Cool Paint Techniques – 1968 Camaro

1968 Chevy Camaro View Full Gallery

Graphics are the easiest way set your car apart from the rest and give it a vibe all its own. Of course, it’s also the easiest way to ruin an otherwise great paintjob. We’re not talking tacky designs, but instead incorrect technique that results in wavy lines, bad edges, and asymmetrical designs that weren’t planned to be that way. Trust us, if Side A doesn’t mirror Side B, everyone will notice and all your hard work will be for naught.

1968 Chevy Camaro Paint 2/22

We wanted our 1968 Chevy Camaro project, Track Rat, to have a unique personality, but let’s be honest, given how many Camaros have been churned out, that’s no easy task. To help us out, we contacted artist Ben Hermance and rolled our ideas through his cranium. The result led to a kick-ass rendering that has been our template for the entire project. To turn his flat rendering into 3D reality, we hit up Best of Show Coach Works in Escondido, California, to lay down the paint. Aside from stripes, we also wanted to tackle a few other graphic tricks. We used lettering to emblazon our Anvil Auto rear spoiler with carbon-fiber lettering. A stencil let us add some fighter plane inspired art to the door and the car’s logo, or tattoo, was added to the lower front fenders then buried in clear. It’s these little details that can turn another nicely painted Camaro into a real head turner that will never get lost in a crowd.

01. The main panels were shot off the car, but to lay down the graphics, Best of Show’s Jon Lindstrom had to assemble the car and get all the gaps right. This way, when the car is finally put together, all the stripes will line up. Here, he adjusts the hood catch on the Anvil Auto carbon-fiber hood.

1968 Chevy Camaro Hood 3/22

02. Using 3M waterborne-compatible ¼-inch vinyl tape (PN 06404), Jon started laying out the stripes designed by artist Ben Hermance. It’s not hard, but it does require a steady hand and a good eye. The proportions of the Camaro in our rendering are more artistic, and as such, it made it tricky to bring them into the real world.

1968 Chevy Camaro Pinstripes 4/22

03. Even a well-trained eye needs a little help from a measuring stick. Jon used a special pencil that doesn’t leave residue (available at paint supply stores), to make guide marks before laying down the tape.

1968 Chevy Camaro Hood Guide 5/22

04. He then used the marks to lay down the lower edge of the red accent stripe.

1968 Chevy Camaro Hood 6/22

05. Here you get an idea of how the red accent stripe is accomplished. Once the horizontal and vertical lines are laid out perpendicular to each other, Jon then connected them with the curved corner pieces. The excess was trimmed away with a small razor knife.

1968 Chevy Camaro Hood 7/22

06. The fender hash stripes were laid out in the same manner. Lines were ran and then the unneeded sections cut away with a knife.

1968 Chevy Camaro Fender Hash 8/22

07. Here you can see how the red hash stripe will blend to the red accent stripe that borders the exposed carbon-fiber stripe. Before painting, Jon will run a piece of tape down the middle of where the two pieces of tape abut (red arrow). This will ensure that no red will end up in that area.

1968 Chevy Camaro 9/22

08. Jon then started masking and papering off all the areas that didn’t need red paint. The first step was using 3M Highland ¾-inch masking tape (PN 2727).

1968 Chevy Camaro Masking 10/22

09. Eventually, this was the final result.

1968 Chevy Camaro Masking 11/22

10. Just like our blue basecoat, the red accent stripe is Axalta (formerly DuPont) Cromax Pro waterborne paint. The color was picked from the Atlas color chart and is shade CAS1031.

Dupont Cromax Pro Atlas Red 12/22

11. Jon then started laying down the red paint. The Axalta paint uses a wet-on-wet process, so there was no need to let it set between coats. Unlike the blue, the red required quite a few coats—four to be precise, to get full coverage.

1968 Chevy Camaro Hood 13/22

12. We let the red completely dry overnight before pulling off the tape. This was imperative since the red needed to be masked over so we could shoot the blue. It also ensured a very clean edge when the 3M vinyl tape was pulled off.

1968 Chevy Camaro Removing 14/22

13. And here it is masked off so we can shoot the blue Axalta waterborne paint. The key is to take your time and triple-check to ensure everything is covered that you don’t want painted. Make a mistake and you could end up redoing a large chunk of the project!

1968 Chevy Camaro 15/22

14. Jon then laid down the Axalta waterborne paint. Because we didn’t use the value shaded sealer (since we wanted to use as little paint as possible to keep the edge low) it took almost three full coats to get complete coverage.

Axalta Cromax Pro Blue 16/22

15. To show off some carbon fiber on the back of the car, we used vinyl lettering from Scott Miller at Swifty Sign in Rancho Cucamonga, California, to mask off part of the Anvil Auto rear spoiler.

