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Hot Rod Network Updated Sat, 14 Jul 2018 17:20:21 +0000
Description Classic Muscle Cars, Custom Roadsters
Language en-US
The 2018 Boss Nationals
Category News

Everyone loves a Boss, whether it?s a Boss 302, Boss 429, or Boss 351 Mustang… Read More

The post The 2018 Boss Nationals appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


Everyone loves a Boss, whether it?s a Boss 302, Boss 429, or Boss 351 Mustang or Cougar, and this September you?ll be able to see them all in the small hamlet of Marysville, Kansas, as the Boss Nationals comes to town. Any Boss-powered Ford is invited, and the Boss Nationals will have several ?feature? cars including the Tasca Super Boss, NASCAR star David Pearson’s Torino, and drag racing legend Dyno Don Nicholson’s Boss 429 Cougar.

The event will also feature a cruise, live bands, a swap meet, and a beer garden, and there are multiple judged classes plus other awards. Registration is $50 for a judged class, $25 for non-judged, and a 15×20 swap meet space is $30. The location is Boss Motors, Inc, the Ford dealer in Marysville. For more information, email, or check out their Facebook page, Boss Nationals 2018.

Why Marysville, Kansas? This small town has a population of only 3,200, but among the residents there is one Boss 429, five Boss 351s, and three or four Boss 302s. Maybe they should change the name to Boss, Kansas?

The post The 2018 Boss Nationals appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

MPR Racing Engines breathes new life in our Terminator Swapped 1994 Cobra
Category Engine

As Mustang enthusiasts, there?s a certain pride when we can go on and on about… Read More

The post MPR Racing Engines breathes new life in our Terminator Swapped 1994 Cobra appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


As Mustang enthusiasts, there?s a certain pride when we can go on and on about our car?s modifications. Aftermarket wheels, performance tires, bigger blower, steeper gears, lowering springs, subframe connectors, short shifter, stall converter, heavy-duty clutch, adjustable shocks and struts, cold air intake, and custom tune are just a few performance modification we love to brag about to whoever will listen.

However, one key modification we purposely left off that list is a built engine. We did that on purpose?well, because this is an engine build article, and also since the one thing we love to brag about the most is our Mustang?s powerplant. We like to wax poetic about our built engine?s bore size, piston measurements, head gasket thickness, compression ratio, cam specs, and the like. Going on and on about this stuff is a lot cooler than saying, ?Nah, stock engine.?

We know there?s a certain pride with running a quick number, or making gobs of power with a stock engine, but we all know a built engine is in every Mustang owner?s future when performance is of utmost importance. It?s just a matter of time before a stock engine will give up the ghost.

For us, we purchased a Terminator swapped 1994 Cobra, knowing there could be a cooling system or head gasket issue. Our hope was that the previous owner had simply overfilled the cooling system, or that it needed to be properly burped. Once we received the car, and ran a few tests, our worst fears were confirmed ? at the least we had a blown head gasket, with potentially more damage in store.

Once we diagnosed the blown head gasket, we needed to find a shop to help take care of the repairs; when it comes to timing four cams, we thought it best to leave that in the hands of experts. Unfortunately, at the time when we purchased the car it was right before the holidays, and then once January hits, most Florida shops are getting cars ready for the upcoming racing season. In other words, it was going to be a while before the car would be ready for the streets. However, we also wanted it done right, as well; we chose Power by the Hour Performance in West Palm Beach, Florida. Based on their schedule, they agreed to remove the engine and send it to MPR Racing Engines in Boynton Beach, Florida. Once the engine was removed, MPR found a couple questionable pistons – what started out as a head gasket replacement turned into much more and we decided to have MPR tear it all down and start fresh.

MPR machined our existing 2004 Cobra iron block back into fighting shape by adding fresh bearings, ARP fasteners, JE pistons, head gaskets, and valvetrain components before putting the long-block back together. This installment covers the short-block assembly, but we will have the long-block assembly, along with dyno numbers, and elaborate on the cause of the head gasket failure in a future issue. Until then, here?s the short-block build.

1. This is what we started with at MPR Racing Engines. The 2004 Cobra iron block was down to the bare bones after an align hone to make sure the main bores are square, along with a slight cylinder bore to 3.5593-inch. A stock 4.6 bore measures 3.552-inch so our new cylinder bore size is roughly .007-inch over stock. Therefore, our engine now displaces 282.02 cubic inches.
2. We relied on MPR?s Tim Eichhorn for our piston specs and ordered up a set from JE Pistons that featured a 3.558-in diameter, -10cc dish, 1.220cd, Four-Valve reliefs, and a corresponding set of piston rings. Most of those measurements are self-explanatory, but one that may need some explanation is the 1.220cd. This measurement is known as the compression distance, or compression height. This is the measurement between the center of the piston pin bore to the top of the piston. This measurement is important in any engine, but perhaps more closely scrutinized with stroker engines. Also shown here is the factory set of Manley forged H-beam connecting rods, which are being reused.
3. The basis for many modular engine builds is the legendary Cobra forged steel 8-bolt crankshaft. MPR polished the journals on our Cobra crank and balanced it to make sure it was good as new.
4. To keep our engine bolted together we chose ARP main studs, head studs, camshaft bolts, and rod bolts. MPR?s Tyler Eichhorn already has our engine?s main caps lined up and ready for installation.
5. Tyler started off the build by installing new Clevite main bearings, ARP main studs, and main caps. The ARP main studs were coated with ARP?s Ultra-Torque assembly lube to provide a more accurate torque reading.

