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AWSX1686 SuperDork
10/25/18 7:55 a.m.

This thing is sweet! Congrats on the first drive!

Gimp SuperDork
10/29/18 9:25 a.m.

So it's October 29th, and I'm happy to report back that even though I only got one run (more on that later), yesterday was a total success.

LAST MINUTE ADDITION - Since I wasn't able to get the car to the dyno, I wanted another way to ensure I wasn't going to hurt the motor the first time out.  Thanks to Amazon I was able to next day myself an Innovate Motorsports 3918 MTX Series MTX-L Plus Wideband Gauge, a cheap gauge pod, and one of those weld-less O2 bungs, since I wouldn't have time to pull the exhaust and weld one in properly.

Here it is in all it's "zip-tied to the dash" glory:

I also soaked the tires in Formula V for a few days to try to give them a fighting chance, due to their age.

It was my goal at the beginning of the year, back when the car wasn't even painted yet, that even if it was the last event of the season, the car would roll off the trailer and take a green flag at an event.  Anything after that would be gravy.  After help from friends and family, and a lot of elbow grease, I was able to finally load the car up for a moment of glory or amazing failure.

We left early to ensure that we could take our time getting things ready, and address any issues tech would have with the naked Camaro.  After a last minute tweak with some ratchet straps to appease tech, we were gridded up.

Then it was just a waiting game.  We got to the track at 10am, and due to numerous delays, and a larger attendance than usual, we wouldn't run until about 4:30 or 5pm.  Plenty of jokes about sunset and my lack of headlights, and the temp stayed low all day.  Oh well, I was here to do one thing, and I was ready.  I was just hoping the car was.

On the start line:

And some video:


My "intent" was to go for a Sunday drive for my first run.  Make sure things were working as they should, the car stopped, went, nothing blew up, etc.  After the first turn I looked at oil pressure and the AFR, both were good, so I turned it up just a little bit.  I mean, who knows how many runs I'd get today?

This.  Thing.  Hauls.

Traction is a myth to this car (probably due to temps and old tires), but boy is it awesome to romp on that gas pedal.  Brakes worked well, but the balance is a little off.  But that suspension.  I have toiled over that suspension for years.  Plugging it into various computer sims, working things out on paper, annoying other races to no end, etc.  Well, it paid off.  The car instantly changes direction, responds immediately to any input, is super catchable, and just felt great -- and this is with ZERO tweaking or tuning.  Just a basic alignment and setting the shocks "in the middle."  I was stoked.

When I got back into grid, someone noticed some oil on top of the motor.  I had noticed a little there before, but didn't think it was really an issue.  Well, it looks like the pressure side where the sending units for the pressure gauges hook up was leaking pretty bad, so after a more than successful first run, and a year long goal met, I parked it, completely stoked on how the day went.

Icing on the cake - Danny Kao tossed me the keys to his CAMC Camaro to let me finish his runs.  While I wasn't used to having doors on a car, that thing is awesome, and Danny is an amazing guy for sharing it with me.

All and all, the day was an amazing success.  The car worked great, and I was able to drive it back into the garage at the end of the day.

It was such a good day.  I loved people walking up to the car, asking me about it or even asking what it was, and acknowledging the hard work that my friends, Kate, and I have put into it.  Friends I hadn't seen all year due to my lack of racing were over the moon to see me and this car that I have talked about for 15+ years finally out there.   I even learned one of my best friends, Andy Thomas, came out to the race that day specifically to be there for the first runs.

I've been at this for 15 years, and I'm really excited to start the next bit of this journey.  The season starts soon -- time to get out to the garage.

Gimp SuperDork
10/29/18 9:35 a.m.

Some keen eyed observers have noticed that in the turns (especially the first left, but watch during the sweeper towards the end too), blasting sand is still coming out of the car.  LOL

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
10/29/18 9:37 a.m.

In reply to Gimp :

Hot berkeleying damn, that’s berkeleying awesome!!!!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/29/18 10:40 a.m.

That's so cool. What a great way to roll into winter. The damn thing works. 

Dead_Sled Reader
10/29/18 10:41 a.m.

In reply to Gimp :


So stoked for you!  Congrats on beating your deadline.

The car sounded great, but those straight cut gears sound SO BERKING AWESOME!

Can't wait to see how much better it gets as you tweak and tune it, there's gotta be alot left on the table.

Dead_Sled Reader
10/29/18 10:43 a.m.

Also, love the shirt, perfect attire for the first outing.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
10/29/18 10:57 a.m.


Bitchin camaro!

Even more awesome that you made your goal, and it flat WORKED. 