Vinyl Lettering 17/22

16. This should help people know who they’re chasing.

Vinyl Lettering Camaro 18/22

17. Scott also made us this cool nose art based on Ben Hermance’s artwork. Our other option would have been to have the art painted on the car, but that would have been quite “spendy” and a challenge to work into the schedule. Scott used a very high-quality vinyl, and as a bonus, it wasn’t any thicker than paint would have been, which made it easy to bury in the clear. Best of Show’s Dick Kvamme worked his sticker magic to get it on the car free of bubbles.

Track Rat 19/22

18. To add a little fun to the project, we came up with a little graphic for the driver-side door. Not many people will get the five cones (with one dumped over) reference, but the ones that do should get a chuckle out of it. For the paint, we just added a little black Axalta paint (left over from Black Betty’s hood) to the blue we were already shooting. If you want to buy these stencils or stickers for your already-painted ride, contact Scott and he can print you off some.

1968 Chevy Camaro 20/22

19. Before shooting the clear, all the panels were wiped down with wax/grease remover and then gone over with a tack rag.

1968 Chevy Camaro 21/22

20. The first of four coats of Axalta clear (PN LE8700S and LE1007S) was then laid down on the Camaro. Let’s just say we’re pretty damn happy and anxious to get this car on the road!

1968 Chevy Camaro Clear 22/22
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Posted in General Motors, Restoration Tips

Need to repaint a fiberglass bumper?!

How To Paint Fiberglass Bumpers

Our 1971 Dodge Demon project car started out as a back-halved roller we found on Craigslist in 2011, and we have been adding power and deleting weight to make it faster, easier on parts, and overall more fun to look at ever since. For giggly speed, JMS Racing Engines helped us with the twin-turbo Hemi. For epic paint, Danny from Elite Restoration added the Blue Fire base, then The Harpoon, from SoCal, added the killer 1960s-era graphics. Mike at Bullet Fab constructed the bumper mounts and fiber glassed them in place, and in the process, drilled some holes in our temporary, silver, rattle-can paint job.

Now is the time to fix that. Danny from Elite shows us how:

Dodge Demon Bumper Paint 2/8

To get these bumpers to look great and be durable, a two-stage or basecoat-clearcoat paint system was used. The color is Kosmic Krome silver, an effect paint that can be used with other colors or for small jobs like this one as a base.

Dodge Demon Base Primer 3/8

Like all paint jobs, beauty comes from the proper use of primer and sandpaper. The bumpers were primed with A-Chromatic LV Sealer, then sanded with 320-grit paper, resealed, and sanded again with 400- then 600-grit paper to take out the scratches.

Paint And SATA Gun 4/8

After cleaning the sealer with a tack cloth, the House of Kolor Kosmic Krome Mirror Effect paint was sprayed using a fine tip on a SATA Jet 3000 paint gun. Any scratches left after this stage will appear under the clearcoat.

Clear Coat And Paint Gun 5/8

The clearcoat was applied using an Iwata gun with a clearcoat tip (usually 1.2 or finer). The more clear that’s added, the tougher the finish.

Wet Sanding 6/8

After the clearcoat dried, the bumpers were wet-sanded with 1,500- and 2,000-grit paper to get rid of any orange peel.

Polishing Compound 7/8

Cutting and buffing the clear was the last step. Rubbing compound was applied using a wool pad on a rotary buffer.

Foam Pad Polishing 8/8

The final step was to apply machine polish using a foam polishing pad.

Source(s): Eastwood Company, Elite Restoration,

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Posted in Interesting Stuff, Restoration Tips

YUMMY! 4.8L LS Stroker makes 607 hp

4.8L Crank + LS3 Block: How to Build an 8,000 rpm LS Stroker

We took an LS3 block from Summit Racing, added a 3.267-inch stroke crankshaft from a 4.8L, spun it to 8,000, and made 607 hp. The secret to this small-block screamer is the short stroke and good head flow. As a general rule, the reduced piston speed provided by short-stroke motors allows for increased overall engine speed, and engine speed x torque/5252= horsepower. If you combine big rpm with big bores, you get a combo that makes plenty of power. Why? Small bores limit head flow by shrouding the valves, large bores unshroud the valves and allow more air to get into the engine. More air allows more fuel to be burned. More fuel makes more power.

We decided to apply this formula to the modern LS engine family. Given the availability of aftermarket blocks as well as custom cranks, rods, and pistons, it is possible to build any combination your heart desires, but we decided to do it with as many factory components as possible. Not that this motor was a low-buck, junkyard build by any means, but the effort produced a motor that was every bit as cool as an original L76 or DZ302, those high winding race motors from the muscle car era of V8 racing.

2 2/16 The big-bore, short-stroke combination featured a 3.267-inch 4.8L crank stuffed inside a 4.065-inch, LS3 aluminum block from Gandrud Chevrolet. To make sure to use the proper reluctor wheel on the crank, we chose a 24X-tooth wheel, but a late-model version will require a 58X wheel.

