`BEHIND THE SCENES
RAT ROD SUPREME
We were cruisin' Bob's Big Boy in Burbank, California, when a couple of dudes came rumbling in with this T-bucket. We normally wouldn't care, but the bucket was channeled so low over the frame that the driver's knees were almost touching the steering wheel. Closer inspection revealed they were sitting on bleacher cushions. Check out the clutch pedal on the left, the brake pedal wrapped around the steering column, and how far up on the firewall the gas pedal is. We were impressed.
In June, we showed you a bunch of cool ideas from car builder Steve Strope. One trick we didn't have room for is these custom valve-cover decals he did that resemble the engine decals that appeared on big-block Chevys from the Tonawanda GM engine plant. Strope had these made for the Car Craft Cheap Street Chevelle that HR gave away in 2004. He has these custom-made by a company you can find on the Web at speedgraphics.net. If you can create an image, Speed Graphics can probably reproduce it in vinyl.
The scourge of Los Angeles county dragstrip closings continues. Last year, the sea-level track north of San Diego at Carlsbad closed, and now we hear from track owner Bernie Longjohn that Los Angeles County Raceway (LACR) will close within a year. The track is on leased property owned by a gravel company that needs the property to make rock chips. Apparently, there is not enough dirt in Los Angeles to go around.
In the Jan. '06 issue, we covered Jim Hughes' '69 Camaro SS/RS ("The Muscatine Coupe,") and detailed how he'd preserved the numbers-matching 396 while adding a five-speed and other improvements to enhance the driving experience. We also mentioned that he was starting to fiend for even more grunt. As of this writing, the 396 has been officially sealed and stored, and a 454-inch GM Performance Parts ZL1 Ram Jet crate engine has taken its place, providing not only all-aluminum construction, but also electronic fuel injection. Jim says sorting the EFI took some effort, as did modifying the underside of the hood to clear the manifold, but preliminary impressions are that it was well worth it. We're waiting for numbers.
In this month's This Guys' Garage, we mentioned a '64 Riviera. This is the 425ci motor from the car. The Super Wildcat 425 single four-barrel package had 10.25:1 compression and made 340 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. There was also a twin four-barrel 425 that made the same torque with 360 hp.