Well, we're on the home stretch. We're three days away from the Nevada Open Road Challenge at the time of this writing. by the time this hits the newsstands, we will have already completed the race and, hopefully, finished shiny side up. If you've been following along, you know we've been preparing our Project Stealth Bomber '89 Diplomat police car for the Nevada Open Road Challenge (NORC)-an open-road race in Ely, Nevada, spanning a 90-mile stretch of Highway 318. For the uninitiated, we took one slightly worn ex-patrol car, rebuilt and beefed the A999 automatic trans, freshened up the front suspension, added some modifications including Koni shocks and a Quickor sway bar, put a 2.76 gear and a limited slip in the 8.25-inch rearend, and dropped in a warmed-over 360 to provide forward thrust. We would be competing in the 110-mph class with a whole gaggle of much more exotic iron.
This final installment before the race focuses on safety equipment. We cannot overstate the importance of safety, particularly in this form of racing. While all racing should be treated with respect from a safety standpoint, open-road racing is serious business. sustained high-speeds and varying course conditions require a level of preparation not found in many other forms of racing, from a mechanical perspective as well as a mental perspective. While the Silver State Classic Challenge web site clearly explains the rules of preparation for the event, be sure the technical inspection won't overlook any shortcomings or shortcuts you may have taken to prepare your steed. As you will see, we've gone overboard with the safety equipment, but that's not a bad thing as we intend to step the interceptor up in class in the future. Always better to have more safety equipment than what is required. We also added bigger front disc brakes from a '79 Plymouth Gran Fury police car, new high-speed tires, and a slew of other items to make the Stealth Bomber a better car and open-road racer.
Brake DancingWhile combing through our local boneyard one fine Saturday afternoon, we came across a '79 Gran Fury police car. It turned out to be a treasure trove of special parts, including a set of 1131/44-inch disc brakes. These brakes will bolt right up as long as you take the caliper brackets as well, making it an easy swap. The brackets move the existing caliper outward. Once we had the rotors resurfaced, we took the opportunity to replace the wafer-thin pads with new semimetallic pads from our local parts emporium.