Inside Tony Angelo’s HOT ROD Garage 1972 Drift ‘Cuda
http://www.hotrod.com/articles/inside-t ... rift-cuda/
More Photos: http://www.thehemi.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=11349Wait, what? This is a drift car that looks like a muscle car, powered by a late-model engine, and dressed like something Dan Gurney would have driven in the 1960s. To understand this build, you need to get inside the head of HOT ROD Garage’s Tony Angelo and know his story.
Tony grew up like we all did, wanting to do donuts in empty parking lots in his Dodge Demon, a car he bought when he was 15. Muscle car influence was everywhere, and import cars and drifting were still largely unknown and centered around a small cult in Asia. But the world was about to change.
Two decades earlier, a Japanese auto parts delivery driver was oversteering violently up a lonely mountain road in his Hachi-Roku, starting a chain reaction that eventually birthed the drift car. By the time Tony came of age, the Japanese had turned donuts and fishtails into the cultural juggernaut of drifting, DVDs brought the action to America, and Tony and the rest of Gen X were hooked.
“I grew up drifting around Englishtown,” says Tony. “I helped develop a club series and did a bunch of parking lot events.” When the first American Pro Series in Formula Drift started in 2004, he became a professional with sponsorship from Mazda, Scion, and even the Air Force.
In 2014, with images of vintage Trans-Am, grainy Pluspy videos, and 10 years of tire-fire soundtracks in his head, Tony was stuck between his love for American muscle cars and early factory Trans-Am racing, and stickered and winged drifters he’d been so closely involved with. Lying awake at night, he scanned Craigslist for cars he wanted to build, sell, or build and sell. That’s where he saw this ’72 ’Cuda for the first time.
“I talked to the owner for a year. It was just a shell with a 340 engine and a 727, but all the rust had been repaired.” Eventually, the seller took the ad down but Tony knew it didn’t sell. By then, Tony was the host of HOT ROD Garage, deadlines were drawn and the show must go on, so Tony paid the full asking price and brought the car to Los Angeles.
Tony isn’t an engineer, but racing on a shoestring budget for so many years had given him some impressive engineering knowledge about car control and suspension. He used that to create this mix of street and track. “Two ’Cudas aren’t in anyone’s budget,” he says. “I wanted a real 1970s Trans-Am, so that’s where the stripes and color came from … like a Dan Gurney AAR ’Cuda. I love racing, but I didn’t want the car to look like a Japanese drifter.”
The ’Cuda is technically street legal, yet it hasn’t been on the street. There are enough parts to make it drift like a boss even though it was built in seven weeks for the SEMA show. The plan now is to add some additional parts and put it on the street.
Type: Unmodified 2018 Mopar 6.4L Hemi crate engine
Bore and Stroke: 4.09 (bore) x 3.72 (stroke), 392 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock
Cylinder heads: Stock, aluminum
Camshaft: Stock, 0.571/0.536 lift, 286/288 duration
Fuel System: Holley Sniper in-tank fuel pump, Mopar drive-by-wire throttle body
Transmission: GM-style Magnum five-speed gearbox, Hays Dragon Claw dual-disc clutch, Quick Time bellhousing
Rearend: Currie 9-inch with Wavetrack limited-slip
Front Suspension: Flaming River steering rack, Wilwood steering knuckles, QA1 front subframe with upper arms, custom fabricated lower arms, QA1 double-adjustable coilovers
Rear Suspension: Custom three-link
Brakes: Wilwood DynaPro 6 forged billet calipers with 12.9-inch rotors front, DynaPro Dual SA Lug-Drive dynamic rear drag brake kit with 11.44-inch calipers
Special Stuff: U.S. Car Tool stiffening kit, circle track adjustable third link
Wheels and Tires
Wheels: 17×8 Trans-Am Race Engineering Super Lites
Tires: 245/45ZR17 (front) and 255/40ZR17 (rear) Nexen N’FERA SUR4
Instruments: Racepak IQ3
Steering Wheel: Grip Royal
Interior Paint: Industrial Appliance Rustoleum
Paint: 2005 Jaguar blue, Phoenix Graphics custom stripe kit
This has to be the sweetest 1972 'Cuda that I have ever seen!