TX2K 2019: Piston-Heads Garage 1936 LS-powered Rat Rod
One of the great things about TX2K is that you never know what you are going to find. Sure you will see a lot of GTRs, Supras, Lamborghinis, and Corvettes but you might not expect to see an LS-powered 1936 Chevrolet truck with twin-turbos and a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold.
We talked to Andy from Piston-Heads Garage out of Katy Texas about their ’36 Chevy rat rod. Andy picked up the hotrod truck in Houston with the intention of just using it as a daily driver. After he got the truck he swapped in a 6-liter LS engine and a T56 transmission and drove it everywhere. As with any performance enthusiast, Andy got the itch to tack it to the track and see what the truck could do. This ignited the build and he kept changing parts on the truck until it became a race truck.
Andy built the frame in his garage and then he took it to Bear Metal Speed Shop and Automotive in San Antonio and they took care of all of the tin work and installed the roll cage as well. Andy said, ” When I first got the truck, it was not safe at all. As it started going faster and faster, I figured it was a good time to make the truck safe.”
The engine is still a 6-liter but the T56 transmission has been swapped out for Powerglide. The nitrous system has also been removed and has been replaced with a twin turbo setup. The ’36 now has a 9-inch rear connected to the frame by a parallel 4-link setup. The front suspension is straight out of the 1930s in the form of a solid front axle. Somehow the RC Components wheels and Wilwood brakes work on this truck even though they don’t have a vintage vibe. Andy still has to finish up the interior and a few other areas but hopes to have it track ready in a few weeks.
So far this truck has run a best of 9.02 et at 148 miles per hour with the first engine with the nitrous system set on 150 horsepower. Andy expects the new combination to make 1100 horsepower and 900 lb-ft of torque on e85. Andy said even with the I-beam front suspension the Chevy goes straight as an arrow. That might have been the case with the nitrous combination but this new one looks like it will be a handful.
We can’t wait to see this sting at the track making sub-9-second passes. If you want to follow the build from Piston-Heads Garage, check it out on Instagram at Arsenic36.
TX2K 2019: New Heavy Hitter Class
Cadilac CTS-Vs are everywhere at TX2K and part of this might is due to a new class. The latest addition to the race this year is the Heavy Hitter class which is geared to any car that weighs over 4200-pounds with a single power adder. CTS-Vs are a popular choice along with Chargers, Challengers, and we even saw a ProCharged Pontiac G8 in the mix.
Antwaine Hobbs from Round Rock Texas is solely responsible for this new class at TX2K. He made the suggestion the staff and then prepaid for all of the entries to guarantee that this class would make the car count. After he promoted it to his fellow racers, Antwaine generated enough interest to get over 20 competitors in the race. We have to admit that the 4200-pounds cars were a blast to watch as some of the mammoths yanked the wheels and ran in the mid to low 9-second range.
Antwaine’s CTS-V ran a best this weekend of 9.36 elapsed time at 147 miles per hour. This car still retains a stock bottom end with nothing more than a set of ported GM LS9 heads, air intake, factory ported blower, cam, running on E85. The car still uses the factory transmission as well as the factory torque converter. A nine-second pass is an impressive feat with a 4200-pound vehicle especially when it just has bolt-ons and a stock bottom end.
Jeff Garrison was from San Antonio Texas with the only 2016 CTS-V V3 on the property at TX2K this year, and this car was immaculate. Jeff had all of the bolt-on components which seemed to be a common theme for the CTS-V crowd. Jeff had the heads ported, added a cam, Whipple supercharger, larger pulleys, E85, axillary fuel system, air intake, and methanol injection. In addition to these mods, he was also running a Circle D Specialties torque converter. Plagued with transmission tunning problems, the car has yet to make a solid pass but has still managed to go 10.50 at 140. At 16-pounds of boost, the V3 produced 900 horsepower and 1040 lb-ft of torque. This car is Jeff’s daily driver and has just over 60,000 miles on the odometer.
Beverly Feaster of Dedicated Motorsports out of Weatherford Texas was piloting her CTS-V in the Heavy Hitter class as well. The car has a Kong Performance ported blower and air intake, ported heads, cam, aftermarket exhaust system, 1700 Injector Dynamics fuel injectors, upper and lower pulley, ice tank to cool the blower air charge, LSR block, Driveshaft Shop axles, and driveshaft. The car weighs in at 4230-pounds with the factory seats removed with a race seat replacing the heavy drivers unit. This car had no problem yanking the wheels all weekend, and it sounds very, very angry when the throttle snaps. Beverly and her crew made some adjustments and hoped to better their 9.29 pass in eliminations.
Felicia Smith out of Oklahoma City Oklahoma was another female racer driving a killer looking orange CTS-V in the Heavy Hitter Class. This max effort LSA engine still has the factory blower as well as a stock cubic inch built bottom end. Like some of the other competitors’ vehicles, Felicia is running an upper and lower pully for an increase in boost while running E85. The car also has methanol injection as well as a Nitrous Express nitrous system which could not be used in this class. The Cadillac has a ported blower, heads, and has run a best of 9.60 at 146 miles per hour at a race weight of 4250-pounds.
