Converters & Pro-Formance Transmissions
Ready Set Go! In Part V of our
series, the Indy/McCandless 451 stroker propels Project
Six Pack to a 9.98/136.15 altitude-corrected quarter-mile
This month's story is a little different than it would
be if an average enthusiast had assembled his or her own
engine from scratch and had to deal with a steep learning
curve. First, it's not a tuning story. Yeah, I know, we
enjoy them too. Fact is, the team of Herb McCandless,
Ken Lazzeri, and Russ Flagle produced an engine so close
to perfect, right out of the box, there really wasn't
any tuning needed. Even the jetting, often difficult to
gauge at Denver's Mile High altitude, was pretty close
from the beginning.
Traditionally, Project Six Pack engines have been fairly
low rpm pieces, shifted anywhere from 5,500 to 6,200 rpm.
With the new McCandless/indy motor's 7,500-rpm shift point,
we knew we'd need extra help in the ignition area. An
MSD 7AL-2 and billet distributor were chosen. High rpm
puts a real strain on a conventional ignition system,
and the high-output MSD really makes a difference in establishing
complete combustion and an aggressive flame front.
Project Six Pack over the years has been fortunate to
consistently have high quality people as part of the team
effort, and Cart Soiko is no exception. A staunch Mopar
devotee, Cart's stable incLudes a Max Wedge '64 Polara,
a soon-to-be-Max: Wedged '63 330 wagon, a'62 Dodge 330
2-door hardtop, and a show-quatity'68 Hemi Dart clone.
As talented at fabrication as he is in mechanics, if Cart
can't find the right part, heIl make it! Though born in
1966, you'd swear he lived through the musctecar era with
us older guys.
One of the best Mopar men in the state, hands down! Well
known and widely respected, Lou Carbone personifies the
term "work ethic." Lou can fix anything ...
engines, transmissions, foreign cars, domestic cars, trucks,
diesels, you name it. He's one of those rare individuals
who possess the acumen to produce winning race engines
and still enjoy day-to-day diagnostic work. "Just
watching Louie work makes me tired," says Ted. Ask
Louie how he's doing, and he'll probably answer "out
of control." Don't you believe it!
getting some runs under our bell, the only thing we deemed
necessary was a change in final drive ratio from 4:88
to 5:13, which got us about a 1/10 and a half. Bottom
line? How about an altitude-adjusted 9.98 at 136-15 mph?
just so you know it wasn't a fluke, the next run was a
io.oo. Now if you Ire like us, you're probably looking
at the photos and saying, "No way that's a 9-second
run; not enough chassis action." Remember, the air
is rare up here, and at Bandimere, a 9.98 at sea level
works out to a 10.76 using the Stock/Super Stock factor.
we were pleased! But that's not to say there's not more
to be had from the total combination. Torque converter
choice and a property-built transmission strongly impact
Frank Lupo, of Dynamic Converters, was a youngster, his
parents sponsored Project Six Pack as Frank does today.
A stickler for quality, Franks converters feature bulletproof
sprag and stator assemblies, oversize triple roller bearing
packages, and duaLanti-ballooning plates. All fins are
triple-reinforced, furnace-brazed and hand-welded. On
all 7, 8, and 9-inch converters, the turbine is lightened,
ground, and polished as standard procedure. Frank's transmissions,
sold under the ProFormance name, are fully dyno-tested
and strongly constructed. Our 727 features a reverse pattern
manual valve body, rollerized and lightened planetary
assembly, roUerized rear support, and a heavy-duty bolt
in the sprag assembly. Other features include specialty
lined bands, modified servos, extra capacity direct drum
assembly, and relocated vent. We've been running Frank's
transmissions for a number of years now, and haven't had
one problem. The Dynamic converter currently in the car
stalls at approximately 6,000 rpm at sea level but, due
to the e[evation, the highest we've seen here is 4,800.
Leaving at 4,8oo pretty much misses the power band of
the Indy engine, so Frank will adjust this for us as necessary
depending upon our plans for the car.
ripe for improvement is the suspension.The go/lo and 75125
Monroe shocks have served us welLsince 1972. But a modern,
filled shock should propel the car forward, rather than
eating up e.t. with upward motion. Newer, drag-specific
shocks also offer multiple adjustments, allowing finetuning.
