Pure Stock Shootout: 2012

Feature Article from Hemmings Muscle Machines

Results from the annual showdown of factory muscle machines

By Matthew Litwin and Terry McGean

Pure Stock Shootout: 2012

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Last year, we went to the Pure Stock Drags event at Mid Michigan Motorplex in Stanton, Michigan, with an idea: to use this gathering of original-specification muscle cars for a sort of shootout. The notion was spawned from the queries we continued to receive from readers regarding a lack of head-to-head testing between cars that were created to accelerate quickly... and probably with another such car in the next lane. Often, these letters reference the stock shootouts some magazines carried out during the first wave of classic muscle car enthusiasm in the '80s. But these days, it's become a lot more difficult to get owners of factory-correct muscle cars to use them in a competitive manner that doesn't involve points judging.

The obvious exception is the Pure Stock Drags, where correctness is verified as a part of tech inspection and competition is the whole reason for showing up. Organizers Dan Jensen and Bob Boden have been putting on the event for years, and they've come up with relatively simple rules that seem to work. Cars must date between 1955 and 1974 and must have only the equipment they were offered with when new. That means the casting numbers on the blocks, heads, intakes and so on must be correct for that model and year, and aftermarket enhancements are not allowed, whether visible or not. Camshafts can be altered slightly, but the engines must be able to idle at 1,200 RPM while maintaining 16 inches of vacuum. Exhaust systems can be enlarged to 2½-inch tubing, and can use aftermarket mufflers, but stock manifolds must remain and stock exhaust system routing must be maintained. Tires must be street legal and within one size of original spec. There's more, but you get the gist.

The event itself is simple, too. Show up on Friday and make as many passes as you like; organizers will be recording them all and using them to calculate an average that will serve as your qualifying ET. You'll then be paired with the racer and car running closest to your ET for the next day's two-out-of-three race.

Last year, we used Friday's qualifying session to stage our own shootout, selecting particular cars to pair with others that might seem like natural rivals. It worked out better than expected, and though we sort of surprised the competitors with our program, in the end, it seemed to add an enjoyable twist to the event's first day.

This time around, we opted to use the event's own pairings for our shootout coverage, so all of the matches reported here were formed in the traditional PSD fashion. That means performance should have been close inn all cases, but as you'll see, things don't always go as planned - and that's what keeps drag racing interesting. Check out the results of the matchups and consider attending the event yourself; the schedule and rules can be found at www.purestockdrags.com.

Rich Jones

Buick GSX VS. Studebacker R3

The PSD's Studebaker contingent is fiercely competitive; it doesn’t hurt that legendary Studebaker pilot Ted Harbit is in their corner. Ted has captured eight NHRA Indy Nationals titles, so car owner George Krem confidently handed him the keys to the R3-powered Challenger George purchased new on June 30, 1964. George and Ted have been racing the 14,000-mile original in the PSD since 1998. Richard Johns, meanwhile, purchase his GSX in 1996 but didn’t start racing it until two years ago. But don’t be fooled: he’s been racing for 20-plus years. In round one, Ted tripped the red light, handing the win to Rich. Rich admits he was snoozing the next time around, with a 0.294 reaction time versus Ted’s o.075, losing in spite of his quicker ET. Rich was also having traction issues at the 300-foot mark all weekend, permitting Ted to quickly make up ground in round three after Rich jumped ahead with a 1.964 60-foot time. Bu ther Buick managed to get to the line before the Stud could catch up, giving Rich the round and match win. Said George, “In spite of the supercharger belt slipping, all we needed was another 25 feet of track and it would have been ours.”


              Round Buick   Studebacker
  1 12.806 @ 109.01   13.130 @ 111.71*
  2 12.787 @ 108.80   12.979 @ 103.09
  3 12.752 @ 108.59   12.837 @ 111.46

*Red Light

1970 Buick GSX
Richard (Rich) Johns; Mount Brydges, Ontario, Canada

Buick 45
5-cu. in. Stage 1

Buick cast-iron 455 Stage 1,2.125/1.75-inch valves/10.5:1

Custom grind, hydraulic: 210/214 duration @ .050, .415/.455-inch lift

Rochester Quadrajet, 750-CFM/Buick cast-iron dual-plane

Buick cast-iron manifolds/2 1/2-inch Pypes mandrel X-pipe, Walker Ultra-Flo mufflers

GM TH400 three-speed auto

GM "B-O-P" 8.2-inch, limited-slipe/3.91:1

Buick Road Wheeles, chromed stamped steel, 15 x 7-inch/G60-15 Goodyear Polyglas GT

Factory hp/Factored wheel hp 360/400

3,930 poounds

Best-ever ET:
12.44 @ 110.64 (1.86-second 60-foot)

12.812 @ 108.69

Best ET
12.752 Best MPH ... 109.23

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Published in Hemmings Muscle Machines - February 2013