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JUNE 2009 USA $5.99 – Canada $6.99



Buy those hard-to-find, show-quality interior parts from the most trusted supplier in the industry. – Log On Today!

1-800-932-7663 Printed Catalogs Bel Air/Nomad/150/210 (1955-57) Camaro (1967-81) (1982-02) Chevelle (1964-72) Corvette (1953-82)

Online Only Catalogs Impala (1958-72) GM A-/G-Body (1978-88) Nova/Chevy II (1962-74) Impala (1991-96) CH009 Truck Chevrolet/GMC (1967-87) YearOne SpeedShop Performance © YearOne 2009


BELIEVE THE HYPE! PRO-FLO XT IS THE ULTIMATE EFI PACKAGE Increased horsepower and torque Increased fuel mileage and reduced emissions “We made 210 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 36 hp and 39 lb-ft…We increased fuel economy from 13.8 to 18.9 mpg, an increase of 5.1, and a savings of $700 a year…Hydrocarbon content dropped from 160 to 118, making the 307 far more emissions friendly…Throttle response is now instantaneous…a few cranks of the starter and you are ready to rock…no stumbles, stalls or other problems.”

-Super Chevy’s Mike Ficacci, Lean, Mean and Green, March 2009


#3527 for S/B Chevy

• Ready-to-run base calibration with exclusive XT Calibration Module for “on the fly” tuning • Includes Pro-Flo XT software for high resolution fuel and spark tables and nearly unlimited combinations • All new Pro-Flo XT intake manifold with large plenum and long tapered runners to deliver maximum horsepower and torque throughout the rpm range • ECU includes fully sequential injection, downloadable calibrations for different engine parameters and a host of options to customize the system exactly to your specifications • Electronics designed and produced in conjunction with EFI Technology, Inc. a leader in advanced engine management and monitoring systems • Includes everything you need for a complete installation

RPM Xtreme Cylinder Head - #51899 How good are the new RPM XT small-block Chevy heads? When tested on a 350 cubic inch Edelbrock crate engine, the RPM Xtreme cylinder heads gained 22HP @ 6,000 rpm and 11 ft/lbs of torque at 4,500 rpm. Want 449 HP and 431 ft/lbs of torque for your hot-rod? HERE'S THE RECIPE…

RPM XT - ULTIMATE STREET PERFORMANCE CYLINDER HEADS CNC PORTED WHERE IT COUNTS! • Custom CNC porting in all critical areas for improved air flow & power – Intake port entrance, exhaust port exit, combustion chamber, intake and exhaust bowls • Lower cost than a typical fully CNC’d head without sacrificing performance • Ideal for high-performance street & entry-level race applications • Heads sold complete with Heli-coil inserts, high-quality springs, stainless steel valves & Made in USA quality • Available for Small-Block Chevy, LS1 & LT4 Chevy, Big-Block Chevy

Heads: RPM Xtreme #51899 Cam: RPM Rollin’ Thunder #2201 (or) #2204 Intake Manifold: RPM Air-Gap, #7501 Carb: Performer Series 800cfm #1412


Parts not legal for sale or use on pollution controlled motor vehicles.

Get FREE 2009 catalogs: 800-801-1679 Toll-free tech Info: 800-416-8628, 7am-5pm PST. M-F.

© 2009 Edelbrock Corp.

JUNE 2009

CONTENTS TECH 20 GET YOUR PAINT ON The latest tips and tricks from the professionals and a look at the next generation of paint, spraying techniques, and materials.


TITANS! We go knee-deep into hardcore drag racing coverage.

34 BREATHING ROOM A detailed look at carburetor spacers, who makes them, what’s available, and what they cost.

40 FROM BARE BONES Our ’66 Elco gets much-needed attention with a lot of bodywork as it gets prepped for a fresh spray job.

44 BREAKING IT DOWN If the squeaky and worn-out front end in your street machine is driving you crazy, we’ll show you how to freshen it up with minimal effort.

48 THROWING WEIGHT You always hear about and get billed for it, but what is it? We follow along as QMP in Chatsworth, California, goes through it and explains what you’re getting for your buck.

ON THE COVER That’s rookie staffer Sean Haggai and his pride and joy, one ’66 El Camino. Don’t let the DA sander he has a firm grip on fool you. It was full of body rot and had to be replaced. Special thanks to Rubio’s Autobody in Sun Valley, California, for allowing us to take over its facility for an afternoon to shoot this cover. The man behind the lens is Wes Allison, who captured the moment hours before the real sanding commenced.




Our newest complete 13" brake kit has been a huge hit this year. This kit is recommended when using 17" or larger wheels and increased performance is required! Shown with optional powder coat finished calipers.

Convert to power disc brakes and retain a stock ride height with our stock spindle brake kits. Simple bolt-on installation with no modifications required. Comes unassembled as shown. Shown with cross-drilled rotor and braided hose upgrades. Front - starting at $575/kit

Rear - starting at $699/kit Front - starting at $799/kit Complete Kit (shown) $1398/kit

Rear - starting at $599/kit Complete (F&R) $1099/kit



Simple bolt-in installation with no trimming of inner fender or modification required. Includes ball joints and chrom-moly cross shafts. Innovative design captures both sides of the bushing for added control and stability, while preventing the bolts from working loose. Provide full wheel travel and minimal friction. Available in black or silver.

Exclusive new CPP steering columns now available! We also carry a full line of Ididit and Flaming River for all popular applications.


32” w/ out shifter - Starting at Retrofit columns for all apps - Starting at

Upper Control Arms - Starting at $309/pr Lower Control Arms - Starting at $445/pr

7@C865 DE66=

Exclusive design lowers cars a full 2" without affecting steering or suspension geometry. Allows the use of factory disc brakes. Unique design accepts factory ball joints and stock steering arms. 1955-57 Fullsize -







289/ea 269/ea


These new and revised spindles allow you to add 12” disc brakes and drop your car 2” without changing the car’s geometry. Will accept most 15” or larger custom wheels. “A” body stock height also available. Starting at $189/pr Brake Wheel Kits also available - Starting at $389/kit

Are you looking for: NEW PARTS TECH


INSTRUCTIONS POLYPLUS FRONT END KIT Kit includes upper and lower ball joints, outer tie rod ends, upper and lower rubber control arm bushings, stabilizer end links and bump stops.



1962-67 Nova Nova, Camaro and Chevelle - $

The latest kit to be added to CPP’s parts list. Includes stock height disc conversion spindles, OEM type dust shields and brackets, caliper adapter brackets, and hardware. Works with most 15” and larger wheels. Drop Kit - Starting at $299/kit Stock Kit (shown) - Starting at $189/kit

219/pr 229/pr 229/pr

1958-70 Fullsize -


POLYPLUS Kit - Starting at $219/kit OEM Rubber Kit - Starting at $175/kit

‘64-‘72 CHEVELLE REAR TRAILING ARMS KIT Provides superior performance, more exhaust clearance, extra strength and adjustable suspension. Another CPP exclusive. Standard Kit

POWER BRAKE BOOSTERS CPP's boosters come with master cylinder and proportioning valves, and are available in many different applications to fit your braking needs. Fits small block and big block. Plain Booster Combos - Starting at Chrome Booster Combos - Starting at Master Cylinders & Prop Valve - Starting at

199/kit 399/kit 139/kit


$ $



Deluxe Kit




ZERO/MINIMAL OFFSET DISC BRAKE WHEEL KIT Converts 1955-64 cars with stock spindles to disc brakes with moving the wheels out minimally. We have designed this kit for more turning radius, tire clearance and unmatched performance. $

NEW SUSPENSION PARTS CPP has all your Classic Chevy suspension parts and accessories.


Starting at


Center Link - Starting at $89/ea Idler Arm - Starting at $79/ea Pitman Arm - Starting at $49/ea Center Link Adaptor - Starting at Cross Shaft - Starting at

500 SERIES STEERING BOX Our 500 Series is the only box on the market today manufactured with a one piece housing, "no welding", all new parts (unlike our competitors!), and factory-tested to ensure quality that you have come to expect from us.

1955-57 - Starting at $419/ea 1958-64 - Starting at $379/ea Chevelle, Camaro, Nova - Starting at $399/ea

89/ea 69/ea

$ $

1958-64 FULLSIZE


SWAY BAR KITS Visit our 3,000 sq. ft. showroom!

Our sway bar kits correct body roll and reduces vehicle over and/or under steering problem. Includes sway bar, bushings and hardware. Front & Rear Sway Bar $289/kit Front Kit - 149/ea Rear Kit - $139/ea $


No vacuum, no problem! Use your power steering pump to deliver 1800psi with our Hydroboost Braking System. Shown with optional chrome upgrade.

Starting at $595/kit

MCPV-1 master cylinder only - Starting at



Tune your brakes with our master cylinder, adjustable proportioning valve, metering valve and stop light all in one package. The unique shape allows it be located on the firewall, under dash or on the frame just about anywhere. $ Starting at


All CPP parts have a lifetime guarantee. Prices subject to change without notice. Please note that kits and prices may vary between certain applications.

Classic Performance Products, Inc. (800) 830-7657

522-2000 Fax: (714) 522-2500 175 E. Freedom Avenue • Anaheim, CA 92801 • www.ffantamag.ccom Toll Free:

Tech Line: (714)

JUNE 2009


PLAN B Al Jimenez’s stock-suspension ’73 Camaro is the fastest drag radial car in the country on 275 drag radials!

74 LAST CALL Kenny Hillin’s cruiser is built for the street but able to run mid 11s on command with the World Products 454 short-block and the Brodix top-end.

DEPARTMENTS 10 SHOP TALK Editor H gets hyped about the 24 Hours of LeMons.


Q&A Our resident tech guru, Big Mac, tells all.

50 STEP BY STEP We pull out the filler and show you the proper procedure to smooth out your body panels.

56 INSIDER Aeromotive tells you everything you need to know in order to build a perfect fuel system for your muscle car.

64 PARTS RACK Check it out: Art Morrison now offers a trick second-gen Camaro front subframe with all the bells and whistles.

78 RIDES Bob West from Republic, Missouri, owns one of the coolest Chevelles we’ve ever seen!

82 GARAGE Letters, news, and everything else we couldn’t fit anywhere else.

98 WHAT’S NEXT Stories to expect in the upcoming issue.


More Parts. More Value. More Possibilities.

Get More for Your Bowtie —and Your Money! Summit Racing Equipment offers millions of in-stock parts at guaranteed low prices. But we don’t stop there. Summit Racing also provides no-hassle special ordering, fast delivery, expert advice from the industry’s largest full-time tech department, and the best customer service anywhere. SAVINGS + CONVENIENCE

Style & Performance Shop Equipment

Lifestyle & Fun

$ Camaro 1,128 Find the Parts You Need—Millions of Parts Online! LS1 Swap Combo for 1967-69CMB-08-0033 Call: 1.800.230.3030 • International: 00.1.330.630.0280 Prices good through May 1, 2009. We’ll beat any price advertised in this magazine, on items in stock at the time you place your order. Mail to: P.O. Box 909 Dept. 0906CP Akron, OH 44309 • Typographical errors and errors in description or photography are subject to correction. ©2009 AUTOSALES, INC.

95 kit

Crate Engines

The Real Deal

Every engine is hand-assembled, dyno-tested and tuned for guaranteed street performance. Each engine features all brand new parts, runs on 91-octane gasoline and comes with a 2-year/ unlimited mileage warranty. The Real Deal.

EDITORIAL Editor Henry De Los Santos Managing Editor Craig Johnson Associate Editors Sean Haggai Contributing Editors Stephen Kim Kevin McClelland Ro McGonegal Web Producer Michael Payne ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Art Director David Conrey ON THE WEB EDITORIAL OFFICES: Editorial contributions welcomed but editors recommend that contributors query first. Contribution must be accompanied by return postage and we assume no responsibility for loss or damage thereto. Manuscripts must be typewritten on white paper, and all releases required on all persons in photos. CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE reserves the right to use material at its discretion, and we reserve the right to edit material to meet our requirements. Upon publication, payment will be made at our current rate, and that said payment will cover author’s and contributor’s rights of the contribution. Contributor’s act of mailing contribution shall constitute an express warranty that the material is original and no infringement on the rights of others. Mail contributions to: CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

572 Extreme

Small-Block Chevy Chevy 350 Magnum Chevy 383 Crusier Chevy 383 Hot Rod Chevy 383 Extreme 427 Mighty Mouse Chevy 383 Blown

380 Horsepower / 390 Ft. Lbs of Torque 360 Horsepower / 410 Ft. Lbs of Torque 400 Horsepower / 440 Ft. Lbs of Torque 450 Horsepower / 460 Ft. Lbs of Torque 540 Horsepower / 550 Ft. Lbs of Torque 600 Horsepower / 580 Ft. Lbs of Torque

Big-Block Chevy

SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES: Please call (800) 800-2438 if you are in the United States. Outside the U.S., call (386) 447-6385. Or email chevyhighperformance@email For change of address, six weeks’ notice is required. Send old as well as new address to CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. Please include name, address, and phone number on any inquiries. BACK ISSUES: To order, log on to www.primedia backissues. com, or write us at CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE Back Issues, 2900 Amber Ln., Corona, CA 92882. Cost: $6 each, plus $3 shipping and handling. Please specify what magazine and issue date. If this is not specified, your check/money order will be returned to you. Please wait 3-4 weeks for delivery. ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Please call CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE Advertising Department at (714) 939-2442. Related publications: CAR CRAFT, CIRCLE TRACK, CLASSIC TRUCKS, CORVETTE FEVER, CUSTOM CLASSIC TRUCKS, EUROPEAN CAR, 5.0 MUSTANG & SUPER FORDS, 4-WHEEL DRIVE & SPORT UTILITY, HOT ROD, MODIFIED MUSTANGS & FORDS, MOPAR MUSCLE, MUSTANG MONTHLY, POPULAR HOT RODDING, ROD & CUSTOM, STREET RODDER, and SUPER CHEVY. REPRINTS: Contact Wright’s Reprints at (877) 652-5295 or (281) 419-5725 outside the U.S. and Canada) to purchase quality custom reprints or e-prints of articles appearing in these publications. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Chevy 540 Extreme Chevy 572 Extreme Chevy 527 Jenkins Chevy 540 Blown Chevy 572 Blown

620 Horsepower / 680 Ft. Lbs of Torque 690 Horsepower / 700 Ft. Lbs of Torque Coming Soon 800 Horsepower / 805 Ft. Lbs of Torque 900 Horsepower / 880 Ft. Lbs of Torque

For more information or a free catalog please call or visit our website. 1-877-639-7637





Tired Of The Same Old Shift? There Is A Better Alternative

ADVERTISING Publisher Ed Zinke Publisher’s Assistant Erica Vigil Group Advertising Director Warren Kosikov Advertising Sales Reps Brian Cox Joe Rode (323) 782-2742 (714) 939-2412 Barbara Donker Dave Stoker (714) 939-2594 (323) 782-2569 Brenda Frias Patrick Walsh (323) 782-2655 (714) 939-2619 Bob Mehlhoff Janeen Webb (323) 782-2361 (714) 939-2406 Advertising Coordinator Lucia Salas

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Los Angeles 6420 WILSHIRE BOULEVARD LOS ANGELES, CA 90048-5515, (323) 782-2000

Placentia 774 S. PLACENTIA BOULEVARD PLACENTIA, CA 92870, (714) 939-2400

New York 261 MADISON AVENUE NEW YORK, NY 10016, (212) 915-4000

TCIÂŽ Shifters Deliver Superior Shifting Action & Distinctive Styling


The second you install a TCIÂŽ Performance Shifter in your vehicle and make that first shift you will realize exactly what has been missing from your automatic transmission. Both the TCIÂŽ Outlawâ&#x201E;˘ and Thunder Stickâ&#x201E;˘ Shifters are highlighted by their race-inspired looks and the ability to manually â&#x20AC;&#x153;speed shiftâ&#x20AC;? without having to worry about embarrassing mis-shifts. They also include every performance and safety feature you need for cruising the streets or tearing up the strip. Take control of your automatic transmission with a TCIÂŽ Performance Shifter.

333 WEST FORT STREET, SUITE 1350 DETROIT, MI 48226, (313) 964-6680

Chicago 500 NORTH DEARBORN, SUITE 1100 CHICAGO, IL 60610, (312) 396-0600

Tampa 9036 BRITTANY WAY TAMPA, FL 33619, (813) 675-3500

PERFORMANCE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP SVP/Group Publisher Doug Evans VP, Sales & Marketing Ira Gabriel Editorial Director Jerry Pitt Group Operations Director Amy Diamond Sr. Operations Director Pauline Atwood OFFICERS OF SOURCE INTERLINK COMPANIES, INC. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Mays President and Chief Operating Officer James R. Gillis President, Source Interlink Distribution Alan Tuchman President, Source Interlink Media Steve Parr Chief Administrative Officer William D. Bailey Chief Financial Officer Marc Fierman General Counsel Douglas Bates SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA, LLC President Steve Parr President, Digital Media Greg Goff Chief Financial Officer Judy Anzalone SVP, Chief Creative Officer Alan Alpanian SVP, Mfg. & Production Kevin Mullan SVP, Integrated Marketing Brad Gerber


Trans-ScatÂŽ Valve Body Kits Stop transmission slippage & shift lag while adding serious performance to your automatic transmission. This do-it-yourself upgrade improves shift firmness & gear selection for most popular applications.

Occasionally we make our subscriber list available to reputable firms. To be excluded, please send your address label and a note asking to be excluded from these promotions to Source Interlink Media, LLC, 261 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; Attn: Privacy Coordinator.