Looking over the myriad LS combinations offered by the factory, one motor stood out from the rest, the 4.8L LR4. One thing the majority of the LS engines shared from the factory was the stroke of the crankshaft. The 3.622-inch stroke was used in everything from the 5.3L up to the supercharged 6.2L. This list included every variant of the 5.3L, 5.7L, 6.0L and 6.2L, with the extra displacement coming from changes in bore size. Other than the limited production 7.0L LS7 (with an even larger 4.0-inch stroke), only the 4.8L differed from the rest of the family. Sporting a 3.267-inch stroke, the 4.8L nearly matched that offered by the original (high-winding) L76 327. If you are thinking the cheap-date combo would be to simply build the 4.8L with a head, cam, and intake package optimized for high rpm, you’d be wrong. Unfortunately, the 4.8L was also saddled with a small 3.78-inch bore restricting head flow and power potential. In this way, the 4.8L can be likened to the original 283, though at 3.87 x 3.00 inch, the 283 had a slightly larger bore and shorter stroke.

To cure the small-bore dilemma, we combined the 3.267-inch stroke of the 4.8L with a 6.2L, (LS3) 4.065-inch bore block. The new big-bore, short-stroke LS combo was sporting 339 cubic inches (5.56L). Dropping the 4.8L crank into the LS3 block required use of custom JE pistons and 6.30-inch, 4340 forged-steel connecting rods from Lunati. The JE forged pistons featured 5cc domes to increase the static compression ratio to 11.7:1 using 58cc heads. The short block was assembled using Fel Pro race bearings, timing chain and oil pump, along with a Moroso oil pan, pick up, and windage tray.

3 3/16 Running the 4.8L crank in the LS3 block required a custom piston from JE with a compression height of 1.3065, and 6.30-inch Lunati forged rods.

Finishing things off was a custom Comp cam from Brian Tooley Racing (BTR). The cam offered a 0.627/0.596 lift split, a 243/262-degree duration split, and a 110-degree LSA. The cam was teamed with a set of Crane hydraulic roller lifters that featured heat-treated and carburized 8620 steel with precision machined bodies and internal components that allowed them to run safely at, and beyond, 8,000 rpm!

With the big-bore, short-stroke short block cammed and ready to go, it was time for the remainder of the power producers, namely the heads and induction system. Topping the LS3 hybrid was a set of AFR LSX 230 V2 heads. As indicated by the name, the AFR heads have 230cc intake ports that flow 324 cfm, while the exhaust flow checked in at an equally impressive 252 cfm. Credit for the high flow numbers goes to CNC porting combined with a 2.08/1.60 valve package. The 58cc combustion chambers helped further improve power by increasing the static compression ratio.

4 4/16 To ensure sealing for the high-rpm hybrid, JE also supplied a Pro Seal ring package.

The AFR heads were teamed with a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold. Available with a variety of different tops, we configured the tunnel-ram style Hi-Ram with a dual-quad top designed to accept a pair of Holley 950 Ultra XP carburetors. Additional components used in this build included an ATI Super Damper (a critical upgrade at this engine speed), a set of 1 7/8-inch headers from American Racing Headers, and Holley Dominator EFI system to control the ignition timing.

Before running the motor, we subjected it to a couple of break-in cycles using Lucas break-in oil. After the break-in process, we changed to Lucas 5W-30 synthetic and were free to run it in anger. After dialing in the timing with the Dominator and a few jet changes to the XP carbs, the combo spun all the way to 8,000 rpm, posting some impressive power numbers along the way. Thanks to the big bore and short stroke, the 339-inch motor produced 607 hp at 7,900 rpm and 466 lb-ft of torque at 6,200 rpm. More than a few Westech customers walked over to the dyno room when they heard us zing this thing to 8,000 rpm. The ultimate compliment came from the owner of a 1969 Z/28 being testing on the chassis dyno. Said the small block owner, “Man, I thought my DZ sounded good, that thing is awesome!” You know you’ve done something right when your engine gets the thumbs up from a DZ owner! Now we just need a Camaro to put it in.

