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Volume 1 | Issue 1 | July 2010 • Part# PP2010-1

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CONTENTS Features Camaro – Berger style 10 COPO One cool Camaro sporting 427cid big-block power and a great history


Movie Cars

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Fact or Fiction? Chevy Trivia


Zahn in 60 Seconds

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Picture Car Warehouse – where musclecars go to become famous Facts about big-blocks we bet you didn’t know

Debugging Your Musclecar

Carb and distributor tricks from the forgotten era of classic musclecar tuning Actor Steve Zahn’s classic Vitamin C ’70 Roadrunner.


Tech Sound of Power 14 The The science and sound behind


Time for a Change to EFI



Exhausting Development


Ready? Ignition!


A Tiring Question


10 Questions – Corky Coker


Parting Shot - pictorial

COMP Cams line of high-performance Thumpr camshafts

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A “Crate” Alternative

Looking for something unique? Try Dart’s SHP line of “Horsepower in a Box” SHP-block-based engine combos for Ford and Chevy fans.

Worst Case Scenario Mustang

Unlock the hidden potential of your engine with the correct exhaust system components from Flowmaster

TCI’s performance-built Six Speed Transmission Arrives

FAST EZ-EFI makes it easy to swap from carburetion to fuel injection – and best of all the computer teaches itself A quick tip for avoiding one classic musclecar malady Performance secrets revealed with MSD’s new tunable 6AL-2 ignition Bias ply or radial? – which one is right for your car?

Looking for performance and economy – this simple swap delivers both

Departments Pace – Editorial 04 Fast Street machine fever and the

innovative spirit that is today’s performance enthusiast


10 Questions – Carroll Shelby


What’s Hot – New Products

The last of America’s performance icons breaks out of his shell and tells it like it is again!

The king of Coker Tires explains tires for performance, resto and racing Carroll Shelby’s original 1965 GT350 – remember when?

Stuff you just can’t live without!

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STREET MACHINE FEVER My first Street Machine Nationals made an impact on me that was to last a lifetime. I remember it all too clearly. It seemed unreal. With more than 5000 cars covering the rolling green hillsides of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, lining the narrow roadways and filling virtually every open area of fairground that could support the weight of a vehicle, it was the biggest car event of its time. That summer of 1980 was a long time ago, but it validated an industry and a devout audience of car and truck customizers. From that first experience as a staff member of Hot Rod magazine, I was to attend many more Nationals, usually camera in hand, seeking out cutting edge, well-designed cars suitable for magazine features. Through those years plenty of gems were “discovered,” the creations of some now legendary builders. Scott Sullivan was one of the first great builders to use the Street Machine Nationals stage with his smooth orange ’55 Chevy. Sullivan set a precedent for not only cool paint tricks and super high-quality engineering, but for building a car that performed like a true factory-issue musclecar — only better. Shortly thereafter, 18-year-old Troy Trepanier debuted his cool plum-colored ’66 Chevelle followed by new, more unusual vehicles in subsequent years. In terms of innovation, Rick Dobbertin built an amazing work of art in his turbocharged and supercharged Pontiac J2000. Events such as this proved to be as important to our industry as any magazine at the time — or today. But the magazine-event relationship is a critical one to moving the needle with regard to the spirit of creative customization. More so than ever, manufac-

“The first Power & Performance News is designed to carry that spirit of innovation to the general street machine audience offering some topical products and some cool cars for personal review. There are plenty of amazing products at our fingertips — most with roots in some street machine builder’s garage.” turers learn from the cutting edge talents of the home builder, and the pro builders need to earn the respect of their peers. Like Sullivan, Trepanier and Dobbertin the concept, the dream of what is possible to mold from steel, glass and chrome continues to impress. This process is further supported by an Internet and forum builder network that makes it easier to find the parts, share ideas and pull resources together. The first Power & Performance News is designed to carry that spirit of innovation to the general street machine audience offering some topical products and some cool cars for personal review. There are plenty of amazing products at our fingertips — most with roots in some street machine builder’s garage. Be it smart electronic ignition components that improve performance, a camshaft profile series with performance and sound benefits or a muffler package that alters the vehicle’s personality, these advancements were stimulated by some home builder or enthusiast request. The fact is this industry is filled with people who not only enjoy their work, but participate in such events as the Street Machine Nationals whenever the opportunity arises — and they don’t get paid to go; they attend simply because they love the industry. For me this first issue of P&PN is an all too clear reminder of just how much fun that first Street Machine Nationals was and continues to be. And just when I think I’ve seen it all, that there can’t be anything new, no new custom flair or new product that will surprise me, I find that new thing, that new touch or cool product that knocks me over. Yep, car builders never cease to amaze me. And that’s a good thing.


PERFORMANCE NEWS Magazine Publisher

Chris Douglas

Editorial editor Cam Benty associate editor

Stanley White

Managing editor

Linnea Hunt-Stewart


Jim Maxwell Jason Lewis Rob Hall Paul Henry

Photo Editor senior editor

Jerry Genre

Advertising Manager associate sales

Greg Long Steve Walker


Power & Performance News Online online editor

Merrill Miller

associate editor

Stanley White

associate editor

Mindy Demos

Web Producer

Karl Mullen

assistant Web Producer

Brad Patterson

Power & Performance news® is published quarterly in the interest and growth of highperformance aftermarket products and services. The magazine consists of dedicated information from participating partner companies with the mission of disseminating unfiltered editorial on companies, products and services directly to the targeted audience of the automotive enthusiast. Each quarterly publication is dedicated to a market segment theme of street performance, circle track racing, drag racing and street rods & muscle cars. Editorial and advertisements for each issue originate from partner companies participating in the magazine. Power & Performance® news is a hybrid of digital online publication as well as quarterly print media. Magazine distribution occurs through selected placement of the publishing company and the internal methods chosen by partner companies. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.

To subscribe online to Power & Performance News or to see more of the latest performance news go to:

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questions uestions with Carroll Shelby

What are the greatest differences between performance enthusiasts when you first started back in 1962 and today? Electronics have changed everything. Today, with government regulations it is more difficult to create performance cars. People have higher expectations. In the ’60s everyone wanted speed, but now they want speed with a/c, stereos, reliability and performance, all at a low price. Car enthusiasts like packages that match everything up. They want someone to install it too. What are the most significant performance advances you’ve experienced during your five decades in the business? Electronics have made things possible that we couldn’t dream of. Tires and brakes have also improved so much since I raced. We could always build horsepower, now we have brakes and tires to match. Do you have a favorite personal Shelby American vehicle? The next car we’re going to build. What non-Shelby cars of today impress you the most? The Corvette is a fantastic car. Ford’s Mustang is a great car. Aston Martin builds beautiful cars, and the Viper is still a lot of fun. Where do you see the most need for educating folks about performance products? Too often people are afraid to work on their own cars. They need to learn how to do that themselves. Today cars are offered with increasingly powerful engines. Can you have too much power? Personally I don’t think so. You can always use an extra 50 to 100 horsepower. The problem is government and public backlash. In the ’70s performance cars went away for a long while and some think it was because of the horsepower wars.

Other than more power, what targets are you trying to hit when you build a Shelby vehicle? They need to have balanced performance, and be reliable enough to be driven on pump gas. Most of all the cars need to be fun to drive. I know you were friends with Zora Duntov. If he were alive today, what would you talk about? I would talk to Zora about how to take weight out of cars when the government keeps adding more and more regulations. It’s a constant fight. What innovations in engine development do you think we will see in the next five years? Ten years? The main thing will be a big push on improving fuel economy and lowering emissions, which will impact everything. In the next five years I see more turbo and super charging of smaller displacement engines. I see the use of light weight and exotic materials. In the next 10 years, hybrids and diesels will become a bigger part of the mix. Of the thousands of innovations and accomplishments that mark your career, what do you most want to be remembered for? As an old hot rodder who was able to build some great cars with wonderful people. We were always the underdog and always seemed to win. And I’m very proud of my charity and believe it’s important to give back to the community.

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Spark Celebration

40th Anniversary 6AL Ignition Control, PN 6440

Pony Car Perfection

Give Your Musclecar the True Sound of Performance Flowmaster’s American Thunder muffler system for the 2010 Camaro and 2005-2011 Mustang GT (V6 systems are available for both cars; 5.0-liter Mustang systems available in July 2010) wake up the performance in these great musclecars by delivering additional horsepower, torque and that incredible Flowmaster musclecar sound. Using specially tuned Flowmaster classic two-chamber mufflers, this is a true bolt-in system. The Camaro system includes a 3.0-inch Scavenger XPipe assembly for mid-range torque improvement while the Mustang features an easy axle back fitment that delivers the benefits Flowmaster fans have grown to know and love. Both systems are constructed with durable 409S stainless-steel tubing and finished with 4.00-inch polished tips. Both systems feature a 10-year warranty so you’ll be enjoying the benefits of that Flowmaster exhaust into the next decade. Call 800544-4761 or go to for more information.

It’s hard to believe, but 2010 marks MSD’s 40th anniversary. To commemorate its birthday, MSD is celebrating with a limitededition of the 6AL ignition control. This special ignition control features the first logo used on the original MSD 2 ignition (a stamped housing and anodized in gold). The anniversary ignition control features the same proven components and power of the 6AL ignition along with the engine saving Soft Touch rev control. Only 4000 of these ignitions will be built, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! Each unit is serialized and supplied with a classic MSD decal, free T-shirt offer and, best of all, a limited lifetime warranty. The 40th anniversary ignition control can be used on 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder ignitions and connects to most distributors. Vibration mounts and 3000, 6000, 7000 and 8000 rpm modules are supplied. For more information contact

Better Breathing FAST LSXR 102mm Intake Manifold for LS1/2/6 Engines

Got Ya Covered

Dart Inverted Flange Valve Covers Dart’s new cast aluminum valve cover design for bigblock and small-block Chevrolet engines features an inverted mounting flange that allows the side walls to be moved outward, which increases clearance for long-ratio rocker arms and racing valvetrain components. Dart’s cast-aluminum construction provides extremely rigid rails for improved sealing and durability. The all-new foundry tooling produces cleaner, more attractive castings with a contrasting, raised, machined Dart logo that dresses up the engine. These new inverted-flange valve covers offer show car looks with race engine performance design and are cast and machined in the USA. Call 248-362-1188 or go online to for more information.

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FAST, the innovator of performance EFI technology, extends its line of LSXR intake manifolds to maximize the performance of GM LS1/2/6 engines The engineers at FAST teamed up with the airflow specialists at RHS to develop a three-piece, polymer intake manifold for cathedral port GM LS1 engines. The new LSXR 102mm intake manifold for LS1 engines offers all of the modular advantages of removable runners, while achieving modest gains in performance over the already proven original LSX design. Building upon the performance legacy of the original FAST LSX Gen III manifold, the new LSXR 102mm intake manifold features a three-piece modular design that allows easy disassembly and porting. Extensive testing led to a runner design that’s longer and less restrictive, yielding both torque and power gains over the stock intake. The LSXR is constructed from a proprietary, advanced polymer material that offers a host of benefits over aluminum aftermarket intakes, including lighter weight, strength and improved heat-dissipating characteristics. While the LSXR features a 102mm air inlet that’s perfectly suited for the FAST Big Mouth 102mm Throttle Body, it can also be used with stock or aftermarket 90mm or 92mm throttle bodies. Other features include integrated nitrous bungs and perfect bolt-on fitments that allow the use of factory accessories without modification or clearance concerns. For more information contact

Power & Performance News || June 2010

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Rock On!

