This 305 Cubic-Inch Supercharged Coyote Makes 1,400 HP! Find Out How

Officially, there have been 300 modern Cobra Jets built since its debut in 2008—just 50 models are made in each production run, with of course dozens of clone cars built to NHRA specs. Most of those vehicles have found a home in Stock Eliminator or Super Stock, while many have been parked in a bubble for posterity. Of those hundreds of cars in competition, there are a growing number of outlaws lurking—Cobra Jet owners who who don’t want to race in index classes, and they’ve found a home in the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA).

Tommy Annunziata purchased this 2014 model Cobra Jet as a means to get back into drag racing, but the casual purchase quickly became a serious racing venture once he got together with longtime partner, friend, tuner, and Mustang legend, Jim LaRocca. The two New Jersey racers had ransacked the Mustang fields in the early years of the NMRA, and they decided to make a go at it again in the NMRA’s Coyote Modified class. Joining the ranks made them the fourth Cobra Jet to do so, adding some flavor to a class filled mostly with Fox-body Mustangs and a few S197 Mustangs.

Annunziata and LaRocca added a radical Coyote engine under the hood and frequently go up against the likes of turbocharged and centrifugally supercharged competitors in a 7-second arena. Despite the quick times, the New Jersey racers have kept the Cobra Jet close to its heritage, and the car has run an official best elapsed time of 7.80-seconds and 175.37 mph, earning them the high-speed record in the category. Unofficially, the car has run 7.69 at 177 mph during a test session, putting Annunziata under the current NMRA ET mark of 7.74, held by John Kauderer in a turbocharged 2014 Cobra Jet.

Fuel System/Engine Management
To upgrade the fuel system, the team added Aeromotive’s Pro Series pump and Deatsche Werks 2000cc fuel injectors to ensure that there is plenty of VP Racing Fuels C16 being fed to the cylinders. Holley’s Dominator EFI engine management keeps control of it all.

NMRA Coyote Modified rules restrict displacement to just 305ci, but there are few other limits to the short-block modifications. LaRocca and Annunziata turned to Pro Stock legend Tom Martino to build the bottom end. A Ford Performance M-6010-M50R aluminum block was the starting point. Martino then added a stock-stroke, billet Winberg crankshaft. It swings eight Manley I-beam connecting rods and custom Mahle pistons with Total Seal rings.

Cylinder Heads/Camshafts
Kris Starnes Racing ported the factory Cobra Jet cylinder heads and Jim LaRocca designed the custom camshafts, which were ground from custom-made cores. LaRocca has a vast amount of experience in designing camshafts and drew upon his consulting work with many top Cobra Jet teams to come up with the outlaw cams. He uses MMR phaser lockouts and guides to round out the valvetrain.

The centerpiece to the engine combination is a massive, 3.6L Whipple twin-screw supercharger and Whipple’s Big Bore throttle body, which flows a healthy 3,250 cfm. The team mounted it directly to the back of the supercharger, eliminating the nearly 180-degree bend from the factory blower setup. LaRocca designed a custom pulley and tensioner system to keep the blower belt on the front of the engine during high rpm runs down the drag strip. Boost is listed at 24-25 psi at peak engine speed, which is more than 8,000 rpm. Expelling the spent gases is the job of custom long-tube headers from Kooks Exhaust & Headers.

The 1,400hp engine is backed by a Rossler TH400 three-speed transmission and a custom Coan torque converter with a 6,000-rpm stall speed. The torque converter is a critical component to getting the Cobra Jet to leave the starting line with 1.15 sixty-foot times. Also contributing to the quick short times and overall performance are Santuff shocks and struts, UPR rear control arms, BMR front control arms, and original Cobra Jet equipment including the anti-roll bar and Panhard bar. The Strange Engineering 9-inch housing is filled with 40-spline gun-drilled axle. The car rolls on a pair of Mickey Thompson ET Radial Pro (275/60R15) tires. Race weight is a robust 3,300 pounds with Annunziata behind the wheel.

Source: Hot Rod Network

Posted in Drivetrain, Ford, Interesting Stuff, New Parts, Parts Highlight

Tamraz’s Warehouse – NEW Location! in Naperville, IL


Tamraz’s Parts Discount Warehouse has moved to a new location!  Tamraz’s has becoming a Titan in the automotive classic car parts industry, and day by day we are working towards providing the best possible customer experience. With our new location, we’ve started moving shipments 70% faster. Will call is available anytime we are open , so stop by and say hi!