5 5/16 Since oiling would be critical at the elevated engine speeds, we installed a Moroso windage tray, oil pan, and dedicated pick up.
6 6/16 The cam profile was a critical element in taking full advantage of the rpm potential of this engine. Brian Tooley Racing supplied this custom Comp cam profile that offered a 0.627/0.596 lift split, a 243/262-degree duration split and 110 +5 LSA.
7/16 The Crane hydraulic roller lifers featured advanced metallurgy that allowed exacting tolerances, now measured in microns (.000000393 inches-yes, six zeros!). The combination all but eliminated the two most common ailments associated with hydraulic roller lifters; lifter pump up and bleed down.
8/16 Knowing the high-rpm stroker needed plenty of airflow, we installed a set of AFR LSX 230 V2 heads. While you might be tempted to run big-port, LS3-syle heads, these cathedral-port AFR heads flowed enough to support more than 650 hp on the right application.
9 9/16 Every bit as important as the airflow was the fact that the AFR heads featured light-weight (8mm) valves and a dual spring package capable of taking full advantage of the rpm potential of the short-stroke motor.
10 10/16 To raise the static compression and further improve power production, we specified 58cc combustion chambers to go with the 2.08/1.60 valve package. Like airflow, chamber shape is a critical element in power production.
11 11/16 Despite the elevated rpm, this LS application relied on stock rockers, though a trunion upgrade would be a good idea at these engine speeds.
12 12/16 Making power at high rpm required a dedicated, short-runner, induction system. We selected the Holley Hi Ram intake to feed the short-stroke hybrid.
13 13/16 Though a number of tops were available for the Hi Ram, we teamed the dual-quad set up with a pair of Holley 950 Ultra XP carbs. The new XP line offered a 38-percent decrease in weight, 20-percent increase in fuel capacity and billet metering blocks and base plate.
15 14/16 With the Holley controlling the ignition timing, all we had to do was perform a quick jet change on the XPs to dial in the air/fuel mixture.
14 15/16 Normally we would run a carbureted LS with an MSD ignition controller, but the 24X crank, LS3 hybrid, required a Holley Dominator system.


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Posted in General Motors, Parts Highlight

1971 Corvette Ultimate Sleeper!

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Burnout

From the outset, this simple, standard-looking 1971 Corvette looks virtually period correct. Hell, ask Joe Marudas of Milaca, Minnesota, to pop the hood and you still might not think anything is amiss. You look at the big-block stuffed between the fenders, look at Joe, look back at the car, and think everything is right as rain. As a matter of fact, it’s almost too perfect of a crime.

But if you turned your back on Joe and snapped back you just might catch a giant good ol’ boy grin on Joe’s mug. Because what he ain’t sharing is that the 454 he said the car has, is actually a 582-cubic-inch big-block that thunders out 828 horsepower and 760 lb-ft of torque all naturally aspirated and leaving no one the wiser. Joe admits that it’s probably lost a few ponies due to driveline loss, but his 9.71 at 139.3 mph elapsed times tell an entirely different story. And by the enthusiastic nature in which he ripped out some smokies on this airstrip, we believe it.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Front 2/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Side View 3/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Taillights 4/24

“This car hooks hard and goes straight. Nothing fancy, it just works! When I’m going down the track wide open it feels the same as when I’m going down the freeway at 70 mph.” Joe has a hard time hiding his pearly whites at us as he talks about his car, “this is NOT a show car, it gets the crap beat out of it almost every weekend, whether at the track or on the street. I feel there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what the car was made to do.”

Funny thing of it is that the car didn’t start nearly as nice as you see it now. “I’m a 53-year-old, self-employed auto-repair shop owner here in central Minnesota. I’ve had a lot of nice cars but never have I become so personally attached to one like this.” Joe went on to tell us during our photo shoot how he sold his 1970 Corvette to buy the house he currently lives in and has been kicking his own butt ever since.

“The car started out as a total basket case. I’ve had to restore pretty much everything on the car myself. Body damage, paint it, replaced the interior and every mechanical aspect of the car. I designed and built my own engine and did all the IRS stuff. Literally everything done personally myself right here in my garage at home, my wife calls it my mad scientist lab! I could talk about this car for hours!”

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Engine View 5/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Engine View 6/24

And literally he did. He told us how he assembled the LS6 clone with a 4.600-inch bore and 4.375-inch stroke engine packed with CP Carrillo pistons with Oliver 6.535-inch connecting rods wrapped around a Callies Magnum crank. Machine work was completed by BBS out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who also provided a custom-grind cam. Specs of said cam? S@$%-eating grin, remember? He ain’t telling. The heads, though, he did disclose are aluminum Dart Pro 1s with Manley Severe Duty valves coming in at 2.30-inch intake and 1.88-inch diameter exhaust, topped off with Jesel shaft-style 1.75:1 ratio rockers. The 1050 Dominator carb sits upon the dual-plane, stock-style intake, which was port-matched to the heads, and a stock-style air intake. All this is fed by a Holley HP120 pump and capped off with a set of Hedman headers and very short 3-inch to 2.5-inch step-down style exhaust. Trust us, once that fire is lit, it hides no more secrets!

The power is wrangled through a Coan Racing Powerglide and a Coan 10-inch converter with a 5,200-stall. That feeds the one-off IRS rear-suspension with a safety loop on the main shaft and four loops on the halfshafts, two per side. It appears fairly stock until you dig a little deeper. Joe designed and built this setup and it’s packed with 3.70 gears, Tom’s 30/31-spline axles, and a Moser spool just for good measure. Joe was able to take the spool, turn it a bit on the lathe and re-drill it to fit the stock case. Grin.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Front Side View 7/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Rear Side View 14/24

The chassis itself is pretty stock – with stock upper and lower control arms. Lakewood 90/10 shocks are about as fancy as the front gets. The back has a set of Van Steel offset upper and lower control arms to fit bigger tires and a set of QA1 single-adjustable shocks and VBP fiberglass springs comprise the basic rear suspension. Remember that grin? Well, Joe took that a step further and made an upper radius rod and brackets with custom halfshafts and the two safety loops per side that we already mentioned.

