The ARP/STREET RODDER Syracuse Nationals Week Road Tour Begins

The Road Tour has been coming to the Syracuse Nationals in New York for the past 10 years. As was the case with most of the early Road Tours, we usually started the week at a distant location. We would then spend the next five days traveling and arrive in Syracuse on Thursday in time for the start of the event. This year we decided to try something different. After talking to the folks at the Right Coast Association we decided that there was so much to do in Syracuse and the surrounding Central New York area that we could spend the entire week leading up the event right in Syracuse. We put together a great week of daytrips and things are getting off on the right foot.


We had a meet and greet cookout on Sunday night. The credentials, itineraries and goodies were handed out and the plans for the week were discussed. Monday morning we rolled out at 8 a.m. with plenty of sunshine and beautiful blue skies. Our destination of Norwich, New York, and the Northeast Classic Car Museum was a beautiful 90-minute drive through the rolling green hills of Central New York. We have visited the Northeast Classic Car Museum on a number of previous tours. With over 170 vehicles on display there is always something to see. Starting with the auto collection of local resident George Staley the museum is home to some of the most unusual classic vehicles in the country. Most of the cars are in excellent restored condition. Another of the unique features at the museum is the display of period-correct clothing that shows the styles from the era of the cars on display. It was a great morning at the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich. Be sure to check out our Facebook Live posts and the video we shot during our visit.

From Norwich it was another beautiful drive to Marcy, New York, near Utica. Dave Tucci and his family have welcomed the Road Tours to their shop many times over the past years. It is always a treat to see the fantastic projects underway at Tucci’s Hot Rods. Besides the vehicles that are in progress it was a real thrill to see the 1939 GMC pickup truck that Dave and crew built almost 20 years ago. It was a trend-setting vehicle and really put the Tucci name on a nationwide stage. We were also able to see Dave Sr.’s very cool expresso machine made like a V-8 engine. Some delicious pastries topped off our visit. The Tuccis are a great family and some of the most talented builders in our hobby.

Many of us wrapped up our Monday with a visit to the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse. It was a fantastic first day and we are just getting started. Be sure to follow our adventures all week on the ARP/STREET RODDERRoad Tour presented by Chevrolet Performance.


Posted in Interesting Stuff

Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II That Got Its Owner Into the 150mph Club At Bonneville

Michael Callahan from Cincinnati, Ohio, always dreamed about going to Bonneville with a street car and getting into the 150MPH Club. Or should we say, drive a car to Bonneville, make his passes, and then drive home. A few years ago he got into the 130MPH Club with a 1999 Ford Crown Vic that was a Bondurant Driving School car set up by Jack Roush with a 1999 Mustang Cobra valve train. He got into the club with it, but he knew it couldn’t go 150mph, and you know that higher speeds are addicting. After he retired from the printing business the search for a 150mph street car commenced. He wasn’t after any specific car, with his parameters being for something he could easily modify aerodynamically, and performance-wise too. In 2015 he found the car he thought would work for sale in California, this 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. It hit him that this would be the perfect type of production car to make an attempt for his dream.

Cyclone Spoiler IIs were originally made to fight the aero wars in NASCAR, where a 500-production run available to the general public was necessary to homologate the cars for racing.  In all 503 were said to have been built, all with 351 Windsor engines, C4 automatics, and all painted white with either blue or red accents. What made it such a perfect Bonneville car was the factory aero aids almost hidden from a standard Cyclone. The noses were extended about six-inches and lowered, and a flush grille was added. Ford Torino Talladegas were built in a similar fashion. The front bumpers were modified rear bumpers, V’d in the center, and capped to help aero. Also, the rockers were modified to roll into the frame higher; to cheat the NASCAR rules stating stock ride heights determined minimum racing heights. NASCAR measured at the rockers, so if they are higher the car can be lower, for a lower center of gravity and better aero. Get it?

