This is the business side of Steve and Sue Christophersen's 1957 Chevy-bodied nostalgia Funny Car. To see Sue running more than 180 mph in the low-7-second range you'll need to check out their website or search a couple videos on the web. That's right, Sue does the driving and Steve does the wrenching (though Sue digs into the between-round maintenance as well). The Clarkston, Michigan–based couple has been match-racing around the Midwest for the last two summers. Not only will you see them in the pits, but you'll also find them at a number of shows and events promoting race events around the region. Prior to the Funny Car racing, you may have run into them on the Salt at Bonneville, as they both have red hats as part of the Bonneville 200 MPH club. Steve was part of the Doll, Fox, Christophersen Racing Team (made up of Tom Doll, Jim Fox, and Steve) that ran an '82 Camaro from 1991–2004. The car is known as the 757 Camaro, and the team went on to set 14 land-speed records with six different drivers (all in the 200 MPH club). When Steve and Sue got married in 1994, their honeymoon was spent on the Salt. A year later, Sue was behind the wheel of the Camaro, but it took a few years longer to set a new record in D/Production at 214.847 mph.
A. The chassis was built by Tim Stevens as a Top Alcohol Funny Car (and was campaigned), but after getting the car, Steve reinforced the front end to handle rougher tracks and the heavier body by adding new control arms, heavy-duty Strange spindles, and extra bracing.
B. To stop the car, Sue combines Simpson chutes with a pair of the Brake Man calipers clamping down on a set of Strange rotors. In most cases, the rotors of any race car require stress-relieving by cycling the brakes a number of times to get some heat in them. Steve wanted their new brakes to be ready for action at the first hit and stress-relieved the rotors himself, after which they were surfaced in a Blanchard grinder, resulting in zero warp and run out.
C. Everyone needs a lathe in their shop, and Steve has a couple of them. This is a late-'60s Clausing model, and just off camera is an old Atlas version from the '40s. There's also a Bridgeport, a handful of other machinist tools, welders, and more cool shop stuff.
D. Though not visible in this photo, the Moroso beltdriven pump controls the oiling system. There are two scavenge sections that pull oil from the valve covers and the pan, and one stage for pressure. Steve has the system designed to leave as little oil as possible in the pan after a pass. When the pan has to be removed for service, the majority of the 21 quarts are in the resevoir to save time and money.
E. The engine was designed to be as maintenance-free as you can make a blown alcohol Hemi. Steve screwed the 528ci monster together starting with a JP1 426–based aluminum block, bored and stroked to 4.320x4.50 inches. Diamond pistons and Trend pushrods finish the job. Steve Sanchez at Total Flow outside of Detroit cleaned up the heads, while Kinsler Fuel Injection perfected the fuel system under the 8-71 blower.
F. Since this was a competitive Top Alcohol car, the office was originally set up with a handbrake and clutch lever. Sue chose to go with a left-foot operated brake pedal and a three-speed Lencodrive along with a Neal Chance converter. To shift the trans, an adjustable shift light flashes to alert Sue to push a button on the steering wheel to activate a CO2-controlled air shifter to snap from First to Second. A few moments later, she repeats the procedure to get into high gear for the remainder of the pass.
G. These aren't clocks for different time zones but rather precision-pressure testing gauges. When Steve worked in the industrial sales side of things for Snap-on, he needed to confirm the readings and values of gauges in the field, including other test gauges, oil-pressure, air-pressure, and even hydraulic-pressure gauges for industrial presses. He still uses them occasionally.