At Tamraz’s “True Classics Never Retire.”

Here is a map to find us:

Posted in Interesting Stuff

Parts To Power: Summer Street Strength


Burnouts, Burgers & Beers. It’s all every gear head thrives for when the sun arrives for the summer months. So don’t throw your project under a tarp in your garage to leave it there for another year to come. Get a grip on your gears, so you can join the rest of the rebellious revolutionists for the 2017 summer season. Don’t end up like those who have had the same project for 25 years. Be different, otherwise some of these other street screamers are going to outrun you quicker then you can blink.

Be the one that outruns them before they can blink.

All of the cars below were selected by a survey that was taken last month on These are all street & strip beasts that couldn’t be resisted by anyone that had the love for both fashion and function. There are 5 listed vehicles with photos, as well as some specs for each individual vehicle.

5.   1970 Plymouth Roadrunner GTX


IMG Source:

Mopar, just like all other car groups, has it’s specials. This 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner GTX is one you mat recognize if you watched any of the The Fast & The Furious movies. Dom’s 1970 Roadrunner is like an imprint on the muscle car pyramid, next to the 1970 Dodge Charger he destroys in the first movie, which made everyone cringe (or cheer) time and time again when watching this epic 1/4 mile showdown.

Beyond this car’s specific style, the factory Plymouth Roadrunners had a far more simplistic look then the Plymouth above, due to the limited aftermarket that was set aside for street racers and drag strip screamers. So, as the 70’s rolled inter way, the cousins of this very automobile were soon after seen on the streets to represent the competition, until 1971 when there was another body style change when short and curvy trends came into play. However, the motor options that were produced with the factory vehicles always stayed the same. You either received a 440 CI 6-pack or a suped up 426 HEMI outfitted with a 3-speed auto or 4-speed manual transmission, or a 383 CI in the 60’s. Along came a 8 3/4 rear end or an unlikely Dana 60, which only came sometimes with the 426 HEMI Package.

With the aftermarket, many have built the dream edition of the Roadrunner GTX, or they’ve made all-original concepts that are so to-the-tee that you couldn’t part the VIN from the build, which forced competition between who could be the best classic and who was the higher street racer. All of which are competitions worth fighting to the top for.

Specs (Based on 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner GTX):

  • Motor Types: 440 CI (6-pack) | 426 CI HEMI
  • Transmission Types: 3-speed automatic | 4-speed manual
  • Popular Paint Colors: Orange | Vitamin C | Blue Fire | Sunfire Yellow | Seafoam Turquoise
  • Interior Colors: Red | Black | White | Copper
  • Rear-End Types: 8 3/4 | Dana 60

4.   1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible

IMG Source: kimballstock

This car is one of the greatest references in muscle car and classic history. When your looking for automotive parts through a speed or body shop, you are guaranteed to find both small block and big block Chevy parts. With the wide-spread aftermarket for these vehicles, you can’t go anywhere without finding yourself bathing in parts for a bone stock Camaro SS and RS. It’s iconic body style is known world-wide, along with the motor enumerations and drivetrain specifications.

The specific build of this car is unknown, however, it’s predictable that the motor is either a 350, 396, or a 427 CI big block. It is also detectable that the car is likely outfitted with a 3 speed or 4 speed manual transmission, since these are all common options that are outfitted with anything from the first gen Camaros.

When this car was suggested, it was found that a multitude of sources gave this car more credit just because of it’s availability and cheap replacement parts. Between it’s purchasable factory race parts and the high horsepower, there was no changing the popularity that came with this common and dominant street machine. It’s one of the few cars that are found on the street that is defined as one the world’s and nation’s “classic head-turners”.

Specs (Based on 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS)

  • Motor Types: Turbo-Thrift Six-Cylinder 230-250 CI| Turbo-Fire V8 327-350 CI |Turbo-Jet V8 396 CI
  • Transmission Types: 3-Speed Manual | Special 3-Speed | 4-Speed Manual | Torque Drive (6 cylinders only) | Powerglide Automatic | Turbo Hydra-Matic
  • Popular Paint Colors: Hugger Orange | Daytona/Butternut Yellow | Glacier Blue | Tuxedo Black | Azure Turqouise
  • Popular Interior Colors: Black | Medium Red | Ivory (Houndstooth) White
  • Rear-End Types: 10 Bolt | 12 Bolt

3. 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

IMG Source: WheelsAge

One legend that shines in the darkness, is the 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. As this car is practically the devil in disguise, few dare step in the way of this flaming Phoenix. As this car was built to represent the prime of 1970’s modern muscle, it was outfitted with a variety of different style designs that were on point in previous years. Now, the car’s design is decisive among the Pontiac Firebird fanatics.