You, sir, are inspiring me to get off my lazy ass and get the cars done. 



moxnix HalfDork
10/29/18 11:02 a.m.

It was great to see your car out there yesterday.  

81cpcamaro Dork
10/29/18 5:44 p.m.

Awesome first run, love the oil dry you dumped at the first left (blasting media you called it). 

The on-car video is great, but you were a bit low in the rpm range, you know that motor wants to GO, could tell when you did rev it higher. Of course traction seemed to be an issue with the cool temps. It wil be a blast to be able to run it hard, definitely an E ticket ride.

Patrick MegaDork
10/29/18 6:38 p.m.



i got next

nocones UltraDork
10/30/18 7:28 a.m.

Congrats!  Looks/sounds awesome!!

Gimp SuperDork
10/30/18 8:18 a.m.

"Dat's yer problem, right der."

So I found the oil leak.  The fitting broke flush with the top of the block. Somebody (me) probably (definitely) over tightened it. Luckily I was able to hammer an Allen socket in there and get the threads out of the block.

Stainless fittings are in the mail already.

10/30/18 10:21 a.m.

Congrats on getting it out running at an event! If the oil fitting was the only issue that's a bonus!

purplepeopleeater Reader
10/30/18 10:36 a.m.

Good on you for your perseverance & drive! And good on Saint Kate for her patience & love!

Gimp SuperDork
10/30/18 12:07 p.m.
purplepeopleeater said:

...And good on Saint Kate for her patience & love!

And labor!

GTXVette SuperDork
10/30/18 12:36 p.m.

real happy for ya'll, I have followed this build, since I can remember when our builds in early 70's were so much like yours, we did Asphalt high bank, good stuff make her Pretty.

Gimp SuperDork
11/2/18 11:32 a.m.

Thanks again for the congrats!  I'm super excited and really motivated now.


I need to build "something" and there will be more on that soon, but I had to set the front clip in place (not a single bolt in there) to measure some stuff.  So here it is, slightly more dressed:

Gimp SuperDork
11/13/18 8:39 a.m.

Got the cattle catcher built and installed:

This will serve as the tow point for the front of the car, as well as providing a mounting structure for the front splitter (when we get there).

I'm also chasing the oil leak that stopped my runs on the debut.  I think I've narrowed it down to the distributor.  I have the MSD unit with the adjustable collar, and I don't think I had it set enough to compress the gasket and stop any leaks.  I made a few adjustments, but ran out of time to test it.  Fingers crossed it's that and not a leak from the back of the intake.

A couple big updates are coming, so stay tuned.

GTXVette SuperDork
11/13/18 9:17 a.m.

go ahead and move the Tow strap to the frame.  The Structure you built will not support being pulled unless you make a tube Straight back, I learned the hard way, your welcome .

Gimp SuperDork
11/13/18 10:51 a.m.
GTXVette said:

go ahead and move the Tow strap to the frame.  The Structure you built will not support being pulled unless you make a tube Straight back, I learned the hard way, your welcome .

Do you have any photos of what you built or the failure?

GTXVette SuperDork
11/13/18 11:21 a.m.

no pics but I can explain, the tubing you have used will crimp because it's square tube, rolling resistance is more than you have built in strength, say your pulling down track and cross a small dip when it snatch's back it will yank on it again and again,and if tow vehicle changes directions it yanks kinda side ways, round tubing would greatly enhance strength,  SO that piece looks perfect to support the nose but not pull the car, and that's why I say mount it on the frame horn and don't add more weight in front of the wheels.

11/13/18 11:55 a.m.

I agree with GTX. I've got a large diameter thick wall round tube that bolts to bumper brackets. It doubles as splash pan mount on my early 2nd gen bird.



Gimp SuperDork
11/13/18 11:57 a.m.

Thanks gents!

11/13/18 12:22 p.m.

I know you're probably thinking the round tube brace doesn't look that much stronger. The only time it's ever been useful was at a 1 mile land speed race out in the everglades at the airstrip the supersonic planes were supposed to use. The hinges broke off my trailer when I was loading  the car at the end of the day. The full weight of the front end came down on the tow hook eye as it caught the edge of the trailer. Trailer & car bounced and miraculously the only damage was I bent the screw eye for the tow strap. The bar, bumper brackets, sheet metal were all perfect and the panel gaps remained the same.

Luckily some guys running a 200 MPH twin turbo Supra were still there and helped me move the door, rig up ramps with their open trailer ramps to get my car in the trailer, and then lift and hold the trailer door so I could lock it in place for the trip home. Then I had to fix the trailer just to get the car out!


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