Again, this is valid only if the tires work. And speaking
of work, anybody who's ever gone racing knows it's a heck
of a lot easier when you have friends to help out, and
Project Six Pack is no exception. When your friends are
exceptionally talented, it really helps. In our case,
a lot of people chipped in, including Jim Zellner, who
donated a Milodon part that was on back order; Gary Gokey
loaned us a racing seat and the use of his trailer when
the ever-dependable Wayne Benedict needed his for his
own race car; Bob Stavik installed the braided lines and
much of the braking system; Mike Motgard donated a trunk-mounted
battery kit ... you get the picture. And white thanks
are in order, special thanks are due to several individuals.
buddy, Carl Solko, a talented mechanic and fabricator,
put aside his own race car efforts to get Project Six
Pack up and running. Carl worked virtually every night
and weekend for three months to turn the pieces into a
functioning race car. Years earlier, Carl and partner/driver
Gino Patlazzini had built the 440 Six Pack in their own
race car from one of Ted's Project Six Pack engine articles,
right down to the part numbers on the pistons. It's funny
how sometimes things come fu It circle.
they had to get back to their own racing efforts, weU-known
Mopar engine builder and master mechanic, Lou Carbone,
took over the reins as driver/wrench. A decade earlier,
working with Wayne Benedict, Lou was instrumental in getting
Project Six Pack back into the i1s. This time around,
he wasted no time finessing the already sharp combo into
the nines, with a stout attitude-corrected time of 9.98
at 126 mph! Remember, this is from a car that's as much
a museum piece as it is a race car! It's important to
keep this in perspective, especialty when comparing it
to contemporary race cars. A lot of people would keep
a car like this wrapped in plastic. Not only is it a 12,000mite
original six-barret car, and an original owner car (the
only one left according to Gaten Govier), it's just been
given a show-quality body restoration, and there's not
a lot of incentive to beat it up again.
we were preparing this story, a lot of discussion centered
around Ted's frustration with the fact that the Denver
area has absolutely no nostalgia racing at all, and the
fact that N H RA has moved away from emphasizing sportsman
racing as a priority. Stock Eliminator has become a money
pit, with stockers sporting such things as rifle-dritted
titanium axles, $4,000-Plus acid-dipped cylinder heads
and, until recently, even things like Ford C-4 innards
inside 727 TorqueFlite cases. Back in the early Us, you
could actually drive the car you raced in Stock class
back and forth to work each day. If you knew how to curve
a distributor, jet a carburetor, and had good gearing,
you could win the class trophy and drive home. The reason
Project Six Pack was initiated back in 1972 was NHRA:s
newly adopted "Pure Stock" rules structure.
The 440 six-barrel. Mopar was an idea[ street/strip piece-perfect
for that kind of racing.
may argue bracket racing is a better solution for the
budget racer, and perhaps that's true from a pure cost
standpoint. But for anyone born and bred on class racing,
where you run heads-up against evenly matched machines,
bracket racing is a poor substitute. Back in the '60s,
more than a few Stock Eliminator cars were driven halfway
across the country to the NHRA Nationals in Indianapolis,
won the class, and drove home with the trophy in the back
seat. Can you imagine the thrill of driving the national
champ into the local hamburger stand on Saturday night
... wow, what a rush! And guess what, with the increasing
proliferation of shows and musclecar get-togethers in
the Denver area, that's exactly what we're going to do
with Project Six
Ever since NHRA allowed headers back in Stock Eliminator
in 1973, Hooker headers have been on Project Six Pack.
From the first street/strip set, to the adjustables that
captured a total of six national records, to the largerdiameter
"Max Wedge" coated headers currently occupying
the engine bay, they've performed admirably. The new meta
Itic-cera mic coating makes them as attractive as they
are efficient, and greatly contributes to tong life.
With the ample horsepower and torque of the Indy/McCandiess
451, boiLing the hides is no problem. After the first
burnout, driver Gino Pallazzini asked if the tachometer
was right, because the telltale said 8,100 rpm. Ted said
yes--Gino said oops! Gino took it easier in the water
after that, but was amazed at how effortlessly the engine
produced that kind of rpm. On the surface, the Pro Stock-quality
Winberg crank, Giannone aLLoy rods, and McCandless aluminum
end caps may seem Like overkill, but considering how much
power this thing builds and how quickly, it's reaRy necessary.
if something major in nostalgic racing doesn't present
itself in the next few months. Now, if this sounds a little
strange, especially since we just turned it into an all-out
race car in the past five issues. We'll let you in on
a little secret. Project cars (by their very nature) always
take longer than expected. You're not just building a
car, you're building a story as well, stopping all the
time to take pictures and write text. When you throw in
an unexpected complication like Ted's Parkinson's disease
and forced retirement, which greatly affected the budget,
things take a lot longer. In reality, the modification
of Project Six Pack featured in these last five stories
actually spanned a period of time from 1992 to the present,
so it's not like we're contemplating changing something
we just did. But a lot has changed, and like its inspiration,
Popular Hot Roddings "Project V, which has undergone
many transmogrifications since its inception in 1965,
Ted would like to have the car back in a form he could
get some use out of. Rest assured, any changes will be
well researched and informative, so stay tuned.
