Since then, Michael's been a regular, getting advice from other racers, learning his car, and improving at each outing. In 2007, a few changes were made to optimize the car's quarter-mile potential. The original 3.91 gears were swapped for steeper 4.30s, and the factory 21⁄4-inch exhaust was upgraded to a 21⁄2-inch, mandrel-bend system with DynoMax UltraFlo mufflers. Michael also eliminated a restrictive bend in the tailpipe, but the tips still exit in the stock location as mandated by PSD rules.
That made a big difference, and his ET continued to improve. To date, the AAR has proved to be one tough customer.
"It's been in seven shootouts now, and won all but one," Michael says proudly.
With the exception of the Autometer tach, it looks as it should—factory fresh.
At the 2009 Pure Stock Drags it all came together for a 13.12 at 105.33 pass, the car's best ever, making it the fastest small-block Mopar at the Pure Stock Drags. The 340 has been supremely reliable too.
"In over 200 passes, I've never even pulled a valve cover. Never touched the carbs to this day either," Michael declares.
He's quick to give credit where it's due.
"Without Bob I'd probably still be in the 14s."
Michael feels he's done what he intended to do with the AAR. It now lives the easy life in his garage, making ice cream runs on the weekends, as Michael readies his next project, a 1970 Hemi Road Runner.
Sounds All American to us.
1970 AAR 'Cuda
Langley, British Columbia, Canada
Engine: The numbers-matching 340 was rebuilt by none other than Bob Karakashian. With careful machining, the stock configuration—stock heads, block, crankshaft, even the OEM exhaust manifolds tested and fine-tuned on a dyno where it made 363 hp. The factory points-type distributor was converted to electronic ignition, and low-restriction K&N air filter was installed. Bob also installed one of his proprietary Mr. Six Pack cams, which retains stock lift and duration, but have improved ramps for quicker valve movement. But Bob has been tuning Six Packs for decades, and has an indisputable "track" record.
Transmission: The numbers-matching 727 was put back in service.
Rear: It's a basic 83⁄4, now with 4.30 gears. Getting ice cream just got a whole lot quicker.
Suspension: It's stock, but rebuilt.
Brakes: Manual discs and drums.
Wheels/Tires: Repop Polyglas rubber on factory rims.
Paint/Body: The body was in decent shape, but in 2005, the engine was pulled, and a full restoration was done. That's right, we said 2005. A friend knew a painter, and a few spot-rust repairs were made, and the paint job and fresh graphics did wonders for the body.
Interior: Look stock? Look again—it's got an aftermarket tach. Who are we trying to kid? It looks great.
AAR Racing Tips
Michael has a few recommendations for getting quicker et's out of a street AAR.
Go Lean. 80 percent of the time, those Six Pack carbs are way too rich. We dialed back the jets three sizes from stock. Leaning it out and knowing how to set it up with a guy like Bob makes a huge difference.
Bias-Ply repop Tires. "I tried radials, but switched to the stock looking Polyglas GTs. I run 32 psi rear and 45 up front. No drag shocks. Best 60-foot was a 1.97.
Ready, Set, Slow. Come off the line easy, don't punch it. Launch at just over idle, I get in it at about 100 feet out, way past the light.