With this specific Pontiac Firebird, you can see it has all kinds of common trends that fluctuate through all classic cars. For a reference, all of these cars in the 1970’s had hood vents that allowed for extreme air intake and custom aerodynamics. Along with gas guzzler came a variety of perks, depending on how much money you  were willing to spend. The car came in small block and big block options. It also came factory with the option to get a manual or automatic transmission. With it’s ability to scream past any small time car on the street, it found itself climbing the muscle-car mountain of power.

The car had a multitude of slick and stubborn choices you could make when making your car out on paper at the factory. When Pontiac had the car from Smokey and the Bandit was on the assembly line, it was far more favored by those that had seen the movie, however, this car in long term became loved by the GM fans.

Specs (Based On 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am)

  • Engine Types: I6 (250 CI) | V8 (350 CI) | V8 (400 CI) | RAM Air III (400 CI) | RAM Air IV (400 CI)
  • Transmission Types: 3 speed column | 3 speed manual | 4 speed close-ratio | 4 speed wide-ratio | Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 | Turbo Hydra-Matic 400
  • Popular Paint Colors: Lucerne Blue | Keylime Green | Carousel Red | Goldenrod Yellow | Polar White
  • Popular Interior Colors: Black | Sandalwood | Red | Saddle
  • Rear-End Types: 10 Bolt | 12 Bolt

2. 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR Fastback

IMG Source: Ford Addict

Unlike any other expensive car that drives on the roads of America these days, this 1968 Ford Mustang has a little bit of tweaks and adjustments then any other standard driving automobile that cruised the roads. Every curve and corner on this car was modified to be perfected by the top of the line enthusiasts that had a place in the Ford headquarters.

This specific car, customized by some of the craziest and creative people on the planet, had top of the production lines in the 1960’s. It had a variety of selected parts that both the community loved and that the creators found the most performance positive. So with their list getting bigger and far more costly than Ford could afford, they cut their production number to 3 times smaller than they had originally established. However, with such numbers reduced, the builders had more time to turn their focus towards every little detail the car was entitled to. Soon enough, there was a solid production of 933 GT500KR Fastbacks, as well as 318 GT500KR Convertibles.

This car was easily given the reputation it was built to receive. People all over the nation were compiled by the awe that Ford reigned down on the United States car culture. It became a legend that was far to fast for any GM or Mopar driver could stand up against until the 1970’s. The car had been born into a new era, where it’s limit would be challenged more than anticipated.

Specs (Based on 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR Fastback)

  • Engine Types: V8 (302 CI) | Cobra Jet V8 (428 CI) | Medium-Low Riser V8 (427 CI)
  • Transmission Types: 3 Speed Auto | 4 Speed Manual
  • Popular Paint Colors: Medium Blue Metallic | Raven Black | CandyApple Red | Wimbledon White
  • Popular Interior Colors: Black | Saddle
  • Rear-End Types: Ford 9-Inch

 1. 1973 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 HEMI

IMG Source: Kimballstock

The 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T HEMI, has no words to say and a lot of power to make. This car is still at idle for one of the greatest muscle cars ever to be produced in the top tiers of classic cars. It represents a prime in the horsepower wars of the 1970’s, while it also stands as a monument for the classic car philosophies that still lies in the blood of many Americans nationwide. This vehicle could rarely ever be outsourced by another automobile in it’s time, because it got so much love from enthusiasts.

This automobile was produced in lower numbers as it was constructed through 1970-1974. The Challenger had a simple collection of colors that it was sold with, along with a consistent set of motors that the car was assigned with in the factory. Dodge also priced the car based on the color and wheel set you chose when you purchased the car from the dealer. The car came in anything from the doggie-dish to the deep-dish and everything in between. For a car that is highly developed for it’s time, it got little traction in some cases of cold and hot weather, which is expected with most cars. However, it was very poor when it came to this certain vehicle because of the tire material that they used off the factory assembly line.

