|Standard of Excellence (tie): ||John Garnett, '67 GTX |
| ||Jerry Hubble, '70 Charger RT/SE |
|Burnout Competition ||Alan Spurgin, '70 Charger |
|Ms. Carlisle All-Chrysler ||Jill Hager |
|Club Challenge ||Northeast Hemi Owners Assoc. |
| ||(136 members at the show) |
The Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals
What do Mopar guys like to see? How about the stuff that showed up at the 14th annual Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals, where a record 46,474 Mopar enthusiasts and 2,132 vehicles made the scene? And while there were plenty of cool cars to see, the stars in attendance were an additional surprise.
Mary Burch of Mechanicsville, Maryland, had to be the most surprised, winning the 10,103-original-miles '64 Dodge 440 giveaway car. She and her husband Norman have attended the show many times in the past, but this is the first time they have ever won anything.
Among the celebrities in attendance was legendary NASCAR driver Buddy Baker, who met fans and signed autographs. Baker's original NASCAR No. 6 Dodge, on loan from the Darlington Raceway Museum, was also on display. The stars of the Dodge Hemi commercials ("Does that thing have a Hemi in it?") were a popular autograph attraction, and Chrysler brought some of its hottest new concept vehicles to the event including the '03 Dodge Tomahawk concept motorcycle, which is powered by Dodge's Viper V-10 engine with 500 hp, has a theoretical top speed of more than 400 mph, and a 0-60-mph time of 2.5 seconds. Others on display included the Dodge Sling Shot, the Airflite sedan-coupe hybrid, and the Dodge M80 pickup truck with a 3.7L, 210hp V-6 engine and four-wheel drive. A special guest, Carl Cameron, was also in attendance to sign autographs and answer questions. Cameron worked for Chrysler Corporation and helped design the '66-'67 Charger, '70 Challenger, and the '67 Dart.
Some very rare and special Dodge DeSotos were also on display, such as the '58 Adventurer (one of only five produced), a gas-powered mini '58 DeSoto Firemite, and the '71 Hemi Cuda convertible from the TV show Nash Bridges.
Musclecar of the Month
'68 Olds Hurst/Olds
Four-barrel carb, four-speed transmission, and dual exhaust = 4-4-2. Oldsmobile's entry into the performance market came to full blossom by 1968, four model years after it debuted in 1965 as an upgrade to the Cutlass model lineup. By 1968 the 4-4-2 incorporated a host of performance enhancements including a high-compression 400ci engine with a fresh air intake, a close-ratio Muncie four-speed transmission, and high-performance sway bars, springs, and shocks.
While the Olds 4-4-2 was getting all the publicity, the folks at Hurst were working with Olds to create a supercar like no other. As noted in an Aug. '68 "Car Craft Magazine Drag Test" by Bob Swaim, there were a number of performance Oldsmobiles offered that year from the 350ci Ram Rod through the 4-4-2. But the '68 Hurst Olds was to steal the show with its special equipment and limited production. The beauty of this magazine drag test was that Doc Watson, the original man behind the Hurst/Olds concept, was in attendance for this legendary event.
(From the original Car Craft article, Aug. '68)"The last car to arrive at the track-but far from the least-was the silver and black Hurst Olds. Immediately everyone in attendance gathered around for their first glimpse of the gargantuan 455ci engine. This car was the first prototype for 515 vehicles, which are now being built at Demmer Tool & Die Company in Lansing, Michigan.
"The H/O's original design was conceived by Jack 'Doc' Watson as a personal car for George Hurst. Oldsmobile liked the car so well that they commissioned Jack Watson to head up the limited production project at Demmer's Plant. Both Watson and Olds hi-perf man Dale Smith were on hand for the tests.
