By on May 23, 2013

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Confession time: I used to be really into Import Cars and the tuning scene. My high school years coincided with the rise of The Fast and the Furious franchise, and having already been pre-disposed to loving Japanese cars, it was natural that I’d gravitate towards this niche.

Rather than the winged-and-decaled tuner show cars, I was more of a “Sport Compact Car” guy, interested in performance vehicles rather than stereos and bodykits. But every now and then, I’d pick up Super Street magazine. Not only did their coverage of domestic Japanese tuner shops and tuner cars far exceed SCC, but they also ran a sporadic series entitled “Back In The Day”, that featured interviews and archival photographs of the import car scene from as far back as the late 1970’s.

For someone who thought that the tuner scene began with the advent of the EG Civic (not really, just that was my frame of reference), it was immensely satisfying reading about the early days of modifying Toyota 22R and Datsun L-Series engines when there was next to no knowledge about modifying anything but domestic V8 engines. Reading about the early days of modified Japanese cars made me able to better relate to the enthusiasm that my parents’ generation felt for American Graffiti. As unlikely as it is, I would love to see a movie or a book that explores this era in America’s automotive history.

Sadly, most of my tuner magazines were discarded over the years, and all I have left are a few clippings from the Back In The Day Series. I have managed to find exactly one article archived online, and wanted to share it with you all. The series has no morphed into profiling vintage Japanese cars that have been modified in a contemporary style. What a shame it is that such an extensive history is inaccessible on the web.

By the way. if anyone has an extensive archive of Sport Compact Car back issues, email me, derek at ttac dot com

 

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118 Comments on “Generation Why: A Brief History Of Import Drag Racing...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    Growing up in a drag racing family, when the sport compact scene hit big, it was completely alien to me. It took years for me to grasp, even after picking up some of those Sport Compact rags and reading them cover to cover.

    Sure those turbo’d H22s were fast, but why bother in that chassis!? Everything seemed focused on working around the shortcomings of FWD in drag racing.

    Now, turbo Supras, RX7s and 300ZXs, they needed no explanation. Although at the time, parts were ridiculously expensive and hard to come by while unlimited amounts of SBC goodness could have easily been swapped in. But I guess that just wasn’t the point.

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      Making a RWD import run fast is not much different than making a RWD domestic run fast.

      Doing what everyone else has already done isn’t all that exciting for some.

      The FWD was where the challenge was, as a result it attracted a different collection of people.

    • 0 avatar

      To me, SBCs were totally alien; my Dad and my Grandfather had all kinds of SBC Novas, a 383 Satellite, a 440 Coronet and other V8 stuff, but all I knew were Japanese cars. I used to laugh at the “Rustangs” and “Slowmaros” and their lack of horsepower per liter. Then I woke up and realized that it was all a bunch of BS. Driving an R32 Skyline GTR was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life. All the hype, only so-so performance.

      I still prefer the way Japanese cars drive (is there any better 4 season car than an Evo?) but I concur. Much easier to go faster with a V8 for a lot less money.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        “Then I woke up and realized that it was all a bunch of BS.”

        thank you. I wish other car sites/forums were filled with people who have grown up. Try to explain the tradeoffs between hp/l and powerband/driveability and all you get is “hurr VTECyo durr.”

        “I still prefer the way Japanese cars drive (is there any better 4 season car than an Evo?)”

        My SRT-4 with Blizzaks is awesome in the snow.

        • 0 avatar
          psychoboy

          “My SRT-4 with Blizzaks is awesome in the snow.”

          and when the sun comes out, the evo driver can roll down his back windows without reaching behind his seat….

          sorry, it’s the easy joke. i had to take it.

          I agree that a HP peak that is far north of anywhere useful on the street is a losing proposition. The area under the curves, especially below the crossover, is where most of our driving is done, and that’s where your drive train of choice should excel.

          That being said, VTEC actually had a real function before the F&F franchise came along: getting decent small-cam economy and big-cam performance out of the same motor. The car functioned usefully on both sides of the crossover. Most of the other variable top end systems were designed for similar tradeoffs and expectations.

          As for the Rustang and Slowmaro stuff, it’s not all that different than the standard Ricer stuff. I can’t count how many high school kids had a pony car that looked (and maybe even sounded) mean as hell in the parking lot, but was found to have the base 4 or 6 cyl under the hood. The only real difference between a rust oxide Berlinetta with a flowmaster and a faded primer Civic DX with a fart can was whether or not you expected to find an automatic tranny in the car. And even then….the manual Camaro and automatic Civic were looked down upon by the knowledgeable automotive society.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “and when the sun comes out, the evo driver can roll down his back windows without reaching behind his seat….”

            OH… snap.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            I had Blizzaks on my SRT-4 agree it was pretty good in the snow with the 04+ LSD. I used to dial the boost down via the Mopar Stage 2 “toys” to keep those snow tires alive. The SRT-4 was a seriously impressive car once you got over the Neon-ness still miss the Viper seats.

            I traded a mint 2001-only silver Integra GS-R, I owned for just 6 months, for the SRT-4. The awesome torque of the 2.4 turbo suited me better, and not talking drag racing, it was better at the Glen, Lime Rock, NJMP, NHMS, Poconos etc…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Then I woke up and realized that it was all a bunch of BS.”

          +1

          My head nearly exploded while reading the sentence before that.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            People do, I can always appreciate the effort put into a car be it maintaining it or making it faster or improving any combination or all three.

            Just check the ego (yes, I’m talking about you Mr. GT-R who only races Italian exotics because nothing else is worth the time) and I’ve no problem the brand, number of cylinders or which end drives the car.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        Just out of curiosity Derek, what was disapointing about the R32 GT-R to you?

        I only ask because that I feel is my ideal car, I can’t have it though because I live in California. Don’t take my question as being defensive; I’m just curious; plus how were you able to drive one?

        • 0 avatar

          Since I live in Canada, we can get 15 year old cars imported no questions asked, versus 25 years old for the USA. As a result, R32 Skylines are everywhere.

          I had the chance to take one for a test drive and it just didn’t feel that special. It was fast, but not as fast as the Japan based scribes made it out to be in their breathless buff book articles. The interior was Sentra-grade junk. I think I had very high expectations and the car didn’t live up to them. The Skyline is basically a car for salarymen in Japan, and the GT-R cannot escape its roots, even if it is the darling of Gran Turismo gamers.

