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Chevy High Performance Letters - CHP Garage

Oct 1, 2009

Backyard Follies
After getting off work I decided to change the shifter in my '79 Malibu from a column shift to a floor shift. Being in a hurry, I drove the car on the ramps, forgetting to chalk the wheels. I got under the car to undo the linkage, and as soon as I turned the ratchet I heard a clicking noise. Realizing what I did, I scurried out from under the car as quick as I could, but it was to late. While I managed to get my head out in time, the front wheel got my shoulder. I was in serious pain, but I wanted to finish the job-and I did!

My wife wanted me to go see the doc, and I ended up telling her I was fine. It wasn't until the following morning that I realized I was still in a lot of pain and went to the hospital. When I told the nurses and the doc what happened, they gave me a puzzled look. I think a few even snickered at me. After a few x-rays I was told it was only bruised, along with my ego. When I got home I got rid of the ramps and bought a floor jack and two jackstands.

Jeff Weaver
Tybee Island, GA

Helping Hands
I received your July issue and turned to the dyno tune article for the low-compression 383 stroker ("348 Revival"). I wanted to say that this piece was very informative. I have a '72 Chevelle with a similar engine to the article. I'm running a 383ci with 9.5:1 compression, Jegs 197cc aluminum heads, 64cc combustion chambers, and Comp Cams Pro Magnum roller rockers (1.6/1.52 intake/exhaust).

The cam has 486-inch lift and 230 degrees duration at 0.050. Intake is a Victor Jr. with a 750 Q Series Quickfuel carb, and I'm running 1 3/4-inch Headman headers with 2 1/2-inch Flowmaster mufflers with no tailpipes. I opted for the California Performance Trans 2004R and a 2,600-stall converter. The rearend is a 12-bolt with 3.73:1 gears.

Back to the article. I jetted the carb with 78 jets in the primaries and left 84 jets in the secondaries. I set the timing at 37 degrees full advance, which is 3 degrees less than what you used, and the car runs like new money. The old stumble from tipoff is gone. Midrange is great at part throttle, and when you get into the accelerator all the way the car runs better than it ever has. I'm planning on a dyno tune in the near future so they can fine-tune it. Thanks again for a good and useful tech section.

I should mention that after riding Harleys for 37 years, and after a serious accident, I decided to get back into muscle cars three years ago. Your magazine has been a great source of help to me. Keep up the outstanding articles.


Thanks, Kevin!
Hi, I am responding to "Keeping the Sanity" in Garage, July '09. That was my letter, and I wanted to thank you for publishing it. I would also like to inform you that I did manage to get the power steering issues fixed on my SS. I ended up just cutting the old line off and hammering a socket on, and voila! It came off. Thanks again, and keep up the great work.

Justin Sherwood
Port Saint Lucie, FL

Another One Gets Hooked!
First off, I am going to make you mad by saying I don't care what it says on the valve cover. If you are worthy, you are worthy. I teach auto tech at the high school level in Tampa, and I am living my dream. Anyway, I was down at the local dragstrip racing my-dare I say it?-Datsun. I have a '78 Datsun 280Z with a turbo motor, and it runs 12.6 at 110 mph and I drive it back and forth to school.

I was at the track beating my car like a drum when I looked up after my first run and noticed these guys unloading a rail car. I went over to check it out since it said "Cadillac Style" on the side. I asked the guy if it was a 472 or a 500, and he looked surprised that I knew what I was talking about. I started commenting on a lot of the things he had done to the car. We ended up talking, hanging out, and raced for a few hours. A little later he asked me if I wanted to drive the rail around the pits. Well, I could not get in the car fast enough. What a blast! After lunch he asked if I had a driving suit and I said no, so he told me I was going to have to wear his to run it down the track!

I'm here to tell you that there is a big difference between a 12-second car and a 9-second car. It was pure bliss, and I realized that it's time for me to build something faster now. I have a '75 280Z that is getting an '05 LS2 with a turbo kit that I have been gathering for the last year. I see where boosted LS2s are throwing down 700 hp at the crank with just a little work, so here I come at a hundred miles an hour with my hair on fire! Until the new project is complete, I have my '04 GTO with an LS1 to keep me company. Sorry this letter is so long, but thanks for reading my novel.

Rick Fortney
via email

Greatest Motorsports Adventure
I loved your story in Shop Talk, Aug. '09. The trophy truck sounded like a lot of fun. My greatest motorsports experience was Ted May letting me drive his championship IHRA Top Sportsman car through the pits at Atmore Dragway back in the early '90s. I think it was the first race on the new track, and at the time I was just 16 or 17 years old, driving a car with a mountain motor in it! Man, what a rush that was, and it was also the day I got hooked on drag racing.

I also wanted to mention the great job you're doing with the magazine. I love the features on the small-tire race cars, especially since every other magazine tends to never show any real track cars. I know most aren't very detailed, but the few that are show-quality have really caught my attention.

