No Dyno Dan with his two cars. The white one, the car they currently campaign,
This is the red cars engine. Its run in the 10s, but the last time out, one of
Dan makes a custom-fit crank scraper and screen for all of his motors. When the 426 Max in
The bench in Dans clean room proves that every part is given special attention. Noti
Here Dan is putting an epoxy dam on the back side of the shelf on the pan rails. This give
Dan also restricts these oil passages with simple carb jets (arrow).
These are just a few of the Max Wedge heads Dan showed us.
The crank on the left is stock; so is the one on the rightor rather it was deemed le
A lot of people say theyre stuck in the 60s. Dan really is! Check the literatu
Check out the top shelf. Wouldnt you love to have a pair of cross ram intakes, origi
Wed like to have these wall hangings in our garage, too. Dans got one complete
Dan was really happy when Mopar Performance first re-released their new Max Wedge heads. H
Antique stores and junk shops that have no sense of order are always good for a couple hours of entertainment, as well as our dust-triggered allergies. Old rundown barns, or better yet, abandoned warehouses, draw us like moths to the flame. Show us a junkyard thats been closed to the general public for thirty years, and you wont see us for two days!
So you can only imagine our glee when we pulled into Max Wedge racer Dan Dvoraks shop, Dvorak Machine, in Waldo, Florida, a couple of months ago to drop off a 440 for machine work. We must have looked like grade school kids on their first trip to the museum as we walked around his shop. It seemed everywhere we looked we spotted something speciala Cross Ram here, several sets of Max Wedge heads there, and complete front ends hanging on the walls we just knew were aluminum without even asking.
Besides the treasures that we practically tripped over at every turn, there were the other things that made the trip lots of fun. Walking into Dans shop is like stepping back into the 60s. To go with the pair of Max Wedge race cars he has inside, he has 60s-themed Muzak piped in for ambiance. The crowning touch is the reading material in the, um, reading room. Chiltons and Motor Manuals on the book shelf (all of which are vintage), and a stack of Hot Rod Magazines from the early 60s that look like they arrived in the mail yesterday.
Dan started racing back in the early 60s, when 426ci Max Wedge cars were the cutting-edge, state-of-the-art machines. His first dedicated-effort car was a 62 Dart station wagon with a 413ci/410hp Wedge that held all the local track records and ran under the National record routinely in 63. Next was a new 63 nine-passenger station wagon with a complete aluminum front end built for the 65 racing season. I bought the aluminum parts before I had the car, says Dan. I studied the rules real close, figured everything out, and decided a station wagon would be the best. We were only running on 7-inch slicks back then, so anything we could do to put weight on them to get them to hook up was the idea. That particular car, mathematically, was the best car for the class with a weight break of 8.51 pounds-per-hp on an 8.50 pounds-per-hp class minimum.
Yes, having the best car for the class was better than being fast, at that time, says Dan. Back then, you couldnt add or subtract weight to your car to make a particular class, so you could be 150-200 pounds heavier than other cars in your class, and there was nothing you could do about it. Since then, Dan has earned a NHRA Division 2 Championship, Mid-South Nationals Championship, two dozen or so class championships (his most prized positions), has held more national records than he can remember, and lots more.
Of course, not only does this kind of effort require extreme dedication, it also requires extremely strong family support. Tanya (who was too shy to get in front of our camera) and Dan have been married for 13 years, and their families have known each other forever. Tanya is as much a part of Dvorak Machine as Dan is. I cant add anything to that, Dan says.
Have you ever hung around Stock racers? Theyre nuts! They are simply more fun than any other group of people we know. One of the things Stock racers are famous for is their creative interpretation of the rules. For example, Dan says, The rules say the heads must have the factory three-angle valve job. But they dont say which three angles, and they dont say I cant add my own to them. So the second, forth, and sixth angles (on the valve seats) are from the factory. The other three angles are mine, for a total of six angles. When you follow the letter of the rules, the tech inspectors cant argueDans six-angle valve jobs are legal. Then there are the real stretches: Dan showed us a crank thats passed tech, and explained that the balance holes in the counterweights were plugged with upside down freeze plugsstrictly to reduce windage. Looked good to us, until we saw it next to a stocker that Dan hadnt played with yet. We dont envy tech inspectors.
Then there are the cool tips we picked up on race engine assembly. Its no secret that not a single part of a Stock-class engine goes in without being reworked. For instance, Dan modifies the piston rings heavily, including machining the inside radius of them to take the tension out of the ring. Then he puts a spacer into the ring land to fill the top-to-bottom gap (when added to the thickness of the ring) of the land, which is how the pistons get the seal. Its the same low-tension piston ring technology that Detroit is starting to use on the no-service-for-100,000-miles engines, except that Dans been doing it for decades.
More tricks include tapping and restricting the oil passages to the cam bearings with carb jets to limit the amount of oil that rains into the bearings and then through to the rest of the rotating assembly. Epoxy gets laid into the top edge of the pan rail on the block, getting rid of the shelf thats there. Why? So the oil coming off the crank doesnt hit it and splash back into the reciprocating assembly. Were sure there are a million other tricks and details that find their way into these engines, but we only had one day.
We thought the trip was interesting, educational and fun, so we took some pictures while we were there. Now, you can share our dream.
Dan in his original Law Man 62 Dart wagon.
Dan The Lawman
Everybody knows Al Eckstrand was The Lawman, right? So whats the deal with Dan Dvorak having that moniker on the side of his cars back in the early 60s, and his Nostalgia stocker? You have no idea how many times Ive had to explain that over the years wasnt exactly what Dan had to say about the name game, but it is the printable version.
Heres Dan in his second Law Mana nine-passenger station wagon with an aluminum
To make a long story short, Dan named his cars The Lawman because he was a law school student when he first started racing his 62 Dart station wagon back in 64. There were two or three other guys, at least, who had that name. One other at the track I always ran at! His first business venture was even called Lawman Racing Engines. So how come Eckstrands name is synonymous with The Lawman? Probably better PR, and more exhibition racing on Als part.