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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

Second Place
Bill Salie '99 Camaro SS

Bill Salie is an autocross guy. His '99 Camaro is the fourth car he'sowned for cone slaying and was special ordered from SLP Performance withno T-tops, traction control, or leather interior. Bill was able to pickand choose his options then have the car shipped to SLP for exhaust andexterior modifications then back to GM for final inspection then on tothe dealership. A month after the car was delivered, Bill had it on theSolo II course.

Bill is a constant tinkerer, using several different combinations ofsprings and shocks to get the car to turn in and stick. His primarycompetition are lighter Honda Civics, which he routinely routes on thelonger horsepower courses to place at least top five in the E StreetPrepared category local events.

Otherwise, it's as mellow a car as you'd expect for a '99, and comparedto the earlier iron in the contest, it had to be one of the mostcomfortable. Its strength was its braking capacity and barking LS1. Ifthere was a weakness, we couldn't find it. Bill was so close to FirstPlace in all the categories that just the weight of his car was likelythe difference when he stopped only three feet behind the AMC.

TECH NOTES

What: '99 Camaro SS

Owner: Bill Salie, Boxford, MA

Engine: Stock-displacement LS1 V-8 with SVO 30-lb/hr injectors,and a TNT F1 wet nitrous system.

Valvetrain: Lunati hydraulic roller with 224/224 duration at0.050 and 0.558 lift, with Comp Cams 918 valvesprings

Heads: Stock aluminum with a port and polish from Absolute Speed

Intake: Ported and powdercoated stock throttle-body

Transmission: Stock T56 with a Pro 5.0 shifter, McLeodsingle-disc clutch with an adjustable master cylinder, and an APEngineering 3-inch steel driveshaft

Exhaust: SLP long-tube headers with a Y-pipe and catalyticconverter, Dynomax 18-inch Bullet muffler and ATR Pitbull muffler tokeep the noise to less than 90 decibels at 75 feet to meet localautocross noise restrictions

Front Suspension: Bilstein shocks converted to adjustable styleand re-valved by Shock Tec, GM 1LE 360-pound springs, Addco 32mm solidsway bar, Global West upper control arms

Rear Suspension: Bilstein shocks also treated by Shock Tec, GM1LE 21mm sway bar, BMR tubular lower control arms, LG Motorsports torquearm and Panhard rod, and Global West 1,000-pound springs

Brakes: Corvette C5 Z06 front rotors and calipers, LG Motorsportscaliper brackets, and Hawk HP Plus pads

Wheels/Tires: On the street, 17x9.5 and 17x11 GM Grand SportCorvette wheels with 275/R40-17 and 315/35R-17 Dunlop sp8000s; for thestrip, M/T ET Street 28x11.5-15s; for the track, Weld 15x8 Draglites andAFS ZR1 17x11 wheels with Kumho V710 315/35R-17s

Differential: Moser 12-bolt housing and cover girdle, 4.10:1gears, Detroit Tru-Track differential, and 33-spline forged axles

Special Sauce: Race weight is 3,800 pounds, and best e.t. is12.40 at 113 mph

'99 Camaro Performance Data
Dragstrip
60-0 BrakingCraftsmanshipEngineeringRide-and-Drive
12.67/112.71
104.5
Points
60
90
78.6
92.0
Total
320.6

Only two RSE cars hadcarburetors.

Third Place
John Garner '90 Ford Mustang

It was a first in RSE history: a 9-second quarter-mile pass. Previously,we've generally assumed that any vehicle capable of producing such atimeslip would fail the rest of the competition miserably. John Garnerhas changed that. His name and his Mustang have been seen in Car Craftbefore most recently in the August '05 issue, when we were impressedwith the car's 10-second ability, so when he ripped off a 9.60 e.t. at146.38 mph his first time down Norwalk's track, everyone was astounded.Garner himself was elated with the personal best (previous best was 9.96@ 136) and satisfied with the performance, but we asked him to try againfor the cameras. He couldn't resist lead-footing it and turned a 9.43 at148.30. Bear in mind, this is not some street race outlaw car; by NHRAstandards, it's completely legal for the nines.