Here's a man who really enjoys his work. Noted letterer/striper
Bob Blackburn carefuLLy studied photographs of the quarter-century-old
Lettering by PhiLadetphia's "Jim The Painter"
and duplicated it faithfuLLy. What really boggles the
mind is how he perfectly replicated the delicate scrollwork
of the "Project Six Pack" script in modern tape.
Believe it or not, he cut it out by hand with an X-Acto
knife! The gold Leaf Lettering, surrounded by a bright
red pinstripe, has always Looked great on Project Six
Pack's vivid (F6) Rallye Green paint.
What really gives the gold leaf much of its visual appeal
is the burnishing process. Here Bob uses a special burnishing
too[ in a hand drill to create the reflective that's so
much a part of this style Lettering. Although hard to
appreciate in a black and white photo, when the bright
Colorado sun hits it, this "engine-turned" effect
kicks in and the gold leaf Lights up like a neon sign.
With the sound the 15:1 Indy engine makes, and the car's
striking appearance, the crowd always takes notice when
Project Six Pack pulls out from under Bandimere's timing
Proper alignment is an absolute must for a race car. It
not only helps the car go straight, but reduces parasitic
horsepower losses present when the alignment isn't correct.
Luckily Lou Carbone had a friend with a high-end body
shop who was kind enough to let us use his four-wheel
alignment setup. Having equipment like this available
is really a benefit, as it removes all guesswork.
Frank Lupo, of Dynamic Converters, has been a fan of Project
Six Pack since he was a kid. Back then his parents owned
a major transmission company that sponsored the car in
1972. Among other accomplishments, Frank's converters
were the first to put an SS/AA 'Cuda into the eights,
and recently propelled )oe Aluise's'63 Max Wedge Plymouth
into the NHRA record book as the first official nine-second
Despite his hero status among Mopar fans, former Sox and
Martin Pro Stock driver Herb McCandless (left) is a delight
to work with. With all his technical knowledge and welldeserved
celebrity, he'll still take time to talk with anybody
about their Mopar problem, and do his best to explain
how to fix it. Herb has a great sense of humor, and claims
his main goal in racing is to avoid "goin' slow and
Lookin' stupid." When complications from owner Ted
Struse's Parkinson's disease made it difficult to retrieve
the car, Herb towed it all the way from North Carolina
and personally delivered it to Ted in Colorado. Like Ted
says. "It was a tough time in my life, and Herb shows
up Christmas week with my car. You don't forget a thing
Going up! First floor, ladies' lingerie, second floor,
housewares, third ftoor-well, you get the picture. As
this photo graphically shows, the 28-year-oid Monroe shocks
really let the suspension work overtime. Current thinking
though, maintains it's better for a car to move forward
as quickly as possible than it is to waste
time moving up. The new slicks work so well, say the pundits,
that aU that upward motion isn't necessary. Future testing
includes adjustable gas shocks in the rear combined with
CalTracs bars and their new two piece mono-leaf springs.
Comp Cams and Project Six Pack have over a quarter-century
of shared history. UntlL now, A have been hydrauLics,
from the acceLerated ramp stocker grinds of the mid-'70s
to the .507-tift version that put the car back in the
lls a decade ago. The Latest Comp Cams grind a .690 roLLer,
makes power up to 7,500 rpm. A .770-Lift version was originalty
scheduLed. but piston-to-valve cLearance precLuded its
use untii the piston notches can be deepened.
Like he does with so many of the cars he builds, Kennedy
Race Cars owner and chief fabricator Shawn Kennedy took
a test drive in Project Six Pack. In addition to being
a very capable chassis builder, Shawn is also an excellent
driver, with a spate of 5.0 tights behind the wheel. Ted
told Shawn he was happy with the times the car was running,
but really needed a 10.76 (the equivalent to a nine-second
run) to cap off the article. Shawn remarked it was a 10-90
car, not a 10.70 car. As Shawn watched from the stands
the next week (after the rear change), Lou Carbone ran
a 10.76, while Shawn shook his head.
Lou Carbone adjusts the Lazzeri-prepped 1050-cfm Holley
Dominator while Carl So[ko looks on. Both these guys are
talented mechanics with excellent fabrication skills.
They're good at what they do and good people to boot.
You can't do any better than that!