Rumors over the years have speculated that actually only 351 Cyclone Spoiler IIs were built, and that Mercury assembled “503” Spoiler IIs as verification for NASCAR, with the cars further back of the assemblage actually being standard Wimbleton White Cyclones. Supposedly NASCAR didn’t notice the difference when doing a quick count.

What Michael got when he bought the Merc was a modified Spoiler, set up basically like you see it here. Painted a non-stock black, it also has a 1970 stock block 351ci Cleveland with 4bbl heads and single 750 Holley, hooked to a wide ratio Top Loader 4-speed trans. Out back a 2.75 Detroit Locker rear also got Michael a few steps closer to Bonneville. So the mods and improvements sealed the deal and he drove it home from Torrance, California, with a list of things to fix with every mile driven. Over the last two years of ownership Michael has made substantial small fixes and improvements to ready the car for its salt assault, but the mods made by previous owners proved to be well executed, saving Michael both time and money from his original plan to change out the engine and driveline for something more substantial. He lucked out.

Some ply the salt of Bonneville to build a better mousetrap in any number of classes to break that category’s top speed, and the pride and sense of accomplishment that goes with beating a standing record. But you can also choose to achieve a personal best by picking a speed and then attempting to hit it. No categories, no record breaking attempts, just setting a series of parameters and then pursuing your own private conquest. For Michael that meant driving to Bonneville, hopefully exceeding the 150mph magic mark, and then driving home. Speeds are determined by making a pass on the 2½ mile course, then making a return pass within a certain time, and averaging the two speeds.

Michael’s changes to meet SCTA specs to race the course included a 4-point roll bar, driveshaft loop, V-rated tires, 5-point harness and seat brace, and a handful of other additions. When he put it on a chassis dyno a few other changes were deemed necessary to surpass 150mph at Bonneville. Beehive valve springs with titanium retainers were added, an Edelbrock air-gap intake replaced the single plane manifold, 16-inch rear wheels were added to gain speed, an aluminum driveshaft replaced the clunky original, and many minor changes were made to the Holley. But keep in mind that this car runs a mechanical fuel pump, stock pistons, rods and bottom end. With those changes the Merc ran 168mph simulated on the chassis dyno at 5900rpm.

As for the car’s road manners, it’s been driven thousands of mile to different events including the Aero Warriors event in Talladega, Alabama. It’s tight, squeak free, and surprisingly docile on the open highway and around town. No bump and clang, squeaky urethane suspension, or microwave interior manners. It’s that perfect combo of sitting right, looking and performing well, and 4-speed fun to drive.

After all of the thrashing to prepare it for its maiden runs on the salt the 2015 Bonneville meet was rained out, so the wait began for 2016. When it finally arrived Michael drove the Spoiler 1800 miles to Bonneville. Getting there for Tech Day, he passed tech and the next day ran 154mph on his first pass, with a backup pass of 153mph, making it into the 150MPH Club no problem. This was done with windshield wipers and side mirrors, the tune he drove it to Bonneville with, and a mix of 91 octane gas the car had for the trip to Utah, and some 100 octane gas he picked up on the course. He told us the passes were exhilarating, except for the skating on the salt surface as speeds increased. For that you need some mental and physical restraint. If you don’t back off and don’t over correct, you’re positioned to complete the pass short of breaking a part. Backing off or slowing down induces the car to swap ends. If you turn the steering wheel too much one way or the other to try to correct for the skating, you can also swap ends or lose control. Your best reaction is to stay on the gas, and read the feedback the car gives to determine whether you need to correct steering or just forge ahead. Michael settled in and forged.

When he’s telling the story it seems so simple; just drive your street car to Bonneville from Cincy, go 150mph, and then drive home. Of course we know that any effort like this required plenty of planning, thought, time and money. Still, Michael got into the Cyclone really reasonably, and though he expected he might have to rebuild the engine and do other major mods, it ended up being one of those happy ending stories that greased the skids to fulfilling one of the most improbable dreams a hot rod enthusiast could have. Congrats to Michael and to his murdered out Cyclone Spoiler II.

