Tony used the best of everything for his 540, basing it on a granite-like Dart Pro cylinder case with a 4.50-inch bore. Motorsports Machining (Waukesha) did all the nipping and tucking under the sly eye of John Nader. Motorsports' Tim Jakus (himself a 10-wide racer) specified a Callies billet crankshaft (4.25-inch stroke), Oliver billet rods, and 10.5:1 Ross forgings wrapped with Childs & Albert rings. As if the combo wouldn't make enough of a racket by itself, Tony couldn't resist the nostalgic whine of a Pete Jackson geardrive. The big cog is connected to a Lunati solid roller (268/278 degrees at 0.050). Jakus capped the V-form with pocket-ported Dart aluminum castings set up with Chet Herbert valvesprings. The Comp 1.7:1 rocker arms wiggle less under the grip of a Comp stud girdle. On the bottom end, Jakus shielded the high-volume oil pump and pickup with a deep 7-quart Moroso sump. On the intake side, Jakus paired a Holley intake manifold with 1050 Dominator (covered by K&N) and put an NOS Cheater plate in between the two, just for personal protection you understand. Pyrotechnics zap from the MSD 6AL box and Pro Billet distributor set at 38 degrees total (with provision for pulling timing out when the nitrous begins its rampage). Hooker Super Comp headers feature 21/4-inch primaries and feed into scant and raspy Dynomax Race Magnum "mufflers." Torque transfer begins with a Turbo 400 built by Rick Tilke with FB Performance innards. It's fronted by a Dedenbear bellhousing, an FB trans brake, low gear kit (2.75, 1.57, 1.00:1), and reverse manual valvebody. A B&M Mega Shifter changes up gears and the transmission fluid is circulated through a B&M core. "When used with nitrous, that 2,800-rpm stall speed in conjunction with a trans-brake puts the motor at the bottom end of the power curve so the car reacts as if it had a 4,500-stall," said Tony. Grunt jams through a Mark Williams 4-inch diameter carbon-fiber prop shaft built by Tilke/Schaar Racing Transmission in nearby Milwaukee. At termination, there's a Strange Engineering Ultra Case, spool, 4.56:1 gearset, and 40-spline axles. Spool in a street-driven vehicle? "People have told me that driving with a spool is not cool because it's too hard to turn and too hard on the drivetrain. On cruise nights, I pull U-turns constantly and haven't had a single issue with it." Myth debunked.
Paint & Body
Jamie Gelting at Pesicek Auto Body in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, smoothed the sheetmetal and applied the GM (code 15) Silver carrying a medium metallic flake. The '79 Z28 was the only model fitted with a spoiler that swept back to blend with the leading edge of the wheelwells. Jamie aligned the original orange stripes and then cleared them for a lasting impression. The hood is an Unlimited Fiberglass unit with a 6-inch cowl.