I was thinking about project cars the other day. They're cool. You find a foundation to start with, then start building upon it to create your own automotive vision. Except when you don't, meaning you spend all your time and energy working on other things. More often than not, especially if classic cars are your business in addition to your hobby, the other things you're working on are other people's projects. Or other stories; that's probably just me. Hope that a project will finally come together, however, springs eternal.
Speaking of other stories, it's really nice to be in a position to ignore all our frequent advice about picking reasonable compression ratios and street-friendly, torque-inducing camshafts and go out on a limb. I wish I could impart to you just how nasty this month's 355 creation sounds. Idle, schmidle-this thing wants to rev. I could have and should have shot some video for the Web site, but I was too busy thanking the Almighty that I'd actually made it to the dyno while alternately cackling, "Huh huh, that's cool." (FYI, I do this in the voices of both Beavis and Butthead.) Next time we run it, I'll get you some sound. Of the engine, not of me channeling my favorite cartoon characters.
At this point in history, it's almost impossible to ramble without mentioning the pain at the pump we're all suffering. There was some brief discussion about whether or not our edgy 355 is a pump-gas motor, especially since we chose to run it on high test. As usual, Westech's Steve Brul had the answer: "Sure it is. You can get 100-octane at the pump over in Norco-if you don't mind paying eight bucks a gallon." Hey, we only pay half that for regular gas! Things are looking up already!
Karl Kellog, a Southern California native, has been attending car shows since he was a wee boy. Now, all grown up, he's carried that passion to what he drives every day. At one such event he spotted a '93 Z28 for sale and the first thing he did was swap out the old filter for a K&N one. He also added headers and electric exhaust cutouts. This summer he plans aluminum ported and polished heads with a new intake manifold. He's also got a custom-cut LT1 cam in the works. Hopefully he can keep up with his dad's Nova.
At its most basic, it takes air, fuel, and fire to run an internal combustion engine, and since we're all looking for maximum performance from our powerplants, we'd say it's a good idea to know as much as possible about the creation of the air/fuel mixture and what it takes to ignite the mix. The latter part of the process-lightin' the fires-is the subject of How to Build High-Performance Ignition Systems by Todd Ryden.
Right off the bat, we have to admit that we paid attention to this book in no small part because Ryden works for MSD Ignition and is one of our go-to guys when we have an ignition question. And while this Car Tech offering falls under the S-A Design moniker, denoting it as a how-to book, it's also full of theory. Looking to cover all the bases, Ryden takes great pains to explain the workings of ignition systems in their various iterations before moving onto the do-it-yourself basics of creating an appropriate setup for any given vehicle.