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The Charger......from the beginning

11480 Views 66 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Shadow
Every year I tell myself I'm going to start a website or blog somewhere on the net, to get ALL the info on the Charger in one place for all of those interested in exactly what was done when, and the effect it had as the build went on.

I've decided that this is as good a place as any, so over the next few months I'm going to go through all of my threads from the beginning, along with all of my pics and see if I can put together a complete log of the history of the Charger from the beginning.

I think it will be easier to do this now, seeing I didn't run the car this year, and once things are up to date, I can continue with what's to come next :)

The Charger started as a project that we built for a customer back in 98. At that time it was a complete S60 car and prob the fastest FWD in MB. Unfortunately the owner took the car when it was done, but not fully tuned and we never got the chance to really see what the car was capable of :(

Suffice to say, it was run by the owner at least once at the local track where it went 13.7 @ 110mph on 18psi boost and street tires with 18" rims. I heard the owner was upset, because the car didn't go 12's, and he had paid us to build him a 12 second car. When I heard the mph, my response was "what are you talking about, that IS a 12 second car, just look at the mph!"

Unfortunately we never had anything to do with it after it left the shop, so it was never Proven, and most at that time did Not understand mph, so it remained a 13 sec build.

Fast forward to 2004, I'm getting married and right around the time of the wedding I hear that the Charger is up for sale. I also hear that it was run, wide open around the perimeter, buried speedo until the oil light came on. The owner pulled over and there was no oil pressure on the gauge and a slight knock to the mtr. He left it running for a few seconds and the oil pressure came back, knock went away and he drove it home. Then he decided to sell it. lol

Now he had no idea I knew all about what had happened, but I kept close tabs on it as it could "fill" a purpose that I had been working on for some time. Every other person who would come to the shop, or who's Turbo Dodge I would work on would say the same thing to me. They would see/ hear about all of the cars we'd built, then say "I can hardly wait to see what You drive!"

Well, that was a problem, I didn't drive anything. Anything significant, compared to some of the cars we had already built that is. See I'd been working on my little secret weapon since around 96, a twin turbo Shelby Charger that was going to incorporate everything I had learned up to that point in time. I was thinking 5-600hp at the time with 2 .48 A/R S60 turbo's and I could upgrade from there. Problem was, that project was years away from completion. So the thought of something fairly complete that we could easily finish and put into the tens seemed like the perfect solution. It would bridge the gap of time it would take to finish the twin turbo, and at the same time, answer the Q "What do I drive"?! :cool:

So I left for my honeymoon, but before leaving, I dropped by to see the car. It was still fairly complete and the body was still in good shape. However, the E/C was a mess, wiring all over, vacuum lines all wrong, rad and battery loose, SMEC loose ect ect. I had heard that after several start and runs, the knocking had gone away, so the owner fired it up and it sounded all right, hot oil pressure and vacuum looked good. I never test drove it, didn't need to as the shell (body, suspension, SMEC wiring, AWD brakes ect) was really what I was after. Sure, it would be great if some of the powertrain survived, but I wasn't banking on it. I told the owner that If it was still here when I got back from my honeymoon, we would work out a deal. He wanted 5000.00.
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This is going to be great!!
I'm looking forward to every word, even the misspelled ones. LOL
We appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Nice to see the enthusiasm guys! Gonna need it, as this will be Long and detailed as I can make it, but I'll try not to bore you too much! lol

Gonna take some time as I'm going to try and organize all of my pics into files as I'm doing this. (they're all over my PC right now)

Anyone know of a faster way than copy/ paste? Cause right now I started a file and I'm placing it into a file the pics are in, then copy and paste everything I want in my Charger file, then copy and paste that whole file into another file, then grab pics from there ect ect.

Damn, I thought with technology I would be able to just Send the pics I want to a new file, no? Couldn't seem to figure how to do that?

So glad you guys are in for a long detailed read, cause in recent years (mostly on another forum) I've been criticised for being too long winded.

Just want you all to know that I'm doing this because I've been asked many a time,(including today) for info on the early years of the Charger and what it took to reach the tens. Info is out there, but it's like my pics, all over the place. This will be an attempt to bring it All together in one place And give an inside scoop on my own personal progression with all of the TD's we've buillt over the years.

