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One piece fiberglass front end

jimmy guacamole

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Can anyone give me advice on a company other than showcars that makes a one piece fiberglass front end? I prefer the street over the pro. Or is that my only option? I'm looking for one for my 72 Challenger. Thanks
 

Rapidfire

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a OPFE looks like it would be a pita to remove without leaving marks on it and the doors? It is probably a trade off between the two options, at least you would not have to fit separate panels!? I have not seen anything else but the pro!
 

70chall440

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Having removed an entire fiberglass front end off a car a time or 2, they suck as they are unwieldly unless you have 2 people. Being fiberglass they flop around while being removed and usually crack pretty quickly. If its for a race car, then I guess it is what it is but if this is for a street car I know I wouldn't want one.
 

NoCar340

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Having removed an entire fiberglass front end off a car a time or 2, they suck as they are unwieldly unless you have 2 people. Being fiberglass they flop around while being removed and usually crack pretty quickly. If its for a race car, then I guess it is what it is but if this is for a street car I know I wouldn't want one.
Racy stuff is really cool, right up to the moment when you don't have your pit crew around.

Decades ago, a friend put a repro A12 hood on his Coronet. It looked badass, but after about the third time checking the oil, he'd had it with lifting it off every time. He decided to go back to the stock hood, but I talked him out of it. Instead, we used nut-serts to create mounting points for the latch and hinges, then did some cobbling with extra nuts and fender washers to mount the rear pins permanently to the hood, cables and all. We just left the hood springs off and he kept a hood prop in the trunk. A12 look, easy engine access. Nobody was any the wiser until he opened his hood. He sold the car in the mid-1990s. The new owner thought that mod was the cat's meow and my friend talked about how cool it was for years.

We probably weren't the first, but none of us had seen it done before. Hinge-mount A12 hoods didn't exist to our knowledge.
 

jimmy guacamole

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Having removed an entire fiberglass front end off a car a time or 2, they suck as they are unwieldly unless you have 2 people. Being fiberglass they flop around while being removed and usually crack pretty quickly. If its for a race car, then I guess it is what it is but if this is for a street car I know I wouldn't want one.
I'm building this car to be a nice, quick, street/strip drag car. My reason for wanting to go fiberglass is to preserve my original hood and fenders and to lose some weight. And I'm missing my header panel and haven't found a reproduction. I am also new/green/all of the above/ to this so I'm learning and appreciate all and any info from what works to what doesn't from you guys.
 

70chall440

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Hey its your car so you can do what you like but I really believe that you will not be loving that one piece for long. If it were me in your situation, I'd look for fiberglass individual components and at worse run a lift off hood but I would prefer a hinged hood like described above. You lose the weight but still get the looks and function.
 

NoCar340

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I'm building this car to be a nice, quick, street/strip drag car. My reason for wanting to go fiberglass is to preserve my original hood and fenders and to lose some weight. And I'm missing my header panel and haven't found a reproduction. I am also new/green/all of the above/ to this so I'm learning and appreciate all and any info from what works to what doesn't from you guys.
I live where whitetail deer outpopulate humans by 4:1 or more. I "preserve" my original parts by keeping an entire spare front clip on hand for all my cars... literally everything from the windshield forward. πŸ˜†

Seriously, I get what you're after and can appreciate it. I love the idea of fast and light as much as anyone else, but one thing you might want to consider, and guys don't often realize this until it's too late, is the amount of finish work required on 'glass parts. Even the really good ones require body work to get truly straight. It's not a huge concern if you're going to run a flat-black hood (a la T/A) but fenders are another matter entirely. By the time they're straight, they may not be a whole lot lighter than OE steel. since adding filler is the only way to accomplish it. So-called "race weight" parts are particularly diabolical. Expect to have all the money of repro steel invested if someone else is doing the work. This is not something you want to discover after the paint's down, trust me. If that's not really a concern, you shouldn't have much issue with Showcars' stuff. Just be prepared for what you're facing.

OE header panels pop up on eBay now and again and are usually not horribly priced, considering the fit of all the factory nonsense (headlamps, grille, mouldings) is exactly right--no additional work beyond a possible minor repair. Up until recently, I had four project cars. While facing that amount of work, I came to realize that my time is valuable. If I saved $300 on something but had to spend 20 hours working out its issues, I hadn't saved anything a'tall. I also divested myself of the second-largest project, which was also the one with the worst parts availability. Of course, at 50 I've a lot less piss and vinegar in me than I did at 25. 😁
 

jimmy guacamole

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What a dilemma. I'm starting with a blank slate (shell is in primer) and want to plan ahead before moving forward. I was trying to use the strategy of weight reduction is cheaper than hp while retaining my original steel so if/when someday I could reinstall.

