A Month of Enlightenment
don't think I've ever received so much gratifying response to a venture as I did regarding last month's article on our Project Street FX '64 Chevy II. It seems that this car has sparked an uncanny reaction from old geezers, middle agers and younger fans alike. However, a reaction I was not really expecting was that of aftermarket high performance parts manufacturers.
While attending a recent SEMA Conference in Los Angeles with DRO Editor Jeff Burk, we found that parts makers were asking how they could become involved in making the Chevy II run faster and quicker. It just so happens that a lot of those manufacturers have re-discovered the Chevy Big Block. Sure they want to promote the usage of their new products, but there was a genuine enthusiasm for a vehicle that bridges the generation gap. This car seems to do so since the concept was from a person who should be interested in the Sport Compact scene, my son.
Later that week, while the Burkster was still in LA, both he and Chris Martin showed up at our house to dig a little deeper into the Chevy II with their own eyeballs. I needed to finish an upgrade of the front spindle bolts, but these grizzled veterans wanted a ride. After finishing the brief project, I fired the big block and watched ear-to-ear grins blossom on Burk and Martin's faces. After the engine warmed, it was time to take a ride so Burk climbed over the roll bar strut and I launched the car on a quiet side street. Burk's grin remained and he was ready to see more. Martin then climbed in and had a similar reaction.
During the last month I also received a bunch of e-mail from friends who had not seen Project Street FX yet, and it looks like there may be a few more altered wheelbase cars taking shape across the country. Oh, what a trend!
Outside SoCal's Pomona Swap Meet last month, former Hot Rod Magaziner Steve Magnante was taping incoming swappers for a future TV segment. He mentioned that he's seen the article on Project Street FX, but felt he needed some dyno time and tuning in order to accept our Match Race Challenge with his injected altered wheelbase Nova. He was concerned that we were running similar E.T.'s, but it sounds like he's up for the match.
So our next step is to get into the construction of the rear end with a Dana 60 and ladder bars. The change will require some sheet metal work as well as relocating the leaf springs since the rear wheels now need to move forward. Other mods, thanks to the previously mentioned aftermarket parts manufacturers, include adding new 18 degree cylinder heads, an intake manifold to replace the one from the 70's, some new carburetion, new mufflers, a trick distributor, a roller cam with something called a 4 and 7 swap and a possible nitrous fogger. We're on the fence about the fogger since that's not quite "period correct", but as the Burkster commented, "Hey, once Zak hits the nitrous button, he'll want to keep the fogger on the car."
We'll be doing some tire testing with a new drag radial and will be hitting the new 1/8 mile drag strip at Barona and our home strip at Irwindale on Thursday nights and probably make some passes at LA County Raceway. Of course we'll be heading to Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake once a month, at least until Project Street FX gets too radical ... you know how some of those Burbank cops can be.
With the weather warming, all of the SoCal drag strips are in full swing now. Although there has been no official announcement from Fontana's California Dragway, it looks like they found the guy to run the joint; Dave Danish from Tucson's Southwestern International Raceway has reportedly put his house on the market and will be relocating to Rancho Cucamonga near his new Fontana gig. The Dragway has now become Southern California's first real quarter-mile to be built in over 30 years and they are backing it up with the right management. There'll be a Pro Gas, Super Comp, Super Street meet on February 14 and 15 and the season opener for NHRA Sport Compacts on March 13 and 14.
Mark your calendars for the 45th Annual March Meet at Famoso on March 12, 13 and 14 put on by the GoodGuys, DRO will be there to cover it!