Archive for 2010

FLAT OUT

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

The 62nd Annual Bonneville Speed Week

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

There are few places on Earth like the Bonneville Salt Flats. The first time that you step out onto the salt, the first thing that hits you is how immense the place is. There are mountains bordering the western edge, but when looking to the north and east, the flat, white expanse seems to go on forever. It’s been said that the salt actually extends, albeit under dirt, all the way to the Great Salt Lake, which is over 100 miles to the east.

For over 60 years, speed enthusiasts have stood on that salt and eyed the far away horizon, then they have strapped themselves into their vehicles, some stock and some specially built, pointed them at that horizon and then pushed that vehicle and themselves to the limit. If you asked 50 different competitors why they do it, you will probably get 50 different answers. Some may say it’s for the glory, or the notoriety or even for the thrill of literally laying your life on the line, but we think that the reason is simple: the quest for speed, and to be acknowledged as the fastest person on earth.

Located just outside Wendover, Utah/West Wendover, Nev. (we’ll explain later), the salt is like nowhere else in the world; not in terms of geology but of one of potential fun. Lakes racing is flat out, old-time fun and thousands of racers descended upon Bonneville Salt Flat International Raceway on August 14-20, 2010 for the 62nd Bonneville Speed Week. Put on by the SCTA, Speed Week is a ritual of fast times, good times and seemingly endless time waiting around for open lanes and other competitors to get moving.

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SUNDAY DRIVE

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Unleashing Your Inner Racer

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

Have you ever watched a NASCAR race and thought, “I could do that.” Now you can, at least you can strap yourself into a real racecar and take to a real racetrack for some hot laps.

Recently, I was asked to attend a driving class at the new Irwindale raceway (Technically speaking, it’s the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale) where the L.A. Racing Experience, will put you into an actual racecar and let you loose on the banked ½-mile track.

The first step is a classroom session where the instructor, in this case David Bremer, went over the do’s and don’ts of driving a ½-mile track, including how not to put the car into the wall. Bremer is an active racer who has taken many driving classes himself so he knows what to say and what is important for beginning drivers to know. He and the entire L.A. Racing crew stressed safety, how to keep out of the wall, what to do if the radio failed and how to pass and be passed.

Once the classroom stuff was over, Bremer took us out to the paddock where he showed us how to get in and out of the car (Don’t laugh. It’s not all that easy to get into a fully caged car when the doors don’t open) as well as the startup procedure for the cars and various other things. After that, they took us to the track where they gave us driving suits (which come in L, XL and thankfully, “Editor”), full faced helmets and told us which car to get into. They have shifter and automatic cars, so there isn’t a problem if you don’t have good shifting skills, just choose the automatic version. After that, it was onto the track to run some hot laps. Needless to say, I had fun.

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19 AND COUNTING

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Text and Photos by Tony Thacker

It’s hard to believe but the crew here at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, Pomona, California, is already hard at work preparing for the 19th NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.

Scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 15-17 at the famed Auto Club Famoso Raceway just north of Bakersfield, California, the Reunion is a three-day festival of nostalgic drag racing, hot rods, “Ameri-car-na” and heroes. From dragster builders to drag strip kings, this year’s group of Reunion honorees played a major role in the early days of drag racing. Heading the bill is Grand Marshal Tom Hanna. Renowned for his metal-shaping skills, Tom is perhaps best known for hand forming the station wagon body on Tommy Ivo’s four-engine “Show Boat” and countless full-bodied dragsters.

Joining Tom as this year’s honorees are Super Stock and Pro Stock pioneer Bill Bagshaw, renowned chassis builder Don Long and Al “Mousie” Marcellus of “Winged Express” fame. Also on the line is all around hot rodder Tom Prufer who began the whole nostalgia drag racing movement in the early ‘80s with the formation of the Nostalgia Drag Racing Association. Finally we have the formidable Arizona duo of Steinegger and Eshenbaugh—together since the ‘50s and still racing.

These guys will be on hand with dozens of other hot rod heroes to relive the glory days of quarter-mile, front-engine drag racing. The Reunion also sees the finals of the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series so you know the track action will be hot ‘n heavy. Besides some amazing drag racing, there’s a huge swap meet full of hard-to-find parts and memorabilia that you can touch and feel, unlike buying over the Internet. There’s a midway with almost 100 vendors selling everything from hairdos to hard parts, and there’s a great car show in Famoso Grove. If you only do one event this year, this is it.