Afterwards, this car got a variety of aftermarket options for many of the items that this automobile was constructed with. One example would be the air intake. The hood was reproduced in small proportions so that the shaker hood could be used, due to it’s better aerodynamics and air flow. With this car’s performance, there was little to be beat.

Specs (Based on 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 HEMI)

  • Engine Types: HEMI (426 CI)
  • Transmission Types: TorqueFlite | 4 Speed Manual
  • Popular Paint Colors: Banana | Plum Crazy | Hemi-Orange | Sublime | Go-Mango
  • Interior Paint Colors: Jewel Black | Citron Gold Metallic | Baltic Blue Metallic
  • Rear-End Types: Dana 60

Which car out of this list do you prefer?

Source: Parts To Power


Posted in Automotive History, Drivetrain, Ford, General Motors, Interesting Stuff, Mopar, Restoration Tips

Cheating on the Power Tour? We did it in a 2017 Corvette.

HOT ROD Power Tour 2017 Is Presented By Chevrolet Performance and Driven By Continental Tire

Yes, those are Iowa bugs splattered all over the grille of a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible. It’s Sunday and we just finished driving the car on the first leg of the 2017 HOT ROD Power Tour from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, to the Iowa Speedway in Newton Iowa. The car is so easy, new, and fast, it made us feel like we were somehow cheating a little bit. Then we got over it when the car barked Second in Track Mode.

Chevrolet Performance brought it and a fleet performance variants, including Camaros and Corvettes with us to run the entire tour from Kansas to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Let’s some of the details out the way.

First, the car is capable of 185 mph. That’s not firsthand knowledge, it’s info from Chevrolet testing and the air math that says 460 hp and seven speeds in a 3,500 pound car should get you there. We bring it up because it might sound low compared to 650 from the Z06 and all the other huge numbers coming out of Detroit these days. In this touring style roadster, 460 is the perfect blend of passing and hill climbing pop and some mid-20s mpg to get where you are going without exiting the fun for everything with a gas pump.

Cruising it late in the evening with the top down, we noticed some little details that make this a great freeway bullet. First, the side and rear view mirrors auto dimmed with a blue overlay to cut headlight glare. Second, there is little or no wind noise with the top down and 70 mph (the freeway limit in Iowa), and finally, the cruise control re-activates after you downshift for passing and click it back into Seventh to get back in the right lane.

There is a heads up display (HUD) that gives you both your speed and the local speed limit for comparisons sake and shows you radio stations as a ghostly apparition floating on the windshield. Combine those goodies with the big fat dial on the console that switches modes from T for touring to Tr for open exhaust and track suspension settings, and you have the very coolest way we’ve seen to be a Corvette guy on the Power Tour. You know the one. All we are missing is a matching jacket and aviators.

Next stop, the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa where you can spectate this beautiful GS for free!

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Posted in Interesting Stuff

Posies’ Coachbuilt 1932 Ford Tribute to the Bentley Blue Train

In the words of Bentley Motors: “There are few cars that embody the glamour, speed, and power of the prewar Bentley era better than the ‘Blue Train’ Bentley Speed Six.”

Proof of the Blue Train’s influence, Ken “Posies” Fenical and the crew at Posies couldn’t agree more with Bentley. So much in fact that in 2008 they debuted the Euroliner at SEMA; a car built, in Posies’ words, “to emulate the sporting and touring cars from the ’30s, namely the Bentley Blue Train.”

Facing the Euroliner head-on, its split-windshield and long louvered hood is reminiscent of the Le Baron–bodied 1932 Chrysler Imperial. Look down each side and its dual side-mount spare tires, suicide doors, and lack of full running boards in-between swooping cycle fenders scream Bentley Blue Train.

The body began as a Brookville 1932 Ford three-window coupe body and was then extensively modified to serve as the cab for the Euroliner. Posies explained to STREET RODDER: “To begin the first stage of the project the entire rear of the body was removed from below the rear window with only a small portion of the quarter-panel remaining behind the door post. Next the cowl and front portion of the roof was split along the centerline. The cowl and roof header were widened 6 inches, eliminating the rear to front taper of the 1932 body, giving the Euroliner a more pronounced squared body. To finish the body change, the rear of the roof was cut from the body and moved rearward 1-1/2 inches.


