Factory lightweights. The mere words conjure up a delicious image-intermediate B-bodies lightened with aluminum parts, unnecessary accoutrements deleted (e.g., the back seat, arm rests, and so on), stuffed with the most rattle-nasty engine ever to come out of an American car company, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and guaranteed drag-strip supremacy. You following us? But factory lightweights come with a price-a rather heavy price. there's always the clone option.
Enter Don J. Baierl. Don, co-owner of SharaDon Performance (a one-stop restoration and engine building shop) and his wife Sharan (SharaDon-get it?) purchased this '64 Dodge 330 lightweight clone a dozen years ago. But here's the rub, it was built with all the correct and rare (read: expensive) parts that make the factory lightweights . . . well, factory lightweights. It even came with the correct '64 K-heads on the basically stock 426 race Hemi, the right seats, seat brackets, core support, thin bumpers, and aluminum front-end and doors. It's a clone without reproduction parts.
This '64 lightweight clone...
This '64 lightweight clone would be a poor facsimile without the requisite race Hemi between the fenders. This one's been poked and stroked to 484 inches, with JE pistons, a Comp solid cam, original '64 "K" iron race Hemi castings, an MSD ignition, topped off with a factory cross-ram sporting a pair of 780 Holleys. The 12.5:1 elephant cranks out 662 hp and 622 lb-ft of torque.
Don raced it that way for 12 years, running in the mid-to-high 10s. In fact, it ran so well when it came time to change out the valvesprings a few years ago, they checked the main bearings just out of curiosity. What they found looked so good, they buttoned it back up and continued racing it for a couple more years. Don was so impressed with the Hemi in the 330, that he hired the gentleman who built it back in 1988 to run the engine program at SharaDon Performance. Last spring, the old Hemi was put out to pasture after a long and distinguished career. Don and crew screwed together a pretty serious 484ci short-block via a 4.15-inch stroke crank. They filled the block with JE forged slugs squeezing 12.5:1 compression, stabbed in a top-secret Comp solid flat-tappet grind, and reused the stock race Hemi top end. It was all good for over 660 horses and has propelled the black beast to a best of 10.04 at 132 mph.
All those eager horses are channeled through a Trickflight-built 727 Torqueflite with the requisite Turbo Action reverse-manual valvebody, a TCI 5,000-rpm stall converter, all controlled by a B&M shifter. Out back resides a Dana 60 reinforced with Moser 35-spline axles, a spool, and 4.30 gears. The rest of the package is standard Mopar go-fast fare: Super Stock springs, a pinion snubber, QA1 shocks, and a stone-stock front end with 90/10 shocks. Even on the smallish 10.5-inch slicks, Don's 330 turns in heavyweight 1.39-second short times. Who says you need a four-link!
This is the starting line...
This is the starting line at the local drag strip. Actually we lied, this is the concrete pad in front of Don's shop, SharaDon Performance of Hugo, Minnesota. Obviously, much suspension testing takes place here, as is evident by the thousands of miles of rubber slathered on the pavement. Not a bad place to work!
So what does the future hold for Don and his light heavyweight? More racing for sure, and with a recent 10.04 pass, he's knocking on the back door of the 9s. Do we need to further explain the appeal of the factory lightweights? We thought not.
|Car: ||'64 Dodge 330 two-door sedan |
|Engine: ||484ci Hemi |
|Heads: ||'64 "K" castings, stock cast iron |
|Camshaft ||Comp solid flat-tappet, secret specs |
|Induction: ||Race Hemi cross-ram, |
| ||two Holley 780-cfm carbs |
|Headers: ||2 1/8-inch headers |
|Power: ||662 hp, 622 lb-ft of torque |
| ||(engine dyno) |
|Trans: ||727 auto, Turbo Action reverse/manual valvebody, TCI 5,000-rpm stall converter |
|Diff: ||Dana 60, 4.30 gears, spool, Moser axles |
|Front Suspension: ||Stock, Competition Engineering 90/10 shocks |
|Rear Suspension: ||Super stock springs, QA1 shocks |
|Brakes: ||Wilwood discs front, |
| ||stock 10-inch drums rear |
|Wheels & Tires: ||Weld Aluma Star 15x4 front, 15x10 rear, Moroso front runners, Phoenix 29.5x10.5x15 drag slicks rear |
|Paint: ||Black, |
| ||touched up by SharaDon Performance |
|Performance: ||10.04 @ 132 mph |