Up front, the suspension was beefed up with Global West A-arms and lightweight aluminum QA1 Stocker Star shocks. Wilwood disc brakes with big 11.75-inch rotors are mounted on stock GM spindles, while stock GM drum-style brakes are used on the rear.
Former NHRA Pro Stock racer James Antonette of JA Performance in Lynbrook, New York, and B&B Machine Shop in Oceanside collaborated on the 434-inch small-block. Providing a foundation for the engine assembly is a Chevrolet Performance Sportsman block with four-bolt nodular mains, which cradle a Crower 4340 crank. Crower billet connecting rods push the J&E 12.3:1 compression pistons up towards the 67cc combustion chamber in the Brodix 23-degree Track 1 heads. A Comp Cams roller stick orchestrates the valvetrain. Topping the short-block is a Chevrolet Performance Parts 10051102 competition intake manifold. Backing up the engine is a G-Force five-speed tranny with a 10.5-inch McLeod clutch and pressure plate that’s enveloped by a Lakewood scatter shield. Directing spent exhaust gases out of the engine is a set of Kook’s headers, which connects to a custom-made 3-inch stainless steel exhaust.
I sort of entered no man's land when I purchased the ACCEL DFI Gen 7 package
Rather than using traditional carburetion for fuel delivery, O’Neill opted for a throttle body fuel injection system that’s controlled by an ACCEL/DFI Gen 7 speed density ECU box. A billet ACCEL throttle body with standard 4150 mounting flange bolts directly to the wet flow GM intake and flows an impressive 1,550 cfm. A ram air box kit with screened inlet in place of two of the headlights provides plenty of air volume and velocity. Fuel delivery to the injectors is ably handled by a Weldon 1100-A flow-through electric fuel pump with -10 inlets and outlets. Sitting between the throttle body and intake manifold is the spray plate for a NOS Big Shot single stage plate nitrous system, which can provide up to 350 hp of additional fun when activated.
“I sort of entered no man’s land when I purchased the ACCEL DFI Gen 7 package,” O’Neill remarked. “When I got it from someone who thought they knew how to program the system, I was misinformed, but I wasn’t going to take the easy way out and put a carburetor back on. After many attempts, I found Job Spetter, Jr. He had the car running in five minutes. The fuel injection was doing what it was supposed to do, but it needed more air. So, I went to Glen Briglio of B & B Machine to modify the intake manifold so I could take the injectors out of the throttle body. He welded in injector bungs for each cylinder and aimed the 55 lb/hr injectors at the intake valves to spray the fuel where it needs to go.”
A trip to the chassis dyno showed that this combination produces almost 600 hp and 526 lb-ft of torque at the rear tires running on engine alone. Turning on the juice provides a jump up to 834 hp at just 5,700 rpm, with a butt-kicking 777 lb-ft at 5,600. That translates to a best quarter-mile e.t. of 10.53 seconds at 129 mph on engine alone and a 10.12 at 140-plus mph with the spray turned on. Not bad for a big two-ton car on DOT tires with pump gas!
With all of the music that this car’s engine provides, O’Neill didn’t see any need for a stereo, but he did call on Classic Industries to supply the door panels and carpeting. Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges, a modified Long shifter and a Stroud harness/net shows that this car knows drag racing. On the outside, the body remains stocks except for a VFN Fiberglass hood. Action Powercoating in Farmingdale, New York, beautified all of the chrome and trim work.
Thanks to the help and understanding of his wife Lisa, and daughters, Brittany, Jennifer and Victoria (and countless others), this car stands out despite a crowded field of other machines from that era. It captures and revives the memories of old times that need but a spark to flame once again—and not fade away!