“The body was then set on the frame and the rest of the panels were started. The firewall was fabricated from two pieces joined with a vertical seam. Three large beads were rolled into the pieces that radiated from the lower center point of the firewall. Toeboards were then built that continued the beads on the front and then disappeared under the car.

“The rear of the body was ‘cabbed’ by using a single panel that enclosed the rear of the body that carried on with the same three beads theme as the firewall. Rear corner panels were formed to meet the side and rear panels. The stock 1932 Ford bodyline was carried through the corner panels across the rear panel. Lower rear filler, floor panels, and driveshaft tunnel were fabricated and welded to the body.”

Another design element found on true classics of eras gone by is the boat tail rear end. Posies described the process of creating the Euroliner’s boat tail saying, “It was built around a jig constructed from angle iron that was temporarily welded to the frame. Work began a little further back on the frame with a fabricated rear frame cover. Formed aluminum pieces, total of nine, shaped with a slight dome, were pieced together to make a ribbed cover. Additional hand-formed aluminum side panels were formed to complete the cover.

“The boat tail sides were formed from aluminum to match the steel jig attached to the frame. The lower portion of the side panels was trimmed to fit the rear suspension and the contour of the rear frame cover. Rear fender mounts were fabricated that go through the side panels. To reinforce this area, steel plates where laminated on the back side of the aluminum panel. Aluminum pieces were made to form the supports that will mount the boat tail to the frame. The interior steel jig was removed and floor pieces and mounting flanges were fabricated and TIG welded to the side panels unitizing the boat tail.”

The boat tail lid was made from aluminum and formed to a buck. Two panels were used to fabricate the top of the lid while several pieces were used to make the perimeter. The pieces were English wheeled to the proper shape, then TIG welded together.”

Once Posies had all of the coachbuilt body parts completed the next phase was to move the Euroliner into paint using PPG products to combine pure black with deep blue for a classic finish.

In place of 1932 Ford ’rails Posies fabricated the frame from box tube and increased the wheelbase in the process. For rear suspension a 9-inch Ford differential is suspended from Posies Superslide leaf springs and damped with lever-action shock absorbers. In front a pair of Posies Superslide springs are mounted in parallel on a straight axle and damped with lever-action shock absorbers.

The drum brakes at all four corners are from MT Car Products of Lindsay, California, and steering is handled with a Vega-style steering box. For that classic-era look rolling down the road, four 20-inch Dayton wire wheels were mounted on Coker Excelsior 20-inch tires.

Under a Posies custom-fabricated air cleaner power comes from a Ford SVO 302 assembled by Posies; the exhaust system features Hushpower glasspack mufflers. The cooling system begins with a Walker radiator housed in a chopped 1932 Ford grille shell, and circulates coolant thanks to a Ford Performance aluminum water pump. An aluminum gas tank capable of holding 22 gallons feeds the 302-inch Ford V-8, and a TREMEC five-speed transmission connected to a Posies driveshaft handles manual shift gear changes.

The interior in Posies’ Euroliner is anything but period correct, with modern upgrades installed to offer a comfort level unknown to cars of the classic era. The dashboard Posies custom-made from aluminum was filled with Haneline gauges, and the steering wheel is a Posies custom feature as well. Vintage Air air conditioning creates a cold environment in the hottest of weather amplified by the car’s black exterior, and Dynamat thermal acoustic mat throughout holds the cold and keeps loud noises out.

Trimmed in saddle brown leather and tan carpeting, R.P. Interiors of Horseheads, New York, stitched the Euroliner’s full grain pull-up leather upholstery and laid German square-weave carpeting. The headliner was done in English wool. R.P.’s Rich Perez said, “It was all handmade by either me, or Dutch (Posies’ nickname). The seat frame was modified by Dutch, and I upholstered it.”

Posie didn’t draw a concept illustration before starting to build the Euroliner, he had a concept in mind and drew from that and didn’t stop until he had a full-scale interpretation of a 1932 Ford built to run with the classics.

Posted in Interesting Stuff

Man Builds Affordable 1966 Charger Using Dirt Track Tricks!

Mike Svagera’s mild restomod 1966 Charger proves you can do a reliable driver on the cheap.

If we had a nickel for every time we heard the phrase, “I just want to build a good, reliable, fun, and drive-it-anywhere car,” or some variation thereof, we’d have enough money to build a classic Mopar that fit that description. We hear guys say it, but rarely do they do it. Let us explain what we mean, taking our 1966 Charger feature car for example.

