Forget the rules of Queensbury, this is the way it happens in a street joust or on the track. The contender with the hardest punch and the longest reach usually wins-as it is on that long narrow strip of pavement that measures 1,320 feet. This is a drama that is played out almost every night of the week in the summer when the weather's good and the asphalt's dry.
Recently, the chassis dyno has given way to a different sort of hero who can lay down a strong number to the rear wheels. Not to take anything away from those guys, but there's more to a quick car than just big rear-wheel horsepower numbers. The trick is to be able to apply all that power in a way that results in a 10-, 11-, or 12-second e.t. slip. Sure, cubic inches and cubic dollars make those numbers easier to attain, but we prefer the budget approach. That's what these cars represent.
In our travels this past year, we've collected several examples of sneakers, creepers, and boulevard sleepers that will give you that unpretentious look and then pull off a number that always seems to be just a little quicker than what you can run-no matter how many times you race them. We've got Chevys, Fords, and Mopars in the mix. If you don't see your car here, then perhaps you should tell us about it. That will give us a leg up on next spring when the weather makes it tolerable again for the street sweepers. Check it out.
Make Mine Mach
There are two kinds of street machines-those that look fast but aren't, and those that look stock but can eat your lunch. Steve Engberg drives a mild-mannered '69 Mach 1 around the streets of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, that would never turn your head unless you were a Mustang resto-geek. But he snapped our necks around when his four-speed 'Stang rolled up the chassis dyno to the tune of 472 rwhp on the motor and 595 rwhp on a short snort of squeeze.
A quick investigation revealed a 463ci FE motor sportin' a Scat crank, Edelbrock ported heads and a Comp solid roller. (Beware the guy who carries his cam card in his wallet.) The coolest part is the NOS Top Shot nitrous kit that sits on top of the carb because a plate won't allow his shaker hood to clear. The whole mess is worth mid 11s at 116 at Cordova, Illinois' track on M&H street tires using Competition Engineering Slide-A-Link bars. Steve's motivation is his friend Brett Johnson, who owns a '68 Cuda-neither one likes to lose.
Car: '69 Mustang Mach 1
Owner: Steve Engberg, Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Engine: 463ci Ford FE, 4.250-inch stroker Scat crank, Ross 12:1 pistons, Comp 308R mechanical roller (262 @ 0.050, 0.674-inch lift), Edelbrock ported aluminum heads, Blue Thunder intake, Pro Systems Holley 1,000-cfm carb, NOS Top Shot 125hp nitrous kit, tri-Y headers, Dr. Gas 3-inch exhaust, DynoMax mufflers
Trans: Ford Top Loader four-speed, Centerforce clutch
Rear: 9-inch, Detroit Locker, Richmond 4.11
Wheels & Tires: Magnum 15x7, front; 15x8, rear; BFGoodrich P235/60R15, front; M&H 9x28, rear
Performance: 11.53 at 116.5 mph, 8 mpg
The trick is to look stock and carry a big arm. Matt Curlovic is not a math major, but he likes that kind of equation. Matt bolted together a mundane machine, a sleepy-looking tan '76 Nova that looks like something the local librarian would drive to her Sunday social. Matt took an evil turn and yanked the original 305 and replaced it with a Scott Shafiroff-built 598ci Rat that thumps on pump gas. A 1,095-cfm Demon sits on top along with 2-inch Hooker headers.