We are willing to bet that this class will continue to grow and due to its popularity, might even be split into multiple categories. It was an impressive sight to see some of these cars launch with the wheels up, and we couldn’t get enough of it.
TX2K never disappoints and today was no exception as hundreds of car rolled through the gates for some drag racing action. When the event opened, the racers were unloading their cars and headed straight to the staging lanes for round one of qualifying. As the event goes on more and more LS-powered vehicles are showing up, and that’s ok with us. We haven’t seen as many CTSV-S as we had hoped, but there is no shortage of Corvettes on the property.
TX2K 2019:Ryan Lewakski’s Bolt-On C7 Corvette
Ryan Lewakski came all the way from Denver Colorado to TX2K with this C7 Corvette for the drag race portion of the event. The Corvette is a bolt-on only car, and they are trying to run in the 8-second range with the factory engine a drivetrain. According to Ryan, ” We are really trying to push the stock GM parts on the car and see what it’s capable of running. Right now we are using the stock engine, stock transmission, and the stock rear end. We are really trying to put this thing in the 8’s by strapping on a bunch of nitrous and a bigger blower on it.” You can’t deny the fact that the Whipple Supercharger which replaced the LT4 unit isn’t a “bigger blower.” To make room for the new blower, the guys had to cut the cowl, and you can see where the hood is rubbing the ever so slightly.
The nitrous system on the Z06 is made up of several of the nitrous manufactures. The car has two Nitrous Express composite bottles with a set of Nitrous Outlet billet bottle brackets. The supercharger lid was sent off to the guys at Nitrous Outlet for a custom spray bar installation to help cool of the air charge as well as add a little more power. The system is jetted for 200 horsepower and controlled by a NOS mini progressive controller. When the system is activated, a Lingenfelter LNC-2014 pulls timing out of the tune to make sure the system is safe. The only issue that Ryan has had with the nitrous is a a fouled spark plug which say a lot about the system since he has put at least 60 bottles through the car.
When the blower is at max boost, and the 200 horsepower nitrous shot comes on the Z06 cranks out an impressive 1100 horsepower to the tires and a mind-blowing 1350 lb-ft of torque. This is an excellent testament to the LT powerplant and the amount of abuse it can take. Ryan states, “We are just going to continue to push the car until something breaks. If we have to crack into the block to fix something, we will, but at this point, if something does fail, I wouldn’t be made at all.”
The camouflaged wrapped ‘Vette definitely stands out in the sea of GTRs at TX2K and the black Forgeline wheel look right at home on this combo. We are hoping Ryan cracks the 8’s this weekend, but we will have to wait and see if the factory parts hold up.
TX2K 2019: Eric Warren’s Awesome 8-second Camaro
As we cruised around the property, we also spotted a Camaro that stood out in the crowd. The white sixth-gen Camaro of Eric Warren was at the back of the lot and had an enormous LT1X G1Pro sheet metal intake protruding out of the hood. At a glance, it is evident that this car was all business and it was more apparent after we talked to Steven Rankins originally built the car.
The LT engine is still the stock bore size and houses the factory GM crankshaft. CID heads now replace the LT1 pieces along with a set of CP Carillo forged pistons and rods. This combination coupled with the F1A-94 ProCharger and a Nitrous Outlet dual bottle system cranks out over 1000 horsepower to the wheels. The nitrous system is only jetted for 100 horsepower, but it actually makes 170 horsepower when called upon.
The fuel of choice for the Camaro is e85. While the car still utilizes the factory ECU for the direct injection, a Motech ECU adds additional fuel when the boost hits. This method allows the car to operate like stock until more fuel is needed. Dual Walbro 450s are mounted in a surge tank which supplies the multiport injection on the manifold.
The custom roll cage is certified for 8.50’s and is a real work of art. The main hoop disappears under the headliner, and the down bars can’t even be seen due to the fact they are hidden under interior panels. The welds are immaculate to the point that at first glance it’s hard to tell that they are welded. The only thing that doesn’t look stock in the car at first glance is the Corbeau seats the five-point harnesses.
The driveline in the Camaro is an 8L90e, and Steven told us they worked with Circle D Specialties on the torque converter for this particular setup. He is also currently working with a clutch manufacturer to get a custom clutch set for the 8L90e transmission, and they are close to having it to test. That is good news to the guys that are racing these transmissions. The car still uses the factory independent rear suspension with the addition of Driveshaft Shop axles.
The Camaro has run a best of 8.88 with a 1.3 sixty-foot time at a race weight of 3950. With over 6,000 miles on this engine, countless dyno pulls, and who knows how many passes at the dragstrip, it just goes to show that the LT platform is a force to be reckoned with. We hope to catch this car in action soon.