If you follow Fastest Street Car racing—or even if you don’t—chances are you know the name Mike Moran. We could fill these two pages with a list (in very small type) of Mike’s Fastest Street Car and drag racing accomplishments, but for this section, we thought you might like to get a peek at what’s inside Mike’s current shop. In the beginning, Mike raced out of his two-car garage and worked full time for the airlines. When we first met him in Memphis in 1992, he was wheeling a small-block, nitrous-assisted, Cleveland-headed 8.80/152-mph Pinto station wagon that was the embodiment of the ultimate sleeper. Through the subsequent years, Mike has helped pioneer the brutally fast, turbocharged Fastest Street Car element, with that technology now bleeding over into the fastest door-slammers in the country. Along the way, Mike has been working on developing a new set of very impressive, high-flow electronic fuel injectors that are rated up to 600 lb/hr. But we’ll save that for another story. We had Mike give us a quick, guided tour of his shop. But don’t get too comfortable with this, because he tells us he’s already found an even larger shop to accommodate his growing engine-building, car-tuning, and fuel-injector business.
- This wild-looking sports car is a Race Car Replicas (Race-Car- Replicas.com) Mk IV version of the last variation of the Ford GT-40 that dominated Le Mans in the ’60s. The car is owned by Pete Van Pelt, and it’s at the shop for Mike and his gang to put the final tweak on the individual eight-stack EFI package for the 400ci small-block Ford. Mike says tuning these individual runner manifolds is tricky, and the key is to put great emphasis on ensuring all eight throttle plates are open exactly the same amount at idle.
- This ’70 1⁄2 Camaro belongs to employee Bill Kane. It sports a 638ci, normally aspirated Rat motor. Mike says that with a TH400 trans and a Dana 60 with 4.10 gears, the car has about 7,000 street miles on a package that includes a Holley EFI manifold and a BigStuff3 controller. “It’s a daily driver. He [Bill] drove it to Norwalk [Ohio], and it ran a 10 flat on pump gas,” Mike says.
- The large bench is a tech story in itself, which we’ll do later. The high point is that it can test up to 16 injectors simultaneously and measure down to 1cc accuracy at 10,000cc capacity using an aircraft-style flow meter. Using a 25hp electric motor to drive a Waterman Top Fuel pump, the bench features RacePak data-logging capability and is designed to accept all the popular EFI systems such as BigStuff3, FAST, ACCEL, and others. Mike even has a high-speed digital camera that can be employed to check flow patterns on any injector.
- The black Mustang is a 10.5 Outlaw car owned by Michael Biehle. It sports a Larson tube chassis that Mike helped to build two years ago with a 377ci small-block Ford, twin 80mm Garrett turbos, and a Bruno converter for the Lenco trans. It only has six runs on the car with a 6.76/215-mph best pass to date. Mike says the car is for sale, as he’s building the ’10 Pro Mod car for Biehle.
- The Grand National is Mike’s first new car. He found it at a dealership in 1988, which claimed the car was the sixth or eighth from the end of production. “I street raced it for a while, and then it sat for 18 years,” Mike says. Now it is equipped with 12 injectors, a set of six, small 42 lb/hr snowmobile injectors, and six more Moran 160-lb/hr squirters that come in under max power. All 12 injectors are controlled by a BigStuff3 (are you beginning to see a pattern here?). The GN also uses a GM Flex Fuel sensor that allows Mike to run any mixture of C-16 race gasoline and E85 alcohol to make power. Whitey Brown did the headers and exhaust work.
- The bad-boy Bickle chassis ’10 Mustang is Mike’s latest effort, powered by an outlandish all-billet big-block. You could call it a hemi only because the spark plugs sit in the middle of the cylinders. With 5.3-inch bore spacing and a 10.5-inch deck height, the engine displaces a mere 550 ci, but the reason for the cavernous 5.00-inch bore is so it can accommodate 2.75/2.00-inch valves. The motor will, of course, be twin turbocharged, and Mike has received massive assistance from friends Charlie Weston and Danny Jesel. The block, for example, splays all four of its main-cap bolts. “The old Packard engines did that, and it’s a great idea,” Mike says. The motor also sports an 85mm cam tunnel with lifter spacing designed to align the pushrods with the valves. The heads are based on an Allen Johnson design. The Pro Mod ’10 Mustang wears a complete carbon-fiber body that Mike says weighs a mere 51 pounds at a height of only 42.5 inches.
- The red Vette belongs to employee Matt Tret and is awaiting a new 430ci LS, normally aspirated motor with a 4.155-inch bore and 4.00-inch stroke with an LS7 block, LXR heads that flow 420 cfm, and 11.9:1 compression. Jesel is helping with a complete valvetrain for the engine, and they’re shooting for 900 hp on E85. This motor sounds like a beast.
Moran Racing Engines;
Taylor, MI; 734/947-1234; MoranMotorsports.com