COMP Cams High Energy Die Cast Aluminum Roller Rocker Arms Designed to be stiffer and more durable than competitive rockers, COMP Cams High Energy aluminum roller rocker arms are capable of providing added valve lift while withstanding the rigors of a performance application. Perfect for street and moderate race use, the die-cast, largerthan-stock body of the rocker arms is made of aluminum for superior strength with light overall weight. COMP Cam’s specially engineered fulcrum and roller tip create far less friction than sliding factory models to lower oil temperatures, improving both response and horsepower. Snap rings are used to hold the trunion and bearings locked in place, and the simple, bolt-on design fits most popular musclecar applications. High Energy die-cast aluminum roller rocker arms are affordable and are available for AMC, Chevrolet, Ford and Oldsmobile applications. Look for the COMP Cams logo cast directly into the rocker; accept no inferior quality imitations. For more information call 800999-0853 or go online at

Fire Up

XIM Standalone Coil-On Plug Ignition Kits The FAST XIM coil-on plug ignition controller, originally developed for use with FAST XFI systems, is now available in a standalone kit for GM LS1/LS6 and LS2/LS3/LS7, Ford modular, and 5.7 and 6.1 hemi engines. These new kits enable programmable control of the popular latemodel coil-on plug ignition systems, independent of the fuel delivery method or any factory computer. The standalone XIM features simple-to-use onboard adjustments to dial in a customizable timing curve (as opposed to a collection of pre-set curves) and to adjust a vacuum advance feature and rev limiter. This bolt-on to coil-on plug ignition is the easiest and most reliable way to run a carburetor or the FAST EZ-EFI. This is a complete kit and does not require XFI or OE computer. These kits are ready to run out of the box, but do allow some optional tuning features if desired. For more information call toll free at 877-334-8355, or go online to

A Honey of a Spring Set COMP Cams LS Engine Valve Spring Kits

The new LS engine valve spring kits include carefully matched Beehive or street/strip dual valve springs, retainers, locks, seals and spring seats – everything necessary for better valve control to handle higher rpm and more aggressive cam profiles. LS Engine Beehive valve spring kits were designed for hydraulic roller cams and are available in six different combinations: three sets contain COMP #26915 valve springs and are available with chromemoly steel, lightweight tool steel or titanium retainers; and three sets include COMP #26918 Beehive Valve Springs™ with the same three retainer material choices. Four street/strip dual valve spring kits are available for hydraulic roller and some solid roller cams: two sets that contain COMP #26925 springs and your choice of lightweight tool steel or titanium retainers and two sets that contain COMP #26926 valve springs with the same retainer options. With 10 different options available, it’s easy to match the appropriate springs for an LS application. Every kit has springs with cutting edge design for added durability and performance in an application. For more information call 800-999-0853, or go online to

Triple Threat

BFGoodrich Silvertown Radials The classic musclecar look is a product of many features, but tires are an important part of the equation. Many musclecars rolled off the assembly line on redline, gold line or pinstripe whitewall tires, and Coker Tire is proud to offer a vast lineup of BFGoodrich Silvertown radial tires with authentic 3/8-inch sidewall treatments. Available in 65, 70 and 75 series, the selection of Silvertown radials includes the right size for your musclecar or street machine. For instance, the 205/75R15 is perfect for ’60s Corvettes, while the 205/70R14 with dual redlines are the ideal choice for early Mustangs. For more information, visit

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Shifting Made Easy

Dyno In a Box

For computer-controlled transmissions, nothing beats the new TCI EZ-TCU by FAST. Fully configured, it’s ready to run right out of the box – no tuning necessary. TCI and FAST engineers took a page from the very successful FAST EZ-EFI self-tuning fuel injection system and designed the EZ-TCU programming interface to be completely intuitive. The EZ-TCU is capable of real-time, switchable calibrations, which allow for multiple setups. Run one calibration on the way to the track, and then with the push of a button have a more aggressive setup ready for the race. The multiple shift modes include full manual mode for using bump or paddle shifters. (See TCI recommended part numbers online at Compatible with most popular GM transmissions, including the 4L60E, 4L65E, 4L70E, 4L80E and 4L85E, as well as the TCI 6x six-speed transmission, the EZ-TCU allows for maximum electronic control over shift points, shift firmness and shift speed. Self-diagnostics allow enthusiasts of every skill level to fully use the EZ-TCU. The complete kit includes the transmission control unit, hand-held unit and wiring harness. For more information call 888-776-9824, or visit

DynoSim5 sets new standards for accuracy and ease-of-use in engine simulations. This redesigned software from ProRacing Sim incorporates powerful, new simulation technology that accurately models a virtually unlimited range of engine component combinations. Compatible with any Windowsequipped PC, DynoSim5 lets you build and dyno-test any street performance or racing engine in seconds – you’ll know what works before you buy the first part. DynoSim5 now includes combustion modeling, advanced rocker-ratio math, ignition curve modeling, new graphs and data displays, higher accuracy and much more. DynoSim5™ allows professional racers and street enthusiasts to model and test V-blocks, in-lines, domestics, sport compacts and any other 1- to 12-cylinder, 4-cycle, piston engine. This comprehensive simulation also tests and optimizes turbocharged, supercharged, nitrous-injected and alternate-fueled engines. Plus, DynoSim5 includes an exclusive ProIterator Technology that automatically finds the best parts for any setup. For more information call 901-259-2355 or go online at


ProRacing Sim DynoSim5 Top-Of-The-Line Engine Simulation Software

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Dress For Success

Exclusive Chevy and Ford Environmental T-Shirts

New Generation Cams

LUNATI LS1 GENIII/IV VOODOO HIGH LIFT CAMSHAFTS Lunati hits the tarmac in 2010 with a comprehensive line of 25 new Gen-III and IV LS1 Voodoo camshafts that are guaranteed to “to meet or exceed all your lift needs.” All OE LS applications are fitted with single valve springs that ultimately limit lift. The new Lunati dual valve spring kit (PN 73925K1LUN) enables a maximum lift capability to 0.660-inch. The kit is the perfect complement to the new and robust roster of LS Voodoo camshafts and is complete with dual valve springs, spring locators and steel retainers (both made from 4140 chromemoly steel), locks and valve seals and represents a drop-in installation for many popular LS applications. New Voodoo weaves several levels of engine evil as Lunati provides specific timing for the following combinations: LS3/ L92, LS3/L92 High-Lift, LS1 High-Lift, LS1 with carburetor, LS1 Nitrous Oxide/Supercharger, LS1 Turbo, LS1 with L92 heads, and LS1/L92 High-lift. Camshaft values range from durations of 212/223 to 255/263 degrees (at 0.050), lifts from 0.550 to 0.651-inch, and lobe separation angles from 108 to 116 degrees. For more information call 662-892-1500 or go online to

Exclusively available at, the new Gearheads Environmental T-shirt is an original design with a message that is sure to get a laugh out of both GM and Ford fans. The shirt’s front displays an image of a Smart Car that no selfrespecting car guy would drive, above the words “You Save The Environment.” The reverse side features either a 2010 Camaro or Mustang above the words “I’ll Save My Dignity.” The olive green, Hanes 100% cotton tagless T-shirt won’t show dirt and has no neck-scratching tag to bother the wearer. Available in unisex sizes Small through XXXL they can only be purchased on line at Become a Facebook fan or Twitter follower of and receive special promotional codes for discounts, free shipping and other offers.

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A Berger That Flies An original 1969 427 Berger CAMARO! By Jim Maxwell

Photo by Jim Maxwell

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Under that ZL-2 hood bristles one of Chevrolet’s most potent production powerplants ever offered, the “L72” 427-cid big block. This engine is factory rated at 425-hp (at 5600 rpm) but as the rpms increase, so does the power output, 450-hp when it hits 6400 rpm!

it’s one thing to own a real “coPo” car (central office Production order) and it’s yet another to be the original owner of such a car today! arizona’s Kevin DeWitte is one such guy, as he purchased this white ’69 427-cid camaro brand-new back in 1969, and today it’s part of the DeWitte household, and in much the exact same condition as when he first picked it up at the Berger chevy dealership, located in grand rapids, mi, all those years ago. Kevin DeWitte was only 20 years old when he walked into the Berger chevrolet showroom to check out the new cars, at the dealership known for performance cars. he had a good job at a grocery store at the time and worked hard to generate money, and had 1200 bucks in his pocket for a down payment. at first he was thinking of purchasing a new ford Torino with the 428-cid cobra Jet engine, but a chance drive to Berger (about an hour drive from his Kalamazoo, mi home) got him hooked on the 427 camaro.

Imagine, a fully streetlegal 427-cid engine option for the Camaro, plus it was emissions certified and had the full factory warranty like all the other “normal” Camaros, all for under $500.00. What a deal!

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Because it was late in the model year when he was car shopping, the salesman was willing to dicker on the price, and the young buyer was able to get the car at a discount, paying $3685.56 for the car that stickered for $3980.10. It was nearly 300 bucks off because they needed to sell the car. A great car, a great price, and things were looking up for sure! The only fly in the ointment was when young Kevin went home and found out his parents weren’t exactly thrilled he was purchasing a rather expensive car, and one with so much horsepower. The news on the home front was this: OK, fine, buy the car, but we’re not co-signing any loan. Hmmm…. So quick-thinking Kevin contacted the salesman, explained the situation, and a deal was made where the car would be stored at the dealership until Christmas Eve of that year, the day of Kevin’s 21st birthday. This way, he could get the loan in his name and no need for a co-signer. He drove the car and did his share of racing with it, but by 1974 a Corvette caught his eye and the 427 Camaro was sold. Looking back, he now knows that was a mistake, but hindsight is always 20/20! He managed to track down the car in the early 1990s and eventually was able to repurchase it, with help from his good friend, the late Tom Karay. This extremely rare 427 Camaro is a cherished fixture in the DeWitte family garage and this time around, it will NEVER be sold.

This is the window sticker on the car, Kevin has the original (which he keeps in a safe) and this freshly typed one is used for car displays.

The dealer had their own paperwork, and thankfully it stayed with the car all these years. This shows the deposit details and the actual selling price Kevin was able to negotiate.

Dale Berger at Berger Chevrolet has verified that he only ordered one white car out of the 40 COPO Camaros and this feature car is it! Rare? Oh yeah…

M-21 4-speed uses stock Hurst shifter and early on Kevin replaced the original black shifter ball with white one, plus a pair of aftermarket gauges were added to help keep an eye on the operation of the engine.