Max Shiftâ&#x201E;˘ Performance Transmission Fluid Add performance & durability to your drivetrain with Max Shiftâ&#x201E;˘ Performance Transmission Fluid (ATF). It decreases operating temperature by 30+ degrees, giving you a more durable, better shifting drivetrain. 0UK\Z[YPHS+YP]L%(ZOSHUK4:

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SHOP TALK Henry De Los Santos

Race car? Yes, it is.



f you’re into motorsport shenanigans, then there’s a good chance you have already heard of the 24 Hours of LeMons. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. This event started in Northern California in 2006 as a spoof of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. If you didn’t know, Le Mans features highcaliber endurance cars that are designed to run reliably at peak performance with minimal downtime. Demanding? Yes, in every aspect of the event, from the mechanics of the vehicles to the pure physical stamina required of the drivers. Not so much with the 24 Hours of LeMons. It’s quite the opposite, requiring competitors to build a complete race car that’s been prepped for $500. Believe me, there’s no denying that the majority of these cars are on the verge of being tossed to the boneyard. If nothing else, it gives these poor things a final glorious run as a pseudo race car. The other difference is that rather than going for 24 hours straight, the racing is split into two heats (one per day), giving every competitor a chance to fix their junk should they need to and to go at it again the following day. In the end, the team who churns out the greatest number of laps is crowned the winner. Even better, the winning team is awarded $1,500—in nickels! Hmm, a nickel weighs approximately 0.5 gram. Anybody feel like doing the math on this one? If you’re interested in participating, then hit your local clas-

sifieds. Keep an open mind, and you’ll find plenty of $500 contenders to fit the bill. The good news is that certain items, namely safety components, aren’t dinged against you. This includes the rollcage, wheels, and brakes. Seriously, these alone can knock the budget out the door. Another trick for purchasing a slightly more expensive vehicle is to sell everything you don’t use in order to recoup anything over the allotted limit. Other than that, strip everything out of the car, install a rollbar or -cage, and you just built yourself a first-rate race car. Pretty sweet, huh? Since I’m not one to sit idle, we’re entering a car with a few friends: Vince Stroud, Chris Little, and myself. What started as an innocent conversation online with Vince quickly escalated into a full-blown LeMons effort. Within 48 hours we had our car: one automatic ’83 third-gen with later-model front fascia and skirts, aftermarket exhaust, an LT1 conversion, and a newer rearend with disc brakes. So far Vince has already stripped it down to the shell, unloading the center console and rear wing and even trading the carpet and T-tops for much needed suspension components. Our Chassisworks rollcage showed up last week. Assuming all goes well, you can expect to see us at the Goin’ for Broken event on the weekend of May 22 at Reno-Fernley Raceway in Fernley, Nevada. For more information, drop by Until then, we’ll be thrashing away to make the race! CHP





NEW CONCEPT IN STUD MOUNT ROCKER ARMS DELIVERS GREATER STRENGTH & IMPROVED VALVE TRAIN STABILITY he worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best selling steel rocker arms have been completely redesigned for reduced weight and 29% greater strength, increasing high rpm valve train control. The Ultra Pro Magnumâ&#x201E;˘ Rocker Arms not only live up to the lofty standards of the original Pro Magnumâ&#x201E;˘, they also take stud mount rocker performance to a new level.


NEW DESIGN DELIVERS MAXIMUM STRENGTH & RIGIDITY The most noticeable advancement with the Ultra Pro Magnumâ&#x201E;˘ Rocker Arms centers around the nearly unbreakable investment cast 8650 chromemoly body. Through the use of CAD & FEA stress analysis, the COMP CamsÂŽ engineering team was able to design these rocker arms with an advanced web-like structure to add strength where needed and reduce mass in low stress areas, resulting in maximum lift and valve train control at high rpm. Instead of losing lift through rocker arm deflection, the new Ultra Pro Magnumâ&#x201E;˘ Rockers deliver the full potential of your camshaft.

BENEFITS OF STEEL WITHOUT SACRIFICING PERFORMANCE While removing the excess weight, our engineers were careful to achieve the perfect dynamic balance between the front and the rear of the

rocker arm body. After all, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that balance that largely determines the weight â&#x20AC;&#x153;feltâ&#x20AC;? by the valve â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one of the real secrets to a steel rocker arm that outperforms even many aluminum rockers. Furthermore, this revolutionary design includes provisions for increased retainer and valve spring clearance, allowing the use of larger diameter valve springs, retainers and locks without clearance or fitment issues. Additional features include the oversized trunion and precision sorted needle bearings for use with high load valve springs. The hardened roller tips reduce friction and eliminate premature valve guide wear.

AMERICAN-MADE & GUARANTEED FOR LIFE So how durable are these new rockers? Durable enough that the most respected name in valve train technology will stand behind them for a lifetime. The 100% American-made Ultra Pro Magnumâ&#x201E;˘ Rocker Arms include a lifetime guarantee against the breakage of the rocker arm body for any reason. Need one more reason? The Ultra Pro Magnums include a fully rebuildable design, meaning they may very be the last rocker arms youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ever have to buy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or want to.

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I got an engine block from a friend who didn’t want it because it had water damage to the cylinders. Well, after a few hours of sanding and a honing tool, this block ended up looking great! The casting number is 10125327, confirming it’s an LT1. Can I put any heads on this engine, or do they have to be LT1 heads? Freddy Reyes Santa Ana, CA

Kevin McClelland Illustration: Tom Truty


NEGLECTED TOOLS If you’re like most of us, servicing your vehicle isn’t way up there on the to-do list. It’s more fun installing a set of headers, swapping out the latest intake manifold, or if you like to keep your hands clean—and need instant gratification—blowing in a new program into your PCM. There’s one tool many of us have that I know gets neglected. How about the wheel bearings and brakes on your trailer? Many of us have trailers, and some have more than one. What if you lost a wheel bearing going down the road with your prized possession on its back? This is what happened to a good friend of mine on his way to Las Vegas with his triple-axle, gooseneck Pace trailer! As he came to a stop, the axle in question was up in flames! His trailer even had the self-lubricating bearings that were submerged in a bath of gear oil! The point I’m trying to make here is that we all do it. We come home from the races or whatever activity and unload our cars, then stash the trailer until next time. With my family’s move to Southern California coming up this month, I decided to service the bearings on both my trailers before we struck off. I couldn’t afford to be stuck on the side of the road trying to find bearings or, worse yet, needing a new axle. I’ve had one of the trailers, a 24-foot Pace Shadow, for 10 years and 40,000 miles. I’ve been very nice to the electric brakes, using up the tow vehicle’s brakes more than the trailer’s. I’ve heard horror stories about electric trailer brakes and the expense of replacing them. Popping off the wheels and drum, I came to find that the bearings were just fine. The axles and brakes are made by Dexter and have a nice feature that allows you to inject grease into the axle, which packs the hub assembly full of grease. My problem wasn’t neglecting the bearings; it was the brakes. At first glance, everything looked great. The lining was about half worn, but there was cracking in the lining throughout the shoe. Next I found that because I had not kept up on the brake adjustment, the electromagnet that rides on the brake drum when engaged had overshot its mating surface. This had worn the magnet excessively but luckily had not damaged the drum. So I’m off to the brake store for shoes and electromagnets! Again, if I would have stayed up on the adjustment I wouldn’t have been looking at this expense! Think of this the next time you dump your car off the trailer and park it for next time. As for the move down south, I have found a place to hang my shingle. K&N Engineering has taken me in as Special Project Manager. I’ll be looking for new opportunities for K&N to apply its filter technologies. Also, I’ll be digging around for groundbreaking uses within our industry. It really feels good to finally move from the dirty end of the car up to the clean end! Stay tuned for new adventures.

12 · JUNE 2009

Taking sandpaper to cylinder walls can be very dangerous. If you used very fine (1,000-grit) sandpaper to clean a little surface rust off the cylinders, I wouldn’t worry. However, sanding for a few hours and then using a honing tool is what worries me. Was the honing tool a bottle-brush glaze breaker or a true shoe type-stone hone? If you take 400-grit sandpaper to a cylinder wall and track the damage with a micrometer, it will surprise you how much material you can remove easily. This creates an out-of-round condition that the rings will never have a chance to seal. As for the cylinder heads needed for your block, you are correct that you have an LT1/LT4 casing-number block. These blocks were offered in both two- and fourbolt main configurations. The cooling system is a reverse-flow design, which requires either production LT1/ LT4 heads or aftermarket heads specifically designed for the reverse-flow cooling system. These engines came in ’92-97 Camaros, Corvettes, and Impalas. A few of them snuck into ’98 Camaros as that model was swapping over to the LS1 engines. There are plenty of heads out there to choose from. Back to your cylinders. Make sure before you build up this engine that you measure the cylinder walls and check for out-of-round bore diameters. It’s better to find them on the front side of a build.



My ’67 Camaro has a 402 big-block and a TH400 transmission with 3.55:1 gears. My 60-foot time is 1.749, and my eighth-mile e.t. is 7.727 at 85.68 mph. In the 1,320, I have run as fast as 12.128 at 109.57 mph. This car has a 3,000-stall converter, a single-pattern cam with 302 degrees duration and 0.544 inch max lift, and an Edlebrock Torker II intake with a Holley 850-cfm double-pumper. I understand that the dual-plane would probably work better, but I can’t get it under the hood without a scoop. Can you give me a ballpark estimate on the horsepower for the car with full interior and the spare and jack in the trunk? How much can I gain with a lower gear ratio? Everyone around here bracket-races in the eighth-mile. Do you have a table for gears such as 4.11, 4.56, 4.88, and 5.13 running a 26x10 Hoosier slick? Thanks! Marcus Humphries Dawson, TX


Your Camaro is running very well for its minimal modifications. If I were to throw a number at the power of your engine, it would come in around 425 hp. The car is moving well on the torque built by your 402. The main problem with lowering the gearing to match the eighth-mile racing distance is that your First gear becomes so low that it’s almost impossible to hook the car up! You have a good 60-foot time for a basic street car, and the 26x10 Hoosiers are doing their job. Putting a ton of gear to match your horsepower peak to the finish line might give you fits.

With the 3.55:1 gears and a 26-inch tire, we’d say you’re probably in the low 4,000 range going across the eighth-mile line. There are gear ratio calculators online that you can use. Check one out at csgnetwork. com/gearratcalc.html. Or you can use this formula to calculate your engine speed based on any gear you wish to try. First multiply your tire diameter by your desired engine rpm. Next choose a gear ratio and multiply by 336. Then divide the tire diameter result by the gear ratio result. This will give you the miles per hour of this combination without any slippage. Remember, the miles per hour may vary due to tire growth and converter slippage. Always keep in mind: Mild bigblocks move the car mostly on torque. Chasing the horsepower peak to lower your e.t.’s may not give you the results you’re looking for.

Running much lower than a 4.11:1 gear may cause you more trouble in the 60-foot than it’s worth. Good luck, and drive a tight stripe! SOURCE:



My ’84 Camaro Z-28 has the HO 305 VIN code “G” engine, coupled to a TH700R-4 transmission. I don’t know if the transmission input shaft is a 27- or 30-spline. I have read that in ’87s and later they were 30-spline. Some say the switch was made in the ’86. I also read that the switch occurred mid-year in the ’84. I’m confused. Is there a way to tell if my transmission is a 27- or 30-spline input, short of removing the transmission and visually examining the input shaft? Thanks. Steve Parsell Lyons Falls, NY


Man, I think this has turned into a great game of telephone! You know, when information gets distorted as it passes from person to person. In mid-1987, GM improved the TH700R-4 transmissions with an increased number of vanes in the front pump to stabilize line pressure and volume. GM increased the spline count to the input shaft at the same time. This was a great improvement to this transmission, giving it better durability and life. If your Camaro is equipped with the original transmission, it’s very safe to say it is a 27-spline input. If you’re still in doubt, get the trans code off the side of the case and give Ken Casey a call at Burt Chevy (800.345.5744). He can identify the trans for you from the factory ID numbers. The only problem with this is when the trans has been rebuilt


PERFORMANCE Q&A and modified with later-model components. Good luck with your Camaro project. SOURCE:

SHE BE LEAN I have an ’84 Camaro with a 350 that has been bored and flat-decked. It has World Sportsman II 72cc heads, a Lunati Voodoo cam (PN 60101), Speed-Pro flat-top pistons, an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and a Holley 670 Street Avenger carb. The distributor is a stock HEI with vacuum advance out of a ’77 Camaro. It runs great when the weather is warm, but as soon as it cools down to 55 degrees, it surges cruising down the road and falls on its face when accelerating, and I have to ride the clutch when I take off or it will die. I have considered fuel injection, but it is a little cost-prohibitive. Also, I’m going to install a Mallory Hyfire 6 EXL soon, but I don’t know if that will help or not. Can you please give me some ideas on what I can do to give it better cold-weather drivability? I don’t want my car to have to sit for six months every year. Thank you very much for any help. Mike Kennedy Via email



What you have is a lean condition. When the ambient temperature is higher than 55 degrees, you have just enough fuel to satisfy the engine’s fueling requirements. When the temp drops, the air density increases and you have more oxygen in the inlet air. This leads to the lean surge you’re feeling, the bog when you try to accelerate, and the stumble on take-off while slipping the clutch. Going to a stronger, hotter ignition system can help fire a lean mixture. But it sounds like you need to increase your jetting. First, make sure that when the carb was installed, the float level and idle feed screws were set properly. If the float level is low or the idle feeds are on the lean side, this would also give you lean stumble conditions. Check out Holley’s online FAQs for the correct information on adjusting your Holley 4150 model carb. If the adjustments are correct, we’d increase the primary jet size by two. I would also increase the accelerator squirter from the factory 0.028 inch up to 0.031 inch. This will aid in the initial step on the throttle. With these two changes, you should be able to make it through the winter. Also, if your calibration is this sen-


sitive, we bet itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s too lean for max performance during the summer. Adjusting the jetting of a carburetor is a very subjective adjustment based on the experience of the tuner. The folks at Innovate Motorsports have brought us affordable wideband O2 sensors to help dramatically with any tuning. The LC-1 kit gives you the wideband O2, wiring, software (PC), and cabling to your PC to know for sure that you have the proper calibration. Also offered are dash-mounted gauges to give you convenient, real-time AFR. Check out Innovateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s online forums to help the novice tuner dial in his car. SOURCES:,



Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m building a â&#x20AC;&#x2122;58 Chevy Apache frame-off resto. I want to step up to the plate by going green. Do you guys have any idea where I can get the kit/ equipment for CNG conversion for a Chevy short-block? I figure I might as well step into tomorrow and get cheaper fuel at the same time. Also, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be able to fill â&#x20AC;&#x2122;er up at home. Is it possible you guys could do an article on a small-block CNG conversion? What do you say? By the way, keep up the good work! James Walter Via email

CGN is sure a hot topic these days. T. Boon Pickens is going on TV and telling everyone that we could be running on CNG today. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the truth, but the likelihood of everyone doing it is another story. Also, outfitting older vehicles is a challenge compared with the late-model EFI vehicles. We dug around for a while and will list several websites where you can do some research. After youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve looked into natural gas, you can decide if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for you. One of your comments is that you could fuel your truck at home. While this is technically true, the compressor to do this today is around $4,500. This price is just for the compressor, not any of the conversion components and the fuel storage tanks that are DOTlegal. These fuel tanks are made from composite material and hold the natural gas under a working pressure of 3,600 psi. A tank that would hold the equivalent of 10 gallons of gas is priced around $2,800. The conversion kits we


found online were from all around the world. The prices varied, but they come in around $1,800 for EFI systems, higher for carbureted systems. There have been tremendous advancements in the EFI side of the conversion market. There are systems available that are OBD II compliant and can be installed on current-model-year vehicles and retain the factory warranty! Check out the sites below for more information. If you would like to speak with someone in person, give Impco Technologies a call (714.656.1200). Impco has been the premier mixer and regulator manufacturer for propane conversions ever since propane came into favor. I worked with the company years ago on a CNG project in the Texas Panhandle, where Don Hardy Race Cars was outfitting irrigation pump engines to run on natural gas. CNG is being used all around the globe to fuel cars and industry. As for CHP doing a conversion story, it may be a little early in the learning curve. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have to wait and see. SOURCES:,,,,, technocarb. com,


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I have been clawing my way through the Internet, looking for small-block Chevy head flow data. Specifically the mid-â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s double-hump heads with the casting numbers of either 3782461 or 3782461X. If you could point me to a website that has this info, I would be very thankful. Red Slover Norco, CA

The early iron double-hump, or camelback, cylinder heads flow very similarly. The 461, 462, 486, and 492 heads all had very similar port volumes and valve sizes. Most of these came equipped with either 1.94/1.50- or 2.02/1.60-inch valves. Here is the typical double-hump or fuelie casting stock head flow.


Valve Lift (in) 0.100 0.200 0.300 0.400 0.500 0.600

Intake (cfm) 64 128 173 195 202 202

Exhaust (cfm) 57 107 125 141 141 141


One interesting note is where the exhaust port saturates. It reaches max flow at 0.400 inch valve opening and is flat up to 0.600 inch. This is where adding a larger-lift camshaft 6755j

PERFORMANCE Q&A has minimal affect on performance. A simple valve job and increasing the throat diameter and blending the short-side radius will correct this problem. This will unlock a ton of performance from these early heads. For the best technical information on cast-iron Chevy heads, check out Brzezinski Racing Products, which offers complete porting services, legal and “cheater” heads for limitedrules racing classes, and a complete line of very trick flow bench tools. SOURCE:



I have a problem with my ’72 Nova rearend. I moved the leaf springs over and centered my rear up off the pinion. But when I measure off the rim with a tram gauge, the passenger side is off 1 inch. When I measure the perches they are fine. I thought the quarter-panel was messed up, but the body shop says it’s not. I have to run two different backspacing rims—the driver side is 51/2 inches and the passenger side is 41/2. Hope you can tell me how to fix it. Thanks. Randy Panozzo Muskegon, MI



I’ve been a subscriber for years and love the rag. I have a ’74 El Camino SS 454 with a factory big-block and a TH400, a 10-bolt with a 3.73:1 Posi. The engine has a Performer RPM Air Gap, a 750 Holley double-pumper, headers, and a camshaft with approximately 230 duration at 0.050 inch tappet lift. The automatic is quick but boring. I want to swap in a five- or six-speed manual. What would fit the best? I don’t want to cut up the tunnel more than I have to. Thanks. Paul Van Slyke Amherst, NY


That’s a very nice Elco you have there. Does it still have the factory SS bodywork on it? There were the Laguna Malibus, and some of the SS El Caminos had some of the different bolt-ons in the front. Lucky for you, the later, larger A-bodies had quite a bit of room under them. A five-speed swap should fit with no floorpan modifications if the model was originally equipped with a four-speed. Classic Chevy 5 Speed and Keisler Engineering have a complete line of five- and six-speed swap systems for a number of applications. They have everything, and it’s the easiest and most complete way to put a high-strength, modern overdrive Tremec TKO five-speed transmission in your GM A-body with automatic transmission. As for your big-block car, we’d go with the TKO 600. This transmission is rated at 600 lb-ft of torque and features a 0.64 overdrive in Fifth, which will allow you to enjoy the performance of your big-block with some fuel economy. They have both factory mechanical clutch linkage and optional hydraulic clutch linkage. They can supply you with just what you’re looking for. SOURCE:, 16 · JUNE JUNE2009 2009


Did you notice that the engine and transmission in your Nova are offset to the passenger side for steering box clearance and to fit the floorpan better? When you centered up the rearend off the pinion to the framerails, you offset the axle to the driver side! If you measure the crankshaft centerline between the front frame, you should find that the engine is offset about 1 inch, and then measure the output shaft of the trans and see where it falls. It should be slightly less offset at the rear of the trans. Is this going to cause you a problem with your car except for the wheel offset? Not really. The U-joints are just going to work a little harder with the added inch of offset compared to the trans output shaft. Sorry about this, bud.



