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It All Starts with a Tune Up PART II:


We managed to get to our home track, Bremerton Raceway, a couple of times with our project '70 Chrysler Town & Country before the end of the season. The first time out we got many passes at a perfect evening test and tune session. The car performed flawlessly. It never over heated, it looked great and it brought six people to the track and back in style. It even did great burn outs, though they didn't really seem to help. Our best run was a 15.69 at 86 mph. We were all very impressed, a five thousand pound car in bone stock trim running mid fifteens is outstanding, even more so considering we truly had less than $1500 into it. Traction was fragile and fleeting but when it hooked it ran a sleepy but not unreasonable 2.19 sixty foot time. The shocks and leaf springs are very old and tired.

A week or so later I decided to put a set of Hooker Super Comp C-body headers on the car. Header installation is always a challenge, but it wasn't that bad this time. The trick is to cut and bleed before you burn and cauterize. It saves on band aids. While I was at it, I replaced the heavy stock iron intake with an aluminum Edelbrock Torker II, a modern big port open plenum unit designed to fit under the hood. We've had it for a few years and we know it's a great intake for every level of performance we've ever tested it in. This is six hundred dollars in parts, but I had it all literally hanging on the wall collecting dust so it wasn't really cash out of pocket.

What did cost cash out of pocket was those American Racing Torq-Thrust "D" mags that I mentioned in the last column. I went ahead and bought them and I'm not sorry! They make the car. Tuner guys drop thousands more on the latest "dubs" that are going to look lamer than Pro Street or neon splash graphics before the end of the decade. I've heard people lamenting the renewed interest in Torq-Thrusts because they seem to be on every other muscle car these days, but let's face it, they've been looking good for 40 years and they'll look good for 40 more. They are a very safe choice.

We brought it back to the track for testing with all the new goodies. It was another perfect evening test and tune session, the last of the season. We got all the passes we wanted, but this time traction was impossible. It was a handful even to get some kind of meaningful top end MPH. It would fry all three gears through the eighth-mile mark with ease.

I got my best time, a 15.52 at 89 mph, by lowering the rear tire pressure to 25 psi, doing a monster burnout, staging very shallow, and launching off idle. Even then it hazed the tires through the 60-foot mark. Maybe I could have reduced the tire pressure a little more or even mounted up a set of slicks, but I don't think the rear end could handle real traction too many times without breaking.

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