Eric Evans
Queen City Speed

How About This?
I'd love to see a story detailing all the latest metallurgical technology used to manufacture crankshafts. How about an explanation of the difference between torque-to-yield bolts and standard torque bolts? Last but not least, low-rpm horsepower figures on any dyno buildup. If someone is building a streetable engine, the horsepower/torque numbers at lower rpm are important, not just 3,000 rpm and up. Keep up the great magazine!

Mike Obrien
via email

348W Build
Many thanks for the article on the old 348 W engines ("348 Revival," July '09). It brought back many memories for me. Although I've never owned a W myself, many of my friends had 348/409s. My best friend had a '62 409 with dual quads, a four-speed, and so on. For their day, the '59-60 348s with the factory Tri-power and four-speed transmissions held their own on the street and at the dragstrip. The Mopar and Ford guys were up against it until their factories offered 400-plus cubes.

There must still be quite an interest in these engines, if the aftermarket is still making and developing new parts for them. Of course, when these engines were in their heyday, an aftermarket billet crank cost as much as a down payment on a house, which was way above the means of the average, or even above average, hot rodder. In 1962 we could only dream about off-the-shelf parts like you see today. Times have changed for the better, and it doesn't matter what Chevy engine family has caught your eye. I do think your 430/348 deserves a Tri-power assembly or maybe one of the newer six-shooter carb setups, even if it's just for looks and nothing else. Thanks again, and keep the good articles coming.

Jack Corrick
Boulder City, NV

0910chp_02_z Chevy_high_performance_letters Lucas_oil_racing 2/4

Lucas Oil Racing
It's one thing to work in the performance industry, but it's even cooler to be one of the active players in the scene. Lucas Oil Motorsports Manager Tom Bogner is one of them. He is looking to make some noise in the West Coast Super Eliminator class with his newly assembled Davis Race Cars chassis. Powering the '57 Corvette is a 605ci big-block, and Bogner is expecting to easily get into the 7-second zone.

Rooster Call
Sean Haggai
When you captain another vehicle, you either start to hate your daily driver or come to appreciate how completely satisfied you are with it. I'm torn, though. It's the little things that count, but the minor situations that occur when you're driving another vehicle and every little thing adds up. I'm back to driving a turbo-packing '93 Typhoon for now-at least for a week until I can replace the brakes on my girlfriend's Chevy Avalanche. In the meantime she'll be commuting in my usual four-banger turbo hatch.

So what's the point? In the Typhoon, for instance, the driver-side window works-periodically. If the window is down while driving, I've learned to roll up the window in stages until I arrive. Eventually, by the time I've pulled up, the window is closed. My daily has automatic up and down window functions.

Another thing: It's July here in Los Angeles and the desert atmosphere is beginning to rear its ugly head. Bad news is the A/C doesn't work-matter of fact, the fan doesn't work at all. My hatch, by comparison, blows like the Arctic.

There's also the ride. The little cruiser is a trooper, but it's not like the S-10 frames were exactly known for their Cadillac-like ride. It's a short-wheelbase truck with super-fat Z06 rims and low-pro P295 tires in the rear with thick sway bars and all-wheel drive. Slow for bumps? You bet, unless you like ending up in opposing lanes of traffic.

Then there are those pesky squeaks, rattles, and vibes that come from every crack in the pavement. That's a far cry from my four-banger, which is sealed so well that it hurts my ears when the doors are shut. A deep thud is all you feel.

Plus, the Typhoon leaves oil pools like the La Brea Tar Pits and not only drinks fuel but has the appetite for a mixture of alcohol and methanol, which means it isn't cheap to drive. I should keep my foot off of the pedal and out of that boost, right? No way. Have you ever felt 24 psi of boost? Maybe I'll push the brake job off a couple more weeks. I'll do just about anything to hear that turbo spool up under load.

Got something to say? We'll make you famous and put your letter here. Email us at

0910chp_04_z Chevy_high_performance_letters Aftermarket Rims 3/4

The Bigger
Rocket Racing Wheels has already launched its line of Rocket Booster wheels, and with the introduction of the '10 Camaro, the company is making room for more sizes. The booster line will be available in 18x9, 18x10, 20x9, and even 20x10 configurations. Whether you choose the Hyper Silver, Hyper Shot, Gloss Black, or Chrome finish, each is precision-crafted from A356 aluminum and DOT approved. Be sure to check out the complete line of wheels at

0910chp_05_z Chevy_high_performance_letters Hennessey_performance_engineering_camaro 4/4

The ''Make You Jealous'' Camaro
This ZR-1 look-alike is actually a 2010 Camaro backed by super-tuner Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE). Dubbed the HPE700, they're on a limited production run of 24! If you get the chance to see one on the road, at least you'll know it comes with a ZR1-sourced LS9 that's putting out 705 horsepower and 717 lb-ft of torque. You even have the option for all ceramic brakes like the ZR1. If that's not enough, HPE has left just enough room for their 850 or 1000 hp twin turbo rendition.

The Stats
Price: $109,000
Power: 705 bhp @ 6,400 rpm
717 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

Performance (Est.)
* 0-60 mph: 3.7 sec.
* 1/4-mile: 11.3 @ 125 mph
* Top speed: 201 mph
* Skidpad: 0.96 g
* 60-0 braking: 105 ft.



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