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The cowl tag on the firewall is intact and displays the large number of option codes relative to this amazing COPO Camaro.

Kevin was the original owner and it served as his daily driver from December 24th, 1969, until August 22nd, 1974, where he traded it for a Corvette. Some 20 years later he was able to purchase the car back (with only 8,000 miles added) and this time around it’s not going to be re-sold…

Holley duel feed is the original 4150-series unit; the entire engine could be used as a model for “proper” restorations of other L72 engines.

Kevin tested the car at the local U.S. 131 Dragway in Martin, Michigan and ran in the mid-13-second range with limited traction from the factory tires. The cars was bone-stock at the time.


COPO # 9561 was a $489.75 option, and few dealers knew about it. The 427-cid engine was known as the “L72” and it featured all the good stuff: forged 11.0:1 compression pistons, heavy-duty connecting rods, forged crank, fourbolt mains, solid lifter camshaft (.5197-inches of lift, measured at .050, 336-degrees of duration), rectangular port heads, 780 cfm dual-feed Holley, aluminum high-rise intake, and deep groove pulleys. Power is rated at 425 horsepower for this engine at 5600 rpm; however, the factory has earlier admitted the L72 really develops some 450 ponies when the revs go to 6400 rpm. One potent production powerplant. How quick was a factory 427 Camaro? In 1969 the guys at Super Stock and Drag Illustrated Magazine tested a 427 Camaro and took it out to the York US30 Dragway to find out. The car was stock except for a set of headers and the re-working of the dual point distributor, which was converted to full centrifugal advance. To help traction woes, the rear springs were clamped and a set of 8-inch M&H slicks were used, with 9.5-pounds of air pressure. The featured car is also unique, as it’s considered a “Double COPO” car, since it’s factory equipped with the “Sports Car Conversion” package, COPO 9737. This consisted of special gauges, larger diameter front sway bar and E70 X 15 rubber, mounted on steel rally wheels. Berger Chevrolet is said to have sold about 40 of these COPO Camaros, a group of 20 cars that came in with February 1969 build dates, and a second batch that had May 1969 build dates.

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The Sound of Power

COMP’s new Thumpr line of camshafts deliver power and that great musclecar sound Great advancements come at the intersection perfect for gearheads who want their cars of inspiration and need. Thermal underwear, for to sound as good as they run — everyexample, sells a lot better in Minnesota than where. That means they can have a lumpy, Florida. Lots of people have great ideas but intimidating idle and still drive the car to can’t find anybody who wants them. The trick work every day. Or better yet, cruise night is to match the inspiration with the people’s or car shows and church on Sunday. needs. Just ask Lee Watson, one of the first “We’ve interviewed hundreds of people at people on the planet not affiliated with car shows and speed shops,” said Tim Cole Comp Cams to put a Thumpr in his car. from Comp Cams. “These were all people who “I have a ’32 Ford three-window Highboy were thinking about or in the process of buying Coupe. It had the 350 horsepower Chevy a camshaft for their car. They were going to 350 crate motor in it, and I was looking for buy a new camshaft, and we found out they a different camshaft,” he says. “I’m also had two main criteria. Number one was better involved in drag racing, so I knew Comp performance. That one was obvious. Number Cams and Tim Cole, and he told me about two: They told us they wanted the cam to these new Thumpr cams. So I installed make their car sound downright mean. Shortly one along with a set of roller rockers. I love Tim Cole from Competition Cams thereafter we had an experience that really set it. The cam sounds great and it’s got both things into motion. At one of the car shows this low-end and top-end power. Everybody good ol’ boy from Alabama was talking to a member of our team that hears my car says, ‘Man, that’s badass!’ It’s just a really and he said, ‘I want you to build me a cam, and I want that mother nice cam.” to thump.’ And that’s when the light went on. That’s what started it all — the birth of the Thumpr camshaft line.”

How they work

The Target

Thumpr™ cams are designed to deliver the rough, racy exhaust note associated with big, carbureted race engines but retain their street manners. The problem with all-out race cams is they’re designed expressly for one purpose. They may run like a scalded dog at high-rpm levels, but they can also be miserable to live with on the street. Acceleration from idle and behavior at lower rpm levels can be notoriously poor. A Thumpr cam, however, is designed to provide the full-throated sound of a race cam with better drivability all around. That makes it

Normally, drivability is built into a camshaft by building in good low-end torque. This means optimizing the camshaft to work better at lower rpm levels by shortening up the duration (the amount of time the cam holds either the intake or exhaust valves open) and reducing the amount of overlap (the period when the cam has the exhaust valve closing and the intake valve opening at the same time). It also makes a motor quieter by keeping the exhaust valve closed longer. A Thumpr, however, breaks the rules and does it successfully by enhancing the exhaust note while maintaining drivability. “The Thumpr cams aren’t designed around lobes we just pulled out of the catalog,” Cole explains. “They had to be specially designed to meet our performance goals. With the Thumpr™ cams we increased the amount of overlap, because the exhaust side of the event is what you hear. By increasing that overlap window, we achieved that great sound. The Thumpr cams are also ground on a narrow 107 degrees of lobe separation. For comparison, most of our popular Xtreme Energ cams are ground with a 110-plus degree lobe sepa-

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The Thumpr CL Kit includes cam, lifters, assembly lube, decals and instructions.

The Thumpr GK Kit includes cam, lifters, gear drive, assembly lube, decal and instructions.

show and no go. But it also idles down to 700 rpm,” he adds. “I’ve got air conditioning in the car and the whole business. It makes plenty of vacuum. I just took the cam out of the box and shoved it in the hole and I’ve been driving it ever since.”

The Power of Choice

ration angle. The cams are also ground with five degrees of advance in them, putting the intake centerline at 102 degrees, which puts a lot of torque back into the motor that the increased duration would try to water down in the normal world. These lobe designs are popular in thin-air and summertime applications. Customers in Denver love the Thumpr cams because the things we do to make them work are the same things we do to make a cam work at high altitude anyway.” Watson says that the increase in torque is something you can definitely feel in the seat of your pants. “My street rod has a high 3:1 gear in the rearend. I can step on the loud pedal, and it will carry the left-front wheel through the intersection. So it has definitely got the performance to back up the sound. It’s not all

Currently, COMP offers the Thumpr cams in three different flavors in increasingly radical grinds for carbureted engines. The baseline is the Thumpr for smaller or more basic engines. For Chevy small-blocks Thumpr cams are the most popular option. Thumpr cams also usually work well with other OEM valvetrain components so that the costs of upgrading are minimized. While the duration is increased, the lobes are still gentle on valves and springs so that the increased performance doesn’t result in the valvetrain flying apart. Total valve lift is also held in check to keep shorter stock springs out of coil bind. Cole says that when the displacement ramps up toward 383 and 406 cubic inches, they become candidates for the next level, the Mutha Thumpr. In small-blocks, the most extreme level, the Big Mutha Thumpr™, is best reserved for street/strip cars that spend more time on the strip than the street. As Cole says, “The Big Mutha Thumpr is a really serious cam in a smallblock; it’s not for the faint of heart.”

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Check out these numbers for the performance provided by the Thumpr™ cam. Not only do you get the performance, but you get the mighty Thumpr™ sound too.

“You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.”

— Baseball great Roger Maris

But for someone looking to stuff a Thumpr™ cam in a big-block engine, the extra cubes make the standard Thumpr™ a bit tamer. Many big-block owners choose to go with the Mutha Thumpr™, which can handle a more radical lobe design without a problem. COMP now has Thumpr™ designs in all three levels available for most makes and sizes of V-8 engines. Lobe designs are available to work with both hydraulic flat tappet lifters as well as hydraulic rollers. So if the owner already has a hydraulic roller cam, he can save some bucks by reusing his roller lifters. That means the choice is up to him. All three levels of Thumpr™ cams increase power over stock cams, so the real choice is how much “Thump” do you want from your engine? One of the best ways to get a feel for how each level of Thumpr™ cam sounds is to go to Comp Cams’ website and check out the information section on the Thumpr™ lineup. There you’ll find recordings of engines with each level of camshaft so you can hear with your own ears the incredible rumble they make. So now, as Cole says, a Thumpr™ cam will let you have both the sound and the fury.

Test Parameters:

Engine: 350cid, 290 hp, GM crate engine Cylinder Heads: RHS™ 180cc Runners, 64cc chambers (Assembly) #12023-01 Lifters: COMP Cams® High Energy™ Hydraulic Flat Tappets #812-16 Rocker Arms: COMP Cams® Magnum 1.52 Ratio #1412-16 Manifold: Weiand Dual Plane Carburetor: 750 Holly HP (Thumpr™); 650 Holley HP (stock cam) Headers: 1-3/4” Hooker Headers Mufflers: Magnum Race Mufflers & 18” Extensions Ignition: Stock HEI Distributor *Unless noted above all components stock

Take a look at these links to see the performance and hear the sound of the Thumpr™.

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Dart re-engineers the small-block Ford and Chevy for the next century of performance enthusiasts When Dart’s founder, Richard Maskin, decided to create the ultimate small-block for Ford and Chevy fans, he did a significant amount of research combined with personal racing experience – signature ingredients used in the creation of all his engine products. Maskin incorporated the best features of the factory produced small-block Chevy and Ford engines and “fixed” those problems uncovered during his 50 years of experience. The result was the Dart SHP engine that makes it easy for the street enthusiast to purchase a highly advanced engine at a reasonable cost. The root cause for the SHP engine design was simple. Although GM and Ford produced millions of small-blocks, finding a good used block today has become very difficult. Even if you can find a usable core, the economics of rebuilding and blueprinting a junkyard block doesn’t make sense. By the time a customer buys a used block and has it cleaned, pressure checked, decked, bored, and honed with a torque plate, the cost is higher than a brand-new SHP block that’s already machined to precise tolerances. Just finish hone the cylinders in an SHP block and it’s ready to assemble. In addition, the

SHP block is stronger than a production block and has performance features that simply aren’t available in a stock casting. But the real beauty of the SHP block is that it provides the ultimate building block for performance. Unlike crate engines, which are simple cookie cutter packages that provide nothing special, the SHP block can be outfitted with a host of different pieces to develop more power and durability than crate engines. For those builders looking for an affordable head start in the process, Dart SHP short blocks are plate honed for optimum cylinder sealing and feature forged 4340 steel I-beam connecting rods, forged pistons with fullfloating pins, Hastings piston rings, Clevite bearings, and coated cam bearings. Dart SHP engine assemblies include externally balanced cast-steel crankshafts, which can be upgraded to forged 4340 steel for extra durability. Dart offers one Chevrolet casting with a choice of 4.00-inch or 4.125-inch cylinder bores. Every SHP block has 2.45-inch (350-type) main bearings. By producing only two part numbers that cover 95 percent of the high-per-

Looking for a custom engine that beats any crate engine you can buy? This Dart Chevy engine package is the perfect combination of durable components and the right aftermarket pieces to deliver the performance required.