Back in the 1960s when these cars were built, the automotive world wasn’t all that different than it is today. The clear majority of them spent their lives commuting to and from work, running errands, taking kids to and from school and extracurricular activities, and taking road trips. The freeways and interstate system were already established and speeds averaged in the 55 to 75 mph range. Sure, a 1966 Charger as produced braked a bit slower and the handling was floatier than modern cars, but it’s not like they can’t keep pace with modern life. And yet, that’s how many guys tend to treat them when planning a build—like every single thing needs to be upgraded just to cruise it on the occasional weekend. We’re here to tell you, that’s not the case. You can keep it simple and spend money in the right places, and have a fantastic car too.

That’s not to say that you don’t have some work cut out for you to get there. One has to keep in mind that 1966 was 51 years ago. That’s a half century for a car to accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles and deteriorate all around due to weather and chemical exposure. Sure, you can still slap something together by cutting a bunch of corners and making piles of compromises, but if you really want it to be pleasant to drive, it takes going through it from end to end.

Mike Svagera of Fremont, CA knows this well, thanks to years of experience on two opposing sides of the automotive spectrum. As of one of the founders of Helcam Vintage Motors, a private restoration and modification shop for vintage cars, Mike knows how to put together all manner of street machines. What you wouldn’t suspect is that his other passion of building dirt late-models and dirt modifieds has led to many of his philosophies about building good street cars and how much you don’t need to change.

In the world of racing, there’s asphalt racing and off-road racing at the far ends, and dirt tracks land somewhere in the middle with chassis that appear to be road-course oriented, but are specifically constructed to handle the rigors of racing on rutted, bumpy patches of dirt. To say that’s rough on a vehicle’s suspension is putting it mildly. You think you treat your car rougher? Unlikely. Mike has built a range of dirt competition vehicles, from high-dollar Super Late Models, to old-school Stock and Modified Stock classes. Some of those stock classes are very production based and limit what can be swapped on the car, so you must figure out how to work with what you have, and what works.

Mike has brought that attitude with him to Helcam, and fortunately his partner Chris Helling shares the same philosophy since they spend upwards of 70 hours a week in the shop, working on, debating about, and discussing builds. Many of their customers come in with a long list of high-dollar exotic parts that they think they need, but Mike and Chris often talk them back down a bit after discussing what they realistically are going to do with the car. Most of the time it boils down to something along the lines of, “I want a really nice driving, comfortable, quick street car with handling and braking that I can take anywhere.” As a shop, it’s cool when a customer wants to spend gobs of money on cool new parts, but Mike and Chris want to make sure their customers spend money in the right place. Once that’s taken care of, the extra budget will often go to other things such as nicer paint and re-chroming. In the end, the parts list may not sound quite as sexy, but the customer always leaves pleased with how the car turned out. And really, that’s the best-case scenario for everyone involved.

Why is “overbuilding” a potential problem? Well, other than spending more money than is necessary, you run the risk of ending up a with car that loses the “comfortable and take it anywhere” part. It’s a Helcam guiding principle, but Mike even stands by that philosophy for his own cars. With years of car-building experience, Mike can size up what level of time and money commitment he’s looking at when he checks out potential project cars. He begins with a dollar figure in his head that he’s willing to pay, and what he’s willing to put into it to get it to turnkey status.

One car Mike had been thinking about building for a long time was second-gen 1968-’70 Charger. He searched around the usual spots—Craigslist, eBay, forums, a few online “classic car for sale” sites—but he just wasn’t seeing what he wanted. Then one day a ’66 Charger popped up on his search. Mike had already decided that a second-gen Charger was what he had to have, and besides who builds first-gen Chargers anyways? Still, the price looked tempting, so he clicked on the ad to see what the deal was.

It was pretty much a basket case. There was no front clip and it was basically stripped down. Nevertheless, it didn’t appear to be a bad starting point for what Mike had in mind. It was a ’66, and he wasn’t ready to give up on his original plan yet. Over the next six months, Mike kept looking for the right second-gen Charger, but kept hitting those same roadblocks: sellers wanted too much money for cars that needed too much work.

