ecycling remains a hot button among the politically correct, and, truth be told, hot rodders have ALWAYS done their part and been big on the idea. After all, as technology moves forward, what ruled the roost on the racetrack yesterday won’t get it today. After sitting in a corner of the garage for a while, that stuff gets passed on to other projects where it can make some one else’s ride a little quicker. So, when your dad runs a Super Stock AH Hemi Barracuda, those pieces can be pretty trick.
Back in 2001, Travis Hess replaced the ’57 Volkeswagon drag car he had built and subsequently sold with the 1965 Coronet seen here. At first, the plans was just to set it up as a 383 street machine, but when his old man, Bucky Hess, won the SS/AA Hemi Challenge at Indianapolis that year, a brand-new Hemi block was part of the deal. Travis, who paints cars professionally, had already taken in a set of Stage V Hemi heads from another SS/AA competitor for some paint work, so the Coronet began to refine into a Hemi cruiser using a bunch of older race pieces.
“What I wanted was a ‘60s inspired Super Stock street car,” he says. “Plus, I wanted to be able to do a little nostalgia racing with it. The intake, it’s off the first eight-second Cuda engine, and so are
the valve covers. They leak a little, but they look super-cool.”
In fact, everything under the hood is pretty cool. The guys at Ray Barton’s shop put it together, starting out with a fresh Mopar stroker crank that boosted the cubes up to 528 inches. The JE pistons are a streetable 10.5 compression, a custom Bullet cam with .660 lift pulls fuel down into the engine through a pair of Holley carbs Bucky had formerly used in drag racing’s most infamous S/S class, and a set of custom headers flowing into a 3” exhaust keeps the rumble to a legal minimum. Using MSD parts, Moroso wires, and Autolite plugs to get the combination lit off, the car runs on premium pump gas.
Behind this mill is a stout 727 Torqueflite rebuilt by Gene Strouse with a ProTrans valve body and an ATI 8” converter that stalls out at 5500 rpm. For getting power from the driveshaft to the pavement, nothing beats a Dana 60 set up. This one is set up with Mark Williams parts and a Detroit Locker is filled with 4.10 gears out back; with big inches and tight gearing, mileage is not a crucial issue on this package.