Patrick Hagerman EdD is a professor of exercise science at the University of Tulsa and the author of five books so related, the latest of which is considered the bible for the triathlete discipline. In essence, he reveals how small changes in muscle strength can add up to big race results. Pat's other self has been involved with building and driving specialty hot rods, a subculture he's been immersed in since childhood (his father had a chassis shop in Oklahoma City). In that domain, Pat is the proprietor of Scotlea Hot Rods in Nowata, Oklahoma, about 30 miles north of Tulsa. But Scotlea is now on hiatus and likely to remain that way. Pat will be helping friends with their rides but mostly concentrating on his own rides.
"I've built so many cars in the past 25 years but I never built a full-tilt Camaro, just drag cars and restorations, so I wanted something that would drive nice and handle just as well. 'Slider' is a misnomer. The car is really sticky through the curves," he announced. "Since the car was nothing out of the ordinary, I wasn't compelled to rush into it. I found it in a barn about 10 miles from my house. I bought it and it sat for a while. Then my painter bought it, and soon sold it to someone else, who sold it to a friend of mine. He needed to sell it, so I bought it back. All of this occurred in just three months," said Pat.
Could one passion join with the other? Could Pat successfully integrate the nuances of his vocation with his little professor side directly into the fiber of the car he wanted build? Aside from his customers' cars, Pat's experience includes a '69 Charger "General Lee" rendition, an '82 KITT Firebird ala the Knight Rider TV series, a Pro Street '65 Corvair he's had since he was 14 that is in its third iteration, and now his latest ward: Slider.
To satisfy his yen, Pat began Slider as if it was any other build he'd ever done, but this time he'd lay down some things he'd always wanted to try, things that wouldn't necessarily spotlight the car and that would work "underground" and make the package more copacetic and more responsive. He was also more enamored of the car's ability to brake and handle than a killer motor combo that just wouldn't suit the street. Far from a daily driver, the longest squirt Pat's ever made in Slider is 60 miles.
The most notable mechanical departures that bless this agglomerate are the induction system and the rear suspension. Both incorporate systems that are sorely overlooked simply because they aren't mainstream cues, even though they may function decidedly better than their more mundane counterparts. Anybody who builds General Lee Chargers and wacky TV Pontiacs was the perfect foil for such relatively obscure equipment.
Prior to the fuel injection retro-fit, Pat had relied on an 850-cfm mechanical air/fuel mixer from a well-known source. He wanted to refine the breathing apparatus and give the engine a more defined selection, one that would never need a screwdriver or a wrench to adjust. His propensity for the original design led him to a body that looks like a four-barrel carburetor, a body that retains all the dimensions and measurements of the carb. Was it his infatuation with the electronic fields that infused the KITT Pontiac?
Now perhaps closer to the physical ethic that Pat reinforces and unquestionably the more obvious of the two major changes is the truck arm suspension system, a linkage that works fantastically well, offering a Caddy-like ride infused with otherworld handling capability. All NASCAR Sprint Cup racers are equipped as such, so how come this progeny hasn't taken the hot rod world by storm? Is it too bold, too off-center, too strange, too different for (mostly) conservative car builders? Yup, more than likely?
Pat further deviated from the norm with the two-tone paint scheme and the lines to which it has been drawn: sanguine top; steel bottom. Slider slithers supreme.