I am considering a small-block engine build for my ’85 Chevy pickup. I am not interested in a high-revving engine. I’m looking to build a torque monster, a high-torque tow vehicle. I have a used 350 four-bolt block with a two-piece rear main and cranks that I could build into a 355. Or I could stroke it and build a 383. Or I could sell them and use the money toward a Dart 400-cid short-block. In the end, by the time I get a roller cam and rockers and all the other goodies, the total dollar difference will probably be less than a grand. My block would have to be machined for the 350—more so for the 383. The 400 block would come all machined, so my starting costs would be close. Is this a case where there is no substitute for cubic inches? Also, could you recommend an iron head and cam? Thanks. Bob James Franklin, IN


Building a mild-mannered torque monster for your tow truck is all about displacement. The larger you can make the engine, the milder you can go with camshaft profiles and cylinder head port sizes to create gobs of torque. We really like the new Special High Performance (SHP) blocks from Dart (“Minimal Assembly Required!” May ’09). This purposebuilt block for street performance hits right on target. The days of using 400 blocks from the junkyards are behind us. These new blocks, which Richard Maskin and Dick Arons came together to design, feature all the upgrades you would want in a street-performance smallblock. Designed for high-performance and heavy-duty applications producing up to 600 hp, the block features Siamese cylinder bores that have a minimum of 0.230 inch of wall thickness even when bored out to 4.165 inches! It also has a true priority-main oiling system, ductile iron main bearing caps (with splayed four-bolt caps on center mains), thicker decks with blind head bolt holes, and clearance for long-stroke crankshafts. The blocks are machined to accept all factory hydraulic roller hardware and factory thrust plates. The block even has both clutch cross-shaft pivot ball locations. The block comes fully machine with semi-finished bores for final honing. The 4-inch bore PN is 31161111, and the 4.125-inch is PN 31161211. Dart also features two shortblocks using this block, a complete 372-cid and a complete 400-cid assembled short-block. These dynoproven packages feature a torqueplate-honed block, hypereutectic flat-top pistons with full floating pins, cast-steel crankshafts, forged 4340 I-beam rods, Hastings moly rings, Clevite bearings, and coated cam bearings. To round out these packages, top end kits are available for both, with the 372 producing 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque with a mild 224-degree hydraulic flat-tappet cam. The 400 steps it up a notch with a hydraulic roller camshaft spec’d out at 230 degrees duration at 0.050 inch tappet lift, which produces 525 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque. Now for your torque monster. We’d go with the Dart 180cc Iron Ea-

Order a Printed Catalog: 866-656-1705 Download a Catalog: Order all 5 Catalogs on one CD Rom: 866-656-1705

Classic Industries® 18460 Gothard St. Huntington Beach, CA 92648 U Parts & Information: 800-854-1280 UÊ FAX: 800-300-3081 Order Desk Hours (PST):Ê "Ê n>$"x«$]Ê -/Ê £ä>$"Î\ää«$Ê UÊ )+Ãi`Ê -Õ0`>ÞÃÊ EÊ +)3`>ÞÃÊ UÊ e-mail: Catalog Prices (U.S.A):Ê fx°ääÊ i>V4Ê {Ì4Ê V)>ÃÃÊ $>3)\Ê Î"ÈÊ Üii9ÃÊ v+ÀÊ `i)3ÛiÀÞ®Ê UÊ fn°ääÊ i>V4Ê *À3+À3ÌÞÊ $>3)\Ê >))+ÜÊ £"ÓÊ Üii9ÃÊ v+ÀÊ `i)3ÛiÀÞ®Ê Canadian Orders: £"Ç£{"n{Ç"ÈnnÇÊ  >0>`3>0Ê >Ì>)+}Ê f£Ó®Ê U International Orders:Ê £"Ç£{"n{Ç"ÈnnÇÊ 0ÌiÀ0>Ì3+0>)Ê >Ì>)+}Ê fÓä®


PERFORMANCE Q&A gles on the 400-cid engine. You will need to build a dish piston to keep the compression right around 9:1 for heavy-duty use. Dart recommends its 200cc runners on the 400-cid engine, but again, you’re not looking for big top-end numbers. It’s torque, baby. The 180cc/72cc Iron Eagles come either bare (PN 10210010) or assembled with a 1.437 dual spring assembly (PN 10211112). You may wish to go with the bare heads and use the associated valvetrain recommend by the camshaft manufacturer. As for the cam, this will be the heart of the torque-building package. You could push the duration slightly, but we recommend sticking to the conservative side. Look to the low to mid-teens for duration on the inlet side, and low to mid-20s on the exhaust side. Check out the Xtreme Roller line from Comp Cams. Of the two camshafts that would work great in your towing application, we lean toward the XR264HR, which specs out at 212/218 degrees duration at 0.050 inch tappet lift, 0.487/0.495 inch max lift, ground on 110 centers. The largest camshaft we’d use is the XR270HR, with specs of 218/224 at 0.050 inch, 0.495/0.502 inch max lift, also on 110 centers. These camshafts will produce right at 500 lb-ft of torque, with the shorter producing around 425 hp and the larger closer to 450. Round out your package with a large dual-plane intake, either the Dart Iron Eagle/Pro 1 dual-plane or the Edelbrock RPM. And finally, don’t be temped to put primary tube headers larger than 15/8 inches on the engine. The 400 will love the small primaries, but they must be long-tube headers to support this engine. This should give you a very nice, totally bulletproof small-block for your tow rig. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out! SOURCES:,

NEED A LIFT? As a longtime subscriber to CHP, I hope you can help with my problem. The ’82 El Camino that I bought new now has 70,000 miles. Because of my health problems (lungs), the VA gave me a handicap lift and scooter, mounted on the El Camino. Everything was fine for about three months and then the OE factory air shocks started to leak down to 20 pounds in about four days. I had a friend replace them with Monroe air


shocks. They leaked down in one day! They were replaced three times with the same results. We checked every possible way to find leaks and couldn’t find them. My friend seemed to think they were leaking through the rubber around the shocks in a way that we couldn’t detect. I had him install Monroe SensaTrac (load adjusting) shocks. I measured the height at the rear wheelwell. It was 27 inches, and after we installed the lift (100 pounds) the height was 25 inches. Loading the scooter (150 pounds) the height went to 21.5 inches. Do you know of heavier rear springs that could be installed maybe from a 1/2-ton pickup? I don’t care if the El Camino rides 2 or 3 inches high in the rear when I’m not carrying my scooter, and the lift stays on at all times. Hope you have an answer. Thanks. Bert Via email


Boy, we’re sorry you’ve been fighting with the air shock system on your Elco. The factory air shocks are a really good system. It’s unfortunate that they got tired and gave up. Yes, there are springs out there that will work. Let’s take a look. Moog Chassis Part, a division of Federal Mogul, offers what it calls its Cargo Coils just for your needs. They’re variable-rate springs that change resistance as they compress and become stiffer as the load increases. This is accomplished by winding the springs with a progressively tighter wind toward the top. The looser wind at the bottom gives you a normal ride with no load in the bed, but as soon as the loose wind compresses, the stiffer, tighter windings hold up the weight. You have two choices: The springs that are spec’d out for your Elco are PN CC627, or you could go with the stiffer wagon springs under PN CC507. We’ve used Cargo Coils before with great successes, and the standard El Cam springs should take care of your 250-pound payload. Both part numbers are available from Summit Racing. This should take care of all your problems hauling your scooter. Hope this will get you around a little easier. Good luck and good health. SOURCES:,

TECHNICAL questions for Kevin McClelland can be sent to him at


20 路 JUNE 2009

Bodywork Is Plagued With Pitfalls That Can Cost You Time and Money. We Asked the Experts for Their Advice on How to Stretch Your Restoration Buck. Text & Photos: Stephen Kim

Who knew that loitering could be so productive? It turns out that hanging out at a highend body shop and asking a bunch of annoying questions actually pays off. To get the lowdown on bodywork, we spent the day at Austin’s Collision & Body Works (Austin, Texas), a high-caliber restoration facility that’s built more six-figure musclecars, street rods, and customs than it can count. We were greeted there by Camaros, Novas, and Chevelles galore in various stages of the restoration process. The cumulative effect was witnessing the entire restoration process—from start to finish—simultaneously, which provided an excellent education. Shop owner Rodney Austin, who has more than 30 years of metalworking experience, graciously answered our elementary inquiries. Just some of the things we picked up during our tour: how to asses the severity of rust damage in a body panel; determining the most cost-effective way to repair sheetmetal; how to skillfully reuse miscellaneous trim pieces to save some cash; the pros and cons of various paints and application techniques; questionable yet common Band-Aid fixes that should be avoided; the importance of proper prep. Furthermore, we also picked up some nifty tricks—such as hiding large weld seams behind the framerails, hitting the undercarriage with epoxy, and closing up panel gaps with a welder—which will help you incorporate into your project the same elements that go into a high-dollar restoration, without leaving you broke. After seeing the carnage that results as a consequence of poor bodywork, you’ll be convinced that it pays to study up and do it right the first time. CHEVYHIPERFORMANCE.COM · 21


A common mistake when replacing a trunk floor is cutting it out and throwing away everything that’s attached to it. Oftentimes, items like the gas tank straps and the trunk latch and bumper supports aren’t included with replacement floorpans. While they are available from the aftermarket, the stock pieces are generally in decent shape since they’re built from a thicker-gauge (sometimes galvanized) metal than the floorpan. Cutting them off and reusing them saves time, money, and headaches.

This Camaro quarter looks salvageable from a few feet away but is nothing more than scrap. Although there is a sufficient amount of decent metal overall, there’s rust all around the wheelwell lip and holes from a dent-puller behind the rear tires from a prior repair. “Don’t be misled by the amount of overall rust-free metal in a panel. If there’s a lot of rust or dents concentrated in one small area, then you can patch the panel,” Austin says. “However, if there are small rust spots, dents, and holes spread out over the entire panel, then it’s not worth the labor of trying to patch it. Just replace the whole quarter-panel and be done with it. That way you won’t have to worry about new rust spots popping up six months after you finished painting your car.”

Here’s a classic example of where a simple patch panel won’t cut it. The quarter on this ’68 Camaro has been hit at least once, probably more, and subjected to some hideous bodywork. “Something like this, with 1/2 to 3/4 inch of mud, is totally unacceptable. Anything more than 1/8 inch is too much,” explains Austin. “Work like this is common with lots of backyard mechanics and even some shops because it’s a lot easier to load a car up with $25-a-gallon Bondo than it is to learn how to replace a body panel. I always recommend replacing the entire quarter-panel because that enables you to take care of all the dents and rust at the same time. Patch panels can start cracking between the welds if you don’t do it right. If you put a full quarter-panel on, you only have a tiny amount of filler at the factory seam near the roof, and the amount of money you save in labor can more than make up the difference in price.”

Engine torque and normal wear and tear tend to twist a car’s body over time. Even without a specialized lift, a few simple tools can help ensure that the body and frame are straight before removing any body panels. The first step is to support the car with jackstands at each corner near the pinch welds on the rocker panels. Next, hang plumb bobs from each corner of the car and measure to make sure the frame is straight. “Replace one panel at a time, because once you cut everything loose, it’s really tough to line everything back up again,” Austin advises. “Adjust doors to old quarters first, take note of the gaps, and use them as a reference point when attaching the new panel. Clamp everything down really well, and check door gaps and trunk gaps continually as you weld to make sure the panel isn’t moving around on you. The last thing you want to do is have to cut a panel you just welded on back off for adjustment.”

22 · JUNE 2009

As with quarter-panels and fenders, floorpans can be patched, but replacing the entire pan offers several benefits. Patching up just one or two “quadrants” of a floor results in unsightly welds and seams. Replacing the entire floorpan ensures that everything between the toe board and the rear package tray area is rust-free. Furthermore, it’s the only way to properly fix a trans tunnel that may have been butchered to fit a nonstock trans. “For a quality restoration, it just looks more polished and professional when you don’t have welds running all over the place. When you replace the entire floor, it looks factory,” says Austin. “Also remember to drill out and reuse the old seat risers, since they aren’t included with replacement pans. They’re much more durable than the floorpan and seldom rust. Reusing them is a good way to save some money.”

Despite all its benefits, a floorpan is a big honkin’ piece of metal and therefore quite a bear to muscle into place. “The average floorpan weighs about 70 pounds, so it’s definitely a two-man job and can be a bit of a struggle. The best way to shoehorn it in is through the passenger door,” says Austin. “Make sure to remove the doors, steering wheel, and rear quarter glass before wrestling it in. The other option is to go through the windshield frame. This requires removing the steering column and rear seat brace as well, since the floorpan needs to be slid up and past the rear seat area in order to get the front of the pan to clear the firewall.”

A poor man’s solution to rusted floors and trunks is to try and weld up each rust hole. Unfortunately, this Band-Aid fix won’t last long. The floor will rust up again in no time.

Here’s a nifty trick worth storing away in your noggin. If you narrow a replacement trunk pan before installation, you can position the lip directly over the framerail. Consequently, the seam is undetectable when looking underneath a car on a lift, lending the appearance of original factory metal. Likewise, cutting the trunk pan to the exact size needed, then butt-welding it in place, eliminates any metal that would normally hang down from the seam. “I want my replacement panels to look like factory originals. A lot of people these days have lifts in their home garage, so they’re looking at the bottom of their cars as often as the top,” Austin explains.

For those tempted to cheap out, this isn’t the place to do it. The upper dash panel on this ’67 Camaro is thoroughly rotted out. In fact this area is notorious for rust in Novas and Chevelles too. Anyone with moderate welding skills can replace this piece at home. However, it must be securely welded—not merely riveted—into place. As a section of the car that supports the front windshields, rivets could very well come loose during a collision, sending your glass flying into the air.



Most people have probably forgotten this by now, but many muscle cars weren’t equipped with passenger-side rearview mirrors from the factory. This prompted many owners to buy cheap aftermarket pieces, and they often ended up in the wrong location. The prep stage is a perfect opportunity to weld these holes shut and reposition the mirror in the right location. Moreover, all handles, locks, badges, and miscellaneous trim pieces need to be removed as well, as it’s impossible to sand around them.

Any time a car has undergone more than one paint job—or has major problems such as chipping, flaking, or cracking—it must be stripped down to bare metal. Failure to do so will compromise the adhesion between the car surface and the paint.

Even with NOS or quality reproduction sheetmetal, there will be a gap somewhere on the car that’s too wide despite prodigious alignment efforts. Since epoxy will pop right off, running a bead down the edge of the offending panel with a welder will close the gap right up. Austin prefers setting the gaps at a maximum of 1/4 inch. “The idea is to use a series of spot welds to avoid warping the panel, then filling the rest of the weld in. If you don’t, the panel will get too hot and start rolling inward,” Austin advises. “Then grind the weld down flat, and repeat the process if necessary. If you get it just right, you won’t even need any filler.”

The metal surrounding the rear windshield is also prone to rust, especially on vinyl-top cars. Unfortunately, replacement pieces aren’t available. After the rusted metal on this Chevelle was cut out, a new metal strip was fabricated and welded in. The roof, on the other hand, was in perfect shape and required no work.

Once a car has been stripped and primered and most of the bodywork has been done, it’s time to start fine tuning. Intensive blocking is a staple of any quality restoration. “After a car gets back from media blasting and is down to bare metal, it should be sprayed with a dark-gray epoxy primer to stop rust from forming. You then hit it with a 2K primer and start blocking,” Austin explains. “By doing do, any time you see a dark spot it means that you’ve hit a high spot, which needs to be corrected. Without the epoxy primer base, you’d go straight to bare metal instead. Sometimes high spots are so subtle that you can’t even feel them, so this is a great way to verify that the panels are flat. Blocking also removes scratches, pinholes, and other imperfections. This is the stage when low spots should be filled in as well.” Block sanding shouldn’t be confused with color sanding. It involves sanding down the clearcoat in two-stage paints, and the paint itself in single-stage paints, to remove orange peel, fine scratches, paint runs, and dust nibs. The result is an ultra-smooth finish.

24 · JUNE 2009

When looking over a potential project car to purchase, keep in mind that any area that collects leaves, dirt, or water is a hotbed for rust. The front windshield support area beneath the molding on this Nova is rotted out and will need to be replaced.

6/24%# !$6!.4!'% Managing airflow with a paint booth is critical in achieving a consistent paint finish. Poor airflow can cause blisters, since the top of the surface starts drying faster than the paint beneath it, forcing solvents to escape from the paint. Likewise, a proper booth also filters out dust, bugs, and other impurities from the air that could end up on your paint. Laws vary by state, but painting a car outside of a proper booth can result in fines of tens of thousands of dollars. “Either don’t do it, or don’t get caught,” Austin quips.

There are several methods of achieving a slick-looking undercarriage, but one the most effective is spraying it with an epoxy primer. Not only does it leave a nice satin black finish as if the car just rolled out of the factory, but mixing it with a hardener makes it resistant to chipping from road debris. The application is a single-stage procedure, so solvent popping isn’t an issue. This particular epoxy is Glasurit Chassis Black.

NEW RHS® VORTEC HEADS GIVE YOU MORE POWER WHILE SAVING YOU MONEY IN THE LONG RUN Designed as a direct-replacement upgrade for the popular GM 906 casting, RHS® Pro Torker™ Vortec Cast Iron Cylinder Heads utilize a multi-angle valve job and a host of added design refinements that enable them to flow far better (27 more cfm at 0.500” lift) than the factory originals. And when you add up all the time and money you’ll save by avoiding the repair and machining of factory heads, the Pro Torker™ Vortec Heads actually save you money – giving you maximum horsepower for your performance dollar. If you don’t have friends you can bum tools off of, tackling a paint-and-body project in your garage is a long-term commitment. The various tools of the trade in this one drawer—hole punchers, grinders, air hammers, drills, air chisels, and so on—costs several thousand dollars. That said, it could take several projects for an investment in tools to pay for itself for a DIYer.

