Best for Last? The Last Batch of Can’t-Miss Rides from PRI 2017
We’re not done yet… Our final collection of cars from the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show might just be the most intriguing so far. From purpose-built drag racers to street-driven hot rods, autocrossers to dirt track dominators and imports to domestics, this one’s a melting pot of automotive excellence. And better yet, no power plant is off the table. We’ve got six Chevrolet V8’s, two thumping Hemi’s, one high-revving import and a nasty, air-cooled Volkswagen to tell you about—along with five brand-new vehicles that were unveiled for the very first time.
Stay tuned for a look at the wildest engine combinations we came across at this year’s show. It comes your way next!
We couldn’t help but drop by the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) booth for a closer look at the Jeff Hoskins paint job on Lee Adkins ’69 Z28. Put together by Jerry Bickel Race Cars in Moscow Mills, Missouri, Adkins’ brand new Camaro sports a Reher-Morrison engine built for the Pro Mod class. Be on the lookout for Lee’s Camaro to shake things up among the PDRA ranks in 2018, a class where mid-3’s are obtained in just 660 feet—and at speeds near 230 mph!
The Family Truckster
From new paint to 60 years of sun-baked patina, Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton’s ’57 Chevy Wagon definitely garnered some attention in the Lucas Oil booth. The classic family truckster is powered by a Precision twin-turbo’d, 408 ci LS3 graced with Manley rods, ARP fasteners and Holley’s Dominator EFI. A BTE Racing Turbo 400 handles the shifts while a rear end from Strange Engineering plants the power to the ground. Leaving the body completely original, Richie enlisted Lucas Oil Race Fabrication to build a complete tube chassis for the car and also had the wagon tubbed courtesy of Kirkman Composites. It was just a couple months removed from Hot Rod Drag Week when we stumbled into it at PRI.
The PRI Show serves as the launching pad for a lot of new vehicles—and Chrome-Worx Ultra Cars made the most of it at the Dragraceresults.com booth. This dragster, which sports a 255-inch American Race Cars chassis, was put together for Dan Gueguen and its carbon fiber body features an amazing paint job from Todd’s Extreme Paint. The dragster’s dual shock design swing arm represents a first from American Race Cars. Propulsion comes from a 738 ci Hemi that’s fed two healthy stages of nitrous.
Dirt Track Modified
Short track dirt racing is huge in America—and it gets nowhere near the press it deserves. Cars like this spend half the track sideways and run well over 100 mph on the straights. DIRTcar UMP Modified driver Nick Hoffman finished the 2017 season fifth out of the top 60 Modifieds in the nation and his number 2 ride was parked in the Fox booth for all to see. The wheels had been pulled to offer passersby a glimpse at the shocks, coils, brakes and chassis components these wild rides use.
Race-Ready Factory Camaro
Celebrating 50 years of its iconic muscle car, Chevrolet unveiled the 2018 COPO Hot Wheels edition of the Camaro—a concept vehicle that’s pretty darn serious. Designed to meet NHRA specifications, the COPO Camaro comes with a full chromoly roll cage that’s certified to 8.50 seconds, a Turbo 400 automatic and can be had with three different engines. The first option is an LSX-based and supercharged 350 ci mill, the second engine will be naturally aspirated, LSX-based and displace 427ci and the third available offering will be an all-new 302ci V8 with direct injection. This baby is also fitted with a fuel cell (and high-pressure pump), a rear axle with 35-spline shafts, a spool and an aluminum center section. It also comes with an integrated line-lock. Only 69 versions of the COPO Hot Wheels Camaro will be built—and are likely already spoken for.
Another highly anticipated new car unveiling took place at the Indy Cylinder Head booth: the Screamin’ Demon owned by Chris and Charli Wheatcraft. Built to compete in the NHRA’s Top Sportsman class in 2018, the car features a composite ’71 Dodge Demon body from Andy McCoy Race Cars (and painted by Ron’s Auto Body) on top of a 6.00-certified Advanced chromoly chassis. The 532ci Mopar houses a Winberg crankshaft, GRP rods, Diamond pistons, an Indy solid block, Predator heads and a massive F-3R ProCharger blowing through an Advanced Product Design carburetor.
This Import Means Business
The hood stack. The front slicks. The Supertech/Prayoonto Racing engine. The sizeable snail hanging off the side of the four-banger (hence the hood stack). All of the above brought us closer to the blue-on-black beauty hanging out in the Supertech Performance booth. Sponsored by Supertech, Prayoonto Racing, Clutch Masters, Comp Turbo, Tial Sport, Vibrant Performance and several others, this front-wheel drive terror can knock down mid-8’s in the quarter. Driver Jonathan Reynolds has navigated the car to several wins, including a biggie at the 2017 Import Invasion held at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland.
Not Your Average Love Bug
JD Curry Jr’s wheels-up VW Bug was on hand in the Performance Electronics, Ltd booth to represent Volkswagen racers. The air-cooled V-dub competes in the East Coast Pro Racing Association’s Pro Stock class, where it’s known to put up low 10’s and high 9’s in the quarter-mile. On the other side of the booth sat a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which is driven by J.D.’s crew chief, Alex Curry, and also competes in the ECPRA’s Pro Stock category.
1,100-RWHP First-Gen Camaro
In addition to being a well-crafted bit of eye candy, Mike DuSold’s autocross-ing ‘67 Camaro packs a nasty performance punch. It’s powered by a 427ci, forged LS9, force fed air courtesy of a pair of 56mm Precision turbos and sends 1,100 hp to the pavement. An Amp EFI MS3Pro ECU helps keep power application and traction-loss manageable, while a transaxle from a Corvette combined with independent rear suspension moved some of car’s 2,880-pound heft to the rear. For weight savings and safety, the car is also equipped with a custom tube chassis that incorporates a roll cage.
You might’ve seen this ’89 Civic cruising from track to track with a roof rack up top during Drag Week 2016. We found it parked in the Stainless Works booth. It’s the culmination of a father/son build, the father being Jeff Lutz and the son being Jeff Lutz Jr. of Lutz Race Cars. Different to say the least, the 30-year-old Honda sports a 434 ci small block, twin 76mm Precision turbos, a two-speed Rossler Power Glide with Gear Vendors overdrive and 3.70 gears. Tipping the scales at just 2,380 pounds (with driver), the twin-turbo’d Honda makes running 7’s look easy.