6. Tyler holds the bearings while he taps the caps into place on the block. He?ll tighten the caps without the crankshaft in the block, and then measure to make sure everything is perfectly round. First torque sequence in 20 ft-lb on the mains, and then a final torque to 65 ft-lb. The sides will be torqued to 30 ft-lb with ARP assembly lube.
7. The side bolt adjusters are torqued to 8 ft-lb of torque before installing the ARP side bolts. The initial torque on the side bolts is 8 ft-lb, but then a final torque rating is made to 30 ft-lb.
8. Then Tyler mics the crank journals to check tolerances.
9. Tyler went over the clearances with his dad Tim to make sure everything looks good before assembling the short-block. From there, Tyler gets to take it apart and put it all back together; at this time, Tyler removed the bearings, debur them, and placed them in the hot tank (?Basically a huge dishwasher, Tyler says.?) before putting them back in with the crank. He will also number the bearings to make sure they go back in the same spot.
10. Checking the thrust, Tyler is happy the crank comes in at .006-inch.
11. Tyler uses assembly oil on the factory ARP studs and arrives at 50 ft-lb of torque. Tyler numbered the connecting rods when he removed them from the engine. He also makes sure to keep the bolts with the corresponding connecting rod, as well. He then measures bearing clearance with a Sunnen micrometer. Tyler engraves the cylinder number into each connecting rod, as well.

12. Tyler checks the piston pin for any burrs and uses assembly lube to insert the pin into the rod. He then inserts the pin halfway to get assembly lube on the connecting rod and pin before putting together the piston and connecting rod assembly. To finish up the assembly, Tyler uses the C-clip to join them together.
13. Tyler gets a little help from dad Tim inserting the C-clips, then putting the piston and rod together, and finally inserting the C-slip on the opposite side.
14. Tyler makes sure the oil ring is the correct spec; any gap with the oil ring would lead to excessive blow-by. He places the piston ring into the bore using an ABS Products piston ring squaring tool, then checks the gap.
15. To check oil ring tension, Tyler starts with #1 cylinder, cleaning each piston ring of any residue from shipping or during the trimming process. Tyler installs the piston rings with the gaps offset from each other. That is done to make sure the engine has adequate compression on start up before the rings have fully seated. For our boost level, Tyler has set ring gap at .022-inch on the top ring, and .024-inch on the 2nd ring. He then uses a fish scale to check oil ring tension. Yes, we said a fish scale. In a nutshell, Tyler is using the fish scale to measure resistance. Ours came in at 14 pounds, which is ideal for our boost level of between 15-20 psi. A higher boost level Tyler would like to see a higher number, but for our combination, 14 pounds on the oil ring tension is perfect.

16. Before inserting the piston/connecting rod for the last time, Tyler cleans each cylinder with lacquer thinner on a paper towel. Tyler makes a couple passes in each cylinder until the paper towel is basically free of residue. Then he?ll follow up with WD-40 on the same type of paper towel, which cleans each cylinder further, and also to help with corrosion. He?ll let each cylinder dry while he loosens the connecting rod bolts to ready the piston and connecting rod assembly for installation.
17. Prior to installing the pistons and connecting rods, Tyler makes sure #1 and #5 crank journal is pointing straight down, then spreads Total Seal assembly lube throughout each cylinder. He coats the connecting rod bearings with assembly lube prior to placing each assembly down the cylinder.
18. Tyler then tightens the ARP bolts to 50 ft-lb of torque. Then he moves to cylinders #2 and #5 and repeats the process. Tyler had a problem with something getting on the #6 connecting rod bearing so he took that one apart to remove a small piece of aluminum that had gotten on it, which caused it to bind on the crank journal. Tyler was able to remove the piece of aluminum and get everything back together properly. Tyler stresses the importance of keeping your engine build area clean to prevent this from happening, but as you can see, that stuff even happens to the best.
19. With the connecting rod/pistons installed, Tyler will check the side clearance on each, and piston-to-deck height on each cylinder. Each cylinder was between .009-inch to .010-inch negative deck height, which is good so we won?t have to run a thick head gasket.

20. With that, the short-block is done, and it looks amazing. It?s almost a shame to cover up this masterpiece, but in order for it to run, it still needs the heads, intake, exhaust and supercharger installed. During the next installment we will cover the rest of the engine build and its installation in the car. Stay tuned.

The post MPR Racing Engines breathes new life in our Terminator Swapped 1994 Cobra appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Part II Chryslers at Carlisle 2018
Category News

The HUGE numbers of Mopars at Chryslers at Carlisle packed with rows and rows of… Read More

The post Part II Chryslers at Carlisle 2018 appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


The HUGE numbers of Mopars at Chryslers at Carlisle packed with rows and rows of Mopar show car aisles grew throughout the weekend. So here?s more. It?s a good thing this editor only brought along enough money for lunch, because there was ample opportunity to find great deals on everything.

Again, if you?re interested in attending this event, we suggest trying to make it out next year.

The post Part II Chryslers at Carlisle 2018 appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Week To Wicked 1967 Mustang Fastback Build Coming the Week of July 23!
Category Project Vehicles
Description: has now completed two Week to Wicked projects, the first being a ground-up restoration… Read More

The post Week To Wicked 1967 Mustang Fastback Build Coming the Week of July 23! appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

  more... has now completed two Week to Wicked projects, the first being a ground-up restoration of a 1966 Mustang hardtop in the summer of 2017, followed by a bolt-on thrash on a 2013 Mustang GT in January of 2018. But this time, we?re getting much deeper into it with a complete ?from nothing? build.

