This month’s installment is going to be a two-pronged discussion. If you’re a regular reader, you know that the racing scene in Southern California is quite dismal. We have lost our only quarter-mile track in the Los Angeles area, Fontana AutoClub Dragway, and for a period of time we had also lost our eighth-mile track, Irwindale Dragway. With both tracks closed, the natives have been going crazy to peel out and do wheelies! Well, we’ve got one of our tracks back, as Irwindale reopened for business several weeks ago. This past weekend they were having a Summit E.T. series race to qualify for competition in the E.T. Finals. My son and I had joined Fontana’s team before the closure, but without a definite answer if they were going to reopen or field a team at all, we decided to go to Irwindale and join its team.
Since the wagon hadn’t run in over four months, and it was well overdue for a good service. I asked Daniel to get it off the trailer, change the oil, and look everything over. I was at work when a picture came across my phone, revealing a very large crack in the transmission case—beginning at the starter and extending all the way around to the upper bellhousing bolt on the driver side. I told Daniel to put everything away. We were done.
Again, if you’ve been a regular reader, you know I’m building an L92 6.2-liter to drop in place of the LT4 350 that’s been in the car for years. It was my plan that when I went to swap the engine out that I would rebuild the A-1 Powerglide and give it a few upgrades for the added torque and horsepower. OK, this is where the “broke” comes into the story. Instead of just fixing the trans, we’ve decided to go headlong into wrapping up the engine build, build a new trans with a Reid Racing case, and knock out the whole enchilada. I’ve been collecting the parts for the engine, as the checkbook would handle it. I’ve gotten the complete camshaft and spring package from COMP with the hydraulic roller spec’d out at 239/251 at 0.050-inch tappet lift, 0.624-inch max lift, and ground on 110 centers. This package utilizes dual valvesprings with tooled steel retainers. Consulting with COMP, this is the largest intake lobe we think will fit without having to cut valve relief in the stock short-block L92. These springs will dress the Lingenfelter CNC-ported LS3 cylinder heads with hollow-stem Manley valves. I’ve also broken down and bought the Victor Jr. manifold to top off the engine. To meet the sub-11-second requirements, I’ve also picked up an ATI Super Damper and an SFI flexplate. To keep the engine cool we’ve dressed the front of the engine with a Meziere electric water pump. I’ve gotten a complete set of ARP fasteners to replace the torque to yield production hardware, an MSD ignition controller for the coil-near-plug system, and a drag-race oil pan. I only have a few more big-ticket items to pick up, like a set of pushrods once the engine is mocked up, CHE Precision bushed rocker arms to prevent losing the pesky needle bearings out of the rockers, and a GM permanent magnet gear reduction starter.
I’ve finally shipped off the Brand-F stock eliminator engine I was building for my good friend Charlie Allen. Daniel’s RX-7 is just about ready to fire; we’re down to the final wiring chores of marrying a GM controller and the RX-7 electrical systems. I guess it’s my turn to dig into our nasty wagon. We’re shooting for mid 10s at 3,200 pounds on a stock short-block on pump gas. Stranger things have happened—we’ll keep you posted.