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ADVERTISING SALES For advertising information contact


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

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


RPM Magazine has been a world leader in motorsports publishing for 20 years and has support locations in Ontario, Canada, Alabama, Texas, and Virginia, along with contributing writers and photojournalists worldwide. If you have a story that may fit within the focus and scope of RPM Magazine’s coverage, please email our Editor In Chief at editor@ Submission of an article does not guarantee that it will be published. Revolution Publishing & Media Inc. (RPM) / RPM Magazine IS NOT responsible for errors or omissions in ANY advertisement or article. Advertisements may be rearranged or altered at the sole discretion of RPM to allow the ad to fit in the space purchased by the advertiser. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE ANY ADVERTISING WHICH WE CONSIDER TO CONTAIN MISLEADING, OFFENSIVE OR FALSE INFORMATION. REPRODUCTION OF ANY INFORMATION HEREIN IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT.

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.


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

Art & Graphics Director: Toby Brooks

Postmaster: Send address changes to:

Special Events Manager: Chris Biro Special Events Sales: Trish Biro: 519-752-3705 Subscriptions/Address Changes: Circulation General Inquiries: 519.752.3705




Chris Biro


pssst...hey you...yeah you...


’ve given my RANT space this month to organizers of events that RPM is supporting for 2019: Tom Bailey for Tom Bailey’s Woodward PreParty/RPM 20th Birthday Bash Friday August 8th and 9th and Ian Hill for the SMACKDOWN3 July 20th – 21st. By the time you have read this, JT (from RPM’s SHOP TALK column) will have held the first RPM-supported event of 2019; his Pro Street Palooza June 23rd. First, though, I want to send a shout-out to one of the RPM independent photo contributors, Jerry Garrison. In the May issue we featured Dale Snoke’s cool tribute FX Comet and listed not only the page incorrectly, but the photographer incorrectly as Matt Trombley when it was in fact Jerry Garrison. It was the first time in 20 years that this has happened, but we screw up just like everyone else and are big enough to admit when we do. Jerry is heavily involved in the drag race and street car scene in California and had two shoots in the June issue (that we got right) so be sure to check out his work!


JULY 20th – 21st Toronto Motorsports Park, Cayuga, Ontario, Canada FROM ORGANIZER IAN HILL: As the summer creeps in, it brings with it Canada’s No Time Grudge racing event of the year...the 3rd annual RPM Magazine Smackdown3. Now in its 7th year in Ontario, No Time Grudge Street Cars shootout-style racing couldn’t be more exciting. This year’s event brings with it the $10,000 Extreme Outlaw Shootout, the $10,000 Limited 28s Shootout backed up by guaranteed payouts in every class from the new 235 Outlaws right through every sportsman class, including the Jr. Dragster program at $750 per day! All in all, Ian Hill Racing Promotions—with the help of the event sponsors—is bringing $50,000 in guaranteed class payouts to the event and we invite you to come see if you can take home your share as you race against some of the best drag racers Ontario has to offer. RPM Magazine Smackdown3 classes for the heads-up racer include: Extreme Outlaw, Limited 28s, 235 Outlaws, Street 275, Real Street, Street Bike and for the Sportsman racer we have Extreme 8.80 Bike, 6.0/ 10.0 indexes, Bikes and Sleds, Pro, Super Pro and Jr Dragster we have a class for everyone! What makes this event stand out from others in the area, besides the $50,000 in guaranteed payouts of course, is the Grudge Racing. When you have a bunch of heads-up racers racing a No Time event, the starting line can get crazy with fans. We follow this up by providing the local dial-in racers a place to come and compete for larger-than-normal payouts. Put this all together

and we have what we call The Smackdown! Then, not only will the champion of each class be rewarded with some great payouts for hammering their competition, but the class champions will also be rewarded with a heavyweight champion-style belt for their efforts! The partnership between Ian Hill Racing Promotions and RPM Magazine has never been stronger and it is through the efforts of everyone involved that we can offer such a great weekend of racing. We hope you will all come out to experience what No Time Grudge Racing is all about! Follow us on facebook or at


August 8th at Lapeer International Dragway and August 9th at Wildwood Park, Lake Orion Michigan. FROM ORGANIZER TOM BAILEY: We opened registration for Tom Bailey’s Woodward PreParty/RPM Birthday bash event at www. for JUNE 1st, and it has gone wild ever since! It is going to be a crazy event with some of the baddest cars in the land! If you are looking to see one of the greatest displays of street-legal horsepower ever assembled you need to attend! This is not a lawn chair car show. It’s a two-day horsepower festival! Day one is Thursday 8/8/19 at Lapeer International Dragway for a day of testing and Friday 8/9/19 is the party, burnout contests, dyno pulls, live music, and an assembly of over 100 street cars packing parachutes!!! Need I say more???? FROM RPM MAG: “You might notice a change in the second part of the event name for 2019,” said RPM Magazine Editor In Chief Chris Biro. “We replaced RPM MAG TAKEOVER with RPM BIRTHDAY BASH in order to invite our readers, supporters and followers to come celebrate 20 years of power & gears with RPM. This is a huge accomplishment in the world of fast car mags, especially for an independent family operation, and we want to celebrate with as many people and as much horsepower as possible!” RPM senior staff, including Editor In Chief Chris Biro, VP Of Marketing & Customer Relations Trish Biro, Associate Editor Ace layout guy and wicked writer Toby Brooks and shooter Matt Trombley will all be in the house, plus more special guests. Come by and enjoy the action and meet & chat with all your favorite horsepower junkies as well as RPM staff. We will have free mags and great giveaways while supplies last! Follow the event on Facebook or at www.

COMING NEXT MONTH: ReFender the Tiiiiime........................................................... Our Project aPocalypSe Horse makes the 1000+ mile trek to Bob Thrash for new sheetmetal’s hoping the fourth time is the charm!



july 2019 | RPM Magazine

ADVERTISER INDEX ACC Performance................. 110 Accufab Inc............................ 60 Aeromotive........................... 10 AFCO..................................... 97 AFR: Air Flow Research.......... 19 Alan Johnson Performance (AJPE)................................. 61 Alston Race Cars.................... 18 ATI Performance Products..... 47 Auburn Gear........................ 112 Aurora Bearing...................... 11 Autoglym.............................. 45 AVAK/Ridgegate Tools........... 44 Baer Brakes......................10, 90 Be Cool.................................. 88 BES Racing Engines............... 16 Bill Mitchell Products.......25, 83 Blower Shop............................ 5 Borla................................... 108 C&C MotorSports................. 109 Calvert Racing Suspensions... 94 Canton Racing Products........ 27 CFE Racing Products.............. 66 Chassis Engineering...........8, 22 CN Blocks.............................. 95 CNC Motorsports................... 42 Coan Engineering................ 105 Competition Products........... 36 Crane Cams........................... 89 Crower.................................. 34 CVR Products........................... 9 DART..................................... 28 DaSilva Sick Kids Show.......... 39 Design Engineering..........26, 58 Diamond Pistons................... 98 Drive Train Specialists (DTS)... 13 DRIVEN Racing Oil................. 49 Dynocologists........................ 39 Dynomite Dynamometer...... 20 Dynotech Engineering........... 66 Edelbrock.............................. 96 Energy Suspension...........16, 90 Erson Cams............................ 20 FUELAB................................. 24 Granatelli Motorsports.......... 85 GRP Connecting Rods............ 30 GZ Motorsports..................... 31 Harland Sharp....................... 22 Harwood............................... 21 HoleShot Wheels................... 35 Holley.................................2, 81 Howard’s Cams...................... 99 Hughes Performance............... 7 Ian Hill Racing....................... 83 Induction Solutions............... 32 Indy Cylinder Head................ 93 Innovate Motorsports.......... 103 JE Pistons.......................53, 107 Jesel...................................... 14 JW Perform. Transmissions.. 113 Kinsler Fuel Injection............. 41 LenTech Automatics.............. 38 Lokar Perf. Products............ 106

MagnaFuel............................ 17 Magnuson Superchargers...... 31 MAHLE Clevite Inc................. 50 Manton Pushrods.................. 66 Meziere Precision Mfg............. 8 Mickey Thompson Tires......7, 28 MS3-Pro EFI/DIY Auto Tune... 33 MSD Ignition....................... 111 Neal Chance Converters....29, 65 Nitrous Pro Flow.................... 99 Nitrous Supply.................37, 43 Parts Pro Perf Centers.......... 116 PBM Products........................ 12 Percy’s................................... 84 Performance Engineering..... 51 Performance Improvements.. 79 Perf. Plus Connection.......44, 92 Philadelphia Racing Products (PRP).............................77, 80 Powermaster Performance.... 38 Precision Turbo...................... 76 ProCharger............................ 64 Proform Parts.................87, 100 Pro Systems Carburetors.23,107 PTC........................................ 77 Quick Fuel Technology........... 25 Quik-Latch Products............ 102 Racecraft............................... 86 Racepak................................ 95 Racequip............................. 101 RAM Clutches........................ 40 Renegade Racing Fuels......... 52 Ross Racing Pistons............5, 30 RPM Events/Woodward PreParty................................. 63 RPM Magazine Subscribe!.114 S&W Race Cars...................... 59 Scorpion Racing Prods........... 17 Shafiroff Racing Engines..33, 78 SMACKDOWN 3 Event............ 62 Steve Morris Racing Engines. 51 Strange Engineering............. 82 Summit Racing Equip.....12, 115 TCI Automotive...................... 13 Ti64....................................... 11 Tom’s Upholstery................... 43 Trick Flow.............................. 15 Tuned By Shane T.................. 84 VP Racing Fuels..............48, 104 World Products................14, 35





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Often Imitated, Never Duplicated—For 20 STRAIGHT YEARS RPM Magazine has been the ORIGINAL Voice Of Wild Street Machines and Extreme Drag Cars WORLDWIDE! Don’t Settle For Less! We DELIVER Insane Fast Cars and Bring You NO POLITICS... JUST ACTION! Your ONLY “Real Time” “Real World” Car Mag...PERIOD!


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


Perfect Specimen........................................... 54 Look closely: William Marks’ 1970 Oldsmobile 442 is what you get when you cross top speed with a maniacal attention to detail!

Stayin’ Alive................................................................24 This disco-era Trans Am is a turbocharged terror!

