Almost everyone working here at DRO and our sister publications Max Chevy and Mopar Max are really just racers working as journalists to support our racing habit. In fact, one of the issues I have as an editor is that more often than not stories or assignments are late in coming because almost everyone races two to three days a week.
A lot of the tech content in our magazines is generated by the writers and editors when they install parts on or modify their race cars.
Our bracket racing editor, Jok Nicholson, and his son Andy have a couple of DRO project dragsters that run brackets and TD. We have had a series of tech articles regarding everything involved in racing those cars running for almost 10 years. Resident Ford tech guru and shop owner Jay Roeder has been doing tech articles on his Super Stock Mustang for several years. But the old Burkster doesn’t get to work directly with those projects, and frankly I’m “Jonesing” to do some hands-on racing, so Matt Johnson and DRO are going “Ten Wide” racing with Matt’s ’66 Chevy II.
You may remember this car. Matt Johnson’s grandson Billy drives the bracket car that was powered by a healthy small block that Matt built in his machine shop. A couple of years ago we installed a disc-brake kit from Aerospace on the car.
It is a real car with no tube chassis. It has a full cage, frame connectors, and traction bars. We agreed that we wanted to keep the car as a real car and not a full on purpose-built race car and just see how fast we can safely go with that car and how much fun we can have.
Over the winter Matt and I decided that we’d like to do some heads-up racing as well as a little bracket racing with the little Chevy, but decided we’d need to update the Deuce power to do that. So, we decided to build a 440-inch mouse motor at Matt Johnson Performance Center in St, Louis.
As it happened I had a “Little M” iron small block that I got from Dart a couple of years ago. Matt had an almost new billet crank and rods in the engine that was in the Deuce. It also had a pretty fair set of 23-degree heads, but they weren’t big enough for a 440-inch engine. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money we didn’t have on new intakes and valvetrain, so we decided to stick to 23-degree heads.
We did what any other hot rodders would do, we asked some friends in the business and read what we could and decided that the right heads for us would be set of Brodix new 23-degree heads. We called the Brodix folks and they sold us a set of their new heads. They weren’t cheap, but they did give us a good price.
Next we contacted the piston folks at Mahle to ask if they were interested in the project and they actually comped us a set of pistons, and are going to work with us to develop new piston designs for drag racing. Actually since we are going to “spray” this engine, we got ten pistons from Mahle. Do you suppose they figured we might burn a couple?
We also are going to change the drivetrain by taking out the Turbo-400 and putting in a Mike’s Transmission “Monster Glide” that I bought about five years ago.
We’ll have an article about all of these parts and issues as part of the series. As we do with all of our project cars, we will show you what we are doing on the Chevy II and tell you how it works (or doesn’t). Just as a baseline, the Deuce weighs in a 3275 lbs. with the driver and the best laps on the car to date is 10.52/118 for the quarter mile and 6.55/106 for the eighth.
We’re just getting started with the engine build now and in the next issue of DRO we will start our series of articles on the “Ten-wide Terror”