          Now the FD3S RX-7? There’s a car that lived up to the hype. A true Japanese exotic.

          • 0 avatar
            luvmyv8

            Ah, OK that explains it, forgot about Canada.

            Fair enough, some of the Skyline models really are putrid, the R32 GXi is a perfect example. A 4 cylinder TBI injected piece of junk. Very rare because it’s a terrible car.

            I still think the RB26DETT is a masterpiece though.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            The GXi is sought-after in some quarters for SR20DET swaps: about the same power potential as the non-GT-R RBs and notably lighter on the nose.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            I think the R32 GT-R is very much a Japanese 5.0 Mustang. They made over 40,000 of them (viva la Bubble). And yes, they have vintage Nissan build quality. These were not Infinitis, nor were they ever intended to be.

          • 0 avatar
            Scarlet

            I don’t know about your analysis sir. But every tuner knows that during its time of release which is late 1989 there was NO JDM car that could touch the BNR32 GTR (including mazda rx7s) that even includes the Ferrari testarossa! Especially if we talk about race cars like those from Group A which the 32 GTR holds the most dominating records to date.

            See I live her in Japan for about 5years now, and I dont see any hype mate… really? Unless you are driving a very tired unmaintained stock unit BNR32 which I know there are lots there in Canada. For starters the GTR R32 is the still the fastest AWD in a 1/4 mile record holder. But yep of course its not stock! And another thing is what would you expect on a ’89 car’s interior? It wouldn’t be like the BNR34’s interior of course. Maybe you’ll understand me if you had a chance to visit here in Japan, where big tuners still lists the BNR32 as their top choice for track cars. You’ll see here lots of 600hp 32s street cars and week end wangan terrors.

            All I can say is credit is given where credit is due, and hype is faaaar from what the GTR R32 has done in Japanese motorsports. It maybe is one of their most successful ever! Feats like 29 straight official race wins, getting banned to compete because its too dominating, changed group a rule books in the process, 50 straight wins in N1 super taikyu (32 – 33 GTR), fastest AWD1/4 mile, fastest 4wd in 0-300kph… and the list goes on. So I dont know about you sir, but those feats are faaaar from hype. In fact other sportscars can only dream about it. ;) Nuff said.

        • 0 avatar
          Scarlet

          Read my reply to mr. Derek sir to have a little glimpse of what the GTR R32 really is, FACTS wise. :)

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        The R32 was “all hype” compared to what concurrent US s-box?

        The “SBCs er cheeper” is another myth, that once you learn about cars and engines and how to make them go zoom, you outgrow. Generally before you hit 20 if you’re a car guy…

      • 0 avatar
        Adam

        “Then I woke up and realized that it was all a bunch of BS.”

        I owned and enjoyed a 1990 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD from 1994 to 2004, and I was definitely all-import during that time.

        My revelation about foreign vs. domestic occurred during the much less exciting experience of comparing a couple late model rental cars.

        Shortly thereafter I ran out and purchased a 5.7L Dodge.

        HP/L indeed! ;)

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I think it evolved from necessity (modding FWD penalty boxes). All I could afford in high school was a 1991 stripped cavalier (only option it had was AC and the passenger rear view mirror). My brother and I shared it and we modified it over our high school years. Ended up putting a header, 3/5″ exhaust w/o a cat, a variable wet shot nitrous kit, some cheap american racing rims that we could put enough rubber on to hold traction (it didn’t take much) on it and took it to the strip. We had a lot of fun hitting the low 15 sec 1/4 mile times. We were ecstatic when we breached into the 14’s. Sure it was slow, but we had a lot of fun with it.

      • 0 avatar
        mik101

        I just wanted to thank you for that comment. It brought back some earlier memories of my friends (and my) cars in highschool. It wasn’t about being a rocketship. It was about having fun and trying to improve your times. Good times.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        If that was a 4 cylinder Cavalier, 14 second 1/4 times are damned impressive. I don’t care how much nitrous you fed it.

        Also, for the late 90’s 14s weren’t bad times for stockish vehicles. Even then, there weren’t a lot of cars that could pull off those times out of the factory.

        • 0 avatar
          korvetkeith

          For sure. My ’84 vette only ran low 14s. But 4.6 SN95 mustangs stock would only run mid 15s. And there were tons of those at my high school that I got to lay waste to.

          Building big stereos and hanging out at the drag strip on Wednesday nights, those were the good old days.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Ha Wednesday night street nights I remember those.

            The 80s fox body stangs were good for 14s sometimes, they got slower for a bit in the 90s before they got faster.

            I loooove an L98 C4 Vette my aunt had a 90 Z51 6-speed. My GN ran low 14s stock and then I put a few parts in…

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          For the 90s? 15/14 is still pretty much the standard even today without reaching for luxury sports cars. I was surprised when I flipped to the back of a recent R&T and the fastest cars were barely breaking 12/13 and they were either explicit sports cars or high-end lux.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “For the 90s? 15/14 is still pretty much the standard even today without reaching for luxury sports cars.”

            14s/15s are standard for average V6 powered family sedans today.

            In the 90s, V8 Mustangs struggled to break into the 14 second range and a non ZR1 Corvette did mid-high 13s on a good day.

            Fast forward to now where your basic Corvette can knock off 11s without much effort, a stripper Mustang V8 runs 12s and even the secretary spec 6 cylinder ‘Stang runs 13’s.

            Heck, Chrysler minivans run 15 seconds in the 1/4 now.

  • avatar
    psychoboy

    I’m old enough to remember when SCC was still put together with staples.

    And…I’m rat-packy enough to still have them. I’ve dropped you an email.

  • avatar
    izzy

    I came to the US in 1981 and started driving soon after. We were driving Datsun 510 with some variation of the L series engine. I had L18SS engine on my 510. The Celica guys to dropping in 18RG twin cam engine. Rx-2 and Rx-3 were common. Other memorable car I have seen were Mazda rotary pick up, Chevy Vega with cosworth 4 twin cam. Performance wise, not anywhere close to the cars of the 90’s but fun times regardless.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      We had lots of fun mixing and matching cylinder heads, cams and followers in the L-series engines in the 80s. It was too easy to catch somebody out who claimed their 1600cc valve covers indicated a “small” engine when you could clearly see the 2 bolts between the base of the distributor and the cover (2 litre engine blocks simply added that extra bolt boss and used an extended timing chain cover for the taller engine block). Being an interference engine, thicker gaskets were a required item when fitting the small chamber 2-litre heads to a 1600cc block to create the high compression engine some desired. Going the other route (1600 heads on the 2000 block) lowered the compression enough to make early turbocharger additions viable. All sorts of parts combinations for that Datsun/Nissan engine line were tried, and if your Z-car broke down down by the side of the road, you stayed with the car and hoped someone would call for a tow truck on your behalf; leaving it behind to go for help would ensure everything from the radiator on back was gone by the time you returned.