Still wanting to be as sleeper as it gets, Joe stuck with the stock 15×8 Rally steelies with period-looking Firestone G-70 Wide Ovals on all four corners. But he will bust out the 275 wide Mickey Thompson Pro drag radials when it’s play time.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Side View 15/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Rear Side View 16/24

“My plan from the get-go was to have the car always stay bone-stock appearing.” Yeah that word “appearing” should come with some massive air quotes. “The car was wrecked and auctioned, that’s all I really know about the car. It’s kind of like an animal you found at the shelter. I took it in and made it a family member and gave it a good home.

“I would say that this car has become a member of the family. It has been a real labor of love for me ever since I found it back in ’04. I have a beautiful wife and three daughters – 21, 13, and 3-years-old. They all know the car well and the youngest one named it ‘Red Roadster.’ My wife still drives it on the street from time to time. We like to take short trips to the restaurant or Dairy Queen, usually with the top off or down on nice days.”

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Interior 17/24
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Interior Seats 18/24

Joe literally did talk to us about his car for hours on end and the way he spins it, it was easy to get lost in his stories because they’re all told so passionately, you couldn’t help but get a little worked up and want a Vette like this of your own.

“What I really like to do with the car is drag race it. I have been taking it to local muscle car index and bracket races for about eight years. I really want to do the F.A.S.T. and I’m slowly collecting parts for that.” Not only did Joe tell us that he refuses to put a full ’cage in the car (appropriate to its e.t.) based solely on principle, but he insists that he can rip off consistent 9.70 runs and still drive to and from the track. He seems almost serious enough to want to fight about it. Considering a lot of the trial and error stories he regaled us with, we totally believe him.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette Hood 22/24

“It takes a very patient wife and kids to put up with a muscle car and drag racing addiction. They have come to my races and always been very supportive, sometimes helping in the shop. I really want to thank all my drag racing buddies, Big Block Shawn, and most all; my family.”


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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff

No Prep Drag Racing Shootout

No Prep Drag Racing Shootout

The challenge of drag racing has always been a delicate balance of horsepower and traction. It’s easy to have too much of one or the other—or sometimes a little too much of both. Regardless of the situation, the result is pretty entertaining, which is one of the many reasons we love drag racing. You never know what might happen, so when the balance of horsepower and traction is lopsided, it draws a crowd. Such is the case with the recent Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car Shootout, an eighth-mile, no-prep drag race at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip in Tennessee.

Anytime the subject of “no-prep” drag racing comes up, it’s always a hot topic, as the true street-racing contenders are often revealed. If your car can hook on an unprepped surface, that usually means you can get it done on the street. We were on hand as the cars battled for a $1,000 winner-take-all purse and the bragging rights of being Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car. Scattered rain showers in the forecast made for a light racer turnout, but the action was hot and a bunch of spectators came out to view this Friday-night shootout.

The rules for the shootout were simple, as the unprepped racing surface was the ultimate limiting factor for some of the higher-horsepower cars. With no tire rules, no engine rules, and no suspension rules, this shootout came down to the driver’s and tuner’s ability to get the car down the track. No times would be displayed on the scoreboard, and the timeslips were cut in half to keep the e.t.’s under wraps.

The racers must first complete a street cruise and pull directly into the staging lanes to start the first of two qualifying passes. After two back-to-back qualifying passes, the cars were allowed to cool off while the staff set up the elimination ladder. Race organizer Rusty Bridges mandates a rule that he calls “chase is a race,” which means the typical red-light disqualification rules are not in place. If a racer leaves before the green light comes on, the fellow in the other lane has the option to “chase” his opponent or make the very difficult decision to remain staged. If you chase, it’s a race—if you stay locked in the staging beams, the early leaver gets disqualified. It’s a tricky rule, but a couple of racers used it to their advantage.

Throughout the night, the heavy hitters revealed themselves, as the field grew smaller during eliminations. Many of the contenders were sporting nitrous-fed combinations, but there were a couple of turbocharged cars in the mix as well. Our pick for the top five street cars in the shootout goes like this:

Datsun 240z With Massive Cowl Head 2/99

Ron Lane’s Datsun 240Z is a handful to drive, but that’s just the way Ron likes it. It has an aluminum-headed small-block under the massive cowl hood. One nitrous system is all it takes to make this 240 get down. It sits on a set of Mickey Thompson 275/60R15 Pro Drag Radials.

Chevrolet Chevelle With 275 Drag Radials 3/99

Although Russ McDaniel’s Chevelle looks a little rough around the edges, it is exactly the type of street car that will take your money at a moment’s notice. The nitrous-assisted big-block makes big-time power, and the stock suspension works hard to keep the 275 drag radials hooked up.