And we're off! This 3/4-shot from the rear shows the car's
Launch from another perspective. It's evident from this
angLe that the suspension is definiteLy working. it's
atso obvious the car is somewhat under-convertered. Due
to the relativeLy high rpm range of the Indy engine, the
4,800-rpm flash speed of the converter doesn't get it
into the power band off the Line. Most of this is due
to horsepower Losses caused by the rarefied air. Frank
Lupo of Dynamic Converters wiLl adjust the converter for
us if we want to pursue this particutar configuration
Budget Small-Block, Part IV
This is more than just a test
After a tong winter of working on our Challenger Challenge
project car, it felt great to get to Engtishtown for some
springtime testing. Here we heat up the BFG Drag Radials.
Our on-the-cheap 360 and fresh Pro-Formance 904 held up
great to all the abuse we dished out.
last we left our low-buck 360 (High
Performance Mopar, May '01),you may recall our Slick Budget
Small-Block (SBSB) initially ran for only 10 minutes in
our Challenger Challenge project car before it stalled.
In that former episode, our stock starter fried, making
it impossible to restart the 360.
the interim, Summit supplied us with a Powermaster high-torque
mini-starter. Having experienced mainly big-blocks with
headers, it was a pleasure how our Powermaster mini-starter
(and even the bulky stock unit) slipped through the headers
for easy removal and installation. Starter installation
only took minutes on our headerized small-block.
the new Powermaster hi-torque starter in place, our SBSB
fired right up and we varied the rpm between 1,8oo-2,800
for 25 minutes to complete the break-in on the Summit
cam and lifters. To satisfy our curiosity, we knew a ride
around the block was mandatory. AR fluid levels, possible
leaks, timing, tires, air/fuel mixture, belt tension,
and so on were checked before we
our E-Body was equipped with a 4.56 open rear (8 3/4)
and sporting a set of 28-inch tall bargain brand radials,
4,000plus rpm came in at only 55 mph. We noticed going
down the street that the 904" TorqueFlite neglected
to shift into second gear, going directly into third
gear. This was confirmed on the next road at only 45
mph when punching the 360 caused the toasted TorquAtite
to downshift into first gear (instead of second) which
pegged the factory tach at 7,000 rpm.
second gear, we proceeded to drop the trans pan to inspect
our T-Ftite, where sat a few spoonfuls of clutch material
in the pan. Next we dropped the valve body and noticed
the front band was worn down to the metal, scorching
the front drum. We
Our bulky stock starter (left) fried, requiring us to
get a new piece. Summit supplied us with a high-torque
Powermaster starter. This mini-starter is a few pounds
lighter than the stocker, yet packs a more powerful punch.
The Powermaster spins our LA motor easily and faster for
The hood hinges were bead-biasted to bare metal using
a buddy's blasting cabinet. We used the durable Eastwood
Company Chassis Black as it features an epoxy base to
ensure years of service. With the hinges properly protected
we were confident enough to reinstall the Railye hood.
We were really shocked by the DUI (Davis Unified Ignition)
from Performance Distributors. The DUI is the best ignition
upgrade "yours truly" has ever done. DUI will
custom tailor the advance curve to your engine's specs.
The spiral wound Uvewires plug wires feature heat resistant
and are numbered at each end for the correct cylinder.13
the best in a reliable and dependable transmission, we
called Frank Lupo at Dynamic Converters/Pro-Formance Transmissions.
The smatter 904s are generally known to be worth a tenth
in e.t. over a 727, and a swap to a 727 would have required
a change to a 727 converter and a shorter driveshaft.
Our new ProFormance street/strip trans would feature automatic
shifting, reprogrammed valve body for quicker shifts,
a 5.o kickdown [ever, heavyduty low/reverse spring, and
hi-po bands and clutches.This well-built Pro-Formance
904 wilt deliver the same quality, performance, and durabilitywe
received from the lo-inch Dynamic converter that's been
tested, used and abused in our'67 R/T mule for years.
band-aided TorqueFlite would hopefully stay together until
our new Pro-Formance trans was built. In the next few
test drives, we noticed the 360 would start breaking up
at 5,4oo rpm. Some folks would suspect the ignition, but
we knew it was the wimpy valve springs. Single thin springs
without dampers were the culprit. Fortunately, the blown
318 we removed from the Challenger had MP #P4120249 valve
springs. The used MP springs at[ checked OK and within
5 tbs. of each other, usingAcme Engine Company's valve
spring pressure tester.
