode. Despite the luxury of next day shipping, though, we all know there simply is no way to cut the time it takes to correctly plot out a project, let alone complete it. So be sure to give your favorite mechanic, fabricator, engine builder, wiring genius, or auto body guru a heartfelt thank you, and remember to allow them the time to make your vision a reality. Every time I find myself getting impatient, I am reminded of my Dad’s lifelong motto, which still holds true today, “no job too big or small, do it right or don’t do it at all.” Until next time…keep wrenching!

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


HOME Grown




Stan Smith

>> Our Homegrown

COPO gets some new goodies from S&W Race Cars and MPR Race Cars



few months back, we brought RPM readers up to speed on the progress of our Project Homegrown

COPO 2015 Camaro tribute build. We cut out over 100 pounds of unneeded steel from our wrecking yard find donor car then sent it to CT Auto Collision who stripped it, completed some

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

initial bodywork, and installed our trick new VFN Sunoco 4-inch cowl hood along with a few other panels, and then laid a slick coat of black epoxy primer on the entire car. Now we’re ready to start

moving forward with transforming our Camaro into a potent homebuilt COPO tribute by beefing up the chassis. We called on longtime friend Kelly Cooper of Fat Dog

Fabrication fame to install our S&W roll bar kit along with some trick rear suspension parts from MPR Race Cars. We could have probably wrestled with installing the roll bar and chassis

1 1: We upgraded our S&W #11-1534-td roll cage kit to chromoly tubing. The kit included everything needed. We added and tweaked a bit here and there just based on preferences and the COPO build resource material we have available. 3: Jay went to work with the plasma cutter while Kelly pondered the job and inspected what he had to work with. Jay is shown notching out the rear frame section of the driver side to allow for the lower control arm mount.



components ourselves, but some things are best left to the pros. What would have taken us weeks to accomplish in between other work, Kelly did in just days, and let’s face it, the finished product exceeds our abilities on our best day. Plus,

2: As you can see, the kit we put together with MPR Race Cars includes everything needed to reproduce a COPO-style 9-inch rear housing and suspension. We’ll get our AFCO shocks later on in the build. listening to Kelly belt out tunes while he worked was entertaining to everyone who stopped by (he’s also an ex-band member). Kelly did such a great job that we actually enjoy gazing endlessly at the unpainted work—especially

those welds. It’s a shame we have to paint it! We chose a roll cage kit to help streamline the build, and with the help of our COPO research material and insight from the folks at S&W, we think we made the right

decision. The S&W cage part #11-1534-td takes the guesswork out of caging our beast. There’s no sense in losing sleep over fabbing up bars when somebody else has already done all the hard work. The S&W kit is a 10-point cage with

pre-bent bars that comes in three different types of material. We “supersized” ours to chromoly. The same goes for our rear diff and suspension set up. On top of running a full-service chassis and fab shop, MPR Race Cars out

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



5 of Almont, Michigan makes parts for all types of factory-style conversions, so why not contact the pros for our tribute car? The MPR setup we designed included a Strange axle housing, upper and lower control arms, antiroll bar kit, a panhard bar, coilover shock mounting brackets and a rear suspension install kit which included all the hardware, rodends etc. to get the job done. As far as getting our own materials or components went, the only thing we did was source some square and rectangle tubing locally to use for our frame connectors and crossmember, and a stick of chromoly for some extra bars we made.

Follow along as Kelly takes us through the process. I arrived at Misener Motorsports with all my essential tools in-hand and Jay (Misener) had the majority of the big equipment needed to complete the task; a Mig and Tig welder and a plasma cutter. I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I have used a kit in one of my builds, so I had no idea what to expect. With regards to the rear suspension parts, Jay opted for a setup to keep the car as correct as possible and class-legal, and after a thorough study of the COPO Camaro build book, I had a clear understanding of the task at hand. The upper control arm mount

4: From there, the floor was notched for the frame connectors. 5 & 6: The passenger side was next. Kelly, being Kelly, put his fabrication skills to work and tidied up the notched areas to near perfection… they look almost factory! Note the upper control arm mount is also installed here.

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine



7: Kelly welded 6x6inch reinforcement plates to inner rocker and installed these outriggers from the plates to the frame rails for the main hoop to attach to. Note that our cutouts just fit the square tube which makes for a very nice finished product. 8: Here is our passenger side almost ready for the first rear diff and suspension mock up.




9:The entire assembly is mocked up and looks great. Just add our coilover shocks and once properly adjusted this setup will launch the Camaro hard and straight!