The next day, as it had in the past, John's Mustang provided comfortableroad transportation on the ride-and-drive and was unaffected by theinclement weather. The stereo thumped, the heated seats toasted ourbuns, and the noise level was completely unobjectionable. The LentechAOD even shifts itself when the stock shifter is left in Drive.

John scored well in both engineering and craftsmanship, and was probablythe only guy in the group who didn't mind the autocross rain-out, thoughhe was fully willing to sling the 'Stang around the course, even in therain. The only glaring shortcoming of this car during the competitionwas braking, which could use some dialing, as John placed last in thatcompetition. Though by the time you read this, John will likely haveseparated his retinas dialing in his upgrades.

TECH NOTES

Car: '90 Ford Mustang GT

Owner: John Garner, Seattle, WA

Engine: Ford 5.0 liter bored and stroked to 347 ci using Proberotating assembly in a Ford R302 block

Heads: Edelbrock aluminum Victor Jr., 2.05/1.60-inch valves,ported/polished by D&G Motors in St. Louis Park, MN

Induction: Owner-fabricated EFI aluminum manifold incorporatingair-water intercooler to cool charge from Vortech YSi supercharger. Theblower is driven by an owner-designed and fabricated cog-belt systemthat allows factory A/C to be retained. Engine management is by AEM,controlling RC 95-lb-hr low-impedance injectors. A Weldon 2025 pumpfeeds the system and an NOS 150hp shot cools the charge.

Valvetrain: Comp Cams custom hydraulic roller with 230/244duration at 0.050 and 0.602/0.613-inch lift on a wide 116-degreelobe-separation angle. It uses stock Ford lifters and a Ford Racingchain. Roller rockers from Probe maintain stock 1.6:1 ratio.

Exhaust: Out-of-the-box Mac 13/4 long-tube headers feed a custom3-inch full exhaust system utilizing Mac mufflers and Flo-Pro Twisterresonators in an attempt to keep the noise down.

Ignition: A stock Ford EEC IV distributor takes signals from theAEM crank-trigger and ECM and works with an MSD 7AL3 box and coil. Plugwires are from Ford.

Transmission: LenTech-built AOD with a solid input shaft and a9.5-inch converter set for 2,800-rpm stall. The bellhousing andflexplate are SFI-approved.

Rearend: Ford 9-inch housing by Auto Weld fitted with 3.45:1 Fordgears on a Strange carrier with a Ford limited-slip unit and Moser31-spline axles. The carbon-fiber driveshaft not only adds durability,but John reports that is seems to cushion the shifts as well.

Suspension: A QA1 coilover conversion with adjustable shocksworks with stock control arms and steering mounted to a tubular K-memberup front while Steeda control arms mount the rear using sphericalbushings and more QA1 adjustable shocks.

Brakes: Aerospace Components 12-inch four-piston on all fourcorners

Wheels/Tires: Drag: Weld Racing 15x4 and 15x10 wheels with MickeyThompson E/T Fronts and E/T Street Radials in 275/60-15; Street:American Racing AR534 16x8 with Nitto NT01 tires in 245/50-16

'90 Mustang Performance Data
Dragstrip
60-0 BrakingCraftsmanshipEngineeringRide-and-Drive
9.46/148.30
148.2
Points
100
50
80.3
80.6
Total
310.9

Fourth Place
Frank Scopelliti '68 ChevyCamaro

"This car started as a C4 Corvette rear suspension." So said FrankScopelliti when asked about the origins of the '68 Camaro. "I had atwo-wheel-drive '72 Blazer that was lowered and turned into a sort ofstreet roadster truck, but I wanted to build a car that would reallyperform. I actually wanted an early Mustang, but I had so much Chevystuff I went looking for a Camaro."

