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Race Car Gauges & Interior - Finishing Touches

After tying up some loose ends, The Purp sits on the cusp of running down the track

Stephen Kim Feb 4, 2014
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Racers are notorious for stretching the truth, but the fibbing isn’t always intentional. After getting The Purp NHRA legal for 8-second-passes by installing the appropriate safety gear last month, we proclaimed that we’d be waking the car’s 451ci LS small-block up from its long slumber right about now. That still hasn’t happened just yet, and as we’ve learned the hard way, just when you think you’re reaching the finish line over the course of building a race car, the loose ends keep popping up. Fortunately, Dustin Rush at the School of Automotive Machinists ( stepped in to tie them all up. A perfectionist to the core, Dustin isn’t cool with merely building a fast car. He’s worked tirelessly to ensure The Purp looks as good as it did when it rolled off the dealer’s lot – maybe even better. The big difference this time around is that it now packs a monstrous 720hp V-8 instead of a wheezy 3.4L V-6, and it’s poised to run with the big boys in the NMCA LSX Real Street class.

Although cars that run in Real Street are often more “race” than “street,” many of them still resemble street cars on the surface. As such, we didn’t want to show up at the track with a fully gutted interior. Likewise, while race cars need lots of gauges to keep on eye on the engine vitals, we wanted to mount them as discreetly as possible. Transforming our wishes into a reality required quite a bit of custom fabrication from SAM technician Dustin Rush, but he was more than up to the challenge. In addition to installing some fresh carpet, Dustin fabricated a custom instrument panel, whipped up some slick custom A/C and stereo delete plates, and modified the door panels to wrap tightly around the rollcage. He also treated the dash to a flocking procedure for a suede-like finish that’s much more pleasing that the stock hard plastic. At the risk of repeating ourselves again, tying up these loose ends means that the buildup phase of the The Purp really is finished. The next step: dyno tuning and track testing!

GMHTP 1995 Camaro Finished Gauge 9/13

8 With the instrument panel cover back in place, there’s still enough space for an unobstructed view of the LCD screen and gauges. While the Holley screen can be set up with a virtual speedometer and tachometer, we prefer watching real needles swing back and forth. As such, we selected an Auto Meter Elite Series 3-3/8-inch speedo (PN: 5688) and tach (PN: 5697). The tach interfaces with the Dominator ECU, while the speedo relies on a GPS-based sending unit.

GMHTP 1995 Camaro Finished 13/13

12 Gutted is fine for some, but former GMHTP Editor Scott Parker and Dustin Rush of SAM wanted a cozier and more presentable cabin. With fresh carpet, a custom flocked dash, and a custom instrument panel, The Purp’s interior looks almost too nice for a race car.


Auto Meter
Sycamore, IL 60178
Summit Racing
Akron, OH
Hawks Third Generation
Easley, SC 29640
6 LiterEater Designs
Valley Village, CA 91607
School of Automotive Machinists
Houston, TX 77055
Holley EFI
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Flock It!



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