Deception and speed were what led to the limited production, wind cheating 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler IIs. 502 were produced to homologate them for NASCAR racing, as the sanctioning body required a minimum of 500 cars be made available to the general public to be eligible to race in the NASCAR series. Michael Callahan’s Cyclone was built for a completely different purpose.
Cyclone Spoiler II noses were extended about six-inches and dropped to help increase aerodynamic flow and downforce. A flush grille was also utilized, which is the easiest way to identify these rare Cyclone’s from their more pedestrian brethren. Callahan added the spoiler below the bumper to avoid lift from air running under the bumper.
All Cyclone Spoiler IIs came with small block Fords. When Callahan purchased his, it already had this stock block 1970 351ci Cleveland engine, along with a wide ratio 4-speed Top Loaders and Detroit Locker rear. All were built well and required only limited refinement to satisfy Callahan’s mission. He added an Edelbrock Air Gap intake, and made minor changes to the 750 Holley carb, along with upgrading to beehive valve springs and titanium spring retainers.
Left mainly as it came from Mercury, Callahan did swap out a no-name racing seat and 5-point harness, and built a roll bar per SCTA regulations for the 150mph attempt. Callahan says reading the requirements and following them before landing at Bonneville made for an easy tech inspection. Riding in the Mercury it lacks the rattles and bangs typical of this era car, instead expressing a tight but firm attitude on the highway.
From the rear it’s hard to tell this is no ordinary Cyclone. Many came with goofy rear wings for show, but Michael’s rear spoiler mimics those found on NASCAR racecars, to aid in added downforce for better traction on the oval. Cyclones shared the same basic body as 1969 Ford Torinos, and came only in white with either blue Dan Gurney stripes or red Cale Yarborough stripes. There were no options.
Though a bit hard to see on a black car, another factory modification made to all Cyclone Spoiler IIs was the raised rockers, done not for an aero advantage per se, but rather done when NASCAR measured minimum heights, measured at the rockers. By raising them the car could race lower than non-Spoiler IIs and Torinos, aiding in lowering the center of gravity and also lessening potential lift.
A closer look reveals a sloping hood, longer fenders, and flush grille, all modifications done by Mercury to help cheat the wind. Front bumpers were actually rear bumpers that were V’d and had their ends modified to tuck in and capped to close off the transition from bumper to sheet metal for better aero.
Callahan added to roll bar per SCTA requirements for a 150mph attempt. This plus the Monte Carlo bar in the engine compartment between the shock towers make for a solid car on the highway. Mostly the interior is stock Mercury, which remains taxicab simple.

Posted in Interesting Stuff

Check out this 67 Camaro Pro Tour build

Check out this 67 Camaro Pro Tour build in our Tamrazs.Rocks Photo Contest!

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Bob and Shirley Sproul’s Candy-Coated Dream Machine

Sometimes life’s most simple accomplishments are the ones that make the most impact, regardless of how old you are. For Bob Sproul of Norton, Kansas, he recalls that moment like it was yesterday. Growing up on a farm in a small community he was destined to follow in the family footsteps, which meant tending to daily chores and learning a basic understanding of mechanical operations. It was at age 7 that he was given his first chance to drive one of the family tractors, which immediately inspired him to learn as much as he could about them.

As the years moved on through the late ’50s his regular ride to high school became a 1949 Ford pickup with a straight-six for power. With school being 15 miles away he would often race his friends on the back roads, always trying to beat the kid with a Flathead V-8, till one day he threw a rod through the block on the pickup while trying. Other cars soon followed, as he’d live life through his cars when not studying and tending to his farm assignments. Bob became a devoted Ford owner, having earned keys to a number of them, including a 1958 Ford, 1964 Galaxie 500, and 1969 Mustang (both powered by 390ci V-8s). Weekend cruising and racing became a regular occurrence as well as watching dirt track racing at Elmwood Park Speedway and helping crew for a friend’s race team.