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Dart top end kits for small block Chevy engines give you a full complement of performance matched parts to eliminate the guesswork when building your engine. The Top End Kit is designed to bolt directly to your Dart SHP short block.


Dart Machinery 248-362-1486

SHP Ford engine combinations deliver serious horsepower for the street or drag strip. A prototype SHP 347ci engine with 10.1:1 compression, a 224-degree hydraulic flat-tappet cam, and a 750 cfm carburetor made 435 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 435 lb.-ft. torque at 4,000 rpm. A 363ci Ford SHP engine with 10.2:1 compression ratio and 230-degree hydraulic flat-tappet cam produced 475 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 475 lb.-ft. torque at 4,000 rpm.

formance small-block market, Dart was able to keep the price affordable. The cylinder walls in SHP blocks are siamesed, and the minimum wall thickness is 0.230-inch at a 4.185-inch bore diameter. In addition, through testing conducted with their Pro Stock engines, Dart learned that a big cylinder bore really delivered improved breathing by unshrouding the valves. For engine builders looking for a complete package beyond just the short block, Dart engineers have come up with a tried and true combination that makes it easy to achieve high power and torque performance results. Dart SHP top-end kits include a choice of Iron Eagle or PRO 1 aluminum cylinder heads with stainless steel valves and dual valve springs, a single- or dual-

The Dart Shortblocks are hand assembled and torqued to spec by engine builders well versed in proper engine clearancing for the application. Dart worked with COMP Cams to develop a line of camshafts that deliver supreme performance. These are complete valve train kits and include lifters springs and all the required components.

plane intake manifold, valve covers, fasteners, gaskets, and spark plugs. The Dart SHP block, short block and top end kits for Ford and Chevrolet give anyone working on a budget a brand-new, high-value high strength block with features that aren’t available in any production engine. When you look at the real cost of rebuilding a junkyard block or buying a crate motor, there is no question that you get better quality and more bang for the buck with a Special High Performance (SHP) block engine assembly from Dart.

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MuSTANg Designing the right exhaust system for your car does make all the difference With some car enthusiasts, exhaust systems seem like an easy-to-select product – no big deal. Just find some adequate tubing, some mufflers and go. What could go wrong, right? Wrong! We recently received this story about an exhaust system gone wrong. While significant money was spent creating the magnificent drivetrain, the exhaust was so badly designed that it caused Kevin Crocie of Colvin Automotive to wonder if the engine was damaged. After all, to have the World Products 427cid, 485hp engine only generate 258 horsepower at the rear tires, something had to be really wrong, right? As Crocie ultimately determined, the exhaust system was the culprit — and was easily corrected through proper fitment. This almostmiraculous correction was documented by one of Flowmaster’s technical experts, Jeff Thomas, who recently discussed the scenario with Crocie, and dramatizes the fact that you can select the wrong exhaust products for your vehicle with disastrous results. This worst case scenario is a perfect example of exhaust design gone wrong!

Colvin Automotive, an advanced auto repair and restoration facility in Austin, Texas, was chosen by the owner of this beautiful 1968 Mustang to diagnose some serious performance and drivability issues. The highly modified Mustang, equipped with a World Products 427 Windsor engine, is rated at 495 flywheel horsepower. After running the car on Colvin’s in-house Dyno Jet chassis dynamometer, power peaked at 258.1 RWHP (at only 3700 RPM) and 331.7 ft-lbs of torque. Worst of all, the engine exhibited what appeared to be some serious internal problems.

Flowmaster’s tech line receives many calls from satisfied customers along with an assortment of general tech questions concerning exhaust products. The 1968 Mustang convertible shown here had some serious performance challenges handled by Colvin Automotive’s tech team.

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Upon strapping the Mustang back onto the Dyno Jet, power was found to peak at 399.0 RWHP, again at 5700 RPM (more horsepower than open exhaust), while peak torque was raised by 33.4 ft-lbs to 419.3 ft-lbs over the open-header run. From the initial dyno run, torque was increased by 87.6 ft-lbs!

At this point, Crocie contacted Flowmaster, having had previous successful experiences with its products. They delivered two polished 70 Series Big Block II stainless steel mufflers, PN# 53074 (as requested to match their upcoming show-quality exhaust – no internal design differences from standard products), with the Colvin Automotive folks to fabricate the rest of the full 3.00-inch-diameter mandrel-bent dual exhaust system for the car.

Kevin Crocie, Colvin’s expert engine man, said after the first dyno pull, “From the lack of power and mechanical noises coming from it, I thought the engine had been severely damaged.” Fearing the worst, preparations were made to remove the engine and tear it down for inspection. As the exhaust system was removed from the car, Crocie noted the small-diameter (2.5-inch) tubing and the small, round, glasspack-style mufflers that were used. On a hunch, he returned the Mustang to the dyno and ran the car with open headers. This resulted in a much smoother sounding engine and a peak of 398.5 RWHP at 5700 RPM – 140 more HP; torque increased to 385.9 ft-lbs at 4900 RPM.

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questions with Corky Coker

Corky Coker is a man who is literally at the top of his game. Since 1974 when he took the reins of the business his father Harold Coker founded, he’s been on a mission to become “the” source for antique automobile tires. And to say he’s succeeded is a giant understatement. In fact, Coker Tire in Chattanooga, TN, is the largest source for antique and classic tires for automobiles, trucks and motorcycles in the world.

Coker has received a number of honors, including Tennessee Small Business Person of the Year in 1995, Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) 1997 Manufacturer of the Year, ARMO Hall of Fame in 1998, Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) chairman in 2003, and SEMA Hall of Fame in 2008. We caught up with Corker at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV, to hear his views on current business issues and gain insight into the man himself. Who’s been most influential in your career? The obvious first thought is my father. He founded the company in 1958, and is responsible for my love of cars. We spent summers in the back of a 1910 Rio and evenings under a Model-T, turning wrenches. It’s where I learned about cars. My grandfather, Hardy “Pop” Coker, was influential too. He taught me a lot about the value of life. I learned from him that keeping my eye on the goal was only the way to reach the prize. What is the basis of your business philosophy? My grandfather also taught me that if I can find a niche that I am good at and truly enjoy, I would never really “work” a day in my life. It was a valuable lesson that’s still true. That’s my philosophy; do what I love and it never feels like work. How can a business succeed in today’s business climate? The businesses that develop new products, market themselves and make acquisitions will survive and prosper. It’s a hard time; some businesses will go away, but the ones pushing the envelope and finding ways to make things better, faster and at a lower cost are going to succeed. For instance, my good friends Ron Coleman and Scooter Brothers at COMP Cams in Memphis, TN, are doing the right things. Like our company, they’re pushing the envelope, developing new products and finding ways to do things better while containing costs. That philosophy will make companies stronger and better during this hard time. Is there less opportunity today for young enthusiasts to work on performance enhancements? There is a possibility that the market could face shrinkage, and there is an opportunity for government to attempt to put us down. The people in power today want control. I think ultimately they will not be successful because people want individual personalization of their cars. That’s what events like the SEMA show are built on, personalizing automobiles. I don’t see that going away. During economic crisis, what do you think the role of government should be for business? The current administration is anti-business. When this, or any, administration understands that small business is what drives economic development and helps cultivate small businesses, then companies will have money to create jobs, people will have money to spend and the economy will grow. That isn’t the attitude in Washington or the state houses, but developing small businesses is where a growing and strong economy will come from. What’s being done in Washington to help car enthusiasts? SEMA is out there actively watching out for our interests. They are in Washington watching and weighing in on any legislation that impacts our industry. For example, look at the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Initially,

the package included cars over 25 years old. That class of car is a collectable category, so SEMA jumped in and successfully had cars older than 25 years exempted from the bill. The significance of this is immeasurable. The legislation put people back to work in Detroit, wasteful gas guzzlers were taken off the street, and the 25-year exemption preserved the collectible and street rod market. I think the “clunker” legislation is the only part of the stimulus program that’s been a success. SEMA played an important role for our industry and will continue to play important roles for us. Your company has continually expanded; what other business ventures do you have now? Our organization is passionate about what we do. As such, we’re always looking for other enterprises to include. Coker Tire is the eagle that flies under the other companies, supporting them as they stand on their own. We have several tire companies. One of our newest is Phoenix Tire Company, which is a drag tire business. We have a wire wheel company in Los Angeles, CA, and a steel wheel company in Portland, OR. We also have Honest Charley’s Speed Shop, which is the first mail order speed shop in the country. It was founded in 1948 by Honest Charley Card. Another venture we have involves building cars. We’re building 40 cars for a movie called 500: The Spectacle Begins. Everything we do revolves around cars, and it’s a lot of fun for us. Who are your heroes? The guys who get to drive every day: the racer, the street rodder and every other automotive enthusiast; they are my heroes. In a sense, it’s self preservation because drivers need tires and that’s my business. But they’re also my heroes because they do what they love. These people are the heart of the aftermarket industry. America loves cars, and whether it’s drag, circle track, street rods or whatever, they are driving the aftermarket industry. And for that, they are my heroes. What is one of your favorite and memorable moments? One of my most memorable moments was when my wife and I were in a rally event in the Midwest. We were in a 1937 Shaffer Eight Indy car, and the throttle linkage failed. We had to stop and rig some bailing wire to the throttle. We drove for an hour and a half tugging on the wire to accelerate. We passed 17 or 18 cars to get back to our position. As we passed our rally friends, we got some great support. We actually made up lost time and ended the segment only 10 seconds or so behind our computerized time. It was a lot of fun and challenging, but it’s a favorite memory. What would you say to today’s generation of car enthusiasts? My advice would be that whatever you do, whatever role you take, be the best you can be. Whatever specialization or niche you do, own it. Know your competition, do it right, do it with integrity, and be the best there is. That philosophy rings true with me. When you love what you do, when you’re passionate, you own it, and do it to the best of your ability, then you will never really work a day in your life.

