The Rumble On The MountainGeorge and I would like to take a minute to thank you for the outstanding pictures you took of our car. [see "Old School Cammer," December 2003-ed] I knew the car was nice, but until we saw the pictures we did not know how nice.
We are truly grateful and appreciated the opportunity to spend the day and watch you work.
Also, regarding the ticket we received from the ranger, the sheriff's department has dismissed the ticket due to receiving numerous complaints regarding the ranger.Thank you,Cindy & George ScarpentiSan Jose, CA
Thanks for the compliment guys! Although time-consuming, the photography of your '65 Mustang doesn't even come close to the time and expense involved with building the car. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates the craftsmanship and artistry of building and photographing such a unique car, and apparently that applies to the park ranger in question (who shall remain nameless). The ticket-given to George for parking his Mustang illegally and incorrectly in a handicap zone-should never have been written in the first place. A victim of the debilitating disease Multiple Sclerosis, George had earlier removed his blue disabled placard for purposes of the photo shoot. On the basis of this information, the ranger should've let you slide, but there was just too much of a chip on his shoulder! On a positive note, we want to broadcast our thanks to the kids who came by with their sport bikes and posed impromptu for our lead shot. That was a lot of fun. Peace out guys!
A/FX RevisitedI just read your article in the December issue of PHR where you stated that there were no SOHC Mustangs running or built in 1965. I think you were misinformed. Following is a caption from a book written by Larry Davis called Super Stock in which he wrote: "Gas Ronda pulls the front wheels off the ground as he comes out of the gate in early 1965 with his SOHC Mustang. Holman & Moody built a total of eight SOHC Mustangs, counting the mule and the replacement for the one Ronda wrecked. Ronda would win Top Stock at the AHRA Nationals with the poppy red Mustang, be runner-up at the NHRA Nationals, and would set a new national record for AFX at 10.78 early in the year at Carlsbad, California." There were many other big names of that era running these Mustangs that were never built including Phil Bonner, Dick Brannan and many others. I know no one likes to be corrected but from a magazine such as yours I think the history of drag racing should be correct.Tim SchulteSchulte & Associates
We are very familiar with Larry Davis' excellent book, Super Stock (CarTech Auto Books & Manuals, North Branch, MN, 651-583-03471), which is probably the ultimate authority on drag racing from this era. However, we never stated in the story that there were no SOHC Mustangs running or built in 1965, what we said was "it was never built by the factory, but it sure looks as if it were." All the A Factory Experimental (A/FX) Mustangs in 1965 were built by outside sources, the majority of which were built by Holman & Moody. (We'll also add to your list of A/FX SOHC Mustang pilots with Bill Lawton, Les Ritchey, Len Richter and Paul Norris!) The point which Mr. Parkhurst was trying to make was that if Ford did build SOHC Mustangs (available through the dealership a la Hemi Dart and COPO Camaro) it would look like the Scarpenti's car with the teardrop hood and factory interior. The SOHC engine was available only over-the-counter, but never in a factory-built car.
Truth be told, at the time these cars were racing, Parkhurst and Hunkins were too busy soiling their diapers to notice SOHC Mustangs, so it's nice to have an excellent reference book like Super Stock to set the record straight for those young punks!
PHR TVWhen will I be able to see new shows of Popular Hot Rodding TV? I'm a big fan and even watch all the re-runs twice.Mark "Super Bee" ElliottFrom the Internet
Not likely any time soon-unless editor Hunkins gets $30K in free plastic surgery and speech therapy lessons.
Gasser IdentificationI just received my December 2003 issue. On page 49 in the sidebar named "Gasser Wars-Revisited" there is a photo in the second column from the left of a car you say is a '57 Chevy. To me it looks like a '55 or a '56. Is there something about the car that I'm not seeing or is there a typo?Mike From the Internet
No typo, it is a '57, just not a Bel Air with the fan-shaped body molding you're used to seeing. With no lower bumper, it's a little harder to tell, but it's a '57 all the way. In order to improve weight transfer off the line, it was common to remove the front bumpers or replace them with lightweight facsimiles.
The Next LevelJust a note to say hello and that I am a long time reader/subscriber (began in the early '70s in Jr. High) and have always enjoyed PHR. Now you come along and take it to the next level, I can't put it to words what you and the gang (Scott, Cam, Chenet, etc.) are doing, but it's right on! I'm a Nomad, '67 RS Camaro and '66 Skylark GS owner, but I enjoy all makes old and sorta new including the '60s and '70s Camaros, 'Cudas, Mustangs and Nashes that you feature. They are so right!Chris GreigLake Stevens WA
Okay, how much did Hunkins pay you to write this?
