At first glance you’d swear that Bob’s Chevy II just rolled out of his home garage circa-1
Regardless where you grew up, you could never escape the adrenalin-fueled AM radio announcer proclaiming the upcoming weekend of drag racing in your hometown. Sundaaaay immediately caught your attention as a flurry of famous names were revealed who would battle it out on the quarter-mile to see who would receive the big trophy that weekend. America was alive with drag racing with ’strips situated all across the country packed with fans anxiously awaiting the smell of nitromethane and burnt rubber.
For Bob Urick, growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, in the early ’60s certainly had its benefits. As a youngster he immersed himself deep into the drag racing culture, first through magazines then along with good friend Marc Weller, the pair kept busy building countless scale models and racing slot cars. One of his main influences however came from a local neighbor, Guy Hawkins, and his wicked Deuce pickup packed with a hopped-up Old’s V-8, which fueled the fire even more. As the years passed, being so close to a number of local dragstrips led Bob to become a regular visitor to such legendary tracks as Capital Raceway, Aquasco Speedway, and 75-80 Dragway. It was the in-place to catch Gasser Wars in full fury, featuring many of the S&S Speed Shop gassers as well as names like Stone, Woods & Cook, “Ohio” George Montgomery, and “Big John” Mazmanian, to name but a few. While in his teens there was plenty of time spent hanging out at the Douglas Speed Shop as well as crewing for good friend Eric Hansen and his Algon-injected small-block, Chevy-powered rail dragster.
A classic white roll and pleat interior with black loop carpet is perfectly matched to a H
Bob later got involved with motorcycle road racing, competing at Summit Point Raceway for a season before settling down and having a family. He never forgot all the years at the local dragstrips, however, especially the time spent overwhelmed by the impact of all the Gassers he had worshipped. One late night while reliving the past, he was cruising cars for sale on eBay and came across a wicked ’63 Chevy II Nova that possessed plenty of the right old-school elements. The car had a nosebleed stance, flashy paint, a hot small-block Chevy, and what appeared to be magnesium wheels. Bob marveled at the car for some time that night and thought, “Why not put a bid, on it,” never expecting to win it. Well it wasn’t long till he had the high bid, winning the car. A seven-hour ride with a truck and trailer followed to pick up his new ride in the rain. Due to weather conditions he wasn’t able to drive the car, but noted that it looked pretty good and made the deal. Once home in his own garage he began to give it the once-over and started noticing a number of problematic areas. While the body and paint looked really good, there were obvious electrical woes with more than half of the car’s wiring incomplete, glaring suspension issues, and engine problems. The first drive around the block had the rear wheels dragging on the wheelwells and engine fighting to stay alive, which was enough to make Bob bring the car back into the garage and undertake a four-year redo of many of the Chevy II’s major components.
If you’re setting your car up as a gasser, it had better have plenty of gusto underhood. J
Getting started, Bob first focused on rewiring the car and then moved onto the front and rear suspension to try and dial it in for safety and performance. Since the car already had an aftermarket front subframe constructed from 2x3 rectangular steel with tubular firewall support tubes, a 4-inch dropped Speedway Motors tube axle, Chevy spindles, and tube shocks, he needed to address the spring rates and stance. Getting rid of the single leaf springs and short shackles he upped the ante using a set of new Stanley Springs multi-leaf parallel leaf springs, which he had re-arched by R&S Spring Works in Bladensburg, Maryland, combined with longer shackles to get the nose to just the right height. Out back, since the original rearend was a tired GM 10-bolt unit, he replaced it with a refreshed GM 8-1/2-inch 10-bolt unit packed with 3.90:1 gears. To make sure the rear tires wouldn’t scrape the wheelwells again, the 48-inch vintage-styled ladder bar front mounting points were relocated and treated to fresh Monroe air shocks, longer shackles, and new multi-leaf parallel leaf springs from Stanley Springs re-arched by R&S Spring Works. To make sure there was plenty of stopping power, a GM dual master pushed fluid through steel lines to each corner where 11-inch GM disc brakes tame the beast. Nothing says gasser better than a set of classic Fenton five-spoke mags, so a pair of 15x8 rear wheels were capped with sticky Hurst piecrust cheater slicks while up front a pair of 15x5 wheels were treated to Kuhmo skins.
Wanting the Chevy II to have plenty of power to match its attitude, Bob pulled the ’69 Chevy small-block from the car and hauled it over to the team at JB’s Auto Machine in Baltimore to give it the full treatment. To start, the engine was balanced, blueprinted, and machined to 333 ci. It was then filled with a 3.25-inch stroked crank, aluminum rods, Erson stick, and Keith Black 9.0:1 pistons for a venomous bottom end. For plenty of heavy breathing Ladd’s Porting Service in Elkridge, Maryland, gave the cast-iron heads new life, including COMP Cams roller tip rockers while vintage Cal Custom finned aluminum valve covers add some dazzle. Capping the snarling V-8 in grand style is an Edelbrock X-C8 cross-ram intake sucking air through a homespun ram-air system to a pair of Holley 390-cfm carbs wearing O’Brien Truckers signature finned aluminum air cleaners. The fire gets lit through a Mallory Unilite distributor with PerTronix internals while spent gases get dumped through a set of Hooker Super Competition fenderwell headers to side-exit mufflers. A Saginaw four-speed linked to a Hurst stick transfers the oats to spin the tires. When it came to the body, the car was treated like royalty, blocked to perfection, and coated in a wild Napa lime pearl vibe. Exterior trim, bumpers, and all related rubber seals were also freshened up to make the final combination glow like a diamond accented by a traditional teardrop hood scoop. Inside, the car is all business, starting with a white rolled and pleated bench seat and body-color matched rollbar. Factory gauges are accented by a column-mounted Sun Pro Super Tach II and triple-dial underdash unit to monitor the vitals while Wesco Performance seatbelts keep riders safely in place. All we know is this is one radical Street Shaker that has readily earned its place on the strip thanks to Bob, his daughter Caitlin, and pals, Danny Sokolowski and Mike Scott.
Look for more than just coil bind When installing new valvesprings, avoid problems by checking guide to retainer clearance. Just because you have clearance from coil bind on the spring doesn’t mean you have proper guide to retainer clearance.
4150 throttle body linkage When you set up your EZ-EFI, double-check the 4150 throttle body to make sure the linkage is as close to a one-to-one arrangement as reasonably possible—as opposed to a progressive setup. Having all four blades open at the same time creates the best fuel distribution.
Does stack size matter? After dyno testing many different stacks, the Weber specialists at Inglese have determined that performance is hardly affected by stack height. When assembling your dream system, choose the material and size of stacks that you think look best without worrying about performance.
Comp Performance Group