First Big Fish
From the land where everything is done big-Beaumont, Texas-hails Jesse Fillingame and his 440-powered '69 Cuda. When these cars were new, they weren't marketed well, and as such not many were produced. That's a good thing for guys like Jesse. The original block was opened up .040 inch and filled with everything required to make it a stock rebuild. The 727 sends all that juice to an 831/44 Sure Grip with 3.55 gears.
As one of the shortest wheelbase cars in our challenge, Jesse's 'Cuda actually had a nice feel for the road. The 440 is more than enough power, but that can also be a problem if some punk kid in a Mustang were to pull alongside and laugh as your tires go up in smoke. The car has no rattles, and the resto is top-notch. It even won Best Appearing A-Body at the show!
When it came to the track, Jesse was a first-timer, so inexperience worked against him. Still, while short-shifting the car and trying to get it to launch, Jesse managed to run a 14.95 at 92.47 mph.
Quite possibly one of the nicest cars in our challenge was Jim Spetzman's '6911/42 Bee. Hailing from Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, Jim participates in the Pure Stock races, which means the Bee's engine is bone stock. The tech sheet reads like a broken record-rods, crank, cam, heads, and so on-all stock. The only change is to TRW flat-top pistons. From there, the 727 sends the power to the Dana 60 with a Sure Grip and 4.10 gears.
You would never know by riding in Jim's car that these Bees were built for racing. The soft, comfortable ride with a full interior makes one think this is a loaded-for-comfort GTX. It is also evident this is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Underneath the plush ride, you could tell there was a beast growling. Since Jim has been racing the car in Pure Stock he knows how to make it work.
When it came time for the Bee to prove its heritage at the track, it was right at home. When the smoke cleared (what are we saying? This thing hooked like a banshee) the Bee mustered an impressive 12.95 e.t. at 106.59 mph.
The Rookie and Son
Henderson, Nevada, locals Ken Westcott and his 14-year-old son, Allen, brought Ken's '70 Barracuda out for their first-ever participation in a car show. Ken and Allen built this car themselves in their home garage. The 'Cuda is motivated by a .060-over 340 filled with flat-top pistons, a "super stock" cam, and topped with a pair of X heads supporting an Edelbrock RPM intake and a 750-cfm carb.
When introduced, E-Body Mopars were to compete with the lesser two of the Big Three in the pony wars. Ken's car rode smoothly, and the exhaust note coming from the stock mufflers was not overwhelming in the cockpit. Ken's car is representative of the majority of nice drivers that fill our hobby. It may not be the recipient of a concours resto, but we wouldn't be ashamed to own it.
This was Ken's first trip to the track as well. Although not experienced, his enthusiasm more than made up for that. He made quite a few trips down the quarter-mile, and the first 60 feet of them were hazing the tires. Still, he managed a best of 13.65 e.t. at 99.88 mph.
His and Hers
John Galambos of Orange, California, and Jennifer Sheley of Anaheim brought his '66 Charger and her '68 Charger to take on the challenge-as well as each other. John's ride boasts a 360 with TRW dished pistons on the stock rods and crank and a Crane "blower spec" camshaft. The heads are cast pieces with some port work, topped off by a small B&M blower supporting the Holley 800 carb. Jen's motorvational duties are handled by a '74 440 with forged pistons (sporting a bump on them) on the stock rods and crank. The cam is by Isky, and the heads are ported stock units. A Performer RPM intake and 750 carb feed the need.