This is Stromberger Performance in Spokane, Washington. If you want a set of twins on just
Man, these cars are what it’s all about. Bitchin’, handmade, single- and twin-turbo systems stuffed into big, steel-door cars that absolutely crush everything else on the road: small-blocks and big-blocks, turbonetics, eBay turbos, Precision, and huge CT billet jobs pounding out 800 and 900 hp at the rear wheels. These cars aren’t trailer fluff. No gutted sheetmetal interiors here. Bench seats, carpet, tunes, and gears for the highway are the rule, and most of them run all day on pump juice. It’s not just about the Chevy—there’s a 700hp, small-block Mustang and even a Pontiac in the group. These are legit, 9-second street machines that see hours of freeway and street time and didn’t take a zillion dollars to build.
You’d have to be drinking your own bong water not to notice what turbos can do on a V8 street machine. This trend first appeared in the West, where Marty Stromberger’s brutal Firebird powered by a stock 350 and a couple of Grand National turbos ran in the 9s. Then it happened again, with a near-stock 355 using a pair of 67mm Comp Turbos that lit the dyno with 936 at the wheels of Ted Toki’s ’55 Chevy (see the Apr. ’11 issue). Readers who called B.S. got a wake-up call when Chad Maskery and Blake Hughes stepped up and proved it with a twin-turbo, blackout, 1,000hp Nova from 417 Motorsports that trapped at 141 mph in the Midwest.
"I want to put a turbo on everything. When my lawn mower bogged in high grass, I got this bolt of lightning; maybe a turbo would help!"
- Marty Stromberger
We wanted to see more turbos, so we went to the Pacific Northwest to get a look at Stromberger Performance and witness the number of wicked machines that orbit that shop. Marty and the guys have come a long way from the home-brewed turbo feature in the Nov. ’07 issue. His shop is ground zero for the growing number of ultimate, real-world turbo guys from the West Coast.
'67 Chevrolet Chevelle
Even though this car is too fresh for horsepower numbers and dragstrip times, we got some seat time on the way to the photo shoot and can confirm it's a bona fide streeter that anyone can drive. The combo uses a pair of 62mm Turbonetics blowing through a 750-cfm CSU carb on a simple Vortec-headed 350 with a 234/238 duration at 0.050 hydraulic roller cam with 0.539/0.548 lift on a 114 lobe center. It idles like a stocker, and with the 3.08:1 gears and a 2004-R, it runs on the freeway with minimal aggravation. Punch it and the car twists violently as the left front of the car gets light and the tires begin to blacktrack at virtually any speed. Joe's LeMans and Elco were in front shedding rubber in long strips as we struggled for control and tried to catch up. After several hundred feet of tire spin, we did. When we lifted, the blow-off valve chirped and hissed like air brakes on a locomotive. The car makes everyone look, then you're gone. This is one of the faster cars we've driven.
'67 Chevrolet El Camino
With the ladder in the back, this car is completely convincing as a work vehicle. The ruse works until the big-o Precision PT 88mm turbo comes up and tries to pitch the tools over the side. This build is a little meatier than the Chevelle, with a bigger solid roller cam with 250/254 degrees of duration at 0.050 and 0.668/0.674 lift on a 114 lobe center. It also has a shot of nitrous from a Cheater system to spool the turbo, SRP forged pistons, Eagle H-beam
rods, and a forged crank. The heads are 230cc Dart Iron Eagles with 2.08/1.60 valves. Joe did the intake plumbing with a little help from Marty and added some tricks like an MSD boost controller and Snow Performance water/methanol injection. The math is there for a solid 9-second run.
'67 Pontiac Lemans
580 HP/580 TQ (EST)
If you sense a theme here, it's because all of Joe's cars are from 1967. "It makes all the parts interchangeable," Joe says. The LeMans is our favorite because it was rescued from a wrecking yard for $300 and built with a low-buck, twin, 57mm, eBay turbo system. The cam has a vacuum brakes-friendly, single-pattern grind with 222 degrees of duration at 0.050 with 0.498 lift. This thing sleeps until you get too close and hear the Aeromotive A1000 pump or get a whiff of the water/methanol injection. The mill is another simple 355 small-block with a set of forged pistons and good factory rods and crank.