Source: Corky Coker Coker Tire 1317 Chestnut Street • Chattanooga, TN 37402 Direct 423-648-8511 • Fax 423-756-5607

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TCI Pushes the Technology Envelope The new 6x Six-Speed Transmission uses six automatic

gears to give you the best in performance and fuel economy Just a few short years ago, automotive giants like Ford, General Motors and even Mercedes Benz were touting new six-speed automatic transmissions that were supposed to be cutting-edge technology. And some of the designs were—at least in terms of complexity. Another problem with many of these six-speed transmissions was they were designed exclusively to increase fuel economy and could handle only minimal power levels. For racers, hot rodders, musclecar enthusiasts, or anyone who occasionally tows something in a pickup, these transmissions aren’t anything to get excited about. But now, TCI has changed all that with its new 6x Six-Speed Transmission, a six-speed automatic that will work in just about any application. So after all the hoopla, it wasn’t one of the international automotive conglomerates, but the small performance company from Mississippi that produced the first six speed automatic transmission capable of handling 850 horsepower. And now TCI is ready to set the rest of the automotive world on its collective ear. Designed to be a direct bolt-in with GM LS-series engines as well as big-block and small-block Chevys, the 6x Six-Speed Transmission benefits everyone from kit car builders, to drag racers, to someone looking to get a few more miles per gallon in his tow rig. And because it uses GM’s 4L80E casing, it will fit in most chassis. The 4L80E design is so popular that you can get crossmembers for a variety of different chassis out of most performance parts catalogs, and all will fit the 6x Six-Speed Transmission . TCI is also working on bellhousings and adapter flexplates for small block and modular Fords as well as SB Chrysler applications that will be released in June of this year. “We’ve been developing the 6x Six-Speed Transmission for about three years trying to make sure we got everything right before we released it to the public. GM came up with a six speed transmission called the 6L80E,” explains TCI Brand Manager Stanley Poff, “but the truth of the matter is that the stock 6L80E just isn’t robust enough for high horsepower applications. GM had to put torque management on the engine just to keep the transmission alive. Of course, cramming two extra gears into a transmission case

6x Six-Speed Transmission™ complete kit

The secret of the 6x Six-Speed Transmission success is the planetary shown here.

originally designed for only four is no easy task. And while no one at TCI is ready to explain exactly how it’s done, they will say it required an entirely new planetary gear set, a new valve body design that is currently patent pending, and an additional solenoid that was never a part of the original 4L80E design. But the benefit is a transmission that’s efficient, can handle huge power levels and improves the performance characteristics of just about any car it’s installed in. “We worked very hard to broaden the gear range versus a regular four-speed transmission,” explains Kevin Winstead, a member of the TCI engineering team that developed the 6x Six-Speed Transmission. “There would be no benefit to simply putting in two extra gears but keeping the range the same. Instead, we developed an entirely new planetary gear to make first gear lower, yet maintain overdrive in sixth gear. So the low gear in the 6x Six-Speed Transmission is lower than a four speed transmission. This provides good acceleration off the line, as well as a relatively low rpm on the highway for comfortable cruising. This translates into increased performance and improved fuel economy.” The gearing for the 6x Six-Speed Transmission™ works out to a 2.97 first gear, 2.23 second, 1.60 third, 1.18 fourth, 1.00 fifth, and 0.75 for sixth—which is overdrive. Reverse is 1.76. This means there is not only a great gear range packed into the 6x Six-Speed, but the splits are also quite tight. TCI valve body specialist Bob Harrison designed the 6X valve body to function with OE style shift solenoids. This was what made the project possible. It’s where the real science takes place. According to Winstead, “This is what allows TCI to patent the 6X. Our entire engineering team worked together to design and build a functional prototype

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in just a few short weeks. That’s when the testing began. We have tested this product more extensively than any product that TCI has ever designed…and we did all of it in-house.” “Those gear splits are part of what makes the 6x Six-Speed Transmission so great,” Poff says. “We spent a lot of time working with the transmission and the TCU (transmission control unit) to get the shifts at the best spot and maximize the performance of the transmission. If you install this six speed and replace a four speed in a car without changing anything else, you will get a noticeable performance gain. When you are accelerating, the six speeds keep the nose of the car in the air all the time. If you have a four-speed, there is a longer pull between gears, and when it changes gears the front of the car tends to nose over until the engine can get back into its power range. With this six-speed the gear splits are tight enough that the engine always stays in its optimum rpm range, and it never lets the nose fall down.” Both Poff and Winstead say that the 6x Six-Speed Transmission was designed to work perfectly in a variety of different environments. This means that it will work just as well in a lightweight fiberglass-bodied street rod, as a heavyweight ’60s era cruiser, as your tow rig. The key is the TCU unit that TCI has developed to go with the 6x Six-Speed Transmission and the correct choice of torque converter. Because of its groundbreaking design, the 6x Six-Speed Transmission will only work with the TCI electronic transmission control unit. But this is a good thing because the TCU builds almost unlimited flexibility into the system that allows you to tailor the transmission’s performance to your liking. This includes the shift points, how hard the transmission shifts, and many other factors. You can even tune the transmission so that it shifts differently at part throttle and full throttle so that you get a comfortable, fuel efficient ride during everyday cruising but also maximum acceleration if someone happens to challenge you at a stoplight. (Not that we condone that kind of stuff, but hey, it’s there if you need it.) The TCU also makes installation of the 6x Six-Speed Transmission easy enough to perform an implant in your car or truck on a Saturday in your driveway. The 4L80E case already fits in most GM vehicles, and only minor modifications to the chassis or crossmember are required to get it to work with just about any car or truck you can imagine. And because the 6x Six-Speed Transmission™ is electronically controlled, there is no need for a frustrating TV cable. TCI even has a throttle position sensor available that hooks right up to carbureted applications and takes the guesswork out of the process. On the tail end, the 6x Six-Speed Transmission mates with a driveshaft yoke for the

Turbo 400 transmission, which is available just about everywhere. Once the transmission is in the chassis and mated to the engine, the rest of the process is virtually plug-and-play. The TCU comes from the factory pre-programmed with the correct calibration files, so all you have to do is take it out of the box, plug it into your laptop and use the included programming to tell the TCU your tire diameter, rear gear ratio and throttle position at full throttle and idle. That’s it. If, however, you don’t have a laptop computer or prefer not to use one, TCI also offers a digital touchscreen controller. The touchscreen controller (part #377525) not only simplifies the process even further, it also allows you to make adjustments on the fly without the need to fire up and plug in a laptop. The TCU also allows you to switch to a manual mode and switch gears with an F1-style paddle shifter or a tunnel-mounted shifter. Finally, TCI even includes vehicle speed sensors in the package so that there is no need to go hunting for parts to get your car back on the road, and you can be certain that everything is compatible. Customers have the option of ordering just the 6x SixSpeed Transmission, or a complete package of parts developed to work together as efficiently as possible for best performance. The 6x Six-Speed Transmission package includes nearly everything you need to get on the road including the 6x Six-Speed Transmission™ , the electronic TCU, a wiring harness, paddle shifter, dipstick, transmission cooler, and even three gallons of the TCI proprietary Max Shift automatic transmission fluid. The only thing not included is a torque converter, and Winstead says it isn’t part of the package on purpose. “We don’t include a torque converter in the transmission package because it is so important that you get the best one for your needs,” he says. “So we will help you determine the best torque converter for your vehicle and your driving habits then make sure you get that converter. For example, say you have a mild big block that you drive daily and also tow with occasionally. In that situation, I’d go with a mild 1,800 to 2,000 rpm stall speed converter. But if you have a hot rod with a small block, fewer cubic inches and a ‘lopey’ cam, then you’d want to consider one of our 10-inch converters – possibly a StreetFighter or a Super StreetFighter™. Those will allow you to idle the engine while the transmission is in gear and also get the engine into its best rpm range a little bit quicker. We just feel it is really important to help you get the best torque converter for your application; we won’t throw a ‘one-size-fitsall’ converter in the box and call it a complete kit.” As you can see, TCI has a product that’s about to shake up the hobby. A six speed transmission that is completely selfcontained (no bulky external overdrive unit to require lots of chassis modifications), fits easily into many different applications, can be installed and tuned without a degree in mechanical engineering and improves both performance and fuel efficiency with an affordable price isn’t something many performance enthusiasts thought they would see in their lifetimes. But even with all that, Poff says the 6x Six-Speed Transmission™ is something that must be experienced to believe. “You won’t believe how much fun it is to drive,” he says. “When you put it in your car you will swear you just found another 100 horsepower—the change in gearing helps that much. I really believe this thing stands a chance of making four-speed automatics obsolete.”

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The black line in this data log represents the engine rpm. As you can see, with the 6X transmission, the engine stays in a very narrow rpm range. The result of this is that the engine is more efficient and performance is improved.

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Movie Cars

Ted Moser’s Picture Car Warehouse Where musclecars go to become famous

It’s an interesting place to be certain. Surrounded by the LA skyline is a parking lot filled with classic and current cars and trucks. Most folks don’t notice the semipaved lot when they drive by the intersection of 6th and Bixel streets, but for movie transportation folks, the lot is filled with the stuff they need – and generally need it with lightning speed! Ted Moser has provided movie cars for approximately 20 years. A guy with a true passion for musclecars, Ted has become Hollywood’s go-to guy when it comes to placing high-powered cars in the movies. Case in point, the second movie in The Fast & the Furious series, 2Fast 2Furious and the Orange Hemi Challenger vs. Blue Yenko Camaro. Ted and his talented team prepped both cars (with duplicates!). Guess where the Year One stickers on the windshields of the feature cars came from? Ted did that to help the Year One folks who supplied him with countless components for these star cars. In addition, it was Ted who helped save a “solid” ’69 Camaro from total destruction by convincing the director to kill off one of the “Swiss cheese” rustedout Camaros for the final flight on to the boat scene. Not since the Ferrari flew out of the glass garage in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off have we cried so hard about the wrecking of a classic performance machine. Rest easy, the dead Camaro in the final scene wouldn’t have made a good shotgun-shooting target in Mississippi; no good car was harmed in the filming of that movie.

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T to b u e d Mo s e r t o C o i l d c a r s t a n d Pi c paint bras for Chat get thture Car W A c a r i n g a n d h a r l i e ’s e j o b d o a r e h o u s this o that migupholster Angels. Hne, buildi e built th abou ff-road v ht be gre y shops – is speciang anyth eir reput at in t the e e lt re q u i final hicle for n in the m r e d s y i s m u s g r e q u i r e i o n i n Ho appe D aranc ragonBa orning c ince manclecars. T d from Drllywood f ou h o ll y a e. Th en it’sZ. As per ld be blu of the ca e Picture gonBallZr the ama rs mu Car W zi e in t usua off-ro u p to ar ad ng abi Ted’s l, a ren he afte st be p derin rnoon reppeehouse h trucks lity g ro u as its p to m g i s c d qui r e . Pi c t u o c ake i t hap ated afte re Car Wakly for wown r cou pen. r rk. e h o nt l e s u s me se built et i n g s

Mopar Mayhem

Ted’s passion has to be the Mopar musclecar, although he commonly places ’69 Camaros in everything from After the Sunset to the TV show Vegas (remember the yellow convertible?). His favorite personal car is a 1969 Plymouth GTX convertible. During the summer you can count on Ted making his LA studio tours behind the wheel of the Midnight Blue convertible. Along with a host of other cars at his disposal (600 cars total, including police cars, taxi cabs and other background vehicles) are a number of other vehicles that he created or purchased for movies, commercials, music videos, etc. Chrysler, as part of its promotion for the SEMA Show to push the Dodge Challenger model some years ago, commissioned several 1970 Dodge Challengers for construction and placement. Actually, three Challengers were built, two to be outfitted with late model 5.7-liter hemi engines, the final one a 540cid Keith Black hemi-powered monster. A walk around the lot is like a walk through time. While an assortment of finished cars is present, there are a number of cars that are yet to be touched, great cars set for restoration at some time in the future. From ’69 Roadrunners and ’68 Olds 4-4-2 convertibles to rust-free GTOs and Firebirds, this place has plenty of raw material.