On a Mission................................................................. 8 Rick Osburn was born to pilot this bumper-dragging 1938 Chevy pickup



Overnight Sensation................................. 42 This pro street 1970 Chevy Nova went together quickly, but it was nearly 40 years in the making!

Shop Talk......................................................................38

Project Acadian Revival................................90

Coping with Anxiety: Big Red Update

Knowing your strengths weaknesses

Terminator X: Experience not Required..........................80

Good for Everything. Great for Nuthin’..........106

Holley creates a whole new segment in the industry with the feature packed, budget-friendly Terminator X EFI systems

Fabricator Mark Peck installs our wild but functional dual-threat Borla exhaust system


july 2019 | RPM Magazine


Mickey Thompson was unstoppable. He was the first American to 400+MPH at Bonneville & the manager of Lions Drag Strip. At heart, Mickey was a drag racer, now his DNA lives on in the innovative winning products we build today for drag racers like you. UNCOMPROMISED CONSTRUCTION / UNDISPUTED PERFORMANCE. | july 2019


story by

Toby Brooks


ome people spend their entire lives searching for purpose. Others seem to know right from the start. However, for Appomattox, Virginia resident Rick Osburn, his moment of clarity came at a chance encounter on a sunny summer day at nearby Elk Creek Dragway in Elk Creek, Virginia.

“My wife Terri and I have had this truck for about 26 years,” he said. Originally built as a street rod, it was cruised and shown at local and national events in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New York, and North Carolina for the first 13 years. However, all that was about to drastically change in 2006. “When we moved from upstate New York to

Virginia, our friend Charlie Overfelt invited us to a nostalgia drag race,” Rick recalled. “That day we made three passes, and on our way home, I told Terri that I had found what God wanted me to do,” he said. That divine inspiration apparently involved running the deceptively fast ol’ Chevy at tracks up and down the Eastern seaboard with the front

photos by

Benoit Pigeon

wheels perched high and the nose aimed at the sky. To prepare the truck for the rigors of nostalgia racing, a number of modifications were in order. First up, the stock three-quarters of a century-old framerails were narrowed 8 inches in rear and fully boxed for added strength. A custom roll cage with a single swingout sidebar and external

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

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ON A MISSION RETRO-ACTIVE There’s just something cool about a straight-axle gasser. With a Moon tank and Halibrand replica wheels, Osburn’s ’38 is like looking into drag racing’s past.

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN In an era of wild all-over wraps and vinyl cut graphics, Osburn’s Chevy is hand lettered and pinstriped. The timeless Hot Rod Black finish just adds to the appeal.


july 2019 | RPM Magazine

Around the world or around the track, you won’t find a higher quality line of bearings and rod ends with Aurora’s proven 40 year track record.


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cab supports was added to enhance safety and improve chassis stiffness. As the near-monster truck-high ride height would suggest, suspension for the classic hauler is decidedly old school, where a chromed front straight axle is sprung beneath 5-inch arched leafs with Pro-Comp shocks up front, while a custom home-fabbed ladder bar setup and adjustable Pro-Comp coilovers hang the nar-

rowed and braced Ford 9-inch in back. SSBC discs up front and Ford drum brakes out back help slow the roll. Continuing with the retro-drag vibe, a stack injected small block Chevy now lives where an archaic 78 horsepower inline-six used to call home. Although the exact numbers are non-disclosed, it is safe to say that the current mill’s numbers are considerably higher. Kevin Simpson Racing Engines started

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with a 1969 LT1 block and bored it 0.030-over before stuffing it with a rotating assembly consisting of JE Pistons, Scat H-beam rods, and an Eagle crank. A solid roller camshaft calls the shots for the drivetrain, while a pair of lightly massaged Lou Morgantini Dart heads direct the air flow in and out of the combustion chambers. The intake/induction is a particularly cool piece of functional history. “The mechani- | july 2019



EYES ON THE SKY Once the big Mickey Thompsons hook up, the truck instantly sends the nose in the air. “There’s more weight on the front axle than the rear and there are no tricks,” Osburn said. Just plenty of power and an equal amount of bite! cal Hilborn injection system was owned and run by my longtime hero Gene Altizer,” Osburn said. The iconic 8-stack system was atop Altizer’s S&S Team Anglia when he snagged a Wally at the 1963 U.S. Nationals. “When I was 9 years old, I first saw Gene’s Anglia at

Island Dragway in Great Meadows, New Jersey, and it’s what guided my life toward gassers. And now 50 years later, we run his Hilborn and are great friends with him and his wife Margie,” he added. Ignition consists of the bare essentials in the form of an

Let’s Build It Together. 1-800-230-3030 12

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

MSD distributor, coil, and 6AL box with no additional electronics. Continuing that less-is-more theme, a set of muffler-liberated and ear-splitting zoomie headers handle the exhaust duties. Backing the mouse motor is a Chevy Turbo 400

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SPECIAL STACKS trans with a shift kit, manual reverse valve body, and an ATI 4,000 RPM stall converter. Elsewhere in the driveline, shortened Moser 40-spline axles have

been partnered with a spool and 4.86 gears to withstand the rigors of Osburn’s famous starting line orbital maneuvers. Body and paint is straightforward and


unfussy, where the unchopped-top steel cab and bed body have been lightened up a bit thanks to Bebops fiberglass fenders and red-tinted Plexiglas side and


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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

The Hilborn injection setup on the small block Chevy has quite a history, having been aboard Gene Altizer’s Anglia when it won the 1963 U.S. Nationals. Altizer was one of Osburn’s favorites back in the day and the Anglia was one of the reasons Rick decided to build a gasser. The two are now good friends and having the classic mechanical 8-stack system just adds another cool reason to love the home-built pickup. | july 2019



RICK OSBURN’S 1938 CHEVY PICKUP Chassis Type & Mods: Stock 1938 Chevy pickup chassis narrowed 8 inches in rear. Fully boxed front to rear. Custom fabricated cage with driver’s side swing-out sidebar and rear hoop supports.

rear windows. The classic semigloss Hot Rod Black paint has been adorned with era-perfect hand-lettered graphics. A front-mounted Moon spun alu-

minum fuel cell adds a perfect ’60s touch. Inside, it’s no Lexus or Infinity, but rather all classic drag car (or truck, in this case). The only non-steel surfaces

in the entire cockpit is the single vinyl-wrapped fiberglass racing bucket, the steering wheel, and a lone rubber floor mat. Autometer instrumentation has been fitted in

Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: Stock hangers with 5-inch arched leafs. Chromed straight axle with Pro-Comp shocks and SSBC disc brakes. REAR: Homebuilt ladder bar setup with Pro-Comp adjustable coilover shocks. Ford drum brakes. Body & Paint: Stock height/non-chopped top original metal cab & pickup body. Bebops fiberglass fenders. Semi-gloss Hot Rod Black paint with hand-lettered graphics. Red tinted Plexiglass side and rear windows. Engine: Engine machine work and assembly by Kevin Simpson Racing Engines in Lynchburg, VA. 1969 LT1 350 block bored 0.030-over. JE Pistons, Scat H-beam rods, and Eagle crankshaft. Solid roller cam. Dart aluminum cylinder heads prepped by Lou Morgantini. Bed-mounted 4-row radiator. Induction & Fuel Delivery: Hilborn mechanical injection system that ran on Gene Altizer’s 1963 U.S. Nationals Champion S&S Team Anglia. Mechanical fuel pump. Power Adder: None. Electronics & Ignition: MSD 6AL box, coil, & distributor. No additional electronics, gadgets, or gizmos. Transmission & Driveline: Turbo 400 with shift kit, manual reverse valve body, and ATI 4,000 RPM stall converter. Differential: Narrowed and braced 9-inch Ford housing. Moser 40-spline axles with spool and 4.86 gears. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 15 x 4-inch polished Newstalgia Sprint wheels with 25x4.5-15 Mickey Thompson ET Front tires. REAR: 15 x 14-inch polished Newstalgia Sprint wheels with 31x13-15 Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks. Performance (eighth-mile): 10.66 et @ 126 MPH.

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine


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RED RIDER and on the steel dash, and shifting chores are managed through a B&M pistol-grip Pro Stick shifter. Considering the modest naturally-aspirated SBC power (at least by modern standards) and the 2,860-pound (sans driver) curb weight, performance of the pickup is impressive with a best of 10.66 @ 126 mph in the quarter. “It runs pretty good, but the best part is that we leave the


The pickup’s interior features a mild steel roll cage and coated tinwork surrounding a lone fiberglass racing bucket. The red Plexiglas contributes to the throwback vibe.

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

ON A MISSION | july 2019


line with the front wheels at least five feet in the air for the first 90-100 feet and it consistently runs


july 2019 | RPM Magazine

10.70s most of the time,� Osburn said. “To tell you the truth, this truck does things it should not do. There

is more weight on the front axle than on the rear and there are no tricks. I tell everyone that if the ’38 were a






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ON A MISSION horse, people would say it had a lot of heart,” he added. The truck’s performance has been good enough to secure a win in D/Gas in the recent past, but it isn’t just about the wins, as the Osburns have a blast in the process. And let’s be honest, if you can have fun while fulfilling your purpose for life in the process, you’ve really found something special. ’38 Special!

DUAL THREAT Rick and wife Terri spend plenty of time racing their Chevy truck, but the classic body and unmistakable gasser look make it popular at shows, too.

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine | july 2019


story by

Toby Brooks


ou grudge guys are a funny bunch. One part businessman (or woman) another part secret agent. Add a sprinkle of trash talking professional


photos by

Matt Trombley

wrestler and a dash of military tactician and there you have it: a modern day amalgam of brains, brawn, and bravado. And try as they might to be different, many grudge racers

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

end up very much the same: LS-powered Fox body Mustangs abound with only the body color and the turbo mounting location varying much. That’s why when we see a no-frills no prep | july 2019


STAYIN’ ALIVE car like Chris Strausbaugh’s 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, we stop and take notice. A ’77 anything is fairly out of the ordinary at the track. At the height of smog restrictions and gas shortages, Detroit’s offerings were a far cry from the trackready drag cars the Big Three sold in the ’60s. While the lines of the 1977 TA are crisp and hinted at performance,

the looks certainly lacked any real substance. Factory engine choices ranging from an anemic 105-horse V6 to a downright laughable 200-horse 400 ci V8 weren’t exactly awe-inspiring. However, there’s no denying that the thing looks good, so toss in a proven powerplant with a modern EFI system and a big turbo and you’ve got yourself a sweet

SUBTLE CLUES At first glance, this Pontiac is a cool cruiser that has been updated with a unique color and a nice set of aftermarket wheels. However, that single exhaust dump on the passenger side gives it away: it’s turbocharged!




