Project Muscrate: let the sparks fly!
Hi everyone and welcome back! You may have noticed I was absent for the February issue and I apologize but I was real busy with customer engines and family obligations along with finding some time to actually work on Project Muscrate. The good news is that I have actually gotten quite a bit accomplished on the car in the last month and I have something to write about! The bad news is I still have lots of work left to do and it’s already March for crying out loud! One other thing about it being March is my baby boy, Michael, will be one year old on the 19th! Man! I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I must be getting old…. On to the ‘taters!
In the January issue I announced the basic plan for the future of Muscrate and explained the reasons why I am returning to Class racing. Now it’s time to get to work and make it happen. The first project I am tackling is the procedure commonly referred to as “back-halving” the car. I am going to be running a 14x32 slick that measures about 18 inches wide at the sidewalls, so there is going to have to be a lot of clearance made. These tires are roughly twice as wide as I used to run and about two inches taller. The 14x32 tire is a very common size once you step into the realm of the “baloney” tires, and the basic procedures I am going to demonstrate will work with any brand of car you choose.
There are a few Super Stock-only nuances as dictated by the NHRA, but the good news for most of you is that it is only more work and difficulty for me to meet the rules. For the majority of you that don’t have to follow the stock floor height Super Stock rules, things will be a little easier.
All in all, though, it all works the same and as you follow along I think you will see that the most important part of tackling a project like this is to be patient, think two steps ahead, measure 400 times and cut once, and by all means buy the right equipment if you don’t have it already. It will make your life SO much easier.
Now, before someone gets all excited and figures this is another “do it yourself” article that is anything but “do it yourself,” let me list a few of the basic tools I am using for the entire project. In no order of importance, a band saw for cutting tubing, a tape measure, a couple of good levels and dial protractors, a wire welder (Mig) or Tig welder, six jack stands, a sawzall, etc. The point is, besides the welder(s) most everyone has the other tools if you have been around racecars for any sort of time. And you don’t need a huge fancy wire welder (Mig) that can fuse ½” plate either. The thickest material we will be working with is .134” thick. I have a small 110 volt Mig welder that my dad bought years ago made by MAC Tools to weld sheet metal and it will literally melt away 1/8” thick material if it’s set on “kill”.