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Both builders agreed a 9-inch might be the best choice for both bracket racing and Pro Light throttle-stop racing. They both agreed the 9-inch would be slower than a good 8-inch converter, but would offer more consistent 60 footers on marginal traction start lines. Here are the results we got using converters from each manufacturer.


Mike's Transmission built me one of their top-of-the-line, 9-inch, steel stator converter and it was the first one we tried. It was way too "tight". With no rpm chip, it would only flash to 4600 rpm, with the transbrake engaged and the throttle wide open. That converter was in for licensing and the best 60-foot time was 1.22 seconds with 4000 rpm launch. I called Mike gave him the numbers and he said "Get it out of there and let me fix it!"

As with almost everything I do with my Mopar motor I find that most of the manufacturer's research and development has all done with big block Chevys. The Mopar has a bit of a different power curve and takes a different combination to get the converter stall speed just right. The Mopar's intake flow and torque curve are just different enough from the big block Chevy that it threw Mike a curve. I shipped the converter off to him and got it back in just six days. Meanwhile I installed the Hughes converter.


Hughes Performance put together a "soft hit" or what he called a "transition" converter. Specifically, this converter is designed for throttle stop racing with big cubic inch engines. It is designed to hit hard enough to give fast reaction times for the Pro light but also designed to prevent wheel spin when the throttle control opens back up to full throttle and locks up the converter for those 165-mph finish line speeds.

Here are the results: Installed with no problem (make sure you pour some trans fluid in the converter before you install it so it's not "dry" when you start the engine) and it was the first converter in the car that I used with the throttle stop. Just like Hughes said, it was a killer deal on the throttle stop and wide open. The best 60-ft time wide open was still only 1.17 seconds. That meant Hughes built it too tight also. Must be that Mopar thing.

The first race out we won the IHRA Quick Rod point's race and the car was really repeating. The same can't be said for my driving, I had to learn to drive the stripe all over again. I ran the Hughes converter for about three months (80-85 runs) and the car was running within .005 of when it ran when the converter was new.


The Mike's converter went back in and the rebuild was definitely worth it. I had a 60-ft time of 1.16 on a hot slick track and a best of 1.118 a couple weeks ago in cool, sunny, Iowa weather. The converter came back from Mike's with a stall speed against the converter of 5800. It still seems a bit tight after the launch, but some of that could be the 3.90 gear and some other things in the drive train that need tweaked.

Hughes Performance is getting the converter he built back to go through it. I'll let you know the results in March or April.

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