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Real Street Eliminator XV Coverage

Six readers brutalize their cars for magazine glory.

Photography by CC Bonobos,

"Check out the traction control." Pete Mungo dropped the Richmond fromThird to Second and pitched the car sideways through the rain and themuck until a light on the dash blinked on and brought the AMX back intoline. "I have ABS too." Pete stomped open the throttle and sent staffand equipment sliding before a stab of the brakes heaved us against theshoulder restraints. A quick flip of a disguised switch and the soft humfrom the muffler became a roar as an electronic gate redirected the flowto a set of massive 31/2-inch tubes. Under the hood, a series ofelectric eyes and sensors monitored the engine and chassis needs as werolled through the rural backwash of Norwalk, Ohio, in Mungo's '69 AMX,which was to become the winning car of the '05 Real Street Eliminator.

So what makes a guy bring the extra-expensive fruit of his labor andflog it through a rainstorm and manure-soaked backroads of an Ohiocornfield? Magazine glory. The same glory that has drawn RSE competitorssince 1985 to pit their building pregame and mechanical agility to thetest against all comers. This year, the readers voted on CarCraft.comfor their favorite six and we took them to the Norwalk raceway forquarter-mile and braking then North along Lake Erie to Marblehead pointfor a thorough evaluation of the street manners and overall buildquality of the contestants' rides.

This year, each car was evaluated based on quarter-mile elapsed time,braking distance, engineering, craftsmanship, and ride-and-drive. Beforewe did a thing, we staged an open-hood car show to judge the beauty,style, and stance of each car. On the road to Marblehead, we stopped sixtimes so each staffer could ride with each contestant to evaluate noise,vibration, and harshness and find out where the corners had been cut inthe name of performance. Even though the autocross was rained-out, westill were as tough as we could be during the test. Think it was easy?Read on.

First Place
Pete Mungo'69 AMC AMX

Mungo's car stood out right away with Corvette wheels and an aluminumsmall-block (yup, the "C" word). He has owned the car since graduatingfrom high school and has tweaked it for years, and it shows. Since theAMX is getting relatively rare, most of the parts on the car arehandmade, proof of his skills as a shop owner and mechanical tradesman.The body was painted in his backyard, and the car features late-modeltricks like ABS, traction control, fuel injection, and air/fuel datalogging, which were all hand-adapted by the owner.

"It's like watching a fighter jet land on an aircraftcarrier."
-An observer of Mungo's AMX braking

And it's flat-out fast. Pete clicked off a 10.64 at 132 mph to be secondfastest in the quarter-mile. He then turned around and flattened thebraking test with an impossible 101-foot stop. Remember this car wasbuilt in 1969. On the street, the computer-controlled systems took allof the fun out of 500 hp on a rainy day without leaks, noise, orcomplaints. A solid car.

TECH NOTES

What: '69 AMC AMX

Owner: Pete Mungo, Baldwin, NY

Engine: 400ci Dart block with a 3.75-inch stroke and 4.125 borewith 6.3-inch connecting rods

Heads: Dart 18-degree CNC heads with 2.180/1.60 valves, and 66ccchambers

Induction: Pete sliced a Dart single-plane into pieces andrebuilt it with bungs for the Edelbrock Pro-Flo fuel-injection systemand a custom throttle-body with a one-piece throttle blade

Cam: Crane solid roller with 244/244 duration at 0.050 and0.610-inch lift

Exhaust: Tri-Flo carbon-fiber 3.5-inch mufflers and 3.5-inchtubing with a 2-inch diverter for decibel control

Transmission: Richmond six-speed with a 101/2-inch productionclutch and a lightened circle track flywheel, 3.37:1 low and a 0.76:1overdrive

Brakes: The front brakes and traction-control system are from aC5, the pump and actuators are Chevrolet, the wheel reluctors are from aVolvo, and sensors from a BMW. The rear brakes are from an Impala SS.

Suspension: "From a few different cars." In front, Afco 125 lb/incircle-track springs with a custom trunion assembly, IROC Camaro swaybar and steering box, and Flex-a-Form 145-pound fiberglass spring in therear.

Wheels/Tires: Corvette 17-inch wheels with 245/45R-17 front and275/40R-17 Kumho ECSTA V710 tires for the street, and M/T ET StreetRadials P275/40R-17 for the strip

Differential: A Ford 9-inch housing from a Cougar with a Strangecentersection, Ford Traction Loc limited slip with a 2.75:1 gear ratio,and 35-spline Moser axles

'69 AMX Performance Data
Dragstrip
60-0 BrakingCraftsmanshipEngineeringRide-and-Drive
10.644/132.21
101.2
Points
90
100
81.6
84.0
Total
355.6
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