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



february 2017 | RPM Magazine


was pretty straight forward – cut two holes as per their measurements and bolt it in place. The lower control arm mounts were a bit more difficult as our source material only provided two measurements, so we had to figure out the rest. I put Jay to work on the first side, so I could figure out what not to do‌just kidding. First, I had to notch the frame to make room for the lower control mounts, which was easily accomplished with the plasma cutter. After cleaning up the area, I made cardboard templates to fill in the holes.




10: Kelly installed a crossmember for the X brace andinside the car and the rear suspension upper control arm mounts outside the car (see #4).. 11: Here, the main hoop is tacked into place. Note it is angled slightly back to follow the door jamb. Little details like this are why we called in a pro. 12: Our chassis fabricator also happens to be a former band member and entertained staff and customers for most of the week.


www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


RPM PROJECT CAR Scissors, cardboard, a Sharpie and tape can be your best friend when fabricating...basic skills I picked up during my time in kindergarten. Once my pieces were fit and tacked, I welded them in. Man, I hate Mig welding. My ankles are still healing from the splatter burns. Next was to fit the 2x2-inch frame and thru-the-floor bars and seat rails. Once tacked, I triple checked my measurements and welded on the lower control arm brackets, then proceeded to weld the frame rails in. I also welded all the 6x6-inch plates in the correct places, mostly by using photos as a reference. I welded plates to the inner rockers and installed outriggers from these plates to the frame rail for the main hoop to attach to. Next, I installed the spigots for the anti-roll bar and once they were installed we could install the rearend and weld in the diagonal link mounts. Ok, time for a break as we now have the rear-suspension in and the foundation for the roll cage installed. I started on the cage


by laying out all of the pieces of the S&W chromoly roll cage kit on the floor to see what we had. Everything looked good and my first task was to fit the main hoop. S&W provides enough material to do the job right. I propped up the main hoop in the car, using rolled up cardboard against the roof to hold it in position. I placed the legs of the hoop in front of my outriggers and used a Sharpie to transfer a cut line. Make sure the hoop is centered in the car and leaned back to where you want it. I like to mimic the door post angle. I added a half an inch to my line and cut the hoop. I prefer to sneak up on my fitment, you can take away material, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) add it. Remember, that main hoop is there to save your life, something that should not be taken lightly. After several in and out trial fitments with the hoop, my measurements to the floor were the same and the digital protractor confirmed them. So on to the next step.

february 2017 | RPM Magazine


14 13 & 14: The X-brace bars and rear bars were tacked in next followed by the roof halo. 15: Here, our door bars and front bars are finish welded in place. Be sure to have interior door panels to enable you to properly tweak your door bars for a perfect fit.




16: We cut a small amount of material out for our front bars to fit just right after the dash structure was reinstalled. 17: The finished cage is as clean as they come, with the fully welded door bars and x-brace adding significant chassis stiffness as well as enhanced safety.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017


RPM PROJECT CAR We tweaked the rear bars to mimic the COPO build as close as possible, and then we fit and tacked them in place. Before tacking any bar, I always clean the surface area to be welded and drill a gas hole. This hole will relieve the built-up gas in the tube from the welding process. The rest of the cage install was pretty straight forward. We notched out some of the factory dash steel structure for a nice tight fit on the front bars and made sure we had an interior door panel onhand as we fit the side bars into place. I also had Jay pick up some 1.25-inch moly for the X to upper control arm mounts and the seat belt bar and I did tweak the bends on a couple of other tubes, just for personal preference. There you have it, after many hours of fitting and welding, we had a complete foundation for our Homegrown COPO Camaro tribute car. All in all, both the MPR rear suspension kit and the S&W cage kit were pretty straightforward

to install. My advice is take your time and don’t rush the job. It can be frustrating to go into the shop and work for hours and not seem like you are getting much accomplished, but if you take your time on your fitment and double check your measurements it will show when the job is finished. Don’t forget to tack and look. Take a look from every angle, every window, as you might see something you don’t like and you can still fix it at this stage. And remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Kelly Cooper has 20 years of experience building race cars, both professionally and as a hobby. Many of his creations have been record setters, class winners and stand out for their craftsmanship. He is also the co-founder, announcer, and promoter of the Pro Tree Racing Association. He supports all of his family and friends in the sport and his passion for drag racing and fast cars finds its way into all aspects of his life.



february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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SOURCES S&W Race Cars www.swracecars.com 610.948.7303

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www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



Notched Like None Other >> Rogue Fabrication’s VersaNotcher provides unmatched versatility and adjustability in a hole saw tubing notcher by

Toby Brooks


ith fabrication work on Project aPocalypSe Horse continuing on, we had a number of small supports and mounts left to create prior to painting the completed chassis. However, we had grown tired of wrestling with the junky import tool store tubing notcher that had been laying around the shop for years. As a result, we started looking for other options.