Our sponsor for this Week to Wicked build is Golden Star Classic Auto Parts, which recently came out with replacement sheetmetal parts for several different vehicles, including Mustangs. One of its most popular items is a relatively economical kit to convert a Mustang hardtop into a highly desired fastback body style. So in discussions for this project, we came up with the idea of starting with a hardtop and converting it to a fastback with Golden Star?s parts, and that?s what we did. You can see that story here:

Our starting point for this latest Week To Wicked project was a ?well worn? 1967 Mustang hardtop pulled from the stash of old Mustangs at PG Customs & Bodies.
The fastback conversion with Golden Star parts was completed in about a week?s time, then the body work and paint took place. This is at PG Customs & Bodies in Decatur, Texas.

With the sheetmetal conversion and paint completed, we drug a trailer to the shop that partnered with Golden Star and did the conversion, PG Customs & Bodies in Decatur, Texas, picked up the car and various parts, then took it to our tech center in Santa Ana, California where the build will take place. At this point, days before the build week, the car is essentially a bare body shell with a windshield and rear glass installed?.and nothing else. No suspension. No interior. No drivetrain at all. Pretty much just sheetmetal and paint at this point.

Monday July 23, 2018 is when we will have ?all hands on deck? in the shop, with a self-proposed deadline of finishing the car and doing a burnout in it by Friday night. Yeah, that?s an aggressive build schedule?you can watch our success (cross your fingers!) or failure right here on as we do daily updates of the project, plus on our Facebook ( and Instagram (@mustangmonthly) pages where we?ll be presenting live videos and further updates.

PG?s Jerry Askey poses with our Axalta Royal Crimson 1967 fastback just before we loaded it on the trailer and headed west to our shop in California, 1,300 miles away.
The drive to and from Texas was made much more comfortable with a 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum pickup with all the bells and whistles courtesy of Ford?s media fleet. This one had the 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6, and pulled our Jimglo aluminum trailer with the Mustang loaded just fine.

What do we have planned for the car? A LOT! For suspension, our pals at Chris Alston?s Total Control Products are providing front and rear systems, including a complete front frame rail kit that converts the front suspension to a true coil-over design and opens up the engine compartment for the engine we?re going with (more on that in a minute). The front frame rails were installed at PG Customs in Texas while the body conversion was taking place so that part is already done, but none of the other suspension parts have been installed yet?the car is currently sitting on a body dolly. During the build week, all of the Total Control suspension will be installed, including a Currie 9-inch rear end, Wilwood brakes, and an ididit steering column.

At this point you?re most likely wondering about the drivetrain we?re going to stick in this beautiful, 2018 Royal Crimson-colored (from Axalta) fastback. That would be a brand new, 2018 5.0L ?Coyote? from Ford (hence why we need extra room in the engine compartment) and we?re backing it with a Gear Star automatic transmission. Once the G-Force Engineering driveshaft is hooked up, that should make for one truly wicked Mustang. E3 is providing the spark plugs to make sure the fire stays lit, and Tanks Inc. will feed it fuel. Duralast is sponsoring the build with accessories such as an alternator, starter, and a battery, and cooling will come from Be Cool and Derale. We?ll be wiring the car with a complete Painless Performance harness, and Old Air Products will keeps us comfortable with its air conditioning system.

We?ll be enjoying that cool air in a complete Mustangs to Fear interior, with a whole truckload of Scott Drake reproduction parts and trim pieces, ProCar by Scat seats, and Dakota Digital gauges. Finally, and one of the last steps, we?ll be bolting on the Legendary HB Series Wheels with gold centers, to really pop with that gorgeous Royal Crimson metallic paint. Then, if the stars align and we hold our mouths just right, we?ll open the shop?s bay door and commence with the glorious burnout that signals mission accomplished!

Will we get ?er done? Of course we will! And you can be right there by our side (digitally) to watch the thrash the week of July 23rd, 2018 right here on Make sure to check in throughout that week and see how we?re doing, and give us encouragement. We?ll need it!

Settled into its spot in our Santa Ana tech center, the Mustang and its various parts and pieces left to be installed take a pause before the madness of the build week begins July 23rd, 2018. Check in and watch our progress that week!

More on our Week to Wicked 1967 Ford Mustang Build!

Week to Wicked Begins! Convert a 1967 Mustang Hardtop to a Fastback for Under $10,000!
Week To Wicked 1967 Mustang Fastback Build Coming the Week of July 23!

The post Week To Wicked 1967 Mustang Fastback Build Coming the Week of July 23! appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

A Tale of Two super Cobra Jets
Category Featured

Kenn Funk was a Mopar fan early on in his automotive life, having a 1969… Read More

The post A Tale of Two super Cobra Jets appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


Kenn Funk was a Mopar fan early on in his automotive life, having a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner that ?got away from me? in terms of going overboard with modifications. But then he saw a 1968½ Cobra Jet Mustang in a few magazines and instantly coveted one. He said, ?I discovered the ?68½ Cobra Jet and went crazy. I think they?re the greatest Mustangs?the idea, the whole story behind them. I started including Fords in my mind as something I liked, but all of my cars were Mopars at the time.?