Products provided us with a convenient too[ for removal
and installation of valve springs without putting the
heads. On our next ride out, the smalt-btock pulled right
up to 6,000 rpm easity, and still wanted more. We eliminated
another bug from our new et-cheapo powerptant, and it
next upgrade we performed was removing the stock electronic
distributor and installing a Davis Unified Ignition (DUI)
from Performance Distributors. The DUI is an HEI-style
ignition that can really leave a lasting impression on
you. In the past 15 years, we've changed from points to
electronic ignition, added external spark amplifier boxes,and
sensed a small difference. The intense DUI made a tremendous
improvement in the smoothness, performance, and driveabi[ity
of our breathed-on 360.
this point we had enough of the open 4.56 gears in our
E-Body's 8-3~4. In stock at home we had a mrnpJ~-Ie, i7iiief-running
third member with a 3.55 Sure-Grip. During the week we
were waiting for our Pro-Formance 904 to arrive, we jumped
at the opportunity to replace the open 4.56 pig to a more
street-driveabie 3.55. Also, with the mild 3.55 gearing,
our 36o was now turning just 3,000 rpm at 60 mph instead
of screaming at over Voo rpm with 4.56s. Our spent 904
made its last shift when we tried a WOT downshift at 50
mph, causing it to stick in second gear and blow fluid
out the dipstick onto the headers. Looking in the rearview
mirror revealed a cloud of smoke. Luckily, this happened
only a hatf-mite from home. Our totally toasted TorqueNte
was stipping and sliding and barely made it into the garage.
on time, our new trans arrived the next day. Most TorqueFlites
Pro-Formance buitds are of the competition (manual shift)
and trans-brake variety. Many top-rated racers and record
holders use Dynamic converters and Pro-Formance transmissions
in their Mopars. We asked Frank Lupo to set us up with
a Street/Strip automatic and install a high rpm governor
for 5,500-6,000 rpm automatic upshifts. Man, did he hook
us up. The new trans shifts better than our R/T's modified
727. This dependable 904 has perfect (for the 360's powerband)
5.700 rpm upshifts. At normal around-towning driving
it feels like a stock TorqueFlite, but with firmer, more
solid shifts. This ProFormance trans is the best automatic
I've ever installed in a Mopar. Great job.
protect our new tranny from excessive heat, we installed
a used trans cooler and TO deep aluminum pan. The stock
wasted rubber trans mount was replaced with an Energy
Suspension polyurethane mount to prevent our precious
new trans from jumping around in the tunnel too much.
After a few local test rides, we changed the fluid and
fitter to aid in a proper break-in for our fresh trans.
Frank Lupo recommended we run one of his new 9-1/2-inch
Dynamic converters, but we decided to stick it out with
the unknown io-inch converter that came in our project
car. This way we can do a proper same day 9 1/2- versus
lo-inch converter test in the future.
When we originally purchased our '74 Challenger Rallye,
it was shod with Weld Superlite wheels, 15x8 rear and
15x6 front. In the tire department there were P275/6o
rear meats and P205/70S up front. Having used BFGoodrich
T/A radials since the '7os, it was a no-brainer to use
regular T/As and T/A Drag radials for street driving and
testing purposes. For superior handling, a smooth ride,
and safe street driving, we chose 275/6oR15 T/As with
a 9-inch tread and 28-inch diameter. For strip duties
we'll test both 235/6oR15 and 275/6oR15 Drag Radials to
see what effect they have on the 60-ft. time, quarter-mile
e.t., trap speed and rpm with their 26- and 28-inch diameters.
setting us up with all the parts and accessories for our
smati-block buildup, we ordered two sets Of 15x8 Weld
Supertites from Summit. These handsome wheels have a 4
1/2-inch backspace for easy fitment into the rear whee[wells;
of our E-Body. My buddies at Shore Wheels in Tuckerton,
NJ, mounted and balanced our three sets of wheels and
tires. With a fresh motor, trans, gears and rear meats,
the Challenger was a treat to drive on the street.
now felt confident enough to take our hard working combination
on the gominute trek to Raceway Park in Engtishtown, New
Jersey. The mitdty-cammed 36o felt
passes. Our plan was to baseline the car with regular
BFG radials, then switch to their famous Drag Radials
(we've seen 9second cars run with them so we knew we'd
hook). Once we established a good baseline, we'd move
on to air filter testing, then strip tuning.
bright skies greeted us at Raceway Park. The weather and
track conditions (always cleaned and freshly sprayed for
our tests) were ideal. Our fresh SBSB felt strong enough
to put our 3,600-lb. Dodge well into the 13s. When our
first pass [it up a 13-14 at 103.96 on the scoreboard,
we were shocked. Our well-matched and under $2,000 longblockwas
performing betterthan we expected. Next, with more off
the line finesse, we dropped the e.t. to a 13.06/104.08.
