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
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
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).