      The modern “Import Tuner” crowd lost all credibility once they began to bitch about the imported from Australia Holden Monaro/Pontiac GTO and gave a pass to the Marysville, OH Hondas. They really should have renamed themselves the “overboosted 4-banger and obnoxiously loud blow-off valve” group.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        The modern tuner crowd lost all credibility when they got more concerned with body kits, huge wheels and graphics over performance. Once the douchie ones got into it they kind of ruined it.

        Look at SCC, that magazine was actually written intelligently and was all about cheap performance. It failed, while all the remaining tuner mags have writing that appears to come from middle schoolers and focus almost entirely on appearance mods. I can’t even get through one article without laughing at the poor quality and lack of research, and if you ever read the letters you can see what kind of people the target audience is. Very sad.

        • 0 avatar
          Felis Concolor

          I remember SCC on the strength of a single article covering one fellow’s modification to the ubiquitous 510 Datsun to tame its bump-steer via elongated shackle holes to pop the control arms into a friendlier orientation once the rest of the suspension was tightened down. It’s a shame that one was shuttered while others remained. I guess they didn’t spew enough trash talk?

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          yecch, the disgusting body kits.

          When I got my SRT-4 I actually considered trying to re-fit it with standard Neon fascias and spoiler, but I wasn’t sure if the front fascia would clear the intercooler.

          Then shortly afterward I realized nobody but me would care anyway, so I decided not to waste the money.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I came of age slightly earlier than you Derek but I remember when the improt drag racing scene was starting to grow just as I was finishing high school. It was rather amateurish in a lot of ways, but it is very, very interesting to see where the big names in that scene have gone since. Just as the scene died an inevitable death from over-exposure and the like, drifting began to take over.

    Still if you’re interested in the older cars, the Japanese Nostalgic scene is quite active (albeit not in Canada), and http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/ is a great source of eye-candy and enjoyment.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Still if you’re interested in the older cars, the Japanese Nostalgic scene is quite active (albeit not in Canada)”.

      You’d be surprised. Our rather lax grey market vehicle rules have allowed for a significant amount of RHD and other interesting foreign machinery to hit our streets over the years.

      When I worked for Nissan near Toronto, I was surprised to find out there was some pretty healthy demand locally for JDM only parts.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Oh, I know about the more recent stuff (I nearly got run over last summer by a young lady driving an RHD S13 while on my way home from work), but with out weather and road salt, we aren’t going to see too many Hakosukas or Daruma Celicas on our roads. Last summer I did see some guy cruising around in a Suzuki Cappuccino though.

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          Cappuchinos are wild. Every time I see one, I want to walk up to it and give it a hug. If there’s one sports car that can make any other car look superfluous, the Suzuki is it. Of course, a Miata could roll you flat by backing into you…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          True, you definitely don’t see many pre-80’s Japanese cars up here. My mother had a Mazda 808 she bought new that rusted to nearly nothing within 4 years.

  • avatar
    niky

    Ah, the good old days. “Import” drag racing was obviously never going to be as quick as the big boy rear-drives, but the whole appeal of it was making a layout unsuitable for drag work. Eventually, the cars settled into the same formula as rear-drive dragsters, longitudinal engines mounted just ahead of the driven tires for maximum grip. The only difference here is the rest of the car is mounted behind the driven tires instead of in front of them.

    Sad day when SCC folded. After it was gone, we at least still had Kojima and some of the gang doing Nissan Performance Magazine out of the back end of Nissanforums (former member) after that. Then the owner of Nissanforums sold out and they all moved on to some obscure site that fizzled before many of the SCC oldsters got back together for MotoIQ.com.

    It’s not quite the same. You can’t rely on regular geek columns from Coleman and Kojima, anymore, but many of the features are pretty cool. Of course, a lot of the “import” scene nowadays focuses on drift, in which the formula has gradually gravitated towards the more efficiently packaged American OHV V8s, which run very competitively there when swapped into Japanese cars.

    I kind of miss the old import scene. Not because it focused on Japanese cars, but because it focused on cheap, nimble and fun cars that regular guys could cobble together for a laugh.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I was in high school right in the middle of the whole Tuner-plosion. All the cool kids were getting used Integra’s, Civics, and the really cool ones had a turbo-equipped Eclipse (which, they seemed to be broken and missing from the high school parking lot most of the time). I liked old American cars, Hot Rods, and was made fun of because of it.

    Fast forward ten years and look at what’s still popular and cool, and I still have that old American car I had in high school (but now faster).

  • avatar
    rolladan

    90s Japanese cars were my favorite for sure. I had a 4 age 20v swapped corolla, celiac all trac, and mr2 turbo modded to hell at the same time. Now that I’m older and married the the toys are sold off all I have is my mr2. Whenever I drive it its a trip down memory lane. For some like me it’s keeping a car like this that lets you relive your youth.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    We make a lot of fun about the Fast and Furious franchise, but the very first film was interesting for documenting the import scene in SoCal. To me, the vinyl graphics and monster audio systems were only a facade for an obsession decades earlier when Brian Wilson paid homage to the drag scene through songs about Duece coupes and taching it up. in the end these kids were Petrolheads tinkering with cars just like their fathers before them, only rejecting the vehicles their fathers made fast (Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers, etc.) because they…well, because they wanted to different, like most youth do.

    • 0 avatar

      There was also a film called “Quattro Noza” that SCC hyped up in its early days. It ended up being re-cut and titled “Streets of Legend”. The trailer was absolutely mesmerizing – in fact it was directed and written by the same people who did “Blue Valentine” – imagine that aesthetic, but based around import street racing with a Romeo and Juliet style Anglo/Mexican love story.

      “Streets of Legend” turned out to be abominable. What a shame.

  • avatar

    Count me among the people who like import cars but who are glad the whole “tuner/street racer” craze is done. It was like so many things in the late 90s, so contrived, so phony and it pulled a lot of people into the car scene who really didn’t give a crap about cars. There was way too much posing and other BS going on.

