Lightweight steering column for racing chassis & hot rods

At this year’s SEMA show held in Las Vegas, November 1-4, ididit, the Tecumseh, Michigan-based steering column specialist, won the Best New Street Rod/Custom Car Product award with their new ‘40 Ford special edition column, which also suits the Model A and the ‘32s. Beyond this, Marty Waterstraut, ididit’s national sales manager introduced their new production racing column called the Pro Lite series.  Designed for the Sportsman racer—drag racer, auto-crosser—the entire column weighs a tad over 5 pounds. “Some drag racing classes mandate street-legal specifications and, therefore this column is equipped with turn signals,” says Marty. It also accommodates quick-release steering wheel hubs, making it ideal for driving the car to and from the track. In word and deed this column is all about weight. The Pro Lite series, which makes a great first impression, is now available for the Camaro, Gen 1 and later, the Nova as well as several Mustang models. Current development plans include numerous other examples. Source Ididit Tecumseh, MI 49286 (517) 424-0577... read more

Artful Dodgers: How crafty racers succeed

By Alfie Bilk:   “I once saw a nitrous oxide system concealed within a brake booster,” says Nitrous Supply’s Mike Thermos. “The illicit charge was transmitted by way of the vacuum line and into the intake manifold. Another bamboozle I recall prevailed by delivering nitrous through the heater hoses.” Twenty years ago, Rusty Glidden shook the drag racing establishment when he admitted illicit use of nitrous oxide in his Pro Stock Ford Probe. His father, Bob, had exhausted the NHRA’s patience with repeated accusations of nitrous use in the class, causing the sanctioning body to react. Accordingly, NHRA’s then senior VP, Graham Light, vigorously denied the allegations, proclaiming them as nonsense and fiction. Then Glidden’s son, Rusty, presumably in an attempt to defend his father’s reputation and in so doing ruining his own, confessed that he, in fact, had been an offender, thus conclusively proving the point. According to racers from that era, Rusty also harbored deep suspicions of wrongdoing in Pro Stock and had urged the NHRA to investigate but had achieved not a thing.  In the end, he left no doubt as to how the deceit could be perpetrated, disclosing full technical details in the magazine Super Stock published late in 1995. It defined in unambiguous detail how the weight bar at the rear of the car had served as the nitrous holding tank. “The nitrous line started there,” Super Stock reported, “went over the rear axle housing right up to the front. It ended at the motor plate, which was rifle-drilled. One of the supports holding the hood scoop was also rifle-drilled. This tall slender rod... read more

Measuring the piston crown

By Titus Bloom: The most valuable currency of the race piston maker and also of the race engine builder is his reputation. Daily, they work around potentially destructive forces and know well the fine line between an engineering triumph and disaster. Piston-crown thickness troubles usually strike from one of two causes: error during manufacture or subsequent ill-advised power increases beyond the piston’s capacity. Here’s a new instrument that might inspire confidence. Introduced by Gibtec Pistons, it’s a piston crown checker, which allows engine builders to verify the piston crown thickness, the thickness under the valve pockets and it accomplishes the task in seconds. Built on a solid 6061 aluminum base, it features a black anodized 5/8in diameter steel post on which is mounted an upper plate that supports a dial gauge that is calibrated in one thousandth of an inch. The lower pointer projecting upward from the base is made of stainless steel. Typically, piston crown thicknesses for naturally aspirated engines and power-adder engines measure 0.150 to 0.180in and 0.200 and 0.250in respectively. Occasionally, piston-design engineers mistakenly adopt a wrong ‘start’ dimension, potentially troublesome around the valve pockets. Or if an error is made during the machining process, new pistons can be impaired by weak crowns, which, obviously, can have serious implications. One hopes the manufacturer’s programming calculations are correct, but it’s impossible to tell precisely unless the finished piston is checked. It may sound bewildering, but it is quite possible for one piston in a set of eight to suffer insufficient crown thickness. Aluminum racing pistons are remarkably resilient in how they withstand the forces and pressures of... read more

Androwick Returns to NHRA Pro Stock

For 2016, the NHRA introduced drastic changes to the Pro Stock racing class. Teams discarded their carburetors and hood scoops, replacing them with mandated cowl induction and fuel injection electronic control units. Years of development knowledge was abandoned as teams struggled in the off-season to adapt their race cars to comply with the new systems, to say nothing of the forfeiture of horsepower in their switch from carburetion. Gray Motorsports, a top-tier team, with arguably the best group of individuals currently building engines and tuning race cars, approached Mike Androwick of Mike’s Racing Heads for advice on their new fuel injected Pro Stock program. “We sat down with Shane Gray and the guys at the engine shop and they decided the best option was to have us design and supply them with a new top-end,” says Androwick. “They felt this was their weakest area, but had a clear insight as to the way ahead and we developed it from there.” Mike and his son Mike Jr wasted no time in designing and building the new parts. “It’s not often you get opportunities like this, especially the chance to work with such a talented group of individuals,” said Mike’s son. “We were committed to living up to expectation.” Following countless hours of R&D, CAD design, CAM programming and CNC-machining, Androwick and his son handed over the newly designed top-end to Gray Motorsports. “Normally it’s a struggle to find a few horsepower in a Pro Stock engine,” explains Androwick. “However, after running our top end on the dyno, their engine guys were in a hurry to get it off and into... read more