After some searching, Funk?s first Cobra Jet was a 1968½ blue/blue fastback that he had restored. Then he got the urge for a Cobra Jet convertible, found one in the Los Angeles Times (this was before the days of the Internet and easy car searches), and went to look at it.

Funk said, ?I had bought a red K-code convertible from a local dealer, and while it looked great and my wife and family loved the car, it wasn?t right. It had a made-up door tag, no paperwork, that kind of thing. I was going through my learning phase with Mustangs.?

The Gulfstream Aqua Cobra Jet convertible now resides in the Los Angeles area, owned by Jeff Lotman.
The mighty 428 Cobra Jet that set the world on fire in 1968.
The convertible was built on April 3, 1968, and is unique for several reasons, one of them being the air cleaner housing?the entire assembly is painted Ford Corporate Blue, whereas later on the top flapper piece was painted black, such as on the fastback that was built on July 11 of that year.

Not happy with the build of his ?K-code? Mustang and desiring a Cobra Jet convertible instead, Funk drove the red car to see the CJ convertible and didn?t care what color it was?he just knew he wanted a Cobra Jet convertible. ?There it sat, in boxes spread all over the place and one quarter-panel was off the car. You have to be a real car guy to appreciate what it looked like.? It turned out that the owner had sent it to a local restorer, but when the checks stopped coming for the work, the restorer sent it back to him with a bill, prompting the owner to sell the car and recoup his losses.

After some negotiating, Funk traded the red convertible for the CJ project and was ecstatic. ?I was so happy to get rid of that red car, but my wife thought I had lost my mind. I left with a beautiful red convertible and brought this heap back home in boxes.? With a lot of work necessary on the car and not enough time to do it, Funk pushed the car into his shop, where it sat for years.

The Parchment Decor interior looks amazing with the Gulfstream Aqua paint.

Around this time he saw a Cobra Jet in a magazine that was Raven Black, and his CJ obsession demanded he now have a black version. Still in the days before the Internet, the place to find a collectible car was Hemmings Motor News, and it was in those pages that he found what was advertised as a Raven Black 1968½ Cobra Jet fastback, located in the backwoods of Louisiana. He bought it sight unseen, after being assured that the car was originally Raven Black from the factory and not a repaint, and had it shipped to his shop in Southern California.

Funk said, ?It rolled off the truck and all I did was open the driver?s door and look for the color code ?A? on the door tag. You never know?was it black from day one?? Thankfully the A code was there, signifying that he now owned a Raven Black Cobra Jet Mustang. A gold C-stripe down the side of the car matched with a Gold Nugget interior really made for a striking Mustang, even in unrestored and semi-rough form. It would soon look much better.

Unfortunately, the car?s restoration would take nearly two decades. The CJ was pushed to the back of Funk?s shop, with the original four-speed in the trunk, but no engine. The car had originally been ordered by a Ford dealer?s son, equipped with the 428CJ, four-speed, power nothing except front disc brakes, and the steep 4.30:1 gear option. Funk said, ?No power steering, 428CJ, 4.30 gears, four-speed?you know why the car was ordered.?

Black with gold C-stripe, Cobra Jet engine, four-speed, and 4.30:1 gears?what do you think this car?s intended purpose was when ordered new?

The 428 Cobra Jet breathes through a vacuum-actuated blade in the air cleaner and hoodscoop that still has the factory markings on the underside.

The original owner did indeed race the car?a lot?and eventually sold it to the second owner, who bought the car after being beaten by it numerous times. It is believed that the second owner, who continued the car?s racing life, at some point along the way blew the engine up (no doubt in a race) and the car sat in a barn for  a long time?that?s when Funk found and purchased the Cobra Jet. After unloading the car from the truck, Funk pushed it in the shop, the same building that the CJ convertible was in.

At some point, he had collected a white 1969 Boss 429, and when he decided to sell it he met John Rosengrant, who came to look at and eventually buy the Boss-9. During the deal, Rosengrant saw the black CJ in the shop and was intrigued. Meanwhile, Jim Ellsworth in Ohio was restoring the convertible, which was the only 1968½ Cobra Jet convertible (34 convertibles total were built) in Gulfstream Aqua. Funk said, ?It was coming along so well that I sent him the black car too, loading it on the trailer and driving it to Ohio to Ellsworth?s shop.?

Always with a passion for more cars, Funk sold the convertible to a friend before the restoration was even completed, saying, ?It was finished in time for the Tulsa [Oklahoma] Mustang show and went straight there from Ellsworth?s shop. It never came home with me.? The convertible?s original owner was a woman from Chicago who taught in a college in Oklahoma, and she sold it to a college student who found it for sale in the college newspaper. This second owner learned that the car was restored and came to the Tulsa show to see it, bringing his wife along and taking pictures with the car. Eventually, a wealthy owner in Los Angeles called Kevin Marti at Marti Auto Works looking for ?a great, great Mustang? to add to his collection, and Marti told him about the Gulfstream Aqua convertible that he knew Funk had had restored. A deal was struck to bring the car back to California?not in Funk?s possession, but at least he?s in the same town as the car now.

Like the convertible?s color combination, the fastback CJ?s black and gold color scheme is stunning. Pictures don?t do it justice.

Around the same time, Rosengrant and Funk had become friends, and after talking about it several times, Rosengrant convinced Funk to sell him the Raven Black car, which was about two-thirds of the way through the restoration at Ellsworth?s shop. Funk never got a chance to drive this car either, and when it came off the trailer he said Rosengrant?s jaw fell open and silence reigned. ?This car?you can picture it; black with gold interior, gold C-stripe, it?s so stunningly unbelievable. It?s better from the back. You have a vision in your head, but it?s more spectacular in person.?

