1971 Chevy Impala - Fat Rat

Barry Kluczyk May 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Obviously, a lot of grunt is necessary to launch this brick. During our photo session, the motivation of the moment was a 1970-vintage big-block that displaced 477ci. Silardi and Rich Moon assembled the engine, which includes a 4-inch stroker, cross-drilled and nitrided steel crank. Forged TRW pistons give the engine a 14.6:1 compression ratio.

Between the crank and pistons, a Crane solid roller cam bumps against custom pushrods and Crane roller rockers. The rockers actuate a set of 2.3-inch Manley valves within a pair of Dart 320 aluminum heads. Ross Smith handled the porting chores on the square-port castings, which are topped by a Dart single-plane intake manifold, which has been ported, too.

A single Holley Dominator mixes air and fuel for the engine, while an MSD 7 AL-3 and billet distributor send out the sparks. All the Impala has for an exhaust system is a set of Gary Cook-built custom headers whose tubes meet in Flowmaster 4.5-inch collectors.

Silardi directs the power of the big-block with a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter that sits atop a prepped Turbo 400. It features an ATI 5,500-stall converter that helps channel power back to the sturdy 4.86-geared 9-inch rear axle.

We mentioned this was the car's combination during our photo shoot, because Silardi and crew will have likely installed a 540-cube, tunnel-rammed Rat in the Impala's ample engine compartment by the time you read this.

"That should get us in the eights," Silardi says. "Still without nitrous."

We'll be back at Martin to see if Silardi and his "Fat Rat" racing crew can do it. Regardless, the performance of this Impala proves that sometimes size really doesn't matter.


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