Perhaps the top of the line option would be a mill intended exclusively for tube notching or one of the new CNC-powered plasma tubing cutters. However, with even the most basic of these units pricing in at more than $4,000, such just wasn’t in the budget. Concerned we may be stuck with the same old junky notcher, we thankfully happened upon Rogue Fabrication’s aptly named VersaNotcher, instead. The VersaNotcher features a CNC-cut

and welded steel frame and a number of features not available on tools priced significantly more than its $399 entry-level cost ($499 as tested). Two of the coolest features are the VersaNotcher’s ability to clamp any round tube or bar stock from 3/4-inch to 2 inch, square tube from 3/4-inch to 1.5-inch, and even flat bar stock up to 2.5-inches wide and also its ability to notch any of those materials on an offset. The unique clamping mechanism can clamp

and notch tubing that has already been formed on a bender, and the CNC-machined adjustable axle mount can move up to 1 7/16-inches for plenty of options notching on an offset. The unit features two quick release clamps and a range of 225 degrees with degree hash marks clearly milled into the frame every 2.5 degrees (numbers every 5 degrees). Similarly, axle offset is also milled into the frame at 1/8-inch increments.

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february 2017 | RPM Magazine


1: The VersaNotcher Pro Kit comes complete with everything you need to notch your chromoly or mild steel tubing, including a fully adjustable quick-swinging tube clamping mechanism, a CNC machined and bearing-equipped shaft support, a polished and ground heat treated stainless steel shaft, eight arbors, five bi-metal hole saws, and a bottle of cutting fluid. Unlike our old tubing notcher (2) we had laying around the shop, the VersaNotcher can be used to notch tubing that has already been bent and can also notch on an offset by adjusting the position of the arbor on the mount. Like all Rogue Fabrication products, the VersaNotcher is designed and built in the USA from the RogueFab headquarters in Sandy, Oregon.

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2 4 3

3 & 4: With our piece of chromoly securely clamped in the VersaNotcher, we set the housing to a straight 90-degree cut. The quick release clamps on top and bottom can be used to swing the axle a total of 225 degrees, and the housing has been clearly milled with hash marks every 2.5 degrees and degree number indicators every five degrees. With the arbor secured on the axle and everything ready for cutting, we sprayed a quick shot of cutting lubricant on the holesaw’s teeth and started our first cut.

5 To start, we used one of the supplied bi-metal holesaws to notch a piece of 1 1/4-inch 0.065 wall thickness chromoly. Setup was a breeze with the VersaNotcher securely mounted in our bench vise. With a quick shot of cutting oil to the hole saw’s teeth, we secured a cordless drill to the axle shaft and made a perfectly cut fishmouth in a matter of seconds. We tried the VersaNotcher on a number of other

5: The machined axle mount can be adjusted up to 1 7/16-inches in either direction to allow offset notches using just a single Allen wrench. We marked the midpoint with a Sharpie for easy reference.

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刀椀瘀攀琀⼀刀椀瘀攀琀 一甀琀 䐀爀椀氀氀 䄀搀愀瀀琀攀爀猀

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

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




刀䤀䐀䜀䔀䜀䄀吀䔀 吀伀伀䰀匀 ☀ 吀䔀䌀䠀

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017



7 6 & 7: Since we were just testing, we used a cordless drill to spin the notcher, however, on bigger jobs a corded 1/2-inch chuck drill would probably be best. The end result is a clean fishmouth that needs nothing but a quick swipe with acetone and a stainless wire brush prior to TIG welding.

materials, including some heavy wall tubing and a piece of 1 7/8-inch chromoly, as well. Each cut was clean, quick, and easy. While the $399 price might seem a bit spendy compared to several of the other holesaw-based

notchers available on the market, the VersaNotcher is very much a case of getting what you pay for, as the Rogue Fabrication unit provides features you just cannot get from those other tools. After testing both, we can say without question

that the VersaNotcher is far easier to use and set up and the end result is a consistently better tubing notch. If you are in the market for a tubing notcher for use in your shop, be sure to check them out, as we are now raving fans!

SOURCE Rogue Fabrication www.roguefab.com 503.389.5413


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february 2017 | RPM Magazine

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1 & 2: It wasn’t easy, but we finally got it! This intricate transmission tunnel took 13 finished pieces...but as our scrap pile will attest, it actually took at least two or three tries per panel to get it right. Who said learning was easy?




