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There’s about 7 or so weeks remaining before our Atco debut on May 12th. It’s anyone’s guess as to what sort of weather we’ll face in March and April; but Karen and I are hoping for a nice, warm spring day; as our cars roll into the pits for the first race on our 2018 schedule. Because I don’t have any races to comment on this month; I’m going to tell you all about Ray Bruno’s 1957 Chevy gasser that is known as the “Sidewinder”!! Way back in 2010, Ray was finally seeing his way clear of paying for his 3 son’s college education; and he began to look around for a project car that he could get his hands on. Like many of us, when we have the car itch; we usually head for Craigslist, The HAMB or Racing Junk to see what is up for sale. Ray eventually found a ’57 Chevy that was located up near Buffalo in Cheektowaga, NY. After some discussions with the owner and a number of emails loaded with pictures; Ray decided to take a chance and he purchased the car and had it transported down to New Jersey where he lives. Working on the car as time permitted, Ray and his close friend Scott Hasko lovingly worked on transforming the car into a nostalgia gasser; that he would someday use to compete with in our club. Fortunately, Ray had a nice garage to work in; and eventually, Ray and Scott started to make some headway completing all of the various systems that makeup a race car. By late in 2014, the car was completed and Ray began the process of sorting out his gasser; and in 2015, he joined our club and he was ready to complete against our unique lineup of nostalgia gassers. So, let’s take a look at what makes up Ray’s "Sidewinder" '57 Chevy.

The power for Ray’s 57 Chevy comes from a stock, GM 3970010 350 CI 4-bolt main block; that has been over bored .010”. A stock cast iron crankshaft has an SFI balancer on its snout; and the crank rotates a set of stock LT-1, I beam connecting rods. Speed-Pro supplied the forged aluminum 11:1 pistons and a set of Total Seal piston rings keep the combustion chamber gases where they belong. Completing the bottom end is a Melling high-volume oil pump and a Summit steel 7-quart oil pan. A double row, roller timing chain by SA connects the crank to a Chet Herbert solid roller camshaft; that utilizes Howards light weight solid roller lifters. A set of Comp Cams pushrods open the intake valves to a height of .585"; while the exhaust valves open just a tad more, to an even .600". Cam duration shows 246 degrees for the intake valve; and 253 degrees on the exhaust side at .050 lift. Sitting atop the short block are a set of Profiler aluminum 195 CC cylinder heads; housing the usual 2.02" intake and 1.60” exhaust valves. Keeping those valves tight against their seats is a set of PAC valve springs that are activated by Scorpion 1:5 roller rockers.

Covering up the upper valve train are a set of vintage M/T aluminum valve covers. Resting on top of the Profiler heads is a Weiand high tunnel ram aluminum intake; that supports two Holley 450 CFM carbs. Braided steel fuel lines carry the 100 octane, low level aviation gas from a Summit16 gallon fuel cell through a Summit electric fuel pump and up to the carbs. Once the fuel is deposited into the combustion chamber, a complete MSD ignition system fires the mixture; and the spent exhaust gasses exit the heads via a set of original Jere Stahl fender well headers. Cooling chores on this Chevy small block is handled by a Griffin aluminum radiator and a belt driven Edelbrock water pump.

When Ray moves his Hurst floor shifter into first gear; and he approaches the starting line; a TCI steel flywheel couples a Hughes; 4,000 RPM stall torque converter to the engine’s crankshaft. With the line-lock unit set, Ray brings the engine up to launch RPM speed; he’s ready to let the TCI full manual Turbo 350 transmission, with reverse valve body, handle all the torque that his mouse motor can develop. When the green light glows, all the engines power is transmitted through a custom steel driveshaft to a ’68 Mustang GT Ford 9” rear end. Containing all that rotational force is a Strange Engineering center section that holds a 4:56 gear set that is mounted to a Detroit locker posi unit. Strange also supplied the 31 splint forged axles.

Supporting Ray’s rear end housing are a pair of Chevy station wagon leaf springs, some Gabriel shocks and a set of Lakewood slapper traction bars. At the opposite end of the car, a vintage 1928 Model A forged straight axle; that has been straightened, shot-peened, magnafluxed and drilled was matted to a Speedway transverse leaf spring and a set of hair-pin locating rods. Ray still utilizes the stock ’57 Chevy steering box to control the car; and another set of Gabriel shocks to handle the wheel-stand rebounds. Stopping this Stovebolt is the job of a set of GM disc brakes up front and a standard set of Ford drum brakes in the rear. Helping to keep that nose high attitude are a set of 165x70x15 front tires; that are mounted onto a pair of Ansen 15x31/2 aluminum wheels. Out back, Ansen again supplied the 15x10 aluminum wheels that hold Goodyear 28x10x15 slicks. Inside Ray’s car is an S&W 8 point roll cage and a pair of 68 Corvette diamond tufted bucket seats. A vintage Dixco tach relays the engine RPM’s to Ray as it approaches it’s 7,000 RPM shift point; while a Summit oil pressure and a water temperature gage keep an eye on the engines oil and water conditions. To help keep the car’s weight down to only 2700 lbs., Ray and his buddy John Hansen; installed a one piece fiberglass front clip from U.S. Body Source. To date, the car has run a best of 11.87 @ 115 MPH; but things are a shakin’ and a movin’ at Ray’s home; as he has ordered a Stage 5.5 434 CI small block from SWP in Tennessee. Could the 10’s be in Ray’s future this year? It’s less than 3 months till our first race down at Atco Dragway on May 12th. So, it’s time to get your cars ready for another season of gasser racing. We’ll see you at the track!





































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