/ T/F SHOE RICHIE CRAMPTON GOES RETRO WITH AN LS-POWERED ’57 WAGON
THROUGHOUT 2017 WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE MANY RACE CARS RANGING FROM SLOW TO FAST AND PLAIN TO BEAUTIFUL. None, however, made quite the impression that Richie Crampton’s low eight-second ’57 Chevy 210 wagon did.
“This was one of the first things I ran across on Craigslist,” Crampton said when asked why this TriFive caught his eye. “I didn’t want to spend time painting or wrapping it, and it just seemed cool as it was, so we decided to focus more on function over form when we took the car apart. In the end, it’s really appealed to a lot of people.”
The goal was to build a seven-second street car, so there was no need to save much. The car was stripped of nearly everything and the pieces were discarded except for the body, glass, interior and trim. With help from Rod Centorbi and Jonnie Lindberg, a new SFI 25.3B tube-frame chassis was fabricated and equipped with a Strange 9-inch rear with a 4-link rear suspension.
A 6.0L LS engine was extracted from a Chevy Silverado pickup and stroked to 402 ci with a Callies crank. Manley rods and pistons bathed in Lucas oil beef up the short-block. The factorycast heads were modified to accept Manley valves/ springs. A COMP Cams off-the-shelf hydraulic roller cam orchestrates the valve train action. Twin PTE turbochargers send boost to the Holley 105mm throttle body, while Aeromotive intank pumps shoot E85 fuel to the 160-lb-hr injectors. A Holley Dominator ECU coordinates all of the interaction between the two. Behind the engine rest a BTE Turbo 400 and converter.
With the body reunited to the chassis, casual observers would be hard pressed to know what this wagon is really capable of. The first day of the 2017 Hot Rod Drag Week erased all doubts, as it ran a best of 8.27 seconds at 165-plus mph, despite weighing in at 200 pounds more than the class weight minimum.
“Aside from a bigger engine, there’s not a lot planned for the car.” Crampton said about his plans for 2018. “I won’t be able to complete Drag Week in 2018 because of my commitment to drive one of Connie Kalitta’s Top Fuelers, but it’s going to be a huge year for us, and I feel fortunate to get the call to drive again.”
While Crampton might be pushing 330 mph at 24 NHRA national events in 2018 for Team Kalitta, you can bet he’ll still be smiling while cruising whenever possible in this classic wagon.