Pro Torker™ SBC Vortec Cylinder Heads s Constructed from high-quality cast iron using patented Clean Cast Technology™ for superior workmanship s Radiused exhaust seats, multi-angle intake seats & “Fast Burn” combustion chambers allow up to 5% more flow s Equipped with 1.550” valve spring seats and valve guides to avoid retainer-to-guide clearance issues when used with high lift camshafts Part Numbers #12407- Vortec 64cc Chambers, 170cc 1.940”/1.500” Valves #12410- Vortec 64cc Chambers, 170cc 2.020”/1.600” Valves, Dual Int. Bolt Pattern


Near the completion of any paint-and-body project, all cars look something like this. “This stage—after the metalwork is complete and the car has been stripped, primered, and blocksanded—is one of the most important,” Austin stresses. “This is when you check panel gaps and perfect fitment before disassembling a car for paint. The last thing you want to do is have freshly painted panels rub against each other when you open the doors, trunk, or hood. It’s very time consuming and a big pain, and the effort you put into a project at this stage can make or break the quality of your bodywork. If a panel doesn’t fit right before paint, it won’t fit after either. Bad prepwork is the biggest mistake DIYers make. Actually laying down the paint is only 15 percent of the job; the rest is prep. Any dents, scratches, or chips you see during prep will only look worse after they’re painted.”




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Performance Motor and Transmission Mounts Re-engineered to handle higher horsepower and torque. Eliminates excessive drivetrain movement– to increase power transfer. They protect from expensive breakage, on the track or the street. Performance Control Arm Bushing Sets Maintains better alignment while: cornering, stopping and hard launching. They last longer and restore the suspension better than new! For the front or rear.

Weatherstripping may keep water out of the trunk, but with no place for the water to drain, the lip that holds it in place will rust over time. Here, the bottom right corner of the lip has already been replaced, but the upper-right corner has not. The good news is that weatherstrip lips are readily available as replacement parts.

Although installing new floorpans requires removing the seat riser, it can be reattached as far rearward as your heart desires. For vertically gifted hot rodders, this means a precious few inches of additional leg room. Here, Austin split the seat riser in two pieces and welded a patch panel in between them to allow mounting the seat brackets farther back for a tall customer.

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Regarding even the cars that command a premium price tag and are in decent overall condition, Austin says that 95 percent are rife with shoddy repairs. “The problem with buying a finished car is that a good body guy can hide a lot of imperfections that you can’t see until you start disassembling a car. This doorskin should have been replaced in a prior repair, but it has a big hunk of Bondo in it instead. When you go to check out a car to buy, don’t be shy about wrapping a magnet in a cloth and running it over the body to check for body filler.”

The two most common types of paint are urethane single-stage and basecoat/ clearcoat systems. As its name implies, a single-stage paint has hardeners and reducers mixed into the paint itself, which is applied all at once. The finish is shiny right out of the booth. Its benefits are a less labor-intensive application, a durable finish, and lower costs due to fewer supplies required. However, color selection is extremely limited, and metallic hues are very difficult to come by. In a basecoat/ clearcoat system, the base paint yields a dull finish, then a clearcoat must be applied for gloss and protection. Although they’re more expensive, basecoat/clearcoat paints come in a much broader selection of colors. Furthermore, applying multiple layers of clearcoat adds extra gloss and enables the finish to be color-sanded back to like-new condition when it begins to wear and fade.

There’s more to paint selection than the number of stages in which it’s applied. The composition of different paints varies dramatically. The simplest are single-stage paints, which have nothing in them but solid colors. Metallic paints, on the other hand, have aluminum shavings mixed in for that sparkly luster many people envy. They can be either single- or dual-stage paints, but most are only available in basecoat/ clearcoat systems. Pearls are different paints altogether. They have mica particles mixed into them that reflect light from different angles. The result is a color-shifting effect as you walk around a car. Kandies, on the other hand, are applied by laying down a metallic base, then sealing it in with a coat of tinted clearcoat. As light penetrates the colored clearcoat, it reflects off the metal flakes, giving the appearance of depth. Applying kandy paint is a three-stage process starting with a basecoat of silver, gold, or white metallic followed by a transparent kandy tint, and then a clearcoat on top. Kandies are very laborious, require lots of experience, and are not recommended for the backwoods bodyman.

Reducers and hardeners must be mixed in exactly as directed in the paint manufacturer’s instructions, or the consequences can be catastrophic. Their concentrations must be adjusted for changes in temperature and humidity as well. Straight out of the can, paint is like a syrup and must be thinned before it can be sprayed. Hardeners, on the other hand, are mixed into primers and clears to assist with curing. The exception is water-based paints, which are ready to spray right out of the bottle. Unlike urethane paints, water-based paints are nontoxic, so you can spray them without a booth. Some industry insiders believe that increasingly stringent state laws may someday phase out urethane paints in favor of their environmentally friendlier water-based counterparts.

Cheap paint guns can sometimes yield acceptable results, but high-dollar HVLP (high volume low pressure) guns are the industry standard. Not only do they help cut down on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), they apply a greater volume of material at lower nozzle pressures. That means more paint on the car and less overspray on the ground. Furthermore, they provide a wider spray pattern and operate at up to 90-percent efficiency compared to the 30-percent rating of standard paint guns. CHP


2nd Annual GM Performance Parts LSX Shootout Text & Photos: Henry De Los Santos


eading out to Memphis has always proven to be a good time, and for this trip we were on our way to check out the 2nd Annual GM Performance Parts LSX Shootout! Hosted by the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA), these guys have started a new annual ritual to be put into action at the NMCA World Finals at Memphis Motorsports Park. Although we missed the incredible action last year, you better believe we weren’t about to make the same mistake again. But what exactly is the LSX Shootout? It’s just the baddest heads-up sportsman door car racing in the country, only in this arena you better be packing an LS powerplant and have it residing in a GM car or truck. We love grassroots drag racing. The smell of high octane in the morning really gets us pumped up. We especially enjoy the thunderous roar of finely tuned LSX powerplants. Even cooler is seeing these mega-powered

engines resting comfortably within the confines of a full-body doorslammer in both street and all-out-track machines. That means real world chassis with bighorsepower that are capable of diving deep into the 7-second zone at over 200 mph, yet still look remarkably similar to most boulevard cruising street machines; say hello to the NMCA’s LSX Shootout. The LSX Shootout is by far one of the more innovative and fun groups of classes to follow. Granted, racing competitively in any class certainly isn’t cheap, but you’ll find that most involved within these classes work hard, putting in their 40 plus hours a week and tend to have family-supported teams. While this addition is only in its second year, you can expect it to grow exponentially and continue to entice many folks to join in on the fun. For a detailed list of rules, get on the web and log onto

28 · JUNE 2009

ROBIN LAWRENCE’S ’73 NOVA This is Robin Lawrence’s rolling R&D center for GM Performance Parts’ LS program, but truth be told, it’s even more exciting to see the Nova in action! We have to give credit where credit is due. If you ever happen to see Lawrence in the pit area, be sure to stop by and say hello. He’s a class act. Assuming he isn’t scrambling to the staging lanes, he’ll be more than happy to rap with you about the chassis, powertrain, and everything LS related. NAME: Robin Lawrence HOMETOWN: Galesburg, IL CLASS: NMCA Nostalgia Pro Street BEST E.T.: 7.77 at 179 mph BEST 60-FOOT: 1.22 MOTOR: 440ci LSX INTAKE: HRE sheetmetal twin dominator HEADS: GMPP LSX six-bolt CP POWER-ADDER: Single-stage NOS, 450 shot EXHAUST: Custom 21/8 to 21/4-inch with 4-inch collectors to 4-inch piping and Bassani mufflers TRANSMISSION: Liberty clutchless five-speed; Clutch Masters/ACE twin disc 8-inch SUSPENSION FRONT: TRZ, pinto rack, 2-inch drop spindles, upper lower control arms, TRZ spec’d Strange coilover shocks SUSPENSION REAR: Quarter Max, antiroll bar, four-link, double-adjustable coilovers WEIGHT: 2,920 pounds with driver WHEELS AND TIRES: Weld Racing Wheels, 26x4x15 Nitto front, 16x33x15 Nitto Drag 1320 rear REAREND: Quarter Max kit 9-inch housing that’s fabricated by Team Z motorsports, 4.57:1, spool POWER: 860 hp on motor, 1,330 hp with nitrous


BATTLE OF THE TITANS PAUL MAJOR’S ’01 CORVETTE Paul Major is no stranger to the Outlaw Drag Radial scene and has been making big noise with his wicked 454ci powerplant and monster 88mm twin-turbo setup. When it came to the LSX Shootout, Major swapped out the conventional mule for a 427ci LSX small-block with twin 76mm turbos and was able to produce mid-7-second performance during his first outing. Like a true sportsman, Major did credit a laundry list of people who have helped him, but also wanted to note Job Spetter Jr. from Turbo People in New York for tuning the beast.

NAME: Paul Major HOMETOWN: Fort Salonga, NY CLASS: Outlaw Drag Radial, LSx Drag Radial BEST E.T.: 7.23 at 205 mph BEST 60-FOOT: 1.28 MOTOR: PCH Racing Engines with custom Diamond Pistons, 427ci LSX INTAKE: Performance Induction Specialties, 105mm throttlebody HEADS: ET Performance, C5R POWER-ADDER: Precision Turbo twin 76mm EXHAUST: American Racing 1 7/8-inch with a 3-inch collectors TRANSMISSION: Powerglide, Neil Chance racing converter SUSPENSION FRONT: Factory style SUSPENSION REAR: Factory F-body style suspension by Carroll’s Rod & Racecraft WEIGHT: 3,400 pounds with driver (can be adjusted from 3,250 to 3,500 for various sanctioning bodies) WHEELS AND TIRES: Weld Racing Wheels, 26x4.5-15 M/T ET Front, P315/60R15 M/T ET Street Radial rear REAREND: 9-inch POWER: 1,800 hp (rear wheel)

PAUL SMITH’S ’98 CORVETTE Paul Smith and his son Paul Jr. are a two-man crew with their C5 Vette. The elder Smith was quick to point out that Junior has been the jockey for the past five years and in that time has grown to be not only deadly on the tree, but very focused whenever he’s behind the wheel. The Smiths entered the C/LSX class for the event, which is a 10.00 class but is an NMCA regular in Open Comp. By the way, if the car looks familiar to you, it may be because they won Pinks All Out at Atlanta Raceway out of 450 entries!

30 · JUNE 2009

NAME: Paul Smith HOMETOWN: Atlanta, GA CLASS: NMCA Open Comp, C/ LSX 10.00 Index class BEST E.T.: 9.95 at 135.77 mph BEST 60-FOOT: 1.33 MOTOR: 427ci LS2 INTAKE: FAST, 90 mm HEADS: MTI Racing ported LS6 heads POWER-ADDER: None EXHAUST: MTI Racing 17/8-inch long tubes, 3-inch exhaust with an X-pipe TRANSMISSION: Original, rebuilt by Rossler; 4,500-stall converter SUSPENSION: Stock, QA1 shocks WEIGHT: 3,155 pounds with driver TIRES: 26x4.5-15 Hoosier front, 28x10.5-15 Hoosier rear REAREND: IRS, DTE Stage 5 rearend, Quaife posi, 4.10:1 gears POWER: 500 hp (rear wheel)

STEVE FEREDAY’S ’01 CAMARO If ever there was a fairy tale story for the shootout, it had to be Steve Fereday and his crew. Based out of Houston, Fereday can be seen running a number of eighth-mile races but had never run on a set of drag radials before. On the way to Memphis, he stopped off for a quick test session in New Jersey, which resulted in 7.70 run after lifting the pedal. On the next pass, he chattered the tires hard, breaking the driveshaft and ripping apart the transmission tailshaft. Oops. Not one to be defeated, he had another driveshaft red labeled overnight, swapped in his spare tranny, and journeyed on to his final stop. During qualifying, Fereday managed to qualify No. 1 and even took home the win with several consistent mid-7-second passes throughout the weekend. Who does he credit for the win? His entire crew, the FAST EFI system, and an AMS 1000 boost controller. When asked what he thought about the event, he simply said, “Man, it was awesome!” That says it all.

NAME: Steve Fereday HOMETOWN: Houston, TX CLASS: True 10.5, Outlaw Drag Radial, Limited 10.5, Drag Radial BEST E.T.: 7.57 at 193.94 mph BEST 60-FOOT: 1.23 MOTOR: 408ci LSX INTAKE: Edelbrock Victor Jr., Accufab 95mm throttle-body HEADS: ET 265 Heads POWER-ADDER: Precision Turbo 106 mm, PT 3000 intercooler, Tial 60mm wastegate, two Tial 50mm blow-off valves EXHAUST: Racecraft 13/4 with American Racing Merge 3-inch collectors TRANSMISSION: Rossler Powerglide; 4,000-stall converter Neil Chance bolt--together Pro Mod converter SUSPENSION FRONT: Factory style Burkhart Chassis K-member, Aarms, Santhuff struts SUSPENSION REAR: Factory F-body style suspension by Madman & Co. Racing control arms, panhard bar, and torque arm WEIGHT: 3,400 pounds with driver WHEELS AND TIRES: Weld Racing Wheels, 26x4.5-15 ET Front, M/T P295/65R15 ET Street Radial rear REAREND: Burkhart Chassis custom-fabricated 9-inch, 3.50:1 gears POWER: 2,000 hp (estimated flywheel)

JUDSON MASSINGILL’S ’99 CAMARO Judson Massingill is no stranger to the world of sportsman drag racing. Over the years he’s been an iconic fixture at most NMCA events. Massingill and his better half, Linda, own and teach at their hard-core vocational school in Houston, the School of Automotive Machinists. A unique aspect of the school is that they offer real-world, hands-on experience by bringing their students (as many as 36 on this particular outing) to the track, with everyone crewing on the school’s cars. We just heard that the motor is out and they’re planning big changes for next year, including a bit more compression, a different cam grind, and a new Liberty five-speed.

NAME: Judson Massingill HOMETOWN: Houston, TX CLASS: LSX All Motor BEST E.T.: 8.75 at 154.75 mph BEST 60-FOOT: 1.28 MOTOR: 427ci C5R INTAKE: Beck Mechanical sheetmetal HEADS: C5R POWER-ADDER: None EXHAUST: Custom 21/8-inch to 21/4inch with 4-inch collectors TRANSMISSION: Jerico four-speed SUSPENSION FRONT: Factory style, BMR tubular K-member, A-arms, and Santhuff struts SUSPENSION REAR: Factory F-body style, BMR torque arm and swaybar, AFCO double-adjustable shocks, QA1 springs WEIGHT: 3,350 pounds with driver WHEELS AND TIRES: Bogart Racing Wheels, 26x4.5-15 M/T ET Front, 28x10.5 M/T ET Drag slicks rear REAREND: 9-inch, 5.14:1 gears POWER: 954 hp (flywheel)


BATTLE OF THE TITANS LINDA MASSINGILL’S ’98 CAMARO Linda Massingill is the other half when it comes to the School of Automotive Machinists. Not one to simply stand on the line as a spectator, Linda pilots this cherry fourth-gen Camaro. Her powerplant of choice is a 500ci LS2 newly constructed with the help of ERL Performance and their trick deck plate, intake manifold spacers, and pressed sleeves (see Apr. ’09 for complete build). This big-inch monster made well over 900 hp on the sauce, and they’re dialing it in on the motor, running consistently in the bottom 10s. For this outing, Linda entered the True Street class, which requires every vehicle to be registered and insured and to complete a 30-mile cruise that’s followed by three back-to-back passes. Unfortunately, one student miscalculated the amount of fuel needed by half a gallon, and the Camaro ran out of fuel on pass and was put out of contention this year. It was a lesson learned, and we can be sure it won’t happen again. When asked about their motor program, Linda credited Comp Cams, Royal Purple for their synthetic 10W30 oil, Clevite bearings, MSD, ERL, and HP Tuners. What’s in the works for next year? She’s swapping over to a set of slicks and aiming for the 9s naturally aspirated!

