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Pro Touring Cars - Letters - CHP Garage

Jan 1, 2007
0701_chpp_01_z Schwartz_chassis_letters New_chevy_camaro 2/1

Total Cost
Now that all the parts are available to build a Pro Street or Pro Touring car, what are some ballpark costs to put these together? The Street Schwartz chassis got me thinking about the total cost to do a complete car. I'd bet your readers would have some interest.
Jim Smith
Balsam Lake, WI

That's hard to say. We've seen people claiming budget-oriented Pro Street or Pro Touring projects pieced together for as little as $10,000, depending on the quality. It may be possible, however; even the guys at our sister pub Popular Hot Rodding set a cap of $20,000 with their second-gen Camaro. On the upper end, we've seen people quoting ridiculous prices beyond $80,000-way too rich for our blood. On a positive note, the Schwartz chassis starts at only $2,995, and assuming you already have a body to drop on it, you could build a killer corner carver for relatively cheap. Keep your eye out-we may just disclose the exact details and costs in an upcoming issue, only it'll be based on a strict budget.-HD

One Guy's Opinion
In your Oct. '06 editorial, titled "The Possibilities Are Endless," you asked for our opinion on the perfect ride. Well here's mine. Right or wrong, you asked for it. I believe some of these so-called super cars being built today are too much, especially the '60s and '70s musclecars. I personally do not like all the air suspensions, the six-speed transmissions, and especially the wheels-15-inch is the biggest appropriate wheel size.

I am restoring a '70 Chevy Nova, and I am building to go straight, whether it is on the strip or street-that's what it was intended to do, not race a road course. It will have 15-inch Chevy rally wheels on big tires in the rear and small on the front, real tires, not those low-profile jobs! It is going to have a reasonable amount of horsepower from a small-block, and no power steering (it came that way!), no air conditioning, and no $5,000 stereo system. It will have a Muncie four-speed, not a six-speed overdrive! The only thing, as far as suspension, is going to be polyurethane bushings and disc brakes in front only (for safety reasons). To me, this is a super car.

I understand that everyone has different opinions, tastes, and creativity, but some of these cars are losing their allure when they are overdone. Again, just my opinion.
Clinton Kimble
St. Joseph, MO

Build This!
You said you'd like to hear what we'd like to see you build in the magazine, so here goes. I'd like to see a hard-core street/strip pump-gas BBC Rat motor with no turbo, no blower, no nitrous; just motor. The combo I'd like to see specifically is based off a Dart Big M block with a 9.800 standard deck, 4.500x 4.250 bore and stroke, making it a 540ci. Keep the compression at 10.75:1 and use a set of AFR 335cc CNC cylinder heads. For the cam, use a Comp Cams custom billet-steel, solid-roller 266/272 at 0.050 with 0.678/0.688 lift and a 108 lobe separation angle, based off its modern Extreme Energy lobes. After the primary build, come back the following month with a 108, 110, and 112 comparison in that motor. This would be great real-world info, and you guys are awesome enough to come up with it.

Also be sure to use a Victor Jr. intake that's been precision port-matched with the plenum-to-runner roofs blended. I'd also like to see a 1,000-cfm Holley HP carb, 211/48 primary long-tubes with with 311/42 collectors and a 2-inch open-carb spacer as a primary setup, then test with a 1-inch open spacer and, finally, no spacer at all. This would also give some great info.

The LSA and spacer comparison is something me and my buddies don't recall seeing on a big-block; it seems to have always been done on a small-block. So this could be new for a huge number of readers. Thanks for considering something a little bit new that has real street/strip merit.
Rick Jackson
Via e-mail

That's a stout powerplant, and we're already in the planning stages with this build. To make things even more interesting, we'll stuff it in our Nov. '06 Hugger Orange '71 Nova cover car and hit the track to see what it'll churn on the quarter-mile. Stay tuned!

