This Page is Always Under Construction...

Dave's 1966 Formula S
Plymouth Barracuda

My Barracuda was originally purchased with the idea that it
would be my daily driver. However, various old car problems
and the dawning realization that parts were MUCH harder
to come by for the fish than for the Mustang soon moved it to
back-up car status. When the rear axle wore out the summer after
I became a father and a graduate student (Yea, I committed the
tactical blunder of doing both at the same time in Spring of '95),
it went up on jack stands (were it remained until 06/03/2001),
awaiting my attention and a portion of my COPIOUS spare time.

While my Barracuda has only about 68,000 miles on the clock, the
previous owners were none too kind to it. The original owner
purchased the Citrine Gold Metallic Formula S with a black interior,
console, disk brakes, and a 904 automatic transmission in New
York. The Following year he retired to Arizona (and,
apparently, quit changing the GoldFish's oil). When he passed
away the GoldFish emigrated to Michigan where its 2nd owner had
it repo'd (more than likely more poor maintenance here). Its
third owner purchased it off of the impound lot (and the
GoldFish finally got lucky). Pete McNicholl, the GoldFish's
third owner, is a retired Chrysler Engineer who enjoys
restoring, showing, and occasionally racing early A bodies and
'50s Hemi cars. While he did not restore the GoldFish, he did
treat it kindly, showing it in unrestored/driven condition
around Michigan and driving it on a regular basis.

I purchased the GoldFish in 1990 with 58,000 miles on it for
the sum of $4500.00 and my trusty 318 powered '74 Dart (a
converted, rusty, \6 car). That's when things started to get

When the GoldFish first arrived in the driveway at my mom's
house, its greeting to me was to spit a core plug out of the back
of the driver's side cylinder head right there in the driveway (I
bet you can see where this is going). I ended up pulling both
heads off, getting a valve job, a mild port clean up, converting
to a hydraulic cam (remember this was to be a daily driver),
replaced one cam bearing, and the oil pump and pickup. Once I had
it running again and through Maryland's title transfer/licensing
inspection (very picky) I started to drive the GoldFish on a daily
basis and found that it tended to run hot; after replacing the
water pump, thermostat, and radiator the GoldFish's temp stabilized.

How did it run and drive? Once I replaced the ball joints, tie
rod ends, and shocks, very nicely, thank you. The Formula S
package makes for a well balanced car that compares well with
modern sport coups in every category except emissions and gas
mileage. Other minor upgrades include a K&N air filter (I use
these on all my vehicles), urethane bushings for the sway bar
(this swap was a bit of a pain but worth the effort), and a set
of P 205 60HR 14 Yokohama A509s (a nice inexpensive H rated tire
that works well on dry or wet pavement). At the strip the tired
273 Commando (it uses a quart of oil every 100 miles) has pushed
the GoldFish to a best run of 17.20 @ 84 MPH despite the
undersized replacement exhaust system. On the street the GoldFish
could defend its honor against the more common Cameros and Mustangs.

As mentioned above the GoldFish became a backup car due to the
difficulty in getting parts. I still drove to work once or twice
a week in good weather, although I will drive it in the rain on
occasion by choice (unlike the Rust-er-Mustang which leaks and
gets down right scary on wet pavement (all that torque =8^D)).

Unfortunately for the GoldFish (as I mentioned above) it decided
to use up the rear wheel bearings during the summer of 1995.
Normally this wouldn't have been a problem, but I'd just started
Grad' School AND become a father during the spring. I
managed to get the axle out of the car, got it rebuilt, and back
to the garage floor under the car but there it sat from August
1995 to about late May of 2001. And then...

Great news! The GoldFish swims again. Got it down off of jackstands
for the first time in almost six (6!) years on Sunday June 3rd,
took it to its first Autocross on June 24th! In the time since
I parked the GoldFish, I got my Mustang (Ol'Beastly) back on the
road (I grenaded its 289 in 1991), started autocrossing it in C
Prepared. This has changed the plan for the GoldFish (I've got
the racing bug BAD). So... I'm developing the GoldFish to
go Vintage Road Racing. I'm using the local autocrosses to develop
the handling on the car and don't expect to actually be running
the GoldFish in Fender-to-Fender events for another two or three
years. The fact that Ol'Beastly is getting another new engine
(and suffering delays in that connection) helped to focus on the
GoldFish again (I've GOT'A HAVE A V8 To Race!!!). Here's
what I've done and how its worked so far:

First Autocross (06/24/2001, Rosecroft):
  • Spax shocks set 8 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft.
  • 10 year old Yokohama A509 205 60 14
    tires on 14"x6" front and 14"x7" rear
    American Racing Slotted Mags.
  • Tire Pressure: 35.5 Psi. Front,
    35 Psi. Rear.
  • Stock (1994) street alignment.