NAME: Linda Massingill HOMETOWN: Houston, TX CLASS: True Street BEST E.T.: 10.20s BEST 60-FOOT: 1.55 MOTOR: 500ci LS2 INTAKE: LS7 HEADS: Ported LS7 POWER-ADDER: None EXHAUST: Custom 17/8-inch to 2-inch with 31/2-inch collectors TRANSMISSION: TCI Turbo 400 SUSPENSION FRONT: Factory style, BMR tubular K-member, A-arms, and Santhuff struts SUSPENSION REAR: Factory F-body style, BMR torque arm, AFCO double-adjustable shocks, QA1 springs WEIGHT: 3,720 pounds with driver WHEELS AND TIRES: Center Line Warrior wheels, 26x4.5-15 M/T ET Front, 28x10.5 M/T ET Street rear REAREND: 9-inch, 3.55:1 gears POWER: 717 hp on motor, 923 hp with nitrous

DANNY NICELEY’S ’00 CORVETTE Danny Niceley is an adrenalin junkie by trade. For 10 years he was an avid Pro Stock drag boat competitor, until a serious crash grounded him for a bit. After a seven-year absence from any motorsports, he got into the Vette shown here. He’s been going full-throttle ever since. Niceley can’t get enough of the tarmac, but he really appreciates the camaraderie of his friends at the track. CHP

32 · JUNE 2009

NAME: Danny Niceley HOMETOWN: Knoxville, TN CLASS: C/LSX 10.00 Index class BEST E.T.: 9.73 at 144.83 mph BEST 60-FOOT: 1.32 MOTOR: 427ci LS7 INTAKE: GM LS7 HEADS: ET Performance LS7 POWER-ADDER: None EXHAUST: American Racing 17/8-inch with 3-inch collectors to an X-pipe TRANSMISSION: Original 4L60 built to RPM Transmission’s Level 5 specs, Yank 4,000-stall converter SUSPENSION: Stock, QA1 shocks WEIGHT: 3,250 pounds with driver WHEELS AND TIRES: Bogart Racing Wheels, 26x4.5-15 Hoosier front, 28x10-15 Hoosier rear REAREND: IRS, RPM Stage 5 rearend, Quaife posi, 3.73:1 gears POWER: 550-600 rwhp (estimated)


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BREATHING ROOM The Carburetor Spacer Buyer’s Guide Text & Photos: Sean Haggai

If you haven’t considered a carburetor spacer, here’s something to keep in mind. They don’t require much effort to install, generally have the potential to free up extra power, don’t require any maintenance, and are pretty affordable. If you considered all the other aftermarket products on the market that offer the same power benefits, you wouldn’t even be able to come close to the bang-for-the-buck that these spacers offer. So what does a carburetor spacer do? In a nutshell, adding a carburetor spacer increases the intake plenum volume by creating a taller neck on the manifold. With the extra volume, the distance between the floor (bottom of the intake manifold) and the bottom of the carburetor is also increased. The extra distance allows for the intake mixture to straighten out. Along with the extra plenum volume, the intake runner volume is also increased, potentially allowing the engine

to breathe more efficiently and ultimately make more power. Considering the engine combination you’ve got is tuned correctly, it’s safe to say that you’re going to produce more top-end power while only taking away a little bottom-end grunt (think of a tunnelram manifold). Still, in high-revving engine combos that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Actually, reducing the plenum volume will give the engine more of an edge at lower rpm while taking away a bit of power up top in higher rpm. While open spacers add plenum volume, which can reduce low-end torque and extend the upper rpm range, a four-hole spacer will add low-end torque by increasing the air velocity. Of course, this is assuming the camshaft can help provide it. Our experience with carb spacers isn’t without proof either. In the past, the spacers have been a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak, and have landed us pretty solid numbers on some of our final dyno pulls. Take into account our threeway small-block shootout (Aug. ’08). The Misfit 327 was impressive on pump gas, producing 380 hp. We thought that was all the little guy could muster up, until our

34 · JUNE 2009

comrades at the Westech dyno facility topped off our street mule with an open 2-inch spacer. The results showed an extra 11 ponies, making our final pull peak out at 391 hp. So, in an effort to showcase what’s available, we’ve compiled a list with detailed specs, including the price, dimensions, and what manifolds they fit. We’ve even listed which manufacturers offer a 4150-to-Dominator adapter plate. All said and done, the benefits vary by engine, based on various combinations, however there’s a good chance something will be gained from it.

QUICK NOTES WHAT WE DID Compiled a list of what’s available in an easy-to-read format with the vital specs you’re looking for.

BOTTOM LINE They’re affordable and a quick way to generate additional horsepower.

COST Starting at $15

JEGS HIGH PERFORMANCE These Edge spacers are CNC-machined from a polycarbonate plastic, which reduces heat transfer and helps keep incoming fuel cooler. They’re available in three heights. Also, try this spacer out with a 2.035-inch bore opening for 4500 Dominator carburetors. PN 15420 Spacer material Polycarbonate Spacer style 4-hole Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Natural Cost $85 Notes: 1.750-inch bore size. Can withstand heat up to 400º F. Will not work on stock manifolds with heat crossover.


TRANS-DAPT Utilizing Trans-Dapt’s own Swirl-Torque spacer design, this phenolic spacer cuts down on heat transfer for a denser fuel charge. It is also available in 1- or 2-inch aluminum. PN 2550 Spacer material Canvas phenolic Spacer style 4-hole Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150, 4500 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Natural Cost $102 Notes: Comes with PCV valve nipple.


TRICK FLOW These cloverleaf designs are offered for Dominator baseplates, this cloverleaf design promotes horsepower and torque in the mid-to-upper rpm range. These trick pieces are also available for throttle-body applications. PN 2145001C Spacer material Phenolic Spacer style Open-center cloverleaf pattern Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4500 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Natural Cost $50 Notes: Comes complete, just install it.





SUMMIT RACING Plastic not only cuts down on weight, but it also serves as a heat barrier. Get these Summit spacers in 1/2-, 1-, or 2-inch configurations with your choice of cast aluminum or phenolic and either the open or four-hole design. Quadrajet spacers are also available for throttle-body applications. PN G1412 Spacer material Polycarbonate Spacer style 4-hole, ported Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Black Cost $15 Notes: Also help with linkage clearance when using custom throttle setups.

SUMMIT RACING 800.230.3030 •

JET PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS The Power-Flo takes the lead in Quadrajet performance. The bore is designed to increase the velocity of airflow into the intake manifold. These are high-quality billet pieces, and it’s important to note that JET also has seen larger gains when combined with its own programmers and intake kits. PN 62200 Spacer material Billet aluminum Spacer style 4-hole Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange Quadrajet Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Blue anodized Cost $132 Notes: Carburetor specific spacers are also available.


HIGH VELOCITY HEADS Super-suckers are constructed out of solid billet, and these pieces would crown any engine build. This version is a lightweight 2-inch design, utilizing a four-hole tapered design. The coolest part? This spacer will convert your 4500 carburetor so that you can plant it on any 4150 intake manifold. That’s right; it’s an adapter and spacer all in one. PN SS4500/4150-2 Spacer material Billet aluminum Spacer style 4-hole tapered Thickness 2-inch Spacer flange 4500 to 4150 manifold Gaskets Not included Mounting hardware Not included Spacer finish Natural Cost $150 Notes: This version is CNC’d to eliminate unnecessary weight, making this spacer extremely light.

HIGH VELOCITY HEADS 865.573.9151 •

36 · JUNE 2009

WILSON MANIFOLDS Wilson’s spacers use a variable-radius taper design to maximize airflow through the carburetor, which enhances air and fuel flow. Wilson provides a complete line of four-hole tapered spacers for 390, 4150, 4500, Q-jet, and two-barrel adapters. PN 004110 Spacer material Aluminum Spacer style 4-hole tapered Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Not included Spacer finish Black anodized Cost $128 Notes: Compatible with alcohol.

WILSON MANIFOLDS 954.771.6216 •

HOLLEY Cast out of aluminum, these kits come complete with gaskets and mounting hardware for an easy install. Holley also offers a four-hole, phenolic, 1-inch configuration. Try out Holley’s 4150-4500 adapter plate as well. PN 17-27 Spacer material Aluminum Spacer style Open Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Not included Spacer finish Cast Cost $45 Notes: Comes with PCV valve nipple.

HOLLEY 270.782.2900 •

JOMAR PERFORMANCE Made from an advanced phenolic laminate, Jomar’s Power Cone spacers prevent significantly less heat to the carburetor. Get these in either 4150 or 4500 baseplate configurations in 1/4-, 1/2-, 1-, or 2-inch designs. PN 5016-X Spacer material Laminated phenolic Spacer style 4-hole Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 Gaskets Not included Mounting hardware Not included Spacer finish Natural Cost $75 Notes: Jomar also has more carb spacer styles to choose from.

JOMAR PERFORMANCE 248.322.3080 •



MR. GASKET This two-in-one carburetor spacer kit includes the aluminum spacer, two phenolic inserts and two gaskets, and all the carb-mounting hardware required for installation. This kit from Mr. Gasket gives the user the ability to choose between an open-style insert and a four-hole design. Since both are phenolic inserts, these will also reduce temperatures, keeping the fuel cooler for added power. PN 6009 Spacer material Combination phenolic and aluminum Spacer style 4-hole Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 or 4500 Gaskets Included Mounting hardware Not included Spacer finish Natural Cost $29 Notes: Fits Holley, Edelbrock, AFB, and Carter four-hole and open manifolds. Traditional-style spacers and adapters are also available.


MOROSO Getting the most out of airflow and position of the carburetor is important. Moroso offers this aluminum open-wedge plate for a 4150 and 4500 mounting plate. This plate not only acts as a spacer but also tilts a front-mounted Holley carburetor as much as 5 degrees to level it on the manifold. Want something a little more mainstream? Moroso also offer an aluminum 1-inch open 4500 carburetor spacer. PN 65030 Spacer material Aluminum Spacer style Open Thickness Wedge 1/2-inch to 1-inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 or 4500 Gaskets Not included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Natural Cost $30 Notes: Check out Moroso’s carburetor adapter plate (PN 65000) in a 2-inch-thick, single-hole design. Mounts to a 4150-style intake manifold.


EDELBROCK Edelbrock is well versed in manifold design, so it only made sense for the company to provide products for fuel and air distribution too. Available in aluminum and heat-insulating phenolic or wood fiber, these Edelbrock carb spacers also range in thickness from ½ to 1 inch. Spacer material Phenolic Spacer style 4-hole Thickness 1 inch Spacer flange 4BBL square-bore 4150 Gaskets Not included Mounting hardware Included Spacer finish Black Cost $32 Notes: Check out Edelbrock’s divided heat insulator (PN 9266). CHP

EDELBROCK CORP. 310.781.2222 •

38 · JUNE 2009

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Part 1: Project Brutus Gets Prepped for Paint


There’s no hiding the fact that paint and bodywork aren’t cheap. In one form or another, it’s going to cost you. Just take our ’66 El Camino for example. Like most first buys, our Elco was a solid 20-footer and its history was questionable. It was only when we dropped it off at Rubio’s Autobody in Sun Valley, California, that we realized the true condition of the body. After the initial onceover, it was fairly obvious that the poor thing had already seen shoddy bodywork at some point of its life. The previous owner had filled the gaps, cracks, fist- and foot-sized holes that riddled the car with cardboard and body filler, truly signs of botched craftsmanship. It was then when owner Joe Rubio decided that in order to save time, new panels (where applicable) would be the most viable option to revive our bucket. While we hadn’t planned on stripping the exterior to the metal, it was the correct way to fix our problem. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, we removed the rear window, known to be a common rot area on El Caminos, and it got worse. This is the kind of bodywork we would never attempt on our own. However, Rubio has years of talent backing him and an extraordinary amount of experience building coachlike vehicles from the ’30s on, ’60s muscle cars, and even classic air-cooled exotics. “I’ll take it to the frame if I have to,” said Rubio while using what seemed like X-ray vision to investigate the remainder of the chassis. To say that we were in the right place to get our vehicle back to prime Grade A condition would be an understatement. Rubio’s Autobody took quick action and transformed our Elco from an almost painful-to-look-at state to a more recognizable muscle car that was ready for primer and paint. So break out a mask and sandpaper as we prepare this sled for paint.

QUICK NOTES WHAT WE DID Stripped the Elco to a shell, fixed the rust, and added a new hood, fender, and patch panel from Original Parts Group.

BOTTOM LINE The body was a complete mess and required substantial work.

COST (APPROX) $6,000

40 · JUNE 2009

Text & Photos: Sean Haggai


To save time and money, we removed everything, including the bumpers, door handles, grille, headlight assembly, tail lamps, and every bit of trim.

As the Rubio’s team dug deeper and deeper into the body, a host of hidden trouble-spots were uncovered. Thick layers of Bondo were stuffed into the rotted holes, and cardboard had been used as makeshift backing. Common problem areas are the bottoms of rear windows where water runs down each side and collects, eating away metal. These portions will have to be cut and replaced with fresh metal or whole new body panels from OPG. Diving in head-first, Arthur Rubio led the team on the El Camino’s body surfaces. Using a combination of double-action and long-board sanders with 36- to 40-grit sandpaper, the team began to cut through the layers of orange paint to find fresh metal, only to uncover the ugly underneath.

Rubio’s Autobody went ahead and scrapped the driver’s side fender and the hood. Joe Rubio justified this and explained that it would be more expensive and take longer to fix the rust than it would be to purchase an all-new fender and hood from OPG.

Paying attention to detail, Marvin Ixqiac hand-sanded the taillight housing to perfection, working his way from 40- to 80-grit sandpaper. Using a combination of Eastwood’s Rage Gold lightweight body filler and the original housing, he was careful to retain the natural body lines.



For a majority of the El Camino’s bodywork, we used Eastwood products, including Rage Gold Lightweight body filler (PN 12712ZP). This filler provides a unique ingredient (Hattonite) that reduces the heat and friction created by aggressive sanding. It also contains ZNX-7 for adhesion to galvanized steel and aluminum. Plus, it’s stain resistant for use with basecoat/clearcoat paints, and the USC Blue cream hardener is included.

Take it from us: Rust had worked its way into every crevice imaginable. The quarterpanel on the driver’s side behind the rear wheel suffered the most. This sort of damage can’t be filled. It must be removed. Roberto Bernal taped off the section and used an air-powered cutting wheel to remove the rotted metal.

It’s the small items that define a true body shop. Arthur Rubio noticed that the window track on the driver’s side door had been repaired with a jagged hole, body filler, and a hose clamp. He dismantled the window track, cut the old hole out, and welded a new patch panel in place. He then filled the edges with Bondo and metal glaze and sanded the area to prepare it for primer.

Bernal removed the tailgate from the El Camino and set it up on a workbench to begin sanding. It was determined that the tailgate didn’t suffer any rust, so Bernal could move on ahead and began to lay thin layers of Rage Gold filler to the panel. Working in a diagonal fashion, he started with 40-grit sandpaper and ended with 80-grit to eliminate any waves in the metal.

Bernal measured and cut a new piece of sheetmetal from stock. Next, he began to stitch-weld the corners of the new metal into place. He followed along the sides until the new piece was welded in, leaving no gaps whatsoever. Lastly, he ground the welds smooth.

Before body filler can be laid onto the newly attached metal, fiberglass is first applied. The fiberglass has the same consistency as the body filler, requiring a catalyst to harden. Once dry, it can then be sanded to the desired results. After the fiberglass was sanded completely, the body filler was spread on top. Bernal then made sure to keep following the natural body lines.

42 · JUNE 2009


Our rear window was atrocious. The sides and bottom that supported the window had completely disintegrated. Fortunately, OPG has the lower portion available as a patch panel. Unfortunately, the sides would have to be hand-formed. Bernal separated the old portion away from the cab, cut the sides away from the bed, and replaced it with the OPG patch panel. He smoothed over the new welds with a grinder and applied filler to even everything out.

Eastwood also offers these long-board adjustable sanders that are designed to follow changes along the body contours. Full abrasive contact prevents “flat spotting.” The 1075 tempered spring steel faceplate is embedded into the urethane foam body. Removing any or all of the three rods encased in the handle will adjust the flexibility of your sander. This can be used to maintain either flat or curved surface areas. Ixqiac used 80-grit sandpaper to finish off the passenger door.

While the Elco wasn’t quite ready for primer, the doors, tailgate, fender, and hood were. Arthur Rubio mixed up our Eastwood epoxy primer with the Eastwood 1:1 catalyst. This is a fast-drying application and is easy to sand two or three days after application. At just $17 each, the primer and catalyst are a steal.





34229 31375 31374 19627 19628 31376 31377 31356 31353 19633 31196 31273 20384 34243 34244 12712 ZP 31279 Z 19783 ZP 13805 ZP 50242 ZP 50243 ZP C990177 C99120 97CH019 120 hours

Pro respirator 80-grit PSA roll 120-grit PSA roll 180-grit PSA roll 220-grit PSA roll 320-grit PSA roll 400-grit PSA roll 400-grit 600-grit 1000-grit 6-,15-, and 21-inch adj. boards Mix board 3M dry guide coat 3/4-inch masking tape 2-inch masking tape Rage Gold body filler Metal glaze Feather Fill G-2 Black (gallon) Feather Fill G-2 Black (quart) Epoxy primer, gray Epoxy primer catalyst Driver’s side front fender SS hood w/ inserts Lower rear window patch Labor @ $42/hr TOTAL

OPG Rubio’s Autobody

PRICE $50 22 22 22 22 22 22 27 27 27 160 17 50 4 11 50 40 65 23 17 17 370 430 30 5,040 $6,587

For now, the Rubio’s team set the primered panels aside and prepared the remainder of the El Camino’s body for primer. All loose ends, such as body filler and additional sanding, were completed. Don’t worry though. Part 2 is just around the corner. Next time we follow along as Rubio’s finishes shooting the primer and sprays the shell with a matte black finish. CHP



RUBIO’S AUTOBODY 818.252.0065


We Dig Into a Rubber-Bumper Camaro’s Front Suspension


At one time or another we all end up taking our rides for granted and paying the price. Case in point, when vehicles sit idle for a while you can kiss your joints and bushings goodbye. Without the movement of the car’s suspension, grease doesn’t get distributed and the factory rubber bushings dry out and turn to junk, turning literally to stone. They can no longer be relied on to do their job. Sure, they will work, but as soon as that suspension begins to articulate and twist again they become brittle. What do bushings even do? On the short side, they serve as the middleman between moving metal parts—for example, suspension components such as the upper and lower A-arms. When bushings go bad, they can rattle a car to bits and create a sloppy feeling in the front end of the car, creating excessive play in the steering wheel and potentially putting you in a compromising situation. To make matters worse, if you happen to have a combination with big inches or even a power-adder, you could wind up turning any street machine into an rogue missile. This month we hooked up with a reader who turned out to be a perfect candidate for us to work with. While the progress of the car had to be put on the backburner for the past couple years, it’s on track now and anxiously awaiting a

big-block transplant. To get things started, we ordered up a front-end poly-bushing replacement kit from Classic Performance Parts. It came complete with all new polyurethane bushings, tie-rods, ball joints, and even new zerk fittings. To help us out with the install, we relied on the expertise of Lou’s Performance in San Fernando, California. Lou Zamora is a whiz when it comes to second-gen Camaros. Follow along as we replace the bushings and prepare this vehicle for hitting the streets again with a fresh front end.

QUICK NOTES WHAT WE DID Installed a Classic Performance Products frontend rebuilt kit. (PN 7579SFKP)

BOTTOM LINE Get your project cars moving safely without drama.


44 · JUNE 2009

While a simple hydraulic hand-jack at home would do the same trick, to get this project going and for ease of illustration, we pulled the old Camaro onto a lift and raised it off the ground. Noyo Miramontes started by removing the front tires to gain access to the old rotors.

Text & Photos: Sean Haggai

Miramontes attacked the front end with confidence and unbolted the brake calipers from the rotors using a 3/8-inch Allen wrench with a ratchet. He removed the calipers and set them aside. Then, using a 9/16-inch socket and wrench (top and bottom), he disconnected the sway bar and removed it as well.

