Daydreaming Out Loud (Drag Car)

Perusing Craigslist for potential project cars and stumbled across this:

1986 Monte Carlo roller. $3000 bucks. Set up for a big block and a 4 speed. It already has cheater slicks on it, the interior is ok, its not rusted out, and seems like a decently solid base.


If I had the time, money, and space it would get one of these..

Not this big, shiny or nice, but since it’s already set up for a big block, a sub-500 inch Chevy with a centrifugal supercharger would be lots of fun. From the reading I’ve done 900-1200hp on pump gas would be doable. Hopefully have less than $10,000 in the motor.

The car already has a clutch pedal, so what manual transmission would be the best most fun for racing?


Yeeeessssss. A Lenco ST1200. Basically the street version of their race units. It would handle the power numbers I described on the motor, stay together on the street, and be a riot to drive. The trans tunnel would need to be rebuilt to fit this thing, but it’s a fantasy so I’m not worried about that. They run about $6,000 for a 5 speed.


Add a Ford 9inch, some suspension work, and a roll cage and this thing would theoretically be good for mid 9's.* The motor should be fairly streetable on low boost. A pully swap and a different tune at the racetrack could make it pretty potent. All on pump gas.

However, it would suck as a Drag Week style car. Why? Drag Week rules prohibit Lenco transmissions in any of their “Street” classes. Putting in the Lenco automatically would move this car into a class with 7 second back-half cars. It would take serious money to be competitive. I have no idea why this rule exists and looking around on the internet didn’t help me find an answer.


All that being said, it would be fun to put something like this together. All told, it’s probably doable for under $40,000. It would be fast enough to need a NHRA license and a parachute.*

But, as mentioned above, I don’t have the money or time for this. It’s all bench racing. It’s fun to dream though, right?


*Factory weight for a Monte Carlo was 3300lbs. I did the calculations at 3700lbs to account for the big block, Lenco, and driver. At 1000 flywheel horsepower it gave me an estimate of 9.48 @ 159mph. If it made 1200hp at the flywheel it would have a chance of breaking into the 8's at 160.

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