>>We pay tuition at the School of Hard Knocks and fab up a bead rolled sheetmetal transmission tunnel



rogress is progress, and we made some this month, even if it didn’t come easy. If you have been following along, we have been doing everything we can to finish up fabrication

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

story by

on our pro street 2006 Mustang so that we can finally get it to paint. The good news is that we are closing in on finally finishing it up, even if we already paid two different shops to do it for us. The bad news is that learning

isn’t without its hiccups, and tackling sheetmetal fabrication can be tricky business for a newbie. However, with a little patience, a fair amount of perseverance, and a few choice words muttered under our breath, we

Toby Brooks

did manage to overcome a major hurdle in getting the trans tunnel fully fabricated using our wonderful new Eastwood motorized bead roller (look for an upcoming Cool Tools feature on this puppy!)


3 & 4: Here’s the culprit. The problem is space. As much as we like the look of the sheetmetal under the bars on a dual rail car, the chassis was built as tight to the transmission, Gear Vendors overdrive unit, and Dyno Tech driveshaft as possible, making that option no good. To make matters even more complicated, we opted for a pair of Pro Car seats that are comfy but plenty wide, meaning there wasn’t room to run all the panels on top, either. We needed to improvise.

5 The first order of business was to figure out just how to wrap our twin rail chassis to still have room for everything. The main rails had been crafted to maximize interior space, leaving very little clearance to tin the entire thing under the bars as many do with twin rail cars. However, our comfy Scat Pro Car seats are cushy and wide, meaning they needed as much room as possible. In order to make things all fit properly, we opted to do the rear portion of the tunnel tinwork over the rails with the front portion installed under the rails. In order to mount the over/under configuration as planned, we had to first add in a pair of bars to serve as mounting points. Using our Rogue Fabrication tubing

notcher, we promptly fit up a pair of 7/8-inch chromoly tubes and welded them in place using our Miller Diversion 180 TIG welder. With the added bars in place, we then templated the panels using the brightest colored poster board known to man (it was even pink). With the paper templates complete on the passenger side, we then transferred the shapes to a sheet of 20-gauge sheetmetal sourced from our local metal supply house. A 4x8 sheet was around $30 delivered, so our mistakes to come weren’t really that costly; however, if you are using pre-finished aluminum panels or carbon fiber, such gaffes will get costly in a hurry. Consider it tuition at the School of Hard Knocks. Now came the really tricky part. Fitting panels




5 & 6: In order to allow room for the drivetrain aft and the seats fore, we had to add a pair of bars to serve as a mointing point for the sheetmetal. With the paper templates cut to shape and taped in place, we were ready to start making some panels out of 20-gauge sheetmetal.

www.rpm-mag.com | february 2017




9 & 10: As we were assembling the front accessory drive, it became apparent that our KG Gun Kote had not adhered properly. Apart the engine came again as we sanded and scuffed it back to bare aluminum.


7: The paper template here shows just how tight the fit is up against Scat Pro Car Rallye Smoothback seat on the passenger side. Space is at an absolute premium in the build. We are thinking an Impala SS or a Lincoln Continental might be a fun follow up build for a nice change of pace :)

february 2017 | RPM Magazine



8: We cut the first floor piece to shape then traced out the area for the recesses for bead rolling. Provided your chassis was properly constructed and is symmetrical, you can simply flip your template over and duplicate a mirror image for the other side. 9: The Eastwood motorized bead roller was a must for the next portion of our install. We started with the 1/8-inch step dies seen here, but later switched to a tipping die for crisper recesses and more precise corners. 10: With the panel now bead rolled, we trial fit it in place. Although we initially built the panel with Dzus tabs, we later opted for machine screws due to space constraints. 11: We used Cleco pins to hold the panels in place as we worked. Two of the four panels you see here were later remade for better fit.

requires precision and planning, especially when compound curves or complicated box bends are involved. A bend in the sheetmetal brake the wrong direction or even in the wring order means a ruined panel. To make matters even more complicated, the sleek recessed bead rolled insets we wanted add another opportunity for screw-ups (trust us on this one). After making nearly every finished panel at least twice and in some instances three times, we finally got a fit and finish that we were pleased with. With all the panels made, we then turned to the arduous task of fastening them in place. SFI specs for our 25.3 cert require the floorpans be welded in place, however, the transmission tunnel can be screwed or


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2017 113


12: The panels near the driver and passenger foot pans were made to go behind the bars for maximum space and a cool look. 13: The view from the mid plate shows the crazy configuration necessary to get everything to fit. 14: With the tunnel complete, it is time to finish the floor. Tune in next month!