Although the Corvette IRS was the impetus for the project, it's easy tooverlook. The rear wheels tuck into the wheelwells perfectly without theuse of radical offsets and without displaying any weird camber angles.It's indicative of the planning and effort that Frank--a mechanicalengineer--put into the project. During the rear conversion, Frank alsoadded frame connectors and says the car now rides far better than astock leaf-sprung first-gen, a statement that seemed to bear truth onthe ride-and-drive. In fact, the only real glitch in the Camaro's streetperformance was an intermittent engine miss, the result of an electricalgremlin Frank has yet to exorcise, though not for lack of trying.

Overall, the Camaro represents a solid RSE car: It does everythingfairly well, yet no one area of proficiency is so pumped up that itdetracts from another. Outfitting first-gen Camaros with trick hardwarein the name of Pro Touring is currently a hot topic, but the finalproduct of these efforts often has a more impressive tech sheet thantrack record. Frank's Camaro proved it could offer both.

TECH NOTES

Car: '68 Chevy Camaro

Owner: Frank Scopelliti, White Plains, NY

Engine: Chevy 350 stroked to 383 ci by American Speed in Modine,Illinois, using Speed-Pro pistons to make 9.5:1

Heads: AFR 195cc with CNC porting and 2.02/1.60-inch valves

Induction: Edelbrock Pro-Flo EFI system using Edelbrocksingle-plane intake, 1,000-cfm throttle-body, and 36-lb/hr injectorsmanaged by a Holley Commander 950 system

Camshaft: Comp Cams hydraulic roller with 235/244 degreesduration at 0.050 and 0.580/0.590 inch lift

Exhaust: 15/8-inch primaries feeding a Spintech 21/2-inchside-exit system

Transmission: Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual from '96 LT1Camaro with Centerforce Dual-Friction clutch, McLeod flywheel, andcustom driveshaft from Denny's

Rearend: '85 Corvette Dana 44 differential with 3.73:1 gears

Suspension: Front: Stock '68 Camaro with Global West Category 5tubular arms, springs, Del-a-lum bushings, and 1-inch sway bar and Konishocks; Rear: '85 Corvette IRS with stock fiberglass transverse leafspring, Koni shocks, and polyurethane bushings

Brakes: Front: Wilwood four-piston Superlite with 12.2-inchrotors; Rear: Stock '85 Corvette

Wheels/Tires: American Racing Torq-Thrust II with 17x8 frontmounting BFG KDWs in 245/245-17 and, 17x9.5 rear with Nitto Xtreme Dragin 275/40-17

'68 Camaro Performance Data
Dragstrip
60-0 BrakingCraftsmanshipEngineeringRide-and-Drive
12.56/111.74
135.6
Points
70
70
79.0
81.0
Total
300.0

All but one RSE car had 17-inchwheel/tire combos, and it had 16s.

Fifth Place
Stephan Barthe '80 Corvette

On paper, it appeared Stephan was a bit outgunned with his '80 Corvette.He had planned on showing up armed with a much stronger small-block thatgrenaded a mere week before Real Street began. To make it even morechallenging, he and wife Catherine faced a 900-mile drive from Quebec,Canada, to Norwalk, Ohio. One advantage was the clean Tremec five-speedswap that allowed his very mild small-block to knock down 21 mpg on thetrip.

The first big test of the day also became Stephan's biggest challenge.On his first pass, Norwalk's outstanding track preparation literallyripped the left rear halfshaft right out of the car. Stephan didn't havea spare, but Bob Brownell's father Bob Sr. offered to shuttle Stephan toa nearby driveline shop where the halfshaft was quickly repaired.Stephan then reassembled the Vette in time to compete in the brakingtest. Here is where he surprised most everyone by decelerating intothird with a 124.5-foot stopping distance.

"This guy's gotta get the big balls award!"
-The NY guys referring toSteph's 900-mile no-trailer trek

The next day was cold and wet but the Corvette shined in theride-and-drive portion of the event with excellent street manners fromthe very mild motor. The combination of the Tremec five-speed and the3.73 rear gears worked out well on both the highway and in town and theplasticar delivered minimal squeaks, rattles, or other gremlins thattend to infest older street machines. All this combined to position theCanadian with an excellent finish despite his drama-filled start.