As the years passed he met his lovely wife, Shirley, who also shared his passion for vintage Fords. While he continued farming wheat and corn, he also kept busy working on a number of projects in his collection, including Fords from the ’20s-’60s. While deciding on what project to take on next, he thought it would be cool if he could locate a 1949 Ford to celebrate the year Shirley was born. He always remembered the fun he had with his first pickup truck racing to and from school and thought this model would be perfect for Shirley. He began his search, wanting something turnkey so she could enjoy it right away. After scouring a number of national ads, he located a nice, running 1949 Ford F-100 and decided to make a deal on it. Shirley was thrilled with the hauler, but the more they studied it proved it was time to make changes to bring it to another level. Having frequented national events for years they were very familiar with the custom trucks rolling out of Dynamic Rides in Kearney, Nebraska. The pair met with shop owner Randy Lofquist who shared many of their ideas on what it would take to make the truck truly bitchin’. This would entail a complete teardown, multiple upgrades, and a complete color change. Before long the truck was delivered and the team got busy.

The original chassis was disassembled, blasted clean, and treated to custom crossmembers, for starters. Out back a rock-solid Ford 9-inch rear was packed with Moser Engineering 31-spline axles linked to 3.55:1 gears to transfer the power to the pavement. It was suspended in place by a pair of stock leaf springs with three leaves removed per side accented by NAPA gas-charged tube shocks. To set a wicked stance and add plenty of great handling up front a 1972 Camaro IFS was grafted in place, featuring stock upper and lower control arms deftly matched to cut-down coils and NAPA gas-charged tube shocks. When the need to cut speed comes, a Corvette-style dual power master pushes juice through steel lines to Ford drums out back and GM 11-inch vented discs wearing two-piston calipers up front. Nothing sets the cool factor better than a set of 17-inch front and 18-inch rear Budnik Muroc II wheels capped with Toyo Proxes rubber to nail it all down.

Remembering back to his high school days where cubic inches ruled the back streets, nothing spoke louder than a Ford V-8. To bring the truck to life a 1971 Ford 429ci big-block was refreshed with a stock crank and rods linked to a set of hypereutectic pistons and given a heavy thump from a COMP cam. Up top a set of massaged factory heads breathe deep through an Edelbrock Performer RPM dual plane intake topped with a matching Edelbrock 600-cfm carb. There’s plenty of dazzling details on the engine, including a set of highly polished Ford Performance valve covers with matching air cleaner, Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine system, and lots of attention to detail. An MSD Pro-Billet distributor adds spark while stock exhaust manifolds move spent gases through a custom 2-1/2-inch steel exhaust accented by Flowmaster mufflers. The goods all move rearward through a modified Ford C6 trans from Heartland Transmission of Kearney to a custom steel driveshaft.

After stripping the vintage steel clean it was a perfect time to address any areas in need of repair to make it all factory-fresh. The team at Dynamic Rides, including Randy, Dustin Maxson, and Sean Kerby, then got busy adding a number of custom updates, which included filling the front fenders, shaving the doors, smooth running boards, adding a one-piece windshield, Hagan fuel door, rear rollpan with flush Hagan taillights, and recessed license plate area. A fresh Dan Carpenter’s Specialties bed and tailgate completed the sheetmetal along with a classic oak bed floor. To give the truck its signature vibrance, Bob and Shirley had Randy blend up a custom Axalta blue pearl. Randy then loaded his spray gun and laid down a mile-deep vibe to bring it all to life.

To give the truck plenty of allure to match the exterior, the dash was filled, painted, and treated to a billet panel filled with VDO instruments to monitor the vitals. Vintage Air fills the cabin with cool breezes while a Billet Specialties steering wheel navigates the road and gears move through a column shifter. The team then installed an American Autowire harness to link everything together. For plenty of comfort Winchester Trim Shop of Kearney worked their magic on a modified Ford Ranger bench covering it with gray Ultraleather along with accenting modified Rod Doors side panels and console. They wrapped it all up with complementing Mercedes square-weave charcoal gray carpeting. This is one truck that isn’t gathering any dust as Bob and Shirley have been putting down the miles ever since being handed the keys!