Ohio Speed Shops: Chuck Fitch explains how to buy an engine package

By Ben Mozart: Chuck Fitch has played a pivotal role for over thirty years in the supply of engines and transmissions—often custom packages with an emphasis on completeness—and recently expanded his options by opening a new venture: Ohio Speed Shops. Fitch’s competitive advantage has always been his personal touch:”I always try to talk to my customers about their best options rather than ‘here is what’s available’. We discuss how the engine should be dressed: carbureted or fuel injection. We also inquire as to how the power package will be used. Most of the time the answer he receives is Street use with the occasional visit to the track, which generally narrows the practical choices to a couple of options. But this advice is important as the wrong choice has rarely a pleasant outcome. Often an incorrect camshaft specification results in the engine “loading-up”, making the vehicle a misery to drive. Says Fitch, “Most of us have experienced wrong choices; clearly, they are best avoided.” Interestingly, there’s an engine dyno tuning, testing and break-in service option. Again, Chuck Fitch, “We prep the engines and prime them with oil. It leads to a smoother engine installation and eliminates the inconvenience of the installer running about looking for extra parts.” This service costs $650 and $900 depending upon the type of engine and its configuration. If you have a special request, call or email Chuck at Ohio Speed Shops. And for car builders and some engine builders they provide unique sourcing of GM OE and Chevrolet performance parts.   Source: Ohio Speed Shops 536 Wyoming Ave, Niles, Ohio 44446 330-349-4930 ChuckFitch@OhioSpeedShops.com... read more

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

Never trust an unbiased printer. By Martha Maglone We read with dismay a report in the latest issue of Drag Racing Scene announcing the passing of Dave McClelland. How could this be? Dave was in fine fettle a few evenings ago when we last spoke, and a man in better spirits we could not imagine. Of course death has always been unequivocal, that is until Mark Twain issued his hilarious rebuttal “Reports of my death…” What happened was that the magazine’s esteemed editorial director, Todd Silvey, had submitted his materials for Volume 2 Issue 3 to his printer. But the printer had confused Todd’s Obituaries with his Honors columns, which is where Dave should have featured! Todd joked, “Dave may not take my calls anymore!” Happily the legendary voice of motor sports retains a strong appetite for life. The erratic Topolino McClelland, who has been announcing at drags strips for 57 years, was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on June 29 in Daytona Beach. An equally interesting part of his life has been his own pursuit of drag racing in his Fiat Topolino (little mouse), but not always without anxiety. The car could be woefully erratic, steering to the left or right without warning. But McClelland survived the unpredictable perils without calamity and much of the car’s later agility came from the skills of chassis and suspension specialist Roger Lamb. “The principal trouble with Dave’s Topolino was caused by bump steer, says Lamb. In common with many short wheelbase race cars of the last century with larger displacement engines installed, the steering geometry often no... read more

Blower Basics: What you need to know about supercharging.

The most direct means to enhance engine performance is to introduce more mixture into the cylinders–and supercharging is the most effective way. Forcing fuel and air into the cylinders with a pump or supercharger increases the volumetric efficiency dramatically, by as much as 50 percent compared to normally aspirated engines. –Ron Ceridono Click here to read the full story, compliments of Classic... read more

Garlits talks tire shake…

with Prudhomme and Austin Coil By Sam Logan: “In my heyday, to deliver the perfect drag racing run we raced a very fine line,” asserts Don Garlits. “If you had the exact right size tire for the weight of the vehicle and the clutch set exactly right for the horsepower of the vehicle and a track surface compatible with the combination, you could make a perfect run. But if the tire is too big it will shake. If the tire is too small it will spin. If the clutch is set too tight, it can shake. If the clutch is set too loose, it will over-rev the engine. If engine power is excessive it will spin the tires. If engine power is insufficient it will shake the tires. If the vehicle is too light it will spin the tires. If it is too heavy it will shake the tires.” If you are looking for a reliable, roomy, and cheap-to-run medium-size sedan, perhaps you’re thinking about the honda accord tires, which are perfect for every buyer. What if you had a little more wheel speed than ground speed? “A tiny bit of tire spin used to be okay. In my day we had access to 3,500 to 4,000hp but today if you go out and spin the tires you lose the race. Back then it was okay to see a little puff of blue at about 300 or 400ft because you knew the clutch had locked up and that little bit of blue told you the tires had caught up with you and you were now one-to-one. On this formula,... read more