Flattery Gets You Everywhere...Major kudos to John Hunkins! While Cam Evans did a ton to keep PHR the best magazine on the racks, you, Mr. Hunkins, have raised the bar. I've always been a big fan of the mag but noticed a lack of MoPAR and FoMoCo products in past issues (I'm a Chevy fan reformed). Since you've taken the reigns, I've been treated to MoPAR goodies three months straight, as well as seeing some bitchin' Fords (that A/FX cammer 'Stang was over the top!). One more thing, originating from northeast Ohio, I was stoked to see my old stomping grounds, Quaker City Dragway in the Flashlight Drags feature. Looks like Quaker's had a facelift but I will always have fond memories of Wednesday test and tune and eating chili dogs that haunted you until you went back for the features on the weekend. Keep up the awesome work as I've just renewed for another three years!Tony MorettaClovis, NM
Thanks for noticing, Tony. We've been trying to broaden our reach to non-Chevys a little more, and it seems to be working. We will still focus strongly on GMs and Chevy's in particular as it represents about 70 percent of our readers. What we're banking on is that the non-GMs we feature will be interesting enough to make the Chevy guys excited. Quaker City Dragway is one of our favorite tracks too.
More Fifth ElementI've been following Kris Horton's design for a new Camaro about as closely as one can and I must say it's beautiful. The change to the rear of the car is in line with current Chevy styling except for one major difference: it actually looks good on this car. Let's face it, GM has had some serious difficulty designing a good-looking rear end lately.
At any rate, a few years ago, when I found out about the demise of Oldsmobile, I emailed GM and let them know that they killed any chance of ever getting me to buy a new car from them. If they manage to do the right thing by hiring Mr. Horton to their senior design staff and put him in charge of building this car, then there is a very good chance that I'll eat my words. If GM manages to build this car, then they will finally have something on the market that is actually worth spending my hard-earned money on.
Thank you for listening and we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.Kristian E. "Woobie" MerrellRichmond, VA
The computer renderings of Kris Horton's fifth-generation Camaro have proven to be wildly popular (Sept. and Dec. 2003 PHR), and even after many months, continue to elicit an emotional response from readers. We've given both our stories and the reader email to GM executives, and so far we have not received any feedback from GM. Our belief is that GM is working on a new Camaro, but we can't prove it. For now, Kris' design talents remain completely untapped by Detroit automakers. That's a shame, but their loss is our gain. We'll be glad to continue using him!
Payne-fully DisappointedI'm continually disappointed in car magazines in terms of brand allegiance and national identity. Why is it so difficult for Popular Hot Rodding to expand its horizons beyond Detroit? I decry the import magazines just as heartily for neglecting Detroit. Is it inconceivable for you to extol the virtues of Honda's excellent build quality, or Mazda for their handling? Did you decry the death of the Toyota Supra Turbo in addition to the death of the Camaro? And why are you not praising the Subaru WRX STi and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution? This isn't about vehicular ethnicities. Please discontinue the bigoted taste in my mouth and keep your focus on the joys of working on-and driving the wheels off of-rad cars.Joel PayneVia the Internet
Rather than "vehicular ethnicity," we would use the term "niche." In order to get the quantity and quality of information readers demand, it is the practice for most car magazines to focus on one or more aspects that set cars into logical groups. In PHR, that generally means "domestic," "performance" "automobile" and "rear-wheel drive." Additionally, the core of our content is musclecar era cars with a g-Machine build style, but that isn't an absolute, only a guideline. If PHR doesn't suit your automotive tastes, we suggest you check out some of the other fine Primedia titles at www.primedia.com. As a side note, we do not find it productive, nor do we make it a practice, to cast other kinds of cars in a negative light. Many of us at PHR like or own other kinds of cars too, including those you mention. Please do not take our omission of these cars as a sign of dislike.
Team 385 UpdateAs the coordinator of Team 385 (BBF entry) in Memphis, I wanted to email you and express my appreciation of the fine treatment we received at the Memphis dyno facility. Not only were we made to feel welcome, but over and above our entire team was treated with respect and dignity. Nice experience for strangers in a new place. Thank you for your part in this.
I also wanted to offer an update on the Team 385 engine. After addressing our valve spring failure, we retested on Dave McLain's dyno and picked up about 30hp and a few pound feet at the peak. We ended up needing over 400 pounds of spring with the solid flat tappet cam we ran. After addressing the differences between Dave's dyno and the one at Comp in Memphis, we came out with 630 to 637 hp at 6,400 rpm. The springs eliminated the dip in our dyno curve just before 5,800 and on to 6,500.
In short, even with our tiny budget it cost less than $2K in cash. We still managed to pull together an entry that could have been competitive in the EMC challenge. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, huh? Regardless, our entire team is pleased with our performance and the outcome of the contest. My congrats to Mr. Kaase and thank you for your time.
