Readers Rides: Clean Calais With A Mysterious Background

Sometimes a racer picking up a used racecar is more complex than throwing in an engine and going. For Derrick Price and family, it meant a great amount of building and rebuilding to make this 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais their very own.

“We have had the car for about 10 months,” Price says. “We have done a lot of work to it, and we’ve been trying to work out the bugs after dropping in our drivetrain combination.”

The power plant is a 461 cubic-inch big-block Chevy built from a General Motors Gen IV block using studded mains and partially block-filled water jackets. The heads are 1967 GM 396 closed chamber-style matched to a Weiand Team G Intake. A Pro Systems 4500 series gas 1050 cfm carburetor caps the major assembly. COMP Cams and Lunati products make up the general valvetrain on top of a .748-In, .714-Ex lift, 313-In, 322-Ex duration cam by COMP Cams.

Ross Pistons 36cc dome pistons and Eagle Specialty Products forged 6.135-inch H-beam rods, and a 4340 forged 4-inch stroke crank complete the rotating assembly. A Powermaster Motorsports mini alternator, 8-quart Milodon oil pan, Standard volume Melling oil pump, and Clevite bearings make up other major components.

A 461-inch big-block Chevy currently pushes the Price family Calais into the 9.6-second zone. The Calais body shell is currently painted matte black while all the initial construction and chassis tuning chores are underway.

Behind the big block is a Coan Racing Pro-Tree Bracket Powerglide with a Reid SFI case. The ‘Glide is set up with a 1.76 first gear, transbrake, and Coan 8-inch Max Performance torque converter built to the Calais application.

On the ignition side, all MSD Performance components include the 7AL2 Plus ignition, Pro Power coil, two-step control, launch control module, Starter Saver, and billet distributor. Taylor 8.5mm plug wires with ceramic boots are connected to NGK V-Power racing spark plugs. An OPTIMA batteries yellow top battery supplies the 12-volt source.

“We saw the car online on a Thursday and had it home on that Saturday,” Price continues. “We didn’t get a lot of history on the car. The previous owner of the base body/chassis used it to compete in NHRA Super Street competition. The chassis was set up very stiff. We purchased QA1 Precision Products single adjustable coil-over shocks for the front and Strange coil-over shocks for the rear. We also had the car scaled by our friends at US12 Speed and Custom which made a huge difference.”

The front suspension is currently a tubular A-arm design. The team consisting of Derrick, his father, Darwin Price, and mother, Rebecca Price, has plans to convert the 2×3 mild steel chassis to a strut front suspension during the upcoming winter. The family team resides in La Porte, Indiana and primarily competes at Osceola Dragway with an occasional trip to US 131 Motorsports Park.

A fabricated 9-inch read end housing holds a Moser Engineering 3rd member with 4.11 gears, and Moser 35-spline steel spool and axles. Action Machine built a steel driveshaft to complete the drivetrain. Sander Engineering 15×14-inch 752 Series wheels are on the rear, and Weld Wheel Pro Stars are on the front. Hoosier Racing tire skins are all around including 31×14-inch D05 slicks on the back.

The matte black body shell consists of steel roof and quarters along with the original OEM metal front clip that was built into one piece for quick removal. A fiberglass 6-inch cowl hood, doors, and rear bumper are fiberglass components from VFN Fiberglass. The windshield and door windows are fabricated from Lexan material.

Stopping power relies on all Wilwood Engineering products. Forged Dynalite brakes and rotors are on all four corners along with a Wilwood master cylinder and Wilwood high temp brake fluid. A Biondo Racing line lock solenoid is plumbed into the front brakes.

 

“It is definitely unique. We raced a dragster for about a year and a half, but we like competing in no electronics classes, and I really wanted to get back to a door car.” – Derrick Price

The interior hosts a custom aluminum dash, floor panels, transmission tunnel and wheel tubs. A Kirkey aluminum racing seat is in place. A Biondo Racing Pro Outlaw shifter, Elite RPM Switch for shifter solenoid activation, Biondo transbrake button, and a Painless Performance eight-switch panel make up the controls within the driver’s reach. An Autometer Pro Comp 5″ playback tach and general gauges report the car’s vital statistics. The team pours VP 110 Racing Fuel into a four-gallon fuel cell.

“We get a lot of compliments on the car,” Price adds. “It’s a good car that is coming around. Our best performances so far are a 6.09 at 113 mph in the 1/8-mile and a 9.64 at 136 mph in the quarter.”

Racer and car feature such as this one on the Price Family Calais is as easy as posting your race car on the Dragzine magazine Facebook page the next time we call for your reader’s rides, so post them up!

About the author

Todd Silvey

Todd has been a hardcore drag racing journalist since 1987. He is constantly on both sides of the guardwall from racing photography and editorship to drag racing cars of every shape and class.
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