    After the Fast and the Furious hit, movie studios tried to do the same to motorcycling recasting what is essentially an invidual endeavor into some kind of new urban scene where a thousand people show up at some kind of outdoor party on a city street at 3AM without the cops knowing about it.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      You must be talking about “Torque”… now there is a fun movie to watch! Utterly ridiculous stunts and they still had the nerve to make fun of Fast and Furious.

      But I am not so sure that the massive outdoor parties those movies depicted is so far from reality. We used to do that back in the day, and even very recently I have come across huge scenes like that in parking lots, kids hanging out with their cars, racing, etc. Maybe not 1000 ppl, but easily a hundred or so.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Uhh… the ‘tuner’ crowd is still there in the hundreds of thousands.

      And guys still ride bikes like idiots on public highways and the cops choose to do nothing because they are outnumbered.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        “Outnumbered?” More likely they don’t do anything ‘cos any sport bike will handily out-accelerate even the fastest police car offered today so no point in chasing them, and attempting to stop someone hooning around on a bike is likely to kill them.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      I think Thomas is referring to “Biker Boyz”…Laurence Fishbourne was in it. Hilariously bad and definitely trying to capitalize on the success of F&F….to no avail.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    I remember in the mid 90’s my brother got into that scene. Specifically at the time I remember people putting these vinyl hood graphics that looked like checkered flags across half the hood of some early 90’s Japanese car. I wish I could find a picture but I used to see it all the time and then it just stopped.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I miss Sport Compact Car too. Great magazine.

    Part of the appeal was that Civics and Integras were simply the cars a lot of kids had. You might be handed down your parents’ car, or they’d get you one, or you made the money to go out and buy one. If you ended up with a Corolla, you probably weren’t going to get into cars. If you ended up in a stickshift Civic, there was a good chance you’d slowly get sucked into the world of driving enthusiasm. All you had was a Civic, but dammit, you were going to make the best of it.

    Then came the war on street racing and on car enthusiasm among the young, so those days are gone.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Oh I forgot to say. I “hooked up” a 1989 Mercury Topaz LTS when I was in high school. It had a home maid air intake which actually sounded pretty good, got alot of complements on it. Also had black out headlight covers and a subwoofer in the trunk. Not exactly the tuner car of choice in 1998 but it satisfied me for a while with my limited budget. I used to challenge my buddies in Dodge Sundances and K Cars to drag races and smoke them. Those things were slow as sh*t.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      LTS? Merc Topaz had trims?

      Ah K-cars drag races… takes me back.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      For a time back in the day I had a Mercury Topaz with the 3.0L vulcan V6 and 5 speed manual transmission. That car actually hauled ass. It blew the doors off Civic Sis and Integras much to their surprise.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        A girl I went to college with had an all wheel drive Ford Tempo. I was completely dumbfounded that they ever made a car like that.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I still wouldn’t mind finding a 3.0 5sp Tempaz. I still have an AWD Tempo and we also had a 4wd Tempo. (note they are the same thing but in 91 Ford fessed up that it was a part time, ie 4wd system, not a full time, ie AWD. They made them because AWD/4wd cars were all the rage at the time virtually every automaker offered one. The Tempaz had something that most of the others didn’t a limited slip in the rear differential. With a good set of tires there is no stopping it’s HO 2.3.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Dave Coleman is still cranking over at Edmunds along with a few other SCC names I recognize. They were doing fairly well with the “Inside Line” part of the website. Now everything has been re-formatted and no more cool long term road tests on old Ferraris, 911s, Buick GN type cars. Now it’s like 5 clicks to find decent content. Sad, but profits must come first in these types of endeavors.

    I still have a 93 Celica Alltrac and had a list a mile long of all the cool mods I was going to do. Sure glad I did none of it and left it OE.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I’m kind of an “old wrench” on the early import stuff. I got into it around 93′ in Japan. A lot of the cars we had access to were the cheap/free 80’s stuff.

    What really stifled modding for power back then was that these imports came out right when EFI took off. EFI was a “black art” back then. To make power, you need to inject more fuel, and to do that you need to modify your ECU or get a new full custom one like the very complex HKS F-CON for a few grand. Even ROM tunes were VERY expensive, and only for select engines. IIRC, Banks and Precision Turbo and Engine had the only turbos sized appropriately for these smaller engines. These were also very expensive. Forced induction, the V8 guys didn’t need that stuff (or so they thought), was just another black art.

    The L-series Datsuns and rotaries that preceded these cars were pretty popular, as carbs, cams, and headers were relatively cheap and easy.

    When hybrid turbos, cheap ECU upgrades like the $300 S-AFC, and the internet came out, it really exploded in popularity.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember you from the old Ziptied boards. Please post more here.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      EFI “took off” in the early 70s. It was not a “black art” it just required tools that cost serious $100s of Ks to dial in to the nth degree. But if you understood the math, you could get in the ballpark.

      HKS was stone age primitive in the early 70s (when it started) and remains such to this very day. The hardcore guys were buying Bosch racing systems back then. Because that’s who actually designed every system that worked at the time. HKS makes bandaids for people who know nothing about EFI. How they are still in business is a testament to the failure of basic ed.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        EFI has been alternately expensive and inexpensive to tune…it started with chips, you had to have EPROM programmers, and could mess with assembly language and solder chip sockets.

        Then the re-programmable chips hit the ECUs and a lot of enterprising folks started figuring them out. The 90s GM ECUs are cracked wide open you can get some minimally expensive software and a laptop and go nuts. EEC-tuner did the same fro Fords. I believe the DSMs were totally reverse engineered as well.

        Then things got more complicated with advanced engine controls and mfrs started making things harder. The Evo/WRX/STi warranty concerns hit. I think most are using some encryption or key verification for re-programming now, so that has to be cracked every time they come out with a new version.

        I had an Accessport for my WRX, $600 I could load up RaceTuner and change all the tables I wanted too…

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          True, true. In the days before cheap standalone systems (MegaSquirt and such), it could get expensive if you didn’t have access to the tech and had to rely on reprogramming a factory box.

          Back in the day we would actually put an interceptor inline with the factory ECU and datalog all the inputs and outputs driving around. *Then* do the reverse math to figure out the factory tables.

          *Then* (ugh) we’d burn a new chip.