1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Burnout 4/99
1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Big Block Nitrous Engine 5/99

Car Craft featured Patrick Henry’s 1967 Chevelle in the Sept. 2013 issue. Since that article, Patrick replaced the small-block with a big-block with nitrous. He’s running an overdrive transmission, as this car sees lots of street miles and consistently runs 5s in the eighth-mile. This is one bad street car.

Ford Fox Body Mustang Burnout 6/99
Ford Fox Body Mustang Small Block Engine 7/99

If there were a “best appearing” award at the Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car Shootout, Mike Newton’s Fox-body Mustang would own it. His ultra-clean coupe is powered by a small-block Ford with a single 88mm turbocharger. It was a regular in NMCA True Street racing several years ago.

Chevrolet Nova Wheelie 8/99
Chevrolet Nova Small Block Engine 9/99

It was Justin Dempsey’s first time driving his newly acquired Chevy Nova, so he didn’t expect to carry the wheels for 100 feet on an unprepped surface. The leaf-spring Nova put the 28×10.5-inch slicks to work and carried the wheels on nearly every pass. A healthy small-block with a plate nitrous system makes it go.

When it came down to eliminations, the top five cars showed their strength, but it came down to Ron Lane in the lightweight 240Z taking home the $1,000 victory. Although a few of the cars hooked hard and proved that the unprepped surface still offered some bite, the 240Z came out on top thanks to some careful control of the nitrous oxide to keep from overpowering the track. The Chattanooga’s Fastest Street Car Shootout was part of a three-day event called the Scenic City Smackdown.

Ford Fox Body Mustang Driving 10/99
Ford Fox Body Mustang Driving 11/99

This slick Fox-body Mustang GT laid down some killer passes with plenty of street-friendly features. Power comes from a centrifugally supercharged small-block Ford.

Second Generation Chevrolet Camaro 12/99

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a super-sticky surface to break parts, as evidenced by this second-generation Camaro. It spit the rear U-joint out of the driveshaft in the first round of qualifying.

1957 Chevorlet 210 13/99

Rickey Barnes hammered on his slick 1957 Chevy 210 all evening. He’s an avid drag racer, but came out to play in his street car, which is powered by a small-block and four-speed manual transmission.

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 14/99

Even though it looks pretty mild, Eric McDaniel’s Camaro convertible held its own among a bunch of serious street cars. The nitrous-fed LS3 ran great all evening.

International Pickup With Giant Turbo Hanging Off Of Junkyard Ls Engine 15/99

Yes, that’s a giant turbo hanging off the front of a junkyard LS engine in a rat rod pickup. John Gray pilots this International pickup, which handled the unprepped surface nicely.

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Posted in Events, Racing News

1965 & 1967 Chevrolet C10 Sibling Rivalry

Going fast is in the DNA of pretty much every car or truck guy, but it’s not always easy or affordable to act upon that natural need for speed. Some folks opt for a crate engine and creature comforts in favor of a radical camshaft and upgraded fuel system. And while the simple approach is perfectly acceptable, the Calhoun brothers aren’t interested in simple — they want to go fast. Chuck and Jeff Calhoun are truck guys who happen to have a thing for Chevys.

Chuck’s truck is the Sunburst Orange 1967 Chevrolet C10, while his brother Jeff’s truck is the bright red 1965 Chevrolet C10. Both trucks make lots of power, but they go about it in a different way, so the typical brotherly competition is in full swing. Chuck relies on a turbocharged LS-based engine, while Jeff makes horsepower with a tried-and-true aluminum-head small-block. Both trucks are street friendly, but make occasional trips to the dragstrip where bragging rights are on the line.

So, who comes out on top in this brotherly battle? So far, Jeff’s ’65 C10 has claimed the quickest elapsed time, with a best time of 7.808 at 89 miles per hour in the eighth mile. Chuck’s turbo C10 certainly has the potential to outrun his brother’s naturally aspirated combination, but transmission issues have prevented it from putting all the horsepower to the ground. When he gets the bugs ironed out, we’re guessing Chuck’s performance will encourage Jeff to up the ante and create a good old-fashioned grudge race. Jeff says that’s nothing a little nitrous won’t fix.

Despite the intentions of going fast, the two C10s are nicely finished with no details left untouched. Beautiful paintjobs cover both trucks, and you won’t find any outrageous body modifications — just simple custom touches throughout. Let’s find out more about the Calhoun brother’s trucks, and what makes them an awesome pair of potent pickups.

1967 Chevrolet C10 Front Passenger Side

Chuck ran across this ’67 C10 in 1999, and traded with a friend to take over ownership of the truck, which needed a lot of attention. For many years, he used it to haul off the trash, hauling anything he could find and chasing parts for other projects. Since then, it has gone through many changes to reach the configuration you see here. Chuck admits that the truck is an ongoing project, and will likely never be considered “finished.”

