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My night at the drags

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  • My night at the drags

    Hey - its a race car! Pretty excited as this is really the culmination of 15 years now messing around with this old 52. I wrapped up some winter projects and finally felt like it was time to see what the car would do. Friday nights ar test and tune at 131 dragway. So I made the trek up there. Car ran great on the way up, no overheating problems like last year.
    The car went through tech just fine, only had to pop off the hubcaps to run it. I ran it across the scales too, 3680 lbs with me in it. If you're not familiar with me bragging on this car, its a 52 hardtop with a 454 chevrolet. 9.3 compression, aluminum edelbrock heads, and a solid lifter comp cam. Turbo 350 with a mild converter and a 9 inch ford with 3.50 gears. None of this is serious race stuff really, just a quick street car. I ran it all night on 93 octane and through the mufflers.

    So here is the fun part - the car runs really strong. On the street I can't get any grip to really feel it launch. But at track it stuck pretty good and man does it pull. I took a cautious first pass. The car generally steers good, but on a bad road it tends to wander a bit. The frame and steering is all stock Studebaker... manual saginaw box. Anyway that pass was a 13.29. But the car ran nice and straight and no trouble getting it slowed down at the far end. Next pass was a 13.21 but I was still a bit disappointed. I wanted 12s and the 60 foot times were slow. Traction problems.

    So I started avoiding the water box entirely, and doing a few dry burnouts instead. Plus removed the air filter and got the air pressure down to 13lbs in the big MT sportsmans. Success! Pass 4 and 5 were 12.78 and 12.77. Right on the money, even mph was identical at 108. I cant tell you how good those runs felt!! A guy could make the car faster with some changes, but I'm super happy right there. Top it off my reaction times were pretty good and I cut a .0017 light on the 5th pass. Hell yea.

    The rest of the story:
    Instead of going home after that near perfect last run I went out for one more. .05 light was OK but the tires didn't get warm enough and spun. 13.00 for the last pass. On the way back to my spot I saw the temp gauge was higher then it had been all night. Something not right! I shut down and coasted into my spot. Temp was climbing like a rocket, 230 and still going. Sure enough, no fan belt. Apparently it didn't like 5500 rpm shifts and departed. I got the car cooled down immediately and i'm sure it's OK. But I had to send dad home for the car trailer. So it was a late night and I didn't get to triumphantly drive it home.

    It's all back together this morning and i'm happy again. The car got a lot of attention even on a quiet friday night. People love the old Studebaker. There's nothing like racing for finding the weakest link in your car. But i'll be back again soon, now I know it's a legit racer. Sorry no better pics but i left the camera work to dad.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Wheeew!! The title had me nervous!

    It's great that you can now get the 52 out and enjoy it. That's half the fun of building them.

    Well done, Bob

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    • #3
      Great story Dan! I have really enjoyed folloiwng your progress on this car the last few years. Congrats on a job well done!
      Paul
      Winston-Salem, NC
      Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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      • #4
        Sweet car. Loved the story. Hope to get down a track in a straight line, myself. Cheers.
        Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

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        • #5
          Pretty dang cool - well, 'cept for that last run.
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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          • #6
            That's a fun night, even with the aggravation at the end. You can run a wire from the radiator core support through the belt to a bracket on the block and that belt will be right there waiting for you to put it back on next time. No joke.
            Jim
            Often in error, never in doubt
            http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

            ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              Dan, congradulations on running 12's!
              Tom - Bradenton, FL

              1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
              1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

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              • #8
                SWEET! Light 'em UP!
                Frank Remlinger
                Detroit, Michigan
                SDC# A004602R

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the report. I believed you and I parked next to one another at the International last summer in South Bend ( green '65 Cruiser). It is a beautiful car, and fast too!
                  Joe Roberts
                  '61 R1 Champ
                  '65 Cruiser
                  Eastern North Carolina Chapter

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                  • #10
                    Love the car and impressed with times. I kept throwing a fan belt off a Camaro I had at high RPMS. put a long bolt in the head that came out far enough to be right at belts side and the belt didn't throw off anymore. Bolt kept belt from starting its dance.
                    Randy Wilkin
                    1946 M5 Streetrod
                    Hillsboro,Ohio 45133

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                    • #11
                      Glad to hear that the hard work is paying off.
                      "In the heart of Arkansas."
                      Searcy, Arkansas
                      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                      1952 2R pickup

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                      • #12
                        yee haw, ya gotta love it. 12`s fist time out. Atta boy, you`ve got to be stoked about that!!! You know that that new console knocked off a tenth right. Congrats, Junior.

                        ps, next time get your Dad to ride along with camera in hand...inside video clip of run would be cool. Does your track allow passengers during T&T?
                        sigpic
                        1954 C5 Hamilton car.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wow! Great job and glad you finally made it out there and got some runs in. Very impressive, a 12 second street car is something to be proud of, especially when you built it yourself!
                          Pat Dilling
                          Olivehurst, CA
                          Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL


                          LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611

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                          • #14
                            Thanks guys for the comments. I'm very proud of the car. The belt was really too long anyway, i got one on a bit shorter now. Alt bracket is home-made of course, and there is very little room to make adjustment between the head and the fender. May take some extra precautions too, at least have a spare belt on hand! No way the first one came off in one piece. No room for escape between the fan and shroud.
                            Yea the console added a good 40 lbs to the car. There's a lot of little things that would make it faster but it was never about being just a race car. Joe I remember very well chatting with you down in south bend last summer! It was your gang that got me pushed into place after vapor locking in the entry line too. New fan, new electric fuel pump....hopefully those episodes are behind me.

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                            • #15
                              I got the 52 to the track again in August. Bettered my time only a little. 12.73 is now my best.
                              Unfortuantely this time my starter was going south on me. Every start was slower, slower....it just wouldn't turn the big block over. I had to give up after 3 passes becasue it wouldn't start up in the lanes. Luckily it still had one start left in it to get me home. So no going home on the trailer this time!
                              All fixed with a new powermaster mini starter.

                              This time I left the camera work to my daughters, but they didn't get many better shots than Dad did. Here's one for you, and if you want to hear the 454 singing ... click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U08DRKmV6jI
                              Attached Files

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