INTRODUCED to NASCAR in 2001, the Dodge/mopar R5P7 358ci (5.9L) V8 is good for 850hp in race trim and will happily sit on 9000rpm for an entire 500-mile (805km) race.
Because of a rule change in 2012, all the racing R5P7S were pensioned off, and while many of these cutting-edge pushrod mills found new homes in other race categories, some have been turned into mega street engines.
Steve Day helped source the Evernham Motorsports engine for Angelo’s VC. It was ready to rumble, but the plan to strap on a pair of T3-sized Comp Turbo hairdryers meant a full tear-down and reconfiguration was in order. A set of custom rods was ordered to drop the compression from around 13:1 to a boost and E10-friendly 8.5:1. The solid-roller cam also had a bit ground off its lumps to tame things down. Strapped onto Steve’s dyno and with Peter Teague’s tune loaded into the Autronic ECU, the VC netted 748hp and 680lb-ft at 6200rpm – on just 6psi boost!
“Once I get used to it, we’ll wind the boost up to 10 or 12psi,” says Angelo. “This should push output well past its race spec, while delivering heaps better reliability. It sounds real tame at idle, like a stocky with a cam in it. And while it does like to rev, it’s never insanely loud – it doesn’t attract too much attention.”
I SPENT THREE YEARS COLLECTING PARTS. THEY WERE IN MY GARAGE, MY SHED, UNDER MY BED, EVEN IN OUR WALK-IN ROBE!
that every business and person involved in the build of his VC he wouldn’t hesitate to use again. “I’m a builder by trade; I’m not a good welder, fabricator, body or paint man,” he says. “I can’t take credit for the car; they all built it. But once it was painted, my brother John and I rolled it into the garage and assembled it ourselves. That way we knew every nut and bolt in the car.”
The original theme was a silver exterior with a black vinyl roof, black interior and a pair of turbos for the 273. That all changed on the back of some wise advice.
Peter Teague from PET Racing talked Angelo out of working the old 273 and sold him on the idea of an EX-NASCAR mill instead (see sidebar, p41). With that 358ci beast no longer revving to 9000rpm, the original five-stage dry sump was reconfigured to a three-stage system, with its reservoir tank mounted up under the passengerside fender. By keeping the turbos small, it’s on-boost by 1800rpm. PET also took compression and cam out of it so it would happily run on 95-octane E10 but still pump out near 750 horses on 6psi, with a good bit more to come.
In the name of serviceability, Eliminator Rod & Custom knocked up a removable radiator support and front assembly – a couple of hoses and a handful of bolts and just about the whole front of the car comes off in one piece. From there the engine and built 727 Torqueflite can be easily slid out as a single unit. The driveline-related fab work was performed by Pro Street Development, whose handiwork included the headers, transmission mount, and sheet-metal nineinch filled with a Truetrac centre, massive 35-spline axles and Race Products fullfloating ends.
“Other than the doors, I don’t think there’s a panel in this car that hasn’t been modded or remade,” says Angelo. “This created a constant battle of changing things to make them work with all the other things we changed. Aaargh!”
Peter and the crew at Stylerod Panels spent many hours fine-tuning the panel gaps and fettling the body into its current arrowstraight form. They then rolled the car into their booth to lay on that sensational one-off shade of silver.
The other big departure from the original plan is the car’s interior. “That’s all Emmanuel from the Trim Shop,” says Angelo. “He said: ‘Go different – don’t be one of these guys that do the silver/black combo.’ I’m so glad I did.” Emmanuel suggested blue, which Angelo was quite apprehensive about, but once the two saw a few blue samples up against the silver, it was a slam dunk – and it looks awesome! PROVC’S interior is quite a work of art.
“I didn’t want the ’cage to hang down at all, so we tucked it up very tight,” says Angelo.
INTERIOR: What looks like a pair of buckets is actually the factory bench radically modified. Other interior highlights include blue Nappa leather trim, a removed radio section with push-button start panel, Lokar accelerator, original steering wheel, B&M shifter, programmable Auto Meter gauges and Wilwood pedal box with remote master cylinder
BODY: Angelo didn’t want to lose any of the VC’S shape or character, so it’s devoid of body mods except for the bonnet – which he says was a pain to get right. The extensive chassis and suspension mods, combined with a raised floor height, enable PROVC to ride and drive superlow (around 125mm) without airbags