Goldberg is quite pleased with all aspects of his A-990 Dodge. He says, "I can't thank the guys at YearOne enough for their help with dozens of small parts, and thanks to my friend Charlie Blankenship, who introduced me to some of the top Mopar suppliers in the country whose components I used to make this one killer car."
Over a couple of past issues, we brought you articles about the buildup of Bill Goldberg's A-990 clone, but there is a lot we just didn't have room for in print, so we put a lot of unused images at www.moparmusclemagazine.com. check them out! -Ed.
Driving Goldberg's A-990
As an automotive journalist, I get to drive a lot of high-performance cars-Vipers, Z06 Corvettes, Hemi Road Runners, and new Shelby Mustangs. After the final photo shoot with Bill Goldberg and his Dodge, he asked me if I'd like to take it for a drive. He barely got the words out of his mouth before I grabbed the keys and made for the car.
When I got into Goldberg's Dodge, the first thing I noticed was the simplicity of the interior: no radio, heater, sun visors, back seat, or armrests-less is more. The A100 van bucket seat is small compared to one in a modern car. It almost feels like the seat on a forklift (yes, I've driven one of those, too). As documented, Goldberg moved the seat back 3 inches from its stock location to accommodate his 6-foot, 4-inch frame. I'm 6-foot and found the wheel and pedal location comfortable. Since we had just finished the burnout photos, the engine was still warm when I turned the key. The starter gave one long tug before it spun the engine and then it quickly exploded to life. "Exploded" is the best word I can think of because this 650hp Indy Cylinder Head Hemi doesn't simply start; it makes the grandest of entrances and lets you know that it's something special. The needle on the Sun tach was bouncing around 1,200 rpm at idle as I sat there acclimating myself to the car. As I looked to my left, Goldberg was standing there with a big grin on his face and said, "Run it as hard as you'd like." I'm sure the underlying thought was "If you break it, you buy it."
Years ago I had the chance to drive one of Bob Mosher's '65 Plymouth A-990 clones. It had a Dale Reed-built Hemi with a cross-ram and dual Holley carbs. I remember that car as being very sensitive to any throttle input and the automatic had to be shifted manually. It was fun for the first five minutes of driving, and then it became a chore. Goldberg chose to have his transmission built so it could be driven fully automatic or shifted manually. I chose the full automatic approach-the less distractions the better when driving someone else's brand-new car. I dropped it into Drive and slowly motored off, trying to look as confident as possible, but I think Goldberg could see the beads of sweat forming on my forehead.
First impressions included how much I liked looking across the big Hemi hoodscoop and how large this car is for a midsize. It's physically long and wide, but the car handles exceptionally well for its size. The ride is amazingly smooth, considering the front is jacked up and it has super stock springs in the rear. I'm sure the radial tires play a major part in the ride quality. I also liked how the Magnaflow exhaust note sets off car alarms as I drove past, but is not annoyingly loud inside.
After 10 or 15 minutes, I started to feel comfortable behind the wheel. This was scary because I was feeling like I wanted to pick a fight with a Viper, Z06 Corvette, or one of those snooty Southern California Porsche guys. I headed for the freeway, secretly hoping I would come across something-anything-I could race.