Monday morning brought the same series of high school classes I could care less about. In English I had an empty desk in front of me all semester which I used to put my feet in the chair. After class started, the door opened and the new girl walked in. The teacher announced that she was joining our class. “This is Emily. She and her family just moved here from Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. Her Dad is an aircraft mechanic. Please welcome Emily to our class. Emily, you can take that desk in front of Joe.” My heart sank since I lost my foot stool in the class, but was really curious about Emily. She walked between the desks in front of me and gave me a slight smile as I moved my feet off her chair.
Since I have never been around any girls, I was shy when it came to talking with them. I was starting to really like Emily but whenever I thought I had worked up enough courage to say something to her, I would chicken out. One afternoon, I saw her talking with some other girls in the parking lot as I walked to my Bug. Once in the Bug I was making my way to the parking lot exit when I saw that she was watching me drive away. I thought, “…. What a good impression, an old Bug that smokes when she drives that really cool ’69 Chevelle. Oh well, I have other things I need to be doing instead of spending time with some girl. I have to finish working on the Camaro if I am going to take on that Vette this weekend.”
After changing to my garage clothes, I went out to work on Mule. I fired up the big block to back it out onto the driveway so I could let it idle to start breaking in the engine. Man, this was a radical sounding, I can’t wait to see what it can do!
Chris stopped by to see how the Camaro was going. We had to go inside the garage because the engine was too loud to talk out on the driveway. He asked about how the Camaro was going, and other small talk. Chris was about to walk away to his car when he stopped and turned around. He said, “I think that new girl likes you.” Wow, that caught me off guard! I said, “What makes you think that?” “Angela told me that she was asking about you.” I said, “That doesn’t mean anything.” Chris responded, “I don’t know man, have you seen how she looks at you?” I said that I had seen her watch me leave school earlier but I am sure there are plenty of other guys that she looks at the same way. Chris said that I should not take cars so seriously and live life a little.
After Chris left, I thought about what he said. Emily is a cute blonde who seems to have it together. She is not a dizzy blonde like some of the others at school. Maybe Chris is right, maybe I should….. The Camaro died. I went out to see what the deal was. I tried to restart it but it would not fire. It did not take long to see it was out of gas. If it had gone through that tank just idling in the driveway, that means it will not have any gas mileage to brag about. I say that is a good indication of the sheer power this big block has. Hungry engines make for strong engines.
As I drove back to the house with a gallon can full of gas, I thought it was time to take the Camaro out for a drive. First stop, the gas station. Once I get a full tank, I need to take it out to Highway 3 to see what it will do. Since Highway 3 is mostly deserted I should be able to do several off the line launches as well as a couple of high speed runs. If everything works out like I think it will, I will be ready for Saturday night in Freeport. I wish I knew what that Vette had in it.
Before I left to take the Camaro for a run, I told Jim where I was going and what I was doing. “If I am not back home in an hour, please drive the highway in your truck. Be sure to bring a tow chain in case I need to be pulled back home”. He responded, “No problem. You owe me.”
I pulled out of the driveway in the Camaro to head over to the gas station. As I shifted gears I noticed that I need to adjust the clutch. It was engaging too close to the floor which means it is really not dis-engaging completely. That is an easy fix. I pulled up to the pump, shut down the engine and began pumping gas.
A good friend Danny pulled up in his V8 Vega and stopped on the other side of the pump island from me. Danny is older than me but we have always been friends since we both have a passion, or obsession, for muscle cars. As we were waiting for our tanks to fill, I asked him if he knew who had that red mid-year Vette. “I saw that Vette last weekend.” He said. “I have no idea who it is or where they are from. I have been tuning the Vega to race that Vette” Danny said. “Yeah, I plan to take on that Vette this weekend too” I said. “Maybe we could head over to Freeport together. I can help you fix the Camaro when you breakdown.” Danny said with a smile. I responded, “I will be sure to bring my tow chain because the Vega will need help getting back home.” I added, “I am heading out to highway 3 now to do some test runs. Why don’t you go out there too and we can run each other and see how we do.” Danny responded, “I would love to, but I don’t have time right now. Maybe later”
I stopped by my garage to adjust the clutch, it was driving me crazy the way the pedal travel was acting. A quick adjustment to the rod on the Z Bar and the clutch pedal is now working like it is supposed to.
On the way to Highway 3 to do some test runs, I tried to not attract much attention. It was hard to do with open headers but at least I did not get pulled over by the Police. Once I was out where there were no cars around, I stopped, ran the RPMs up to 6,000, dumped the clutch and the driver’s side front wheel left the ground a couple of inches in a torque wheelie. I shifted to second when the tach hit 7,000, third at the same point and fourth at 7 grand again. I glanced at the speedometer and saw that I was going a little over 120 miles per hour. I popped the shifter to neutral and let the Camaro coast down from speed while the big block idled. The next time I plan to go to 8,000 for my shift point. Everything went well but I noticed that I started to get valve float just before 8 grand. Since I used the hydraulic cam I need to get back to the garage and adjust the valves. Also I need to do tweak up the Holly 850 double pumper a little. Sounded to me like the engine was starving for fuel around 7,800 RPMs.
Back at the garage I did the adjustments I knew about and even added a short chain from frame to the front of the driver’s side head. With the torque this monster produces the motor mount would probably not last very long. I think I am ready to take on the Vette.