A couple of months ago I rambled on about the perils of project cars and how painful it is when you have a cool car (or cars), but it’s off the road in some stage of “being worked on.” Sure, working on our cars is a big part of the fun, but let’s be honest, having a done car, or at least done enough to drive, is the real goal. So, after penning (not that I actually used a pen) that editorial, I was inspired to fix my own situation.
My orange ’68 Camaro was hauled over to Westech Performance to get their assistance wiring in the new Holley Dominator engine management system. It’s a pretty cool system but I had never worked with one before so having some pros on hand moved things along much faster. The result? The Camaro fired up the other day and put down 600 rwhp and 614 rwtq on the chassis dyno! I just have to get some new carpet, clean the old girl up, and she’ll be back on the road after nearly two years of being rebuilt! My other languishing project, the ’68 Camaro called Track Rat, is also in full swing and by the time you read this will be done and on the road. Why? Because I forced the issue by agreeing to display Track Rat at the 2016 SEMA Show in the SPEC Clutch booth. Nothing like a three month SEMA deadline thrash to get a project moving along. Right now Track Rat is at Thunder Alley in Mesa Arizona, getting some details sorted while the crew at Evod Garage in Escondido, California, is helping wrench together the 440-inch RHS LS engine together. Yeah, it’s not running yet, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train!
Even though my orange Camaro, Bad Penny, is almost on the road I was still without a cool car to pilot around town. So I took the easiest route and picked up one that’s already done. It’s a 1971 Chevelle wagon that I worked over several years ago and sent to a good friend back east. It rides on a Global West suspension and is powered by a Chevrolet Performance LS376 (LS3 with a hot cam) engine backed by a TREMEC six-speed Magnum. The wagon isn’t over the top, just a driver quality paintjob and a mild engine. It gets nearly 21 mpg on the highway and puts 445 hp to the rear tires. I drove it last week and realized how much I missed driving classic muscle on a regular basis. It’s also a big hit with my family since everyone can pile in for a trip to Home Depot for lumber or Costco for pallets of supplies; wagons rock! Now I need to find the mechanism for a third row seat and I was thinking a ProCharger might be nice to give the 4,000-pound wagon a bit more get up and go. Hey, even the done projects never really are, right?