Tech Notes

Car: '80 Corvette

Owner: Stephan Barthe, Charlesbourg, Quebec, Canada--he speaksFrench, can you?

Engine: The original 355ci small-block Chevy L-48 short-blockwith cast pistons, stock rods, and the stock crank

Heads: Vortec iron heads with some mild pocket porting,1.94/1.50-inch valves, and a three-angle valve job that helps makearound 230 cfm at 0.500 lift

Camshaft: Comp Cams 230 at 0.050 duration single-patternhydraulic cam with 0.480-inch lift

Induction: Edelbrock Performer Vortec dual-plane intake with thestock Q-jet 750-cfm carburetor. Stephan added an NOS Top Shot nitrouskit to the previous engine but didn't want to risk it for RSE.

Exhaust: DynoMax 15/8-inch headers with dual 21/2-inch exhaustthrough DynoMax UltraFlow stainless steel mufflers

Transmission: A Tremec TKO-500 five-speed conversion to which headapted the stock Muncie shifter handle. The clutch has a 2,600-poundLS7 pressure plate with a half-organic and ceramic disc. The driveshafthad to be shortened 1 inch.

Rearend: Dana 44 IRS with 3.73 Precision Gear and a Tom'sDifferential limited slip.

Front Suspension: Stock with a Vette Products front brace andStrange adjustable shocks along with a drilled cross-shaft to increasecaster to 5 degrees positive and a 11/2-inch antiroll bar

Rear Suspension: Vette Brakes lower control arm with lowerattaching point, Strange adjustable shocks, and a 5/8-inch antiroll bar

Body: Stock '80 Vette painted with Glasurit Torch Red enamel witha clearcoat by Richard Chevalier

Brakes: The stock calipers are fitted with Hawk HP-Plus pads andVette Brakes 113/4-inch rotors on all four corners.

Wheels/Tires: American Torq-Thrust II 17x8 wheels with 255/50R17Kumho Ectsa Supra 712 tires.

'80 Corvette Performance Data
Dragstrip
60-0 BrakingCraftsmanshipEngineeringRide-and-Drive
Broke
124.53
Points
50
80
75.6
83.6
Total
289.2

Sixth Place
Bob Brownell '66 Corvair

It's hard to ignore a mid-engine small-block Chevy Corvair. To fullyappreciate the effort that went into this example of homebuilt carcrafting, you have to look closely. Bob has owned this Illinois cruiserfor almost 30 years. Originally powered by a 455 Olds Toronadoconversion, Bob admits the first version's handling was "suicidal." Thatled to the small-block conversion in the late '70s that he resurrectedin the late '90s.

Bob's Corvair is very much a personal statement that has changed littlefrom its '70s origin, and that cost him valuable subjective points. Whenthe rains washed out our autocross event, that probably was to theCorvair's disadvantage given its excellent rear weight bias. A closerlook at the points spread indicates just how close the competition wassince Bob's finish was a fractional 1.6 points out of Fifth and a mere13 points away from Fourth. Regardless of its place in the contest, theCorvair is worthy of praise for no other reason than it will never beconfused with any other car that's ever competed in Real Street.

Only one car in the RSE had anautomatic, and it went 9s.

Tech Notes

What: '66 mid-engine small-block Corvair

Owner: Bob Brownell, Crystal Lake, IL

Chassis: A custom rear subframe and engine-cradle assembly mount theiron small-block Chevy while retaining the Corvair four-speed andtransaxle. The chassis is incredibly stiff and at 2,900 pounds, offersup a 40/60 front/ rear weight distribution.

Front Suspension: Homebuilt and designed coilover strut system using350-lb/in Carrera springs and QA1 adjustable shocks. The custom 1-inchantiroll bar is tied to Bob's own custom-machined spindles with rod endsfor steering. Bob cut down a Flaming River rack-and-pinion to fit alongwith a modified ididit steering column.