          Personally, rather than mess with a factory ECU, I just install stand-alone systems in factory shells. My customer has the ability to select a variety of profiles, including “bone-stock” factory maps so there are no issues with “compliance”…

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    When F&F came out, back when I was still in high school, I disliked the movie for
    a) Doubling the Supra’s resale value
    b) Increasing police scrutiny on any young person driving a lowered Honda
    c) Egregious technical inaccuracies

    But now, I look back at the movie with some fondness because it’s a comical, colorful and bright exaggeration of the stuff people wanted to see, the usual hollywood stuff.

    Drifting started getting popular around when I was a freshman in college, and I totally did the Rustang, Slowmaro, Pushrods Suck! thing too. I started feeling the “it’s BS” thing after having an AE86 for a while–It was a 20 year old car with a warbly 4-cylinder engine that as only special because it was simple. Wish I’d kept it because it was the perfect track beater and because I got it for $50 and a latte. My whole “drive what you enjoy” thing was firmly cemented in place after borrowing an LS6 powered car for a few months.

    I loved SCC for it’s technical articles, and very happy to find out a bunch of those guys are still active in creating content at Edmunds and MotoIQ.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The guys that really suffered during this time were the Quad4 owners. We didn’t have the cylinder count to hang with the pony car folks and our VIN didn’t start with the right character for the import folks.

    Plus our engines blew up a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      But seriously the Beretta GTZ was a cool car and quite a handler I almost bought one. My dad had a Quad442 Calais, I always lusted after the W41 that was like the Type-R of Quad4, did very well in showroom stock racing.

  • avatar
    JMII

    As a child of the 80’s I remember the first round of the SCC craze: mini trucks! My first car was Rustang in the truest sense of the word: an inline 6 Mustang with tan paint job. Never understood why people worshiped that car so much. Some friends had IROCs and 5OHs (as we called them) and while fast they were huge cars that handled like boats.

    Meanwhile I had a Civic, then upgraded to a Prelude and finally a turbo Eclipse, while others I knew went the Mazdas and Toyota (Celica/Supra) route.

    I never got into the drag racing thing (after all its FWD, big tires in the front = weird-o), thus I was more a graphics and subwoofer guy. I knew my Civic wasn’t fast and adding a turbo wasn’t going to happen. Now my Eclipse… that was fast! For me it was about the audio. Even today I still rock a nice amp and sub, but ditched the graphics – my 350Z is bone stock expect the upgraded sound system. I wouldn’t mine a mild areo kit and some nicer rims, but most of my money is wasted elsewhere these days.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I remember mini trucks too, and the 4wd ones too when they were very popular in the 80s. Then we got into street racing the “modern” domestics… Mustangs vs. Camaro/Firebirds mostly, there were not many Mopar guys in our area. Me and all my friends had Trans Ams or IROC Zs, a couple guys had Grand Nationals that blew everything away. It was in the late 80s/early 90s that we started getting into imports and that lasted a while for me. Now I am back to enjoying domestics, muscle cars, although I still drive imports as well.

      I never really got into the audio and definitely never into graphics or body kits. Even back in the day I was more about the performance and the clean stock look of a good looking car. But a lot of my friends were into the car audio and the girls liked it too back then!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’ve never understood the appeal of drag racing. Let’s go really, really fast, but only for 1/4 mile. Yawn. Thus the whole big HP thing is pretty lost on me. Making time down a windy bumpy back road is more my idea of a good time.

    As for imports, I was firmly in the VW camp in college, having an ’85 Jetta 2Dr then an ’84 Jetta GLI. Fabulous cars, especially the GLI. Firmed up, but not lowered suspension, sticky tires, Techtonics exhaust, Bilstein struts, a Euro cam and downpipe, and that fine close-ratio box made it a delight on the back roads of Maine. My Fiat Abarth is a spiritual successor.

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      Drag racing can be spectacular to watch though. Not so much fun to drive if you haven’t got something fast though. I took my Legend to the Honda Nationals once…… got knocked out in the second round by a heavily modded CR-X doing 12’s. My best was a 16.23… that’s a long time, it was actually pretty boring.

      • 0 avatar
        CelticPete

        Drag racing is a good deal less expensive.. For the average hobbyist you can get a Fox Body Mustang or Camaro or something – soup it up and take it to the track once in a while.

        Actual road racing you are going to want new seats, suspension work, roll cage and tons of other stuff – not to mention the track time. I think drag racers will tell you road racing is more fun..but they are operation in different zip codes finance wise.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Not sure if I agree…any hobby you can get into spending too much money and real competition demands. But drag racing, I used to do it quite a bit, you need to spend a lot of money building a car to go faster, lots of parts and stuff breaking and fixing. There isn’t much else to drag racing, you want to go faster you need more parts.

          Road racing you can prep your for $1000 and then spend a lifetime learing how to drive better. Consumables like brakes and tires, and track fees are more than drag racing in general, but you don’t need to run out an buy more parts to get faster.

          I’ve done all that, now I race a shared Ford Focus ZX3 in stock class SCCA Solo-II AutoX, it handles great and I am getting faster as I learn, car is dirt cheap to buy and run. Would be a real “drag” to run this 17 sec 1/4s all day in it.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I drag race and run road courses and thoroughly enjoy them both for different reasons.

            Heck, I’d probably run circle track and Rallycross if I had the time.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      “I’ve never understood the appeal of drag racing. Let’s go really, really fast, but only for 1/4 mile. Yawn. Thus the whole big HP thing is pretty lost on me. Making time down a windy bumpy back road is more my idea of a good time.”

      It depends, the best sort of drag racing occurs when you have a very high powered car with a limited amount of rubber and a manual trans fairly evenly matched with the guy in the other lane.

      You’ve got to get off the line just right floating between blowing the tires away and trying to get as much traction as you can then while your going down the track you need to minimize shift time without compromising power and if your opponent is on their A game the pressure is on, blow the launch, blow a shift, shift at the wrong time and you get to see the other guy’s board light up.

      That aside, geography has a lot to do with, here in the flat lands (aka east coast from upper to the mid to the lower Atlantic) you have a high populations, lots of police and a real lack of curvy roads. All these things conspire to make drag racing more attractive. The other nice thing about drag racing is that its cheap to get into. As others have stated as long as your clapped out hoop-dee can pass tech and you’ve got a helmet you can get on the track and have some fun and even race competitively in bracket racing where consistency is the name of the game.

