It's red. Ok, we're stating the obvious, but we had one of those "well, duh" moments deciding whether to photograph this car. To explain, we were cruising around the fairgrounds at last year's Summer Nationals in St. Paul looking for cars to gather up for a photo shoot that evening. Because we had chosen several dark cars already, photographer Wes Allison actually said, "We need something bright, something red." And wouldn't you know it, following us around in our dopey golf cart was this Biscayne. It would have to be on fire to be any brighter. We waffled for a few minutes debating whether to shoot this guy's car, but Wes finally knocked some sense into us. He said, "The engine looks great and it's red." End of discussion.
Don't go painting your car '01 Corvette Torch Red just so you'll get into Car Craft (though it certainly does help). You need to back up your arrest-me red with some booked-and-held-on-remand horsepower, and John LaCasse's street-driven Biscayne has enough power to warrant a felony conviction. His 10.3:1 big-block churns out 663 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm at the crank.
John is the fourth owner on this Biscayne's title, and it has always been a fast car, living its life mostly a quarter-mile at a time. The previous owner, Bob Seaton, told John that nitrous bottles were still mounted in the trunk when he bought it. Bob, the owner of Professional Auto Body in St. Paul, took good care of the Biz during the 10 years he owned it, fixing the road rash and spraying the stellar Torch Red topcoat.
After he bought it in 2003, John got to work on the engine, building himself a serious drivetrain that would take him from one coast to the other reliably and quickly. The engine is built with components we can only dream of moving from our wish list to the checkout screen when we're surfing for engine parts, the trans is stout enough to handle all that power, and there's a 12-bolt out back. Need we say more? John, an over-the-road trucker, has no fear of racking up miles when he's driving for pleasure on his days off. He's taken the car on one Hot Rod Power Tour(r) and been to several Goodguys shows, local cruises, and on summer road trips.
Who: John LaCasse
What: '68 Chevrolet Biscayne
Where: New Braunfels, Texas, but he used to live in Minnesota.
Engine: The car was originally equipped with a 385hp 427, but that engine was long gone by the time John bought it, so he had no qualms about installing something else in its place. Starting with a GM 502 block, John ordered up a Callies Dragonslayer 4 1/2-inch-stroke crank and got to work building himself a 540-inch powerplant. To the crank, he added Comp Star rods and SRP 10.3:1 pistons augmented by Speed-Pro rings and bearings. Completing the long-block are AFR 305 heads with Manley valves and Comp Cams beehive springs. Comp Pro Magnum roller rockers actuate the valves as directed by the Comp XR288HR10 Xtreme Energy hydraulic roller cam. Matt Steen at Victory Engines in Marshall, Minnesota, did the machine work, setting the deck height to zero before assembling the engine.
Induction: To make the long-block run, John added a Jet-Hot-coated Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap 2-0 intake and an 850-cfm Holley carburetor. An Aeromotive fuel pump keeps the float bowls full. It's a thirsty beast, too. It takes a lot of fuel to make 585 hp and 663 lb-ft.
Exhaust: A pair of Hooker headers, also Jet-Hot-coated, deal with the exhaust gases. Their 2-inch primary tubes dump into 3-inch collectors and on to a full 3-inch system complete with Flowmaster Delta Flow mufflers.
Transmission: A TH400 automatic is assigned the task of harnessing the engine's prodigious torque. Jeff Gillis, owner of Gillis Transmission Service in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, built the trans for John, adding a TransGo shift kit and a TCI torque converter.