Every aspect of our Project White Wagon is crucial, and what we’ve learned over the course of this car, is just how crucial of a role the front will play in this junkyard basket case turned highly tuned Super Stocker.
Chassis builder Tom Lukans of TL Race Cars said preparing this area of the car has been every bit as demanding, if not more, than the rear. High precision products now occupy the area between fenders once occupied by an oak tree.
“The front end is a lot more crucial than some might believe,” said Lukans. “It’s just as important on a Super Stocker as it is on a Pro Stocker or Pro Mod. At speed that front end needs to be where it is supposed to be at. It cannot be all over the place. The caster and camber has to be where it is supposed to be. The correct components on these cars, especially the faster cars have to be a lot more precise than what the auto manufacturers built the cars for. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out when Chevrolet created our wagon in 1964, they never envisioned it running this quick and fast.”
At first glimpse of the car sitting in Minton’s junkyard in Pacolet, SC, we didn’t either. But, back in the day, Gene Fulton saw a 1964 Chevy II wagon as a prototype Modified eliminator car.
“This might come as a surprise, but the 1964 Chevy II Wagon was never intended to be a race car but instead a vehicle for the wife or mom to drive to the grocery store,” Lukans explained. “This is where we get the term grocery getter.”
Just like every other portion of the car, Lukans and his team pulled away every part of the car, saving only what was required per the NHRA Super Stock/Modified rules.
“Those were the only parts we didn’t take to the recycle center for 2013 cars,” said Lukans.
Lukans confirmed the stock parts preserved were the upper and lower control arms, stock strut mount, and a highly modified upper shock mount and the rest were replaced by a conglomeration of aftermarket parts.
Those upper and lower control arms were modified with components from Global West.
“We added bearings and bushings, the stuff you need to keep the car rigid as we possibly can at high speeds,” Lukans said.
One of the big advancements in the construction of Project White Wagon came when the NHRA legalized the use of aftermarket rack and pinion steering units. This new legislation, added to the rulebook in June, enabled us to scrap the antiquated 1964 steering box for a newer version from Applied Racing Technologies.
“The NHRA really studied and did their homework as to why, in the name of safety, we needed to put away tradition and look to safety,” Lukans explained. “I really applaud the NHRA for doing their due diligence in making this happen.”
The installation of the rack and pinion steering brought about a new issue in which we needed to turn to TRZ Motorsports for assistance. The stock steering arms needed a significant amount of work to become accurate.
“With today’s machining centers and the knowledge we have of the car and those who can build better parts than we are able to, TRZ was able to take up our challenge and produce a better product than we could have,” Lukans explained. “Everything lined up perfectly, and quite simply we expected them to because this is what they do, day in and day out.”
With the steering in the proper location, adding the rack and pinion was much simpler.
“The bump steer will be correct,” Lukans said. “We had done enough of these projects to where we knew what to do in this aspect. We were able to implement lessons learned from the past for the future.”
By paying close attention, discrepancies quickly become apparent. Thank goodness we had Strange Engineering to help sort through the issues.
“One of the problems you encounter with these older cars, you run into different problems with different manufacturers,” said Lukans. “During the time GM was building these cars in 1964, they often farmed out work. The end result was often skewed specs. Any project on cars made prior to 1970, you are going to face these kinds of issues.”
The end result of our steering unit is a bit of engineering the Super Stock division isn’t accustomed to.
“This is the first one like it in NHRA,” said Lukans. “This kind of steering unit has in the past been reserved for street rods. Some the things we have to do are in strict tolerance for drag racing. There’s a lot of tolerance and leeway on the street with a crown on the roads with right to left turns. This is specifically for drag racing.”
This is specifically for Project White Wagon which by all accounts is a unique race car.
* Part 1, Outlining The Project
* Part 2, Getting The Car on The Jig
* Part 3, Preparing for the Four-Link
* Part 4, Preparing the Cylinder Heads
* Part 5, Project Gains A Purpose
* Part 6, Shocking the Wagon
* Part 7, A Real Clutch Player
* Part 8, Nova Body Parts Done Right
* Part 9, Space Age Intake Meets The Basket Case
* Part 10, Dart Aftermarket Blocks Poised to Fly in Stk/SS
* Part 11, We Are Rolling Again
* Part 12, Now That's A Rearend
* Part 13, The Devil Is In The Detail
* Part 14, Cleaning, Grinding and Lightening
* Part 15, Tales of the Front-End
* Part 16, Now That's A Rack!
PROJECT WHITE WAGON SUPPORTERS
TL Race Cars (864) 674-0074
Fluid Power Specialties (864) 599-1118
Minton's Wrecker Service (864) 474-2581
Brogdon Kent Racing
A.E.D. Motorsports Products (tubing)
Applied Racing Technologies (A.R.T)
Aeromotive Inc. (fuel system)
Autometer Guages (tech, engine gauges)
Bill Miller Engineering (rods, pistons)
Browell Bellhousings (bellhousing)
CFE Heads (cylinder heads, intake)
CFM Composites (seats)
Carson's Nut-Bolt and Tool
Comp Cams (camshaft)
Dart Engineering (Engine Block)
Flatout Gaskets (engine gaskets)
Hedman Headers (headers)
I.R.C. (wheelie bar wheels, bracketry)
Jegs Mail Order (misc.)
J&W Nova Parts (body panels and body sheetmetal)
Liberty's Transmissions (Transmission, Gears)
Matco Tools - (tools, tool box)
Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels (front tires, slicks)
Moroso Performance (valve covers, oil pan, oiling system)
QA-1 (Rod Ends)
Quartermax Racing & Chassis Components (suspension, chassis components, axles)
Santhuff Shocks (front, rear shocks)
Simpson Safety - (Helmet, Firesuit)
Strange Engineering (Axles, Rearend companents)
Weld Racing (front, rear wheels)
Winberg Crankshafts (crankshaft)
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