Friday, October 19, 2012

Out With a Bang

Chris and I got up at an ungodly hour on Oct.7th in order to venture out to the final race of the season in Osoyoos. The weather was perfect and crisp and the turn-out was huge for this little airport/drag strip. As usual our beloved nostalgia slicks were giving us no love. We tried various pressures and volcanic burnouts carrying them right up to the lights but to no avail. Next season we will be addressing this problem but on this particular Sunday we were content to live with it. As usual we got plenty of qualifying passes but by the end of our fifth run, old Chupacabra shut down and refused to start. A quick glance at the oil guage showed no pressure. I coasted off the return road and glided to to a halt in the dust.

 End scene.

 A spun bearing is the obvious culprit but we won't know for sure until we tear it down. The ironic thing is that this was the last race for the old "Blue Bullet". This 440 has been with us since the beginning and has been a tried and true power house over the last decade. Wait a minute Pat. Why is this the last race for that mill? Well race fans, I guess you will just have to stay tuned since we have a super exciting transplant in the works that will be an all out game changer for this car and team alike. Sorry for the spoiler but I'll hold out the details until install time. Until then it's off season time for El Chupacabra where we will be doing some steering geometry refinements, fuel system upgrade and a few smaller tasks to prepare for the 2013 race season. Stay tuned

Friday, August 3, 2012

...And We're Back

We survived yet another successful mission to Mission for their old time drags. Weather was perfect and the car was performing like a champ. It's been a couple of years since we last ventured down for this race so my memory failed me (yet again) when it came time for the molasses in January pace of the program. We waited no less than four hours between our 1st and 2nd passes on Saturday. That is an eternity to sit in the sun without beer. The endless line of beautiful race cars, low riders, hot rods, customs, boogy vans and choppers was like letting your favorite car show come to you.
We were saddened to see our pal Steve Chase explode a u-joint then probably not coincidentally drop a valve in his small block powered '64 Merc pick-up. He's worked so hard to make it perform but fortunately has a really positive attitude towards rebuilding. Our entourage in the pits consisted of no less than 15 friends and family cheering us on in the newly created "straight axle" class.
When eliminations finally rolled around on Sunday afternoon we had our game face on big time. I rolled through my burn out and waited while the crew cleared debris from the track. I was on the verge of backing up to re-heat the tires when we were urged forward. I cut an .052 light which got us the trophy for best light in our class (sadly enough) but spun the tires out of the hole putting us on the trailer. Note to self, heat tires to laser temps before trying to launch. Great weekend over-all and we look forward to hitting that race next year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mission Bound

There hasn't been anything noteworthy to write about lately unless you really need to know that we repaired our transmission so that we can now use reverse. Or perhaps the 4* shims that we added to our front leaf springs to give us more caster and stray away from the "shopping cart effect". Is it also possible that if I didn't bring to your attention the fact that a new volt guage and reverse button lock-out have been installed you may just have to end it all!!! Alright, enough silliness. Tomorrow morning before the birds have risen, we will be venturing down to Mission for the Langley Loafers old time drags. It is the one event that we really try hard not to miss. Nothing short of a chockablock weekend full of good times, sick cars and great people. We got El Chupacabra all shined up and loaded this afternoon and won't know what we've forgotten until it's already too late. There's going to be a lot of this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


We had a blast in Ashcroft this last weekend at the Langley Loafers "old time drags"  and actually managed to dial in the car a tad without too much hectic thrashing to distract us. We had a test & tune afternoon on Friday which was good to try a few new tweaking tricks before race day. The track prep was nothing short of outstanding with six second cars in the line-up to motivate the vht slingers. This translated into great traction for the first time ever with our Hurst pie crust slicks and a steady line-up of weekend warriors exploding their 12 bolt chevy rear-ends. At one point there was a line up of cars getting pushed off of the starting line. Weather was descent for the most part but insanely windy from every direction which reaked havok on everybody's dial-in.
 Two seats in a race car just makes sense. Welcome to the office.
 We ever so slowly ground through the weekend into eliminations on Sunday, where a class created for us (I'd like to think) was created, known as "straight axle". The class was small but we still managed to muscle our "Chubby Cobra" through the ranks. The finals found us paired off with an early '60s ghost ship Chevy van that just seemed to appear out of nowhere Sunday afternoon. an .086 light and half fender lead put us in the victory circle, taking our first win in the new car. Yeah us!! I suck at posting video but you can watch the victory run here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Guess which straps are ours.