Saving the Legacy

Like Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men, standing on the wall to protect us from our enemies, Ted Moser protects musclecars from impending doom from directors and producers who carelessly kill them off for “the shot.” Case in point, the saved Yenko in 2Fast 2Furious. But sadly that is not always the case. Take the real GTOs in XXX2. While the original GTOs used in the first XXX were not destroyed, the second set was highly modified for the movies despite their original GTO tagging. For a semirecent Justin Timberlake/Scarlett Johannsen music video, a real ’65 Corvette small-block coupe with matching numbers bit it big — a shameful waste. Not to fear, Moser continues to love and protect musclecars whenever possible. Thank the lord of protect-o-plates for that. See you at the movies!

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2Fast 2F urious m ade Chall changing engers fa fr mous on Challeng om one movie ro ce again le to anot er is one . Ted’s su h of severa Car Ware pply seem l made fa er with a simple house. It s endless p m o u s by now spo K-memb with cars the movie aint swap and so rts a late er to a m me fresh -model 5 The Buck ore moder tires. This .7-liter h et n suspen L is t emi engin built by ’70 sion syst Ted’s Pic e and a ch em — ch ture a iefly for action dri nge-over of the fr o nt ving scen es.

This GTO is soon to be the star of Faster staring Billy Bob Thorton and “the Rock” Duane Johnson – and as you can see will be sporting a new set of Flowmaster mufflers. Ted Moser has plenty of celebrity friends as you might expect having worked on many of their cars. Among the “casting call” vehicles present at his place on any day is the cool Duster of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Matt Damon’s ’66 Corvette and the ’66 Hemi Satellite convertible of Charlie Sheen.

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This is one of several GTOs created by Ted for XXX2 with Vin Diesel. Heavily modified these GTOs were built to fill different scenes in the movie, some with articulated headlights that split open to fire missiles (no they didn’t really operate) or other assorted duties. Regardless of their assigned task, some sported Chevrolet engines to make finding parts easier should they need maintenance during filming in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) where the movie was shot. While fast builds are the norm, taking the time to build a quality vehicle is also more than possible at the facility. Ted reworked this original Don Carlton Motown Missile for the new owner.

ctor om dire home fr n in a Jeep y a w e a th e Brosn ight on more all one n put Pierc for something d Ted. gets a c oesn’t want to s n te o o n ti s ,” e e So Ted d gg ht be nic Camaros. tner. He wants Ted’s su ig a R m tt ro re a B d ing am ovie an le ’69 C rting o match take tw ys.” Sta for the m onvertib in 12 da ate. “A c “Good news, I’ll o ri le a p tw ) ro rd k e p c u ap e, Laud s (via tr respons e in Ft. ansport vie deadlines. tr Ratner’s they need to b d n a s o s, , build ical m B a d n ew ed finds the deal — typ thing, T make with no to e m s in ti Camaro

This is the remnant of a Corvette coupe used in a Justin Timberlake music video. While Ted was away on vacation, his crew got a call for a mid-year Corvette. Unfortunately, they grabbed the wrong one to wreck, and this was the result. Sad but true. Curious how they make it look as if a car drives itself? This Shelby was built for the recent, short-lived Knightrider TV series and features the remote driving pod used by movies today. The operator drives the car from this roof, which has duplicate controls. The extra bars on the roof are for camera mounts.

for Charger e flat black tires mak is y th n in ed e sk rder rantino o ck power and som a T n ti Quen -blo se. Small Grindhou e. ic n e it slid

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Time for a Change FAST and EZ — the time for a carb-to-EFI conversion has arrived Converting from carburetion to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) has been a source of terror for many performance fans. That’s because in the past this swap involved some complex work that nearly required a Master’s Degree in science. Now thanks to FAST’s team of engineers, those days are over. The new EZ-EFI Self-Tuning Fuel Injection System is a true plugand-play system that is not only easy to install, but is also remarkably simple to tune. Why is the EZ-EFI such a tremendous breakthrough? Because it was built with simplicity in mind. Take, for example, the innovative throttle body injection unit that’s engineered to be a simple bolt-on carburetor replacement. It bolts to the existing 4150-type flange carburetor manifold and can deliver up to 600 horsepower. Along with the throttle body and hand-held display, EZ-EFI comes with the electronic control unit (ECU), wide-band 0 sensor, wiring harness, RPM module, optional fuel pump kit, fuel rails and other assorted components. Another major advancement is the system’s selftuning capability. In the past tuners needed a laptop and considerable tuning experience to get the system running at the peak of efficiency. With the EZ-EFI system you just answer some basic questions as prompted on the hand-held setup wizard, and the system fine-tunes itself as you drive. In addition, EZ-EFI works with the original carburetor throttle linkage and is ready to accept OEM sensors. The system is easy to install in an afternoon. To show how the process works, Brent Casteel of King, NC, a well-known restoration specialist, was enlisted to do the installation. When Brent agreed to do the installation, he suggested his 13-year-old

son, Evan, could be a part of the process. It was agreed that Evan’s involvement would help demonstrate the simplicity of the process with a little coaching from his dad. In reality, both Brent and Evan did the mechanical portions of the installation, but when it came time for the programming part, 13-year-old Evan took over. The following steps highlight the installation of this kit, proving once and for all, that a conversion to fuel injection is no longer a challenge and the benefits of such a modification are well worth the effort.

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The EZ-EFI™ system was installed on a 1964 Chevelle equipped with a 350cid small-block Chevrolet engine. Additional mechanical changes included a return fuel line, which was installed to complete the fuel-injected system.


Before the actual EZ-EFI™ kit installation begins, disconnect the battery power. It’s critical to neutralize the power to prevent any possibility of electric shock to the installer or damage to the system.


Next, the wide-band oxygen (O2) sensor is installed. If necessary, a local muffler shop can do this step, but in this case the sensor was installed on-site. Then, the appropriate size opening is made so the bung can be welded in place.


With the O2 sensor bung welded in place, the O2 sensor is installed.


Next, the fuel external fuel pump assembly is installed. (This view is looking up under the car.) The assembly is mounted and secured close to the fuel tank.


Now, the existing fuel system is disengaged beginning with the removal of the stock fuel pump. Have a container to catch any fuel that escapes.

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Once the stock fuel pump is removed, cover the fuel pump opening. As is shown in this photo, a custom plate was made to maintain the custom look of the car.



With the throttle body in place the appropriate wiring harness connections are made. Each connection is clearly labeled and noted in the instructions.


With the fuel line disengaged, all the wiring and carburetor attachments to the engine were removed along with the carburetor.


The linkage from the carburetor will remain on the new throttle body unit, so it’s removed from the carburetor and attached to the EZ-EFI™ throttle body.


After installing a new square flange gasket, the EZ-EFI™ throttle body is bolted in place.

Next, the fuel regulator assembly is mounted. In this case it’s mounted to the firewall with the a custom bracket that was created to maintain the show quality of the engine compartment.


With all the fuel supply components in place fuel lines are formed. The kit includes the fuel line material, and each line is cut to the required length. The end is heated with a heat gun and pressed onto the fuel rail fitting.


The fuel rail ends are removed from the throttle body, and a vise holds the ends as the lines are pressed on. As the fuel line end cools, it forms a very secure bond that ensures the lines are tight and leak-free.

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The fuel lines connect to the fuel rails. In this installation the rear fuel rail is used as the return line and is connected to the fuel regulator. The front fuel rail is connected to the direct fuel line.



Both fuel lines are routed under the car. The return fuel line is attached to the top line in this photo, and the direct line is attached to the bottom line. Note that the direct fuel line is the original fuel line for the car. Using an existing fuel line is OK as long as it’s rated for 43 psi.



Next the electrical connection is made to the fuel pump assembly. The wire assembly is first plugged into the fuel pump unit as shown here.

Then, the connection is made to the fuel pump wiring harness, which is routed under the car back to the engine compartment so it can attach to the ECU harness.




The RPM module is now attached; in this case the engine has an HEI unit rather than a coil distributor, and white wire was extended to accommodate the attachment.


At this point, all remaining wiring is completed, and the battery is reattached. As a final step in the installation the fuel regulator must be calibrated to 43 psi.

Next, the setup wizard connection is made directly to the ECU harness plug as shown here, and the ignition is turned on. This is when Evan took over. Tuning is a very intuitive process, and the wizard has a step by step process.


With the tuning accomplished the CPU continues to read the data and fine-tunes itself. Everything you need to know about this process is explained in the detailed installation instructions that are included.


Fast - Fuel, Air. Spark Technology 877-334-8355 Brent Casteel 1050 Meghan Lane King, NC 27021 336-969-4694 The ECU mounting comes next. Here, the unit is placed on the firewall at an extremely left location to provide ample separation between the distributor and the ECU to eliminate the possibility of electric impulse interference to the ECU emitted by the distributor or starter.

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Factory double wall exhaust dilemma It’s hard enough to make power when you know the playing field. Fresh engine, right rearend gears, perfect transmission setup – they all contribute. But when something as simple as an exhaust pipe that appears to be fine turns out to be a major performance deterrent, that’s a tough one. For Mark Hoffman, his big-block ’68 Camaro had all the right stuff – and still seemed to perform in a lazy manner when he stepped on the throttle. After thorough research he still couldn’t find the problem, but it was clear further investigation was required. A stop by the local exhaust shop for an upgrade to a Flowmaster netted a total change in Camaro personality. Not only did it improve the sound, but it woke up a sleeping giant. The change was remarkable and only set in motion a thought that something must have been wrong with the original factory exhaust. The original system did not appear

damaged by the flat spot in the double wall tubing where it tucks under the frame. That was not the case. Cutting through the double wall tubing revealed an interesting problem that from further research proved to be a common problem with these exhaust configurations. Over time, heat had caused the inner tubing to separate reducing the overall internal flow by as much as half. In effect, the tubing is reduced to less than a one-inch diameter total area. For anyone with a vehicle with an original style exhaust system of this type, if your vehicle is experiencing any kind of reduced power over time, this might be a good place to check.


Exhausting development


Flowmaster Mufflers 800-544-4761 Mark Hoffman’s beautiful ’68 bigblock Camaro is original in many ways, including the exhaust system. It was this component that turned out to be the culprit in robbing him of performance.

This is what double wall factory exhaust tubing looks like when it goes bad. This was not damaged by impact but simply through heat and time. It was extremely restrictive – as you might have imagined.

The big block 396cid engine features most of the original equipment but a few dress up items. The Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust was a logical and beneficial change.