With those numbers, we had to try and get 12S out of our
combo before switching to the T/A Drag Radials.
a 15-minute cooldown, we tried again and gotclose, but
no cigar-we posted a 13-04/104.23 mph. The previous 13-06
and 13-04 came with 1.96 and 1.95 6o-ft. times (respectively)
by walking the Challenger out of the hole. Determined,
we let our cheap motor coot off for 25 minutes. The longer
cooldown did it. We went an astonishing 12.98 at 104-47
on genuine T/A street radials.
this point we were really stoked. Once we put the Drag
Radials on, we knew we could only go quicker. We ran a
bunch of 12.8s with the 275/60 T/A Drag Radials, posting
1.81 to 1.83 6o-ft. foot times. The Drag Radials hook
like sticks yet offer less roiling resistance, enabling
better e.t.'s and trap speed. Still with no tuning changes
the Drag Radials grabbed us a best e.t. (so far) Of 12.82
at 104-31. The 28xg-inch T/A radials and the Drag Radials
(both 275/6oR15) were spinning our SBSB at 5,400 rpm through
the traps. Considering our motors powerband seemed to
fait off after 5,700 rpm, we wondered if the 26-inch-tall
235/6o Drag Radials would be too short for our combo.
came the tall 275/6oRl5s and on went the shorter 235/6o
Drag Radials. We needed to spend a few more seconds in
the burnout box with the shorter and one inch narrower
shoes to achieve the same traction
Here's the coil and ballast resistor's unsightly presence
hanging from the firewalt. Without the carburetor's choke
hooked up it would take over 5 minutes of foot on the
gas pedal until our motor would idle smoothly. This was
with the stock distributor reworked for full advance aLL
in by 1,500 rpm.
Here's our cieaner-looking firewall without the coil and
ballast resistor. With the DUI installed we could have
eliminated the MP orange box, but we left it there for
Looks. The fat HE style distributor fits B- and E-Bodies
easily, but not A-Bodies. Performance Distributors makes
a smaller OUT that will fit A-Body Mopars. Once the DUI
was installed, our powerplant would easily idle after
only 30 seconds of warm-up time.
For someone duplicating our buildup, don't use the
Edlebrock Sure Seat Springs. Use the beefier Ediebrock
Torker Springs. The 360 was breaking up at 5,400 rpm.
Once we installed the MP #P4120249 springs (we pirated
from the blown 318), our thrifty smati-block would rev
smoothly to 7,000 rpm (1,000-plus revs over peak power).
Powerhouse Products offers this tool to change valve springs
without removing the heads.
derived from the 26x8-inch drag radiats, but with slightly
quicker e.t.'s and trap speed. With the shorter tires,
our new best e.t. and mph was 12.79 at 104-94. Effective
gear ratios for our 3.55 gearing remains the same with
the 235s while it changes to 3.30 with the 275 skins,
the reason we chose the 275/60-15 regular T/As for highway
the 235/6o Drag Radials laying claim to the best e.t.
and mph, we decided to continue testing our SBSB with
them. Chucking our carburetor's choke plate improved our
low-buck engine's performance, but not as much as we've
seen on our deep breathing big-block. Still, we got down
to a 12-76 and our 36o ran its first 105 mph pass. We
were amazed how our mildly carnmed combo got us into the
12S (.441 tift, 218/228 duration @ .050). Without the
hours of head porting we did, this same combination of
parts would be capable of low 13s.
years of testing, the K&N air fitter has always been
worth a few ponies over a paper element filter. We put
a 104-inch K&N setup on the car, but we suffered fuel
starvation in second and third gear. We hadn't realized
how low on gas we were before makingthisrun. Backinthe
pits,weadded a couple gallons of pump premium, and forged
new K&N XStream@ air flow top
Fed up with the excessive rpm caused by the 4.56 open
pumpkin (right), we popped in a 3.55 unit. The 4.56 would
be useless at the strip only doing a one-tire burnout
and be way beyond our 360's powerband. The 3.55 SureGrip
matched our powerpLant for great all-around street and
strip use. We're stiR astounded we went mid-12s with such
a mild-mannered motor and only 3.55 gearing.
The Challenger's original 904 TorqueFlite (left) was toasted
and leaked from all its seats. A stock rebuild, along
with a shift improvement kit from a regular rebuilder,
wouldn't be tough enough for our torquey 360. Our dynotested
Pro-Formance 904 (right) has the guts to handle our heavy
car (3,600 ibs.) and strong smati-block combo. This severe
duty, street/strip 904 features a stronger 5 clutch drum,
360 front pump, 5.0 shift lever, positive shifts and relocated
vent, along with rugged bands and clutches. C3
with 275/60R15 T/As, test lbs. 3595
45 percent humidity, 30.00 barometer
12s on street radials
#1 with 275/60R15 T/A Drag Radials, test lbs. 3580
43 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
radials reduce e.t. significantly.