Rosengrant went on to say, ?You never saw black cars in the 1960s. Most were hippy colors like purple, orange, red, that kind of thing. My Cougar was Lime Gold and lots of Mustangs were in that color too. Black just wasn?t popular, but it?s a sleeper ?street racing color,? and with this car?s options [or lack thereof] that?s exactly what it was. I think the color also might have something to do with where it was ordered?New Orleans. I?ve wondered if the black and gold paint was chosen because the Saints became a football team in 1967.?

The Black fastback undergoing restoration at Jim Ellsworth?s shop in North Canton, Ohio.

Marti Report: 1968 Mustang Fastback
Of the?
317,423 1968 Mustangs
42,582 were fastbacks; of the non-Shelbys
1,044 were built with 428CJ engines, of which
706 came with four-speed manual transmissions, and
60 of them were painted Raven Black. Of those,
5 were equipped with 4.30 Traction-Lok rear axles. All
5 of them had AM radios and power disc brakes.
1 had no other options:
8F02R215825 is that Mustang.

Marti Report: 1968 Mustang Convertible
This car was one of:
1,545 with this paint code
36 with these paint/trim codes
274 with these engine/transmission codes
1,093 ordered from this DSO
18 with high ratio axle

The post A Tale of Two super Cobra Jets appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals Swap Meet
Category News

The swap meet at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals sets the bar for NOS, used, and… Read More

The post 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals Swap Meet appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


Warm weather has a way of bringing out the Mopar faithful to the Carlisle fairgrounds for their annual show, and where there are cars, there are parts. Their swap meet sets the bar for NOS, used, and reproduction parts with hundreds of vendors on hand to cater to all the various segments in the Mopar hobby. We walked around and took some photos to give you a sample of what can be found if you?re in the process of restoring your car. This will be our first gallery of parts, and we will bring you some more after we load a new roll of film into the camera.

The post 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals Swap Meet appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals
Category News

Under 80-degree sunny skies, the weather was perfect to attend the 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals… Read More

The post 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


Under 80-degree sunny skies, the weather was perfect to attend this year?s 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals event held at the Carlisle, Pennsylvania Fairgrounds. As we were approaching from about 5 miles away we started noticing a huge presence of cool Mopars in stop-and-go traffic. The numbers of Mopars just kept increasing by so much that we really didn?t even need our rental car?s navigation anymore. Once inside there was one word that really described it. That is HUGE! By 10 am on a Friday the fairgrounds were already packed with rows and rows of Mopar swap meet and show car aisles.

With our cameras in hand we had a great time walking the field to catch some of the cool Mopars that were on hand. Here is a big collection of what we have so far, but check back soon because we aren?t done yet. There will be more to come with some cool info. And if you?re interested in attending this event, we suggest trying to make it out next year.

The post 2018 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

C2 Corvette Gets a Complete Cooling System Overhaul
Category Additional How To, Engine

Follow along as we replace the radiator, fan shroud and other cooling system components on… Read More

The post C2 Corvette Gets a Complete Cooling System Overhaul appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


The cooling system in a C2 Corvette has plenty of faults, even in the original configuration, and when you start modifying the engine the problems only get worse. The constant struggle to stay cool has created anxiety in thousands of Corvette owners, as one eye is always glued on the temperature gauge. The subject in this cooling system overhaul is a small-block car backed by a manual transmission and 4.11 gears. The healthy small-block and low rearend gears made for big fun, but anything over 55 mph for more than a few minutes resulted in overheating issues. A five-speed transmission helped matters tremendously by bringing the cruising rpm down, but it didn?t completely reduce the temperature anxiety. A generic aluminum radiator and electric fan also seemed to help, but it didn?t fit the car well enough to be considered a permanent solution.

The car?s previous cooling system eliminated the original expansion tank system. While the universal aluminum radiator was simple and effective, it was a little too tall for the car, making the hood clearance too close for comfort. The radiator hose placement also wasn?t ideal and it just didn?t have the right look. In an effort to cool this low-geared hot rod Corvette, we decided to start from scratch with a new radiator from DeWitts, a new fiberglass fan shroud from J&D Corvette and a box full of cooling system goodies from Zip Corvette.

Going from cobbled together universal parts to a selection of direct-fit parts made for an easy install. It was more work to undo the universal components than it was to install the new pieces. Everything fit as advertised and the assembly process was simply a matter of bolting factory-type pieces together, a task that we handled over the course of a few evenings in the shop. The improved stock-look aluminum radiator and flex fan is certainly capable of cooling this modified small-block, as we have been pleased to see the temperature gauge staying at 180 degrees. In addition to the improved cooling capabilities, the new components cleaned up the engine bay nicely. Take a look at our cooling system overhaul and use the tips and tricks to keep your C2 cool, whether it?s on the highway, sitting in traffic or blasting down your favorite backroad. Vette