1995 Blue BMW
M3 (BSP)
CP Class Winner51.100
Me 61.384 (OUCH!)

Second Autocross (07/08/2001, Tipton Airport):
  • Spax shocks set 9 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft.
  • 10 year old Yokohama A509 205 60 14
    tires on 14"x6" front and 14"x7" rear
    American Racing Slotted Mags.
  • Tire Pressure: 35.5 Psi. Front,
    35 Psi. Rear.
  • Lowered the torsion bars 1.5 turns,
    otherwise stock (1994) street alignment.

1995 Blue
CP Class Winner48.036
Me 57.015 (Smaller Ouch!)

Third Autocross (07/22/2001, Tipton Airport):
  • New Holley 650 CFM Vacuum Secondary
    4160 Carb with secondary jet extensions, clear sight
    plugs, quick change secondary spring
    diaphragm housing, long float bowl vent
    baffles, milled choke tower (I used a
    sawsall =8^P ), extended bowl vent
    tubes, a K&N filter, and 68 & 72 Fr/Rr
    main jets.
  • Spax shocks set 9 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft.
  • New Toyo Proxes RA-1 225 50 15 tires
    on 15"x7" front and rear Circle Racing
    Custom wheels: 5 on 4" bolt pattern,
    4" Backspacing (could have gone to 4.5"
    on the BS), and only 12# each.
  • Tire Pressure: 32.5 Psi. Front, 32 Psi.
  • New bushings and alignment:
    TOE: 0"
    RIDE HEIGHT:0.5" below factory spec

1996 Blue
Chevy Corvette (BP)
CP Class Winner 46.590
Me 50.570 (even smaller ouch.)

Fourth Autocross (07/29/2001, Rosecroft, First EVER in the Rain):
SETUP (Wet):
  • Spax shocks set 8 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft Front.
  • Spax shocks set 7 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft Rear.
  • Tire Pressure: 30.5 Psi. Front, 30 Psi.
  • Raised torsion bars 1 turn, otherwise
    same alignment as autocross Three
  • Ran with Spare tire AND jack in trunk.
  • New aluminum Radiator under hood.

1988 Yellow
Honda CRX Si (CSP)
CP Class Winner 54.702
Me 57.348 (TeeHee! almost no ouch at all!)

Fifth Autocross (09/03/2001, Harry Grove Stadium):
  • Spax shocks set 10 clicks (out
    of 14) in from full soft Front.
  • Spax shocks set 11 clicks (out
    of 14) in from full soft Rear.
  • Tire Pressure: 32 Psi. Front,
    29 Psi. Rear.
  • Lowered torsion bars 1 turn from
    autocross 3 above, otherwise
    same alignment as autocross
    Three (above).
  • Moved Battery to the trunk, behind
    Right Rear wheel.
  • Replaced stock front bumper and
    mounts, weighing 36#, with a
    fiberglass bumper and aluminum
    mounts, weighing 7#.
  • New Radio from J.C.Whitney: Jenson
    60 Watt, with 2 speakers $79.95 (not
    a BOSE but 79.95! and I beats the
    H**K out of the AM that was cluttering
    up my work bench not working right
    and weighs less too). This was an
    exact fit in the dashboard opening.
    I Even made a bracket to mount the
    two small speakers that came with
    it in the stock location (this won't
    make the car any quicker, but it'll
    make getting there SEEM

1980 Red
Ralt RT - 5 (BM)
CP Class Winner 42.077
Me 44.968 (hardly any ouch at all)

Sixth Autocross (09/16/2001, Rosecroft):
  • Tires and suspension same as Autocross
    Five above, Except...
  • Spax shocks set 12 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft Rear.
  • Installed Doug's headers, 2.5" Exhaust,
    and Glass Packs (not a lot faster but
    SOUNDS wonderful!).

Composit of home made exhaust
1973 Black
Lotus Europa (ASP)
CP Class Winner 41.907
Me 44.287 (hardly any ouch at all (again))

Seventh Autocross (10/07/2001, Harry Grove Stadium):
  • Tires and suspension same as Autocross
    Six above, Except...
  • Tire Pressure: 30.5 Psi Front/28.5 Psi
  • Spax shocks set 12 clicks (out of 14)
    in from full soft FRONT.
  • Installed new MSD plug wires and DEI
    plug boot insulation.
Current <BR>
           configguration of my tired 273
  • Re-Jetted Carb' to 72 primary/78 Secondary.

