Street Shaker

Street Rodder - - Contents -

There’s some­thing to be said about grow­ing up with the coolest parents in town. For Don Hoover of Ho­bart, In­di­ana, ev­ery day was a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the evo­lu­tion of au­to­mo­tive high per­for­mance in the early ’60s. It was a reg­u­lar week­end trip when his mom loaded up him and his friends to head over to U.S. 30 Dragstrip in nearby Gary to check it all out. See­ing his quar­ter-mile he­roes leave the line in a haze of nitro and burnt rub­ber com­bined with walk­ing the pits to see the cars and rac­ers up close helped set a path that he still walks to this date. There was even a le­gendary fam­ily trip to Cal­i­for­nia where they made a stop in Utah to watch land speed rac­ers blaze a path on the Salt Flats dur­ing Speed Week.

Turn­ing wrenches was nat­u­ral for Don and he even­tu­ally pur­chased his first car, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air, while in high school for $400. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion in the ’70s he de­cided to turn it into a full­time race car and was men­tored by good friend Joe Gouger Sr. through the con­ver­sion. Gouger, a well-known racer in the UDRA (United Drag Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion) fielded a Pro Stock Vega known as the “Vega Bond,” also sold Don his first race en­gine, a hopped-up 427ci mill com­plete with alu­minum heads. It wasn’t long un­til Don’s ’55, known as “The Sav­age,” started tear­ing up U.S. 30 on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. The track was also where he met his soon-to-be wife, Kathy, whose pas­sion for drag rac­ing led her to work at the fa­cil­ity. Flash­for­ward to to­day and the cou­ple have been shar­ing their love for drag rac­ing ever since.

With Kathy hav­ing re­cently com­peted in

Hot Rod mag­a­zine’s Drag Week in 2017 with her LS-pow­ered ’69 Ca­maro in the Street Ma­chine Elim­i­na­tor Class, Don felt it was time to up the ante. He de­cided to res­ur­rect

The Sav­age ’55 Chevy, this time as a wild, LS-pow­ered 2018 Drag Week con­tender, how­ever his nephew

Mark Stringer wanted to pre­serve the orig­i­nal race car and of­fered up his per­sonal ’55 Bel Air as swap. A deal was made and Don wasted no time in con­tact­ing Rocky Trox­ell at US 12 Speed & Cus­tom in New Buf­falo, Michi­gan. Hav­ing worked with Trox­ell dur­ing the build of Kathy’s Ca­maro, the pair shared the vi­sion of what it would take to cre­ate a true con­tender for Drag Week.

The team at US 12 got started fab­ri­cat­ing a cus­tom chro­moly tube

chas­sis to NHRA SFI

Spec 25.5 certification stan­dards com­plete with cus­tom cross­mem­bers and rollcage. To han­dle the power out back, a FAB9 hous­ing packs a Moser cen­ter­sec­tion with 4.56 gears spin­ning 40-spline axles sus­pended in place by a cus­tom four-link com­bined with fully ad­justable Afco coilover shocks. Up front a Strange En­gi­neer­ing Ul­tra Strut sus­pen­sion is linked to a Stiletto Pro Box rack-and­pin­ion. To add plenty of stop­ping power to the mix a Wil­wood En­gi­neer­ing dual mas­ter pushes fluid through stain­less lines to match­ing drilled and vented discs out back with four-pis­ton calipers and Strange slot­ted discs with two-pis­ton calipers up front. Link­ing it all to the street are a set of Cham­pion Wheel 15x12 Strip­ster-se­ries wheels with bead locks capped with Mickey Thomp­son drag ra­di­als and 17-inch Weld Rac­ing Full Throt­tle–se­ries spin­dle mount wheels up front wear­ing Mickey Thomp­son S/R ra­di­als.

To gen­er­ate 1,500 streetable horse­power

Don had Brian Rob­bins at Rob­bins Race­craft in Saint Joseph work his magic to build a fire-breath­ing 427ci mill, start­ing with a Dart LS Next iron block with 9.5:1 com­pres­sion. He packed it with a speed shop full of go-fast goods, in­clud­ing a Rob­bins Race­craft forged 4-inch stroke 4340 crank linked to match­ing rods wear­ing a set of cus­tom JE pis­tons and a heavy bump from a cus­tom-ground hy­draulic roller cam from Rob­bins Race­craft. Up top there’s plenty of seam­less power from a pair of heav­ily mas­saged Chevro­let Per­for­mance LSX alu­minum heads while the knock­out punch comes from a pair of Bullseye Power 83mm TCT turbos matched to a Hol­ley LS Hi-Ram EFI in­take with a 105mm

Hol­ley throt­tle body and 220-PPH in­jec­tors. A Hol­ley ig­ni­tion lights the fire with spent gases flow­ing though head­ers by US 12 to a cus­tom stain­less ex­haust. The goods move through a Jef­fco Per­for­mance four-speed trans­mis­sion with Gear Ven­dors over­drive to a cus­tom drive­shaft from Lance’s Drive­shaft.

The body was stripped and fit­ted to the chas­sis with any needed metal restora­tion com­pleted by the team who also crafted the cus­tom floors, trans tun­nel, and in­stalled the car­bon-fiber rear wheel­tubs. From there the team crafted the cus­tom front bumper with spoiler and tank mount, filled the cowl, shaved driprails, one-off rear spoiler, rounded door cor­ners, tucked bumpers, and added a side-exit ex­haust. The body was then metal fin­ished and gapped to pre­pare it for color. Team mem­ber Brett Miller laid down the coat­ing of PPG En­vi­robase ’14 Corvette La­guna ac­cented by cus­tom-blended char­coal metal­lic.

In­side it’s all busi­ness, start­ing with the re­stored fac­tory dash with a Hol­ley EFI dig­i­tal dash to mon­i­tor the vi­tals while steer­ing moves through a 13-inch Max Light­weight wheel mounted to a cus­tom col­umn with a Jef­fco shifter to pull gears. Team mem­ber Billy D laid out a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of alu­minum and car­bon fiber in­side, ac­cented by a fac­tory head­liner and door pan­els by Vos Up­hol­stery & Cus­tom Auto Trim of Lans­ing, Illi­nois, who also cov­ered the cus­tom US 12 seats. With Drag Week fast ap­proach­ing we can hardly wait to see Don’s ’55 shake the streets!

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence: https://bit.ly/2I883Vw

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