Taken on February 5, 1960,...
Taken on February 5, 1960, these Petersen Archive photos show race winner Marvin Panch's Daytona Valiant before the big race. Panch refused the extra weight of a roll bar, citing factory rollover crash-test data showing the Valiant to be exceptionally safe. If you're wondering why a two-door wasn't used, it's because the '60 Valiant was only produced as a four-door sedan or station wagon. Two-door sedans and hardtops weren't introduced until 1961.
A few weeks later, we returned with the aluminum block resting under the hood. At 2,955 pounds (2,720-pound vehicle weight plus a still-non-dieting 235-pound driver) we hit the strip several times. Despite a slight jump in top-end numbers, the lighter motor failed to realize any clear-cut advantage. Why? The best we can offer is that a car like the Slant Six A-Body has excellent static and dynamic weight distribution, even with the iron block. Perhaps the reduced mass of the aluminum block is the answer to a question the car isn't asking at this level of performance. But jaws dropped when we yanked the fan belt and ran 14.190 at 94.26, improving the e.t. a full 11/42 second and 3 mph thanks to the elimination of parasitic drag. Many people left the track that day convinced that six really does equal eight.
Weigh Your Options
The hand-assembled 170-cube...
The hand-assembled 170-cube iron block Daytona Valiant race motor featured high-compression pistons and wilder cam specs than those later released for the over-the-counter Hyper-Pak kit.
Our '62 Valiant four-door was originally equipped with an iron-block, 170-cube Slant Six, 904 TorqueFlite, and a tiny 711/44 rear axle. Before the Hyper-Pak transformation, we filled the 13-gallon gas tank, put it on a certified public scale, and saw 2,700 pounds even. Then we yanked the original stuff and installed the aluminum-block Hyper-Pak mill, beefed drivetrain parts, and eliminated unnecessary gee-gaws like the heater and AM radio. After the transformation, we were pleased to find that curb weight (again measured with a full gas tank) grew by a mere 20 pounds to 2,720. Here's the run-down:
Ritalin Not Required-It's A Hyper-Pak
Chrysler specifically designed...
Chrysler specifically designed the long-ram-intake manifold to boost power at about 4,500 rpm to aid acceleration out of turns like the one shown here.
Now that we've solved the mystery of the aluminum Slant Six, let's take on the equally-mystical Hyper-Pak. With the advent and popularity of the revolutionary new crop of Detroit compact models in 1960, NASCAR invited the automakers to compete in a series of highly-publicized endurance and road races. Ford (Falcon), Chevy (Corvair), and Chrysler (Valiant) took the bait, and each manufacturer quickly whipped up performance-enhancing goodies. Though Ford and Chevy efforts seemed half-hearted, Chrysler engineers really came on strong with a cam, piston, intake, and exhaust package for the Valiant's cast-iron 170-inch low-deck Slant Six (the 225 was not available in Valiants until 1961).