HOT ROD Garage’s Drift-Ready “Fishtail” 1970 Cuda Slides into #TENSEMA16
http://www.hotrod.com/articles/hot-rod- ... tensema16/
More Photos: http://www.thehemi.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=9675HOT ROD Garage project Fishtail made its SEMA debut at the Nexen Tire booth. Fishtail, for those who missed the first build episode on HRG, is Tony Angelo’s “drift-muscle car” 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda – taking the best of 1960s Trans-Am styling and mixing it with his love affair of drifting.
Powering Fishtail is Mopar’s new 392 Hemi crate engine, churning out 485 hp in box-standard form. Backing it is a beefy TR6060 six-speed, a Quick Time bellhousing to tie it all together. Out back, Currie’s trussed fabricated 9-inch is stuffed with a custom-built Wavetrac helical limited-slip differential. Tony and HRG co-host Lucky Costa fabricated a three-link for the rear, utilizing QA1’s lower links with Currie’s S197 Mustang upper Johnny Joint. This gives Fishtail the adjustability it needs while retaining a respectable amount of compliance and articulation to aid with side-grip while drifting. Contrary to popular belief, drifters fiend for more and more grip the faster they slide, and a flexible three-link provides that lateral grip while transitioning on-and-off banked turns, and over rough pavement.
Up front, Fishtail uses QA1’s upper control arm, while Tony fabbed up a custom lower control arm and radius rod to allow for more steering angle than the Mopar engineers ever worried about – needed so that Fishtail can hold more angle while sliding, which is limited by the maximum steering angle provided at full-lock. QA1’s tubular k-member, along with Schumacher Creative Services Gen III Hemi conversion mounts tie the chassis to the powerplant, while also helping to brace the unibody. US Car Tool’s subframe and fender braces also help keep Fishtail in shape as its thrashed on track.
Tony went a retro AAR Cuda look, using a Dan Gurney-style front air dam and rear spoiler, along with a fiberglass AAR-style hood. The stripes are full-AAR, though with Tony’s own Trans-Am tribute on the rear quarters, which keen readers will note is also his initials.
The interior is all racecar, with bare floor pans highlight the massive drift handle – the hydraulic handbrake that’s plumbed to a second pair of Wilwood calipers on the rear axle. This is done because drifters often use left-foot braking to balance the car’s weight transfer during a drift, floating more or less weight on the nose under throttle by modulating the brakes. Hydraulic handbrakes that are plumbed into the rear brake line interfere with this technique as they push line pressure against the pedal’s mastercylinder, so a secondary braking system is added so that the drift-handle can be yanked without fear of losing overall brake modulation and driver control. The stock dash was kept, but vital signs from the 392 are reported by a Racepack IQ3 digital dash, which simply plugs right into the crate engine ECU’s OBDII port.
Tony and Lucky were joined by a host of volunteer help to build Fishtail in six weeks, starting with a bare shell that was found in Kentucky. Several friends helped this effort, including Mike “Carluch” Edwards, Mike “Skuds” Skudlarek, Chris Kusnierek, Magnus Reid, and Jim Fallon of Sam’s Auto Land.