MERRY MOPAR CHRISTMAS!
One of the sadder things about being a grown up badass Mopar person is that it burns off whatever thrill remained from getting gifts at Christmas. Nobody in their right mind would get you what you really want--like a $1200 torque converter or a 440 stroker short block. Even if Mom and Dad could afford it, they don't know what the words mean. That's really a shame, but I guess it leaves more room under the tree for toys and sweaters. We Mopar people have to buy our own presents. Here are a few ideas.
Something you really could fit under the tree is cool modern ignition stuff, if only you could get granny to put down her knitting and pick up the phone. Summit Racing just came out with a new line of affordable billet aluminum distributors and we had to order one for our big block tool box. We haven't gotten around to testing it in anything yet, but it sure looks pretty!
MSD has been our ignition supplier of choice for the last ten years or more. Frankly, their stuff is so good that we don't really buy much anymore because everything we have keeps working! Whatever quits, we send back and they fix it promptly. Give a 6AL box to a friend who's still messing with a points ignition system or better still, sneak into their garage and install it. They'll wonder what's wrong when the car starts on the first try and gets an extra two miles per gallon.
Carburetors and intake manifolds have gotten so much better and cheaper lately that it's worth buying new to replace the existing pieces on the car. It's a couple of years old now, but the Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold continues to impress me in every application that I use it in. In side-by-side testing on a high ten-second car we found that it only gave up half a tenth in the quarter over the massive Edelbrock Victor 440 and was dead even with our outstanding Edelbrock Torquer II, but the Performer RPM starts to build power off idle and always fits under the hood, making it ideal for street driven cars.
A few years ago Barry Grant started making killer carburetors based on basic Holley architecture. While they were too exotic/expensive for a typical gear head, they seemed to get Holley off the dime because they've really stepped up recently with updated versions of their old standards. It used to be that for max performance, you sent your trusty double pumper off to a carb specialist who cut off the choke horn, smoothed everything out, and tuned it on a flow bench for your particular application. Now Holley does all that stuff at the factory and sells it for a fraction of the cost.
Not to be out done, Edelbrock has come out with new versions of the old Carter AFB and AVS as well as a bolt on replacement for the huge but trouble prone Thermoquad. Power to the people!
There is a brand new world of cool stuff out there now for building Mopar engines, especially big blocks. There was a time when even full race engines were assembled with large quantities of OEM parts from the junkyard. I still know engine builders with piles of used rods from the old days. Nowadays, by the time you get eight old rods matched and dressed for serious battle you might as well by brand new aftermarket units. Since the cost is almost the same, peace of mind is truly priceless, especially at 7000 rpm.