Thursday, July 28, 2011 08:00
For the last several decades, a tortuous stretch of mountain road in the legendary mining area of Virginia City, Nevada has uncovered precious metal of a different sort: the vehicular type. Up until recently, different organizations such as the Ferrari and Shelby owners clubs have sponsored timed runs on the route. A couple years ago, though, Spectre Performance decided to resume the event. In fact, Spectre president Amir Rosenbaum still holds the record of three minutes, 10 seconds in a ‘92 Ferrari F40 on the 5.2-mile public road that boasts hellacious curves and some really hairy 500-foot drop-offs—with no guardrails.
Back in mid June of this year, 40 or so hot rides of all types attempted to best Rosenbaum’s time. We’ll be focusing on the top 10 entrants in upcoming blogs, running the gamut from exotic supercars to vintage muscle machines. Once again, however, it was the Corvette ZR1 driven by Lou Gigliotti that showed everybody the way to the top of the hill.
Hailing from Wylie, Texas, he drove his LG Motorsports 2010 ZR1 to blistering elapsed time of 3:14 (averaging 96.27 mph), a full 7.3 seconds faster than his race-winning run last year.
“We did three runs,” Gigliotti related, “but on the fourth the ‘Puff Daddy’ Pfadt Camaro crashed on the course—but we didn’t know it. So we’re running at 120 mph, coming around the corner, and he’s sitting in the middle of the road. We missed him literally by inches and there was no room on the other side. We really had to thread the needle.” More...
Friday, June 10, 2011 08:00
We’ve held forth on the wonders of bubba engineering, but it’s not all horseshoes and hand grenades… Some of these folks build savage metal wonderment that’s completely awesome because the devastation is low-pro, but still just plain ridiculous.
Along that vein, we bring you Volvette in a vid called “Full Length Volvette Intoduction from The Anti Team.”
To be frank (and Tom, Dick and Harry), that the guys from the Anti Team are rednecks is a reach, and we didn’t check the plates closely, but the vibe suits a nice rebel interpretation of a Volvo seven-series wagon. Sedate, sporty, high-speed stable in the European tradition, now with somewhere north of 500 hp through the right parts—late-model LS1 with a couple T4s hanging off it, built T-56, and the car’s caged (smart, considering what these guys do with it). Seems like a fitting place for a twin-turbo’d LS1, eh? Or did he say LS2? Missed it—hard to hear you when you’re outrunning an R1 on the freeway in a Volvo station wagon. More...
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 06:00
Ford fans admire the strike of a Cobra. Chevy guys? For a bare-knuckled street fight, there’s nothing more brutal than the Cheetah. It can make a Cobra look like a garden snake by comparison. Sure, the Shelby was fast, but back in the Sixties, the Cheetah lived up to its namesake as the quickest creature on land. Trouble was, it was also the wildest beast you’d ever imagine.
Improving on its DNA with a Modernized Chassis
The engine was set back so far (a full two feet behind the front axle), there was no room for a driveshaft between the tranny and the diff. The output shaft of the Muncie 4-speed bolted directly to the differential U-Joint. That put the weight bias on the rear wheels, an oddity for a front-engine car. It also required running the exhaust headers on top of the foot boxes, and put the transmission right next to the driver, turning the cramped cockpit into a searing hot box.
Not only that, the “flexible flyer” frame made for unpredictable handling. The chassis acted like a giant undamped spring, flinging the Cheetah around like a jungle cat in pursuit of a scared rabbit. The car’s one saving grace was raw, unfettered speed—it could run down anything in its path, devouring the competition in a gulp. Speeds as high as 215 mph were possible on the high banks of Daytona (significantly faster than the 198 mph record that Dick Smith’s seriously modified Cobra roadster achieved.) More...
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 06:00
There’s a saying in racing: “Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?” There’s no end of people and companies willing to help you modify your power-to-wealth ratio, including Ford, which now has a Boss 302 crate engine that lets you drop 444 horsepower into your project car.
The 5.0-liter Boss 302 has engine-mount bosses and a bell-housing pattern common to those used on 4.6-liter modular engines. And that about ends the list of things the Boss has in common with its underlings. Right out of the box the Boss has an aluminum block with cross-bolted main caps and thick main-bearing bulkheads. The 8.5-quart oil pan has improved baffling for better oil control in hard corners. The heads––aluminum, of course––have CNC-machined ports and combustion chambers, and come with sodium-filled valves. More...
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 05:31
“It’s a sign,” old folks used to say when something they witnessed seemed to predict the future. “It’s a sign” that electric cars are on their way to being fully embraced when all-electric cars start showing up at the dragstrip. Those who hot-rod electric cars are what marketing folks call “early adopters” and average people call “nuts,” “super nerds,” or “whackos.” Versions of those names where applied to people who stuffed V8s into Model T chassis back in the 1940s. (Somehow, those who put V8s into 3 Series BMWs or overly shortened the suspension springs of Hondas earned the more respectable-sounding moniker of “tuner.”)
Someone who would build a street-legal electric drag racer capable of running a quarter mile in 10.3 seconds at just over 120 mph is far more of an early adopter (and a car guy) than the Ed Begley Jr. types who acquire, but don’t often drive, a Prius, Leaf or Volt.
John Wayland has converted a 1972 Datsun 1200 Coupe into what he calls the “world’s quickest street-legal car.” (Wayland calls himself “Plasma Boy.” Ladies, that’s a pretty good indication he’s single.)
A video of Plasma Boy’s racing exploits shows him racing—and beating—Corvettes and BMWs among others. One of Wayland’s advantages is that, like every electric car, his makes maximum torque at zero rpm. Combined with the made-for-drag-racing tires, that means the White Zombie launches like a real drag racer every time. It helps that his opponents in the video have the reaction times and shifting skills of cannabis-browsing koalas. (Since the video, a switch to lighter and more potent lithium-ion batteries has allowed Wayland’s car to run much faster.) More...