Lastly, I wanted also to share with you a web address for big-block Ford fans that shows them how to get the most from the BBF platform and also offers how-tos for porting every BBF cylinder head casting available. That address is HTTP://reincarnation-automotive.comScott JohnstonTacoma, WA
Team 385 showed us that it is possible to build a competitive engine on a budget in an ensemble setting. The folks involved in this internet effort not only built a great engine, but by the sound of it, they had a great time doing it. The fact that it's the experience of a lifetime to rub shoulders on a level playing field with some of the best in the business is icing on the cake. Thanks Scott, and we're eager to see the fruits of your research next time the Engine Masters Challenge specifies a big-block for competition.
California, State Of Denial?I read your "Bangin' Gears" editorial on "California, Home of The Double Standard." And I have to tell you, if I wanted to hear someone bashing liberals for everything they perceive as not being right, I'd listen to Rush. I read car magazines for the cars, not to read about some right winger venting his partisian politics.
There is enough division in America because of politics. It's getting harder and harder to escape, so could you save your right-wing political statements for when you're around your right-wing buddies? I'm sure they'd be in perfect agreement with everything you've got to say. And stick to cars when writing for a car mag.JeffVia the Internet
We make no apologies for wanting to protect our hobby and our air at the same time, Jeff. The point of the op-ed piece was to bring attention to the inequality built into the system by people with a not-so-hidden agenda-those people being liberals by their own admission. If clean air laws are foremost to preserve clean air, then, logically, tailpipe emissions should be the first, last and only means of determination. Thus by extension, the only thing served by a visual inspection is to prevent us from modifying our cars. Another point, which may not have been articulated enough in the editorial, is that well-maintained hot rods driven on an occasional basis are not generally considered to be significant polluters. Their pollution is so insignificant, it doesn't even play into the equation. In contrast, poorly-maintained daily-driven clunkers like the kind encountered by Hunkins on his commute home emit a staggering amount of pollution for their numbers. Yet late-model cars (such as fuel-injected Camaros or Mustangs) by comparison, get unfairly targeted by nonsensical visual inspection laws.
The Sema Action Network & YouThe editor has a bad day ("California, Home of the Double Standard," Jan. 2004), but rather than blame suburban sprawl, or the legal concept of grandfathering, or even possibly himself for living two hour's drive from his job, he concocts a fantasy about a 'liberal-in-a-limousine' laughing maniacally and sticking it to the little guy. It's an easy sell, but not an accurate one. Driving is great. I drive, you drive, we all drive. There you have it: all of us driving on the road.
Perhaps I am the only reader of Popular Hot Rodding whose love of talk radio is insufficient to allow me to presume that all my problems are caused by Hollywood actors. If not, then you do a disservice to the magazine and its readers by misrepresenting complex issues. I thought this magazine was about cool cars (like Gerry Utsuki's Falcon, and the A/FX fantasy Mustang, and Strope's '70 Newport, man those are sweet rides)."Spud" ZatopekVia the Internet
Editor Hunkins responds: The politics of the automobile are incontrovertibly linked to, well, politics. If you think the liberal political agenda in California or any other state is safeguarding your automotive interests, then you need to become a member of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) to discover the truth. This is where you'll find the facts, not on talk radio. If you'd like to join SAN, log on to www.enjoythedrive.com. Joining is free and you'll receive regular email updates of proposed legislative action in your state. According to SEMA, there are 79 elected officials in Washington who make up the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. These are folks who can, on most days, be relied upon to support our hobby when it comes to a vote. Of these, 53 are Republican and 26 are Democrat. Of those from California, 12 are conservatives and only three are liberals. (Out of fairness, these lone wolf Dems are Representatives Loretta Sanchez, Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman.) As you can plainly see, our hobby is in fact a partisan issue in California.
PHR is about cool cars, but on an even larger scale, it's about protecting and preserving a lifestyle we all enjoy as Americans. On a more personal basis, I feel privileged that my employer gives me the opportunity to offer up my personal opinion on important industry issues in my column each month. I respectfully submit that I do not share the opinion that there should be different, higher standards for folks who decide to modify their cars for performance.
Plain, And Peanut!We would just like to tell all of you at Popular Hot Rodding "thank you" for everything in connection with the Engine Masters Challenge! Our participation in this event was very much appreciated and the experience was invaluable.
The other reason I am e-mailing you is because we now have a permanent address! You see, up to this point we have been working out of our homes and have full-time jobs. But now we are well on our way to doing full-time what we love-working on and building hot rods! Our address is as follows and we would appreciate if this change could be included in any article that M&M Performance appears in.
M&M Performance440 W Hwy 60Billings, MO 65610(417) 744-4200 or (412) email@example.com
Chad Morley & Mark MansuM&M PerformanceThanks, in turn, to you guys. Without you, there would be no Engine Masters Challenge. We'll pass along your updated contact info to everybody in readerland. We look forward to seeing you in next year's EMC.We're Waiting To Hear From You!Letters will be printed as space permits and may be edited for content and clarity. Send material to: Popular Hot Rodding Mailbox, 720 Hundley Way., Placentia, CA 92870. Or send your thoughts and comments to us at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Popular Hot Rodding and Primedia assume no responsibility for errors in publication.