So, are all the seasoned racers out there running steel over glass? How are the steel repops from yr one? I appreciate all the info you guys are giving me!
 

NoCar340

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So, are all the seasoned racers out there running steel over glass?

No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.
 

70chall440

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I could be wrong but I think you are over thinking this a bit. First thing you need to do is to decide how the car is going to be used. You say "street/race"; what does that mean exactly? On the street are you talking about occasional summer time jaunts for fun or do you want to actually drive the car on a somewhat routine basis in all conditions? For race do you mean a little bracket racing or are do you mean serious points contender?

There is no free lunch as the saying goes so the faster you make it so you can race it the less streetable it will be to a point. You are correct that less weight does relate to increase in speed/ET but it is a relative and at times very frustrating formula. That said, you really need to determine what you intend to run for a drive train and your horse power goals, from there you can get a sense of how this factors in with weight and speed. I will say this; losing the front sheet metal is not going to make the car a rocket, it might a "little" faster but I personally do not think you are going to notice a huge improvement.

Racers run glass front ends along with all manner of other weight reductions; stripped interiors, no sound deadening, no under coating, in some cases no window regulators, etc. Some even spend hours drilling holes throughout the car to further reduce weight; that is fine for a race car but not a street car. It would ne noisy as hell for one thing, secondly depending on what is removed it might start cracking at stress points on the body unless that is reinforced (adding weight).

Lets put some numbers down for discussion sake; say you build or get an engine that is putting out 400 HP, with good suspension, brakes and tires it is going to be a fun car on the street. On the track with perhaps some sticky tires it should be fast enough to keep you interested. The idea that racers drive their cars on the street is fun to think about and while some do from time to time, those race cars are build and designed for exactly that purpose, racing. A drag car typically does not stop or turn worth a crap because they don't have to. A road race car is not quick in the 1/4 mile but can run at 7K+ rpm all day. Both of these cars are purpose built tools and not good for much else. Not saying they cannot do other things but that is not their forte and any other use is a compromise.

In today's world there are quite a few sub 11 second street cars, but they accomplish through a number of methods; raw HP being at the top but also state of the art suspensions and computer controls for a wide variety of functions. Really think about what you want to do with the car, then you make a plan to accomplish this task but understand EVERYTHING has a compromise.
 

jimmy guacamole

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No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.

No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.
No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.

"Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars."

This is great stuff. πŸ‘Š
 

jimmy guacamole

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No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.

No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.
No, they're not. Racers are concerned about weight above all else (well, except maybe horsepower). Spend some time in the pits and you'll see that those cars aren't arrow-straight, either. Of course, lots of them have graphics, contingency decals, what-have-you to distract the eye. You're also in a different context, so to speak... when you're looking at a racer, you're usually drooling over their engine/suspension/rolling stock/[insert racy bit here] rather than whether the car has ripples in the fenders.

It's a tough call, I ain't gonna lie. It's a trade-off. I've had some really shabby-lookin' street cars with which one didn't want to necessarily tangle, including two 12-second dailies (back in the 1990s, a 12-second street car was pretty formidable). One was a '78 Trans Am to which a previous owner had riveted the quarter panels (long story) and my Dad backed into with his car--the day I got it. The other was a '72 Charger in which back-seat-passengers could pull the armrest/lower door panel outward and eject beer cans by firing them under the tires through the rust holes. πŸ˜† I'm pretty sure nobody wants to go home and tell Mama they got their ass handed to them by a rusty '69 Valiant with half the vinyl top missing, but I've got one with a solid-roller W2 340/4-speed that will present that opportunity. It's quicker than the either that Firechicken or Cha-Cha, but I haven't had it to the track yet. I love my sleepers, but I want my Challenger to be arrow-straight (and black) and to simply enjoy the car (and others' appreciation for it). Will it be fast? Fast enough. Will it run with the Valiant? No way. I have different priorities between the two.

Figure out where your priorities lie and run with it. Hard to fault a guy for having a few ripples or waves when he showed you his taillights, and equally difficult to deride a fella with a drop-dead gorgeous car that runs high 15s. You're the only person you need to make happy, unless you're married (it's self-explanatory if you are 😁).

Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars.

"Just have fun. There's no other real reason to own one of these cars."

Very well said!πŸ‘Š I need to frame this and hang it in my garage!
 

jimmy guacamole

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I could be wrong but I think you are over thinking this a bit. First thing you need to do is to decide how the car is going to be used. You say "street/race"; what does that mean exactly? On the street are you talking about occasional summer time jaunts for fun or do you want to actually drive the car on a somewhat routine basis in all conditions? For race do you mean a little bracket racing or are do you mean serious points contender?