1996 Silver
Chevy Corvette (SS)
CP Class Winner 38.852
BY A GLH OMNI (well at least it was
another MOPAR)(very tight Miata/
Prelude favoring course)(Best
relative position all year, 3rd
out of 5))

Eighth Autocross (10/21/2001, Rosecroft):
  • Tires and suspension same as Autocross
    Seven above, Except...
  • Tire Pressure: 29 Psi Front/27 Psi Rear.
  • New Alignment:
    TOE: 0.125" Out
    RIDE HEIGHT:1" below factory spec
  • New Road Race Oil Pan installed (see
    pictures below).

1990 Red
Caterham Super 7 (DM)
CP Class Winner 56.135
Me 58.770 (This event was a total GAS.
A wide open, C Prepared style course
with lots of lovely decreasing
radius sweepers to slow things down
and trip-up the unwary. This was the
first parking lot course I've run on
where I really felt horsepower
limitted. I feel fairly certain I
could have made up the 2.635 sec
deficit with about another 50-75 Hp.
No pain here just a very big Grinnnnn!!)

Ninth Autocross (12/09/2001, Six Flags):
  • Rejetted Carb to 70 Primary/76 Secondary.
  • Bumped timing to 14° initial and
    about 38° total (much better vacuum
    and throttle response).
  • Disconnected vacuum advance.
  • Tires and suspension same as Autocross
    Seven above, Except...
  • Tire Pressure: 29 Psi Front/27 Psi Rear.
  • New Alignment:
    TOE: 0.000"
    RIDE HEIGHT:1" below factory spec
  • New 1.125" diameter, 3 position adjustable
    front sway bar.

CP Class Winner62.257
Me64.898 (This event was ALSO a
total GAS. Another wide open, C Prepared style
course with lots of lovely decreasing
radius sweepers to slow things down
and trip-up the unwary. The second
parking lot course I've run on where I
really felt horsepower limitted. I
again feel fairly certain, again, that
I could have made up the 2.641 sec
deficit with about another 50-75 Hp.
No pain here just another very big
Grinnnnn!!). This course was long enough
to run three cars at once but fast enough
that FTD was only a 57.949. Great big new
lot (probably cold weather only) at Six

Tenth Autocross (03/23/2002, FedEx Field):
  • Tires and suspension same as Autocross
    Seven above, Except...
  • Added 11/16" adjustable rear swaybar (a
    leftover from converting Ol'Beastly (the
    '66 Mustang) to rear disk brakes).
    Length: 41.5" (about)

    Arms: 6.0", 6.75", and 7.5"

    The arms angle outward by about 2.5" per
    side so they span around 46.5".

    Detail of Left Rear Suspension at Full
    Droop From The Rear.

    Detail of Right Rear Suspension From The

    Detail of Right Rear End Link Mount.

    I origionally bought this bar from
    Maier Racing in 1985 (proof that
    you should never throw away ANYTHING).
    Maier has a new version available now
    that may have slightly different demensions
    So talk to Mike Maier before you buy.
  • Tire Pressure: 29 Psi Front/29 Psi Rear.

1990 Red
Caterham Super 7 (DM)
CP Class Winner 49.470
Me 51.176

Eleventh Autocross(04/21/2002, FedEx Field, second wet event):
  • Tires and suspension same as Autocross
    ten above, Except...
  • Tire Pressure: 28.5 Psi Front/28.5 Psi
  • Backed Rear shocks off two clicks to 8
    clicks in from full soft for wet conditions.
  • Reworked exhaust with a Dr. Gas "X" Pipe
    and a set of Walker DynoMax Super Turbo
    mufflers. Much quieter than the "H" pipe
    and glass packs, and the seat of my
    pants tells me its making a little more

1994 White
Chevrolet Corvette (BSP)
(ran in Dry)
CP Class Winner
(well actually 2nd but
fastest in the wet)
Me 68.177
Not bad when you
consider that the
competition was
running 245 45 16
Hoosier Dirt Stockers,
quite possibly the best
wet tire commonly
available to US

12th Autocross (06/16/2002, Rosecroft):
  • Tire Pressure: 30 Psi Front/29.5 Psi Rear.
  • New 0.990" Torsion Bars. Much stiffer
    than the stock 0.870" bars, almost
    completely eliminating body role (in
    combination with the swaybars), but
    not jaringly stiff either.
  • New Alignment:
    TOE: 1/16" out
    RIDE HEIGHT:1" below factory spec

1979 Green
Caterham Super 7 (DM)
CP Class Winner 46.603
Me 48.455
Best Differential
yet (1.852)! FTD was
45.326. Fast course
also rewarded lots of

13th Autocross (06/30/2002, FedEx Field):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire Pressure: 31 Psi Front/30.5 Psi Rear.
  • Rear sway bar set to middle setting.
  • Spax Shocks set at 11/10 clicks F/R.
  • Loose nut behind the wheel missed breakfast.