We’ve said it several times before, and we’ll say it again: ’66 and ’67 Chargers are overlooked and undervalued. The more frustrated Mike became with his project search, the more he began to open his mind to the possibility of doing the ’66. Finally, he just had to take a look. It’s a good thing Mike did, because it actually turned out to be better than he expected. Almost everything was there and the body appeared to be very straight and undamaged. Of course, at 50 years old pretty much every soft and semi-soft part from bushings to interior plastics was fairly well shot, but that was expected. The more he looked it over, though, the more he liked what he saw, so Mike decided to redirect his plan a bit and be that guy to build a first-gen Charger.

Back at Helcam, Mike finished stripping the Charger down to a shell. Pretty much anything that was held together by bolts came apart. Believe it or not, there were no surprises at all, and not a bit of rust to be found, which certainly helped Mike continue to feel good about his project choice. It also made the build go very smoothly. After the Charger was taken to bare metal, Mike applied one of his favorite tricks learned from the dirt track racing world and welded the pinch welds and some body seams solid, as well as the front crossmember, to eliminate flex points. According to Mike, you’d be surprised how much more rigid an old unibody gets when it’s welded solid.

Speaking of adding rigidity, since the suspension plan called for retaining mostly stock parts, Mike boxed the stock upper and lower control arms to make them as strong as possible. While he saved money there, Mike wasn’t shy about spending on parts that really would make a difference, such as Hotchkis Hemi torsion bars and a hollow 1 3/8-inch sway bar paired with QA1 shocks. Good bolt-in stuff that will improve the drive overall. In the rear, he relocated the leaf spring mounts and perches inward and installed the appropriate Hotckis leaf springs to complement the torsion bars. While the trend has been towards huge diameter disc brakes at all corners, the truth is they’re not always needed. Mike went with a basic Right Stuff disc conversion up front and kept the rear drums in place. Remembering that wheels and tires make or break a car’s looks, he did shell out for a proper set of high performance Continental tires on 18-inch Boss wheels.

Helcam’s mantra of “spend the money where it makes the most impact” even extended to the final look of the Charger. While he’s not against chrome and polish, there’s a huge amount of it on a ’66 Charger, and all that gets very expensive to replate. Instead, Mike let Alloy Motors of Oakland, CA coat the bodywork with a coat of custom House of Kolor silver paint. They also saved a bit of coin by having Alloy Motors paint the brightwork rather than replate it. The finished product adds a level of aggressiveness to the first-gen Charger’s typical classy style.

So what does Mike do with the Charger now that it’s all wrapped up? He takes it to shows, on leisurely drives, out to dinner, on errands, to the grocery store—you know, just regular car stuff. “It’s literally a grocery getter some days,” Mike laughed. In fact, because he kept everything on the build reasonable and aimed at a quality driving experience, even his wife (who didn’t think she would like driving an old car) enjoys being behind the wheel. “It doesn’t feel like a big car,” she says. That’s a pretty solid endorsement.

Honestly, as things have started to settle a bit from the fever pitch that pro touring was a few years back, we kind of wonder if pro touring cars might start to tend this way in general: upgraded, but realistic in ways to complement how the car is driven. The likely result of that will be even more classic cars out on the road just being used and enjoyed, which is really why we build them at all.

The Charger’s interior remains largely stock because it’s one of the things Mike Svagera liked most about it. Just like the exterior, many of the chrome accents have been blacked-out to give the appearance of a cleaner, custom interior without large expense. The Classic Instruments gauges are one of the deviations.
It’s hard to beat a well-built 440 for all-around street performance and reliability. Mike kept the recipe simple, but did upgrade to a roller cam for longevity and to get the cam specs he wanted.
The Charger’s front suspension is the embodiment of simple. Mike opted for smart bolt-ons such as QA1 low-friction strut rods, Hotchkis Hemi torsion bars, QA1 shocks, Right Stuff 2-inch drop spindles, and a Hotchkis 1 3/8-inch hollow sway bar to create a more responsive system.
We initially thought the scoop was borrowed from another model, but it’s a hand-formed piece from Helcam. We think it complements the Charger’s hood perfectly.
First-gen Chargers pretty much get the restoration treatment on the nose, but we were attracted to the satin black grille and bumper which you don’t see every day. Aggressive and classy.
Where the rubber meets the road matters on every build, so Mike opted for 18-inch Boss Riddler wheels and Continental tires to fill up the Charger’s wheel wells.