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A BURST OF NEW ENERGY Six-Second Technology for 12-Second Cars Just like the used bicycle or not-quite-worn-out sneakers you inherited from your older sibling, technology also trickles down. That’s fortunate for those of us who cruise our cars on the street but race vicariously through the likes of Spiro Pappas, Vinny Budano, Tony Nesbit or John Urist. We crave to understand and adapt the technology they embrace so we can run the way they do, even though our applications have almost nothing in common. The performance ignition market has evolved into two main categories: the 6-Series Ignitions and the 7-Series Ignitions. The 6-Series are commonly looked on as the “street legal” ignition control, while the 7-Series (and 8 and 10) are designed mainly for off-highway use and drag racing. Last year MSD introduced the Digital 6AL-2 ignition, a total revamp of the standard 6AL that we’re all accustomed to seeing bolted under the hood of street cars. This new version started with an advanced digital microprocessor that produces smooth rev limits and accurate timing control. Most important were the increased output of the unit with 535 primary volts and 135 millijoules of spark energy. Now, the second phase of the 6-Series update is complete with the introduction of the Programmable 6AL-2. MSD simply combined the street features of the 6AL-2 with some of the advanced features of the Programmable-7 Series Controls. The new ignition (PN 6530) is based on the same output as the 6AL-2, but rather than rotary dials for rpm adjustments, it sports a serial port that connects to a PC. Once you load MSD’s Windowsbased software on your PC, you’re ready to start mapping and programming. To start, you can get rid of the weights and springs that control the mechanical advance of your distributor. Go ahead and lock it out because you can now create a timing curve that allows you to manipulate the timing down to tenth-of-a-degree increments every 100-rpm. The advantage is precise timing control, with the ability to ramp the timing in or retard it at exactly the rpm that you want it to move. Want more timing out for a start retard? Simply click the mouse and move a couple dots in position. Like a high-speed retard? Clickity-click! Another great feature is for the forced induction fans. The ignition features a timing curve based on boost, so you can map

MSD has brought laptop programming ignition technology to the street with its new programmable 6AL-2 Ignition.

out a timing curve based on boost pressure. For this, you do need to add a MAP sensor, but this ignition delivers much more accuracy and adjustment than the current 6BTM model. The feature that we really think most street guys will dig is the ability to pull timing out during the holeshot – and ramp it back in. Since many cars have more power than traction capabilities, being able to soften the power at the holeshot can help reduce the tire shredding off the line. There are also three different rpm limits that can be set in 100-rpm increments; one for the burnout, one for the holeshot and, of course, a top-end limit for over-rev protection. If you have a nitrous shot you like to blast off now and then, the ignition has an activation wire that you tie into the nitrous wiring. When the nitrous is activated, the timing can be retarded instantly! All of these features are available in add-on accessory items, but the new Programmable 6AL-2 brings them to you in one neat package. For instance, if you already have a 6AL, you can add a 3-Step Module Selector for the rev limits, and another box for a boost map. Of course, these controllers can’t be adjusted through your laptop, and you’ll have a lot more wiring to tend. Also, the new unit retails at under $420, which is much less than you’d pay if you bought all of the different accessories separately, not to mention the added spark output you’ll be getting.

The test subject for our Programmable 6AL-2 installation was a ’79 Mustang with a stock 302 short-block from an ’88. Sitting atop the Trick Flow street heads is a Weiand blower and 750 Proform carb.

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Pro-Data+ Software

The MSD software, called Pro-Data+, is a Windows-based operating system and can be used with Vista on down to Windows 98. The instructions that come with the ignition walk you through all the steps, from loading the software to figuring out the features of the menu tree options, but it’s best just to load it up and play with it. We found the help menu of the software and the short descriptions in the pop-up balloons helpful when we were plodding around for the first time. The software can be downloaded free at, so you can take a look at it before making a purchase. Here’s a screen capture of our timing map. On the map, rpm is across the top, with timing down the side. You need to use 0 as your total or locked-out timing. We immediately pull 15-degrees out until the engine rpm hits 500 rpm, then add in another 5-degrees. The timing begins to ramp up from 1,400 rpm and is back to total timing by 3,000 rpm. Note that we were running 2-degrees retarded from total from 3,000 rpm on, which was designed so we could fiddle with the timing curves a little more without having to move the distributor.

We installed the new ignition on our street/strip ’79 Mustang. The car is budget-mild with a stock short-block from a donor ’88 Mustang that is topped with a Weiand 1-74 blower that huffs up to 10-pounds through a carburetor and into a set of Trick Flow street heads. A T-5 trans and a grip-challenged clutch connect to 4.10 gears in a stock rearend. For starters, we enjoyed the benefits of the burnout and holeshot rev limiter, as well as the start retard we programmed into the timing chart. Once we finally hooked up (third gear), it was obvious that we were making power on the top end as evidenced by the 108-mph charge on a 14.71 time slip. In short, our on-track testing was ended far too early. However, once we get some new-car bugs worked out and mount some real tires under the Mustang, we’re looking forward to taking advantage of the Programmable 6AL-2’s launch retard map and boost retard features to help contain some of the power until we’re gripping the strip. And better yet, we can drive our car to the track, race all day, and drive it home.


MSD Ignitions 888-673-7859

The Programmable 6AL-2 is supplied with vibration mounts for a sturdy install. These require a 3/16inch bit and access to behind the fender well to secure the mounts. Then we secured the unit to the mounts using the supplied screws and lock washers.

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FACT OR FICTION? Myths surrounding Chevy’s Big Block

chevrolet’s legendary big-block engine, like all legends, carries plenty of myths that require regular debunking to ensure rumor control. When it debuted in 1965, neatly tucked between the fiberglass fender wells of the corvette, what was named the Mark iv powerplant carried a total displacement of 396 cubic inches and generated a factory-rated 425 horsepower. While the 50 more horsepower it generated over the fuel injected small-block it replaced supposedly negated the additional weight of the big block, the most impressive component was the monstrous torque increase. after all, it’s torque that really gets you down the road and drivers of these first big blocks can attest to that first hand. until 1975, when it was last offered as a passenger car powerplant as a much weaker, smog-reducing and fuel-squeezing counterpart from its earlier highly temperamental personality, the big block was released in many incarnations with a plethora of modifications that gave it a multitude of personalities. different cylinder head configurations yielded different compression ratios and an equal number of different intake and exhaust systems. various hydraulic and mechanical camshaft profiles were utilized along with different rod bolt sizing, crankshaft materials and main bearing cap designs. different block deck heights provided an engine to fit varying applications — from the bruiser musclecars and corvettes, to a host of medium duty commercial vehicles and watercraft. hopefully we can dispel a few misconceptions, so read on and see if we can add a little insight with regard to the myths surrounding chevrolet’s venerable big block. sorry if we change your way of thinking about some of these particulars, but just remember, we’re here to help.


all big-block camshafts will work in any model year big-block engine.


The original 1965 396ci big block had a slightly different oiling system from what was to be offered in 1966. All 1965 big blocks require a special camshaft with a grooved rear main journal. Without this modification, the engine will not oil properly causing starvation and damage. Subsequent models incorporated the oiling requirement in the block and used a rear bearing with a groove in it.


approximately 1000 l88 corvettes were built during the years of 1967-1969.


Only 216 cars came from the factory with the L88 engine option. Although rated at 430 horsepower, the actual horsepower rating for the engine was much higher, by some estimates as much as 560 horsepower. With 12.5:1 compression pistons, aluminum heads high-lift mechanical camshaft and a high-flow intake with four-barrel carburetor, these were race engines, only offered to the public to homologate the engine for competition. In terms of final totals, there were 20 L88-equipped cars built in 1967, 80 in 1968 and 116 in 1969.

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the l89 aluminum cylinder head engine option was much more popular than the l88 engine option.


While the L89 option was a great idea, it is widely believed that in 1967 only 16 cars were equipped with the L89 aluminum heads, four less than the total for the same year for L88-equipped cars with 20. However, overall there were more L89s throughout the course of its life, with an estimated 624 installed in Corvettes and as many as 400 plugged in beneath the hood of the Chevelle.


all big-block valve covers are the same except for coloration.


While coloration did change to include many different designs, from painted orange to chrome valve covers, the key disparity was the “drippers” that were tack welded to the inside of the valve covers. These drippers directed oil onto the top of the rocker arm stud to increase oiling. This was used only on the high performance engines and could be spotted by the slight dimpling of the exterior surface of the of the valve cover.





although the chevrolet chevelle could be ordered with the 450 horsepower ls6 454ci engine option, the same engine was not offered in corvette at anytime.

The 450-horse LS6 engine wasn’t available as an option in the 1970 Corvette as the only 454ci engine offered was the 390 horsepower LS5 version. A few Tech Center prototypes were created with the bigger LS6 engine but corporate orders kept them from ever being released to the public. However, in 1971 a detuned LS6 producing 425 horsepower was available on the Vette’s option sheet.

the center console-mounted l88 octane warning sticker telling owners of the potential damage if they used lesser fuel quality was not supposed to be mounted on the console but rather in the glove box.

While reviewing the original Chevrolet Proving Ground 1967 L88 Corvette of Bill Tower, he noted that the sticker was located in the glove box of his car. How it ended up on the console, no ones knows, but on the console was clearly not the best place as any mid-year Corvette owner can affirm.

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Tiring Question

Bias Ply or Radial Which One Is Right for Your Car? By Tommy Lee Byrd

Photography: Courtesy of Coker Tire

This ’65 GTO wears a set of Coker Classic redline radial tires, and its owner takes advantage of the increased handling and more stable driving characteristics without losing any of the classic musclecar appearance.

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Coker’s new line of American Classic radials features a low profile design to fit wheels up to 17 inches in diameter to give your musclecar a more aggressive stance. The shorter sidewall also helps with handling, while the available redline, gold line or whitewall keeps the musclecar look alive and well.

Coker offers BFGoodrich tires in bias ply and radial form, and these Radial T/A tires are a favorite for musclecar enthusiasts. Lots of different designs are available under the BFGoodrich brand, including the Silvertown series, which features whitewalls, redlines or gold line sidewall treatments.

The Firestone Wide Oval is one of the most popular musclecar tires out there because of its authenticity. It’s a bias ply design, which Coker Tire produces from the original Firestone molds, so it’s technically not a reproduction; it’s the real deal.