1979 Green Lotus Seven (DM)
CP Class Winner 54.394
Me 59.442
Badly overdrove the car
and slid all over on every
skip breakfast on race day!

14th Autocross (07/28/2002, Rosecroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire Pressure: 29 Psi Front/29 Psi Rear.
  • Spax Shocks set at 11/12 clicks F/R.
  • Ate breakfast.

1990 Red
Caterham Super 7 (DM)
CP Class Winner 43.206
Me 45.548
Much better drive and the car
is working very well too.
Time to stop making changes
for a bit and learn the current

15th Autocross (08/18/2002, Rosecroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • New, larger aluminum radiator
    (AFCO 18"x26"). Probably added
    about 5 Lbs. Kept engine temps
    under control on 98° (130 °
    on the lot) day.
  • Removed heater & heater controls
    (about 21 Lbs weight reduction
    according to my highly accurate and
    carefully calibrated bathroom scales
    (does not include the weight of water
    and hoses removed). Made aluminum block
    off/delete plates likely total about 8 OZ.
  • Tire pressure: 27.5 Psi. Front/28 Psi.
    Rear (did I mention it was a very HOT day).

1979 Green
Caterham Super 7 (DM)
CP Class Winner 54.510
Me 57.796
A real horse power
course layout with a
LONG figure 8 and only
one really tight turn on
the whole course. Another
50-100 Hp would have easily
cut 2-3 seconds off of
my time. Nicely neutral
balance, good grip.

16th Autocross (09/15/2002, Rosecroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Left Spare and Jack in trunk.
  • Went 1 click stiffer on the rear shocks (11f/11r).
  • Tire pressure: 27 Psi Front/28 Psi Rear.

2001 Red
Chevrolet Corvette (SM2)
CP Class Winner 49.028
Me 49.028 (GRIN)
CP 2nd PLace 49.350(1)
Yea "CP Class Winner" that would be ME! I finally beat
the 25x12 R33 Hoosier tired, 347 powered Fox Mustang
I've been chasing for the last 14 months! Steve (the
Mustang's owner), obliged me by coning on every run turning
a 48.598 to a 54.598, a 47.350 to a 49.350, and 48.650 to
50.650. I turned 52.719, 50.473(1) (or 52.473 with the
penalty, a rare cone for me), and 49.028 for the CP win and
FPTD! The course was very technical, but walked tighter
than it drove and had a good flow to it. It rained during
the 2nd heat which was when all the mod cars ran. FTD was
set by a DSP BMW 323is in the 4th heat at 46.110.

I arrived at the event with a wet set-up on the GoldFish but
backed the ride height back down and put the two
clicks back into the shocks before my first
run (but left the spare and jack in the trunk).
I started my first run with 28 Psi front/28.5 Psi
rear tire pressure. After run 1 I stiffened
up the rear shocks 1 click (now 11 in from full
soft on both ends) and ran a little faster,
but coned (same starting tire pressure). On the
third run I dropped to 27 Psi F/28 Psi R tire
pressure and really ripped a good run. Despite its
technical nature I could really 've used more power
too, as the slowest turn on the course (an
about 190 degree hairpin), led onto the second longest

It was dealing with that hair pin that led me to drop the
front tire pressure so low. On sweepers and transitions
the GoldFish is nicely balanced, but low speed tight
turns still bring out the pig in the GoldFish. I WAS a
little worried that the tires would roll over onto the
side walls but they showed no signs of it and dropping the
starting pressures really helped the front get bite in
the tight stuff without messing up the faster corners.

17th Autocross (09/22/2002, FedEx Field):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire pressure: 27 Psi. Front/27 Psi. Rear

1973 White
TUI Super Vee (AM)
CP Class Winner 50.663
Me 55.960

A combined horse power and technical course layout
100' skid pad circle leading into a long uphill
followed by one of two really tight turns on the whole course.
Another 50-100 Hp would have easily cut 2-3 seconds off of
my time. Nicely neutral balance, good grip.

Unfortunately the high G skid pad followed by the long straight
proved fatal to the tired 273, as it spun a rod bearing
on the drive home (OUCH!). The rod stayed on the crank
and the engine made it home still showing some oil pressure,
but it now goes CLANK! CLANK!. A new motor
was already in the works but it'll be a while yet.