Weather looks like crap this weekend in Ashcroft but since we're kinda stupid and eager to race we'll drive over eight hours to find out for ourselves instead of listening to trained meteorologists. Buncha krak heads if you ask me...them not us.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Successful Thrash

 We had another great session racing at the dessert drag strip in Osoyoos last weekend. We conquered a few of our defects and made the car go it's fastest to date. As mentioned earlier, we were very traction limited with our 10" pie crust slicks so we decided to give them one more try with appropriate air pressure and nothing less than John Force style burnouts. Alas, we still managed to spin like crazy at the line. We brought our old M/T wrinkle wall slicks in case this was still a problem and we mounted them up for some test passes. The difference was staggering with a 3/10 increase in our 60' times and almost a half second faster in the 1/8th. Technology is stupid!!
 We managed to pull off a best 60' of 1.66 and a best e.t. of 7.43 @ 92 mph. We ended up putting down around 16 passes over the weekend, taking advantage of time only passes whenever possible. Our charging system seems to be back on line thanks to our new 105 amp alternator and super skookum 3 1/2 horse gas powered charging station that Chris cobbled together. We're still battling high temperatures and a shortage of reverse but the car is really coming into it's own. The driver is also getting a lot more comfortable behind the wheel cutting several back to back good lights. Don't get me wrong, it's still a scary beast that owns us every time we breath her back to life. The fact that we named this car after a mythical wild creature that drains the life force from it's prey becomes more prevalent every time I get behind the wheel.
The next race is June 8-10 in Ashcroft for the Langley Loafers old time drags including the straight axle shootout. I guarantee it'll be a ridiculous time for one and all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Race Ready

Well we've been tweaking and tuning in anticipation for some of our bigger nostalgia meets this year and hopefully we'll be able to get all the bugs out before we trailer the car over eight hours to Ashcroft and Mission this Summer. We've taken a step back in time with our induction combo by reuniting "old reliable" and the the original intake and carb set-up that we put together for this motor. It's Mopar's M-1 single plane intake coupled with a 950 Holley double pumper that we've massaged with black magic and pixie dust. (Not just reserved for automatic transmissions) The combo always did us proud and also happens to fit under our hood. We also stepped up our charging system mith a modern GM mini alternator that seems to be well up to the task. Our trusty 5.38 gears are once again moth balled in favor of some 4.10s that should be pretty close to perfect in the quarter with our 30" tires. We repaired a small oil leak in our oil pan spacer and did a hot lash on the valves. Let's race bitches!!
We'll package up the entourage this Saturday for another trek down to Osoyoos for some traction-free eighth mile action. Our higher gear ratio may actually help us with our tire spin issue but we decided to bring our 29/10.5/15 M/T slicks in the back of the truck just in case.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Go Fast!!

Going to Spokane and dealing with a bushel of quirks that needed to be sorted out followed by a spun bearing felt like a right of passage. Earning our wings if you will. The next step was to sort out our issues and install our 11 second motor so we can see how things handle at speed. 
So we ventured to sunny Osoyoos last weekend for yet another flog but this time we felt a bit more prepared. Old reliable has a familiar sound that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. They only race on Sunday but we arrived Saturday night and volunteered a bit to get the track ready. The track officials then let us do a few test passes while they made sure all of the electronics were working for race day. 
Osoyoos has always been traction limited for us (and everyone else) and when we used to race the black wagon we didn't usually hook up until about 1:00 in the afternoon. Our pie crust slicks are a thing of beauty but are no match for an un-prepped airport/drag strip. Needless to say our first passes were slick and scary, spinning the hides well past the 60' mark yielding times from 8.72 down to 8.2 in the little eighth. Lack of charging and overheating were still giving us issues so we concocted a game plan for Sunday to push the car into staging and coast back to a down hill position to cool down for the next pass which worked like a charm.
We managed to widdle our 60' times down to as low as 1.88 and a best e.t. of 7.76 despite still never being able to hook up all day long. We managed to punch our way through the first round of eliminations as well but as we rolled in for round two we couldn't get the beast to run from lack of volts. Disqualified, with our tails between our legs we got a jump and leaned in for a time only pass. With a 7.77 dial in still pasted on the window I ran a 7.771, just .001 off my number. Insult to injury or a sign of good things to come? You be the judge.
We'll use our old wrinkle wall M/T slicks next time we're in Osoyoos and we plan to swap out the 2x4 low rise dual plane intake for our tested and true single four and 950 cfm Holley. The to-do list is becoming increasingly smaller and with a little tweaking we should be up for some half descent competition.
More pics and video to come as soon as they get sent to me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Test & Tune