Beat the Heat Before It Beats You! What kind of problems are created by engine heat? When engines create power, they also create heat. Underhood components such as wiring, cables, lines and hoses are susceptible to the harmful and damaging effects of heat that can break down mechanisms prematurely. And it’s not just heat. Moisture, oil, dirt, road and track grime are other environmental factors that can cause damage.

any vehicle. This protection is a relatively inexpensive preventive measure compared to the parts and labor costs of replacement. It can be as simple as covering the hose or line with products specifically designed to protect them from the heat and other damage.

Why should I protect my under-hood components?

Protecting a vehicle’s electrical wiring, coolant hoses and other lines is vital to the overall performance and operation of

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

With so many different components doing different things, how do I know which sleeve to use?

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flexibility, different temperature ratings and are light weight. Protection for spark plug wires to prevent burning and cracking Installation is easy with What kind of DEI products sleeving that simply wraps around wiring, would you recommend? secures with hook and loop closure or Choose from the popular selling DEI Heat slides over. Sheath™, the highly abrasion-resistant EXO™ How do they work? Series Sleeve with its stainless-steel outer Utilizing different types of braided glass covering, the new Vapor Block™ fuel line and basalt base material, the various styles sleeve or the extremely light-weight, racing of DEI sleeves/shrouds protect components application, Ultra 47™ Sheath. such as wiring, cables, hoses, fuel/oil/brake/ DEI has the correct wire, cable, hose and transmission lines-even speedometer cables. line solution to protect you from potential They work by reflecting heat away or insuunder-hood, heat-related problems later, lating from heat, in turn, protecting critical when you least expect them. components from thermal damage. Depending on your needs, some sleeves can protect up to 1800°F direct heat and 2500°F radiant. These coverings also protect from cold, moisture, oil, dirt, road and track grime. | july 2019



KOOL KOLOR The unique hue of the Poncho isn’t a factory least it wasn’t in 1977. However, the owner-applied Sunset Orange Metallic was a 2002 Trans Am color, lending a more contemporary feel to the classic steel (only the pin-on hood is fiberglass).

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine


STAYIN’ ALIVE looking, hard-running winner. That was Chris Strausbaugh’s plan, anyway. “I bought the car off my oldest brother when I was 18,” he recalled. “It was a total basket case, but I loved it because it was different,” he added. While everyone else had a Mustang or a Camaro, Strausbaugh liked the thought of being unique. Maybe not 1977- sequined-jumpsuit-unique—but distinctive enough to stand out in a crowd. Strausbaugh set to the work of piecing his Poncho together, initially opting for a Pontiac 400 for power. “After spending $12,000 on the engine, I soon discovered that the shop I had hired to put in the rotating assembly hadn’t clearanced the rod bearings correctly, and it was junk,” he said. Desperate to get on the track, a friend had a 383 SBC for sale and the price was right. And the Pontiac has sported Bowtie power ever since. Strausbaugh raced and cruised the car off and on until around Jeff Kline photos | july 2019



DO IT YOURSELF Strausbaugh handled the prep and paint work himself and sprayed the Trans Am in a friend’s garage.

2009 when he focused his attention on building his business and raising a family. However, those racing want-tos never really go away. They merely got tucked away in a recess of his mind awaiting the right time to re-emerge. That time came around 2016. “After my oldest son Adley was


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july 2019 | RPM Magazine


born, I didn’t think I would race again because of the time and dedication it takes to be a dad,” he said. However, with time, parenting got easier and—coupled with a steady diet of Street Outlaws on television—he was ready to race again.

“With my excavation business, I was always slow in the winter, so I figured I could tune some cars on my Mustang chassis dyno to keep me busy,” he said. A dyno room was built and a tuning business was born.

CHRIS STRAUSBAUGH’S 1977 PONTIAC TRANS AM GRUDGE CAR Chassis Type & Mods: Martz Chassis subframe and mini tubs. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: AFCO shocks with tubular control arms. REAR: Custom ladder bar setup with AFCO adjustable coilover shocks. Strange disc brakes. Body & Paint: Owner-prepped and painted in a friend’s garage (“My first paint job, too!). 2002 GM Sunset Orange metallic. Pin-on fiberglass cowl induction hood. Engine: Martin Engines 400+ ci small block Chevy with Dart cast iron block and AFR aluminum cylinder heads. Callies crank and rods. Top secret pistons and camshaft. Induction & Fuel Delivery: Holley Dominator fuel injection system on Edelbrock aluminum intake. Power Adder: Garret turbocharger. Electronics & Ignition: MSD 6AL box, coil, & distributor. Holley Dominator ECU. CSRacing tuned. Transmission & Driveline: Timmy G-built GM Turbo 400 transmission with ATI case and C2 stall converter. Differential: Fabricated 9-inch. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 17 x 4-inch polished Weld Racing wheels with 25x4.5-17 Moroso Front Runner tires. REAR: 15 x 12-inch polished and single beadlocked Weld Racing wheels with Mickey Thompson 275/60-15 ET Street tires. Performance (quarter-mile): 7s at a high rate of speed. (It’s grudge car. We’ve already told you too much).


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SEATING FOR TWO Inside, a Martz Chassis roll cage surrounds occupants for added safety and stability, while a pair of aluminum Tim Lewis photos racing buckets with three-inch harnesses keep them in place.

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

Youngest son Garrett was born next (“I had to do some talking, but I was able to name my son after that beautiful turbo sitting on the shelf. My ex-wife didn’t know why I wanted the name Garrett, but my friends did!”). With another son and two businesses, Strausbaugh found himself swamped with work, so he opted to step back on tuning and turn back to his first love: the ’77 Trans Am. Tinkering, testing, and tuning finally gave way to no prep racing

and the hook was set. Details on the build are somewhat hard to pin down, but include a variety of upgrades under, on, in, and around the classic Pontiac. First up, the bendy unibody construction has been stiffened up with a Martz Chassis subframe and 10-point cage, while mini tubs make way for the 275 skins out back. Suspension components have been upgraded, with AFCO shocks and a set of tubular control arms riding up front and a fabbed | july 2019



july 2019 | RPM Magazine


9-inch housing on ladder bars and AFCO adjustable coilovers out back. That 383 has since been replaced and upgraded with a 400+ ci small block that was pieced together by Martin Engines. Callies crank and rods spin inside a Dart block, while aluminum AFR heads and an aluminum Edelbrock intake direct the airflow. A Holley

Dominator EFI system works flawlessly along with a full MSD ignition. A Garrett turbo pushes up to 18 pounds of boost to the Wilson throttle body and billet elbow. S&W Race Cars turbo headers direct the spent gases through the hot side and out the fender well dumps. Backing the undisclosed horsepower mill is a Timmy G-built

GM Turbo400 trans with an ATI case and C2 stall converter. Body and paint work on the classic Pontiac were handled by Chris himself in a friend’s garage. 2002 GM Sunset Orange metallic is a nice change of pace from the sea of reds, blacks, and whites you tend to see at most races, proving Chris’ previous contention that

BOOSTED BUT MYSTERIOUS Details on the 400+ ci small block Chevy are scarce, but we do know that it is running a Holley Dominator EFI system along with a Garrett turbo. S&W Race Cars headers were used on the hot side. | july 2019


STAYIN’ ALIVE he’s a man who loves different. The lone body mod consists of a lightweight pin-on fiberglass hood. Inside, the car is all business. The black painted cage protects the driver and up to one passenger strapped into the lightweight racing buckets. Racequip harnesses add additional protection and style, and the car retains the factory dash, console, door panels, headliner, and carpeting. A Grant GT steering wheel, ATI shifter, and a host of Autometer instrumentation round out the cockpit upgrades. Lastly, rolling stock consists of a set of Weld Racing wheels, with 17x


3.5s up front shod with Moroso front runners and beadlocked 15x12s turning 275/60-15 Mickey Thompsons out back. Although Strausbaugh competes in a number of no prep events, he did stray from the grudge racer playbook slightly and admits that the car is capable of 7s in the quarter. That’s more info than we’re used to getting, but still leaves plenty of room to wonder just how deep into that digit the car is capable of going. So while the scoreboard likely won’t show the time, it’ll often flash the win light. Or was that the sparkle of a disco ball?

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

READY TO RUN Chris Strausbaugh and his Sunset Orange Metallic 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.

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story and photos by


y shop and my life have been completely consumed with getting Big Red put


back together again. The last time I gave you all an update, I had removed the front bumper, fenders, rocker covers, chin spoiler, doors, and brought them to my buddy Matt at Convenience Collision in Bangor,

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

PA. The formula for this project was simple in theory, but much more labor intensive than most people will ever realize. Matt’s plan was to have me disassemble my car in stages, which allowed

me to keep the car in my shop most of the time as I worked to make it lighter, faster, and safer. At the same time, he helped educate me in the process of autobody repair and painting so that I could be

better prepared to share it all with you and completely squash the absurd notion that a car can be painted in a one-hour episode like seen on TV every week. Let’s begin by stating that I sanded those first set

1: Uncovering the 10 layers of paint made me feel more like an archaeologist than a car builder—not to mention the added work of trying to get down to the actual surface.



2: I had already re-wired the entire rear harness and wasted no time putting the rear bumper and upper filler piece on. The new taillights really changed the look out back. The old lights protruded from the body line and I disliked them from day one. 3: This is what the car looked like after putting all of the panels back on during our Easter Sunday late night thrashing. The anxiety was beginning to melt away as I sat back and admired all of that hard work.


4: Seeing the car covered in primer and one solid color definitely helped ease some of my stress. However this also gave me a lot more sanding to do. Guide coat after guide coat of hard work and bloody fingertips were ahead of me.


of panels so much that I actually lost my fingerprints. If that wasn’t enough, my fingers bled for days making every task even harder. It was sad to uncover that Big Red had been butchered by past painters and had accumulated 10 coats of paint! (yes,

10 coats!) I suffered through removing all of that carnage, and at times felt more like an archeologist than a car builder. On a positive note, I was getting excited that weight reduction was becoming a “go fast” benefit and another reason for this repaint.