PREASSEMBLY CPP’s kit includes upper and lower ball joints, inner and outer tie-rod ends, tie-rod adjusting sleeves, idler arm bushings, and control arm bushings and bumpstops. If you need new end links, they’re sold separately. We also went ahead and preassembled as many of the components as possible. For example, we threaded together the new tie rods with sleeves and painted them. In the long-run this saves time and frustration.

Since the upper and lower A-arms need to be disassembled, we first had to remove the rotors from both sides. Miramontes removed the small grease cover and the cotter pin and, using an adjustable wrench, removed the spindle nut and took off the rotor.

For the spindles, we used a 3/4-inch box wrench top and bottom. If you don’t have access to a ball joint tool, you can also try using a hammer and some hard blows on the spindle edge to more or less “pop” the joint loose. We were lucky; the spindle practically fell off.

Miramontes dove into the engine bay and began unbolting the upper A-arms. He used a 15/16-inch socket and wrench on both sides to remove them. He took note of how many shims were on each side and set those aside. Alignment will have to be done once the new parts have been installed.

Whats left? Not a whole lot, just the upper A-arms. Once you’re at this stage, you might as well clean everything up. We went ahead and steam-cleaned the undercarriage and painted all the factory components.

Once the arms are off, and depending on the availability of tooling, the ball joints and bushings can be removed. We set up the arms in a vise and used a grinding wheel to grind off the heads of the rivets that were holding the ball joints in place. Next, we pried the ball joint off, but we had better luck using an air-powered hammer. For the factory bushings a special press must be used, or as an alternative you can get away with a large hammer. Still, we suggest taking the arms to a qualified suspension shop to get them removed correctly.

CPP’s kit comes with a new idler arm, so we went ahead and painted that with the factory center steering bar. We bolted up the new arm with a 5/8-inch socket and an 11/16-inch wrench. From there, Miramontes attached the center steering bar with its associated nut and fastened it down with a 9/16-inch wrench.



Next we needed to installI CPP’s new bushings, ball joints, and bumpstops. The ball joints were a cinch and bolted in with new hardware, and a 7/16-inch wrench was used to tighten them down. The new ball joints also require a special installing tool. If you don’t have access to one, we recommend getting a rental from your local hardware store.

The freshly painted upper A-arms were thrown back into the engine bay with their associated shims and factory hardware. Then we could get the lower A-arms with their fresh CPP bushing already installed into the frame of the Camaro. Using the factory hardware, Miramontes tightened each bolt using a 13/16-inch socket. Also, using a spring compressor, we compressed the springs and installed them into each A-arm cup.

With the front suspension nearly complete, we couldn’t leave out the brake dust shields. Miramontes spent an unbelievable amount of time getting them to look good. Trust us, it’s well worth the effort.

For the time being, Miramontes reinstalled the factory rotors by setting the rotor back onto the spindle. Using an adjustable wrench, he fastened the nut into place and finished it off with a cotter pin and the dust shield.

PAINT TO PROTECT What’s the point of cleaning all that old stuff without laying down something to protect it? We made the extra effort to wash, clean, and repaint all the old factory components, along with the new CPP parts. Grab a can of Brake-Kleen and some fast-drying black primer, and you’re set.

The spindles were next; we started by placing the lower ball joint into the bottom of the spindle. Using a jack, we pushed up the lower A-arm until the upper portion of the spindle met the ball joint from the upper A-arm. We fastened the spindle down into each A-arm using a 3/4-inch wrench. Finally, we attached the tie rods into the ends of the spindle and used a 9/16-inch wrench to tighten each nut.

Finally, our second-gen Camaro can get its wheels back under it—literally. All in all, the job was long and tiresome and took a lot of patience. But then again we were working with a car that’s almost 30 years old. It was worth it. Now where’s that big-block we need to put in here? CHP


GREASE THE ZERKS It may not be one of the things that gets overlooked, but this CPP kit comes with brandnew Zerk fittings. These fittings feed each point of movement with fresh grease to keep things moving freely. We installed each Zerk into its proper points and liberally greased it with a grease gun.

46 · JUNE 2009

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QUICK NOTES WHAT WE DID Balanced the entire rotating assembly for our 540ci big-block.

BOTTOM LINE Keep your bottom end buttoned up and spinning without a hiccup.

COST (APPROX) Starting at $150

Keep Everything in Balance Text & Photos: Sean Haggai

To get things started, Consolo unwrapped all the rotating components and began to weigh them. He weighed everything, including the pistons, piston rings, wristpins, ring-locks, piston rods, and rod bearings. He also took into account the weight of oil as it gets dispersed throughout the rotating assembly.

WEIGHING IN How are the bob weights determined? It’s simple actually. Consolo added all of the components together. He made sure to add the large end of the rods twice and the bearings twice since two rods swing together on each rod journal.

Today’s race-bred engine is a highly advanced piece of engineering. A couple of grams here and there in the reciprocating department may not seem like such a big deal, but in reality, it can make or break a potent powerplant. Case in point: A typical Sunday cruiser with a mostly stock powerplant won’t care; however, in the world of big horsepower and upper-rpm-slinging street/strip cars, it makes all the difference in the world. These cars are making serious power, and keeping that mill together is all contingent on what’s going on inside the block. A balance job isn’t to be taken lightly. We are pushing the limits of physics, design, and rpm. Blend all those together and it leaves little room for error. Tolerances are being measured in thousandths of an inch, and pistons are weighed in hundredths of a gram. Any miscalculation here can lead to torched bearings, a sloppy-vibrating mess, or worse. “There are certain balances for certain applications,” says Mike Consolo of QMP in Chatsworth, California. He reiterated that its important to know what engine combination is being used in order to decide what type of balance to throw at it. Since this isn’t something that can be done in the comfort of your own garage, it’s important to find a machine shop that has the equipment and know-how to get the job done. For this balance job, we delivered everything, including the crankshaft, pistons, rods, rings, and wristpins. Once there, Consolo took the reigns and steered this balance job into something more drag-race-worthy. 48 · JUNE 2009



Piston rings Piston Wristpin Piston locks Piston rod Oil Rod bearing (x2) Small end of rod Big end of rod (x2)

69.5 583.9 173.6 4.8 229.8 4 47.4 162.4 459.6

Next, Consolo matched the weights he had measured and added the bob weights to each of the crank’s rod journals. The bob weights will simulate the rotating weight of the engines components on the crankshaft while it is spinning on the balance machine.

To obtain an accurate measurement on the balance machine, an angle finder is used to determine a starting point. Consolo placed the crank into the machine. He then spun the crankshaft until the front rod journal (No. 1) was sitting vertically—almost like obtaining TDC. Consolo attached the first bob weight and used the angle finder to determine zero degrees. From there he rotated the crankshaft 180 degrees, attached the next bob weight to the last rod journal (No. 4), and set that bob weight with the angle finder to zero degrees. Next, he spun the crankshaft another 90 degrees, set the bob weight onto the next rod journal (No. 3), and set that one to zero degrees as well. Finally, Consolo rotated the crankshaft another 180 degrees and set that bob weight onto the second rod journal (No. 2).


Every little bit helps. Creating a smooth finish on the crank’s rod journals should also be a part of the balance job. Here, Consolo placed our big-block crank into the lathe and began to spin the crank. Using a specially designed crank polisher and 1,000-grit sandpaper, he polished the rod journals, creating a burr-free environment for the bearings that will allow oil to distribute much more freely.

5 3


Once all of the individual weights had been accounted for and the bob weights added, Consolo spun the crankshaft on the balance machine. The machine spins the crank at about 450-500 rpm for 15-30 seconds depending on how out of balance the crankshaft is. When the spinning is over, the computer records and reports how much weight to remove or add to the crankshaft and where. In our case, we didn’t have to remove any weight whatsoever.


The Sunnen balance machine is a beautiful piece of machinery. It makes balancing relatively straightforward, telling the machinist where to drill, what size drill bit to use, and how much weight to remove. 1. How much weight to remove from the front of the crankshaft, in grams. 2. What angle the crankshaft needs to be at to remove weight from the front. 3. What angle the crankshaft is currently sitting. 4. What angle the crankshaft needs to be at to remove weight from the back. 5. How much weight to remove from the back of the crankshaft.

At QMP, no crank leaves the shop without its drill holes chamfered and properly cleaned. Using an air-powered sanding disc, the edges were sanded smooth to rid the crank of any flash. Then a chamfering tool beveled the rim of each hole. An adequate wash in solvent while paying special attention to cleaning each oil galley with a brush will leave this crank ready to be dropped into its new home. CHP




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GET THE HOOKUP JE PISTONS Starting at the rear of the crankshaft, Consolo centered-punched it to begin drilling. He first drilled a pilot hole and eventually worked his way up to using a 1-inch drill bit. Consolo ended up drilling a 1-inch hole 1 inch deep. He spun the crank again on the machine, and it was determined that the rear was still out of balance. More weight had to be removed, so he ended up drilling two additional 1-inch holes 1 inch deep.

714.898.9764 • Through additional spinning, it was learned that two more holes needed to be drilled to complete the balance. If weight had to be added, the balance job could be much more expensive because Mallory slugs, which are dense pieces of metal, would need to be used to add weight to a balance job. Be warned: The slugs run about $100 a piece.

LUNATI 662.892.1500 •

QMP RACING ENGINES 818.576.0816 •

TOTAL SEAL 800.874.2753 •


There are countless ways of slashing costs when you’ve got more than your fair share of bills to tend to, let


NEW SKIN Prepare Your Own Body Panels Text & Photos: Sean Haggai 50 · JUNE 2009

alone a project car sitting on the back burner. It’s important to realize that you can do most of the work yourself in the comfort of the garage for cheap. All it takes is a little elbow grease and some hours on the clock. So when it comes to giving that old skin some new life, what’s the best and most cost-effective method for getting that done? Well, doing your own bodywork can save you hundreds of dollars at the paint booth. Plus, you’ll even benefit from a good workout and possibly develop more defined biceps, which is always good for the missus! While we realize that not all bodywork may be completed on your project car, we still want to emphasize the point that most of the work can be done with minimal experience. Take for example our ’71 Nova. While the paint has seen better days, the body is fairly straight, which is the situation most of you guys out there probably find yourself in. Aside from a bit of rot running along the lower rocker panels, the roof, hood, decklid, and doors, for instance, are free of major defects and would only need to be prepped for paint. This means no dent pulling, no panel replacement, and not much cash to get it completed. As always, we go step by step to show you how to prepare your dent-free body panels for paint. This way, your project car spends less time in “paint jail” and your wallet stays a bit fatter through these tough times. We grabbed up our project ’71 Nova, and John McGann from our sister publication Car Craft, who has become the paint and body guru around here, and guided us in the dos and don’ts. We spent half a day getting it done the right way, saved a few coins in the process, and learned a thing or three.

QUICK NOTES WHAT WE DID Sanded, ground, stripped, filled, and primer-coated our panel to cut costs in the long-run.

BOTTOM LINE Time spent here saves a bit of dough in the long run and gets the body ready for painting yourself.




4 1 5 3. Almost immediately we could see that the rust was deeper than we expected. After seeing the extent of the panel we needed to prepare, we decided to use an electric grinder with a pad attached. With the grinder, the paint easily flew off the roof. A word to the inexperienced: You can expect more harm than good from using these grinders. Take it from us. If you apply too much pressure or concentrate on a single area for a little too long, you’ll end up with flat spots.

2 1. At first this job may seem like a ton of work, but we were quick to realize that it takes more time and patience than actual labor. Surprisingly, this factory paint has held up quite well in the California sun. Pockets of rust had just begun spreading across the roofs skin, so it was important that we reverse the wear and find fresh metal to start over. 2. Realistically, it would be best to complete the entire roof as one panel. However, to showcase the job in an easy-to-understand manner, John McGann planned out a small section instead. He started out with a dual-action (DA) sander with 40-grit sandpaper and slowly worked in small circular patterns to remove the first layer of paint, all the while being careful not to flatten the natural body. 52 · JUNE 2009

4. While we could have continued to remove the old paint with the DA sander, we wanted to showcase another method for removing the old color, namely the potent aircraft stripper. This is a harsh chemical that actually eats away the old paint. McGann grabbed a can, a mask, glove, and using a wire brush, applied it in thin sheets across the roof. From there we let each sheet sit for 10-15 minutes to dry before we began to scrape the old paint off. 5. Depending on the condition of the paint being stripped, you may have to repeat the process shown here. In our case, we laid down two applications of aircraft stripper and then cleaned the area with fresh solvent. The aircraft stripper is a great way to expedite the removing of paint, but be sure to work in a well ventilated area.



9 6

10 8. To fill the dents we had created with the electric grinder, we prepared some Eastwood body fill on a spreading plate with catalyst. McGann then ran a thin layer over the roof to cover and fill the spots. We let the body fill dry until it was almost chalky to the touch and began to sand it with 60-, 80-, then 150-grit. 9. With Eastwood’s trick body sanding block, we began to take down the body fill. We were careful to follow the natural body lines of the roof. We worked diagonally until the low spots on the roof were filled. Once again, we cleaned the surface of the roof with some cleaning solvent to prepare it for paint.

7 6. With the panel clear of debris, we hit the roof again with the DA sander (40-grit) and continued to sand evenly until the paint was gone. We ran our hands across the clean, freshly exposed metal to check for defects. This is when we learned that we had applied a little too much pressure with the electric grinder. We had created small dents. These would have to be filled, but the rest was perfect for painting. 7. We applied a liberal coating of Eastwood’s Fast-Etch spray to the bare surface of the roof. This one-step rust-fighting liquid effectively dissolves rust and leaves a protective zincphosphate coating. We let it soak for 20 minutes and then cleaned the surface again with lacquer thinner. 54 · JUNE 2009

10. Finally, we taped off the section we wanted to paint, covering most of the windshield and the passenger window. Using Gray Paint Primer, McGann laid down a thick coat. Primer dries quickly. We applied another coat 10 minutes later. Now all we have to do is complete the rest of the roof— no problem! CHP


Text & Photos: Stephen Kim

Jesse Powell and Brett Clow of Aeromotive Explain the Science Behind Fuel Delivery and How to Properly Design a Fuel System


ure, it’s twisted, but with gas prices so low these days, our idea of going green is burning as much of the stuff as possible while it’s still cheap. You can’t get much greener than the color of cash, and it will pump money into the economy to boot. Accomplishing such an altruistic endeavor requires a serious fuel system, and Aeromotive has the goods to get the job done. Since opening for business in 1994, the company’s pumps, filters, and regulators have been the choice of countless street/ strip enthusiasts and hardcore racers. In fact, the fastest nitrous-powered car on the planet, Mike Castellana’s IHRA Pro Mod F-body, relies on an Aeromotive fuel

system while ripping down the track in six seconds flat at 239 mph. That said, it takes a lot more than a brute pump to survive the rigors of racing and street driving. “If you want to do it correctly, getting the fuel from the tank and into the engine is far more involved than you might think,” explains Aeromotive’s president, Steve Matusek. “When Aeromotive was formed, our original goal was to design and manufacture the best fuel pumps, filters, and regulators on the market. Our philosophy has evolved over to years to one where we develop entire fuel systems, not just individual components. Engineering components to work together within the tolerance of one

another results in seamless performance and maximum durability and reliability.” To educate us on the subject, Jesse Powell and Brett Clow—two of Aeromotive’s head tech gurus—gave us a condensed dissertation on fluid transfer dynamics and fuel system design. Our heads are still numb from trying to translate it all into something that resembles everyday English, but we think the results were well worth the effort. Some of what we learned was downright shocking. Little did we know that mechanical pumps trump their electric counterparts, and that just about every carbureted fuel system can benefit from running a return line. Are you ready to get pumped?

I don’t know how you can be in this industry and not be at the track. It takes engineers, problem-solvers, and racers to develop highend race products that continue to push the envelope. We at Aeromotive don’t just like the industry we’re in, we live it. —Steve Matusek, Aeromotive president 56 · JUNE 2009

CALCULATING FLOW REQUIREMENTS In the past, fuel pump manufacturers have rated their offerings based on gallons per hour of flow at an unspecified pressure, with no reference to test voltage. In the real world, this gave no indication of the horsepower that could be supported by their pumps. By choosing to assign a horsepower rating, along with publishing flow information at actual pressures and realistic voltages, Aeromotive has broken the mold and raised the bar for

PRESSURE AND VOLUME Designing a fuel system is a balancing act between pressure and volume. As system pressure goes up, the pump’s volume goes down. “To illustrate this point, take a look at one of the most popular and efficient EFI pumps on the market, Aeromotive’s A1000. Its flow volume is reduced 53 percent just by increasing line pressure from 9 to 90 psi,” explains Powell. Although not quite as significant, he adds that the difference between 90 psi of line pressure and 60 psi with the same pump is a 28 percent drop in flow. “A scenario like this isn’t uncommon in forced induction EFI applications where fuel pressure is increased to compensate for undersized injectors. Clearly, the effect of raising fuel pressure has a significant impact on flow volume, and this is further compounded by low-quality fuel pumps. Obviously, eliminating unnecessary fuel pressure rise, removing FMUs, and installing properly sized injectors will increase flow and maximize the horsepower potential of any fuel system.”

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the industry. In the Aeromotive catalog, each pump carries several horsepower ratings on the basis of application type and use of power-adders. The key variables that determine which fuel pump is suitable for a particular engine combination are horsepower, brake specific fuel consumption, maximum fuel system pressure, and the pump’s flow volume at that pressure. Available voltage at the pump under engine load and the pump’s flow volume at that voltage are important factors as well. To be safe, start by estimating horsepower on the high side and BSFC on the low side, which is usually less than one in most gasoline engines. Different engine combinations, power-adders, and even fuel octane ratings and tuning approaches will have a profound impact on BSFC, so consider this carefully when choosing a fuel pump. Naturally aspirated engines are normally most efficient with a BSFC between 0.4 and 0.5 lb/hr. Nitrous combinations use a little extra fuel and often develop a BSFC from 0.5 to 0.6 lb/hr. Forced induction engines are usually the least efficient and have a BSFC ranging from 0.6 to 0.75 lb/hr. Determining the fuel volume necessary for a particular engine is the first step in selecting a fuel pump.—Brett Clow

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INSIDER VOLTAGE AND FLOW Voltage to an electric motor is like fuel pressure to an injector. More pressure in equals more volume out. Higher voltage at the pump terminals increases motor torque, resulting in more revolutions per minute and an increased flow volume for a given pressure. “Our A1000 pump will see a 40 percent increase in volume at 80 psi when voltage is increased from 12 to 13.5 V. This factor is often overlooked and can make or break pump performance, especially at high pressures,” Powell explains. The key is to figure out how much a pump flows at a certain voltage. “Although often deleted on drag cars, the presence or lack of a correctly sized and properly functioning alternator is a vital consideration when choosing a fuel pump. Furthermore, proper wiring is no less important than proper plumbing when it comes to extracting the maximum performance from the fuel pump. Poorly executed wiring resists electrical flow to the motor, which manifests as a voltage drop at the fuel pump. In order to prevent this, we include high-quality wiring kits with our pumps along with detailed instructions.”