1. When our 1964 Corvette coupe rolled into the garage it had a functional cooling system, but the generic aluminum radiator didn?t offer proper fitment. It was physically too tall for the car and the hose outlets were not quite right.
2. The original fan shroud was in pretty bad shape before the universal-fit radiator was installed, but you can see where modifications were necessary to accommodate the radiator hose outlets.
3. After draining the fluids and undoing the less-than-desirable cooling system repairs, we were ready to remove the generic radiator, electric fan and hacked-up shroud.
4. Since our new DeWitts radiator is a direct-fit piece, we whipped out the Zip Corvette catalog for some standard replacement parts. First up was a pair of new radiator cushions (PN WS-333) that fit into the original lower radiator mounts.
5. The radiator is DeWitts? HP Series (PN 1249063M), which features all-aluminum construction and two rows of 1.25-inch tubes and offers 25 percent more cooling capacity than stock replacement radiators. We ordered ours in the ?Black Ice? coating for an original look. The original-style dowels fit nicely into the new rubber cushions.
6. We grabbed a new radiator and shroud center bracket (PN M-259) from Zip, along with a new upper cushion (PN WS-436). We slid the cushion over the original-style tab on the radiator and then loosely installed the two bolts to hold the radiator upright.
7. It would seem natural to install the fan shroud next, but we found that installing the lower radiator hose is much easier without the shroud in the way. The radiator hoses came from, but you can get them at many Corvette parts suppliers.
8. Now we can lower the J&D Corvette fiberglass fan shroud into place. Before installation, we sanded it and applied two coats of semi-gloss black paint to match the rest of the engine bay.
9. After getting it dropped into place, we installed bolts and nuts in the factory positions. Make note that the original steel shroud had built-in nuts, while our J&D Corvette replacement does not, meaning that it requires pass-through bolts and attaches with nuts and washers.
10. We tightened the side mounting bolts and then tightened the radiator and shroud center bracket bolts. That allowed us to accurately drill the hole for the only remaining fastener. After it is drilled, we install the bolt, nut and washers.
11. Final adjustments can be made to align the center bracket and then the bolts can be tightened.
12. Our six-blade flex fan can be re-installed using the existing hardware. We removed the electric fan, as the new cooling system is more than adequate for this modified Corvette.
13. Any time the cooling system is taken apart it?s a good time to replace the thermostat. It?s cheap and easy to install since you?ve already drained the coolant. We went with a 180-degree thermostat.
14. Our upper radiator hose was a little long so we trimmed it with tin snips until the fitment was perfect.
15. With the upper radiator hose installed?and the dust and our fingerprints wiped off?the new DeWitts radiator and J&D Corvette fan shroud look like factory fresh pieces.
16. Now it?s time to move onto the expansion tank. Since our previous radiator did not use an expansion tank we had removed the mounting straps and bracket. We got a new bracket (PN M-235A) from Zip Corvette and attached it to the inner fender using new bolts.
17. Next are the expansion tank straps (PN M-235). The straps are not pre-bent so we did some trial and error fitment to get an idea of the correct shape. After getting them dialed in, we attached the lower portion of the straps to the bracket.
18. The new DeWitts expansion tank (PN 421) is an exact reproduction of the original Harrison tank. We still had to do some final tweaking on the straps, and then installed the new strap bolts from Zip.
19. Another cheap and easy step for a cooling system overhaul is installing new heater hoses. You can buy the hose in bulk at the local parts store or you can buy the correct stamped hoses from any Corvette parts supplier. We opted for the parts store hoses and installed them with new clamps.
20. Another piece from the Zip Corvette catalog is this heater hose T-fitting (PN M-207). It connects the upper heater core hose to the expansion tank and allows free coolant flow from the water pump.
21. One last trip to the parts store yielded us some new heater hose fittings for the water pump and the intake manifold. We coated the threads with pipe sealant before threading them into place.
22. Although it is rather bulky, this 90-degree fitting is a much better piece than some of the chrome-plated aftermarket versions. We removed the valve cover to give us a little more room to tighten the fitting.
23. We spun the fitting until it was facing the front of the car and then trimmed the heater hose for a nice fit. Next, we trimmed and installed the lower heater hose.
24. Finally, we installed 3/8-inch hose from the expansion tank to the radiator, as well as a 3/8-inch overflow hose.
25. With a combination of parts from DeWitts, J&D Corvette and Zip Corvette, we completely overhauled this Corvette?s cooling system and gave it a super clean look. The final step was pouring a fresh mixture of coolant and water into the expansion tank and taking it for a spin ? and 180 degrees never looked so good!


(517) 548-0600

J&D Corvette
(800) 838-8353

Zip Corvette
(800) 962-9632

The post C2 Corvette Gets a Complete Cooling System Overhaul appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Brutal 1973 Trans Am Designed to Eat Supercars Alive
Category Featured

John DeBok?s 1973 Pontiac Trans Am is somewhat of a hand-me-down, but what a hand-me-down… Read More

The post Brutal 1973 Trans Am Designed to Eat Supercars Alive appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


We don?t need to tell you that some people regard pro-built cars with just a little bit of contempt. As a Car Craft reader you may even have one of those ?Built Not Bought? stickers on at least something you own. As enthusiasts, we like to think that the blood we spill to the gods of speed is payment for the pride we feel by doing for ourselves. That said, it?s our great honor to present to you?a pro-built ?73 Trans-Am.

Now that we have your attention, hear us out. Behind the enviable character who shows up at the car show with car finished and fingernails intact is someone like Gary Hagar. Gary owns Hack Shack Inc. in Rogers, AR. But more importantly, in the course of his work, Gary employs people. People a lot like you and me. Enthusiasts.

And while they have to do it for other people, they?re still in the business of wish-fulfillment. Take this Firebird. According to Gary, the client who commissioned it intended to buy a new seventh-gen Corvette. ?He was going to use it as a track car down at that motorsports complex in Atlanta,? he says. But there was a twist. ?He actually likes the old Trans-Ams better, so he came up with this idea to make an old Trans Am handle like a new Corvette.? And who among us wouldn?t want that?