Will also try to give as much "hindsight" 20/20 as I can, on what we discovered, and what could have been changed earlier to make the car faster, sooner. :)

I've decided I will need to add "where we were at the time" snippets in order to give a broader picture of what was going on and where my thinking was coming from. So I will prob end up breaking things up into Years in order to make things clearer in my mind as I'm writing, and to make things easier to find at the end of all of this.

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Subscribed! Looking forward to reading this!
Some background before we move on;

Pre-1991 - Been a BB Mopar guy since I was a teenager. Owned a 1968 Charger R/T that I drove around and terrorized the local car scene with until I "grew up". Got into all sorts of trouble with that car, but it Never let me down and I never lost my fondness of it.

1991 - I buy my first Shelby Charger from the local salvage auction as I have bought a property south of Winnipeg and will need an economical car for commuting back and forth to work. It is a 1984 Blue on Silver non turbo HO model. (had no clue about this at the time, was just the best looking car for cheap I found that day)

I moved away from the city because I work on vehicles quite often and I found there was no room in the city for doing this. Small lots that ran out of room fast and neighbours that would call the city "zoning" department if one of your cars hung 1" into the back lane! lol (I can laugh about it now)

The property had a nice large 2 car garage and over an acre of land and while I knew I wanted to set up a shop and work on cars as a hobby, I really had no idea where it would lead me. (thought I would be a 60's-early 70's Mopar muscle car guy for life!)

So I fixed up the little Charger and to my surprise it was a decent little car. Being a 5-spd it actually had some balls and I would let'er loose every once in a while, flat shifting it through the gears, just for a laugh, but it would leave rubber to 3rd and every once in a while, if the conditions were just right, I could get a "chirp" going into 4th! lol

Now this was, after all, just fun and games as my 68 Charger was a solid 12 second car (never ran at the track, but derived this from street races I had with ppl who Had run at the track, and The Charger had bested) but the fun only lasted till a 5.0 Mustang would pull up beside me and want to go. Really? Look at what I'm driving buddy, is it the stripes? Cause this would happen more times than not. Mr 5.0 pulls up beside me at a light and starts revving his engine and then takes off, like it was ever a race?

I will admit, this pissed me off and I dreamed of how funny it would be to build this little 4 banger into a sleeper and hand one of these a$$hats their butt on a platter! :lmao:

That never happened, but that little 4 banger was prob my intro to flat shifting a car on a regular basis and it's the car that I taught my brother Brent how to shift WOT. Funny thinking about it now, it just may have been that little car and the urge to humiliate Mustang owners that turned me into the TD guy I am today!

We drove that little Charger to our (my brother Brent and myself's) first Mopar nationals, towing a small trailer to bring back parts for his 1970 Roadrunner. Columbus Ohio and back, will never forget that as it was the time of our lives (at the time) and that little car never skipped a beat!

It was also that trip when we made our pact, that when we got back, I would build a shop for us to restore our Mopar muscle cars and the Mopar nat's would become a regular occurrence for us.

While we did go back to the Nat's several times, they had moved to Indianapolis and compared to the "Brice RD" cruse scene, it was more like a Ghost town :( + something else had happened that would alter the course of my life (unbeknownst to me at the time) forever.

I had built an addition to the front of the garage, doubling it's size in the fall of 93 and was getting tired of the constant commute to work that seemed to always be interrupting my own work at the shop. I longed for a way to be able to work on my hobby more and Work less. (don't we all?)

This eventually lead me Back to the salvage auctions, as I had now come up with a plan. We could rebuild and sell vehicles to provide income and remain working in the shop More, and commute Less :D

I will stress that I had Zero idea of what type of car I was going to choose to work on, but the plan would be to pick one body style and buy several of them, so parts would be in abundance and the cost to repair would drop significantly.

So we walked through the auction that day and my criteria was a car that was good on gas, sporty, and hopefully a little performance to boot! (I just couldn't see myself working on plain, Blah cars that were totally uninspiring, just to make a buck)

Now keep in mind that I was and forever am a dedicated Dodge/ Mopar guy, so was it any surprise that the trip around the auction yard ended at a 1985 Dodge Daytona Turbo! lol I mean think about it. A 4cyl (good on gas) with a sporty look and turbocharged with Recaro style seats to boot! And it's a DODGE!!!!! Damn, I couldn't have written a better script myself!