We headed down to Spokane Raceway last Saturday for a little T&T with the altered. We did our best to keep it low key knowing that the day would be plagued with issues and we were right. From the get-go our new water pump was having interference issues and popping fuses causing our water temp to sky rocket. Our tach wasn't working so shifting was a guessing game, fortunately we do have a rev limiter. We breezed through tech which was a relief and we were whisked into the staging lanes and into the burnout box before I really had a chance to psyche myself out. The whole driving process is completely different than our black wagon which we can pretty much drive blindfolded. The line lock and push button controls are both on the left side which will take some getting used to. The car spun it's tires o.k. but had problems making tire speed which translates into less smoke and even less sticky. The launch was fairly unspectacular and it was clear that the 5.38 gears were way too much for this combo of tall tires and low output motor. Shifting went well considering I was just listening to the roar of the engine and the car tracked quite straight.
Our first pass was 14.9 and the car was running super hot due to water pump issues. We cooled it down and went again. We managed to drop to a 14.45 followed by a 14.30. A decision was made to fatten up the mixture which resulted in a sluggish black smoky pass in the low 15s. We cooled things down again and heard some curios sounds emanating from the heart of our old 440. With a little boost we made her fire up but a lack of oil pressure put us on the trailer.
I know it may sound like a discouraging day but we were really happy to see it go down the track at whatever speed. Building a race car of this magnitude from scratch in our home garages has a sharp learning curve. A unanimous decision was made to poach the race engine from our black car and stab it in El Chupacabra. By Early Sunday afternoon Chris had the motor from our black car on a stand with new bearings ordered. In my world I got the old "black-up" motor in the altered stripped and within four bolts of coming out of the hole. We will run the same low deck dual quad on "old reliable" so we can keep our Max Wedge scoop in place. This combo with some 4.10 gears that we'll install should put the car deep in the 11s. Our next race is in Osoyoos on May 6 for some 1/8 mile action.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

El Chupacabra I

El Chupacabra (the 1st) is a legendary mythical creature described as a heavy set gargoyle looking creature about the size of a small bear. These vampiric furry lizards have been reported marauding parts of the southern States, Mexico and Chile. They generally target small livestock and drain the blood from said animals with the use of their sharp teeth. Directly translated, El Chupacabra means "goat sucker" which is apparently one of it's favorite snacks. Also reported to have leathery green scales and a row of spines running the length of it's back leading some eye witnesses to suspect an extra terrestrial origin. Come on now...that's ridiculous.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lettered & Striped

It's been a long time coming to finally arrive at the graphics stage of our build and in an effort to stay true to our tribute to 1965 we had to have our lettering hand painted. There was only one name that I had considered for this particular job and that's our friend Myk Roc out of Langley. He isn't a sign painter by trade but is one of the best natural pin striper's I have ever seen and an over-all great artist. It also doesn't hurt that he's a die hard gear head and truly gets what we're doing. We imported him to Nelson this week for a working vacation. The layout was slow and tedious as he corrected the crappy vinyl that we had cut in order to maintain lettering proportions for the gold leaf. The letters themselves used 50 sheets of gold and by the time Myk was done there was ashen gold carnage everywhere. Outlining went rather quick and Myk free handed the "El" and "II" portions of the name. He also scrawled us an open ended /FX logo on the C-pillar for class designation and striped the entire blue and white colour break on the car in gold. The final outcome is nothing short of outstanding and I'd be lying if I didn't say that my liver hurts.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Clean Machine

When we first planned our engine compartment layout we were initially using under-car headers, mostly because we had them. When we got these slick Hooker super comp fender wells from our buddy everything changed, or rather had to be changed. Wires and fuel lines were interfering with the hot tubes on the passenger side and brake lines and line lock on the drivers side. The only solution was to pretty much do it again but this time around I decided to really take my time and make everything look tight and organized as well as having lots of header clearance. The end result speaks for itself in it's functional yet esthetically pleasing look.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Super Cushions

We finally broke down and ordered up a set of these beautiful Super Cushion front runners. Cody Adams of Hurst racing has been really helpful in setting this car up with period looking boots. Also a  huge shout out to Cory Sokol from Nelson Kal Tire for sponsoring our insatiable rubber addiction and continuing to listen to my repetitious stories as we stumble around the shop. We had to clearance the lower fender and bumper to avoid an interference fit but it looks bad-ass as ever.

Can we go racing yet?