Little did I know that removing the 10 coats of prior “hackmanship” (like my new word?) was only the beginning of my bloody-finger agony. Guide coat after guide coat. Sanding and more sanding. Body filler, welding, grinding, sanding, more guide coats, | july 2019


SHOP TALK and yes, more sanding, nearly took my fingers to the bone. During this time my car was looking more like a “patinaed” Rat Rod and more Big Grey than Big Red. And yes, at this point in the project the stress was beginning to take a toll on me. When the parts were finally ready for paint, I was educated once again on the labor-intensive process that to me seemed the easiest of all. This began by thoroughly washing all of the parts with soap and water before bringing them into the paint booth. This was to remove any residual dirt and dust from all of the body work. Once in the booth, they were cleaned once again with a solvent called “900.” They were cleaned with this stuff not once but three times before getting tack clothed to remove any lingering lint or dust. I used this stuff so much I renamed it 9000. Into the clean and sterile mixing room we went, and a sealer was mixed up and applied. Then we headed back to the mixing room to clean the gun and mix up a base coat of white that was required to get our desired shade of red. And then yes, back to the mixing room to clean the gun and begin mixing the first of three coats of red. That one-hour TV show has long passed, and my car was white and on the way to becoming red once again. The process was repeat-


ed throughout the three coats of red as well as the three coats of clear. I went home that night educated, excited, and completely exhausted. Those parts were far from complete, though. I may have completed my work on them, but now they needed to go through a series of wet sanding before getting cut, buffed, and polished by a skilled set of hands (not my bloodied up ones). Once those original set of parts were safely back home in my shop, Matt told me to prepare myself for a solid week of work back at his shop. Thank goodness it didn’t take much to get my wife on board and clear my schedule. During that week, we would attack the roof, rear quarters, and door jambs using the same process as the others. We welded up a few trouble spots that I found and Matt and I made a filler piece to hide the old gas door. We stayed at his shop until after midnight the final three days. There are so many steps that take an incredible amount of time that people just don’t realize. Let’s take the taping process for example: it gets zero credit and is often discounted or overlooked when discussing the painting process. Since all of the glass was out of my car, the openings needed to be taped out. My doors were off, the rear hatch was off, and my engine bay needed to be

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

5 5: The color red that we used called for a white base coat. I must admit that Big Red looked pretty cool as Big White. When I sent my wife pictures that night from the paint booth she tried to convince me to keep it white. Yeah..... NO! 6: Here is Matt the master working his magic on the front fenders. They looked amazing after he applied the three coats of clear.


6 7: We cut a filler panel for the factory gas door, welded it in place, and filled the seams. The same attention to detail was applied to the hiding the antenna hole as well as a few spots in the door and trunk jambs.




I greatly respect the painstaking process and detail that is necessary to separate a paint job from a creation of art. As a matter of fact, I am now forever spoiled and find myself looking down a car’s body line instead of simply looking at its driveline. Although still a rookie, I can now notice the steps that were either neglected or given much time. As far as me fainting or suffering from a severe panic attack, my trust for Matt and his incredibly talented technicians grew as true respect does. It happens slowly and with actions rather than words. While I may trust Matt and his crew’s abilities, I am still working hard trying to convince them that my 1994 Camaro is worth far more than the high-priced exotic Ferraris, Porsches, Jaguars, and Cobras they have in the shop. After all, these cars were all mass produced at one time. My car was hand built in my shop while teaching my daughter all of the things my dad taught me. A “one off” pro street fourth-gen Camaro is indeed rare. But carrying on a family tradition and building a legacy is priceless. Besides my daughter and I, the only other people that I have trusted to work on the car are my dear friend Shawn (who I am still bitter at for moving to Florida…sorry, buddy!) and my super-talented but more importantly trusted friend, Matt. Friends, I say it often and will preach it one more time: when you find that specialist who far exceeds your own skills, appreciate them! Honor them! And keep them on your speed dial. People have no problem honoring their doctor, attorney, and accountant. For a gearhead, a skilled specialist is far more valuable in my humble opinion. I’m looking forward to the completion of yet another phase of my project car. I pray that you all enjoy the process as much as I enjoy sharing it with you. Until next time, keep wrenching!


We Do It All

8 & 9: This is what my shop floor looked like on Easter Sunday before we began assembling the first set of painted panels. We taped the edges and used towels to save the panels from ANY possible mistakes. thoroughly sealed. At the same time, the underside of the car needed to be masked off to protect the chassis and driveline from overspray, too. We managed to meet our goal for getting done on time, and I was able to bring Big Red back home with the exception of her hood, rear hatch, spoiler, and miscellaneous trim. I brought the car home on a Friday and by Sunday all of the previously painted parts were back on. This was not just any Sunday; it was Easter Sunday! Matt came over and after a delicious family dinner, we pulled another all-nighter getting everything properly aligned. When everyone left that night, I sat in my shop, cranked some Metallica and Ratt, cracked a beer, and stared at my new beauty for a REALLY long time. Since then, I have improved the car’s trans cooling, fuel delivery, increased over 600 cfm of intake charge, replaced all the old stainless/ aluminum looking hardware with black, resprayed the inner trunk walls, and began re-cleaning and detailing the chassis. We have some surprises for the hood and rear hatch. I have new wheels and tires coming. I can’t forget some custom window tinting and a long list of other upgrades I will share with you when it is all complete. My friends, there are painters and then there are artists. There are paint jobs and there are creations of art. Simply scuffing a car, taping out the “non-paintables,” and letting your new shiny paint rip is absolutely one way to do the job. Someone took that route with my car 10 times while it lived as a daily driver. Honestly, before meeting Matt, I thought I would have been happy with a new coat of red as long as it was consistent and shiny. After all, when I began building it, the plan was simply to have a fun family race car. As the process grew, so did the attention to detail, and a show car-quality became increasingly important.




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Handbook/Catalog at Troy, Michigan USA | july 2019


story by

photos by

Toby Brooks


ome of us are car guys or gals by choice. Others were born into it. For Illinois resident Steve Lowe, his induction into the street rod and street machine life was a little of both.


Stephen Taylor

“I’ve been involved with cars and motorcycles since I was 12 years old, and I’m 57 now,” he said. His first project was a 1929 Pontiac that he now owns—a car Lowe helped his father restore before he passed away 17 years ago. However, one of the

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

first cars he ever owned himself was a Nova, and he’s pretty much been crazy about them ever since. “After going to the Street Machine Nationals in 1982 and seeing all the pro street cars, I knew I had to have one,” he remembered.

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714-373-1986 | july 2019



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Between 1982 and 1984, Lowe worked hard to put together a solid era-perfect big-tire second-gen Nova, back-halfed and stuffed with a big block. Upgrades continued over the years, but eventually

the car was pulled apart for upgrades in 1990—before life got in the way. Dissatisfied with the car and disillusioned at the pile of parts, Lowe eventually decided to part ways with his dream, turning his attention

TWEAK’D 刀一䐀ⴀ㄀ 




刀䤀䐀䜀䔀䜀䄀吀䔀 吀伀伀䰀匀 ☀ 吀䔀䌀䠀

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

Lowe’s vision was to build a car that was relatively mild but with a few “tweaks” to the classic Chevy musclecar. The unique Frost Green hue is a factory color, and the lack of graphics gives a clean, sleek look. But the blown 572 and huge Mickey Thompsons prove it’s far from stock!


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TAKE YOUR TIME A fan of pro street since 1982, Lowe always wanted a tubbed Nova with a blown big block. It may have taken him 37 years to get there, but the end result was worth the wait! instead to motorcycles. And while that was all fine and good, deep down, he knew he still had some unfinished fat-tired business bouncing around in his gray matter. “I always knew that I wanted to build another pro street Nova and finish it the way I had dreamed,” he admitted. After stumbling onto Jerry Gary, Jr.’s “Pro Street Era” Facebook page, the fire was stoked. Within weeks, a steady internet hunt had zeroed in on an in-progress project for sale on Facebook Marketplace. “I found it online, and I went and bought it the very next day,” Lowe said. The previous owner had already knocked out much of the heavy lifting, completing the cage, tinwork, and paint on the way to crafting a cool


july 2019 | RPM Magazine

...SENSATION | july 2019



GOING GREEN A well detailed BDSblown 572 now lives beneath the fiberglass hood.

but unfinished street/strip bruiser. However, momentum stalled and he decided to sell. Lowe stepped in to turn it into the Nova that he’d always wanted but hadn’t quite been able to complete before. Chassis work was cleanly done and needed only final finishing to be showready. A 2x3-inch rectangular backhalf

had been installed to accommodate a narrowed and braced 9-inch housing on ladder bars. The differential was stuffed with Mark Williams axles and a Strange aluminum third member along with cruise-friendly 3.50 gears before being suspended via QA1 single-adjustable coilovers. Up front, Bell Tech 2-inch drop spindles were



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july 2019 | RPM Magazine | july 2019


...SENSATION partnered with another pair of QA1 shocks to get the nose down and smooth the bumps. Stopping chores are managed via a quartet of 6-piston binders with drilled and slotted rotors, while the sparkly rolling stock comes from Billet Specialties. Up front, polished 15x4-inch Street Lites have been shod with Mickey Thompson skinnies, while matching but far more rotund 15x15s roll on 31x1815 MT radials in rear. Tinwork is well executed and painted a metallic charcoal color, lending a modern race appeal to the cockpit and trunk. Meanwhile, on the topside, the exterior of the car had already been treated to a 4-inch steel cowl induction hood and a slight stretch to the rear wheel openings before the entire car was sprayed Frost Green (a factory 1969 Nova color). The basecoat/ clearcoat paint is pristine and the understated color is devoid of graphics, lending a clean, sleek, and modern feel to the classic muscle car lines. When Lowe tagged in on

the build, his first order of business was installing a potent powertrain. He turned to the gang at Big Al’s Toy Box for a spacious and supercharged 540 ci Dart motor that was filled with all the best parts. An Eagle 4340 forged steel crank swings Eagle H-beam rods and boost-friendly 8.5:1 JE Pistons. A COMP solid roller cam and roller lifters direct the valvetrain symphony, where Advanced Performance Engineering aluminum cylinder heads have been equipped with Jomar stud girdles, COMP roller rockers, and a pair of classic Larson Engineering two-piece valve covers. “The valve covers make a lot of folks scratch their heads,” he said. “They can’t tell what kind of engine it is due to the two-piece design.” Moving northward on the engine, a BDS aluminum