So I bought that first Turbo Daytona and it lead to another and another until it lead me to the first 89 Shelby TII car, 80 000kms and impeccable condition with everything working Right! It was That car that gave me a little "hint" of what could be had out of this platform ;)
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Great story, love the details.
Were you listening to the Beach Boys while pounding on the S/C .
"Power shift to second, and riding the clutch
the 525 tranny, man, she's just too much"

Kind of funny, as I feel like I'm leaving everything out, trying Not to turn this into a novel before even getting to the Charger build! lol Trying to focus only on the Key pieces of the puzzle that I believe have a significant role leading up to the Charger and what it has been able to do on such a modest platform.

So Glad to hear it's detailed Enough! :D I think the Great part about that little 84 S/C was that, being an HO model (110HP), it had Just enough juice to Not be boring to drive, but not enough to really hurt anything, including the weaksauce 525's that they came with. I never had an issue with the mtr Or trans in that car for the entire time I drove/ owned it, and Damn, we beat on that car. (compared to how I treat cars now anyway)
1994 was a very significant year; I decided to leave my job in Winnipeg and attempt to work out of the shop full time. After all, almost everyone I knew had always told me if I ever opened up a shop, they would bring their cars to me. (this usually happened after I repaired some problem they were have with their car in the first place)

By now we had built a hand full of Daytona's and to my surprise they would sell before I was finished them or had an opportunity to advertise them. The word was getting out about what I did and soon even the Chrysler dealerships in Winnipeg were calling and sending ppl to my shop with "turbo" related problems.

The Black 89 TII we had built went to a good friend of mine, and if memory serves, all he had us do was remove the muffler and cat and replace it with straight through resonators. That car was a blast to drive, 14psi on the factory gauge and the exhaust sounded like the rush of a jet turbine. The owner drove that car around demoralizing unsuspecting 5.0 owners and only once in a while, if the 5.0 was a stick and had a good driver would he ever be beat. (who knows, maybe modded 5.0?)

That first Turbo Z we built sold to a friend of mine who was much more into turbo cars than I was back then. He owned an Audi Quattro turbo 5cyl that had been imported from Germany because they were not for sale in Canada yet. His plan was to get 250hp out of it, which seemed Crazy at the time. He had the forged pistons and larger inj's and a few other items that he was slowly collecting to get the job done.

By this time, my own Lizard brain was slowly putting things together as well. I had read the article on the 300hp Shelby Charger AWD and several others. I had come to the conclusion that I was going to reach for 300hp, which was a laugh to the Audi owner, after all, his 5 cyl at 250hp seemed a crazy thought.

One thing I knew I had that would make things a lot easier for me than most......Parts! By now I had a 1/2 dozen good parts cars and more importantly, I Knew which ones to buy. I'm gonna say that for at least 10 years, we bought every intercooled 4 cyl TD that sold at that auction. So even at that time I had no fear of blowing up a mtr, I could just slap another one in :)

This is where the story takes an interesting twist. Turns out we never had to reach for the 300hp, as before I had done anything but think about it, the S60 article came out in Mopar muscle with all of the part #'s that I could order right from Chrysler! lol I remember showing that article to the Audi owner and seeing the cold look of defeat on his face as he exclaimed "your Charger will be faster than my car"! :brows:

So I spent the next year saving where I could and buying all the parts that I needed from Chrysler, while also scavenging what parts I had in my fleet of parts cars. Remember now, the Canadian $ sucked back then, so anything coming from the US was literally double by the time it crossed the border with taxes. By the time I was done spending, I had about 5000.00 worth of parts. :eek:

1996, I have all of these parts and no time to put anything together. (to busy furnishing the shop with tools and getting work done to pay the bills) I also have no PC and have Not been on the net yet. (believe it or not, I think I first got on the net with my own PC in 03 or 04!) Although I'm hearing rumours about several guys in the US that are getting some serious track times out of these cars. (mostly 12's I believe at this time, Maybe 1 in the 11's?)