Facts & Figures

Frame: Stock with custom crossmembers
Rearend / Ratio: Ford 9-inch / 3.55:1
Rear Suspension: Leaf springs, Napa gas shocks
Rear Brakes: Ford drum
Front Suspension: 1972 Camaro IFS with lowered coil springs, NAPA gas shocks
Front Brakes: GM 11-inch vented disc with two-piston calipers
Steering Box: GM power steering
Front Wheels: Budnik Muroc II 17×8
Rear Wheels: Budnik Muroc II 18×9
Front Tires: Toyo Proxes P235/60R17
Rear Tires: Toyo Proxes P255/60R18
Gas Tank: Stock

Engine: Ford 429ci V-8
Heads: Stock, massaged
Valve Covers: Ford Performance
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM dual plane / Edelbrock 600 cfm
Ignition: MSD Pro-Billet
Headers: Stock
Exhaust / Mufflers: 2 1/2-inch steel / Flowmaster
Transmission: Ford C6 by Heartland Transmission, Kearney, NE
Shifter: Column-style

Style: Pickup truck
Modifications: Filled front fenders, two-wider rear fenders, smooth running boards, one-piece windshield, shaved doors, rear roll pan with recessed license plate and custom taillights, Hagan fuel door
Fenders Front / Rear: Stock / Stock, widened 2 inches
Hood: Stock
Grille; Stock, chrome
Bodywork and Paint by: Dynamic Rides, Kearney, NE
Paint Type / Color: Axalta Custom Blue Pearl
Headlights / Taillights: Halogen / Hagan flush-mount
Outside Mirrors: Peep style
Bumpers: Stock chrome front / rear roll pan

Dashboard: Stock, filled
Gauges: VDO
Air Conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Kenwood / Sony
Steering Wheel: Billet Specialties
Steering Column: GM tilt
Seats: Modified Ford Ranger
Upholstery by: Winchester Trim Shop, Kearney, NE
Material / Color: Ultraleather / Gray
Carpet: Charcoal square-weave

Posted in Ford, Interesting Stuff, Truck

Enter your car photo into our http://ow.

Enter your car photo into our Summer Photo Contest!

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Don’t miss our July 4th Discount – 10%

Don’t miss our July 4th Discount – 10% OFF Store and Phone orders until July 10th!

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How Tuned, Equal-Length Headers Improve Performance

When an engine’s exhaust valve opens, there are two distinct movements within the exhaust pipe. The first is the pressure movement of the shock wave that is generated by the violent expansion of hot exhaust gas past the valve. This shock wave propagates through the gas in the pipe at a speed of 1,300–2,000 ft/sec. The second movement is that of the exhaust-gas slug itself as it travels from the cylinder to the end of the pipe. The speed at which this slug travels is determined by the exhaust pipe’s cross-sectional area and the engine’s piston speed, but is usually about 200–300 ft/sec at the engine speed where maximum power is produced.

When the shock wave reaches the pipe’s open end and passes into the atmosphere, a rarefaction, or low-pressure wave, is reflected back up the pipe. If the pipe length is correctly adjusted, at a given engine speed this reflected low-pressure wave will arrive back at the exhaust valve during the valve overlap period when both the intake and exhaust valves are open, in theory completely scavenging the cylinder of any residual gasses.

Formulas exist to figure out the proper dimensions for a given application, but they’re based on laboratory work under ideal conditions. For example, it’s possible to determine theoretically the proper primary-tube length to develop max torque at a given engine rpm, but such an optimized configuration for any given speed may not produce the best overall results at other speeds (that is, yield the most area under the curve). Nevertheless, there are generally accepted header design principles; we’ll get into them next month.


Whatever the books and formulas may tell you, the exhaust pipes still need to fit in the chassis! This 180-degree header set is under fabrication for a 383ci Ford Cleveland-based small-block with Yates heads installed in a 1972 mid-engined Pantera.
Posted in Drivetrain, How To, Interesting Stuff, Restoration Tips