The crate engine has become ubiquitous; it’s the motor of reason. You don’t have to twirl a wrench; you just plug it in. Rather than a familiar GMPP offering, Rob chose an Edelbrock Performer RPM E-Tec engine. Based on a new four-bolt main bearing ZZ cylinder block, the new form wears E-Tec 170 aluminum cylinder heads and an RPM Air-Gap hosting a Pro Systems 780-cfm carburetor. The lower end is composed of a forged crankshaft and powdered metal connecting rods, supporting hypereutectic pistons with a compression ratio of 9.5:1. A 2204 Edelbrock hydraulic camshaft produces the following table: 0.539/0.548-inch lift and 234/238 degrees at 0.050 inch. Edelbrock naturally inserted as much of their product as possible (mechanical fuel pump, water pump, 1.5:1 roller rocker arms, pushrods, fasteners, rocker covers). Other vendors are represented by the Milodon six-quart oil pan (Chevy pump and pickup), Griffin aluminum radiator, and Powermaster 100-amp alternator. All Edelbrock small-block crates sport an MSD Pro Billet distributor and usually specify the following exhaust: 15/8-inch primary pipes on the Patriot ceramic-coated headers channel into a 2.5 collector and onto 2½-inch stainless steel system (after passing through a crossover pipe and Flowmaster 3 chambers)—all of it constructed by Rob. According to Edelbrock, the output is 435 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm and 435 hp at 5,500 rpm. Transferring torque to the rear axle falls to the LuK (say “luke”) clutch assembly and Tremec TKO 600 five-speed transmission. An Inland Empire prop shaft shuttles grunt to a 9-inch housing offering a 3.89:1 gear ratio and a sturdy Detroit Truetrac differential.
Foot-wide alloys and tenacious rubber are just as much a part of a Pro Touring car as chrome reverse wheels and baby moons are on an early street rod. They somehow sanctify the deal, and the sharpened suspension allows them to do their best. Rob mounted ZX3P Forgeline modulars (19x9 and 19x11) fitted with 275/30 and 305/30 Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position tires. Spots of red behind the spokes are Baer 14-inch rotors at the front, trailed by fully prepped 13-inch rotors. Calipers are six- and four-piston, respectively.
Rob says the interior mimics the stock setting save for the Corbeau LG1 seats. “I plan on doing a Marquez interior when the money tree in the backyard starts growing,” Rob says. Concentrating on function rather than form and to help achieve the roll stiffness he’d need, Rob installed a four-point Art Morrison rollbar. He also updated the wiring with an American Auto Wire harness and Auto Meter Pro Comp gauges. The Hurst shifter is finished with a DSE knob. “We added the stereo as an afterthought, really, nothing outrageous just something to listen to at car shows. When we drive we just like to hear the engine. I fabricated a custom box within the glovebox, wanting to keep the stock stereo look. It even has a pocket for the iPod.” The audio portion of Rob’s program comes from a CDA 105 Alpine head chopping through 6x9-inch front and rear Alpine speakers.
Rob didn’t mess around here. He got it right the first time. He went with a DSE subframe, coilovers, Koni adjustable shocks, antisway bar, and rack steering. He did the turnaround with the matching DSE Quadra-Link rear suspension. Then he joined both ends of the car solidly together with the requisite DSE subframe connectors. That way, when Rob installs a more powerful engine (LS9 is favored), he’d be able to use this fine setup to its max. Another season nurturing the money tree ought to do it.
Since money was becoming short time, most of the effort thus far has been lavished on the original shell. No custom work. Mario Novelli spent a good portion of the rehab making sure that the panel gaps and all the other parallel lines came in die-straight. He then proceeded with the spanking fresh PPG Speedway Blue. Rob painted the stock grille black. CHP