Steve Brown, the owner of the real CP Mustang I've been
chasing for the last two years, kindly let me finish out the
season driving his car. Which let me collect 2nd in the Metropolitan
Washington Council of Sports Car Clubs season points chase.

The new, interim (I need it to last through the next three
years or so including SCCA driver's school), engine for the GoldFish
consists of the following:

  • '69 318 block I happened to have on hand (came out of
    a '69 Furry III my brother used as temporary transportation
    and my sister drove for her senior year of highschool).
    0.030" over (3.940" bore X 3.31" stroke = 322.85 CID).
  • Steel '67 273 crank I beat out of the locked up Commando I've
    had roosting under my work bench for about the last eight years.
  • Manley Rods,
  • KB flat top hyperutechtic cast pistons
  • Ported '67 273 heads (1.88" I/ 1.60" E valves, same source as
    the crank). I'm using these heads because their stock 57CC
    combustion chambers make it easy to get adequate compression
    without excessive milling (it'll actually come in around 9.9:1
    unless we open up the chambers a bit).

    Here's what the SuperFlow flowbench print out reveals so far.
    Not hugh numbers but the computer still thinks they'll support
    about 50 BHP per cylinder:
    @ 28" of Water
    LiftIntake CFMExhaust CFM
    0.010" 60.93 48.78
    0.020" 122.75 99.78
    0.030" 179.68 137.16
    0.040" 197.02 157.11
    0.050" 185.91 168.20
    0.060" 187.24 179.29

    That's with chambers, seats and bowls cut and blended for the 1.88"
    intake valves and a full port and polish on the exhaust with 1.6" valves.
  • 9.75:1 compression (Hughes recommended for the below cam used
    with pump gas).
  • CompCams roller rockers.
  • Hughes Engines Max Velocity mechanical cam,
    part number: HEV4550AS.
    Advertised Duration: 277° 283°
    Duration @ 0.050" Lift: 245° 250°
    Lift: 0.560" 0.575"
    Lobe Separation: 106 °
    Matched Hughes springs and light weight lifters. This Cam is
    rated by Hughes for 2300-6000 RPM in a 340, it should work in the
    2500-6200 RPM range in the 318.
  • Port matched Edelbrock Performer intake.
  • 650CFM vacuum secondary Holley, valve covers,
    oil pan, water pump, and Doug's Headers from the 273.
  • Assembly, Head work, & Dyno tuning by
    Maryland Performance Center
  • Here's what Desk Top Dyno thinks VS what came out on the chasis dyno at the rear wheels:
    Desk Top Dyno Chasis Dyno
    2000 121 319
    2500 159 334
    3000 194 340
    3332 161 Pull Start 254
    3500 239 358 191 283
    4000 283 371 231 303
    4500 325 379 268 310
    4785 286 TQ Peak 314
    5000 358 376 298 310
    5500 380 362 312 286
    5809 317 HP Peak 286
    6000 387 339 315 278
    6337 309 Pull End 256
    6500 386 312
    7000 377 283
    7500 364 255
    8000 340 223

  • Plot of Chasis Dyno Torque & Horsepower Vs RPM
    Plot of Chasis Dyno Torque & Horsepower Vs RPM
  • New Engine:

18th Autocross(11/02/2003, RoseCroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire pressure: 28.5 Psi. Front/28.5 Psi. Rear
  • New Engine! (see above)
  • 3 Quart Accusump to protect said new engine
  • Corner Weights (taken 02/21/2004 but effective
    as of this event):
     Full tank, spare & jack in the trunk,
     and Simpson child seat in the right
     rear seat (how I run the car):
                     LF      RF
                    ===     ===
     W/Driver:      919     872
     WO/Driver:     832     847
                     LR      RR
                    ===     ===
     W/Driver:      853     821
     WO/Driver:     774     799
     Total W/WO driver: 3464/3252
     Rest of the weights with driver.
     F/R: 1791, 51.7%/1673, 48.3%
     LF-RR Cross:  1740
     RF-LF Cross:  1724

1979 Green
Caterham Super 7
CP Class Winner 58.797
Me 60.201
One of the nicest CP style courses I've run
at this lot. A pair of long figure eights connected
by a long sweeping left that had the PCV sucking oil
on each lap (HUGE clouds of oil smoke). More power
definately helped out on this course with my closest
time (cone aided wins not withstanding) to date. The
tail seemed a little loose with double the power =8^D .

19th Autocross(11/09/2003 RoseCroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire pressure: 28.5 Psi. Front/28.5 Psi. Rear
  • Adjusted Front Swaybar End Links to Middle Position
    From Full Soft.
  • Extended and Baffled Oil Fill Tubes on Valve Covers to
    Keep the PCV from Sucking Oil and the Breather from
    Puking It.