Underneath, the chassis has been progressively updated and modified to give the truck a lower stance and better handling. The front suspension is lowered 3 inches, thanks to a set of drop spindles, and now features disc brakes with a Hydro-boost system. Chuck upgraded the steering system with a steering box from an ’87 C10, which offers a quicker steering ratio. Out back is a 12-bolt rearend, set up with 3.73 gears, and a Positraction differential. The rear brakes are made up of scratch-built brackets to accommodate 2005 Corvette disc brakes. Chuck installed lowering springs to bring the ride height down a total of 5 inches in the rear. He then converted the front and rear to a five-lug bolt pattern, and bolted on a set of polished American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels, sized at 17×8 inches and wrapped in Goodyear GTII 255/60R17 raised white letter tires.

Of the two pickups, Chuck’s ’67 C10 certainly has the most wow factor under the hood. He opted for a modern powerplant, a 6.0-liter “LQ4” engine from a 2007 Chevy truck. This Vortec engine is based off the popular LS platform, so it had lots of potential for power and plenty of life left in it with only 7,000 miles on the clock. Chuck kept the stock bottom end, as well as the original cylinder heads, but utilized a Hummer H3 oil pan to fit the modern engine into the C10 without clearance issues. The Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft is mild, but works well with the T-76 Q-trim turbocharger, which is the biggest conversation piece of the entire build. The turbo gets a lot of attention, and it’s plumbed with stainless steel piping, which starts at a set of Stainless Works headers and ends with a pair of Flowmaster mufflers and stainless steel tailpipes. For now, the maximum boost pressure is 8 pounds.

1967 Chevrolet C10 Interior Steering Wheel 

To support the additional horsepower from the turbocharger, Chuck’s 6.0-liter engine is equipped with a custom aluminum fuel tank and dual Racetronix fuel pumps that send 93-octane fuel to the 60-pound injectors. InTune Motorsports tuned the turbocharged engine to be manageable on the street, yet still make plenty of power when Chuck takes the truck to the local dragstrip. Power application is controlled by a 4L65E automatic overdrive transmission, equipped with a Yank 2,600-rpm torque converter.

Although Chuck still has some testing and tuning ahead of him, the exterior and interior of his truck is immaculate. The truck has all new bed panels, and a few custom touches that required some moderate metal fabrication. The original fuel filler hole is now smoothed, and Chuck shaved all of the emblems for a clean look. The PPG Sunburst paint is sanded and buffed to a slick finish, and offers the finishing touch for Chuck’s classic Chevy.

Inside, the truck features a mostly stock interior, with a recovered bench seat and door panels, finished in black. The sunburst orange paint covers the steel portions of the interior, while Auto Meter gauges fill the original cluster. A tilt steering column mounts a woodgrain three-spoke steering wheel for a classic look, while an Alpine CD player provides a modern convenience to this old pickup. Another creature comfort consists of the Classic Auto Air A/C system, which gets put to use on humid summer days in Tennessee. Between the stance, paintjob, interior, and turbocharged engine, Chuck’s C10 offers a nice blend of old and new, and the final result is a dependable truck that he and his wife Darlene can enjoy on a regular basis.

1965 Chevrolet C10 Front Drivers Side

The differences between the brother’s trucks are numerous, and Jeff’s leans more toward the traditional side of the spectrum. Instead of the metallic paintjob, Jeff’s truck is coated in Victory Red, and instead of a high-tech turbocharged engine, Jeff opted for an all-motor small-block Chevy. His ’65 C10 offers good looks and great performance, while still being mild enough to drive on the street.

Suspension modifications are similar to Chuck’s truck, with 3 inches of drop up front and 4 inches out back. Jeff used drop spindles and drop springs to lower the front ride height, and upgraded to an ’86 Chevy truck sway bar. The power steering system is from a ’72 Chevy pickup, as are the disc brakes, which changed the wheel bolt pattern to the more popular five-lug configuration. Rolling stock consists of polished American Torq Thurst II wheels, the same size as Chucks, and wrapped in Toyo 255/6R17 tires for the street. For track use, Jeff uses a set of 15-inch Americans and Goodyear radials.

The rearend is a stock 12-bolt housing that utilizes an Eaton differential with 3.73 gears. The stock rear axles have been redrilled to feature a 5-on-5-inch bolt pattern. Jeff fitted a set of Astro Van rear brake rotors to the rear end, and finished off the brake setup with a pair of ’72 Chevy truck calipers.