FEED LINES After spending the time to select the appropriately sized fuel pump for the application, sizing out the feed line is rather straightforward. According to Aeromotive, the size of the line from the tank to the pump follows one simple rule of thumb: Don’t make it smaller than the pump’s inlet port size, and don’t hesitate to make it bigger if you can. “This is easy to figure out with AN-style pump ports. For example, if the pump inlet port is AN -10, use AN -10 or larger fuel supply line, and make sure the tank outlet or pickup tube is the same size,” says Powell. “When dealing with NPT threaded ports, use the line size that is a minimum of 1/8 inch larger than the NPT port thread. For instance, a 3/8-inch NPT port should have 1/2-inch (AN -8) lines. From the fuel pump to the

engine, use a line size equal to the fuel pump outlet port for optimum results in low-pressure carbureted systems. This also applies to fuel-injected engines, although you can use a line that is one AN size smaller than the fuel pump outlet port and still get acceptable results.” om



A common myth is that sizing the return line is based on the size of the feed line, but it has nothing to do with the size of the feed line. The lower the fuel system pressure, the larger the return line must be. Furthermore, greater fuel pump flow rates require a larger return line. A good rule of thumb is that the return line size must be large enough to handle the flow from the pump while creating at least 3 psi less backpressure than the regulator is set for. The single biggest mistake we see is reducing the return port in the regulator to accommodate a smaller return line. This results in excessive fuel pressure regardless of how the

The advantages of using a mechanical fuel pump over an electric pump in extremely high-horsepower applications are substantial. All electric fuel pumps exhibit a flow curve that declines with pressure, simply because the electric motor that turns the pump has a fixed amount of torque and consequently slows down as the fuel pressure, or work load, increases. Conversely, Aeromotive says that the loss in flow as pressure rises is virtually nonexistent with its G-Rotor mechanical pump design. “This is due in part to the pump’s efficiency, but primarily because it’s driven directly by the crankshaft,” Powell explains. “In other words, there is no way engine rpm is going to be affected by the fuel pump. If an electric pump is equivalent to a 3hp, 12V electric motor, the current draw it would impart on a 1,500hp motor would be so extreme that it could slow its rate of acceleration. In allout competition, a beltdriven pump is simply a superior setup.”

regulator is adjusted. The solution is to treat the regulator return port exactly as you do the fuel pump inlet port. You can always make the return line bigger than the regulator return port, just like you can make the suction line bigger. This won’t have a negative impact on pressure control. On the other hand, a restrictive return line causes excessive pressure, carb flooding, and drivability problems.—Jesse Powell

VENTING Although many people don’t give it much thought, the consequences of improper fuel tank ventilation are severe. The tank vent should be equal to or greater than the size of the feed line to the fuel pump. This ensures that the fuel consumed by the engine is replaced with air, which enables fuel to flow smoothly out of the tank. Improper venting can result in a vacuum inside the cell, causing the pump to suck the fuel into a vapor. The results range from vaporlocking the fuel pump to poor drivability to catastrophic engine failure. “A good analogy is to think of the fuel system as a quart of oil,” explains Powell. “As you pour the oil into the engine, it chugs in uneven spurts because there isn’t enough air entering the bottle to replace the volume of oil that’s exiting. If you were to poke a hole in the bottom of the bottle, however, oil would flow out smoothly.”

INSIDER DEADHEAD VS. RETURN-STYLE SYSTEMS Although most carbureted motors utilize deadhead-type fuel system, there is much potential for improvement in flow and pressure control by incorporating bypass regulators and return lines. This is particularly true with fuel pumps that don’t have their own bypass capability. In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a single fuel system performance standard that doesn’t improve when converting from a static (deadhead) to a dynamic (return-style) system. By running a bypass regulator, the pump can be set to run at lower pressure, thereby producing more flow, drawing less current, running quieter, and even lasting longer. Compared to a static setup, dynamic systems not only improve pump performance, but a bypass regulator also eliminates flow restrictions between the pump and the carburetor inlet. Plus, dynamic systems respond faster to fuel demand, and they do a better job keeping the float bowl full all the way down the track. In addition, dynamic systems never pressure-creep, which eliminates the engine flooding that static regulators can cause from time to time. The bottom line is that dynamic systems outperform static systems, and they simply produce the smoothest, most stable pressure curves. This has been proven in data logs from thousands of passes down dragstrips and laps around circle tracks.—Brett Clow

ELECTRIC VS. MECHANICAL PUMPS Electric fuel pumps make up the vast majority of pumps produced and sold by Aeromotive. They’re uniquely flexible, able to serve in both low- and highhorsepower applications, and work on the street, at the track, and in EFI or carbureted applications. Done right, they just flat-out work. Over the years, racers and enthusiasts have historically moved from diaphragm-style mechanical pumps to high-performance electric pumps when they need more flow. Nonetheless, as horsepower levels climb, there’s a point where we go from electric pumps back to mechanical. However, the mechanical pumps in question are belt- or direct-driven units that bear little resemblance to traditional diaphragmstyle pumps. In the early part of 2001, modern horsepower levels in EFI applications passed the 1,500 hp mark and were rapidly moving toward the 2,000hp barrier. Aeromotive founder Steve Matusek realized that electric fuel pumps had a practical horsepower limit, as dual electic pumps wouldn’t suffice in certain applications. Recognizing this void, he created a G-Rotor based, engine-driven mechanical pump along with a matching regulator that enables fueling 4,000hp EFI motors. It has taken a number of years for people to catch on, but in that time many of the top racers in today’s heads-up ranks have won with Aeromotive mechanical pumps, including Chuck Samuel, Doug Mangrum, Donnie Walsh, Steve Petty and Tim Lynch, David Shore, and Gary Rohe. Of course, our in-house sixsecond drag car runs our billet hex drive pump and regulator.—Jesse Powell

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Virtually any fuel system can benefit from a bypass regulator and return line, and this is especially true in blow-through carbureted applications where the fuel system must boost reference in order to feed the carburetor. —Jesse Powell

FILTERS The bottom line is that a filter must flow what the pump is capable of flowing, essentially acting as if it’s invisible to the pump. Accomplishing this requires optimizing porosity—or micron rating— and the filtering medium’s surface area. Extensive testing has proven that any fuel filter with a micron rating less than 100 is too restrictive for the suction side of a fuel pump. On the flip side, fuel pumps are not nearly as sensitive on the pressure side. Consequently, micron ratings of 10 to 40 will suffice on the pump’s outlet side. Another key factor is the surface area of the filtration media. You’ll notice that we offer several different filters, including several recommended for the suction side of our fuel pump. If you have ever spent any time on our site or with our catalog, you may have seen our Power Planner diagram, which is a systems-based recommendation of properly matched fuel system components for many different applications. In each systems, we have very specific filters that we match to different fuel pumps. Some of our larger fuel pumps require a larger filter than others. We know this because we have spent an enormous amount of time testing our fuel pumps. By making very specific parts-matching recommendations, we can ensure that our fuel pumps will operate in their ideal scenarios, increasing their durability and performance. Furthermore, maintaining filters is critical to the life of your fuel system. After installing a new system, the elements should be cleaned or replaced after the first 5-10 run hours. The dirtiest a system will ever be is before it’s installed. It’s also important to note that paper elements must be replaced, but the stainless steel elements can be reused after cleaning. We recommend servicing your filters at least once a year after the initial service.—Brett Clow

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Don’t let anyone tell you a static fuel system can even approach the performance of a dynamic carbureted system. It can’t and it won’t. —Brett Clow

*****STREET TO STRIP SINCE 1954*****

The ideal location for a fuel pump is right inside the fuel tank, which is why the OEs have been doing this for quite some time. Mounting a big, electric external fuel pump inside a tank is extremely difficult, but the people at Rick’s Hot Rod Shop have been doing it for several years now. “With their help, we developed a baffling system that surrounds the fuel pump inside the tank and maintains fuel at the point of pickup at all times. The baffling also controls fuel slosh as the fuel level decreases in the tank. In an ideal world, all pumps would be submersed in every application, so we set out to develop a way that will allow everyone to do so with our Stealth system,” says Powell. The heart of the setup is a sump box that can be welded onto almost any fuel tank and that features an Aeromotive A1000 or Eliminator fuel pump and prefilter built right into the assembly. “When you weld this sump box onto the bottom of your fuel tank, you now have an in-tank fuel system that is properly sumped, baffled, and capable of supporting in excess of 1,000 hp. In addition to simplicity, ease of installation, and a streamlined appearance, the Stealth setup runs cooler and provides insulation from operating noise. It also features a return port that returns the fuel right back into the sump and offers easily accessible internals for maintenance.”

PUMP LOCATION An external fuel pump, either electric or mechanical, should ideally be placed low and close to the tank. “Even if the pump is an Aeromotive A1000, which can pull like a freight train, you want to minimize the vacuum the pump has to create in order to draw fuel from the tank,” Powell explains. “This avoids premature fuel vaporization and extends the fuel pump’s duty cycle and ability to supply liquid fuel as fuel temperature elevates on hot days. This is very important because a liquid’s boiling point drops as vacuum is applied on it. Airflow over the pump is not a bad thing, but will rarely solve other inherent design problems.”




Aeromotive fuel pumps are extremely efficient by design, allowing them to create high pressure on the outlet and high vacuum on the inlet side. Cavitation to a pump is like detonation is to an engine and occurs when the liquid being pulled into the pump reaches a temperature where it boils and becomes vapor. A highly efficient pump matched with restrictive filters and feed lines can drop inlet pressure so low that fuel will vaporize unnecessarily at normal operating temperatures. Fortunately, eliminating vaporlock is as easy as eliminating the causes. Proper line size is critical, especially on the suction side of the fuel pump, and filters must be up to the task as well. We recommend that 100-micron stainless steel filter elements be used on the suction side of the fuel pump. Many filters on the market today may say “100 micron” like we recommend, but what isn’t mentioned is the filtration area. Our smaller filters have over 63 square inches of filtration media, ensuring there is ample room for flow, which eliminates the chance of pressure drop. We’ve seen numerous fuel pumps ruined by vaporlock because fuel filters with inadequate filtration surface area restricted fuel flow. Always look at the micron rating and the filtration area, as both are equally important to the life of your fuel pump.—Brett Clow

A billet adjustable fuel log is a slick way to feed your carburetor, but many drag racers have shied away from them in the past due to sloppy clearances and poor fitment. Telescoping logs help alleviate some fitment issues since they have some flexibility and enable one log to fit several carburetors that share the same float-bowl-style inlets. Aeromotive took this concept a step further by not only making its fuel log a telescoping design, but also adding a ball-and-socket joint to each of the carburetor inlets that swivel 20 degrees in any direction. “This allows them to clear throttle stops, nitrous plates, and any other components around the carb,” says Jesse. “We have also added some other features not that common with a setup like this. Our swivel fittings allow attaching a bypass-style regulator right to the end of the log and rotating it a full 360 degrees while maintaining a positive O-ring seal. That means you don’t have to mount your regulator on the firewall and run unnecessary fuel lines. We even offer kits that come with the fuel log, regulator, and swivel fitting all in one convenient package.”

MORE PUMPS & TANKS Aeromotive will be releasing two new big-horsepower fuel pumps this summer, one for carbureted drag race applications and the other for EFI engines such as in Pro Mod. Additionally, the company will also be introducing its next generation of Stealth systems in the months ahead. “These will be fuel cells complete with an A1000 or Eliminator fuel pump and a prefilter already built in. Simply bolt the fuel cell in, hook up your fuel line and two wires, and you’re ready to rock,” says Powell. Cell size will range from 15 to 20 gallons. “We anticipate that these will be a big hit in the street performance and street rod markets since they greatly simplify the installation and eliminate all of the guesswork. You don’t have to have a custom tank built and deal with the space issues for an externally mounted sump anymore. It doesn’t get any easier.” CHP

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e love stories like the one Al Jimenez just told us. It speaks to hope and to the aspirations we all have. It speaks to overcoming adversity. It speaks to a time-heavy investment. Jimenez built a righteous car and seemingly dominated his class. For his sterling All-American effort, the PSCA inevitably banned his engine combo in Wild Street. “Maintaining the car as the No. 1 qualifier and keeping it as consistent as possible, we were able to become ’08 PSCA Wild Street champions, Street Car Super

Nationals winners, have the quickest and fastest leaf-spring stock suspension car in the business, and set the record on M/T 275/60 Drag Radials with a 7.56 at 188.8,” Al said as a matter of fact. “Now we are going to the next class up, Extreme Drag Radial. In 2009 we are going up against some heavy hitters, so we don’t know what to expect. All we can do is try our best…and see how many friends we can make along the way.” Al’s rise in the ranks was movie-script perfect and followed a plot that unfolded rapidly and progressively. “I starting build-

70 · JUNE 2009

ing my car and had only one goal: to take it out to the San Fernando Valley street races and drag every Mustang I could find. Yeah, I was shooting for a 10-second car to have fun with at the track and off. Once the car was done, we took it to Los Angeles County Raceway and were amazed that it ran 10s on the motor. So we experimented with good old nitrous oxide,” said Al. “So back to the drawing board. And that’s when we tried the supercharger combo. With a Vortech YSi we could go 9.30s all day long.” Al and crew (Luis,

THE BEAUTY OF PLAN B When Al Jimenez’s 1,500hp Wild Street Combo Was Outlawed, He Just Stepped Up Text: Ro McGonegal • Photos: Sean Haggai

Eddie, Leo, Manny, Nano, and nephew) did well with this combo on the street, but were eventually drawn more to the PSCA events. In late 2007 they decided to try it out. Al had begun ripping into the 8s and realized that he was too fast not to be on a dragstrip for the rest of his life. So they all went to a few races to dip their toes. It turned them right around. In 2008 they put on their collective game face and vowed to make every Wild Street party on the schedule. “At the first race, we made it to the semifinals and saw that we had the poten-

tial to beat those guys. We went from the ProCharger F-2 to the F-3 trim to be more competitive and managed to qualify No. 1 at almost every race. Pretty soon we had a crowd of people in our pits looking at the car and wondering where we came from.” Where indeed. Jimenez had forked over $800 for a ’73 Camaro without a drivetrain, a perfect place to begin. Why? “My friends and I have always had a thing for nice cars and speed. I built this car just to cruise around in and have some fun street racing.” From there, things have gotten clearly out of hand. The Camaro

has become less a fun toy and more a lethal weapon. Though it adheres to the factory-style rear suspension, that’s about all there is left of the “original equipment.” It is a study in how to contain 1,495 hp with 275/60 Drag Radials, a Martz Chassis subframe, a spider-web rollcage, frame connectors, leaf springs, coilover shocks, and those Mickey’s stretched impossibly over beadlock wheels that are wider than the tread face. Al is off the street and on the tire! And making friends too. CHEVYHIPERFORMANCE.COM · 71

THE BEAUTY OF PLAN B MOTOR AND DRIVETRAIN For the majority of the engine work, Al turned to Mike and Brad at QMP Racing Engines in Chatsworth, California, for the 515-inch boiler. They began with an iron block that was bored to 4.545 inches. For the rotating assembly, the boys gathered up a 3.975-inch-stroke Callies crankshaft, Oliver billet steel connecting rods, and Ross Racing pistons with an 11.5:1 compression ratio. Al’s mum on the specs for the custom Comp solid roller, though. These systems are connected by a Jesel beltdrive. For the top of the motor, Al chose AFR 357 CNC-ported aluminum castings that capture Manley valves and springs, and Jesel shaft-mount rocker arms. Cigar-sized (7/16-inch) Manton pushrods keep tempo at 8,000 rpm. Down under, QMP buttoned it up with a Stef’s custom aluminum oil pan and pump. ACCEL DFI fuel injection has settled on an Edelbrock Victor intake manifold while an F-3 Procharger provides the compressed air via an air-toliquid intercooler. The MSD Digital 6 provides a stagedboost schedule, and total timing is set at 45 degrees. Jaime at Fabtech Welding in Chatsworth, California, was the go-to guy for all the critical tubing in Al’s car. Among other major systems, Jaime built the custom headers with 21/4-inch primary pipes. Dynamometer output is a hellacious 1,175 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm and 1,495 hp at 7,800 rpm. Put another way, that’s 2.9 hp per pound of vehicle weight. Al credits Turbo People in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and Job Spetter in particular, for putting the max tune on the schizoid Rat. No phone routine, either. Spetter came to Cali. Al digs his ’Glide, as prepped by Mike’s Transmission in Lancaster, California. Mike has inserted all the good stuff and capped it with a 3,500-stall Continental converter. Lou’s Performance (Sun Valley) inserted the Moser 9-inch that twirls a 3.70:1 gear ratio on a rugged ol’ spool.

INTERIOR There’s nothing ordinary here. Jaime at Fabtech built the 25.5 cage whose red rails contrast with the pin-neat black interior. Jaime also did the flat dashboard rendition that Al filled with Auto Meter gauges and a Racepak data logger. There is a passenger “seat” but it’s just a fluffer to satisfy the rules. Yes, Jaime built the tubing running on either side of it that connects the engine to the rear-mounted intercooler. An anonymous driver seat was decked out in leather and suede by Lou’s Performance. Other salient items include the Grant detachable steering wheel and the B&M Pro Stick shifter. 72 · JUNE 2009

CHASSIS By rules, Al’s car is required to retain all the stock pick-up points for the original leafspring rear suspension but is free to avail itself of any custom-made or aftermarket parts it chooses. He supports the back of the car and the Moser 9-inch with Calvert Racing split-mono-leaf springs and CalTracs bars. He further tunes bite characteristics with double-adjustable Alston VariShock dampers. A rear sway bar is not used. On the leading edge, Al substituted a Martz Chassis bolt-in subframe, including tubular upper and lower control arms and QA1 coilover shock absorbers. Spindles are stock. Steering is a manual Mustang II rack.