Tickets for the California Hot Rod Reunion go on sale June 17, and early birds receive the benefit of a goody bag complete with souvenir program, dash plaque and a commemorative event credential. Auto Club members receive an admission discount. Children 16 and under are free.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://store.nhra.com/ or by calling 800.884.NHRA (6472); outside the U.S. call 626.250.2497.  For information on upcoming museum events and attractions, go to http://museum.nhra.com (http://museum NULL.nhra NULL.com).

NEW PRODUCTS

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Performance Distributors has applied their ignition expertise to the popular ZZ series of crate engines with their new ZZ crate engine D.U.I. distributor. This new D.U.I. (Davis Unified Ignition) is specifically designed for the ZZ-4, ZZ-454 and the ZZ-502, and calibrates the advance curve to accommodate the GM Performance Catalog’s timing recommendations. The distributor comes complete, including the Street/Strip D.U.I. coil and Dyna-Module, which allows plug gaps to be opened up to .050-.055-inch. The ZZ crate engine D.U.I. is now available nationally. Performance Distributors 901.396.5782 www.performancedistributors.com

Mooneyes The famous Mooneyes half-sweep tachometer is available again in a no-logo version. This tachometer is identical to the company’s MPG5000TM, only it doesn’t have the Mooneyes logo on its face. Last offered in 2002, these tachometers (P/N MPG5000T) come with a chrome cup and all of the necessary hardware and brackets and simple four-wire hookup makes it easy to mount it to your column or dash. Mooneyes 800.547.5422 www.mooneyesusa.com

S.A.R. Steve’s Auto Restorations has been selling deck lids for 1933-34 roadsters, coupes and cabriolets for well over 10 years. Their die-stamped deck lids are one of the hottest selling items from the S.A.R. Real Steel lineup. In the manufacturing world, tooling wears out over time, which affects the overall quality of the final stamped product. In an effort to continually provide the highest level of quality, S.A.R. has improved and revived its deck lid dies. The edges and corners are now sharper and more precise, which allows for improved fit and finish. The use of electroplated steel has been incorporated to provide protection from the elements and is particularly important when dealing with pinched seams and inner structural pieces that cannot be coated with primer. S.A.R. offers the full deck lid assembly in either trunk or rumble seat configurations or simply the outer skin to fit your specific needs. Louvered options are also available with five rows of 20 or their ever-popular Salt Flat Special, which features seven rows of 23. In addition, S.A.R. offers three different louver styles to choose from and can punch any custom pattern you may need. Steve’s Auto Restorations 503.665.2222 www.stevesautorestorations.com.

BMR Fabrication Protect your fifth gen Camaro while complying with NHRA safety rules with a driveshaft safety loop from BMR Fabrication. Constructed from NHRA-legal, 1/4-inch steel plate, the driveshaft safety loop is cheap insurance to protect your investment and provide peace-of-mind whether you are at the track or on the street. The BMR driveshaft safety loop (P/N DSL014) is for use with manual transmission vehicles and bolts on by utilizing supplied Grade 8 hardware. Available in black hammer tone or red powder coat. BMR Fabrication 813.986.8055 www.bmrfabrication.com

Clay Smith Bringing history to the forefront, Clay Smith offers this T-shirt depicting the original design created and worn by George "Honker" Striegel as he stormed the circle boat racing world, breaking records and winning championships. It’s available in sizes S–XXL. Clay Smith 800.454.7999 www.claysmithcams.com

Proform Parts Got a cool machine that runs hit? This rugged Profrom 15-inch universal fan (P/N 141-647) is equipped with a 180/240-degree adjustable thermostat. Equipped with a heavy-duty motor, highly angled blades and 15-inch diameter, this fan pulls up to 2,800-cfm of air, functions as a fan shroud, plus it only draws 14 amps to get the job done. Not only will it keep the engine running cool, it will give you back up to 15 hp consumed by the parasitic effect of the stock fan. This Bow Tie logo fan bolts to your radiator core support using sturdy brackets and installs with normal hand tools. Proform/Specialty Auto Parts 586.774.2500 www.proformparts.com

Roush Performance Roush Performance introduces a new Phased R2300 ROUSHcharger lineup that allows the growth of horsepower and torque through the life of the unit. Owners can start at a base Phase 1 level and grow to Phase 2, and finally Phase 3 as time, budget and desire allows. Roush will offer several variations for 2005-10 Mustangs in both single-belt and dual-belt configurations that allows the buyer to choose a core system and the starting horsepower level. Each of the new Phased R2300 ROUSHchargers comes with a Roush calibration, something Roush has not previously offered. All of the Phased R2300 ROUSHchargers come with an air-to-water intercooler, and there is a 90-day, parts-only warranty. The Phased R2300 ROUSHcharger line is currently available for order via the ROUSH toll-free phone number only. The kits are expected to begin shipping in mid-June. Roush 800.59.ROUSH www.roushperformance.com