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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

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STEVE & MARY LOWE’S PRO STREET 1970 CHEVY NOVA Chassis Type & Mods: Backhalf with 2x3-inch framerails and 1 5/8-inch chromoly cage by previous owner. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: Bell Tech 2-inch drop spindles with QA1 adjustable coilovers. Wilwood 6-piston brakes with slotted & drilled rotors. REAR: Custom ladder bar suspension with QA1 single-adjustable coilovers. Wilwood 6-piston brakes with slotted & drilled rotors. Body & Paint: Steel Goodmark 4-inch cowl induction hood. Frost Green basecoat/clearcoat paint by previous owner. Engine: 540 ci Dart Big M by Big Al’s Toy Box in Gaylordsville, CT. Eagle 4340 forged steel crank with Eagle 4340 H-beam rods and JE forged 8.5:1 pistons. COMP solid roller cam (0.650 @ 262 intake/0.650 @ 262 exhaust) with COMP lifters and pushrods. Advanced Performance Engineering aluminum cylinder heads with Jomar stud girdles, ARP studs, and COMP Pro Magnum roller rockers. Larson Engineering valve covers. BDS aluminum blower intake. Induction & Fuel Delivery: Dual QuickFuel 950 cfm boost-referenced blower carbs. Polished BDS scoop. Holley Black electric fuel pump. Power Adder: BDS Airloc 8/71 supercharger pushing 10 pounds of boost. 3-inch billet drive with funny car-style belt guard. Electronics & Ignition: MSD 6AL2 box, MSD distributor, and Moroso Ultra 40 under-the-header plug wires. Transmission & Driveline: TCI SuperStreet Turbo 400 transmission with TCI 10-inch/3,500 RPM stall converter. Differential: Narrowed and braced 9-inch Ford with Mark Williams axles, Strange aluminum third member, and 3.50 Detroit Truetrac gears. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 15 x 4-inch polished Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels with 26x7.5-15 Mickey Thompson front runner tires. REAR: 15 x 15-inch polished Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels with 31x18-15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman radial tires. Thanks: “Thanks to my wife Mary for putting up with my pro street madness and for always being there when I need a helping hand installing the engine, transmission, bleeding the brakes, or whatever else the day calls for.”

CRUISE MISSILE The interior of the Nova really shines, where the cleanly fabricated and painted cage surrounds a plush cockpit featuring leather-wrapped low back buckets and custom door panels. Autometer gauges and a Kilduff shifter round out the upgrades. The trunk has been fully finished, too.

Matt Trombley photos | july 2019



EITHER WAY The Nova looks just as good blasting down the street or track as it does sitting still. intake has been topped by a 2-inch blower spacer and a BDS 8/71 supercharger spun to produce around 10 pounds of boost. A pair of QuickFuel 950 cfm boost-referenced carbs meter the fuel delivery, while a Holley Black electric pump sends it up from the fabricated and trunk-mounted fuel cell. Ignition duties are managed by MSD components, including a Pro Billet distributor, 6AL2 box, and Moroso Ultra 40 un-


der-the-header plug wires. Dougs silver ceramic coated headers direct the spent gases through Spin Tech 3-inch stainless mufflers and exhaust. Backing the blown mill is a TCI Super Street Turbo 400 trans with a 10-inch/3,500 RPM stall converter. A Strange chromoly shaft links it to the differential. Inside, the cockpit is cruise-friendly, where classic factory carpet and dash meld with the race-inspired and modern updates like a

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

full chromoly cage, Kilduff Machine Lightning Rods shifters in a custom console, and AutoMeter instrumentation. The uber-cool chopped TMI bucket seats have been wrapped in suede and leather with body color leather accents, as have the swoopy sculpted custom door panels. The end result is just what Lowe had in mind all along: a classic Chevy that has been “TWEAK’D” (the car’s nickname) with a host of modern twists. Most

amazingly, while the ideas have been bouncing around for close to four decades, completion of the build took about a year from the date of purchase. The effort was good enough to land a prestigious Legends’ Choice Award at the 2018 Street Machine Nationals in DuQuoin—an honor selected by prolific past winners of the event. “I couldn’t believe it, because it was voted on by the pro street legends I have admired since the early ’80s,

and they thought our little Nova was worthy of it. It brought tears to my eyes,” Lowe recounted. So if you have dreams of your own build floating around somewhere in your mind but question if it will ever really happen, consider the story of Steve and Mary Lowe. After 37 years of dreaming and a single year of building, they finally have the car they’ve always wanted. Isn’t that sensational?

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

story by

Toby B rooks

photos by

M att Trombley | july 2019




e don’t mean to brag, but pretty much every car we feature here in the pages of RPM is insanely cool in one way or another. Maybe it’s a rough-around-the-edges throwback drag car. Or a glistening, look-at-me pro streeter. Or even a carbon-fiber-everything cutting-edge doorslammer. But, every once in a while, we come across a car that is all the best of all those qualities and does so while just exuding craftsmanship. These rides seem to have literally every hose, wire, fastener, and component perfectly situated and flawlessly installed or executed—and they perform too.


july 2019 | RPM Magazine


William Marks’ 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 is a classic musclecar that has been equipped with a full tube chassis and a ProCharged 572 BBC, making it more than formidable on the track. However, the killer paint and attention to detail make it a show quality competitor, too! | july 2019


Go ahead. Study the Matt Trombley pics you see here. We guarantee you’ll come to the same conclusion we did: this incredible 1970 Olds Cutlass 442 of William Marks is just such a specimen. It wasn’t always that way, though. Owner William Marks first purchased the car 32 years ago for the

princely sum of $500. It had a blown engine, but not the good kind. It was rescued from a barn and was slowly but steadily built into the impressive performer you see today. Just over a decade ago, the car featured a full mild steel tube chassis by Brian Baker who contributed to its success. The car has cam-

paigned a variety of engine and transmission combos over the years, too—not to mention a brief stint with a nitrous bottle. However, the current iteration reflects Marks’ commitment to go as fast as possible while looking great doing it. The Kocher Chassis 6.0-cert full chromoly skeleton has been equipped with K HEAT! KEEP OIL COOL & BLOC




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july 2019 | RPM Magazine


MAKE ROOM FOR MICKEY Wheel openings in the steel quarters were modified to accomodate the huge Mickey Thompson rear tires.


The Olds factory steel roof, quarters, and rockers remain, but fiberglass replacement deck lid, doors, fenders, and bumpers were installed along with a carbon fiber hood. | july 2019



july 2019 | RPM Magazine



A black vinyl top gives the Cutlass a cool retro vibe and really works well with the Calicove Blue paint. Charcoal factory-style graphics look killer on the fabricated rear wing, along the car’s flanks, and atop the carbon fiber hood. all the latest technology as well as tried and true pieces. Up front, Strange struts provide a low-slung stance and travel sensors feed the data to the onboard data logger for analysis after each pass. Meanwhile,

a Kocher custom 4-link suspends the trick Mark Williams floater rear housing on Koni coilovers. The diff runs 40-spline axles and a big 9.5-inch gearset. Tires and wheels consist of polished Sander Engineering

750-series wheels and Mickey Thompson tires. 15x4s with 26x4.5-15 tires spin up front while thick and meaty 15x15 double beadlocked hoops rotate the earth thanks to grippy ET Drag slicks. The chassis has | july 2019




july 2019 | RPM Magazine


An all-new ProCharged Jensen’s Engine Technologies 572 will provide plenty of power for 2019.

been treated to a sleek metallic charcoal finish, and the clean tinwork and carbon fiber panels used throughout combine both form and function. The belly of this beast is incredible in and of itself with nary a wire, brake line, or any other typical

automotive undercarriage component visible from the firewall back. The flawless finishes aren’t just relegated to the hard-to-reach parts like the belly pan, though. Factory steel remains on the roof, quarters, and rockers, while

lightweight fiberglass replacement pieces reside where the factory deck lid, doors, fenders, and bumpers used to be. The carbon fiber hood raises that bar and reduces that weight even a bit more. The show car-quality Calicove Blue urethane base-



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The underside of the Olds is clean and fully finished. A bulletproof Mark Williams floater is sprung via Koni adjustable shocks out back, while Strange struts have been installed up front.

coat/clearcoat hue has been subtly accented with a factory-style metallic charcoal stripe. Meanwhile, a black vinyl top and polished window trim surround a lightweight Lexan rear window. There’s a combo of parts, pieces, and options you don’t find on just any race or street/strip car! All those good looks are of little consequence if the classic Cutlass didn’t have the guts to back them, and boy, does it ever. Jensen’s Engine Technologies—whose owner and resident expert Andy Jensen’s killer blue ’66 Nova happened to grace May issue cover last month—was tasked with putting together a

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WILLIAM MARKS’ 1970 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS 442 Chassis Type & Mods: Complete 6.0 certification chromoly chassis by Kocher Chassis. Suspension & Brakes: FRONT: Strange struts with lightweight disc brakes. REAR: Custom Kocher Chassis 4-link on Koni adjustable coilover shocks. Disc brakes. Body & Paint: Factory steel roof, quarters, and rockers. Fiberglass deck lid, doors, fenders, and bumpers. Carbon fiber hood. Factory glass windshield with Lexan side and rear windows. Ed Quay aluminum wing. Calicove Blue with charcoal stripes and urethane clearcoat. Black vinyl top. Engine: Jensen’s Engine Technologies 572 ci BBC. Aluminum Brodix block and Brodix aluminum heads. Callies Dragon Slayer crank, Callies rods, and JE pistons. Roller cam. Induction & Fuel Delivery: Brodix aluminum intake manifold with Advanced Product Design 4500 Billet Enforcer blow-through carb. Extreme Velocity aluminum carb hat. Power Adder: ProCharger F1C blower on Advanced Product Design billet drive. Electronics & Ignition: MSD Grid system with V300 RacePak data logger & RacePak digital dash. Transmission & Driveline: Liberty Extreme 5-speed transmission with Boninfante triple-disc clutch. Differential: Mark Williams floater housing with MW 40-spline axles. 9.5-inch gears. Tires & Wheels: FRONT: 15 x 4-inch polished Sander Engineering 750-series wheels with Bombtrack Fabrication billet lug nuts and 26x4.5-15 Mickey Thompson ET Front tires. REAR: 15 x 15-inch polished Sander Engineering 750-series wheels with 33x19-15 Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks. Performance (eighth-mile; old combo—new engine not yet run): With legal NHRA trim (eighth-mile): 4.80 et @ 147 MPH.