1979 Green
Caterham Super 7
CP Class Winner 57.838
Me 57.838(Grin)
CP 2nd Place 59.177
Somewhat tighter layout this week but still very fun.
Tightening up the front swaybar really helped plant the
rear wheels without inducing a push at the front (something
I was worried about). I suspect the cold tempuratures
(high for the day was 45°F) played into my hands, as
the cars running slicks had trouble getting any temp into
their huge donuts, while my 225 50 15 Toyos worked just fine.
PCV & oil breather mods appear to be keeping the oil where
it belongs, I guess we'll have to start using mosquito repelent
next season. Hmmm, This was the 17th autocross on the same set
of 225 50 15 Toyo Proxes RA-1 tires that have also been
primary street tires for the GoldFish since they were installed
for the 7/22/2001 autocross (about 2500-3000 miles on the
street). THAT'S REALLY GOOD TIRE LIFE, I recomend them
quite highly.

20th Autocross(3/28/2004 FedEx Field):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire pressure: 28 Psi. Front/28 Psi. Rear
  • Set shocks 1 click stiffer, at 12 in from full soft
  • Moved the radiator puke tank to the right rear of
    the engine compartment.

F 125 Shifter Kart
CP Class Winner 68.337
Me 68.337(Grin)
CP 2nd Place 69.363(1)
Tight and technical course layout this week. Very fun but
tightening up the shocks didn't really help me get through
the long tight slollum that was a key feature of this course,
the stiffer damping just seemed to make the car a little
slugish in taking a "set" after each transition. Also not
really my best drive, but a win's a win.

21st Autocross(4/04/2004 Rosecroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire pressure: 28.5 Psi. Front/28.5 Psi. Rear
  • Set shocks 1 clicks softer, at 11 in from full soft

2001 Sliver
Mazda Miata(SM2)
CP Class Winner 55.782
Me 57.762
CP 2nd Place 57.762
Fairly fun serpintine course but with some really sneaky decreasing
radi turns that cought me out on two of my four runs. Seat of my
pants tells me that 11 clicks in from full soft on the SPAX shocks
is just about right with my current spring rates and weight. I'm
going to experiment with a little less tire pressure on the 18th.

22nd Autocross(4/18/2004 FedEx Field):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Tire pressure: 27 Psi. Front/28 Psi. Rear

FTD 2000 White TonyKart
Shifter (F125)
CP Class Winner 55.038
Me 57.770
CP 2nd Place 57.770
This course was a little more open than the last two with some
lovely sweepers. A very hot day for mid April. I think I'll
to wait for my competition to use up his tires a bit, my three
year old Toyos just can't generate enough grip to get much closer
but it IS fun trying. MAN! Do those shifter karts rock!

23nd Autocross(6/27/2004 Rosecroft):
Waiting to start
SETUP (Changes):
  • Dropped the T-Bars 1/2 turn
  • Tire pressure: 27.5 Psi. Front/28 Psi. Rear

FTD Formula V (FM) 45.027
CP Class Winner49.104
Me 49.104
CP 2nd PlaceN/A
A technical and fairly tight course but lots of fun! I wasn't
driving very well, but ran 50.440, 49.537, 48.683+1, and 49.104
in that order. After I ran the 48.683 I KNEW I could brake into
the 47s, but just over cooked things on my last run and had to
settle for the 49.104 as my best time. Still good enough to
set fast prepared time of day, but THAT's not saying much as
there were no other CP cars and just one EP 1974 2002tti BWM.
Course Map

24th Autocross(10/24/2004 Rosecroft):
SETUP (Changes):
  • Dropped the T-Bars 1/4 turn
  • Tire pressure: 26.5 Psi. Front/27 Psi. Rear

FTD Corvette Z06 (SM2)56.447
CP Class Winner 60.668
Me 62.040
A fast but technical course with some fairly tight bits
near the end but lots of fun! Also wet although drying.
This was the 22nd Autocross for the Toyos, now mostly bald
but still working pretty well even in the wet. But, Steve
was running on full tread depth Hoosier dirt track tires and
nipped me by about 1.4 sec.