      In any event I love both, trying to squeeze the best acceleration time out of my car or blowing down a nice little two lane road well into triple digit territory trying to gain a little more speed through the corners and further down that curvy road while trying to brake deeper each time.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I think the allure of drag racing is more about building/modding the car than just the run down the track.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      >>”I’ve never understood the appeal of drag racing.”
      >”I was firmly in the VW camp in college,”

      If I was a VW guy, I wouldn’t be interested in drag racing anyone either.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        As there’s Beetles running in the mid-8s, you might want to ignore the illiterati…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Mid 8’s? That’s cute, but it still won’t run with the big boys.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            As opposed to..? Do you have any idea what it takes to make one of those stone-axe-tech “muscle cars” run in the mid 8s?

            Those slop-buckets are wheel standing fools in the low 9s. Meanwhile, a basically stock Viper with some boost hooks up and runs in the low 8s. Then drives home sans trailer.

    • 0 avatar

      You should go visit that car’s relatives at Tim O’Neil’s rally school…

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I had a Honda Civic Coupe but never souped it up. The thing is it takes alot of modding dollars to do what a generic fox body mustang can do for a few dollars. It’s just not worth it.

    THe only cars that impress me in the Japanese scene are the RWD ones. LIke say the Miata’s with the Corvette engines. That’s pretty cool. (And no the engine is not that much heavy – pushrods have good power to weight ratios).

    As for the appeal of drag racing.. It’s legal and its fun to have a car that can pull a 10 second quartermile. Fast acceleration is not ‘illegal’ for the most part (though burnouts are) so having a car that can quickly get to extra legal speeds is fun.

    I think just the opposite of most people. A miata is a great car to race on the track. On the street most of the time its not that fun. OTOH a 11 second Stang/Camaro/Challenger can provide one with considerable amusement and is still good in the mountains or on the Pacific coast highway..(admittedly the Miata is great).

    The real problem with very fast cars is that your gas mileage sucks..

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      “Fast” is different than “quick”.

      The Mercedes C111-III averaged 15 MPG @ 195MPH. For 12 hours. In 1978. With a production based turbo-diesel powerplant.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The real problem with very fast cars is that your gas mileage sucks..”

      It doesn’t have to. With modern engine management systems, most of the LSx powered cars I’ve worked with making in excess of 500hp can still log well over 20mpg on the highway, especially the T56 cars.

  • avatar
    AFX

    Now I can add Derek along with Doug to my list of “Millenial auto writers who think anything around 1980 or a little earlier was Ye Olden Days”.

    When I first saw the title about import drag cars I thought he might mention something like a 1937 Fiat Topolino with a big American engine crammed into it, but nope, sure as sh*t, “import” drag racing didn’t start for these younger guys until sometime in the 80’s with the FWD Japanese cars. I don’t recall Gran Turismo ever having a 1937 Fiat Topolino in it, so I guess these guys wouldn’t have known at all.

    I feel sorry for anyone that grew up in the late 80’s through 90’s. They had some screwed up ideas for what was cool back then. I remember for a short while in the 80’s the cool thing to have was neon flourescent colored accesories for your car, like windshield wipers and license plate frames. That fad lasted for about 6 months until all the color faded out from the sun on all that flourescent stuff, and it wound up a bunch of chalky looking crap. Then we had the idiots with the lowrider pickup trucks who lowered their trucks by cutting the springs down so far that the truck rode on the rubber bump stops. That fad was “cool” for about 2 seconds. It did make me laugh though the time I watched some kid driving in front of me with a lowrider truck as we crossed a bridge and the rear end of his truck was bouncing off the ground from the potholes in the road. The chiropractors probably made a ton of money off of those clowns.

    The absolute WORST though was that MTV show Pimp My Ride where they took some kid’s hoopty, filled the body with Bondo and repainted it, then added a ton of stereo equiptment and TVs and big-assed rims that some crackhead probably stole the first time the kid drove the car. My favorite episode of that was when a kid inherited his grandma’s Buick Century and they ripped out the back seat and put in some huge 90lb subwoofer. All they did was add crap to those cars, they never fixed up the engines or running gear at all, so the kid has the same ol broke-ass hoopty under pinning this shiny looking car.

    One thing that I wish would go away that’s been around since the 80’s is the redneck kids on crotch rockets acting like the highway is a racetrack or a place to show off, by doing stoppies, wheelies, and lane-splitting. Darwin can’t catch up to those guys fast enough in my book.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      Aside from the ridiculous aesthetics, there was a real gear-head geeky vibe at the core of the import scene. It was fun making a slow car go fast, never mind that you could buy something older and cheaper that could go faster.

      And the 80s and 90s are now the “olden days”. Back in those days, there was a flood of brand new and surplus performance parts for cheap “economy cars” due to a burgeoning Japanese market and the obsessive over-engineering Derek alluded to in another article.

      New “economy cars” may be more powerful and refined than ever, but modern OBDII systems, with their myriad of feedback loops and set-up specific tuning mean that simple bolt-on parts no longer work as easily as they used to… not without exhaustive development and perhaps electronic controls bundled with them to optimize the vehicle for the part.

      The days when you could sit in your garage and tune a carb on a new car are gone.

      The days when you could sit in your garage and cobble together a custom intake on your new car and expect to gain five to ten horses are mostly gone.

      Nowadays, it’s all about electronics. You need to invest in a laptop, a “performance chip” or a ROM-flashing device, datalogging and a crash course in engine tuning. And many of the more popular re-flash and chip options won’t let you work on the car yourself.

      Shame. Engine tuning is great fun.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Funny stuff. I think a carburetor is complex!!

        Fuel injection is simple. Measure the air coming in, inject the right amount of fuel. The electronics and can be complicated though mostly due to emissions concerns I think, and getting access to tune is not always easy.

        If I were putting together my own simple car though, a simple fuel injection system like Megasquirt or something would do, a carb is too hard for me to understand ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          A carb is mostly voodoo and experience. Adjust this, adjust that, does it still idle right? Smell rich? Do the plugs look too white? Change out the jets… etcetera.

          Chip-tuning is easier if you have the tools… and it allows you to do funky things… anti-lag, backfire (merely for laughs), launch-control.

          I’m not quite sure MegaSquirt works with the newest generation of direct injection motors. Many people wonder if the processors are actually fast enough. Pretty soon, that last, inexpensive avenue for tuning might be closed to us, too…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          That’s always funny for me to hear as I grew up and learned to work on carburetors, and moved on to electronic fuel injection.