1966 Dodge Charger
Mike Svagera; Fremont, CA


Type: 440ci RB-Series

Block: original 1966

Rotating assembly: stock crank & rods, 9.5:1 pistons

Cylinder heads: 904 with hardened valve seats

Camshaft: Comp hydraulic roller, 286-/294-degrees duration

Valvetrain: 1.6 stainless steel adjustable rockers

Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM

Exhaust: Hooker long-tube headers, custom 2.5-inch exhaust

Ignition: Pertronix biller distributor and Flamethrower coil

Cooling: high-efficiency four-row brass core radiator with original tanks

Oiling: high-volume oil pump

Built by: Helcam Vintage Motors


Transmission: 727 Torquelflite with 2,800 stall PTC Turbo Action non-locking converter

Rearend: 8.75 with Sure-Grip diff and 3.23 gears


Front suspension: Right Stuff 2-inch drop spindle, boxed stock LCAs, QA1 low friction strut rods, Hotchkis Hemi torsion bars, QA1 shocks, Hotchkis 1 3/8-inch hollow sway bar

Rear suspension: Hotchkis leaf springs, QA1 shocks

Steering: Firm Feel quick ratio box, Right Stuff 2-inch drop spindles

Brakes: Right Stuff disc conversion up front, stock drums in the rear

Chassis: fully seam welded body and front crossmember, relocated leaf spring perches and mounts


Wheels: 18×8 (front) & 18×10 (rear) Boss Riddler

Tires: 225/45R18 (front) & 295/35R18 (rear) Continental Extreme Contact DWS


Posted in Automotive History, Drivetrain, Interesting Stuff, Mopar, Parts Highlight

Parts to Power: Why Have Higher Octanes?

Related image

Source: Pinterest

Did you read the title? If you did, and your here, your interested in one of the wonders that 80% of mankind has little or no information about. The power of octane is actually quite significant. Its abilities are surprising to even those who know and love their sweet, precious com-busting carbon creators. The complexity is rather more of a science than anything. Before further detail is given, lets give some honorable and very unintelligent guesses that the community has to offer.

For example, the photo above shows a man pouring flames out the exhaust of his 1959 Cadillac, which he likes to refer to as the “Flame Thrower”. The meaning behind the name? Well that’s common sense. What isn’t common sense, however, is the fact that this car is aloud to blow fire out the tailpipes on a public street. The amazement of the crowd was actually quite hysterical. Seriously? People think that he must be some kind of god because he’s making warmth and a cool oxygen effect occur at one of the darkest times during the day. His secret lies between a lighter and low octane gasoline.

Since the gasoline has such low octane, it ignites and com-busts without any extremely weird and complex sequence. Something commonly thought among those who drive their cars with camber and ricer wide bodies (better known as the guys who think stickers increase horsepower) think that higher octane means more speed and acceleration in the top end. Although this statement is directed more towards the confused youngsters, they’re not the only ones that I’ve heard say odd stuff such as this.

Image result for gas sign w/ octane

Source: Burkett Oil Company, Inc.

Octane grade based around the quality of fuel that your vehicle desires. Most appliances, such as the Honda Odyssey or the Nissan Quest, use 87 octane graded fuel as a high recommendation. This is because anything higher then 87 is not necessary for this motor to run efficiently. This leads to the conclusion that buying anything higher then 87 for a minivan is usually not needed.

This concept of higher octane is directed towards high performance cars for the wrong reason. Most predict that the purpose of such a number has to do with that of the power and compression strokes that the 4 stroke cycle inhabits. In addition to this, people think that they’re increasing performance via horsepower or torque, which isn’t necessarily true. This product, gasoline, actually has a potency level that is specific to how much it has been diluted using additives and other substances. In other words, the lower the octane, the less natural it is. Therefore, when a motor requires high potency, it cannot receive a low octane fuel. Make sense? Good. Your gonna want to know this for what’s next.

Image result for detonation on piston

Source: DOOTalk

Detonation. It only has to happen a few times and that’s the end of your motor. This is one of the few side effects that results after the process of detonation. However, detonation can occur be activated from multiple different sources, including improper octane level, preignition, or maybe even dirty fuel. Whatever your source of danger is, the result is indicated through actions such as clanking, popping, shutting off, and even dieseling over after ignition disengagement.

How to prevent it: make sure that you have proper timing, the proper octane gasoline in your fuel lines, and even replace the fuel in your system now and then to prevent the fuel from becoming diluted and depreciated over time.



Posted in Interesting Stuff