"The power plant for the H/O is basically a Toronado 455 incher. Special cylinder heads, camshaft, distributor curve and carburetor jetting, as well as standard forced air induction, contribute to the engine's 390-horsepower output. A Turbo Hydramatic transmission is modified for complete manual control through a standard Hurst Dual-Gate shifter. The car incorporates a heavy-duty rearend assembly with a 3.91:1 gear ratio, as well as heavy-duty 4-4-2 suspension and rear stabilizer. Also standard are front wheel disc brakes and Goodyear G70x14 Polyglas tires. Jack pointed out to us that the H/O that he had brought down was 'as delivered' with the exception of the addition of a set of Hooker headers and a pair of Goodyear seven-inch slicks
"Eagerly I jumped into the H/O for my first run and, after a couple of burnouts to heat up the tires, pulled into the staging beams ... Even after annihilating the tires off the line, we came up with a respectable 13.39 and 107.39 mph. Several more 13.30 runs were produced in quick succession
"We allowed the brakes to cool for an hour, then Watson climbed into the H/O to see what he could do. After easing it out of the gate and keeping tire spin at a minimum, Watson ran a 13.08 and 107.88 mph. When he returned to the line and learned of his times, he immediately staged up for one final "banzai" attempt on the quarter-mile. The 3,680-pound Cutlass lunged out of the gate like gangbusters and 12.97 seconds later tripped the finish line beam, while recording a top speed of 108.17. Not bad, not bad at all considering that the track was still damp."
Specs'68 Olds Hurst
Engine size: 455ci
Transmission: Three-speed automatic with Hurst shifter
Vehicle weight: 3,685 pounds
Quarter-mile time: Stock tires-13.85 seconds, 102 mph (as tested in 1968 for Motor Trend); slicks-12.97 seconds, 108.17 mph (as tested in 1968 for Car Craft)
In & Out List
In: World of Outlaws racing at night
In: Two-piece spinner chrome wheels
Out: Two-piece spinner chrome wheels
In: High-lift, mechanical roller camshafts
Out: Stamped steel rocker arms
In: Shaved door handles
Out: Big rear spoilers
In: Silver paint jobs
Out: Iridescent paint jobs
In: New big musclecars like the Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300
Out: Rounded, water balloon-shaped car designs
Out: Blowers that protrude over the top of the car
Roland Leong Why Roland Leong Continues to Set Records for Drag Racing PerformanceRoland Leong is truly a pioneer of the sport of drag racing. The Hawaii native has been involved in quarter-mile racing since the early days of the sport as an owner/tuner. In 1965, Leong partnered with Don Prudhomme (before he had earned his "Snake" nickname) to win both the Winternationals and the historic U.S. Nationals. Leong repeated the feat a year later, with the late Mike Snively at the wheel. Leong has worked with many great NHRA drivers from Prudhomme and Snively to Danny Ongais, Mike Dunn, Rick Johnson, Johnny West, Jim White, Jim Epler, and Ron Capps. Leong, a spry 62, admits he has always had a passion for drag racing and started toying with racecars at 12 years old. The veteran tuner began his second go-around at calling the shots for 14-time NHRA winner Ron Capps after the Joliet, Illinois, race in May of 2004. In their first stint together (May 1997-1999), Capps and Leong won seven races and finished second in the '98 Funny Car points race. In this Q&A, Leong talks about growing up and racing in Hawaii, working for Prudhomme, and his goals for the 2004 NHRA season.
CC: How did you get your start in racing?
Leong: I got a job with the Dragmasters out of Carlsbad (California), and they built dragster chassis at the time. I had a blown gas Chevrolet dragster that they built, and we were involved in a speed shop in Hawaii. Their owner, Jim Nelson, came over to show us how to run it because we had never run a blower before. Then I talked them into hiring me as a kid just to go to work. At the time, they had a dual engine Chevrolet dragster. My job was to pull the engines out. I got all the bolts loosened, and at the time we didn't have electric pulleys so I had to use a chain pulley, and I had both feet hanging off the ground to pull the engine out of this car. Then I got my dragster license at Riverside (California), and I kept going back and forth from California to Hawaii. I couldn't make up my mind where I wanted to live. Then in 1964, Danny Ongais and I had a gas dragster that we ran in California with a blown 480ci Wedge Dodge engine that we raced.