          I still regularly work with both and can appreciate the unique benefits of both for different situations. Carb tuning with the right tools is most certainly not voodoo magic. Adjusting with a vacuum gauge, setting the timing right, and selecting jets and rods with the use of a wide band O2 sensor can get things quite precise.

          Every car should own and work on a carbureted car once in his life. They’re quite genius. Nothing makes more raw power!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You whipersnappers tuning your carbs with WBO2s, back in the day we new how to read spark plugs to see how the mixture was. Idle mixture and timing was done by ear. We didn’t need no fancy tools. Heck I still do it that way on my carb’ed vehicles.

            On the other hand it is nice to plug the laptop into the MegaSquirt and adjust set your desired A/F ratio and let the WBO2 and the Autotune function do it’s thing and adjust your timing curve with a couple of keystrokes w/o getting your hands dirty or even lifting the hood, of course after the MS has been installed.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            I hardly agree “nothing makes more raw power” simply put the carb has to be put into the air stream in some sort of compromising position, an ideal intake doesn’t include a carb in the way, fuel injectors can be placed minimally invasive to the air path. As such the ideal “raw power” setup is probably speed density, port or direct fuel injection. Top fuel cars are injected and what makes more raw power than those?

            Not anti-carb its totally viable if emissions or fuel/altitude compensation are not needed.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            You’re right, I should have added some caveats.

            Properly tuned, carburetors make more peak power than EFI in most gasoline racing engines. A carb’s pressure differential atomizes the fuel better than spraying fuel through an orifice. Some of NHRA’s top engine builders will tell you this. Top fuel cars use a constant flow mechanical fuel injection system due to the needs of those engines and the nitromethane fuel. They don’t use EFI.

            That of course doesn’t negate the numerous other benefits of EFI. It can perform a lot better over a broader power range and is easier and more precise to tune.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Well you should read the rest of that Warren Johnson quote you pilfered from ;-) He was talking specifically about a Pro-stock engine, then goes on to say it is about the same.

            But I do think from a street perspective myself, tune your carb for “max power” than drive up a hill or tomorrow is cold, and you are now not optimal any more, where a fuel injection system can compensate. So the term “more power” would need to have more definition. Interesting discussion anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            How complex one considers a carburetor probably relates to what sort of carburetors they worked on. Racing carburetors and pre-emissions control carburetors are elegant and comprehensible. US market OE carburetors from the mid ’70s through their bitter end are not so nice to work on.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Hey, I gave him cred. I guessed that anecdotal evidence from spending years at the track wouldn’t be enough.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Not even close to true. But a quaint myth propagated by those who don’t understand how EFI works.

            EFI *always* puts down more HP/TQ. ALWAYS.

            The only reason anyone race with a carb is the NHRA’s stone-axe tech rules. The only reason Kinsler sells that “classic” mechanical fuel injection is because EFI is banned under NHRA rules.

            Oh yeah, on ‘top fuel’ it’s right on the verge of hydrolocking, so how it’s pumped in is rather irrelevant.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          Carbs *are* a black art. They are only “right” for exactly ONE setting and the second the temp/humidity/altitude/fuel density/etc changes they are not optimal.

          I’ve used MS in some apps since 2001, and have always had EFI since the very early 80s.

          But yeah, EFI is (relatively) simple set of equations and rules that always work. Carbs? Save for my older motorcycles, you couldn’t pay me to run them.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “EFI *always* puts down more HP/TQ. ALWAYS”.

            Be careful with that always. Under many conditions, carburetors can make more power. Many engine builders who have lots of experience with such things disagree with you concerning peak power. A lot of racing classes are EFI legal but many of the racers still use carbs, especially blow-through turbo applications. It’s not because they’re losing.

            That being said, I know exactly how EFI works and that’s why I use it primarily, because of it’s far better drivability, broader powerband, tunability and ability to *usually* make more power.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Danio, Anytime you’re willing to put some serious big money on that mythology, do let me know.

            I could care less what Chebby-building-old-wanker who knows sweet FA about EFI tells you a carb can do more HP/TQ under any scenario, the fact is that EFI is ALWAYS more accurate and therefore will 100% of the time outperform a carb. Always. I’ll bet my life on it, as I’ve won this bet more than once.

            I don’t have to rely on the vagaries of venturi effect, I can program the exact BMEP/MAP/every variable possible amount of fuel to be delivered – which is always more accurate than a carb. Always. And that’s leaving direct injection off the table. Even bank-fire will smoke a carb on the dyno.

            So, pick a set of variables and if you make a wager worth my time, I’ll be there.

            BTW- Blow-through turbo? What is this, 1975? Even prior to the 80s everyone without a cranial-rectal insertion went suck-through. Pressurized carbs are even *less* accurate that normal carbs. Hard to imagine it’s possible, but they are…

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Danio, Anytime you’re willing to put some serious big money on that mythology, do let me know. I could care less what Chebby-building-old-wanker who knows sweet FA about EFI tells you a carb can do more HP/TQ under any scenario, the fact is that EFI is ALWAYS more accurate and therefore will 100% of the time outperform a carb. Always. I’ll bet my life on it, as I’ve won this bet more than once.”

            That’s an interesting wager. I’ve got a little turbo LS1 build underway. We’re going with EFI for drivability, but it won’t take much to get a carb manifold on there. It would be an interesting comparo to say the least.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I’d like to hear exactly WHY a carb would EVER make more power than modern electronic fuel injection on the same engine. I certainly can’t think of any reason…

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I think you forgot to say “Get off my lawn”

      • 0 avatar

        I tried to picture AFX as my Grandfather while reading that rant…but I couldn’t because he bought one of the fist ’73 Civics in Canada and never looked back (aside from a brief flirtation with a ’79 Caprice with a 350…).

  • avatar
    Power6

    I feel like I am in the chasm between you and the really old guys Derek. I came before the Fast and Furious, at least it was more of a joke to me and my peers.

