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Chevy Vs. Ford

Street Car Shootout

Photography by Car Craft Staff

The jaw-jacking and trash-talking started before the first wrench was turned or the first pass was made down the track, which is exactly what we expected when we pitted staffer against staffer, friend against friend, and Chevy against Ford in a street car shootout of epic proportions. Well, epic to us.

Even casual readers know Car Craft spends a lot of time building and dyno-testing engines of every make, model, and size. Most of them appear in the pages once or twice, and then go off to another life. Sometimes we use them in project vehicles or as dyno mules, or they are returned to the shop that built them. Quite a few end up gathering dust until we need them again. But like the old saying goes, we don’t race dynos, and the ultimate purpose of any high-performance engine is to make a car go fast. How fast? We dropped two of our most recent small-block project engines into a pair of readers’ street cars to find out.

The engines, cars, and drivers we pitted against each other stacked up well. The Chevy 406, a 0.030-over stock-stroke Chevy 400, and the Ford 408, a stroked 351 Windsor, each ran high-rise Edelbrock Victor Jr. intakes, Crane Cams hydraulic-roller camshafts with near-identical lobe specifications, Holley 750-cfm HP series carburetors, aluminum cylinder heads, and Hooker headers, and they both ran on 91 octane. The similarities were further borne out in the engine buildups and dyno-tests we featured in the March ’02 issue’s 400-Inch Small-Block cover section, with each engine cranking out almost exactly 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, give or take a few numbers.

The cars and their respective drivers are also cast from the same mold, even though one’s a Ford guy and the other wears a Bow Tie. Damon “Hollywood” Rivetti with his ’86 Mustang and Mike “Ratty” Consolo with his ’72 Nova were our hot-shoe drivers and head mechanics. Both cut their drag racing teeth street racing in SoCal’s San Fernando Valley, and they’ve been friendly rivals for years, both on and off the race track. Also friendly rivals are Car Craft’s own Henry De Los Santos and Tony Nausieda, who built the Ford and Chevy engines, respectively, a few months ago. You’d have thought we were running a head-to-head shootout back in March from the transcripts of the cell phone calls flying back and forth as they built and tested their engines.

To make things fair, the rules were simple: The Orange Team’s Nova and the Blue Team’s Mustang ran the same spec tire, a 28x12.50-15 Mickey Thompson ET Street, both cars weighed a minimum 3,100 pounds, and both were allowed the use of a transbrake. Converter selection, gearing, and exhaust configuration were up to the discretion of each team. Both cars ran mufflers, but we didn’t mandate a decibel limit or check it, and they each had stock-type suspensions—no tubs, back-halves, or ladder bars allowed. After a couple of test-and-tune sessions with each car, we ran the main event at Los Angeles County Raceway (LACR), elevation 2,700 feet.

That’s it—as close to a heads-up street-race as we could make it.

Art Carr Transmission Co.
Holley Performance Products/Hooker Headers
Bowling Green
Crane Cams
530 Fentress Blvd.
Daytona Beach
FL  32114
Mickey Thompson
Dept. 5.0
2700 California St.
CA  90503
Rebs Specialties
Fast Track Performance
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