Only slow cars need excuses.

Anthony's note: I took this completely from Hot Rod's website. (Without permission, of course.) I would have simply added a link and maybe a couple pictures, but guess what: the pooners that run the site change the directories every 5 seconds, so links go dead every week. Now you don't have to search for 25 years on their site to see it.

Scott Dickinson’s ’73 Dodge Challenger
A Real 7-Second Street Car For Dairy Queen Runs
By Jeff Koch
Photography: Jeff Koch

Once upon a time, way back in the early ’90s, when street car drag racing sprung up across the country and the drivers rose to prominence, the cars they raced were back-halved but included sheetmetal and partial floorpans that once rolled off a Detroit assembly line. Part of the appeal was that these wild cars were not only fast, but that they were required to master a 25-mile driving loop without puking or popping, before having to produce 8- and 9-second quarter-mile times.

As things evolved and became more competitive, the competitors detoured from their purist beginnings. Thirty-five years ago, NASCAR raced vehicles with stock sheetmetal—they were real cars, gutted and rebuilt for the high-banked ovals; today you’d be hard-pressed to find a lick of factory steel on any Winston Cup track Sunday afternoon.

Such is the case with street-car drag racing: Back-halved cars evolved into full-race Pro Streeters (and in the Outlaw division, even IHRA Pro Modifieds). Few, if any, have any resemblance to a factory ride. License plates appear to be optional, and the 25-mile loop is no longer part of the equation. The “street” part of the street-car drag racing equation means as much as the “stock” in stock car racing does now. As speeds have increased, so have audiences who attend the spectacle, but many of those who were into the scene at its genesis decry the move away from its origins.

Scott Dickinson is a purist. He’s one of those who remember Danny Scott, Annette Summer, Mike Moran, and the original band of street-car quarter-milers, and he’s one of those who wish that evolution hadn’t strayed quite so far. He believes that these so-called street cars belie their full-race status, and that their high-compression engines are unsuited for anything but quarter-mile strip duty. Even in the lower classes, like Super Street, where high-7 second runs are now the norm, the bodies are real but the chassis and powertrain architecture are a little too radical for any street use. Dickinson is, of course, correct in this regard.

His mission is to reclaim street car drag racing for real street cars. The Warwick, Rhode Island, resident and owner of SDCE (Scott Dickinson Custom Engineering) has fired an opening salvo across the bow of convention with his ’73 Challenger. The blown fuelie 900-plus-hp mill runs on pump gas, and the handbuilt suspension is good enough to thrust him into the 8s on 10-inch tires, yet the minitubbed chassis still features a rear seat, so his five-year-old daughter, Lindsey, can ride in back for the family trip to the Dairy Queen. Back in the day, it would have been a Pro Street contender; now, rules changes relegate it to the slightly more real-world NMCA Super Street class.

As you might imagine, that back seat causes a ton of headaches. “Any four-link car is automatically lowered 4 inches from whatever the stock ride height is, which necessitates attaching some suspension links inside the car. I’ve got a back seat, so I can’t do that. I had to make everything smaller and have it attach to the bottom of the car.” A standard ladder-bar setup measures 42 inches; Scott’s measures a mere 30 because, according to Super Street rules, wheelie bars cannot stick out beyond the rear bumper. “I had to change all the attaching angles. You can’t just make ’em shorter—the geometry gets all screwed up, and you lose your bite. We just ran it on the dyno, and even though it put out more than 900 horsepower, it doesn’t feel like a monster because the car is steady. After it hit the converter, it stuck like glue. It doesn’t scare you, and you don’t feel like you’re gonna get killed in it.”

Elsewhere on the chassis, the rear brakes are bigger than the fronts (11s up front, 12-inchers out back). Seems odd at first glance, but Dickinson explains it this way: “The gearing and tire height affect the brakes’ ability to work. A bigger tire in the back means you need a bigger brake there as well. It also helps keep from nose-diving. And those sticky tires out back can help plenty with braking if you want them to.” BART, best known for its dirt-tracker rims, makes the wheels in custom offsets.

Under the hood are a number of pieces that Scott made for himself (and will doubtless make for you, too, if you so desire): The intercooler, throttle body, rocker arms, headers, rear suspension, and tons more were all fabricated by him at SDCE. The throttle body, Dickinson claims, is a 2,000-cfm piece, with 11 square inches of throttle opening area and a 4-inch blade. Fuel injectors rated at 160 pounds-per-hour keep it from leaning out; by comparison, stock ’87-’93 Mustangs had 19-pound-per-hour squirters.

For street cruising, he uses a GM 4L80E truck tranny with an UltraTech conversion bellhousing. And for race duty, he uses… the same 4L80E. No special prep, and even though it soaks up almost 25 percent of the flywheel’s power before it’s applied to the tarmac, Dickinson still sees 750-plus hp at the wheels.

Hmmm… pump gas, overdrive tranny, back seat… racecar? Will it work? Can Dickinson reclaim the street car drag-race series for real, honest street cars? We’ll find out next season. HR

Aside from the article, here are some stats sourced from Dickinson's own website:

Weight: 3450lb Race Weight
CI: 383/402cid
Exhaust: Custom 5" Oval Exhaust
ET: 1/4Mile Run of 8.70s @ 154MPH
Dyno Power Output: 1216HP/1017ft-lbs

Pat Daly's '70 Chevy Nova

This car RULES! I've only been in its presence a few times, but this car simply emits an aura you can't escape or deny the presence of. That aura is pure bad-ass-ness, which can also be found around MacGyver, Paul Newman as Fast Eddie in "the Hustler," Rambo, etc. In fact, this car is probably what inspired Aaron's creation of the two Street car entities: The "ninja car" and the "Rambo" car. A "ninja car" drives around and makes its kills silently and efficiently. A "Rambo" car, on the other hand, makes its kills in the coolest and bloodiest way possible. To wit - think of in Rambo II, when he gets the rocket launcher. He uses one rocket to blow up a small village, another to kill an entire troop of Viet-Cong soldiers, and one just for the purpose of vaporizing the guy that killed his girlfriend. Total excess, but soooooo cool.

This is very much the case for Pat Daly's yellow nova. It isn't quiet, it isn't subtle, and it's not as comfortable as a Buick Roadmaster. It's just fast. And not just fast - *fucking* fast. As far as I know, the car has run into the mid 10s - and this was with the ribbed belt slipping and shredding like crazy on a blower that's too small for the motor in the first place. And, as I understand it, Pat has rectified (or is in the process of rectifying) both situations with a cog belt drive and a bigger Procharger (F1?).

What I like a lot about this car is that while immaculate and insanely fast, Pat doesn't have a trillion dollars tied up into it. Pat's a Purdue M.E., and knows a thing or two about a thing or two. Pat fabbed his own EFI and blower mounting setup, along with countless other items on the car. Through D.I.Y., Pat claims to have kept costs below $30,000. And that ain't bad for a street car that (has the power to go) 8's and looks as nice as it does.

Check the pics below for Pat's handy work - very trick! Note - the car is currently fuel injected, but I added pics of the Carb'd motor for more views of the blower mounting setup. Pat, we want more pics and info!

Visit Pat's site, for possible updates and other pictures. More to come........

Jeff Powell's "Dalene" - 1967 Fury

I wish I knew more about this car's particulars - for now, enjoy this sweet footage!!

And coming soon:
Purple Haze, an almost 7 second TT '71 Charger
Mike Landi's (old) '55 Blown Chevy