There is no free lunch as the saying goes so the faster you make it so you can race it the less streetable it will be to a point. You are correct that less weight does relate to increase in speed/ET but it is a relative and at times very frustrating formula. That said, you really need to determine what you intend to run for a drive train and your horse power goals, from there you can get a sense of how this factors in with weight and speed. I will say this; losing the front sheet metal is not going to make the car a rocket, it might a "little" faster but I personally do not think you are going to notice a huge improvement.

Racers run glass front ends along with all manner of other weight reductions; stripped interiors, no sound deadening, no under coating, in some cases no window regulators, etc. Some even spend hours drilling holes throughout the car to further reduce weight; that is fine for a race car but not a street car. It would ne noisy as hell for one thing, secondly depending on what is removed it might start cracking at stress points on the body unless that is reinforced (adding weight).

Lets put some numbers down for discussion sake; say you build or get an engine that is putting out 400 HP, with good suspension, brakes and tires it is going to be a fun car on the street. On the track with perhaps some sticky tires it should be fast enough to keep you interested. The idea that racers drive their cars on the street is fun to think about and while some do from time to time, those race cars are build and designed for exactly that purpose, racing. A drag car typically does not stop or turn worth a crap because they don't have to. A road race car is not quick in the 1/4 mile but can run at 7K+ rpm all day. Both of these cars are purpose built tools and not good for much else. Not saying they cannot do other things but that is not their forte and any other use is a compromise.

In today's world there are quite a few sub 11 second street cars, but they accomplish through a number of methods; raw HP being at the top but also state of the art suspensions and computer controls for a wide variety of functions. Really think about what you want to do with the car, then you make a plan to accomplish this task but understand EVERYTHING has a compromise.
Really great advice. Thank you!

Ok, what my idea of a street car is a full interior car that you can drive the family to Dairy Queen and also to the spot/ track. I do not intend to bracket race or points race. More of heads up no prep. Not sure if anyone follows 1320 street or SRC channel but that's the avenue I'm after.

As far as drivetrain goes I want to preserve the original 340 and 4 speed and replace it with a gen 3 Hemi. Not sure on what tranny will work with the 4 speed tunnel as I dont want to chop the car up.

Here is a link of what I would consider GOALS.

 

70chall440

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Cool video for sure and he definitely has some defined goals. He has some major $$ in that car for sure.

Ok, so I get what you are thinking about and if it were me I would stay with the metal front end and focus on making power and a good suspension along with learning how to tune and drive the car. Now, if you don't have the front end or there are serious issue with it, then I would go with glass fenders and hood as previously suggested.

You can make some decent HP with a 5.7, not 1500 HP but near 500 without having to go into the engine. A stock 5.7 makes 375-390 depending on what it came out of, what vintage and what accessories it is spinning. Throw in a 392 cam and valve springs and now you are around 450, good headers and a tune probably a little more, maybe around 470 or so (at the flywheel). This is plenty of power to play with generally and would be a lot of fun on the street. You could also throw a Torque Strom super charger onto it ($2800) and get another 100+ HP but thing might start breaking if you are beating on it real hard.

As for transmissions, you can run a 904, 727, A833 4speed or A518 without having chop out the tunnel. If you are going AT, I would do a A518 due to the overdrive but I am not sure how it will stand up to racing.
 

jimmy guacamole

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Cool video for sure and he definitely has some defined goals. He has some major $$ in that car for sure.

Ok, so I get what you are thinking about and if it were me I would stay with the metal front end and focus on making power and a good suspension along with learning how to tune and drive the car. Now, if you don't have the front end or there are serious issue with it, then I would go with glass fenders and hood as previously suggested.

You can make some decent HP with a 5.7, not 1500 HP but near 500 without having to go into the engine. A stock 5.7 makes 375-390 depending on what it came out of, what vintage and what accessories it is spinning. Throw in a 392 cam and valve springs and now you are around 450, good headers and a tune probably a little more, maybe around 470 or so (at the flywheel). This is plenty of power to play with generally and would be a lot of fun on the street. You could also throw a Torque Strom super charger onto it ($2800) and get another 100+ HP but thing might start breaking if you are beating on it real hard.

As for transmissions, you can run a 904, 727, A833 4speed or A518 without having chop out the tunnel. If you are going AT, I would do a A518 due to the overdrive but I am not sure how it will stand up to racing.
Steel for the win. I appreciate all your advice! My next thread I'll be asking for suggestions when rebuilding my suspension.
 
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