    In my day of the mid 80’s to 90s the Camaro and Mustang were not a joke, but new imports like the Mitsu Starion and the 1g DSM turbo cars were hitting the scene, then eventually the new Supra, 300ZX, RX-7 etc. The American makes were getting into the 4cyl and turbo action too. I thought it was a magical time, there seemed to be a performance car for every occasion when we were getting out of college and getting jobs in the mid-late 90s, I owned a Grand National, one buddy had TurboCoupe, another a SuperCoupe, one had a Talon TSi, yet another had an LT1 TransAm, another a GMC Typhoon and a 3000GT VR4, his parents bought the brand new Lexus GS400, my aunt had a Z51 Vette.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah…the first model kit I ever built with my Dad was a Syclone. I was 3 years old. I WISH I was around and able to afford one back in those days.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        You know the reality of it…at least my friend who owned the Typhoon, it was a 93 I think and he owned it in 99 or so. It was already rare and too nice to drive around all the time, you couldn’t buy some of the parts for them even then. It was beautiful, and fun to blast around in, but he didn’t want to drive it all the time. He ultimately sold because it sat in the garage most of the time. While his deteriorating 12sec VR4 wasn’t particularly special and a ton of fun to drive. My GN was pretty ratty too, so I drove the crap out of that car.

        Jay Leno drove his Syclone for years, I guess the lesson is buy special cars new and enjoy them, or buy them worn out a bit used.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I have the last issue… siting in a box in Venezuela *rolleyes*. And I made it into the “Burnout of the month” section publishing the car of one of the blokes of the forum I am in.

    Link, for the heck of it:

    http://www.modified.com/features/sccp_0901_2002_subaru_impreza_rs_the_street/

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Ah, I remember those days as well….. my backpack in high school always had an issue of Sport Compact Car in it, the biggest deal with me was the issue with the Skyline GT-R coming to the states via MotoRex… I still have that issue somewhere; sorry Derek you can’t have it; I remember just going to MotoRex just to see my dream car; the R32 GT-R, even one of the staff let me sit in a silver “three two” and took a picture of me in it. I had a gigantic smile in that picture and I bought a MotoRex plate frame and stuck it on my beater ’88 Maxima, which I still have to this day.

    Funny about that Maxima, my dad told me what he shouldn’t have told an impressionable young kid about the car; that it had a Z car V6. It did; the VG30E. Man that thing sounded glorious at full song and it felt fast! Sure realistically 0-60 was 10 seconds and it topped at 116 MPH, but it was fun!I so wanted to make that car faster in high schol, at some point I was seriously contemplating putting a VG30ET, the turbo SOHC 3.0 L V6 from a Z31 300ZX and also adding a manual transmission from a Maxima SE (mine was an automatic GXE which had the Bitchen’ Betty deleted)but I never followed through. I even wrote a letter to David Coleman when he was with SCC about my car, my loony plan was to turn my Maxima into a AWD V6 Maxima Bluebird (the U12 Nissan Bluebird/Nissan Stanza was a similar platform to my U11 Maxima and the Bluebird had a SSS model, complete with a SR20DET and AWD.) he never wrote back, but that letter probably gave him a good laugh! Then again I was still trying to do stupid stuff with my ’97 Ranger that my dad cosigned with me, it was a 4 cylinder auto and slow as….. well you know. So desperate was I not to get run over by traffic on the freeway on ramp that I “made” my own intake for it by deleting the airbox and zip tying a APC conical filter I bought for $10. It worked initially until the truck stalled and refused to start…. I forgot about the mass airflow meter!

    Those were the days…..

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    As you are from the Great White North we feel for you in our hearts, but we also are so sad. We weep for you and all your dreadful issue. Sadly, your children will never amount to much, but that is another topic.

    Real drag racing in the good old USA means diesel engines.

  • avatar
    brid1970

    Can’t tell you how much this old guy enjoyed reading this thread.
    I’m from the carb generation but graduated to fuel injection during my tenure in the industry. Now I froth at the mouth wishing I was still on board when tuning with laptop became de rigueur. Things move so fast.
    What a disappointment it was when I finally made it out to southern California and found that the mecca of hot rodding, we had all heard and read about, now suffers from a dearth of drag strips. Seems that most have been displaced by malls, housing developments, etc.. Maybe there are now more strips in Russia. Seems that those importers who got their start in the sunny state, preferred a more snobbish type of racing.
    As for the carb complexity Power6, it’s just a matter of breaking it down into systems, i.e. fuel supply (float bowl), idle, cruise, accelerator pump, power, and choke. Of course it’s much dependent on that hourglass figure we are so familiar with (wink), better known as the venturi (check out Bernoulli). And of course those plates called throttle and choke play an important part as well.
    On the edge, here’s an ole Datsun that’s turning heads:
    http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1686

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Thank you for the tips sir. I am quite sure I could understand the carb if I put the effort in. Its one of those things I actively avoid to minimize wasted time in my life, like Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Don’t get me wrong, you’ve nailed the basics. But the problems come from the fact that however one adjusts a carb, the minute the temp/baro pressure/throttle position/fuel density/RPM let alone MAP changes, it won’t be optimal. Or even close. Carbs are neato for display. Or melting into ashtrays. Otherwise, they’re garbage.

      Carbs are on par with breaker points – sure, you can fiddle for hours and get them “kinda” right. But they’ll never be able to calculate the perfect ignition time for every firing event. By individual cylinder. Even at 10K RPMs.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    I was in 4th grade when the original F&F came out. I was always obsessed with cars, but suddenly I was passionate about one day owning a Skyline with a giant spoiler. I loved all that Super Street shit. Many days sitting on my floor making street racing scenarios with my Hot Wheels.

    I still have most Super Street issues from 2000-2004. My parents always hated seeing that magazine around the house with the half naked girls all over it, after all I was only 10…Once my dad told me he thought it was written by 14 year old boys…

    In hindsight, the animosity between the “Domestic” and “Import” fans really bothered me at the time, as I always liked all different cars. My little head couldn’t understand the hatred for my (then beloved) little Hondas…I still don’t.

    The only difference is now when I see cars from that era, like Paul Walker’s Eclipse, I laugh at how disgusting looking they really were…

  • avatar
    Scarlet

    After staying here in Japan for quite sometime all I can say is drag racing isn’t that popular compared to western countries. They are more into circuit races and the likes. But if you had a chance to see their drag racing events, it will be like attending an “R’s meet”. R’s meet is a meeting of Skyline GTR owners in Japan. Top drag cars there consists mostly of GTRs. It’s like the muscle car equivalent in U.S. drag scene.

  • avatar
    Scarlet

    Oh and they almost don’t do a FWD drag car here, again unlike in the U.S.


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