Editors spend the dog days of summer criss-crossing the country, tracking down feature cars and attending events that seem to come at a non-stop pace. Rick Jensen ran the gauntlet in late May, spending two of his first full weeks as editor living out of a suitcase, only to come back to New Jersey for our second shootout and find himself waiting out bad weather in a hotel room near Englishtown. On June 10, 2003, Mother Nature finally had mercy and dried the skies long enough for us to get it on.
In our last shootout, we put the call out to LT1 owners who limited their modifications to bolt-on parts. Through carefully selected changes and weight reductions, those cars put up some surprisingly strong numbers, while giving former GMHTP Edtior Johnny Hunkins several ideas for his own bolt-on LT1 project car. This year we extended the invitation to all LT1 and LS1 owners and kept the restrictions to a bare minimum. We wanted the focus to remain on street-driven vehicles, so we required all cars to be registered, licensed and insured in their home state. In keeping with Englishtown's strict 94 dB noise restrictions, we also limited the event to muffled cars with rear-exiting exhaust. Obviously, all cars and drivers had to meet NHRA safety requirements for their specific ET.
Beyond those basic guidelines, the sky was the limit and any combination of nitrous, forced induction and big cubes was fair game. Unlike our previous shootout, weight reduction wasn't a major factor this time around and most of our participants found a way to run fast without sacrificing much in the way of creature comforts. While the LS1s have an edge over their predecessors in stock form, once the modifications start adding up, it's anyone's game. Who would come out on top? Read on.