25th Autocross(11/07/2004 Ripkin Stadium):
Matt Grubel & Barracuda
Dave Mapes & Barracuda
SETUP (Changes):
  • Dropped the T-Bars 1/4 turn
  • Tire pressure: 27.5 Psi. Front/28 Psi. Rear

FTD Caterham 7 (DM) 45.316
CP Class Winner 51.373
Me 54.267
On Nov 7 a (very) small gathering of the MOPAX
faithful took place at Ripken Stadium in Beutiful
Aberdeen MD (about 20 minutes north of Baltimore
on I-95). Matt Grubel (from the Philly area) and
I met (for the 1st time in person) and flogged
our Barracudas around a long, technical, but fast
course. I ran a 55.979, 54.610, and 54.267,
then threw away my last run on a dumb off course
followed by a little drifting exibition (...
... (kicks self));still had a 56 &
change. Matt's '67 notch back Barracuda looked
pretty composed, and ran a best of 55.240. Since
it was the first time he'd run in over a year we'll
cut him some slack for not beating me (see below).
Oh, yea after the event Matt noticed my right front
swaybar end link was broken
; wondered why it seemed
to be leaning a bit more than usual (Heh! I thought
it was just the smooth but grippy surface).
Busted Rod End
Busted Rod End
Old & New End Links
Old & New End Links
New End Links Installed
New End Link Installed

Some Shots of Matt Grubel
Matt In a Hurry 1
Matt In a Hurry 2
Matt Changing Tires 1
Matt Changing Tires 2


Links to Official Results Pages
Oil Control
One issue that's come up at every event,
except the rainy fourth one, has been oil starvation.
After every run I've come back to the pits with the
lifters ticking like I'd run out of oil. I've worked out
a solution with a guy named Armando Z. Rodriguez of:

7819 Parmelee Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90001-3031
Fax: (323)587-6395
Cell Phone: (323)422-0145

For my $370.00 (including shipping) I got a pan built
to my own design (so its my fault if it doesn't fit 8-})
that includes a diamond gated T sump, a flat windage
tray, basic (flat) crank stripper, custom pickup, and
silver cad' plating. I'm not sure about capacity,
somewhere between 7 and 9 quarts I think (8 quarts as
it turns out, including filter).

Received the trimmed Oil Pan back from Armando in a
timely fashion, and it bolted right up. It holds 7
quarts and seems to do a good job of maintaining oil
pressure even in long and fast (by autocross standards)
sweepers. Installation required minor mod's to the bolt
in windage tray to provide little more clearance for the
pickup during installation, and a hole for the dipstick
to pass through.
What I got for my money
What I got for my money
This also shows the new swaybar

This oil pan was installed before the GoldFish's eighth autocross and made
noticeable difference in the oil supply to the engine, as I no longer heard
the click-i-ty-clack of deflated hydraulic lifters after every run. Was it
a complete cure? No (see commentary following autocross 17, above). It
does help though, Its just that there isn't room for really big kickouts
on the sides of the oil pan and that limits reserve capacity for sustained
high G cornering. The new motor gets a 3 Quart AccuSump.

Commentary on Stock Formula S
Suspension Development

After autocross five (09/03/2001) the GoldFish is nicely balanced in
steady state cornering, puts the power down REALLY well coming
out of corners (I can floorboard the loud peddle just past the apex
and really come out Howling! Well as much as the tired 273 CAN howl
anyway), and still needs a little help with turn in. I'll be trying a
more radical alignment soon. While the actual time difference between
me and 1st in CP at this event was greater than autocross four, this
one was dry (I find that rain can be a great equalizer), so I'm very
happy with the result. I did knock over a full second off of the
deficit I had in autocross 3.

After autocross eight (10/21/2001) the GoldFish is even MORE nicely
balanced in steady state cornering, puts the power down REALLY
well coming out of corners (I can floorboard the loud peddle just past
the apex and really come out Howeling! Well as much as the tired 273
CAN howl anyway), and (thanks to the new alignment) needs little or
no additional help with turn in. In turns that would have had the
GolfFish pushing like a wheelbarrow with the previous alignment, the
front tires just bite down on the surface and turn-in. A technique
that worked very well on the decreasing radius sweepers on this course
was to carry speed into the turn, ease off of the throttle just before
the apex, trail brake through the apex using trailing throttle oversteer
to point the car at the corner exit gate, then catch the car by easing
back into the gas (YEE HAA!), with it floor-boarded by the
corner exit.

This was the final MWCSCC autocross of the year. Over the course of
the season the GoldFish has made tremendous progress. This winter I plan
to add: a thicker front swaybar: install a rear sway bar; get thicker
torsion bars; add an aluminum intake and mechanical cam for more power and
reduced front end weight; and get an aluminum water pump. I would also
LIKE to freshen the engine and get subframe connectors installed but I'll
have to see how the budget works out.