When it comes to building a collector car, choosing a set of tires proves to be one of the most challenging aspects. Size, style and construction are big factors in the selection process and even a slight misjudgment can result in poor driving characteristics or a lackluster appearance. That’s why it’s important to do your homework before buying a new set of tires. Bias ply tires are more authentic for cars built before 1976, but they don’t offer the same handling characteristics as a modern radial. If you don’t care about period-correct looks, go for the radial and enjoy a more stable ride and much better wet-road handling. Everyone has an opinion on the up sides and down sides of both bias ply and radial tires, so it all boils down to preference. To help decide, take a good look at your build style and work from there. If you’re building a numbers matching, nut and bolt restoration, bias ply tires are the way to go, because your goal is authenticity. However, many musclecar enthusiasts want to get out and drive, which means they will change a number of things on the car to help drivability, including the tires. There are many differences between the two tire construction styles, but the main one is the manner in which the ply cords are run. Inside a bias ply tire the cords are run diagonally from bead to bead, overlapping in a crisscross pattern. You won’t find many bias ply tires on the rack at your average tire shop, but companies like Coker Tire offer a wide selection of authentic tires to match the original look and feel. For instance, the classic Firestone Wide Oval series rolled on countless musclecars from the late ’60s and early ’70s, and feature a bias ply construction. Coker builds these tires with the original molds using modern materials, so you’re getting the real thing, not a reproduction. The advantage of a radial tire is undoubtedly the enhanced performance from a much more efficient form of construction. Rather than running the cords diagonally, radial tires fea-

ture cords that run straight across (90 degrees from the tire’s centerline) from bead to bead. This helps stabilize the sidewall and tread patch, while allowing the tire to better conform to the road’s surface. In 1994 Coker was the first company to introduce a wide whitewall radial tire. It changed the face of the antique tire market, and the line of nostalgia radials continues to grow. Now, Coker offers whitewalls, redlines and gold line tires in both bias ply and radial construction. Various brands are available with Firestone, BFGoodrich, Coker Classic and American Classic the proven favorites. Whether you choose bias ply or radial, it’s important not to mix the two on the same vehicle. Radial tires conform to the pavement better than a bias ply tire, so it’s easy to see how using the different kinds could create some handling issues. Mixing bias ply tires and radials on the same vehicle has led to countless accidents and wild rides. However, if you want the looks of a bias ply tire with the modern construction of a radial, Coker manufactures a couple of different offerings to fit your needs. The Coker Classic 16-inch radial and the Excelsior Stahl Sport Radial are both radial tires that have the narrow profile and classic look of a vintage bias ply tire. Making a decision on tires and wheels is no easy task, but knowing the major differences and how they will affect your car’s ride and handling definitely helps the decision. Do your homework and figure out exactly what you want before picking up the phone. The person on the other end will appreciate your preparation, and you can reap the benefits of a quick transaction. Whether you’re building a car from the ground up or simply replacing the tires on your existing musclecar, it pays to educate yourself and find the ideal setup for your car.

SOURCE Coker Tire Co. 800-225-0075

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MuscleCar Basics

Basic carburetion and ignition timing – the keys to classic musclecar power and performance

Holley Carburetors are the most common musclecar fuel-metering device of all time. Their simplicity makes them highly tunable and easily rebuildable to original status.

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It’s unfortunately a lost art in these days of electric computer controlled tuning. But the simple fact is, setting the proper engine timing and tuning your carburetion are key to making your musclecar run correctly. Certainly you can invest the money to install fuel injection on your upgraded musclecar, but for many, a simple carburetor and mechanical advance distributor is required to retain the vehicle authenticity. Even for those of you desiring more sophisticated ignitions will find that mechanical advance distributors, despite some of their inherent simplicity, can still get you a trip to the winner’s circle.


The basic timing setup for most musclecars is a certain amount of advance timing to provide proper combustion in the cylinders followed by a little distributor advance timing to help get you down the road. Some of the timing is set initially at the crankshaft (that’s why you still have a timing light) and the other advance is added to the engine as the rpm rises. Classic musclecar distributors commonly use spring loaded weights in the distributor that spread apart (through centrifugal force) as the rpm increases. For most musclecars full advance comes in by about 3000rpm. To deliver different amounts of advance a variety of weights and springs can be added to the distributor. Bob and Nick Jennings have been tuning engines for years. Frankly, they can tune a distributor in their sleep (and often do) a talent that comes from years of practice. For our 383cid Mopar engine, the initial timing was set at 16 degrees. In the distributor they installed an additional 20 degrees of advance. In our case the total of 36 degree of advance comes through the adding of the initial and distributor advance figures. Original factory settings are more in the range of 28 degree advance in the distributor and only 6 to 8 degrees initial timing which makes for sluggish bottom end performance and economy. To test our new timing settings, we ran the car on the dyno taking careful note of any detonation (knocking). If the engine detonated, the timing would be backed off (reduction of the initial advance timing) and tested again. Just like the old days, often the final timing of the engine was based on the drivability, quality of the fuel, altitude, carb jetting and a multitude of other factors. As most musclecars run around 10:1 compression, only premium fuel should be used.


Most performance musclecars used some form of Holley fourbarrel carburetor. That is a good choice for fuel metering as they are easy to work on and highly tunable. Most classic performance musclecars require a full rebuild which means taking them apart, recoloring them back to factory looks and the assembling then repairing many of the common Holley weaknesses that can cause poor performance. Most commonly a Jennings full service rebuild includes removing the boosters as well, increasing fuel flow and truing up (sanding flat) the metering plate surfaces, which can warp with time. The whole process takes only a few minutes – if you have the ready parts at hand. Rebuild kits are available for any of these carburetors but certain tools such as the one used to remove and reinstall the boosters can be costly if you are only rebuilding one carburetor. Services, such as Jennings are available in many locations so check out your local service before investing in this one operation. Follow along as we take you through the basics of engine timing and carburetion upgrades. They are two areas that often make the difference between getting what you paid for when you envisioned your vehicle’s performance and missing the boat. For the first time builder, a carb-rebuilding manual is a good idea. These carburetors take little more than a few simple hand tools to take apart and rebuild kits are plentiful.

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Codes stamped in the air horn tell volumes about the originality of the carburetor. From here it is easy to determine the original application and the rebuild kit required to restore it to original performance configuration.

Holley carburetor designs have changed over the years. While external metering blocks are the most common for original musclecars, internal metering blocks that were housed within the fuel bowl were a design upgrade. To remove these metering blocks, a special clutch head screwdriver is required.

Holley carburetor throttle blades and shafts are a common problem area. They can improperly seal the throttle openings affecting idle and acceleration characteristics. Inspecting these parts is a good first step to determine which new parts may be required.

Over the years, Holley floats have come in various styles and materials. This older style tin float was common in the ’60s. Make certain the floats are not damaged and replace the needle and seat before reassembling your carburetor. Linkages are made from differing metals and can rust if the “right” conditions exist. Carburetor cleaner will remove much of the sludge and grime but not rust. These parts should be replaced to avoid any potential for throttle binding.

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The basic Holley carburetor bodies were a greenish color that can become brown over the years. Holley offers a complete reconditioning process for those looking to regain the original look as can full service shops such as Bob Jennings Dyno Service.

The rotor head was removed from the distributor shaft after the C-clip holding it in place was taken from the center of the shaft.

The mechanical advance weights in the distributor are marked as to their weight and have a dramatic effect on the advance curve (amount of timing induced) into the engine. Ask an expert to give you guidance on the proper weights for your application.

Most musclecars used distributors featuring mechanical advance weights to add timing as engine rpm increased. On this distributor, the center reluctor was carefully slid off of the distributor shaft making sure not to damage any of the external fins.

While the weights used in the distributor are one advance curve adjustment, the weight springs also have an effect in speeding up or slowing the speed with which the advance is given. Most springs are color coded to help determine the precise rpm of the full advance cycle.


Bob Jennings Dyno Service 9519 Sepulveda Blvd North Hills, CA 91343 818-894-3811 Holley Performance Products 1801 Russellville Rd. Bowling Green, KY 42102-7360 270-782-2783

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The 383-cid engine is virtually stock except for the addition of the COMP Cams hydraulic camshaft and Edelbrock AFB-style carburetor. Vintage Air supplies the cool air when cruising.

it’s a musclecar fan’s worst nightmare. having tucked away your precious musclecar for the night you head for bed, sweet dreams of tire smoke and power shifting the place you hope to visit during your high-speed encounter with the sand man. but then the horror story unfolds like a bad tank of watered down 87-octane fuel. there in your

garage it stands. not your prized muscle machine, but a chevette. Yep, one of those anti-musclecars built during the worst time for performance cars in the history of transportation, the late 1970s. to make matters worse – it’s your only set of wheels. drive it or walk. that’s a tough choice for most musclecar fans.


Actor Steve Zahn’s Roadrunner Helps Erase a Chevette Nightmare

Steve Zahn loves his 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner and drives it often around his home in Lexington, Kentucky.

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The classic America Racing Torque Thrust wheels looks great wrapped by the Michelin high performance tires.

The Vitamin C Plymouth features big 17 x 8 American Racing wheels and all the proper original issue Plymouth Roadrunner decal/graphics

The interior sports all the comforts of, well a 1970 Plymouth with the simple addition of the Vintage Air conditioning system. Not a bad upgrade and one that we recommend if you have black vinyl – like most cars of this era.

“You know there’s just no way to accessorize a Chevette.” – Steve Zahn

For Steve Zahn, that nightmare was a high school reality. Braving the elements of his home state of Minnesota, the amazingly talented actor of now 40 feature films like Sahara, Joy Ride, National Security, That Thing You Do and Saving Silverman, once piloted a Chevette as daily transportation. He recalls hating driving that car to school and having to pass those lucky guys with the cool musclecars. It was an embarrassment he hoped to eventually correct. He has. “I wasn’t one of those guys that had the cool ride, the Monte Carlo or the Mustang,” states Zahn. “I had a Chevette. You know there’s just no way to accessorize a Chevette. I used to hate walking through the parking lot and seeing all those great cars. But I always knew I’d have my day.” Today, Steve Zahn is an incredibly cool guy with a really cool musclecar. Zahn’s first step to personal vehicular redemption came after filming That Thing You Do. A period movie set in 1964, shortly after the movie shoot ended, Zahn spotted a 1964 Chevelle SS with a 327cid engine and four-speed for sale. He picked it up and enjoyed the car driving it around his hometown of Lexington,

Bob Jennings Dyno Service did a recent tune up on the Roadrunner and then made a dyno pull. The little 383cid engine put down over 300 horsepower to the rear tires.

KY. After a while, however, it became time to either restore the classic Chevy or move on. “I just looked it over and as much as I liked it, I still wanted something different,” stated Zahn. “Having leafed through classified car ad magazines over the years, the 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner just jumped out at me. That was the car I wanted parked in my garage.” Zahn sold the Chevelle in 2002 with the intention of finding a Roadrunner as soon as possible. While filming in LA, his director mentioned that the owner of Picture Car Warehouse, Ted Moser, had a lot of interesting musclecars. When he arrived on the lot. Zahn inquired about a ’70 Roadrunner. Moser had one. After a short negotiation, Zahn became the owner of a Vitamin C orange 383cid Plymouth Roadrunner. “It was my revenge for all those years of having to drive that Chevette back in high school,” states Zahn. “I plan to make this my everyday car – taking my kids to school and driving around town. It’s the car I’ve been looking for. My ultimate musclecar, and now its all mine.” Congratulations, Steve. The nightmare has been finally put to rest. The Chevette is dead.

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l a i r o t c i P SHElBY’S lEgACY 1965 GT350 Shelby C a r ro

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Power & Performance News Spring 2010  

Check out the premier issue of Power & Performance News for all the latest information on the hot products and news from the automotive afte...