AMS Performance vice president Arne Toman has owned some strange projects including the infamous “AMS Express” Van, which ran mid-12s with AWD and a turbo LS engine. He loves putting a turbo LS engine in anything. Case in point: the 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Hearse known as Madness.
Our friends at GM High-Tech Performance featured the Hearse last year, detailing Toman’s plight to overtake an eerie record for the world’s fastest hearse. The basic gist is that the hearse packs a stock 6.0L truck engine with a custom turbo system, S480R turbo, and a 4L80E. This combo pushed the brick to 161mph at the Chicago WannaGoFast ½-mile event on 20psi of boost. This lead up to the eventual goal of running 9s with the stock 6.0L, a tough task in a 5,000-plus-pound mover of stiffs. "I love taking big heavy cars and making them unbelievably quick. I've always enjoyed sleepers," said Toman.
AMS’ tuner Chris Black slowly crept up in the tune to preserve the stock pistons and rods. Eventually in June 2013, Madness ran a 9.99 on drag radials with an 18-inch wheel in perfect conditions. But the grainy night video and difficulty with traction eventually caused them to give it another go with a set of slicks on 15-inch drag wheels. October 18, 2013 the world record was reset at 9.94 at 137mph.
But rest assured, there is plenty more left in it. "We could've run more boost honestly and we tried," stated Chris Black. "Arne really wanted that 9 second slip again so he was trying to make the time by manually modulating the launch RPM/boost level and running the car out the back door but it proved difficult."
Attempts were made at 25psi, but anything over 22-23psi would blow the tires off at the 60-foot. And launching with more than 10psi had the same effect, even with slicks. The crew plans to return to the track with a new Plex Boost Controller. No doubt this is a product that AMS also uses on its famous 1,000+hp Nissan GT-Rs and Audi R8s.
After testing out the new boost controller there is talk of stuffing the stock 6.0L and Borg Warner turbo into Toman’s Bluesmobile replica. But that isn’t the end of Madness, an AES 370 and larger turbo would put it into the mid-9s at “full weight with the casket and all.”