California Pony Cars California Pony Cars now offers this high-performance C Servo piston and cover kit that improves the action of the 1966 high performance C4 automatic transmission thanks to a slightly larger than standard piston diameter. The piston and cover unit replaces the standard “A” unit without any modifications, and the kit includes all gaskets and seals (including pan gasket). Cal Pony Cars 888.225.7669 www.calponycars.com

FRANKENSLED

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

This Vic is More Than the Sum of Her Parts

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

Right from the very beginning in the long history of customizing, swapping out parts from car to another is what this crazy idea is all about. From the Barris Bros. to Blackie Gejeian to the new crew of Roy Brizio and others, putting the dash, front end or lights from one car onto another is just one way to make what you have different from all the others. Keeping that tradition alive is Alan Wrublevski with his ‘53 Ford Victoria.

This Vicky has been through more changes than Sybil during a bad week. It now features a 1954 Desoto grille to go along with the 1955 Chevy headlights, while the hood corners were given a nice radius. Moving further back, all emblems and trim have been removed to give the car a nice smooth appearance. Shaved door handles added to (or maybe we should say, removed from) the smooth appearance. It’s an unwritten rule that sleds need something to be frenched, and antennas are an age-old favorite. But where one might suffice, this Ford has twin antennas frenched into the rear quarter panel. All of the customizing came to an end, literally, with the addition of taillights from a 1955 Oldsmobile.

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WEEKEND UPDATE

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Installing a B&B Serpentine Belt System and a U.S. Radiator Aluminum Radiator

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

It’s been said that it’s better to look good than to feel good, but what if you want to have both? That analogy especially works with how your engine looks. Everyone wants to have their mill looking good, but it has to work well, too. And as if that weren’t enough, nobody wants to spend all weekend bolting on new parts when they could be out cruisin’. That’s why for our first installment of “Weekend Update,” we are featuring the installation of a B&B Street Rods serpentine belt system and an aluminum radiator from U.S. Radiator.

We wanted to showcase easy-to-install items that have a big impact, and there may be no better place to start than with the engine. The highly polished B&B Street Rods serpentine belt system is a thing of beauty. It’s fully CAD designed and CAD machined, and is very easy to install. If you have the mechanical ability to bolt on a water pump, then you can install this unit. The system incorporates an A/C pump, one-wire alternator, power steering pump, water pump and belt tensioner into a package that’s a snap to install. Though it appears to be one piece, the A/C pump and alternator are housed in the main frame, while the water pump, P/S pump and tensioner are separate. That makes it easy for those not intending to use the P/S pump, as was the case with this engine. The design keeps everything close together and tidy, and thanks to the polished finish, it looks great, too. And the best part is that Ken Biggs builds every one of them in the USA.

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LEGENDS OF RIVERSIDE II

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The man of the hour: the one and only Carroll Shelby.

Carroll Shelby Gets His Due

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

A legend is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “A story coming down from the past; a person or thing that inspires legends.”

On March 26-28, 2010, the Legends of Riverside II Film Festival and Legends Gala took place at the Riverside International Automotive Museum in Riverside, California. This year’s honoree was racer, team owner, car builder and certifiable legend, Carroll Shelby. Surrounded by friends, racers and former competitors, Shelby held court, answering questions about his winning days at Le Mans, SCCA and designing and building his iconic Cobra cars.

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SPRING FLING XXIV

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

A Full Weekend of Fun

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

Billing itself as the “Largest Mopar show and parts exchange west of the Mississippi,” the Spring Fling XXIV returned to Woodley Park in Van Nuys, California, on April 17-18, 2010. When the cars finally settled at Woodley, there were over 500 of them—523, to be exact—with 41 exhibitors and a whopping 272 swap meet vendors selling everything from HEMIs to hot dogs.

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SPRINGTIME FUN

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The Goodguys 28th All-American Get-Together

Text and Photos by David Fetherston

It’s amazing how smoothly the Goodguys shows do run! Walk in or drive in, and the place is organized and well set out, even though it’s packed with over 3,000 hot rods, customs and trucks. The two-day All-American Get-Together, held this year on March 27-28, is one of the few shows that mix virtually any form of modified, custom or stock vehicle.

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Bottom End Basics

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Installing a Crank and Rods the JMC Way

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

We have all heard that engine builders are a breed apart. They’re guys who lock themselves away in “clean rooms” with a multitude of parts and tools and wear lab coats; they build the mysterious apparatus known as the internal combustion engine.

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