We've purchased parts for cars we don't own, and we've built cars starting with little more than a frame and a chalk outline on the floor. Gordon Bishop beat us all when he built this 2,100hp '65 AMC Rambler American around a carb hat and a set of float bowls.
The point Gordon was trying to make had to do with the rebellious nature of the blow-through supercharger community. They're accustomed to people telling them the idea won't work and that you can't make power with a carb hat, so Gordon started looking for a radical car to make a 7-second statement and showcase his company's Extreme Velocity blow-through parts. That's when he bought Rick Dyer's abandoned Rambler roller.
Gordon immediately made some changes to the car. He moved the trunk hinges inboard so he could raise the tubs in the body, and he added an S/C Rambler-style scoop. Once he got all the plumbing worked out for the turbos, exhaust, and intercooler, he sent the car to his friend Bob Turski at Motor City Collision. Bob skim-coated the entire body and blocked it, taking the car to a level Gordon never expected.
When Gordon started this project he thought he would like to run mid-8s during the first year. The Rambler ran 8.37 at 164 mph the second trip to the track. With a little more tuning, 7s are on the way. Gordon's Rambler is a car you'll never forget. And that's the point.
Who: Gordon Bishop
What: '65 AMC Rambler American
Where: Sterling Heights, MI, a suburb outside Detroit.
Body: The car was a project owned by Rick Dyer who had back-halved it and installed the rollcage. When Gordon bought the roller, he moved some stuff around to lower the rear of the car. The hoodscoop is a PR-47 from UP22.com that resembles the scoop that came from the factory on S/C Ramblers. The rear wing was built by Gary Oldenburg.
The car's body was a bit rough at first. "I thought some little kid had been jumping up and down on the trunk lid, and looking down the side of the car gave you the feeling that the surf was up," Gordon says. Bob Turski block-sanded it for 10 months before Gordon broke the news that the car would be raced. "He was doing such a nice job, I just could not take it away from him. When he got done he asked if I was going to race it; I told him he'd better believe it. He just shook his head."
Interior: Nestled on the inside of the 'cage are a set of Ultra-Shield Race Products Pro Drag seats with Stroud five-point harnesses and modular padding. The seats have a lower thigh bolster and rib support that allow more clearance for shifting. The tach is a giant Auto Meter Pro-Comp mounted up in your face with a full set of Auto Meter Pro-Comp gauges. The AMS 1000 boost controller works with the CO2 tank behind the passenger seat to control the dual 60mm wastegates in the fenders. Gordon fabricated all the turbo plumbing that runs throughout the car and goes back to the Chiseled Performance 3,000hp air-to-water intercooler in the back-seat area. The Hurst Pistol Grip Quarter Stick shifter is tucked up next to the plumbing that runs between the two seats.
Engine: The twin-turbo 509ci Chevy big-block was built by Steve Morris at New Era Racecraft. The Extreme Velocity Pro Series carb hat and dual needle-and-seat fuel bowls that got this project started are products of Gordon's company, Superior Airflow. The big Chevy makes 2,101 hp and 1,780 lb-ft of torque at 26 pounds of boost, so far. The block is a Dart Big M 9.8 with a Lunati 4.00-inch stroke crank and Lunati Pro Mod rods. The 4.500 slugs are a special design made for Steve Morris by Diamond Pistons. The heads are Dart 335s with Jesel shaft rockers and Inconel exhaust valves to handle the extreme exhaust temps. Because this is a race car, no one would divulge the cam specs, but they did tell us the turbos are 80mm BorgWarner S480s prepped by Bullseye Power in Muskegon, Michigan. The carb is a custom-built, 900-cfm billet blow-through built by Roger at C&S specialties. The trick, dual needle-and-seat fuel bowls are required for gasoline applications over 1,300 hp and E85 or methanol applications. The carb is mounted on an Edelbrock Victor 454 R manifold that was ported by Steve Morris. An Aeromotive beltdrive fuel pump moves the copious amounts of C-16 from the cell. An MSD Digital 7 handles the spark plug firing duties.
Transmission: The Dedenbear Powerglide was built by Joel's on Joy in Detroit to take 1,800 hp, so Gordon's motor is giving it a pretty good workout. It has a straight-cut gearset and a ringless hardened input shaft with a transbrake and an Ultimate Converter Concepts 10.5-inch converter. The shifter is a Hurst Pistol Grip Quarter Stick.
Rearend: To take the abuse, the Rambler has a Fab 9 housing built by Ring & Pinion Shop of Clinton Township, Michigan, using Strange 40-spline axles with 3.40:1 gears plugged in to a spool.
Suspension: Gordon's Rambler has the stock front suspension with Strange double-adjustable shocks. The rear of the car is back-halved with Chassis Engineering ladder bars, Strange double-adjustable shocks, and a Chassis Engineering antiroll bar.
Brakes: The brakes are Strange Pro Race four-piston billet calipers and slotted-steel rotors in the front and rear. Gordon used a Strange master cylinder to complete the system.
Wheels/Tires: The 15x3.5-inch Weld Alumastar front wheels have Mickey Thompson 26/4.5-15 ET Fronts. The 15x10-inch Weld Alumastar rear wheels wear 31.0/10.5-15W Mickey Thompson ET Drags delivering the hurt to a set of Chassis Engineering 84-inch Pro Mod wheelie bars made from 1 1/4 x 0.095-inch chrome-moly and shortened to 60 inches.