Beyond Stock Formula S
Suspension Development

The new 1.125" adjustable front swaybar (see autocross nine
above) has the GoldFish cornering much flatter with very mild
understeer. Currently its set up full soft and that appears to be plenty
stiff for now. Next (after newyears) is to install the 0.6875" rear bar
I have leftover from Ol'Beastly and see I can get the car more perfectly
balanced and flat in the turns (although It aint bad now). To get the
new bar I sent Saner Performance Fabrication (SPF) a carefully
traced (as accurate as I could (not bad if I DO say so)) drawing on
cardboard of the stock bar with dimensions and detail on how I wanted
the new bar to differ. The adjustment is by the selection of one of
three holes on each end for end link attachment. SPF's website
( talks about getting tubular
production equipment, but they've been too busy making parts to get into
that yet. They did turn my bar around in about eight working days for
only $160.00 including shipping. One thing, the price I quoted was for
the bar only, frame bushings (which I had on hand) and end links (which I
got a good deal on from my engine builder (Maryland Performance Center)
would (I suspect) be extra. Also I had to fabricate new frame mounts as
the factory parts would not accept the 1.125" bar and bushing. I used a
combination of 5/16" angle iron and 1/8" extruded channel. The end links
consist of one 7/16" male rod end, 2.25" piece of 0.5" OD tubing with 7/16"
nuts welded to it, and a 7/16" bolt with urethane bushings in the lower
control arm mount on each side (total hardware and fabrication cost on the
end links $60.00).

Detail of new frame mounts

End link detail

Weight Reduction
The contact information for the
fiberglass 1966 Barracuda bumpers is:
Larry Augenstein
Sled City
P.O. Box 944
Grove City, Ohio 43123
Ph: 614-875-0369

Larry charged me $145.00 including the shipping
for the bumper. He'd had this one on the shelf
for a while (one of two he's made so far), so I
don't know what he wants for them as a regular
production item (Bill Maier charges $200.00 for
his Mustang bumpers), but I'm trying to find out.

I recently received this link from the MOPAX Mailing List (A YAHOO Group) for
VFN Fiberglass They list front and
rear bumpers, lift off hood and rear deck lids for the 1966
Barracuda! I can't speak to their quality, but I were building
the GoldFish JUST for C Prepared/Drag Racing/Part Time Street
driving, I'd be ordering the hood & rear deck lid... But the
vintage rule books mostly require all mettle panels so I'm looking
for a front clip, doors, and rear deck lid to get acid dipped

VFN Fiberglass
501 Interstate Rd.
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: (630) 543-0232
Fax: (630) 543-9877

SPAX Shocks
Here's the contact info for the Spax shocks:

Eric Weller at
British American Transfer, Inc. (Yea that's BAT,
Inc. for short)
2263 Industrail Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34234
Ph: 1-941-355-0005
Fax: 1-941-355-4683
DO tell him who sent you (I'll likely be buying a set
for my brother for Christmas).
The SPAX website is at:
For more detail about the company and its products.

The part numbers are Front: G480, and Rear: G481

The listing is for "Chrysler Australia: Valiant (all models)"

Left rear shock adjuster

The adjustment (with a small screwdriver to a slotted head on the side of
the shock body) affects both rebound and compression for the softer
10 settings then only stiffens the rebound for the stiffest 4 settings
(total of 14 clicks). It did take 10 weeks to get the shocks once I
ordered them but shipping cost was minimal (they ARE a special order
item for SPAX).

Fitment of the Spax shocks on an American Valiant has one issue, their
mounting hardware is a close Metric equivalent for the SAE sizes on
the U.S. car. In the rear this merely requires a little muscle and
lube to force the tight urethane bushings over the mounting studs. In
the front, the upper mounts are no problem, but the lowers are small,
closer to 3/8" rather than the 7/16" of the U.S. car, these have to be
drilled out to the correct 7/16" size. This is difficult if you've
only got a 3/8" drill. I chucked up a 7/16" Tap and used that to
"strip" the lower bushings to 7/16" (8^P)!

How do the Spax work? I'm VERY happy with them Even
with the current settings (11 clicks in from full soft front/11
clicks in from full soft rear) the ride is comfortable, but very
tightly controlled. The car is nicely balanced and works well on
both the Autocross course and the street. They control the rebound of
the stiffer torsion bars (went from 0.870" to 0.990") I've installed.
With the stock springs I'd set them on the stiff side to keep the car
from "falling over" at turn in (and it worked quite well). That isn't
a problem with the bigger torsion bars but I find I'm still using the
same settings. The ride is taught and controlled but not harsh or
uncomfortable, handling is crisp, responsive, and predictable.


Some Photos of the GoldFish


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Return to TOP document

Last Updated: 11/24/2004