Here at Mopar Muscle, we’ve built all kinds of project vehicles, from stock restored cars to full-blown race cars, but our real passion falls somewhere in between those two extremes. It’s not that we don’t appreciate a factory original muscle car, or a powerful Mopar that runs sub-seven second elapsed times, but how much enjoyment do you actually get from those type of vehicles? In reality, most factory restored muscle cars aren’t a real pleasure to drive with drum brakes, manual steering, and outdated systems, and full on racecars require a team of people to assist at the track, a lot of maintenance, and can only be really enjoyed for a few adrenaline filled seconds at a time. For these reasons, we decided that one of our latest project vehicles, a 1964 Dodge Polara we picked up at the 2011 Mopar Nationals, would be built not as an extreme racecar, but rather as a street/strip machine that could easily be raced in the Nostalgia Super Stock class of drag racing.
Nostalgia Super Stock (NSS) is a cool class as it includes index categories for cars that run 13’s in the quarter-mile all the way down to cars that run ten seconds flat. And if you want to go faster, Nostalgia FX classes feature indexes down in the nine and eight second range. Another advantage of this class is that the cars don’t have to adhere to the strict rules of NHRA or IHRA Stock or Super Stock Eliminator classes. Designed to make racing fun for racers who like old cars, NSS cars simply have to meet certain safety requirements and look the part of a nostalgic race car. Otherwise, rules covering modifications to the engine and suspension of these vehicles are very liberal, making it easy for a variety of cars to compete. And since the classes are run on an index and are handicapped, you can have fun whether your car runs in the quickest category, the slowest, or somewhere in between.
Since NSS racing features so many categories for cars of different speeds, we decided to build our ’64 Dodge to meet the basic rules of the class, then work on making it progressively quicker as we enjoy racing it. In previous issues of Mopar Muscle, we outlined this project and then upgraded our car with four-wheel disc brakes from Wilwood. This month we’ll replace our Dodge’s factory fuel system with a fuel cell from Summit Racing Equipment and a complete fuel system kit from Aeromotive, and install ignition components from MSD including a Digital 6 electronic ignition box and Pro-Billet distributor.
Any time you’re building a performance vehicle, whether it’s a fast street car, off-road truck, or full-blown race car, you should consider replacing some or all of the car’s factory systems with quality aftermarket components. Our ’64 Dodge came with a stamped steel gas tank with a front sump, 5⁄16-inch fuel line, and a small engine-driven fuel pump. Even by today’s OE standards this fuel system is inadequate, and certainly won’t deliver enough fuel for our Indy-headed big-block to run properly. More importantly, we only wanted to replace our fuel system components once, so while the fuel cell we got from Summit Racing Equipment along with the Aeromotive A1000 fuel system kit may be considered overkill for our 650-horsepower engine fed by a single 1050-cfm Quickfuel carburetor, this fuel system will allow adequate fuel supply as we improve our car, and can support power levels well over 1000 horsepower if our pockets ever get deep enough to achieve those kind of numbers.
Even better, the Aeromotive kit we installed comes with all of the necessary components, including their A1000 fuel pump, -10 AN braided fuel delivery line, a 10 micron and 100 micron fuel filter, fuel pressure regulator, return line, and -6 AN carburetor supply lines. The A1000 fuel pump is amazingly quiet given the volume of fuel it can deliver, and the fuel return provision on the Aerospace regulator returns any unused fuel to the tank during part throttle operation so that the carb always sees a fresh supply of cool gasoline from the fuel cell. Overall, this fuel system is a huge improvement over the car’s stock system, and will give us room to grow if we chose to put a more powerful engine in our Dodge.
As for the ignition in our car, the stock single-breaker point style ignition system our Dodge came equipped with, is also woefully inadequate by modern performance standards, so we decided to upgrade with a selection of parts from MSD. Breaker points are limited in terms of rpm and spark energy, so this upgrade makes complete sense, not just for performance applications but for stock cars as well. In addition to providing higher spark energy, modern electronic ignition systems like the ones available from MSD are also far more reliable than breaker points, and require almost no maintenance. Looking at the variety of ignition components available from MSD, we decided their Digital 6 Plus ignition box would be a nice match to our car, along with a Pro-Billet distributor, Super Conductor plug wires, and Blaster SS ignition coil.
MSD’s Digital 6 Plus ignition offers many of the features found in the tried and true original MSD 6 ignition, with some great additional features. The Digital 6 Plus gives great spark energy, and features “multiple spark discharge” at low to moderate rpm for a more complete burning of the fuel mixture, just like the original. This ignition system also offers two separate rev limit adjustments, and a high speed retard feature for use with nitrous oxide injected or boosted engines. Even better, there are no replaceable “chips” for adjustments, just simple rotary switches on one end of the unit that are conveniently adjusted using a small flat-blade screwdriver, which MSD includes with the ignition box.
The Digital 6 Plus ignition is compatible with any electronic distributor or even points-style distributors, but we chose MSD’s Pro-Billet distributor along with an MSD Blaster SS coil and 8.5 mm Super Conductor plug wires for our application. The Pro-Billet distributor is available as a direct bolt in for our low-deck 400 block, and features a variety of adjustable advance curves which are selected by interchanging a single bushing and dual springs attached to the counterweights. We’ve used this type of MSD distributor before and found it to be very accurate in terms of the advance curves. Along with the rest of our MSD ignition components, this system will generate plenty of spark energy for our 451-cubic-inch big-block.
Now that our ’64 Dodge has the proper fuel and ignition system installed, we’re that much closer to getting our car on the road, and more importantly, to the track. This is turning out to be a fun project to work on, and we’re sure it will be fun to drive and race as well. Be sure to follow along in future issues of Mopar Muscle as we upgrade our car’s suspension and install the necessary safety items to make it legal to race. We’re hoping to have the car at the track in the near future for testing, so we’ll be sure to let you know how our Dodge runs, and we’ll post videos of our Dodge making its first passes on moparmuscle.com. There are lots of racing events in Florida featuring the Nostalgia Super Stock classes, so we look forward to seeing you at the track as well!
|Aeromotive Fuel System
|Quick Fuel 1050 carburetor
|MSD PN 6520 Digital 6 Plus ignition unit
|MSD Pro-Billet distributor
|MSD Blaster SS Coil
|MSD Super Conductor Plug Wires
|Summit Racing Equipment 10-gallon fuel cell