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Shop Talk - Projects

October 2014

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Project-car magazines tend to sell well. I've been around long enough to know this firsthand. We like compiling these issues, too—not because we're pandering to our audience in an effort to boost newsstand sales, but because we also feel a rush of exhilaration when contemplating working on a new car, and a project-car issue is like car shopping on steroids.

We are stoked to be working on a track-ready '80 Olds Cutlass. GM G-bodies are one of the few remaining V8, rear-drive, perimeter-frame cars that are still affordable to the average guy. G-bodies have tremendous aftermarket support, and their relatively light curb weight makes this platform very attractive to racers. We've dabbled with some G-body edit in the past, but this will be a dedicated effort, and I'm excited about it. We will leave it old school for a while, use it to test parts, and gradually upgrade and modernize it to current standards.

More crazy than the Olds is our tubbed Vega. With a stretched, fiberglass front end, the car literally comes apart with a twist of a few fasteners. We're planning on using it to test engine combinations at the track, backing up engine dyno numbers and seeing how our builds perform in real-world conditions.

Reading through the project-car article in this issue, I'm well aware the list is heavily skewed to Chevrolet and runs the risk of perpetuating our "Chevy Craft" image. It is a fact that, dollar per horsepower, Chevrolet builds usually yield the most value, so it's not unreasonable to expect a lot of Chevy in this budget-oriented magazine. However, we will be branching out to other platforms, more than in the past. We have access to a couple Pontiacs—an X-body and a third-gen Firebird—a Plymouth Duster, and we're also looking at other Fords.

Here's where you can help us. Write or email us with make and model suggestions. How would you like to see them: street/strip, track only, or street cruiser. How much of a concern is emissions? Are you interested in seeing a car built to fit a specific racing class? Small-tire radial drag racing is exploding in popularity, and I've been traveling to a lot of these events in the last two years. The variety of powertrains and the performance being wrung out of them is staggering. Not many outlets are covering what goes into a build of that caliber. Would you like to see what's involved with building a competitive X275 car? We can build one and take it to the track. Maybe drag racing isn't your thing. How about an autocross, road-racing, or even Chump Car and LeMons build? We're game for anything, as long as it suits your desires. There's lots of talk around the office lately about having passion for our jobs. That's great, but it means nothing if we're out of touch with our audience and what's happening in the market. Help us, and we'll deliver to you the best product out there.

Car Craft Mag
831 S. Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90245

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Well, I have some ideas as to what you could do with this G-body, I would make it into a dedicated street/strip car(pro touring-NOT) that you can drive to the track and race the crap out of it, then back home. (I do have a 79' Malibu wagon street car). I would start with a large SBC (427 or 434) single turbo with water/meth, blowing thru a single carb. (Please no LS stuff, we need a break) It looks like the race interior is all there, the nice thing is it has a 12-bolt already, (change to a 3.55 gear with a spool).  (the 7.5 is first thing you change on a g-body)and a Turbo 400. I would put BMR rear lower control arm brackets, upper control arm frame braces and weld in HR parts rear front control arm braces:#0251. One of the best things is a completely adjustable rear sway bar (weld in or bolt on) it will change how the whole car launches and drives. Then work on removing some weight (the Olds and Buicks are kind of heavy). Use a Aeromotive fuel system, a Metco spare tire tank, a Crane Cams ignition system with boost proportional timing. Anyway just some ideas and possibilities.

Pizzandoughnuts out! 

Car Craft