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American Graffiti in a 72 ShortBed

Old 11-30-2006, 11:09 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 113
Default American Graffiti in a 72 ShortBed

I have been seeing a guy rolling around the “Pre-1974,” show circuit this past 2 months. He drives a 1970 C/10 400. You older guys remember when GM ran out of 396s in 1969 and started putting 400ci motors in place of the L78 option. What a treat it must have been to get that 400 Mouse with all the L78 goodies with an apology from GM. OHMYGOD, apology accepted. That same motor made it into the very early 1969 ½-1970 Camaros. You would remember; the new cars came out in like March of that year, not as now, 6 months before the previous year ends. The LT1 took over as the “after December 69,” pre ordered cars. Still, there are 1970 Camaros, Chevells, Novas Impalas and TRUCKS that have that rare 400ci L78 Option. Anyway, this guy’s truck is just a sweetheart and takes me back to my own shortbed. I had bought a 1971 C/10 with a 350 4BltMn, Turbo 400, stepside in 1972. I think it was a wrecker bought back yet it was still very clean and straight. I decided the day I bought it I was going to thrash it hard. It just was asking for it. MAKE ME FAST and we shall OverCome. I also was tired of wrenching on my own sht as I was working at our dlrshp full time. I sought out help. I contacted Keith Blacks shop in the Valley to see if they could recommend a local guy who farted HP. Indeed they knew one. The guy who built my motor was an Older Hippie (I'm 53) who had a shop out in Trabuco Canyon. He just smelled of HP. His scarry RIDE ON T Handle mower went like 35 mph with a 9hp Tecumseh. Every other word out of his mouth was “Stroke.” My stroker was a 383 – using the standard 4.030" x 3.75" (5.565 or 5.7 rod) using my 350 block and a 400 crank. The main bearing crank journals were cut to 350 size. I originally wanted a 377 Stroker but he wouldn't have anything to do with a 350 crank with "spacer" main bearings. It wasn’t just that he Stroked it, he massaged it as well. My one worry was the guy was a “pure stoner,” who looked like Tommy Chong. Needless to say, it mattered not. The motor was a monster Mouse with a beefed up Turbo 400 (the best way to go). I originally had a BorgWarner T-10 4 Speed. (Great Tranny) Short Throw but I blew out 1st gear 5 times and just had enough. After he was done with my Truck, which took nearly 5 months and included everything from the Radiator to the RearEnd, I had "Color Me Custom," in Garden Grove (here in Calif) throw a Blue/Pearl PJ on it. I couldn’t wait to hit [email protected] in Fullerton where the old Alpha Beta was so I could Hook up with a guy named "Big Willie," who ran the L.A. Street Racers. It was where I had gone to since 1968 w/friends to watch. Now I had a Brute and wanted to spread gallons of bleach under my M&Ts. "Big Willie," who ran the L.A. Street Racers had "2," Plymouth Superbirds w/BB Hemi's. One he drove pulling a trailer on which the other, his wife's sat. They were also painted by the crew at "Color Me Custom," and were named The "African Elephant (his) and The African Queen (the wife's)." He never raced either, just made a very large statement when he fired them up, laid ribbons and laughed. At 6’4”, 285lbs, when he laughed, you better as well. I was so damn cocky yet I smacked almost everything I ran against. Had a guy a "Jonny's Speed Chrome and Performance," a Mooney's Shop on Beach Blvd in Buena Park build a half ***'d semi floating cross link with Popye Like trailing arms to help stop snapping u-joints. I raced with Big Willie & the L.A Street Racers gang for years. I took down many a Mouse (327s, 350s, 383s, 400s) and a lot of Rats (396s, 426's, 427s, 428's, 429's, 454s) loosing maybe 5 races out of 75 or so. BUT; I did get my *** kicked hard by two guys who just showed up, a week apart. They both wanted "pinks," to race. But smart old Big Willie smelled "RINGERS," so we settled for $500. One was a Red 1957 Chevy named 'The Rat." He said he had an LS5 but we all knew it was a LS6. His yank of choice was a Muncie M21 Rock Crusher pulling gear
Old 12-13-2006, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: N.Y.
Posts: 98
Default RE: American Graffiti in a 72 ShortBed

Very cool story man. I wasent around for that era of car, but, boy do I wish I was. Keep the pedal to rhe floor and you can always go back in time just a little
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