Fighting Fish Power
What the hell good is a project car without the obligatory project engine to go with it? “No good” is the answer, so it just makes journalistic sense that when Zak and his dad Darr Hawthorne began project Fightin ’ Fish for Mopar Max to turn Zak’s semi-beater ‘Cuda into a zooted up, all-purpose, road race, drag race and street car, a replacement for the tired 360 wedge that came in the ‘Cuda would be on the to-do list.
The Hawthornes opted to work with LA engine shop Carco to build a serious street and strip 410 cubic inch powerplant that will take the punishment weekend sprint car driver Zak is sure to heap on the ‘Cuda once he starts flogging it on the road courses, dragstrips and streets of So-Cal.
When Zak bought the ‘Cuda it had an early model (1974) 360 engine under the hood, As it turns out the only piece that Zak salvaged from that engine was the block itself. It has a nice tall deck and larger mains than Mopar’s 340 and 318 blocks and even Mopar’s later version of the 360 block. The rest of the engine parts and pieces found their way to eBay and were turned into cash to buy parts for the new bullet.
Carco is owned by Clint Lathrop, who began engine building with and for drag racing icon Ray Alley’s famous Engine Masters shop. He later started his own engine shop when Alley moved on and, in fact, bought much of the equipment to start Carco from Engine Masters.