OIL BURNER HABIT

“Pay­check af­ter pay­check, mak­ing them go fast.”—Mark Young

Chevy High Performance - - Con­tents - TEXT: Ro McGone­gal | PHO­TOS: Do­minick Dam­ato

“Pay­check af­ter pay­check, mak­ing them go fast.”—Mark Young

You might for­get a birth­day. You might for­get your third girl­friend’s name. You might even for­get what you had for break­fast yes­ter­day. But you’ll never for­get the day you were sucked into the car thing and trapped in it like a beast in a tar pit.

Mark Young’s slow, in­evitable as­cent up the chain didn’t be­gin on con­crete or as­phalt. His feet were in the dirt, every Fri­day night in Ch­ester­field, Vir­ginia, at South­side Speed­way, the fe­cund short-track in his home burg. When he was 17 he’d had enough of the pro­saic, he pulled stakes and went where the money was, in the north, to Chicago.

Seven years in he quit the car scene, mar­ried Jenny and they had a cou­ple of kids. As his old­est son came of age, the kin­ship was un­de­ni­able; Mark re­joined the mys­ti­cal ranks. Along

about 1997, he was work­ing along­side some­one who had a 1967 Chev­elle SS equipped with the juice lifter L35 that mus­tered 325 horse­power.

Mark lusted openly. “I told him all the time how much I liked it. I would visit him, you know, just to see the car. I kept at it. Three years later, he sold it to me and shortly af­ter that, he de­cided to move. My wife and I bought his house. It had a 30x36 garage, but more im­por­tant, it was heated. A new chap­ter in my life started.”

The Chev­elle had been some­one’s twist for a long time, so long that no one could re­mem­ber the orig­i­nal painter or what paint was used (it looks pretty black to us). In its early life, it had suf­fered a frame-on resto that in­cluded re­plac­ing sketchy floor­pans. Lately, though, Mark per­formed a body-off stint, mainly to re­hab the chas­sis. JJ Pow­der­coat in Zion, Illi­nois, pre­served it with Monarch Black semi-gloss. Mark counts a few close friends as co-con­spir­a­tors; they poured in two years of grunts, curses, cases of beer, likely sten­to­ri­ous aro­mather­apy (from all that beer), and fun un­til it was well enough to drive.

Mark was af­ter a com­bi­na­tion: old-school looks and styling cues clapped with a big­ger big-block or­ches­trated by mod­ern fuel de­liv­ery.

The engine’s a forged “crate” short­block built by Blue­Print En­gines. Opel Engi­neer­ing, a lo­cal en­ter­prise, staged the head­ers, camshaft, in­take man­i­fold, and ig­ni­tion. The goal was a fat, unc­tu­ous torque curve, nearly 540 lb-ft of it all in at a pid­dling 2,800 rpm. To com­ple­ment, the Doug’s pri­mary tubes are un­der­size (for this dis­place­ment) at 1 3/4 inches and pro­vide a mod­icum of back­pres­sure.

Rather than a fool’s car­bu­re­tor, Mark would mark time with a

FAST XFI 2.0 sys­tem driv­ing eight in­di­vid­ual fuel in­jec­tors. He’d bridge the oval-port Edel­brock cylin­der heads by a Vic­tor Jr. in­take plate and, to keep the ap­pear­ance orig­i­nal with a full­size air cleaner, he fixed a mass air me­ter to the Vic­tor where a car­bu­re­tor would nor­mally go. Any­way, more horse­power and grunt than Mark re­ally needs is ab­sorbed by a Turbo 400 fronting a Satur­day Night Spe­cial con­verter with a 2,800-stall speed. The 9-inch car­ries a 3.70 gear and 31-spline axle­shafts. To think about this tire-squalling bad boy tends to raise hair in sen­si­tive places.

Set­ting up the chas­sis was a breeze. Mark didn’t feel the need for tubu­lar stuff or hy­dro­formed any­thing.

His Chev­elle was gonna make it in a straight line. His con­ces­sion up front was lim­ited to QA1 ad­justable dampers. In back, he got more

ad­ven­ture­some: QA1 ad­justa­bles work­ing with Hotchkis up­per and lower con­trol arms. He put 12-inch ro­tors and four-pis­ton clam­pers at each cor­ner squeezed by the OE mas­ter cylin­der.

Then he blasted his A-body right back to the day; old-school cues that work, gath­ered the sig­na­ture around wheels with a 15-inch di­am­e­ter. Weld hoops with mod­est 7- and 8-inch stretch, as they would have been yes­ter­year, cap­ture tall 60-se­ries 235 and 275 as­pect Mickey Thomp­son treads. Hey Mark, thanks for not even think­ing about the S/S or Amer­i­cans cliché; the forged Welds frame your Chev­elle right.

So, yeah, the project is re­ally one from the archives, one that be­gan long be­fore Mark picked it. He knew that it had a frame-on resto some­where along the line but re­ally noth­ing more than that had been done in 1993. Two years ago, when Mark em­barked on the project, the qual­ity of the work was still stand-up, so he was free to con­cen­trate on the cus­tomiz­ing cues.

For the in­te­rior, he saw no rea­son to go be­yond the orig­i­nal theme, tap­ping YearOne for the bucket seats, Clas­sic Dash for the slick dash­board insert, and the ar­ray of Au­toMeter Phantom di­als. That good-look­ing SS steer­ing wheel is orig­i­nal, too. Ev­ery­thing else is re­pro­duc­tion stuff or orig­i­nal.

From all indi­ca­tions, Mark’s old A-body is an ab­so­lute gold mag­net. At shows. “All to­gether,” he crowed, “I have col­lected 23 tro­phies—eight from the Chevy-Vette Fest and six from the World of Wheels in Chicago, and nine tro­phies from around town. I plan to re­tire in five years and this Chev­elle will be driven daily so long as weather per­mits.” Mark, af­ter lis­ten­ing to you and your oil burner habit, we think you’d drive it in a rain­storm if the mood struck. CHP

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