Ian Tocher on the catastrophic events of his last race meet

By Martha Maglone:   The abruptness of Ronnie Davis’ crash and subsequent death will live with Ian Tocher forever. Tocher, the most delightful of men, has survived horrendous injuries, but happily, his appetite for life remains undiminished. The noted scribe and photographer for the acclaimed magazine Drag Illustrated says, “It was ironic that of the 150 racecars at Rockingham that weekend, the one I wrote press releases for is the one that hits me!” Davis, 66, was an experienced race driver, a five-time IHRA and reigning PDRA Top Sportsman champion, who would normally have qualified among the top runners. But that weekend in April he had not yet qualified because his 1963 Corvette was not running up to potential and, not surprisingly, it was on his last qualifying run that the catastrophic accident occurred. “The car shook immediately, meaning Ronnie’s run was likely ruined in the first 60ft,” Ian says. “But he tried to salvage it, which turned out to be a fatal error for him and catastrophic for me.” Clearly it was more than an unfortunate accident and remains mysterious for several reasons. “It was a perfect storm,” recalls Ian, “everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.” When the car crossed the one-eighth mile under full power it didn’t appear to slow, according to observers. If the throttle had jammed you might have expected the ignition to be switched off, yet it seemed to remain under full power until it crashed. Also, activating the parachutes is a proven practice that stabilizes the car but they weren’t deployed either. Was he incapacitated in some way on that fatal... read more

Welcome to ididit’s Car Show & Open House

The 2016 ididit Car Show & Open House will be held on Saturday, October 1st and it’s gonna be big! Pre-register by September 23rd or register the day of the show (registration closes at noon.) Ididit will have loads in store this year to help celebrate their 30th Anniversary:  a special Michigan vendor area with some of the best names in the industry, from Classic Instruments to Woodward Fab and many more! The crew from Masters Entertainment will be on location shooting an episode of the “Dustless Blasting Car Show” which will air on MAVTV & REV’N networks. Plus the State of Michigan’s shop local campaign “Buy Nearby” is holding their yearly weekend celebration with great deals at some of our unique downtown Tecumseh shops. And once again the Lenawee Humane Society will be raffling off a custom golf cart and will announce the winner at the car show (during the ididit Awards Presentation.) You can purchase your raffle tickets in ididit’s showroom or at the Lenawee Humane Society. Tickets are $5 each, 5 for $20, and 15 for $40. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Lenawee Humane Society. While you’re there, be sure to tour the charming little town of Tecumseh. Indulge in shopping, antiquing, dining, and whatever else tickles your fancy. For further information and directions contact: ididit LLC Tecumseh, Michigan (517) 424-0577... read more

Wilwood Disc Brakes Releases New GS Compact Master Cylinders

  Wilwood’s newly designed GS model compact master cylinders have been fully retooled using advanced high pressure die-casting processes to create a lightweight body design with consistent internal grain structure and cross-sectional wall thickness. An all new rebuildable internal piston and return spring assembly creates a quick and positive release for improved durability and extended service life.   These new die-cast aluminum bodies feature a protective e-coat finish, and are individually laser engraved for easy identification of the bore sizes and threaded connections. The remote reservoir model lineup has been expanded to include .50” and .81” bore sizes. Integral reservoir model twist-on caps have been upgraded with a positive seal, pressure balancing bellows-type gasket to keep fluid in and moisture out. The new GS series comes attractively packaged for retail display in a visible window cover box with all new eye-catching graphics. MSRP for remote fill model is $70.19 or $72.35 for integral reservoir unit.     Source: Wilwood Engineering 4700 Calle Bolero Camarillo, CA 93012... read more

Crown Jewels for SB Fords:

Premium Hemi heads with Boss-style valve covers and Jesel rocker system for small-block Fords. Hemispherical-style combustion chambers have earned a formidable reputation for power generation. How did this come about? The Hemi head broke fresh ground in several areas, including skillfully uniting superior air flow with larger valves. Generally, Hemi head valves are placed across the head compared to Wedge head valves, which are placed more longitudinally along the head. As a result the Hemi air flow route is easier, it has fewer bends, and the transfer of incoming and outgoing gases is more efficient. Also, the Hemi head usually employs larger valves because they are naturally inclined in their hemisphere and hence open toward the center of the cylinder. Their operation, therefore, generates freer air flow—not shrouded— resulting in easier cylinder filling.   Greg Brown’s new company, Hammerhead Performance Engines, is entering the final stages of production of unique Hemi heads for Fords. By some margin it is the most important news for small-block owners in several years. Indeed you might gauge it more notably than this. With an emphasis on completeness, the innovative head kits will include cast aluminum Hemi-style valve covers, a Jesel 1.7:1 ratio rocker system and all the necessary valve and spring assemblies as well as gaskets. The aluminum head kits can be directly installed on all small-block Fords: 289, 302, 351W and, with some modifications, even 351C engine blocks. As you might expect there is more than one dimension to the introduction of this new technology. Following two years of development and testing, all of the mechanical details are now available. Importantly, the... read more