Have something you want to share? Did we do good or did we blow it? Drop us a line at

For Speed
Bob Mehlhoff
It happened again last week. I made a trip to a chain auto-parts store for nothing more than a relatively common part. Once in the parking lot I remembered the fun I used to have going into a little auto-parts store years ago called Erickson Auto Parts in Canoga Park, California. This was during the '80s, and if you were a car guy then in the west San Fernando Valley you made a regular habit of asking Bruce or his dad Jim Erickson for auto parts. After you visited for a short while and explained what you needed they'd go down an aisle, bring the part back, and lay it on the counter. They'd almost never need to look up the part number.

But that was 20 years ago. Today I needed a headlamp for my '67 Chevelle. Because this Chevelle is now about 40 years old, the hanging catalog in the parts aisle did not have the number I needed. And although I was relatively certain it was a 5006 headlamp, I thought I'd still double-check with the counter person. So I asked the very polite guy in the bright shirt, "Yes, could I please have the part number for a low-beam Halogen headlamp for a '67 Malibu?" After looking at his on-counter monitor he asked, "Is that an Oldsmobile?" "No" I answered, "it's a Chevrolet." Then I thought, OK, give him a break; he's only about 20 and this car is 40 years old. Then he hit me with the question I can't stand: "What size engine does it have?" Of course any real car guy understands that this is a totally meaningless question regarding a headlamp for most models.

I had some time to spare, so I replied, "It does not have an engine in it." His eyes grew wide, and he said, "If I don't have the engine information we can't go any further." I told him that maybe we should just guess. "No," he replied. "It makes a difference on your model car." So I suggested we look up all the engines and see what the choices were. He agreed and told me that all the headlamp part numbers for all those engines for a '67 Chevelle were the same and that the one I needed was a 5006.

Unfortunately, today there's no such thing as Erickson Auto Parts; it closed in 1988. Today it seems there's just the big chain places that have everything you'll ever need. Just bring your own knowledge.

If you are under 25 years old and own a cool Chevy-whether it's new, old, or a work-in-progress-we want to see it. Send or e-mail your prints and hi-res (1,500-pixels wide minimum) photos to: Young Guns, Chevy High Performance, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048;

John Nelson
Lately, I've been trying to resist the freebie. "My God, man," I hear you cry out. "Why would you do that?" Indeed, I have to ask it of myself. It's not hard to deduce why. By its very nature, a freebie is free. It's given to me, and I pay nothing for it-how can that be a bad thing?

On the surface, it probably isn't. Even if the item isn't cool, who cares? It's free! But we all know it's not as simple as that. The most basic problem is, where the hell am I going to put all this stuff? Like many of you, I don't have unlimited storage space. The area that is currently filled with no less than six 16-gallon storage bins packed with Corvette T-shirts could certainly be put to better use, couldn't it?

So all those free shirts are now renting space in my mind as well as my storage shed. The thoughts go round and round...I could sure use that space, and I never wear any of these shirts. But I might! They're all new, most of them look cool, so how could I throw them out?

So I've started turning down the free shirts, the free caps (I almost never wear them, anyway), and the free pens (which almost never work). It's not easy to do-we're sure you know that. But if I want room in my closet for clothing that doesn't sport a screaming-loud performance product logo, what else can I do? The leather notebooks, press kits, scale models, toys, and gee-gaws...well, I haven't gotten that far yet. Are they useful? No. But they are free, and they look cool.

On the other hand, it's good to know when to jump at things that are free but don't look cool. Case in point: I was on the scene when Freiburger expressed a desire to dump his battered '82 Z28. It looks like hell, but it has a rare fiberglass hood that'll go nicely on my '84 Z, and it might yield some other treasures.

Unfortunately, ditching a few shirts and hats probably won't make room for the take from this latest freebie...which means renting more space. As for the mental space, I'll go ahead and pay the tab for that. Imagining what might happen with these free parts is much more pleasant than wondering if I could wear a different Corvette shirt every day for a year.

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