CC: When did you and Don Prudhomme join forces for your successful 1965 campaign?
Leong: At the end of 1964. I had a dragster being built and I attempted to drive it at Long Beach (Lions Dragstrip), and I crashed it. Keith Black said I made him a nervous wreck. So I gave up driving, and if I was going to stay in racing, I'd better run the car and let someone else drive it. I met Prudhomme through Keith Black when they came to Hawaii for the opening of a dragstrip.
CC: You two had some pretty good success in your first season together in 1965. Were you proud of that?
Leong: We won Pomona and Indy in '65, which at the time was the first time that anybody had won both races. Yeah, I'm proud of that. You're proud anytime you can win a race. After that, Prudhomme went with the B&M car and I hired Mike Snively to drive my car, and we proceeded to win the Winternationals and (U.S.) Nationals again in '66. I guess that was a pretty big accomplishment to win four times in a row. Of course, that was before there were a lot of national events.
CC: You toss around all these legendary names and places like Prudhomme, Snively, Black, Lions, and Indy-what was it like in the early days growing up as a pioneer in drag racing?
Leong: I don't consider myself a pioneer. I think I was just at the right place at the right time. We just wanted to go racing. I did what it took at the time. Like I said, I don't consider myself a pioneer. I consider a guy like Don Garlits and those in the late '50s or earlier '60s as the pioneers.
CC: What is your biggest career accomplishment to date?
Leong: Winning those races way back when was great, but I think the biggest achievement was in 1991 when we were the first Funny Car (driven by Jim White) to run over 290 mph. Winning Indy and the Skoal Showdown, which today only a few other people have done. We also set the national record in Indy that year. We went to Reading (Pennsylvania) and set it again. We went to Dallas (Texas) and set it again and then at the World Finals again. At Pomona (California) in '91, we ran 291 mph, and that was top speed of the race for both dragsters and Funny Cars.
CC: You left Don Prudhomme Racing in '99 and you worked with Jim Epler's car in '01. What have you been doing the past few years?
Leong: I've kept in touch with a lot of people out here. I talk to people as far as where the technology is going. I was always interested in that. Basically, I was the best armchair crew chief. I was sitting on my couch telling guys I knew they were going to smoke the tires, you should have done that or done this. Actually, I had a couple calls from people that wanted me to come help them, but I really didn't want to for one reason or another. A lot of it was them not having the budget to get ahead, like we have here with Prudhomme.
CC: What's your goal for the remainder of the 2004 season?
Leong: To get this car to become more consistent. Unless you have consistency, you're not going to win. We have to learn about the car. It's hard to speed up the process because you can only do it one run at a time. Sometimes you have to take a step back to go two forward. You know you can turn the knobs and the car will go quicker, but until you know enough about the car to do that, then it's a gamble, and if you miss, you'll be another run behind. Coming in here, compared to all these other guys, I'm already 100 runs behind-but then, in 1997 it was no different. The process is the process, and that's the way you have to do it. Hopefully, we'll make some gains on this thing and maybe win a race or two this year.
Primedia Editors Charity ChallengePick Us
The folks over at eBay had an idea to challenge the editors. While just getting up and going to work is enough of a challenge for most editors, the thought of building something really cool will always be an eye-catcher. Case in point is the Charity Challenge contest where eBay is giving us $25-grand to build a car using its site to purchase not only the car, but also the parts we need. Best of all, you folks get to vote and grade us on our efforts.
At press time there were 10 groups of editors assembled to create "their" cars, motorcycles, or trucks. At the end of the contest, the voters will determine just which vehicle was the coolest. All of the vehicles will ultimately be auctioned off to charity. Car Craft is involved with a Mustang with the Ford magazines, as well as a Nova with the Chevy magazines. That way, we have two chances to win!
If you'd like to chart our progress, go online at www.editorscharitychallenge com. They have a place for you to rate how we're doing, vote for the vehicle you like, and check out the latest "Featured Team" and "Did You Know" trivia fact ... and don't forget to log on and join the discussions on the message boards!