True to his word, the original owner?who?d rather let others bask in the limelight?tracked the car numerous times. But when Dodge introduced the Viper ACR, Gary says his client couldn?t resist the siren?s call. ?This car did well on the track but he was also scared of tearing something up,? he says. ?So when those Vipers came out he got one of those and put this up for sale.?

They say that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ?Scouring the web one day I ran across this car,? says John DeBok. You could say that John?s one of us?maybe a smarter version as he has a strategy: ?I?m always out looking for builds that people have abandoned that I can finish,? he says. It?s a tactic that?s served him well; he has a ?67 Camaro Super Sport and a ?71 Camaro, both of which he runs in autocross events, including the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge. ?Yeah it was finished and a lot of money, but I couldn?t build the thing by myself for what I could get it for.?

In the meantime, John tore down and reassembled the car. ?Typically I go through them and put them back together the way I like, you know, just making them how I think they should be and to become familiar with every nut and bolt,? he says. ?The previous owner ran it hard so I wanted to make sure everything was right.?

As for the built-not-bought argument, we get it; nobody who wrote a check for something will feel the same pride as those who build it themselves. Some will never have to endure the agony of a converter that won?t seat at two in the morning, or how the butterflies feel during cam break-in. That?s like the gearhead version of childbirth. We wouldn?t trade those memories for anything, but do those things have to matter to everybody all of the time? At the end of the day, a guy got to have a bunch of fun in a car that any grounded enthusiast would love to flog around a track. When he was finished having his way with it, John DeBok got a hell of a deal on a one-of-a-kind machine. In the midst of it all, a bunch of incredible craftsmen got the opportunity to push the limit. We can?t find a single problem with that scenario!

Who: John DeBok
What: 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am
Where: Alexandria, VA

Mast Motorsports built an LS7 to its 685-horse Black Label spec using their Black Label 305cc heads. The foundation is a Callies 4-inch-stroke forged crank, H-beam connecting rods, and Diamond forged 2618 pistons. Mast admits that the special-sauce cam needed to make that power (verified at 675hp) generates a choppy idle, but 427 inches of displacement makes enough torque to make it bearable on the street.

Mast uses MSD?s proven version of the already-good LS7 intake. An induction system designed by Mike Jones and built by Keith Jones (no relation) feeds from the functional shaker scoop and ducts mounted to the core support. The exhaust starts with a pair of 2-inch headers but Mike (assisted by Keith) built the rest from 3-inch bends and Magnaflow mufflers.

Six available gears gives the Tremec T56 a wide gear spread yet maintains relatively close ratios per gear. The double overdrive gives the car long legs for trips between tracks.

Roadster Shop specified a 3.73:1 gear on a limited-slip carrier in a Dutchman Motorsports 9-inch style IRS case.

The Hack Shack built the car on a Roadster Shop foundation. The Fast Track variety as seen here has the independent rear suspension, a nod to the prior owner?s desire to make a ponycar more like a Corvette. It sports Penske RS coilovers and 1 ¼-inch anti-roll bars at both ends.

A Wilwood master cylinder and Baer Extreme 14-inch rotors with six-piston calipers promise to bring this bird to a halt.

Gary?s client wanted to season the car with a few super-car cues. He invoked the Porsche GT3 with Forgeline center-lock (knock-off) RB3C wheels. They pin to a set of threaded hubs that bolt to the car. The fronts measure 18×10 and the rears 19×12 and mount Michelin Pilot Super Sport 295/35ZR18s and 345/30ZR19s.

Keith Jones fabricated floors, a firewall, inner fenders, a core support, and rear-wheel tubs to accommodate the chassis and big rollers. Designer Murray Pfaff rendered the car with flared wells, something that Keith executed on the car. Keith and Mike fabricated the exhaust outlet in the likeness of the one on the Bugatti Veyron. Matt Bigelow worked the body straight before delivering it to Ken Barr. Ken laid down the PPG-formulated Cyber Gray, a nod to the Corvette that inspired the build. ?Even the eagle is paint,? Gary praises. ?No decals. All Ken?s work.?

Hack Shack delivered the painted shell to Oz Custom Upholstery in Columbus, KS. Trimmer Oswaldo Murillo fabricated the center console, door panels, and a rear-seat frame from birch ply and fiberglass. He then modified ?05-to-?14 Mustang seats and shaped rear-seat foam to match. He covered everything, including the dash, in black leather with red stitching. The headliner got Ultrasuede and the floors got German square-weave carpet.

The post Brutal 1973 Trans Am Designed to Eat Supercars Alive appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

Executing the Perfect Restomod Formula With a 1959 Corvette
Category Featured

There was no holding back when it came to building this top-of-the-line restomod 1959 Corvette. Read More

The post Executing the Perfect Restomod Formula With a 1959 Corvette appeared first on Hot Rod Network.


Most of the time when we present you with a Corvette feature, the story is a rags-to-riches scenario where a guy or gal waited years before their dream car become a reality. It?s a deeply touching story that most can relate to or, at the very least, aspire to. This isn?t that story. Paul Wolf already went through the whole process of attaining his dream Corvette. To read about that, you can dig through the archives and find his restomod ?64 Corvette built by RPL Customs that we featured back in 2014. This time around it?s a different story. He got a taste of perfection and now he?s back for round two.

