We'll admit that the Pro Street look-fat tires, monstrous superchargers, and barely reasonable streetability-has a limited audience. We'd even hazard a guess that some of you are wondering why we choose to run the screaming yellow zonker shown here, since Pro Street sort of went out of style in the early-'90s. After all, most of us are satisfied with milder modified cars or reasonable restorations. The effort that goes into an O.E. Gold Standard restoration is left to those who desire absolute accuracy, and the work that goes into truly gnarly monsters like this '74 'Cuda is normally the realm of ISCA contenders.
On the other hand, when a guy like John Balow, whose Musclecar Restorations is capable of that O.E. Gold honor, tells us we need to take a look at a new Pro Street car he had a hand in finishing, we take notice. And even though we realize it's not something for everybody, if there ever was a car worthy of the "Ultimate" title, this baby is it.
The owner has chosen to remain anonymous for the time being, so we got the inside scoop on this beast from Dave Daunheimer, the owner of Competition Fabrications Inc. (Comp Fab) in Maple Park, Illinois. Dave has built over 20 high-end street monsters, and campaigns a Hemi front-engine, nitro-burning dragster on the weekends. His level of expertise becomes evident as you start to understand why this car looks "just right," even though we shot it in a fairground parking lot outside the Indy Cylinder Head show last February.
To start with, nothing was left alone on the body. The media-blast shell received a two-inch stretch on the wheel openings, the side markers were all "frenched in" using traditional metal body techniques, and aero lips were added to the rear wheel openings. A fiberglass hood was modified for the steroid-laced engine to peer through, while two decklids, one with a wing for "real life" and one that looks standard, were built. The Simpson chute can be removed and a license plate installed with little effort. A third brake light was recessed into the rear of the roof. The owner also decided that the '70 grille favored the package, so that was added to the front as well. After Daunheimer's crew was done with it, it ended up at Balow's place for the finishing touches and paint.
Blower motors might work for fuel cars, but can be finicky on the street; here, Indy Cylinder Heads came through with cutting edge technology. Kenny Lazzari and his crew began with a 540-inch bottom-end based around the Indy Maxx block, topped it off with Indy Legend 1RA heads, and added an 8-71 BDS huffer. What makes it unique is the 16-point (8 in the hat and 8 in the manifold) sequential electronic fuel injection unit built by Speed Pro for BDS that allows the engine's fuel curve to be programmed by computer; a set of 500 lb/hr Aeromotive pumps moves the juice. Dave admits a lot of time was spent making sure that any air moving through the grille was also going through the Ron Davis-built radiator; Meziere got the nod for pumping chores. All fluids in the car move through braided lines from Ray Godman.
The headers (which are equal 40-inch length, 2.25-inch primaries on all eight cylinders) and full, muffled exhaust were custom-built by Comp Fab to fit the caged-and-tied body. They exit through the rear valance, with LO-KO Performance temp coatings on all pieces. A switch to rack-and-pinion steering aided the fitment process. The rest of the driveline was built for the 1,050-horse dyno-proven mill-a LencoDrive three-speed with a Coan 4,500 rpm converter, and a Comp Fab-designed rear housing using Strange and Richmond parts. A set of custom-made American Racing mags were mounted to the four corners, with braking handled by discs from Wilwood and street tires from M/T. The idea is for this car to see track time in 2002, and the final package crosses the scales at 3,200 pounds.
OK, so it's got a killer driveline; what about the interior? The quality keeps on coming, with hand-formed, double-walled insulated aluminum pieces used to keep that hot Hemi from roasting the occupants. An overhead console houses the operational switches, and accessories include (get this) a Vintage Air A/C unit under the dash, power windows and door locks, and a 5-pound Firefox fire system aimed at the engine. A pair of Optima batteries resides in the trunk to power all this stuff, including a data acquisition system; the car also retains functional lights and turn signals and is street legal. In addition to the headliner and seat covers, floor mats that can be easily removed are in place to keep the aluminum in perfect shape. Creative Auto Tops gets credit for much of the interior's upholstery work. Finally, an SFI 25.1D spec cage makes the car legal for just about anything short of Pro Mod.
So, in the end, even those of us who try to keep things a little sane are impressed-EFI supercharged Hemi engine, high-visibility E-Body, street legal, numerous customized and fabricated pieces, a magnificent paint job, and power everything on the inside. It begs just one question-can you top this?
The body is lowered on the...
The body is lowered on the tube chassis. Note the finished tin floor installed. The body had been massaged with enlarged wheelwells and frenched-in side markers.
Supported by the chrome-moly...
Supported by the chrome-moly framework, the dash was roughed out in cardboard, then formed panels were fitted and marked up for cutting. The finished version contains Autometer gauges in a carbon-fiber facing, A/C controls, and a Grant steering wheel; the computer serial cable is in the glove box.
These views of the undercarriage...
These views of the undercarriage prove that attention to detail did not end in the visible areas.
The wiring seen here is part...
The wiring seen here is part of the BDS Sequential Electronic Fuel Injection layout.
Here's the engine, installed...
Here's the engine, installed and plumbed, just before the front fenders went on the car.
This is the custom-fabricated...
This is the custom-fabricated rear end that was built to withstand whatever tortures the engine could put out.