A couple of things were quickly evident. Jack Karakashian, nervously nestled in the back seat, made no bones about his feelings regarding aggressive driving (whether he was a nuisance or the voice of reason is up to conjecture), so the Hemi car was driven in a very docile manner. Dave, on the other hand, knows his big B-Body inside out and has no problem slammin' the pedal down between traffic lights. Anyplace where he had safe space to run, all six bores leading into the intake manifold were metering fuel into the 440, followed by a jamming of the brakes that seemed certain to stuff the original nose into the vehicle in front of it. However, Big Dave had it under control, and we came out with nary a scratch.
North of 15 Mile, we rolled into the suburb of Birmingham, where Dave and the owner of a red 440 '71 Road Runner got into a window-to-window conversation in front of us. Throttles were blipped to keep the plugs clean, but there was no duel, not with all this traffic. Dave made some closing remark to the gentleman in the red rocket, who replied, "At least my car doesn't carry cadavers!" as he motored off into the night. The low-mileage Road Runner has never carried cadavers, though a misstatement in another publication several months ago has kept Dave busy chasing the rumor away.
Left to right: Steve Dulcich, Bob Karakashian, Dave Hakim
We looped around at the north end of Birmingham and headed south again. The Hemi 'Cuda was a gentleman in traffic and a wildcat above 3,000 rpm, and Bob had no problem keeping up with Dave when he had to. In fact, it was Bob's handiwork that set Dave's 440-6bbl outfit up, and Mopar Muscle has previously covered "Mr. Six Pack's" tuning efforts in December 1998, as part of our Hemi vs. Wedge issue. The Hemi car eased well through the heavy traffic, and Bob cruised it with the finesse of an F1 racer, no effort showing whatsoever, despite the original car's high street value and accompanying what-if stresses. As we neared Dugan's Pub, considered the epicenter of the event, things were busier than ever, with many people and cars rolling through the parking lot. However, rollers were also evident and this police presence was enough to keep all but the most foolhardy from smoking their tires for the crowd. It took us almost an hour to make a full circle, though Dave made the most of it with his tire-chirping banzai runs for 100 feet or so between lights. At the turnaround below 11 Mile Road, Dulcich and I switched places, and now it was my turn to get the E-ticket Woodward ride as we headed north again.
Let's face it, this car, with its door-size Wayne State University decals plastered on the sides, is highly visible. I spent most of my time watching for the Man, shooting car-to-car photos, and taking deep breaths as we slowed dramatically at traffic signals. Mike was laughing at me from the back seat. Into Birmingham we rolled again, where two kids in a red Chevelle SS lined up next to us at a light. Dave looked over at them and was rewarded with the muffled roar of the Chevy rat coming his way. At the green, he didn't change his previous driving style one bit, coming out of First with a vengeance and slowing down as soon as he hit the legal speed limit. The little guys in the Chevrolet pulled up alongside.
"Not bad," they say.
"Yeah, but you guys are probably up past your bedtime," says Dave.
At the next light, the Chevelle tried again, but the Six Pack's rumble was ahead of them before they crossed the intersection. Tail between their legs, they quickly slinked off into the shadows to go cry to their mommies.
"You know, everywhere I go, I see these red-with-black stripe '70-'72 Chevelles," says Dave with a grin. "I think they're still making 'em down in Mexico or something."