#2 with 235/60R15 T/A Drag Radials, test lbs. 3585
41 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
tire increases gear ratio, resulting in quicker
e.t. and more trap speed.
#3 Remove choke plate and shift, test lbs. 3580
39 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
chokeless Holley always goes faster for us.
#4 K&N 14x4-in. air cleaner, test lbs. 3575
37 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
fuel in tank causes fuel starvation second and third
#5 K&N XStream® Air Cleaner Top 14"
test lbs. 3595 (added gas)
degrees, 37 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
torque & lower e.t.'s
#6 31 to 37 primary squirter, test lbs. 3590
degrees, 37 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
squirter lowers e.t.'s.
#7 Swap jets 74 to 77 primary, test lbs. 3585
degrees, 37 percent humidity, 30.03 barometer
SBSB slows from fuel enrichment.
plate looks like one of the coolest new products to come
out in a while. The XStream@ allows airto enter smoothly
through the top, helping pull more air from the sides.
This great idea should have come out years ago as it performs
as advertised. Our e.t. numbers dropped across the board
bringing us down to a 12.68 at 105-05 mph, a stunning
number for our basic budget build-up. We predict this
great new piece witI. be seen under the hood of many Mopars,
especially at the drags.
360 had a slight low speed stumble between i,ooo and 1,600
rpm. We knew a change to a larger squirter would help
banish the slight bog. Removing the stock #31 squirters;
and moving up to a #37 did indeed eliminate the slow speed
stumble. Now we could have launched at 1,200 to 1,500
rpm, but to keep our testing consistent we stayed at 1,800.
The larger squirter sent our SBSB screaming down the strip
to its best run of the day with a 12.64 at 105.28. Man,
were we taken aback by those numbers.
Davis Unified Ignition had our spark plugs burning so
clean we thought if we richened the jetting we might go
a little faster. Along with the coot air (high 50s) we
hoped swappingthe stock primary74 jets for 77s might improve
our 1320 times. Unfortunately, we slowed down to 12.73/104-85,
a step in the wrong direction. Out of time, we were unable
to lean it out a tad for possibly even better el's.
to our amazement (and the amazement of all involved in
this build-up), this low-buck smalt-block delivered performance
beyond our expectations. We're tickled to have an efficient
motor (11-15 MPG) with everyday driveability that would
respond well in a truck, boat or luxurious C-Body. Sure,
upgrading to a bigger cam, ported aftermarket heads, 3.9is
and a [a rge r exhaust could put our E-Body into the lis.
But, then it would lose its ability to be a docile daily
driver. The SBSB has the feel of a torqueY 440. *
The B&M (Summit #BMM-10239) 360 external balance fLexpLate
is of utmost importance when replacing a 318/340 with
a 360. We've seen too many people have vibration problems
from not using a properly balanced ftexplate or converter.
Using the B&M plate will enable us to perform converter
upgrades in the future.
On the Left is the 10-inch. high-staLL 904 converter that
came with our project car. To the right is an 11-inch
727 converter. The unknown brand 10-inch converter was
flushed out, then filled with quality ATF before installation.
Down the road we intend to do a same day converter swap
strip test. Elapsed time and efficiency gains will follow
when we team up the Dynamic converter with the ProFormance
Check out the dyno tested 02-27-01 date code on the Pro-Formance
tranny. We degreased, then bead-biasted the trans crossmember
down to bare metal. Eastwood Chassis Black will bond to
steel protecting it from rock chips and rust. It's much
tougher than regular paint, having proven itself for years
in other applications.
The stock to-po trans mount is missing half its deteriorated
rubber. When this rotted rubber mount was in place, you
could push or putt the taiLshaft one inch in either direction.
Replacing this worn rubber mount with a new rubber mount
wouldn't prevent our transmission from excessive torque
movement between the motor and mounts.
We removed aR the old rubber from the inside of the original
steel shell. The Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings
install from each side of the bracket, then the bushings
stip through the sleeve. It's that easy, plus it's better
looking and more durable.
We mounted this old trans cooler from our'67 R/T in the
'70s, '80s and '90s. Excessively heated trans fluid is
the number one kilter of automatics. A cooler running
TorqueFtite is added insurance to longer transmission
Our Pro-Formance killer 904 trans deserves only the best
of care and service. After a few local break-in rides,
we replaced the stock pan and filter with a TCI deep aluminum
pan (Summit #TCI-127900). It holds 2 extra quarts of ATF.
