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When we started writing about the MoparMax project car, the Maulin’ Magnum, it was a true street car. Way back in early 2011 the car had nothing more than a cat back exhaust and an aftermarket intake air filter. The car ran 13.5’s in good air, 14-flat in the heat and altitude of Las Vegas. Readers have followed along with this car as it progressed into an ever faster street car.
Back in 2011, 2012 and into 2013 the Magnum was its own race hauler. The car had a hitch on the back and would pull a little 5x8 trailer to races in the southwest with all our pit gear. We’d get to the track, put the car up on jack stands, swap from street to race tires and wheels, remove the passenger seat, back seat, front anti-sway bar, etc. At away races each night we had to swap the tires back and reinstall the passenger seat so that our Senior Editor and race car driver, Alex Rogeo, could take our Editor-Publisher and crew chief, Richard Kratz, to the hotel for the night. We’d arrive earlier than anyone else at the track the next morning to go through the street to strip conversion all over again.
While it was a lot of fun and made people smile, as the car evolved down into the high 12’s, then the low 12’s, and eventually into the 10’s at the drag strip, putting 15,000 miles on the car every year and pulling a heavy trailer had to come to an end. When we progressed far enough along the spectrum from street car to race car, we got to a point in the middle where the car was no longer very good at either. It broke expensive parts working hard towing between states and had problems on the track that couldn’t be addressed while street duty was required. So the decision was made at the end of 2013 to take good ole Maggie off the street and complete her transition into a full time race car.
Now, the best way to do this would have been to take a pile of money to a good race shop, drop the car and the money off and come back months later to pick up a newly created race car. Unfortunately, we have neither the funds nor the timeframe to do this. We had to work on the car in small windows between races and during the “off” season (which for us was about six weeks between the last race of 2014 and the first test of 2015). So a plan has been drawn up to do the job in phases, the first of which is detailed in this article. The second phase will occur when we’ve accumulated the cash and can find the time.
Phase one, lose weight. You can make a car faster by adding horsepower or losing weight (or both). We spent over a year upgrading the chassis and suspension and drivetrain to handle the nearly 800 horsepower our Magnuson supercharged Arrington Performance engine gives us, the car is basically durable and fast. We didn’t want to start that process over, so we chose the “lose weight” path.
Losing weight is a process, once you start you keep finding more and more. Aware of this, we targeted the low hanging fruit to start with. Over the winter we removed the entire interior of the car and stripped out whatever was not necessary for racing. A/C, heater, blower fan, airbags, navigation/radio, speakers, seats, carpet, all removed. This was stuff that anyone can do with some time and basic tools. Most of the parts we just listed are located from the middle of the car to the front. We’ll tell you why that’s important in a moment.
We aren’t just taking weight out of the car to get a faster ET. We’re taking it out to get faster and repeatable 60 foot improvements on the track. In competitive bracket racing, you have to have a predictable ET so that you can dial-in with confidence. If you want to know more about bracket racing, see our July, 2012 article, How to Bracket Race Successfully (http://www.moparmax.com/features/2012/vii_7-bracket_howto-1.html). In order to get consistent ¼ mile elapsed times, you need to launch consistently. If you have traction problems at launch, if you spin the tires or get wheel hop, you’re as good as eliminated in a racing round.
When you have a high horsepower/high torque car such as the Maulin’ Magnum, and you can’t run a nice 17” wide tire, you’re at high risk of blowing the tires away with every launch. Ask us how we know this… we spent most of last year struggling with this.