Street Racing Memories
Altered Wheelbase Fanatics Unite!
Before I get started, I want to let everybody know that I’ve just released a 90-minute live action DVD showing how to alter the wheelbase and add a straight axle to any car. While the subject vehicle is a 1963 Dart sedan, the process outlined in the DVD is universal to almost any unit-construction car. The DVD also includes road and drag tests of two completed altered wheelbase Match Bash cars plus lots of fun segments on collectible magazines and vintage funny car model kits. You can get a copy at thefunnycarfarm.com or by calling 626-256-0126. Okay, let’s get on with the show…
I can’t believe its 2008 already, but a look at the wall calendar confirms the fact. If there’s any good to come out of it, it’s that the New Year marks the passage of two full decades since I was in the midst of my full bore street racing days. Since there’s gotta be some kind of statute of limitations regarding prosecution of such legal infractions some 20 years after the fact, let’s take a look back at one of my favorite street racing memories.
Back in 1988, I was two years out of college and finally able to get my hands on some serious Mopar machinery. The first was XS29J8B119772, a real-deal ’68 Hemi Charger that I’ve written about here before. A partially completed restoration when I got it, the body was still covered in gray primer. But mechanically it was all fresh with a set of headers, a mild solid cam and dual Competition Series Carter 650’s on the otherwise stock, numbers-matching 426.
I wasted no time making the scene down at Route 67 in Palmer, Mass. Again, me and my group of about 30 buddies made it our business to do irresponsible things… responsibly. Sure, we lined ‘em up run after run on that lightly traveled (at least after midnight) stretch of four lane blacktop, but we all took it easy and there were no serious mishaps except for the occasional spit driveshaft or blown head gasket. I must say, in the four years I was active on the scene, I never saw a single car leave the road nor was there any car-to-car contact. It wasn’t a big deal, just a bunch of car freaks letting it all hang out in the middle of nowhere.
Anyhoo, the last weekend of regular action was usually around Thanksgiving. The New England snow hadn’t really started falling yet but the sub-freezing night time weather was a clear indicator that winter was definitely right around the corner, and the good cars would soon be stashed away until spring. For this final bash, I decided to go all out. I mounted a set of slicks, stuck 3.91’s in the 8 ¾, removed the front sway bar, yanked the air cleaner - so the Hemi could gulp the frigid night air freely - and unbolted the exhaust system. I didn’t simply disconnect it at the header flanges, mind you, I actually removed it from the car. The idea was to shed weight, assure full power and be ready for all comers.