bolted. We drilled and tapped somewhere in the neighborhood of 142,323 holes and tapped them with an 8/32-inch tap (six, actually—chromoly likes to eat taps) for the Allen fasteners we used to secure it all. For now, we used anti-seize to keep the threads from galling but we will


use threadlocker when everything is ready for final assembly. With the tunnel complete, we are ready to turn our attention to the rest of the floor. Check back next month as we (hopefully!) get it finished up!

february 2017 | RPM Magazine

SOURCES Eastwood

Miller Electric

www.eastwood.com 877.955.0316

www.millerwelds.com 920.734.9821

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ECTED Max-Locker Electronically controlled traction-enhancing differentials are selectable lockers offering the traction control of a limited-slip differential and a full-locking differential — all in one! Can be switched on or off “on the fly,” at any road speed and is quiet – say good-bye to noisy lockers! Ask your Parts Pro salesperson for more details.

Spiro-Pro Universal Spark Plug Wire Sets A two-layer 100% silicone inner core & outer jacket keeps the wires flexible for the life of your vehicle maintaining its vibrant color with heat protection to 600º F. Featuring 350 ohms per foot resistance which provides more fire power to the spark plugs than OEM resistor core wires. Available with 90º, 135º or 180º boot angles in Red, Blue or Black.

Steering Wheel Kit PN M-3600-M350R Mustang GT and 2.3L EcoBoost with a manual transmission. • Unique GT350R Alcantara Leather wrapped steering wheel • Ebony with signature GT350R red stitching and red sightline • Kit includes a GT350R wheel and Satin bezel kit Will also fit '15-'17 automatic transmission Mustangs equipped with paddle shifters, with modifications

PQx® SFI-Rated Racing Steel Dampers



HR Conventional 10W-30 Great for small block street cruisers and "crate" motors. 10W Multi-grade formula provides excellent start-up protection. PN 02007 HR Conventional 15W-50 Perfect for big block muscle cars and blown street rods. Perfect for engines with original seals. Good for loose bearing clearances. PN 02107

Hot Rod Engine Oils

• Meets SFI 18.1 specification • Laser engraved timing marks • Available in black epoxy or polished steel with epoxy clear coat • Injected with heated elastometer between inner hub and outer ring • Externally balanced dampers include removable counterweights • Accurate crank bore for a proper pressed fit • Manufactured from high-grade carbon billet steel

Motor & 15-17 Mustang Transmission GT350R Mount Kits Stabilize your drivetrain and experience power-to-the-ground performance with these polyurethane motor and transmission mounts. Race proven and driver friendly! Available in Red or Black.

PN 56482LS

Direct-fit Flex-a-fit Aluminum Rad and Electric Fan for '70-'81 Camaro with LS Engine Swap The “T” channels offer 130 percent better heat transfer, a durable mounting system for the radiator, electric fan and optional oil cooler or expansion tank. • Fits ’70-’81 Camaro with LS engine swap • Brackets are included for no-drill installation • 2-row, 1-inch tubes • Fully-shrouded Flex-a-lite X-Treme, dual electric fan comes pre-mounted • Up to 3,000 cfm of airflow • Includes Variable Speed Controller

Diesel Twin Clutch® Series

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PN 1894

'15-'17 Mustang 2.3L Ecoboost 65mm Throttle Body

• Increased HP and Quicker Throttle Response • 8-12 Horsepower Gain and Reduced Turbo Lag • Works with OEM and Aftermarket Intakes • Direct Bolt On for Easy Installation • No Custom Tuning Required


Head Studs

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Use Ultra-Torque to precisely duplicate all ARP fastener preload spec's

Thread Sealer

Delivers a flexible leak-proof seal in aluminum, steel, stainless steel and plastic against gasoline, water, coolants, natural gas and LPG.

Now Available GM Wet Sump Oil Pans PN 20145 LS Series, Rear Sump Swap Fabricated Steel Oil Pan PN 20146 LS Series, Front Sump Swap Fabricated Steel Oil Pan PN 20150 LS Series, Rear Sump Swap Fabricated Steel Oil Pan PN 20155 LT Series, RearSump Swap Fabricated Steel Oil Pan

Ask a sales rep for details Diablo Blackout Shifter

Now available in black to correspond with dark interiors. The fully configurable design allows the customer set up the shifter with either a front- or rear-cable exit. It can also be configured with either a forward or reverse shift pattern for a two-, three- or four-speed transmission. PN 620002BL with cover & buttons

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