up, up, up, and AWAY!!
Words and photos by Jay Roeder
loyal reader and welcome back! As you may have gleaned from
the title of this article things have taken a turn for the
better! Since last month's edition I have raced three times
and attended a couple of test and tunes at good ol’
During one of my test sessions
I noticed a definite trend in how the car was responding to
my attempts to increase the performance of ol’ Muscrate.
Quite simply, it wasn’t. I was trying different ignition
timing with the MSD Pro Billet distributor, and switching
between a couple of different designs and sizes of header
collectors and NOTHING seemed to make the car any faster.
As a matter of fact, most changes slowed me up.
don’t get me wrong, I understand as well as anyone that
A LOT of the time spent testing ends up proving what doesn’t
work but this was ridiculous! Then I started putting two and
two together and decided to make a run and concentrate ONLY
on watching the tach when I launched to see where the torque
converter was flashing. Firstly, it was getting very difficult
to hold the car on the line against the 3500 rpm MSD two-step
and when I launched the converter “flash” was
only 4200 rpm.
I had once again broken a torque converter. For some reason
I have had a propensity to break Sprags and Sprag races in
the trusty ol’ Mustang even when I used to run the 302
HO setup. Basically, what happens when a Sprag breaks is you
lose the ability of the converter to “slip” and
correspondingly the “flash stall” goes away. The
last couple of runs I made the front tires only came off the
tarmac about 6 inches and garnered a 1.56 sixty foot, not
So, I decided to turn this into a positive and finally get
a MUCH looser converter for the under-torqued little Hemi-eater
and stop whining about it. I have always used converters from
ATI and have had good success over the years winning lots
of races and even setting the IHRA National Record along the
However, I decided to try something different and after looking
around at the available options I came across an add for Hughes
Performance that showed one of there “Super Class”
9.90 cars popping a big ol’ wheelie and decided that
any company that would break with the normal BORING throttle-stopped
turd launches of those types of car was worth checking out.
I got in contact with Tony Kane at Hughes Performance and
discussed with him what I was after.
First of all I have to say that I was VERY impressed with
the people at Hughes Performance. I made probably 5 separate
phone calls to Hughes for various different reasons and EVERY
time I got to talk to someone that seemed to genuinely care
about their job and company. That is becoming increasingly
rare these days and I felt it needed to be said.
Tony asked me a series of questions pertaining to the combination
I am running including the cam specs, gearing, tire size and
type, header size, engine specs, etc. and then asked what
I wanted to see for static stall on the line AND “flash
stall” after releasing the two- step. I told him I wanted
to be able to hold the car against the two-step at 3500 rpm
without difficulty and I wanted a flash of at least 5000 rpm
but preferably 5500 rpm.
As we discussed the options I asked about the possibility
of sending him my spare ATI converter which is basically identical
to the one I broke and having it reworked by Hughes to attain
the specs I wanted. Keep in mind that normally and understandably
most companies would rather build there own from scratch but
as ATI is a good company Tony had no problem with the idea.
My thinking was that I could save some coin right now by providing
my own “core” and more importantly the people
at Hughes would be able to see what I had been running and
get a better idea of what to change. Truly custom torque converters
are always an educated guess on unknown combinations like
mine so starting with a “known” quantity was a