This journey?s origins began back when Wolf and his wife, Sheryl, were just starting a family. He had a ?59 Corvette at the time and was right in the middle of doing a restoration on it when they got pregnant. He regretfully had to sell the Corvette as a pile of parts to help fund the new chapter in his life. It wasn?t until 25 years later that he finally got the chance to make good on that old project. After experiencing his C2 that RPL built for him, Wolf got an idea: why not have ?em build his second dream car: a restomod ?59 Corvette?

From there he started the search for a ?59 Vette and ended up finding one for sale on eBay in a condition not unlike that of his first C1. It was someone else?s stalled project that was completely disassembled and stripped for paint. After bringing it home and getting to know the car for a couple of months, Wolf called up Roger Lynskey, owner and builder at RPL Customs in Royse City, Texas, and a plan was set for the Vette. It would incorporate modern performance capabilities and as much technology as possible, along with copious amounts of luxury in the form of climate control, Bluetooth and leather all within the classic envelope of the C1.

Lynskey began where the previous owner left off, by getting the Corvette ready for a fresh coat of paint. Even though they planned to put some serious tire under the Vette, Wolf wanted the car to retain the original body. That meant no fender flares or widening of the quarter-panels. Instead, Lynskey took the time to tub the rear wheelwells. When it came to picking a paint color, Wolf and Lynskey were not on the same page?at least not at first. Lynskey suggested green and Wolf said no way. In his mind, he pictured something brash and obnoxious, but the specific green Lynskey had in mind was Silver Green Effect. Wolf eventually conceded and the car was sent over to Brian Vastine of Vastine?s Paint Garage in Royse City, Texas, where it received the final bodywork before being sprayed in the custom green paint from Standox. Instead of painting the coves silver or white, or something more traditional, Wolf?s Vette got the same Silver Green Effect in the coves, except in a matte finish.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but when the car was completed, Wolf told us the color was by far his favorite aspect of the car, saying ?The color is the bomb. The first question that comes out of everyone?s mouth is ?What color is that car?!??

Moving on with the build, the body headed back to RPL Customs and received a warm welcome in the form of a brand-new Art Morrison GT Sport chassis. Included with the chassis are a set of 2-inch drop spindles and six-piston, 14-inch disc brakes from Wilwood up front along with Strange Engineering adjustable coilovers. The rear also gets coilovers from Strange and Wilwood four-piston, 14-inch disc brakes on either end of a Ford 9-inch. RPL Customs then upgraded the 9-inch with a Strange S-Series centersection that houses 3.70:1 gears and a limited-slip.

Once the body was bolted on the new Art Morrison chassis, they installed Wolf?s second favorite aspect of the car: the wheels. He chose a set of Schott Accelerators with 19x8s in the front and 20x10s in the rear, which would never fit under the stock bodywork if it weren?t for the tubs. On the wheels went 245/35R19 and 295/30R20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires to help the Vette make the most of its modern chassis.

For power, RPL picked up a stock LS3 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance and after installing a set of Art Morrison headers, they sent the engine over to be dyno?d at Henderson Performance Technologies in New Braunfels, Texas. With the addition of those headers and some tuning, the engine made an impressive 487 horsepower compared the stock, advertised 430 hp. Back at RPL, the LS3 was mated with a 4L65E automatic transmission and then dropped into the Vette. A Vintage Air Front Runner accessory drive system with their A/C compressor and 170-amp alternator is attached to the front of the LS, while an AutoRad aluminum radiator does the cooling. The engine was dressed up further with custom valve covers and an engine cover from Greening Auto Company. Then to finish things up, RPL fabricated a custom exhaust system from the headers back to a dual inlet and outlet MagnaFlow muffler. The trick part of the system is that the exhaust exits directly through the stock bumper outlets.

Inside, the modern tech keeps on going. RPL Customs swathed just about everything in curry-colored Ultraleather, such as the dashpad, seats and door panels. A Billet Specialties steering wheel was installed on an ididit steering column and then also wrapped in the curry Ultraleather. Then the center console and gauge cluster were sprayed in matte curry paint to match. The factory gauges were replaced by Dakota Digital VHX units mounted in the stock locations and a Bluetooth-controlled Kicker head unit was hidden in the trunk, sending the tunes out to the 6 3/4-inch Infinity speakers. Other modern features worked into Wolf?s Corvette include power windows and door locks as well as pushbutton start and RainGear electric windshield wipers. Finally, to keep Wolf cool in that brutal Texas heat, new glass from Auto City Classics was installed and tinted, then in went a complete Vintage Air climate control system.

The whole build, from start to finish, took about 4 1/2 years because the payment plan Wolf worked out with Lynskey was a pay-as-you-go type of plan. Wolf would fork over some dough then Lynskey would work on the Vette for a week or two before moving on to other customers? projects for a few weeks. ?It got a little frustrating because it was a long time,? said Wolf, ?but it was worth the wait.? Over the past year or so since he got the ?59 back, Wolf has driven it over 1,400 miles attending local cruises, going on weekend drives and taking his wife out for dinner.

So now that dream car number two is in the garage for Wolf, what?s next? Number three? Well yes, actually. As we write this feature he is on the hunt for a C3 Vette to complete his ideal garage. And while a restomoded C3 might still be a few years out for Wolf, at least we know he won?t be bored waiting. Vette

The post Executing the Perfect Restomod Formula With a 1959 Corvette appeared first on Hot Rod Network.

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