Rear Suspension: An original Corvair IRS centersection and acustom-design 12-link system suspended with Carrera springs, QA1adjustable shocks, and a modified Speedway 1-inch rear antiroll bar

Brakes: Large 13-inch Coleman rotors with Wilwood calipers put the whoato all four corners.

Engine: An iron 350 Chevy block, built to a 383 using a Scat crank andSRP 10.0:1 pistons. The cam is a Crane hydraulic roller with 236/244degrees at 0.050 with 0.538/0.551-inch lift on the intake and exhaust.Airflow Research 195 heads work 2.02/1.60-inch valves and use Craneshaft-mount 1.6:1 roller rockers. The Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gapintake works with a 780-cfm Holley to feed the intake side. Schoenfeld15/8-inch headers feed into a custom 3-inch exhaust with DynoMaxmufflers. Bob says it makes 500 hp.

Transaxle: Power feeds through a blueprinted Saginaw Corvair four-speedinto a Crown Engineering input and mainshaft that feeds the Corvairrear-axle portion with a billet carrier, and 3.08:1 gears that have beencryogenically stress relieved. The shafts are custom built but maintainthe stock 1310 U-joints that have to take the abuse of torque multipliedthree times by the rear gear.

Body: Externally, the body is virtually stock and still sports its 1975Jerry Lins paint job.

Interior: A custom carbon-fiber cover was molded by Five Star Stock CarBodies. Bob also designed and built the quick-release seat mounts thatmake engine maintenance much easier. The Corvair still sports a completesound system that Bob puts to much use with several road trips over thepast few years including a complete Hot Rod Power Tour(TM) jaunt in 2004that amassed 3,000 road miles.

Wheels/Tires: American 200S 17x81/2 on the front with 235/40R17Yokohamas with 17x91/2-inch Americans on the rear with larger 275/40R17Yokohama skins

'66 Corvair Performance Data
Dragstrip
60-0 BrakingCraftsmanshipEngineeringRide-and-Drive
12.32/115.03
137.0
Points
80
60
74.6
73.0
Total
287.6

Only one RSE car was less than 15 yearsold. The oldest was just shy of 40.

RSE Craftsmanship/Ride-and-Drive/ Braking/Quarter-Mile

This year we went for a heads-up-style points system for the all theevents to get participants to go for it on the first pass rather than anaverage of all three. This also eliminated the problem of someonefailing to make three passes and still getting points. If you did notstart you received zero points, if you did not finish you received 50.The only person with a DNF was Stephan in his 'Vette when he broke ahalfshaft on the dragstrip. The ride-and-drive consisted of anevaluation of each car by each editor who scored the car on a scale of 1to 10 in 10 different categories for engineering and craftsmanship and 1to 25 in each of the four ride-and-drive divisions. Each score was thenadded and averaged into a final score out of 100. The winner of thebraking and drag event each received 100 points and each subsequentposition received 10 points less. The total score for each car was outof 400 total points.

Norwalk Raceway Park

It's tough to find a suitable venue to hold a multifaceted event likethe RSE without spending on a NASA-style budget. After several months oftrying, we finally thought to call on Norwalk Raceway Park in Norwalk,Ohio. This is a family owned and operated track, but it doesn't give theimpression of being small-time. The facilities are top notch and thegrounds are impeccably manicured. For example, the crew told us they'dprep the track, and we would have been happy with a few squirts of VHT,but what we got was 1,320 feet of flypaper. The result was severalpersonal-best e.t.'s and one broken half-shaft. You should check themout: Norwalk Raceway Park, Norwalk, OH; 419/668-5555;norwalkraceway.com.

Web-Exclusive Extras from RSE XV

Web-Exclusive Extras from RSE XV

Web-Exclusive Extras from RSE XV

Web-Exclusive Extras from RSE XV

Web-Exclusive Extras from RSE XV

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