Bolted in place is the detailed crossmember and Energy
Suspension potyurethane mount.
Our E-machine featured Weld wheels for its original $1,000
purchase price. The three pair of BFG T/As we tested were
mounted on 15x8 Weld Dragiites with a 4 1/2-inch backspacing.
Left to right, shown mounted: 275/60RI5 T/A Drag Radial,
275/60RI5 Radial TIA, 275/60RI5 T/A Drag Radial, 235/60R15
T/A Drag Radial, and mounted up front is a Brand X 205/70-15.
Here, Bud Hoerth, the famous "Budman," helps
mount a Drag Radial. Not seen but on the other side was
John Pank who once owned our project car. Bud and John
were a great pit crew while John videotaped each run of
his old car. Those T/A Drag Radials hooked up like sticks,
eventually returning 1.77 60-ft. times.
Who do you think got to chuck the choke plate? On our
440 mule we reduced our e.t. by over a tenth with this
trick on a 750 Holley. Removing the choke and its shaft
on our 360 showed a smatter improvement. It seems our
smallblock didn't need as much additional air flow as
a big-block does. Our chokeless wonder did see its first
105-mph trap speed afterwards, however.
The Performance Distributors DUI (Davis Unified Ignition)
clears our old 12-Inch open paper element air cleaner
by one Inch. The DUI directs additional spark energy to
the plugs, allowing the plug gap to be opened up to.055.
The DUI worked with our combination as a team helping
our SBSB produce outstanding driveability, efficiency,
and tow e.t.'s.
We found this inexpensive every day package
right out of the Summit Catalog. Summit's low-buck engine
kit, cam timing set, and parts are all high quality. Acme
Engine Company's machine work was top rate, contributing
to great engine seal. Proper porting to the 1.88/1.60
smog heads combined with all the above gave us a freaky-fast
SBSB combination. According to our Barry Grant Professor
II computer, our SBSB is making 351 horsepower.
SBSB CHALLENGER CHALLENGE
360 with .030 hypereutectic 9.1 pistons
casting "596" 1.88 intake, 1.60 exhaust
Hydraulic 441 lift 218/228 duration @ .050
Performer RPM Air Gap with 750 Holley Double Pumper
#74 primary, # 80 secondary jets 14x4-inch K&N
with XStream top
with full advance in by 3,000 rpm 12° initial,
5/8 Hedman headers with 2 1/4 full exhaust generic
2 1/4 turbo mufflers
by Pro-Formance transmissions, 3000 stall no-name
Draglites, 15x6 front, 15x8 rear, 235/60 BFG Comp
T/A Drag radials (rear) 205/70 off-brand tires (front)
gas shocks (front) air shocks 20 psi (rear) pinion
snubber resting on floor
8 3/4 with 489 case, 3.55 Sure-Grip
A warning in the DUI installation instructions states
air cleaners over 13 inches might not fit. This warning
prompted us to order a UN offset base air cleaner. This
14x2 1/2-inch air cleaner will need to be installed as
shown in order to clear the 750 Holley's float adjusting
screws and the fat HEI style distributor cap. The Challenger's
RaLLye hood bracing would only clear up to a 14x3 offset
We wanted to use a 14A drop base style cleaner. Here we
discovered a 14-inch K&N drop base clears the fat
distributor by 1/4 inch. The trans kickdown adjustment
rod needed to be clearance ground down to 1/4-inch (top
front corner). This helped clear the air cleaner's drop
E-Bodies with an Rfr, Ratiye or'Cuda Raisin Bran (two
scoops) hood should have enough clearance for a drop base
K&N 14x4-inch air cleaner set up. To install it, the
plug wires need to be held back while placing the fitter
onto the drop base. Our Livewires plug wires only rested
against the fitter, no biggie-just run a regular 14-inch
diameter air cleaner (we wanted to for our strip testing
The K&N XStream@ air cleaner top is one of the best
new products to come along in years. It delivers noticeable
gains in throttle response and e.t. Reductions in 60-ft.,
eighthand quarter-mite times were realized. This new XStreame
lid MR be in place for aH future tests. This outstanding
piece got us out of the 12.7s and into the 12.6s.
Excited about running a 12.68, we felt a squirter change
would help. We only changed the #31 primary squirter to
a #37 squirter, and left the #31 secondary squirter alone.
This simple change dropped the eA. to a 12.64.
Increases in airflow will usually demand more fuel mixture.
Expectations with coot air (59*) had us jetting up the
stock primary from #74 to #77. This was a step in the
wrong direction and stowed us down by nearly a tenth.
Out of time, we were still amazed how this miid and inexpensive
combination brought us mid-12 second e.t.'s.
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