"I''ve always loved Road Runners," says Mike Wowk of Grafton, Ohio. "I bought this one in 1991 for $800. It sat for about six or seven years while I figured out what direction I wanted to go with it." At the time, Mike had a red '70 Road Runner, so he wasn't anxious to restore his newest one. Then, when someone offered him cash for the red one, he sold it and began work on the Burnt Orange one. "My original plan was to go to the Pure Stock races," Mike adds. "And I felt the B-Body had better weight transfer than an E-Body. So, in my opinion, that was an added bonus."
Whether or not you agree with Mike, he has proven his Road Runner can do battle with any stock car.
When Mike first purchased the B-Bomber-as you can see in the before picture-it was not in the condition it's in now. After Mike officially took ownership of the Road Runner, it was decided that Joel Cox in Elyria, Ohio, would give the B-Body its show factor.
The body was relieved of all removable items, and the minor rust spots in the sheetmetal were repaired. Then it was time for shiny stuff. Mike is the first to admit he's a huge fan of Limelight, but since this is an original Six Pack car, it was covered in the original Burnt Orange in a base/clear mix of PPG. Once it was shiny, the top half was covered with a new white vinyl top. Year One was contacted for the inside trim, and since the factory interior came in a combination of Burnt Orange and white, Mike made sure the repopped cockpit was as the factory shipped it. The only deviation from stock is the addition of a Mallory tach. By the way, this one came with the fabled factory racing option-radio delete.
Knowing that Mike planned to race the Runner, he and his brother CJ paid special attention to the driveline. Beginning with a 440 block, the machining process consisted of a .040-inch overbore and filling the cylinders with KB flat-top pistons spinning on the stock rods and crankshaft. Sealing the cylinders is a pair of 906 casting heads that received a mild port job by Dan Dvorak, and Crane 1.5 iron rocker arms. Since he planned to go Pure Stock racing, a camshaft with "a little under .500-lift," according to Mike, was employed. Topping all this off is an Edelbrock intake with a trio of Holley 2300 carbs. Finally, ignition chores are handled by the venerable MP electronic ignition system.
The column shifter actuates a 727 TorqueFlite rebuilt by Bouchillon Performance in Charleston, South Carolina. It's filled with pieces such as an MP shift-improvement kit and a Dynamic 11-inch converter, while an 831/44 rear filled with a Sure Grip unit and 3.91 gears rounds out the package.
Knowing that power is useless if it won't hook, Mike spent some serious time fine tuning the suspension combo. He started up front with a pair of B-Body 318 torsion bars and a pair of Summit adjustable shocks. To bring up the rear, a pair of MP extra-heavy-duty springs were attached with polyurethane bushings and a pair of shocks from a Chrysler Imperial (for more travel length). Mike admits it may sound simple, but trying to make a stock-looking car hook takes fine-tuning and practice. Since this is a stock car, lightweight wheels and sticky tires are not allowed. Mike chose stamped steel wheels because they're six pounds lighter than Rallye wheels, and the rubber bands on those steel wheels are Goodyear Polyglas repops-not exactly made for launching a car. Even so, Mike manages to pull 60-foot times in the 1.8 range and has tripped the lights to the tune of 12.36 seconds at 111 mph.
Mike has managed to gain a lot of respect in this class for his consistency and ability to launch on those tires. It's simple in design, and Mike is happy with the performance . . . for now. He says he has no plans to step up and be more competitive in the Stock-Appearing class. Mike's content with bashing it out in the Pure Stock races. The performance it has achieved definitely makes this bird a wolf in a sheepskin jacket.