Under the hood, the powerplant looks like a basic small-block, but it’s far from it, boasting 406 cubic inches, and a laundry list of go-fast parts. It all starts with an Eagle crankshaft, Scat rods and Speed Pro forged pistons, which create an 11.0:1 compression ratio. The aluminum cylinder heads are Dart Pro1 215cc castings, packed with 2.05- and 1.60-inch valves, and outfitted with Comp Cams valve springs and pushrods. The camshaft is also a Comp stick with 255 degrees of duration on the intake side and 262 degrees on the exhaust, measured at .050-inch lift. Fuel is provided by a 750-cfm Barry Grant carburetor, mounted atop an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, while fire comes from an MSD Pro Billet distributor and 6-AL box. Hedman headers send exhaust gasses into a 3-inch exhaust system, complete with Magnaflow mufflers.

Behind the healthy small-block is a TH350 automatic transmission, which is mildly modified with a shift kit and a Boss Hog 3,000-rpm stall torque converter. Despite Jeff’s tendency to take his truck down the dragstrip, he retained the column shifter. Other interior details include gray leather upholstery, and a stock gauge cluster with the addition of a vacuum gauge from a ’67 GTO and an Autogage tachometer. The steering column came from a ’72 Chevy truck, while the Grant woodgrain perfectly matches his brother’s truck. An American Autowire wiring harness provides juice to all of the electronics, including the Sony CD player and Memphis speakers.

1965 Chevrolet C10 Interior Door Panel 5/20

When it came time to repair the body and paint on his ’65 C10, Jeff repaired the normal rusty areas (rocker panels, kick panels, and lower front fenders) and then straightened the panels in preparation for paint. He then called in help from Mike Raby to apply the Sikkens Victory Red base/clear paint, which turned out beautifully. Other help throughout the build came from Chuck Calhoun, Scotty Martin, Will Phillips, Jerry Beavers and several folks from the 1947-Present GM Truck forums.

And though Jeff’s truck has very specific details that differentiate it from his brother’s sunburst C10, the two trucks make a nice pair when parked together. You begin to notice the similarities when the trucks are together, even when the trucks are lined up together at the dragstrip. It’s a brotherly battle between two killer C10s, and it always ends with smiling faces and a little less rubber on the tires.

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Twin Turbo “Murder Nova” makes 3,000-plus HP

Exclusive photos of the Murder Nova! Its Twin Turbo Big Block makes 3,000-plus HP

The very definition of badass, Shawn Ellington’s 1969 Nova is one of the most well-known cars in the country. When we first met Shawn two years ago, his Pro Line–built big-block Chevy was carbureted and supercharged. Since then, he’s switched to electronic fuel injection and a pair of turbos—specifically a pair of 88mm Pro Mod turbochargers from Precision. The engine itself is pretty basic, considering it makes about 3,400 hp. It’s a 572 built with a Lunati crank, Oliver connecting rods, Diamond pistons, and 380cc Dart Pro 2 cylinder heads. At the heart of the engine is a Comp solid roller cam, and Comp lifters and pushrods. The camshaft is geardriven off the crank.

FuelTech’s FT500 sequential-port fuel-injection system runs the show, and it incorporates Billet Atomizer fuel injectors built by Alan Kennedy, which are fed by a beltdriven fuel pump. Jeff Lutz built the headers and turbo plumbing using tubing from Stainless Works, Precision wastegates, and a Precision air-to-water intercooler. Shawn says they placed the turbochargers in the rear of the engine compartment near the firewall for better weight balance and transfer. The engine is cooled by the same water that runs through the intercooler. It gets pumped from a Chiseled Performance aluminum tank mounted in the trunk, to the intercooler mounted under the dash on the passenger side of the car, then through the engine before returning to the tank in the trunk.

24 1969 Chevrolet Nova Rear

The transmission is a TH400 built by Rossler with a 2.10:1 First gear. A carbon-fiber driveshaft from Precision Shaft Technologies connects to a Strange 9-inch housing with a Strange spool and axles. Strange disc brakes are on all four corners.

Don Dial’s Race Shop fabbed the rear four-link and built a stock-style front suspension with TRZ control arms. Chris Bell from Kinetic Engineering built the Penske double-adjustable shocks, front and rear, and helped Shawn set up the suspension.

26 1969 Chevrolet Nova Profile

Electronics are a part of any car making this much power at this level of competition, and Shawn’s car is no stranger to technology. He’s got a Davis Technologies bump box, MSD’s Power Grid ignition system, a boost controller from Hyperaktive Performance Solutions, and a Racepack dash and datalogger. Though he’s got plenty of onboard electronics that can function as traction control devices, Shawn says he’s tried them, but feels more comfortable and runs faster without them.

With a 9.3:1 compression ratio and spooling 42 pounds of boost (though he can turn it up more than that), the Murder Nova runs on 116-octane Q16 oxygenated gasoline from VP Racing Fuels, and Shawn recently ran 4.42 at 178 mph in the eighth-mile on 275 drag radials in this configuration. He expects to see very low-4s on a set of 315 radials at No Mercy 6 later this year in Valdosta, Georgia, if the show’s shooting schedule permits.

25 1969 Chevrolet Nova Side Quarter View

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Posted in General Motors, Interesting Stuff