1,000+HP, 529ci Big-Block Cadillac
Amir Rosenbaum, Spectre Performance, Ontario, CA
Bonneville is an eclectic place. It attracts those who just want to go fast. No cheering crowds and no huge purse-it's the perfect place for those in search of speed. One such pilgrim is Spectre Performance owner Amir Rosenbaum, who is far better as a participant than a spectator. He purchased a used streamliner that in a former life spent time under the wing of a Royal Canadian Air Force F-101 Voodoo fighter-bomber. All that's left of that under-wing drop tank now is the nosepiece that gently blends into an aluminum skin for the Spectre SpeedLiner, powered by a 529ci big-block Cadillac. But it's not just any Caddy-this stroker sports a pair of 88mm turbos. While engine builder Courtney Hines was reluctant to quote an actual horsepower number, he would admit to 1,000-plus. Perhaps the best part of the story is that the Spectre team needed only three passes on the brand-new car to set the AA/Blown Gas Streamliner record at 330.569 mph (there was no previous record). After the requisite checkout pass by driver Kenny Hoover, the car ran 336 mph out the back door on the second run and peaked at 340 on the third pass to set the SCTA record. Those minimal three runs should be some kind of record in themselves and a testament to the professional construction of the car by Steve Schmalz and his Performance Fabrication team and from Hines' Albuquerque-based Cad company (cad500parts.com). But for us, the true hero is Schmalz and his crew, who managed to squeeze the rear axle, tires, an amazingly wide 500ci Cad motor, two turbos, dry-sump, and everything else within the confines of an area equivalent to a 29-inch-diameter circle.
A. Lubrication System
To keep the engine as low as possible and ensure that plenty of oil finds its way to the bearings, the Cad motor is fitted with a Peterson dry-sump tank that includes a multistage Dailey Engineering pump.
B. Induction Electronics
That's a Hogan sheetmetal intake plumbed with injector rails with two 80-lb/hr injectors per cylinder. The throttle body is a single-blade style measuring roughly 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Hines chose a FAST aftermarket EFI computer system to control the fuel and spark and did all his own tuning. The Caddy runs on race gas, and one Spectre team goal is to be the fastest piston-driven streamliner on gasoline.
Not everything that goes fast is high tech. Hines started this Caddy build with a stock iron block with two-bolt main caps. He then offset-ground the crank a whopping 0.121 inch and pushed the bore 0.060 over to come up with the extra inches. Hines was able to grind the crank this much because the stock rod journals are 2.250 inches in diameter, complemented by massive 3.250-inch mains. Swinging a huge 4.425-inch stroke, this is the main reason they didn't spin this engine more than 5,000 rpm. Hines used stock-length Chrysler Hemi-style Eagle connecting rods and Venolia pistons to create the 8.5:1 static compression. The heads are also iron castings ported by the Cad company and fitted with 2.250/1.900-inch stainless steel valves. Hines chose iron to create a more stable sealing surface for the 10 head bolts per side. The valvetrain consists of a custom flat (!) tappet grind with more than 0.600 inch valve lift using the Cad company's Stage IV rockers. Even the rocker covers had to be custom-fabbed to squeeze inside the body confines.
This large tank is the intercooler that uses ice water to chill the compressed air coming out of the turbos. The water is circulated through one large 38-gallon water tank located ahead of the driver. To minimize fire danger to the driver, the 13-gallon fuel tank is relocated behind the engine. If you log on to Spectre's website, (spectreperformance.com/blog/) you'll see the team filling the intercooler tank with ice using one of Bonneville's orange cones as a funnel.
E. The Blue Hat
In the military, personal accomplishments are recognized with medals that combatants wear on their dress uniforms. At Bonneville, if you see someone wearing a red 200 MPH Club hat, they earned it by setting a record in excess of 200 mph. The Two Club operates separately from the SCTA and was originally formed back in 1953. But as impressive as the red hat is, there is an even more exclusive fraternity that marks its accomplishments with a coveted blue hat that signifies the owner's membership in the 300-mph chapter. Driver Kenny Hoover is now one of the few who owns both.
F. Fresh Air
Like us, you may be wondering where the inlet air enters the turbos. Unlike most streamliners that use a scoop on top of the car that also creates drag, the Spectre 'Liner pulls air in with two small scoops located below and just aft of the cockpit. Since the tires kick up a lot of salt at 300-plus mph, there are also two large air filters that strain out the saline. Rosenbaum says after each run they have to clean out piles of the white stuff jammed in alongside the filters.
A 500ci Cadillac engine is very wide, so the turbos had to be relocated forward of the engine and aft of the cockpit. What you can see in this photo is one of the two 88mm Garrett turbochargers with the exhaust housings covered in heat insulation material. What you can't see is the amazing Performance Fab-built stainless headers and exhaust routing. Schmalz and his crew also did much of the rest of the enormous fabrication work required on this car. Hines would not comment on how much boost the turbos were making other than to say, "There was a whole bunch more available."
The original streamliner was built by Roy Fjastad, a well-known drag racer and Modified Roadster Bonneville competitor. His original car has been radically modified, lengthened a total of 9 feet and narrowed 14 inches from its original envelope, but still retains its original Voodoo jet fighter/bomber drop tank nose. The entire SpeedLiner body is held in place with hundreds of Fjastad-designed Full Bore Race Products Super Buttons, which are quarter-turn quick-release fasteners, an improvement over the famous Dzus fastener.