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punishing new combo for the 2019 season. Starting with a Brodix aluminum block and heads, Jensen filled 572 cubic

inches full of Callies Dragon Slayer crank, Callies rods, and JE Pistons before finessing a roller cam in place. A Brodix alumi-

num intake was partnered with an APD 4500 Billet Enforcer blow-through carb and aluminum hat that are pressurized


The Olds’ cockpit is home to a pair of Jaz racing buckets, a full chromoly cage, and a RacePak digital dash. The massive tubs fill the back glass, which is actually Lexan but has been installed with stainless trim for a more factory appearance.


continued on page 76 | july 2019


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july 2019 | RPM Magazine


Custom fabricated stainless headers have been equipped with an octet of EGT sensors and large ram’s horn fender exits are both stylish and functional.

by a big ProCharger F1C supercharger spun via a custom APD billet drive. An MSD Grid ignition and RacePak data logger add space age technology, while the fender dump stainless exhaust adds cool looks and ear-splitting per-

formance. A Liberty 5-speed with a Boninfante triple-disk clutch sends the power rearward, and the third pedal makes it a blast to pilot. Inside, everything is just as tidy and well-executed as everywhere else on the car. Crisp tinwork | july 2019




july 2019 | RPM Magazine

and carbon fiber panels abound, and the dual lightweight aluminum racing bucket seats mean there’s even room for a friend to enjoy the fun. Five point harnesses keep them safe in the process, and the versatile RacePak digital dash conveys all pertinent data in real time. The car has run a best of 4.80 @ 147 in the eighth, but that was last season before

a rigorous off-season fortification effort to improve power and reliability. “Andy Jensen built this new engine with the ProCharger setup that makes insane power,” Marks said. “I can’t wait to see how fast we can make it,” he added. Neither can we, William. One thing is for sure though: it’ll look nearly flawless doing it! | july 2019


RPM QUICK TECH 1: While the new Terminator X and the Terminator X MAX ECUs may look very similar to their HP and Dominator big brothers, they are physically very different. The Dominator and HP units are still the premium systems. Here is just a comparison of their sizes. The Dominator and HP ECU’s in the picture are previously enjoyed units that have been ridden hard and put up wet.




REQUIRED story and photos by




Chuck Scott

>>Holley creates a whole new segment in the industry with the feature packed, budgetfriendly Terminator X EFI system


s most of you already know, I’m a giant Holley EFI fanboy. When I get those emails with the latest new product from Holley, I get that warm fuzzy feeling like they are making this stuff

just for me and the rest of the world just gets to benefit from them, too. Yeah I know that is silly, but I have a reason for thinking that way: after years of relying on good ol’ fashioned Holley carbs, several years ago I got the Holley spirit and switched


RPM Mag’s Project 4 Lug Thug over to the mac daddy Dominator system and haven’t stopped adding sensors since. We have had great success with it and now I couldn’t imagine the car without it. As a matter of fact, I’d have Holley EFI on my

lawnmower if I had the extra money. Back in late March, I got one of those new product emails from Holley about their new Terminator X platform for the GM LS engine.When I looked into it, I discovered Holley was doing


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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

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QUICK TECH something quite ingenious for the engine swap market. What they already did for the muscle car and classic vehicle crowd with the easy-to-install and use Sniper and Terminator EFI systems, they were now doing for enthusiasts who were putting late model EFI engines into different chassis. I’m sure you don’t know anyone who has done or is doing that right? Currently, Holley has released several packaged systems for various popular LS engines, but they are hinting at more popular engine platforms being supported with kits in the near future. These Terminator X and Terminator X Max EFI systems are as close to plug-and-play that you can possibly get in an aftermarket EFI system. You

simply pick the right part number for the engine you are using and you can literally have a running car in one afternoon. These are not taking the place of the Dominator and HP ECUs for the hardcore racer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pack the features most racers will be satisfied with.The real winners in this is the guy that isn’t EFI savvy and just wants an easy to use kit without being a wiring guru or pro laptop tuner. You don’t even need to own a computer to get one of these installed and running like a top.The real mystery is how Holley managed to build and sell these things in a complete system with the wiring harnesses and 3.5-inch touchscreen starting at the price of a good carburetor. The Termina-

2: With the goal of hitting a much lower price point, money was saved with a composite casing that is sealed to be weather-resistant whereas the Dominator and HP are heavy duty potted units in a cast aluminum casing. That is evident when you pick them up or throw them on scales. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Unless you plan to mount your ECU in place of the front license plate of your demolition derby ride, the lightweight housing won’t be a problem. For the NT and Grudge guys with those 2200lb cars, it will be welcomed.



3: If you have installed a Dominator or HP before, the main harness will look familiar to you. This one is custom tailored to the LS engine. The main harness will be slightly different depending on things like if your engine has a 58X or 24X reluctor wheel. Look for Holley to come out with combos for other popular engines in the near future. All the connectors are labeled for easy plug-and-play installation.

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4: Although pretty much the entire set up is already terminated with the appropriate connectors, there is no way around having to make a few loose wire terminations to get the party started. In two spots on the main harness you’ll find a small group of loose wires. In there you have a red for full time 12V power, black for ground, red with white stripe for the switched 12V (ignition switch), green for your fuel pump power (below15 amps without an additional relay) and blue with a white stripe for running a conventional tachometer.

5 5: The Terminator X and X MAX can utilize up to four additional inputs and four additional outputs. You can use the outputs for common stuff like controlling fans, water pump, a single stage of nitrous, boost control, or whatever you choose. The inputs can be additional sensors like a transbrake button, nitrous pressure, oil temp, flex fuel sensor, or switched inputs like nitrous arming, boost scramble or an oohhh crap this wheelie isn’t setting down button. A great new addition to the Holley main harnesses is the power tap connector. No longer do you have to dig into the harness to tap into 5v sensor power, 12v, sensor ground, or chassis ground for your add-on sensors.


6: Along with the big main harness, you get several more bundles of wiring. The kit comes with an injector harness for the injector type of the kit you choose, the pigtail harness for the input/output plug on the main harness, the main power harness, a wideband oxygen sensor, and an O2 sensor adapter. The main power harness is the heavy hot and ground wires that must go directly to the battery terminals. | july 2019


QUICK TECH tor X is just $999 with harnesses and touchscreen and the Terminator X Max with both the driveby-wire harness and transmission control harness is $1499. You can get the X Max without one of the two harnesses if you don’t need both for around $1299. The only difference in the Terminator X and the Terminator X Max is the ability to add drive-by-wire throttle control

and transmission control. I wasn’t sure what engine combo I wanted to use on the upcoming ’72 C-10 pickup project, but now I’m pretty sure it will be an LS of some kind with a nice 4L80E transmission. Who wouldn’t want a reliable powerful modern engine and sturdy overdrive transmission in a muscle truck? Follow along as we walk you through the features of our very


7: The O2 sensor is the Bosch LSU 4.9. The Terminator X system is only compatible with this newer style sensor and not the older Bosch 4.2 or torture ready NTK types like the Dominator and HP boxes. The OEM car manufacturers have all switched to the 4.9 over the last few years due to its longevity from the elimination of the reference air cell.


july 2019 | RPM Magazine


8: The Terminator X and X MAX come with the familiar 3.5-inch handheld touchscreen. This not only gives you a customizable mini gauge display but allows tuning and setup without the need of a laptop computer. It comes with a slide-in mount that allows you to secure it to your dash, console or forehead and still be able to slide it out to make adjustments easier.



11 9, 10, & 11: The touchscreen may be small but it does it all. Once your Terminator X is installed, you can use the wizard to get a startup tune loaded and fire the car. You simply answer some multiple choice questions, set a few perimeters like engine size and desired idle speed, follow the on-screen TPS Autoset instructions and boom, fire it up, and burn rubber. As you drive, the Holley self tuning does it’s magic. If you can’t use this system, I’d recommend public transportation for your own safety. It comes with a pre-loaded gauge display but you can change it around to suit your preferences. | july 2019




14 & 15: Comparing the Terminator X (top) and the Terminator X Max (bottom), you will see the Max has two more connector sockets. These are where you connect the drive-by-wire harness and the transmission control harness. This is the only difference in the two units. These dedicated connectors can’t be used for anything else, as they are locked in the software for that use only. With the full X Max kit with both the DBW and transmission harnesses the package climbs in price from $999 of the Terminator X to $1299 for the Terminator X Max with one of the two extra harnesses or $1499 with both. Both the drive-bywire and trans control give the user full custom control or both. You can adjust shift points, line pressure, etc., while the drive by wire allows you to regulate throttle response for drivability or performance. You can even get crafty and control your launch with a gradual full hammer.

12 & 13: Are you the type that enjoys custom tuning, no problem? Well Holley’s Terminator X software is very similar to the legendary HEFI software Dominator and HP tuners have been blessed with. Other than a few small differences like a smaller PIN MAP and only one stage of nitrous, you would be hard pressed to notice a real difference. It even has advanced tables for the creative user to make the Terminator X do some slick tricks.


july 2019 | RPM Magazine



15 16 16: The transmission harness plugs directly into the Terminator X Max ECU and into the factory connector on the GM 4L60 and 4lL80 series of transmissions. You also have connectors for both speed sensors on the 4L80E or just plug the VSS sensor into a 4L60E and tape off the turbine speed sensor that isn’t used. The loose wires are full time hot, switched hot, ground and the gray goes to your brake switch to unlock the torque converter. | july 2019



17 17: The drive-by-wire harness has a plug for the ECU, one for the throttle body and one for the DBW gas pedal. This one has just one loose wire that goes to your brake light switch. It is very important to not cut or modify this cable. Doing so will change the resistance of the cable which is calibrated by Holley to make the DBW system work.

18: One other awesome feature of the Terminator X is the handy diagnostic LEDs on the bottom of both boxes. LEDs are assigned to part of the system to let you know if it is OK or having a problem depending on their color. The LEDs are assigned to ECU power, wideband status, TPS calibration, crank signal, cam signal and two LEDs are unassigned as of this article. We can only guess what a future software update may use them for. This is a really nice feature that will give users the ability to see if they have a problem without dragging out a laptop to do a system log to find out.