One of the tenets of strength training is to always keep the furnace burning by stoking it with six or so small meals throughout the waking hours. The furnace in Pat's Camaro adapts this regimen. Though it isn't huge by today's skewed engine norm, it represents a reliable power source. An 0.060-over clean-up punch for the 454 produces 467 cubic inches of all-iron fun. Privett Engine Rebuilding in South Coffeyville, OK, got the contract, basing the rehabilitation and balancing process on the stock steel crank and forged connecting rods seeded with forged Speed-Pro slugs that proffer a pump-gas lovin' 9.6:1 compression ratio. A porting and polishing regimen followed the iron cylinder heads that retain 2.25/1.88 valves, refugees from somebody's 502 maybe? Privett installed a mild Comp hydraulic roller (218 degrees at 0.050, 0.485-inch lift) and were able to retain the stock pushrods and stamped steel 1.7:1 rocker arms. The cam pushes against Comp valvesprings. A double-roller timing gear hooks crank to cam, the oil pump is a Melling item and the stock steel sump covers up the bottom. Cooling chores fall to a Weiand aluminum water pump and a brace of Perma-Cool electric fans hugging a Be Cool aluminum core. Induction is so neat and straightforward you'll be wondering why more hot rodders don't contemplate this conversion. A Retrotek Speed Powerjection "throttle body," with the same size, dimensions, and appearance as a Holley 650 carburetor, sits atop an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold. Inside the fuel bowls are four 60-lb/hr injectors working with a Retrotek Stage II EMS that affords pulse-width modulation so the right amount of fuel is delivered according to throttle angle. Summit wires are connected to an MSD Pro Billet distributor and Blaster coil controlled by a 6AL box. Sustenance originates in a trunk-mounted Optima cell. Boom tubes are aluminized Hookers with 17/8-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors. To affect torque, the 21/2-inch system joins up with raspy Flowmaster Super 44s. Privett dressed the engine out with March aluminum brackets and a serpentine accessory drive system, stainless lines, a Be Cool catch can, and a Spectre Flame air cleaner assembly. Pat had to have the flexibility of a manual transmission, in this case a Keisler TKO 600 five-speed retrofit with matching hydraulics working an 11-inch clutch assembly. Torque is absorbed by a narrowed Moser 9-inch stocked with an Auburn limited-slip, 3.70:1 gears, and Moser 31-spline axleshafts.
Rollers & Corks
Hoops and rubber compound are well within the bounds of sanity, as anything larger (combined with the tire-planting ability of the truck arm stuff) would likely be superfluous, just more friction to drag things down. At the leading end Pat mounted polished 17x8 Billet Specialties GTX-65 rims and modest 235/50 HTR ZIII Sumitomos. Taking up the rear, 17x11 BS wheels and Sumis of the 315/30 variety. Energy burns to a cinder via a Hydroboost booster and Wilwood master cylinder actuating 4-piston Wilwood calipers front and rear clamping 12-inch rotors fore and 11-inch rotors aft.
Pat ironed out the firewall and made custom front frame supports that he painted in body color. Again, he used a minimalist approach to the exterior customizing, removing the front bumper and having Eric Bushyhead in Nowata apply the burnt orange and silver combo, thereby visually shrinking the 4-inch cowl on the Goodmark hood and making the car look a bit narrower than it really is. Immediately thereafter, Pat laid a fine charcoal pinstripe between the colors. The body appears all the smoother for its lack of door handles, side markers, emblems, and badges.
Sticks & Bones
Since the objects of Pat's affection are dynamics and dexterity, he adapted a Martz Chassis subframe and gave it some tweaks of his own. Tubular upper and lower control arms sandwich QA1 adjustable coilover shock absorbers and bookend the power-assisted Mustang rack steering assembly. The Martz subframe is valuable in that it pares about 200 pounds off the stock front end. Pat adapted a splined antisway bar and affixed the Martz clip to the body with solid biscuits. He provided some muscle tone with subframe connectors and narrowed rear framerails and tied the configuration together with a four-point rollcage. The reality transpires through a Hotrods to Hell CenterDrive truck arm suspension, a system that offers phenomenal bite in the corners and in a straight line and returns an extremely smooth ride. By its nature, the long trailing/locating arms offer minimal resistance and virtually eliminate chassis bind. You really have to drive one to believe it. QA1 coilover adjustable dampers help to control wheel movement and a Panhard bar centrally locates the Moser housing. To accommodate an 11-inch-wide back wheel and have plenty of room for sidewall movement, Pat set 3-inch deep mini-tubs in place.
Slider's nerve endings are represented by a Painless wiring system, its tendrils racing toward Painless switches, Auto Meter Ultra-Lite II gauges, and a Vintage Air HVAC assembly. The idea here is geared toward concentration and minimal effort to apply it; therefore Pat didn't include an audio system or GPS, TV, wink lights, or any other frippery. The car is runner-lean ... as it should be. The body color orange/red dashboard brightens the cockpit's gray and black leather and vinyl. As Pat grips the minimal Grant Classic steering wheel, he's propped by a Procar seat and held fast by Simpson five-point belts. The Classic Dash carbon-fiber insert adds another eye-appealing visual to the whole. Oddities include the tranny-tunnel-mounted e-brake handle right behind the Hurst lever. You can see how the right equipment and color integration have transformed an otherwise stark interior into a thing of minimalist beauty.