Right now, I’m lucky enough that both of our race cars are running and don’t really need anything. I have three engines in mid build in the garage: the L-92 for the wagon (remember, I said they were both running) because I can’t leave well enough alone, the LS2 stroker for Daniel’s ’94 RX-7, and finally, a “Brand F” small-block for Charlie Allen’s P/SA Mustang Stocker.
This past weekend Daniel shifted gears on a project we’d been thinking about for quite a while. If you remember back at least six months or so ago we visited the Pomona swap meet for something we could install an old powertrain in and were devastated by the prices for early Chevys in junk condition. Well, this took us another way and we looked for an early 240Z Datsun to install this small-block engine package. After quite some looking for a clean Datsun, we ran into the same high-dollar syndrome we saw with the Chevys.
Never to let much grass grow under his feet, Daniel came up with another plan. “Let’s build a track day car! We can pick up a second-generation RX-7 and drop the small-block in that.” It didn’t take him long to find a blown-up (a natural occurrence) ’87 Turbo II RX-7 that was straight, no leaks, no rust, and a $2,000 price tag. The car came with a bolt-in rollbar, aftermarket coilover adjustable shocks, and racing coil springs. The engine we have to drop in is a 406 with AFR heads, forged rotating assembly, a mechanical flat-tappet camshaft, and an RPM Air-Gap. This engine will produce an easy 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. We’re going to back the engine with a trusty M21. This simple package will make the car plenty quick in a straight line, and the Mazda’s independent rear suspension and McPherson strut front will give us plenty of fun on the turns. All of this in a simple 2,750-pound package.
Yes, we could have found a Bow Tie to put these components into, but not for this cheap and with the handling capabilities this low-dollar track day car will have. Here in SoCal, we have many places to go out and play. Nearby is Fontana, which has monthly autocross events as well as open track days on the road course. The Adams Karting track in Riverside holds Time Attack events every Tuesday night and Drift night on Thursday. I know I said kart, but the track is large enough for one car at a time. I guess it’s time for me to get up off the couch and get back to work.
We love letters, especially technical questions. Submit your tech questions to Kevin McClelland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular shout-outs and good tidings are also always welcome.
Make Sure You Get Home
Q: I have a ’71 Chevy C10 pickup, and it is all steel that I race and some street use. I do drive it to the track, just 300 miles from my home here in Alaska. It has a 383 stroker with about 10:1 compression with the Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, intake, and cam. The carb is a custom-built Holley 4150 (670 cfm). The truck has run a best of 13.03 in the quarter with a consistent 1.80 60-foot. The speed is about 101 mph. I also use a built 700-R4 tranny with 3.73:1 gears and 26-diameter tires in the rear.
It seems to run very rich no matter what I do. I have run smaller jets and up to 72/76 jets. It has a size 9 on the power valve. No matter what I do it continuously gives me black plugs. I am trying desperately to lean it out, and get a bit more power so I can get into the 12s. No luck yet. Any ideas would be very helpful. It did the same with the 355ci engine it was in previously.