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• Heavy duty roller wheels • Drop-in vertical tie bar • Precision matched needle bearings • Surface finished billet 8620 steel body • Bearing Focused Oiling™ | july 2019







story and photos by

Scott Forbes

>>Our LS-powered Project Acadian gets rear suspension & transmission upgrades



t’s certainly been a while since we updated RPM readers on what has been happening with Project Acadian Revival, and for that we apologize. The shop (Hitman Hotrods) has been

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

crazy busy and I had an interesting encounter with a transmission that took me a bit to recover from as far as doing some manual labor is concerned. And yes, the project itself has gone a bit further than we initially thought; like that

is any surprise to anyone who has built or planned their own project car. Let me tell you all about it… This month we decided to focus on two things: the rear suspension and the transmission. At the time when the car was parked, I

knew what its strengths and weaknesses were, so it was easy to address when we decided to put it back together. Let’s start with the weakness. Although Powerglides are known for their durability, spraying an already

2 2 & 3: The Hughes Performance transmission shipped fully assembled ready for install. Just like a kid at Christmas, it didn’t take long to tear into it to see what had arrived.


1: It’s taken us a while to get to this point, but the potent LS powerplant we’ve put together for the build was going to need some serious strength behind it to keep pace. We turned to the folks at Hughes Performance.



4: We chose to go with a Gear Vendors unit to enable us to cruise in our street car and also run tour style events. 5:Even at first glance you notice there is no shortage in quality in this combination; the best castings, billet parts, all by the best in the business. This is a bullet proof combination for any car looking to drive to and from the track and compete at a high level. This is overbuilt for us…for now.

healthy stroker SBC off the line with a 4,000 stall and trans brake using a stock PG never seemed too safe. Even with a blanket, there was little comfort that shrapnel would stay out of the passenger compartment. We contacted Tony Kane at Hughes Performance and discussed the needs of our now-runaway train of a project. With an estimated 600 HP LS stroker and the potential for another 300 with Induction Solutions

Saturday Night Special plate, we would be knocking on the 1,000 HP door and wanted to fix the weak links. Tony’s answer to the problem was a Powerglide with all the goodies wrapped in a Reid Racing case. I also decided on adding a Gear Vendors overdrive for some cruising, as well, and left all the fine details of the internals to the professionals. I mentioned in previous articles that I tried my hand

at building some stock case ’Glides in the past with good success, but there’s a lot more power available these days and a lot more at risk for me. There were always two things that scared me about my stock case Powerglide. One was the stock case and second was the planetary set. The Hughes Powerglide was built with all new parts which includes their E9310 gearset with forged carrier housing and ring gear. That, coupled with

4340 input and output shafts set the baseline for a 1,500 HP combination. Because we wanted a max-effort strip transmission, a transmission brake valve body was installed along with one of their heavy duty rebuildable Powerglide solenoids. An all new Hughes pump that is encased in a billet housing and machined to exact tolerances was used to supply the clutches, solenoids, and converter the

necessary ATF that makes an automatic transmission work. The assembly details were left to the fine folks at Hughes who have a proven track record of building one of the finest transmissions in the business. Dennis Reid supplied us with an SFI one-piece transmission case to start with. These cases are works of art. At first glance, the casting and machining alone comforts you that you have a world class piece. There is no longer a need for | july2019


RPM PROJECT CAR extra blankets, shields or fear of cracked cases. The final discussion with Tony was about our torque converter selection. Details on the engine, vehicle combination, and its intended use were all provided using the Hughes online form. Once the details were sorted out an 8-inch Pro Series 4,000 stall converter was built. As we mentioned last year, the car was taken to my home garage with the intention that it would get more attention from me. Well that really didn’t

6 7

8 6: The day this shot was taken would end in a visit to the emergency room at the local hospital, and is still affecting me five months later.

7 & 8: I’ll save the gory details of a photo from the emergency room as the finger was crushed and near completely severed. Let’s just say it hurt. No one ever plans for things like this to happen, but the reality is that magazine project cars (at least ours!) aren’t immune to the happenings of life, either.

9 10


july 2019 | RPM Magazine

materialize, so to get motivated, I decided back in February to set the new transmission up in the car myself…bad move. It turns out that my finger was no match for the transmission as it slipped from the jack. I nearly lost my finger in the process. Off to the emergency room and after visits with several doctors (including a plastic surgeon), it is about 80% back to previous usage levels, but the rest may never come back. Lesson learned the hard way, so the car was loaded up and taken back

to the shop. This is not the way I imagined lightening up the driver to go faster! The location of the LS2 and the new Hughes trans with gear vendor combo forced us to cut the transmission tunnel out of the car to get those best angles. Could we have left it? Maybe, but at this point why create more weaknesses. The next step was to set up the rear suspension, as ensuring proper driveline angle depends on where not just the

transmission is mounted, but the differential, as well. Hopefully we can shed some light on how to improve driveline angles. We created a chart (pic 12) to help determine how the trans and differential needed to be installed. One of the strengths this car has always had—and this goes back to the days before it got the first major overhaul in Ottawa, Canada while I was living with mom and dad— was its ability to “hook on a


11 9, 10 & 11: Installing the Hughes transmission and converter at the shop was much easier. We made the executive decision to cut out the trans tunnel a bit more to facilitate our Gear Vendors unit and driveline angles and we will be fabricating up the replacement panels soon.

12: Here is the driveline angle chart we made. These are the angles we set the engine and differential to. It is a solid starting point, so we are not throwing darts at a wall later. Technology is a wonderful thing and we use it as much as possible. | july2019


RPM PROJECT CAR gravel road,” as I used to put it. I have run Calvert Racing Caltracs since the early ’90s. They were the single best part I installed on my then low-12 second car. It went from an inconsistent street car to a deadly consistent car at the lights. I remember the summer we installed the Caltracs on a beat-up set of original monoleafs with Koni single-adjustable shocks. I learned how to drive the car that summer, and I will pay homage to the late Johnny “Bowtie” Leman for helping instruct me at the track. The heavy hitters in street racing were suddenly concerned how this early-20-year-old was



13: This vintage photo shows how well the Acadian hooked 20 years ago on Calvert Racing Suspensions equipment. Of course it wasn’t near 1000 HP back then, but their equipment hooks the fastest leaf sprung cars worldwide so we’re not worried.


14 & 15: We unwrapped the Calvert packaging a year ago but we still feel the excitement in seeing the Calvert Racing split mono rear leafs and sliders. We also have their world-renowned CalTracs 2200 Drag Profile rear bars and 9-way adjustable rear shocks.

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

dropping a tenth every time he showed up at the track. Dad and I always laughed and replied, “...Don’t know...I guess we are just learning how to drive!” Moving a number of years forward, we now have to replace the rear suspension on the car again as we sold it all off after having the urge to turn it into a pro touring car. Pffff. Silly, I know. The good folks at Calvert “hooked us up again,” this time with the whole deal. We went with Split monoleafs, Caltracs, their 9-way adjustable shocks and Sliders. So, in short, I am not sure if I expressed this as best I could a few lines up



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RPM PROJECT CAR own but,Terminator there is X. no better way to make your leaf spring car work. Period. We also built a new 9-inch Ford housing to work with the rear suspension for no other reason than I now have the skillset to do it much better 20 years later. We added a back brace and made OEMstyle leaf spring pads, again because we can, and I think they are stronger. The installation of the rear


suspension is straightforward. Remove your old stuff and install the new. It is no more complicated than that. The exception to that are the sliders for those that are still running a shackle. We have had sliders on the car since that day in the early 90s, so for us it was a boltin deal. Our install became technical when we measured the driveline angles. We do

16 & 17: Installation was a breeze, just a simple bolt in. We used Calvert equipment and sliders on the Acadian for many years then got rid of everything about 6 years ago with different plans for the car. It’s nice to see the car being built for street/strip duty again.


548 cubic inch big-block ario, California dyno tested a Vrbancic Brothers Racing in Ont ched with an Edelbrock or 24° CNC cylinder heads mat Chevy with Edelbrock/Musi Vict r 1,550 horsepower ove in . This combination resulted Super Victor II intake manifold and 1,100 ft-lbs. of torque! Manley dual-spring valve ds feature an extra thick deck, Edelbrock/Musi Victor 24° hea ilable bare or complete. ava are y The for up to .880” lift. springs and titanium retainers 270 tor intake manifold #29 The Edelbrock Super Vic e larg tch ma to ts por the features a 3/4”radius in oval port cylinder heads. CNC’d for a variety of custom This manifold is suitable er, ow sep hor for modern high cylinder heads required HP. + 950 g s makin large displacment engine FOLLOW US ON:




july 2019 | RPM Magazine



this by setting the car on wheel stands and measuring a series of points on the engine, transmission and differential. We then enter the info into a template we created in CAD that will help us visualize and optimize the driveline angles. Cuda at Calvert told us that we only needed to allow for 2-3 degrees of pinion wrap. So, with this info we set the

engine/transmission and differential angles to optimum. We started doing this years ago and it gets us in within a degree or so right from the start. You gotta love technology, we do! Once this was sorted out the leaf spring pads could be fully welded, along with the motor/transmission mount.


18 & 19: A Ford 9-inch housing was braced and mounted using the Calvert Suspensions components and a little fabrication ingenuity. We needed new OEMstyle leaf spring mounts, so whe whipped up a set using CAD to make sure they were perfect. | july2019




20 & 21: Nothing is more cool then designing something in CAD, bringing it to life and then putting it to work on your car. I designed, made and installed these leaf spring mounts.



As you can see in the pages to follow, our LS motor is also taking shape, we have done some chassis mods here and there, installed the fuel system, built a killer set of headers, and even had some interior panels made for the car.

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

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july 2019 | RPM Magazine

Call today: 586.792.6620 or visit


22, 23 & 24: We installed the fuel tank we designed and talked about in our articles last year along with our Aeromotive fuel system. If you look closely, you can see the trick tank mounting we designed into it. You can also see the new braced Ford 9-inch fully installed with the new leaf spring mounts we made. | july2019




25 & 26: Our LS2 was fitted into the chassis a while back. As you can see nothing is final yet, but we are just making sure everything is right before we pull it all back apart.


july 2019 | RPM Magazine | july2019



27, 28 & 29: Good cooling is everything so we fabbed up these stainless 3/8-inch lines to transfer the fluid to and from the transmission cooler. We were shooting for the OEM look and think we got it.



