We love stories like the one Al Jimenez just told us. It speaks to hope and to the aspirations we all have. It speaks to overcoming adversity. It speaks to a time-heavy investment. Jimenez built a righteous car and seemingly dominated his class. For his sterling All-American effort, the PSCA inevitably banned his engine combo in Wild Street.
"Maintaining the car as the No. 1 qualifier and keeping it as consistent as possible, we were able to become '08 PSCA Wild Street champions, Street Car Super Nationals winners, have the quickest and fastest leaf-spring stock suspension car in the business, and set the record on M/T 275/60 Drag Radials with a 7.56 at 188.8," Al said as a matter of fact.
"Now we are going to the next class up, Extreme Drag Radial. In 2009 we are going up against some heavy hitters, so we don't know what to expect. All we can do is try our best...and see how many friends we can make along the way."
Al's rise in the ranks was movie-script perfect and followed a plot that unfolded rapidly and progressively. "I starting building my car and had only one goal: to take it out to the San Fernando Valley street races and drag every Mustang I could find. Yeah, I was shooting for a 10-second car to have fun with at the track and off. Once the car was done, we took it to Los Angeles County Raceway and were amazed that it ran 10s on the motor. So we experimented with good old nitrous oxide," said Al.
"So back to the drawing board. And that's when we tried the supercharger combo. With a Vortech YSi we could go 9.30s all day long." Al and crew (Luis, Eddie, Leo, Manny, Nano, and nephew) did well with this combo on the street, but were eventually drawn more to the PSCA events. In late 2007 they decided to try it out. Al had begun ripping into the 8s and realized that he was too fast not to be on a dragstrip for the rest of his life. So they all went to a few races to dip their toes. It turned them right around. In 2008 they put on their collective game face and vowed to make every Wild Street party on the schedule.
"At the first race, we made it to the semifinals and saw that we had the potential to beat those guys. We went from the ProCharger F-2 to the F-3 trim to be more competitive and managed to qualify No. 1 at almost every race. Pretty soon we had a crowd of people in our pits looking at the car and wondering where we came from."
Where indeed. Jimenez had forked over $800 for a '73 Camaro without a drivetrain, a perfect place to begin. Why? "My friends and I have always had a thing for nice cars and speed. I built this car just to cruise around in and have some fun street racing." From there, things have gotten clearly out of hand. The Camaro has become less a fun toy and more a lethal weapon.
Though it adheres to the factory-style rear suspension, that's about all there is left of the "original equipment." It is a study in how to contain 1,495 hp with 275/60 Drag Radials, a Martz Chassis subframe, a spider-web rollcage, frame connectors, leaf springs, coilover shocks, and those Mickey's stretched impossibly over beadlock wheels that are wider than the tread face. Al is off the street and on the tire! And making friends too.
Motor And Drivetrain
For the majority of the engine work, Al turned to Mike and Brad at QMP Racing Engines in Chatsworth, California, for the 515-inch boiler. They began with an iron block that was bored to 4.545 inches. For the rotating assembly, the boys gathered up a 3.975-inch-stroke Callies crankshaft, Oliver billet steel connecting rods, and Ross Racing pistons with an 11.5:1 compression ratio. Al's mum on the specs for the custom Comp solid roller, though. These systems are connected by a Jesel beltdrive. For the top of the motor, Al chose AFR 357 CNC-ported aluminum castings that capture Manley valves and springs, and Jesel shaft-mount rocker arms. Cigar-sized (7/16-inch) Manton pushrods keep tempo at 8,000 rpm. Down under, QMP buttoned it up with a Stef's custom aluminum oil pan and pump. ACCEL DFI fuel injection has settled on an Edelbrock Victor intake manifold while an F-3 Procharger provides the compressed air via an air-to-liquid intercooler. The MSD Digital 6 provides a staged-boost schedule, and total timing is set at 45 degrees. Jaime at Fabtech Welding in Chatsworth, California, was the go-to guy for all the critical tubing in Al's car. Among other major systems, Jaime built the custom headers with 2 1/4-inch primary pipes. Dynamometer output is a hellacious 1,175 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm and 1,495 hp at 7,800 rpm. Put another way, that's 2.9 hp per pound of vehicle weight. Al credits Turbo People in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and Job Spetter in particular, for putting the max tune on the schizoid Rat. No phone routine, either. Spetter came to Cali. Al digs his 'Glide, as prepped by Mike's Transmission in Lancaster, California. Mike has inserted all the good stuff and capped it with a 3,500-stall Continental converter. Lou's Performance (Sun Valley) inserted the Moser 9-inch that twirls a 3.70:1 gear ratio on a rugged ol' spool.