Roger Kunkel brought his new '71 LS-powered Nova to show his son Josh that the old man can
How many times have you wondered, How would my car stack up against those cars I see in the magazine? It's the age-old question, and Car Craft answered it by evaluating readers' cars in 1986 with the first Real Street Eliminator competition. Back then, the event encompassed a variety of contests and spanned several tracks. Now, 35 years later, we're still testing street-car mettle, but we've pared it down to three simple contests: a rear-wheel-horsepower chassis dyno blast, three days worth of driving on a challenging and twisting autocross course, and a 150-foot-long speed- stop challenge we call Launch Box.
This year attracted another eclectic collection of competitors encouraged by a couple of small changes to what has become a hotly contested event. In the past several years, the Corvettes and Vipers began to dominate, so we gave them their own class. That opened up spots for what we expected would be an onslaught of new Camaros in the Late-Model class. Instead, the '11 RSE became the year of the Mustang, with no less than five ponycars vying for the top spot. This year also witnessed a varied collection of late-model competitors, with a Buick GN, one new Camaro, a '10 Challenger, and a couple of Lightning pickups, giving the Blue Oval a strength in numbers.
The Muscle Car class was thinner than usual and dominated by Chevrolets. Jeff Schwartz returned with a recently completed '67 Nova, and John Wegner returned with his '69 big-block Camaro. The dark horse appeared to be Scott Parkhurst's '67 quadra-door Malibu wagon. You’ll have to read the whole story to determine who won, but we'll add to the suspense with a hint that it came down to a dead-even tie in the Muscle Car class.
Who: Roger Kunkel Where: St. Cloud, MN
What: '71 Chevy Nova
Engine: Stock 6.0L aluminum short-block with a Comp cam, L92 heads, LS3 intake, HiTech Motorsports t une, and Hooker 13⁄4-inch headers
Transmission: TKO-600 five-speed
Rearend: Moser 9-inch Ford with 3.89:1 Richmond gears and a Trac-Lok
Who: Scott Parkhurst Where: Belle Plaine, MN
What: '67 Chevy Malibu wagon
Engine: 385ci small-block Chevy, Lunati crank, Comp solid roller, AFR 210cc CNC-ported heads, Edelbrock RPM intake, Holley 750-cfm Ultra carb, Wilson Pro Flo nitrous, Doug’s tri-Y headers, and Flowmaster exhaust.
Transmission: Rockland Standard T-56 six-speed, Centerforce clutch
Rearend: Currie 9-inch with 3.89:1 gears and limited slip
Who: Jeff Schwartz (owner, Jason Whitlock)
Where: Crystal Lake, IL
What: '67 Chevy II
Engine: Schwartz Performance 675hp LS7; Schwartz custom cam, Edelbrock medium length headers, and SLP 3-inch oval exhaust
Transmission: Magnum T-56 six-speed with LS7 clutch
Rearend: Winters aluminum center 9-inch, 3.70:1 gears, and Eaton Truetrac limited slip
Who: Nathan Shaw
Where: Lakeville, MN
What: '71 Chevy Nova
Engine: 370ci, 6.0L iron block engine with Manley pistons; LS6 cam; Edelbrock Victor Jr. EFI; Master Power GT45 turbo; single 3.5-inch exhaust; and MagnaFlow muffler
Transmission: 4L80E automatic with a Yank 3,600-rpm converter
Rearend: 12-bolt with 3.42:1 gears, limited slip
Who: John Wegner
Where: Andover, MN
What: '69 Chevy Camaro
Engine: 502ci Ram Jet big-block Chevy crate engine, GMPP aluminum oval- port heads, 150hp nitrous system, Arizona Speed & Marine ECM, 58mm ASM throttle-body, and Hooker 2.0-inch headers
Transmission: Hughes 4L80E four-speed automatic, Hughes 2,500-stall converter
Rearend: 12-bolt, 4.10:1, GM limited slip