30: We mentioned in a previous article that we are doing a lot of fabrication on this car because we can. Making custom headers is a daunting task. We do it for customer’s projects and it is not something the folks at the local exhaust shop can handle. It is a step-by-step process.



july 2019 | RPM Magazine


32 31, 32 & 33: Because it’s not something that most people could do easily we won’t get too deep into custom header building but here are our headers during various steps of the process. Measuring, test fitting, then doing that all over again a few more times, then tacking things in place and finally finish welding.

33 | july2019




35: Wearing my favourite motivational shirt while working on the Acadian…soon we’ll be filling you in on the long awaited final install of our Induction Solutions Saturday Night Special plate nitrous kit.

SOURCES Hughes Performance 602.257.9591

34: We’ve started to design and have some custom interior panels made.

Reid Racing 925.935.3025

Gear Vendors Overdrives 800.999.9555

Catch up with us next time as we move closer and closer to reviving and revitalizing this good ol’ Pontiac. While there’s plenty left


to do, we are finally on the mend and getting after it piece by piece. We are all-in now and looking forward to having fun again!

july 2019 | RPM Magazine

Calvert Racing 661.728.9600 | july 2019




GOOD FOR EVERYTHING... GREAT FOR PART 50 >> Fabricator Mark Peck installs our wild but functional dual-threat Borla exhaust system


t’s been said that building a true street/ strip car is all about compromise. Adding speed parts to make the thing quicker and faster inevitably compromises reliability and dependability. On the other hand, making it more practical and comfy for the street usually costs you

NUTHIN’ story by

performance at the track. As a result, in our efforts to make our rides as cool, fast, and still yet drivable as possible, we end up with something that’s pretty good at everything but not really great at anything. That is absolutely the case with the new exhaust system for our pro street 2006 Mus-

tang. Although we haven’t worked up the courage yet to weigh them, the mass of twisted stainless tubes, mufflers, cnc-machined stainless slide valves, and V-band clamps used on each side’s header bank sure as heck isn’t light. To the uninformed, it’s easy to look at the slide valve

Toby Brooks

setup and wonder just what in the world you’re seeing—let alone how it works or why anyone would need such a tangled mass of shine on a car intended to run sevens with the stereo blasting and the air conditioning on. But right there—that is exactly the point of this particular flavor of pro street: because we can.

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july2019 | RPM Magazine

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1 & 2: If initial response on social media is any reaction, our new “dualthreat” Borla exhaust system with Miller SpeedSport slide valves exhaust system is either the coolest or dumbest exhaust you’ve ever seen. Whether you dig it or not, it is exactly what we were after: head-scratching design, jaw-dropping fabrication, and practical functionality. It was no small feat!

3 & 4: The first task was to determine the lay-back angle Peck could use and still fit the four 2 1/2-inch zoomie dumps and the single 3-inch mufflered dump in the allotted space between the front tires and the leading edge of the doors. Using 90-degree mandrel bends clamped together, he started with the NHRA maximum 40-degree layback at our request since it looks faster and has been associated with improved on-track performance. However, that configuration didn’t leave enough space and would have caused interference issues when opening the doors. He adjusted them closer to 45 degrees in order to get them in the proper position on the fender while still being able to open the doors.

The genesis of the idea was simple: we knew we wanted funny car-style true zoomie headers to accentuate the 5-inch stretch to the nose. The power, the sound, and the individual exhaust pulses were just too cool to pass up and will be sure to draw a crowd at any event. On the other hand, we also plan to run the car in one or more tour-style events JE_BBC_RPM_2015_Layout 1 8/11/15 2:29 PM Page 1

involving long periods of time on the highway. The thought of 1000+ miles of interstate with open zoomies was enough to give us nightmares, so we looked for another solution. We considered electric cutouts, various types of manual butterfly valves, and several other possible solutions but nothing really seemed like it was going to work the way we


wanted it. On one of a thousand late-night internet searches to cull for ideas, we stumbled across a street rod build in Nevada that featured a pair of custom CNC’d stainless steel zoomie slide valves. We called the place that made it the very next day and ordered a pair. At $1995 plus shipping, they were a costly solution but the best possible answer we had found.


All the way back in the August 2015 issue of RPM, we detailed a previous attempt to create the system we had envisioned. Unfortunately, that previous attempt didn’t quite fit properly, as the tips of the zoomies weren’t long enough to clear the new fenders. After 100 hours of fabrication time and a pile of stainless, we had to start all over again.

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7 6: Mark Peck of Peck Fabrication started by tacking together a clamping jig that allowed him to set the tubes exactly symmetrical prior to tube fit-up. Done right with symmetrical tubes, nothing looks cooler than a clean set of funny car-style zoomie headers. Done wrong, they look like crooked teeth. This step ensured that the finished product would be perfect.


6 5: The stand-off tubes that connected the billet Boss Nine header flanges to the Miller SpeedSport slide valves had been fabricated way back in 2015. Unfortunately, after checking fit with the new fenders, it was the only part we were able to retain from the previous attempt. Although it would have probably been possible to salvage the previous zoomies and add extensions to allow them to clear the fender openings, at some point you just admit that starting from scratch may be the best and cleanest approach. In this pic, two of the four stub-outs have been tacked into place.


july2019 | RPM Magazine

7: With the fenders in place, Peck checked the fit against the rockers. Too tight and you’ll risk burning the paint (or in our case have trouble removing the front clip). Too wide and it will look goofy and possibly be hard to load in your trailer.




8, 9, 10 & 11: Peck bolted the slide valves in place on the Boss Nine cylinder head, then clamped the fixtured quartet of header tips into position on the mount used for the front clip. From there, it’s simply a game of connecting the outlets from the V-bands on the slide valve to the inlet side of the tips. While such fitup goes pretty quickly for an experienced fabricator like Peck, it’s a different story for mere mortals like us. Using a variety of 45-degree, 60-degree, and 90-degree mandrel bends and a few pieces of straight tubing, he was able to make pretty quick work of the passenger side. Tire clearance is tight, but there’s at least a 1/2-inch at the closest point at full lock and considerably more at neutral.


We turned to Mark Peck Fabrication in Midland, Texas. Mark is a racer himself and has spent time in the aerospace industry working for NASA, so we knew he had the pedigree to do the job. After a quick phone call to try and explain what we were after, he agreed to take on the job. We loaded

the Covered Wagon enclosed trailer with our project and headed south. Mark’s shop is exceptionally clean and well organized—again a small piece of information that we’ve come to realize can be pretty telling when selecting a shop to do work on your ride. Attention to detail

has a way of seeping into all aspects of our lives, and we’ve discovered that an orderly workspace is usually a pretty good sign. We unloaded the car, further outlined what fab chores we needed done, and headed home. In the span of a month, Mark had completed the job beyond | july2019


RPM PROJECT CAR our expectations—which is saying something, because another thing that the project has taught us is that project director Toby Brooks is picky. If the finished product can gain his approval, then chances are it is darn near perfect. Peck started by cleaning up the previously fabricated slide valves. The stub-outs had already been welded and the slide valves had been machined true following welding to ensure smooth operation and minimize warpage due to heat soak. Peck fabricated a clamping jig designed to hold the quartet of 2 1/2-inch 304 stainless steel tips perfectly symmetrical. Although Borla is best known for selling complete cat-back exhaust systems and headers, they also sell fabrication components, too. Our good friend Eddy Taylor helped us be sure to get all the right parts that Peck had specified for the build. The mufflers were then mounted and an additional/fifth dump tube in 3-inch stainless was added.


12 & 13: The additional/fifth tube is then mocked into place along with the Borla collector muffler. The 4-into-1 design had to be slightly shortened for length and reduced from a 4-inch to a 3-inch single outlet.

13 14

14: With the collector muffler in place, Peck then fabricated the tubes coming out of the top of the slide valve into the collector muffler’s inlet side. Despite the fifth zoomie outlet tube, we aren’t running a V-10. It’s a little confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking at, but it’s either 4-out or 1-out...not all five at once.


july2019 | RPM Magazine

15: Peck then fabricated a mount to attach the tubes to the chassis. This will help protect the welds from cracking that can happen when the headers are just left free and unsupported at their ends.

15 16

16: The process is repeated on the driver’s side, which usually is easier. However, our car’s staggered front suspension and the staggered outlet position of the Boss Nine made fabrication a bit more challenging. | july2019



18 17, 18 & 19: Once fabrication was complete, everything was completely disassembled and treated to a full polish. Peck esitmated that he had laid 55 FEET of TIG bead during the fabrication process!


july2019 | RPM Magazine



20: Behold. | july2019


RPM PROJECT CAR 21 Subscribe to the channel at www.pegarage. com to keep up to date!

21 & 22: Mark and the gang reinstalled the front clip and double checked all fitment. Five Dynatech billet TorQ tips were then press-fit into place. A little more adjustment and everything will be perfectly symmetrical. As you can see, the process was tough but the end result is exactly what we were looking for. Is

it heavier than it could have been? Sure. Does it add performance? Probably not much. But in the spirit of

Coming up: Next month we hope to get the front fenders rebuilt by Bob Thrash at Overkill Speed & Color.


july2019 | RPM Magazine

Pro Street, it is unique and a considerable amount of effort was expended to try to break new ground and try something different simply for the sake of innovation. Plus, it’s shiny. Tune in next month, as we load up and get

the car headed to legendary builder Bob Thrash who is all set to work his magic on a new set of steel fenders and to re-work our Harwood hood to fit so that hopefully we can get some color on this thing!

SOURCES Borla Exhaust 877.462.6752

Miller SpeedSports 775.677.7937

Mark Peck Fabrication 432.528.1842 | july2019


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Designed to withstand 900+ lbs. of spring pressure at over .900” lift. 100% CNC machined. Featuring needle bearing fulcrums and roller tips. Purple anodized for additional protection. Lifetime Warranty to the original purchaser. Available in most popular ratios. Ask for details.

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July 2019 RPM MAGAZINE  

THE RIDES PERFECT SPECIMEN… Look closely: William Marks’ 1970 Oldsmobile 442 is what you get when you cross top speed with a maniacal atten...

July 2019 RPM MAGAZINE  

THE RIDES PERFECT SPECIMEN… Look closely: William Marks’ 1970 Oldsmobile 442 is what you get when you cross top speed with a maniacal atten...

Profile for rpmmag