'66 Chevrolet Impala
h862 RWHP/906 RWTQ
10.54 at 98 MPH
Mmm, big-blocks and boost. The Great Pumpkin belongs to Stromberger Performance wrench Marshall Shaw. There is nothing like 900 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm from a set of 70mm Chinese fans on a low-buck big-block. The motor has the basics, like a set of 8.8:1-compression KB slugs and Eagle rods on a stock forged crank, but otherwise it's a simple, punched-up, 498-inch iron block with stock oval-port heads. The flat-tappet cam timing is mild at 238/248 at 0.050 with 0.540 lift, and most of the parts are from SummitRacing.com. The real trick to holding the boost is the Fire Ring copper head gaskets borrowed from the diesel guys. This power is fed through a TH400 transmission and streetfriendly 3.08:1 gears in the 12-bolt. This 4,200-pound driver runs 10.54 on race gas. The lack of safety equipment has prevented Marshall from going out the back door, so the mph is always below 100. In the eighth-mile, the numbers are a more respectable 6.51 at 111 mph.
'87 Ford Mustang GT
1,008 RWHP/1,014 RWTQ
9.62 AT 148 MPH
This guy laid down a big-big number at the wheels, and after we talked to him for a while we found out why. Erick's father owns SMC Customs, which is right around the corner from Stromberger Performance. As an engineering student at nearby Eastern Washington University, Erick gained the skills to TIG-up his own plumbing. His work can be seen on Marshall's Impala, and of course, on his personal cars. The Mustang has some serious hardware, such as a set of 67mm Turbonetics turbos and a Ford Racing Boss block as a foundation, with AFR 185cc cylinder heads and a big Comp solid roller cam with 250/256 degrees of duration at 0.050 and 0.633 lift on a 114 lobe center. Erick made the headers, the EFI hat, and the air-to-water intercooler that runs through the center of the car to the trunk. The fuel injection system starts with an 80mm BBK throttle-body and is controlled by an Adaptronics system. The transmission is a TH400
with a JW Ultrabell adapter, and the rearend is an 8.8 with 33-spline axles and 3.31:1 gears. The converter is from Ultimate Converter Concepts, and it stalls at 4,000 rpm. We asked him why he wasn't over-revving in the traps. "With that solid roller cam, 8,500 rpm is pretty standard," Erick says. The 9-second runs are on 28.0/10.5-15-inch M/T ET Drag tires. There is a lot more speed in this car.
"The Adaptronic is self learning. I just drive the car with a laptop, and the fuel map starts appearing in front of your eyes."
806 RWHP/671 RWTQ
9.13 AT 154 MPH
You might have seen this car before-it's the ultra-scary, '65 Factory Five MK 4 powered by a twin-turbo 351 Windsor. Steve Berg set it up as a fast street car that runs on pump gas. As the low-e.t. and high-mph leader of the group, it's rev-limited to a 154-mph trap speed. "The car needs a taller gear; we had to grind the Strange aluminum housing top to fit the huge 2.75:1 gears, but it needs more," Marty says. "This car is capable of 165 in the traps." The
formula is logical. Using an SVO 351 block, Steve added a set of Trick Flow R-series 206cc heads and a Super Victor intake. The Precision 61mm ball bearing turbos feed the BBK 75mm throttle-body for about 1,000 hp at the crank. The trans is a Lentech AOD that ate its own converter on the 9.13-second pass. That kind of speed earned a pink slip from the local racetrack. It is now a retiree.
780 RWHP/685 RWTQ
9.67 AT 142 MPH
This car is a bit different from the rest, as it started as a race car instead of a streeter. Jody ran 12s with it in the early '80s before selling it. He recently bought it back and made the changes to return it to the street and at the same time get the car into the 9s on a budget. The car has a single 75mm Borg Warner turbo pushing 14 pounds of boost through the iron 351 Windsor. Aside from the Victor Jr. heads, most of the parts are from eBay. The generic Fox-body headers were flipped and modified for the turbo, and the EFI uses Edelbrock rails and a Haltech controller. The whole thing runs on E85.
'91 GMC S-15
700 HP/700 TQ (EST)
10.06 AT 138 MPH
This has to be one of our favorites. It's just so Car Craft. The S-15 was purchased from an abandoned-vehicle auction for $150 then fitted with a set of eBay T3/4 turbos. The engine is a very basic 383 smallblock with Procomp aluminum cylinder heads and a flat-tappet cam with 208/212 degrees at 0.050 and 0.474/0.510 lift. The rotator uses a set of Eagle H-beam rods, Icon forged 8.7:1 pistons, and an Eagle 3.75-inch crankshaft. The fuel injection uses a 1,000-cfm throttlebody and is controlled by an Adaptronic tuner. As with most of the turbo guys' cars, the Jimmy relies on an Aeromotive A1000 pump to feed it all. Mike estimates that he was less than $10,000 in the entire build. That is as cool as it gets.