BRAKES & WHEELS Once you see the drive wheels on Al’s ride, you’ll not soon forget them. How’d he get those bulbous M/T 275/60 ET Street Radials over those 10-inch-wide Weld Alumastar wheels, with a match and some tire dope? He runs them with 17 psi and says that he can drive the car with one hand on the big end straight-arrow and without the wobble characteristic of low-pressure drag slicks. The front rollers are 3.5-inch Weld Alumastars with M/T 26.0/4.5 ET Fronts. Hidden behind both sets of wheels, the 12-inch Wilwood discs burn off energy…in league with the requisite drag chute.

BODY Al sandblasted the body and replaced the rear quarters, but chose fiberglass compounds for the hood, bumpers, and front fenders for his racer. The rest of the body was clean and wrinkle-free. Lou’s Performance got the smoothing and painting contract. On went the PPG custom red. Then the Camaro went to Sile Ink Studios in Sun Valley for the succulent, out-of-the-box flames and graphics package. When it came time to put the whole thing back together, Al got sweat and sinew from buds Leo Zamora and Eddie Rios. CHP CHEVYHIPERFORMANCE.COM · 73

74 路 JUNE 2009


hot rodder building his last muscle car is like a dog sniffing its last bottom, a Washington bureaucrat receiving his last lobbyist donation, or a magazine editor missing his last deadline. It’s never going to happen. So when Kenny Hillin said that this ’72 Chevelle is the last car he’ll ever build, we figured he inadvertently brainwashed himself after repeating that line one too many times to his wife. Nonetheless, Kenny’s A-body reflects the determination of a man who means what he says, and it represents a harmonious culmination of everything he’s learned along the way. Through the years, Kenny’s taste in cars has grown. He started bracket racing as soon as he got his license in 1987, and he has been running in the local footbrake classes every season since. Prior weapons of choice include a 327-powered ’66 Chevy II, and a 406-powered ’68 Camaro that ran 12.30s in the quarter. While Kenny has fond memories of dabbling with small- and medium-bodied Chevys, this time around he felt the need to go big. “I wanted a car that would run easy 11s, have modern creature comforts, and also handle well and have an excellent ride,” he recalls. “That’s why I picked an A-body. They’re big and heavy and have coil spring in the front and back, so they ride very well. I’ve had so many cars in the past that weren’t that nice to look at, so I wanted to build one the right way this time since this is the last car I plan on restoring.” Unlike most Bow Tie buffs, who go all gaga over the twin-headlamp look of the ’70 Chevelle, Kenny prefers the single-light mug of the ’71-72. The search for a clean A-body started 14 years ago, and he found the perfect candidate almost by accident. A mechanic by trade, his family runs both a repair shop (Hillin’s Auto Repair, San Antonio, Texas) and a used car lot on the same facility. “One day my dad was at an auction looking for some cars for our lot,” Kenny recollects. “He called to tell me about a ’72 Chevelle that was there. I didn’t have time to go there myself, so I told him to bid up to $1,000 if the car was nice. He ended up winning the auction for $350.” First on the agenda was swapping out the original 307 for a built 406, followed by rebuilding the suspension and beefing up the factory 8 1/2-inch 10-bolt rearend and TH350 trans. After a quickie paint job, the Chevelle was ready to roll. It laid down consistent 11.70s at the track, but the combo was a bit too radical for Kenny’s maturing proclivities. Once again, the solution was going big. In went a World Products 454 Mouse short-block, which he finished off with a set of Brodix 215cc aluminum heads, a Weiand single-plane intake, a Proform 850-cfm carb, and a Comp 236/242-at-0.050 hydraulic roller cam. The new monster small-block resulted in times only a few tenths quicker: a best of 11.56 at 116 mph. However, increased speed wasn’t Kenny’s primary objective. “The extra inches have allowed me to put in a smaller cam and a less aggressive intake manifold compared to the 406, which has made the car much more streetable. I love having the displacement of a big-block, but with the weight savings of a small-block. Some people think that the thin cylinder walls that result from running a 4.250-inch bore mean that the motor will overheat easily, but I’ve never once had that happen even in 100-degree weather.” Having met his performance goals—as fast as you can go without needing a rollbar, in other words—Kenny turned his attention to polishing off the Chevelle’s aesthetics. “I’ve always been a fan of sleepers, so I wanted the car to look good but not too aggressive,” he says. Meeting that goal involved bolting on a slick set of Budnik 17-inch wheels and spraying the body with a hot coat of paint. Inspiration for the DuPont Sinful Cinnamon hue came from a Hot Wheels car, of all places. There’s no denying the Chevelle’s powerful visual presence, Kenny succeeded in his sleeper aspirations. “With a bench seat, a column shifter, a stock hood, and a small-block, this car looks a lot slower than it really is. Let’s just say it has been known to catch people off guard from time to time.” It has speed and rugged good looks, but perhaps the most appealing part about the entire package is the car’s versatility. Equipped with A/C and power steering and brakes, and lined with extra-thick insulation to keep the cabin quiet, the Chevelle is a comfy place to take care of motoring business. In fact, Kenny says he drives it a dozen times each month and leaves the trailer at home when he heads out to the track. Granted, he has owned it for 14 years, but the 50,000 street miles Kenny has accumulated in that time is both impressive and commendable, to say the least.


POWERTRAIN Proving that big-inch small-blocks are plenty durable, Kenny has been flogging the snot out of his 454 Mouse for five years without a hitch. It is based on a World Products turnkey short-block and features a Motown block, SRP 9.8:1 forged pistons, forged pistons, an Eagle crank, and Eagle H-beam rods. A Moroso oil pump and a 7-quart Milodon pan hold the lube, and a Comp 236/242-at-0.050 hydraulic roller cam with 0.520/0.540-inch lift yields a mix of power and streetability. The lifters, roller rockers, timing set, rocker stud girdles, and pushrods are from Comp as well. Massive 4.250-inch bores get the most out of the lightly worked Brodix 215cc aluminum heads that move 270 cfm of air

on the flowbench. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re fed by a Weiand Team G single-plane intake manifold, a Wilson 2-inch spacer, and a Proform 850-cfm carburetor. An MSD distributor, coil, ignition box, and plug wires light the mixture. Exhaust exits through Hooker 13/4-inch long-tube headers, a custom X-pipe, and dual 3-inch Spin Tech mufflers. Aft of the flexplate, a Hughes 3,000-stall channels torque to a TCI TH350 automatic and an Unlimited Performance steel driveshaft. From there, a stock 81/2-inch 10-bolt rearend fortified with Moser 28-spline axles, an Eaton Posi, and Richmond 3.42:1 gears routinely battles the strenuous 1.67-second 60-foot times.

INTERIOR Nothing says sleeper like a bench seat and a column shifter. The original yellow interior was recovered in black with seat covers, carpet, and trim parts from OPG. A set of G-Force five-point harnesses anchors front occupants into place. Modern touches include a Billet Specialties steering wheel, an Auto Meter tach, a Vintage Air A/C system, and a Sony stereo.


WHEELS, TIRES, BRAKES An aftermarket four-wheel disc conversion is on the wish list, but the stock front discs and rear drums work just fine for now. Complementing the Chevelle’s aggressive stance are Budnik Lateral wheels, 17x8 up front and 17x10 out back. They’re covered in BFG g-Force tires, 255/45ZR17 on the steering end and 285/40ZR17 on the driving end. At the track, Kenny bolts on a set of Weld wheels and 28x10x15 Mickey Thompson slicks.

CHASSIS With crisp handling as one of his primary project goals, Kenny didn’t skimp on the suspension. At the corners are Global West springs and QA1 shocks. Hotchkis sway bars anchor down each end of the body. The front control arms are also Global West units. Adjustable Hotchkis rear arms allow dialing in preload at the dragstrip.

BODY The grandma A-body required very little metalwork. All the original panels were salvaged and required only minor dent repair. The trim and emblems were replaced with parts from OPG. JLM Collision in San Antonio applied the DuPont Sinful Cinnamon paint. CHP



t’s a street car—seriously. It’s tagged, insured, weighs a portly 3,680 pounds, and still knocks off bottom-10-second e.t.’s at 131 mph. Bob West out of Republic, Missouri, is the proud owner of one the finest performing ’72 Chevelles we have ever seen. Underneath the hood is a 10.5:1 compression 505ci bigblock that utilizes Brodix Race-Rite oval-port cylinder heads and

a custom solid-roller camshaft. Inhaling the air is an Edelbrock RPM intake while a 1,000-cfm Holley HP carburetor takes on the role as its mixer. Expelling the spent fumes is a pair of 2-inch Hedman headers, and finishing off the remainder of the drivetrain is a Turbo 400 transmission and ATi converter combination that’s mated to a Moser rearend with 4.10:1 gears.

78 · JUNE 2009

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hat better way to roll around the Hawaiian island than in a ’67 Camaro? It took Gordon Tokeshi five long years to build, but he also pulled off painting the thing himself in his carport—bumper to bumper. Tokeshi filled his bombin’ Camaro with a 0.030-over 350ci small-block with TRW slugs and twin 500-cfm Edelbrock carbs, and a Weiand 6-71 supercharger up top. Out back a pair of 15x10 Weld Draglites is wrapped in P275/60R15 meats, while the 15x6s up front are shrouded in P205/65R15. Transmission of choice is a TH350 with a B&M shifter, and a set of 3.08:1 gears was picked for cruising.



his black ’66 Chevelle is all business and powered by a 10.5:1 468ci bigblock. Inside, the rat swings an Eagle forged crank with Scat forged H-beam rods, and a Comp bumpstick is used for the monster lift numbers. Up top, an 850-cfm Holley is resting on a Edelbrock Victor Jr. manifold and a pair of GM iron oval-port cylinder heads. Larry and his better half, Nancy, love hitting the local cruises, and we can see why, especially when they get to row the gears through a Richmond four-speed! CHP

80 · JUNE 2009

LETTERS BACKYARD FOLLIES: FIRE! Guys, the term “backyard follies” is great (“Letters,” CHP Garage, Apr. ’09)! You should make a recurring feature out of it. My own experience came when I was installing a new 770 Holley on my 79 Camaro. No big deal, I’ve done it all before, right? Not really. Got it all bolted down and the linkage connected and went to install the fuel line. Since I hadn’t ordered a fuel line yet, I just used the tee connector, the fuel bowl nipples, and the rubber hose Holley includes with the carb. I must have had a major brain cramp, because even though I got all the hose clamps snugged down just fine, I left the fuel bowl nipples only finger-tight. Naturally, when I twisted the key it only took a blink of an eye for fuel to spray out and another blink for a huge yellow flame to erupt from under the hood. I sprinted into the house and grabbed a pitcher to fill with water, but it took a couple seconds to realize the car would be totally slagged before I got it filled. I ran back out on the porch, looked to my left, and saw my dog’s water tub with about 3 gallons of water in it. So I grabbed it and doused the inferno. By this time my wife had realized something was seriously amiss and came out just in time to see me drown my car. God bless her, she didn’t say a word. She just looked at my ghostwhite face, grinned, and walked back in the house shaking her head. Believe it or not, there was no damage beyond a set of toasted plug wires! I had all the wiring in convoluted plastic loom, and the loom melted instead of the wire. It was just a matter of peeling off the melted covering and replacing it. I’m glad the car was outside instead of in the garage! By the way, wish Kevin McClelland good luck for me. His tech advice has been invaluable to me, especially his knowledge of ’80s engines and electronics. Had it not been for his mentioning Tom Woodside at GMCOPO, my son and I would have had serious difficulty with the 305-to-350 swap we did on his ’86 Z28. Transferring the carbureted OE induction setup off the old LG4 presented some unexpected obstacles that Tom guided us thru with ease, and Kevin’s development experience with GM was

very helpful with cam and head selection. Let us know what he’s up to when he gets back down to SoCal. Marion Keepper Via email How is it that we all mange to catch our cars on fire at one point or another? As for Kevin, he’s already acclimated to SoCal and now working for K&N. He’s still handling our PQA column. As far as I’m concerned, he has a permanent home with us.

LIFER I enjoy your magazine and read it cover to cover. I also wait for my new one every month. I like it because of the hands-on information I get. Please don’t change a thing. I don’t need to read about showcars that cost thousands to build and are never driven (another Chevy magazine) and built by anyone except the owner. I am working on my own hot rod, a ’65 two-door Impala, but don’t want to bore you with the details. Keep up the great work. I am a subscriber for life. Jerry Kenzel Carthage, NC

Newhall is just an hour north of us, so be sure to keep us posted on how your Chevelle is coming along and email us pictures at chevyhi@sorc .com. Thanks for writing in!

G-BODY PARTS Another great source for ’78-83 Malibu parts and other G body stuff is Dixie MonteCarlo Depot, in Midland, North Carolina. These guys even have reproduction stuff for the B-pillar and for the stuff surrounding the back side windows. They are great in terms of knowledge and service. Reach them at 877.24.DIXIE or Paul Kennedy Kingston, Ontario, Canada



I’m a longtime subscriber, and I just got my hands on the Apr. ’09 issue in the mail. I always enjoy reading your Shop Talk editorial right off the bat. As excellent as it was, I have a quick question. How is it you were able to describe how good the AETC conference and PRI tradeshow was and who you saw there if you were writing it on the plane on your way to the events? Seems like you must have a little “Dr. Who” thing going on there. By the way, great piece on the concept Gen V Camaros. I can’t wait to get my hands on one as soon as my ’05 Silverado is paid off next year. (Depression, schmession!) Keep up the good work! Len Torney St. Johns, AZ

Just want to let you know I love your magazine. Articles are great and I read it from cover to cover every month. I have a ’72 Chevelle pro-touring project, and I always love to see articles on Chevelles. I know I am nit picking here, but can you guys do some more layouts on’71-72 Chevelles? I know the ’70 Chevelle is the favorite of the fourth-gen group, but I personally think that the “big-eyed” Chevelles are cool too. Hey, if you can’t find one, mine will be done soon (probably three more years)! Josh Staudinger Newhall, CA

You caught me. That was a mistake I made by mixing two editorials into one. I started my editorial on the plane, looking forward to the events. I even finished it on the plane. Later I realized I should have rewritten it instead of just adding the event highlights I had enjoyed. Still, I like your Dr. Who theory better. I’m going to stick with that one! As for the new Camaro, I hear you. As bad as I want to get one, I have to wait at least another two years until the truck is paid off. Thanks for writing in, and I’ll get a plate out to you for it!

No worries. We don’t plan to change our format by any means. If anything, we’re only adding to the program. To give you a little insider info, if all goes according to plan, I’ll have a big announcement in next month’s Shop Talk.

You can expect to see more big-eyed features. Matter of fact, turn to page 74 to check out Kenny Hillin’s cherry ’72. You have to admit that was a pretty quick response, right? Also,

82 · JUNE 2009

Letters are a bit slim, so help us out. Give us a shout, ask some questions, or tell us how great we are. Send emails to:



wish you could see it now. It’s pure comedy. I could sit atop my cubicle and watch the fiasco all day long. If we had more room in this section, I could throw in an image to help get my story across better. Four to five people stood around in amazement to watch one person fix the printer. In the meantime, I’ll just use my super-skills as an associate editor. Now, bear with me. Most of you are probably familiar with what I tend to call the printer Olympics. It’s a great sport that no one wants to play, yet they volunteer to join in without even realizing it. Let me set the tone. After clicking the printer icon on the screen, a digital relay is sent to the networked printer on the floor. You walk over to retrieve your paper, but nothing. It’s not there. The printer’s screen reads “Paper jam in tray 3.” “Oh great” seems to be the common phrase muttered beneath everyone’s breath. Without knowing, they have just created a chain of events that sends everyone clamoring to the printer to claim their work and then to voice their opinion as to how to fix the situation. The funny part is, you know as soon as you break open that printer that everyone else’s work won’t come out either. Essentially, you have just volunteered yourself to mend the situation. This makes you the person to fix it. You could just walk away and act like nothing is wrong (like I do), or stick around and fuss with it. “Is the printer broken?” someone asks. “Yes, the printer is all jammed up.” Then out of nowhere the masses arrive. What was once one person babbling to himself about the printer suddenly explodes into four or five members of the office. They all end up digging around, pushing buttons, and conversing as to who sabotaged the printer. “There it goes!” one cries out. “Wait, never mind. False alarm. It’s still broken,” another says, depressed. Eventually, the rogue paper that seemed to magically wedge itself in the endless mechanical workings of the printer is found, but not before being removed piece by piece with the fingertips. Here we go again. CHP



f you’re into chess, then you’ll dig this. Jeremy Twiggs from Rev Rods in Murphy, North Carolina, sent us a link of his latest creation: a complete chess set created out of used engine and transmission parts. Here’s a list of how everything was created. For more information on availability and pricing, check them out at —HD Pawns Rooks Knights Bishop Queen King

Lifters Bolt with suspension castle nut welded on top Valvespring with a rocker arm welded on top Intake valve Piece of high-performance slant-six racing cam with a spider gear welded up top Input shaft from a Muncie four-speed

Shoot, I’ll try and send mine in! Mines purdy I suppose, and im a youngin. Don’t I get little kid points or something?” - KYLE844, STEVESNOVASITE.COM

84 · JUNE 2009

JULY 2009




Measuring for tire fitment

The hottest heads-up class in sportsman drag racing!

INSIDER Mast Motorsports talks Gen III and newer powerplants.

GLASS SWAP How to R&R any windshield



Bodywork Is Plagued With Pitfalls That Can Cost You Time and Money. We Asked the Experts for Their Advice on How to Stretch Your Restoration Buck.

Jesse Powell and Brett Clow of Aeromotive Explain the Science Behind Fuel Delivery and How to Properly Design a Fuel System



Keep Everything in Balance

When Al Jimenez’s 1,500hp Wild Street Combo Was Outlawed, He Just Stepped Up

CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE (ISSN:1062-192X), June 2009; Vol. 24, No. 6. Copyright 2009 by Source Interlink Magazines, LLC. All Right Reserved. Published monthly by Source Interlink Media, LLC, 261 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Subscription rates for one year (12 issues) U.S., APO, FPO and U.S. Possessions $20. Canada $32 (price includes surface mail postage to Canada and GST-reg. #87209 /3125/ RT0001). All other countries $44 in U.S. funds. Subscription inquiries please write to Chevy High Performance, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. · POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Chevy High Performance, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.


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