We'd been keeping things simple. Mostly exhaust mods, K&N filter upgrade, MP performance computer ect. I think we were just starting to relocate the factory I/C's up front behind the bumper cover to get them out of the heat of the E/C and getting good results doing so. Besides, working on so many of these cars we were getting to see the "other side" of modding. W/G's hammered back to hold more boost, map lines with bleed holes drilled or burnt into them, all with the same eventual results.........blown mtr.

We were also seeing the result of very poor work being done by mechanics that really didn't have a clue what they were doing. Timing belts being put on wrong was and still is among the #1 thing I see on these cars. Head or mtr replacement and the vacuum lines are all wrong, not to mention the wrong bolts being used in the wrong places. Most of the cars showing up at the shop were there because they had just had a bunch of work done at another shop and the car had more problems now than it did before :(

I think this must also be around the time I met Glenn from Western Turbo. I had been getting turbo's rebuilt there and bumped into him at the service counter. When I told him what we were doing with these cars he looked interested, but skeptical. So I took him for a ride in the 88 TII Daytona I was driving at the time! lol Talk about winning someone over, we have been the Best of friends ever since! It was one of those visits that I brought down the new S60 turbo for Glenn to look at. Back then, the S60 was considered a Big turbo upgrade (which seems funny to me now) as there was no talk of Hybrids ect and I remember us drooling over it.

I had also bought an 86 S/C that year to replace the old non turbo S/C and swapped an MP computor in and converted it to roller cam (as we started doing with all of the non-roller mtrs) and it was a little Beast. Open exhaust and 14 psi non- I/C'd and I would take down most 5.0's with this little rocket. Although it was nothing compared to what was about to happen............
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Excellent writing!!! Please keep em coming.
I still have my receipt for my entire Super 60 package, it was well over $5000.00. Yikes

subscribed, story time is in session, clicked on the link to see your S/C in action and that was pretty awesome, not to mention the stupid comments that came out of nowhere but are pretty comical
Thanks guys! Glad your enjoying it, cause as long as it's a good read, I'll prob add more detail as I go. (as opposed to how fast I was going to blast through it) Really thought I could keep this going, but getting swamped this time of year. Shouldn't be too long till the next segment............
Keep it coming Rob!! As much detail as you can remember please. I must have missed the stupid comments that were mentioned.

Most of my info at this time was coming from magazines as I bought a lot of them back in the day. So I had heard of Cliff and Mike at Forward Motion and some of the things they had done/ cars they had built. They may have even had a Shadow in the 11's by that time, not 100% on that, but I also saw the inconsistencies. This has always been one of my greatest assets as well as (when it comes to "getting along with ppl") one of my greatest flaws. I Don't consider the person, as to me, it's nothing personal, just raw data. So when I see an inconsistency I say something.........whoops, I did it again! lol

So when I saw how easily they had progressed with certain individual cars, I was Shocked at how slow some of the other cars with Way more put into them were. I knew something was amiss, so I made sure to tread carefully and make up my own mind on what I thought was or wasn't wrong with any particular aspect of a build.

Funny, I remember calling and speaking with Mike about putting the turbo roller cam with the MP computer in the little S/C. His response; "it Should go Slower, less lift and duration."" What about the frictional losses from the slider vs the more efficient (mechanically) design of the roller?" I said. That didn't seem to enter the equation at that time for him. Great guy to talk to and Awesome vendor for parts ect, but I knew I would have to forge my own path to get where I really wanted to be at the end of all this.

So we went ahead and installed that MP computer and upgraded to roller cam and as soon as we started it we Knew it was a huge improvement. Way smoother idle and crisper throttle response, and like I said, it was a non-I/C'd Rocket! lol

Funny thing about MP computers, and I think several others discovered this as well. Some, (and it seemed to be the manual trans ones) were Crazy, like the one in the S/C. 14+PSI right from the git go, complete night and day difference from how it was before. Then we'd order one for another application and 11psi, just like it said on the description. So definitely some inconsistency there as well...........

I'm also thinking we had already made our second trip to the Mopar nats by this time, and we dropped by FM to see the boys in person and to pick up some parts ect ect. So I got a good chance to talk it up with them and they showed us around town to all of the little nooks and crannies where there projects were. Was kind of cool how we would go down one street and see the record holding Daytona in one garage. Then go down to another garage where they had the FM RWD dragster! What a Great time that was, and let's face it, I had my own thoughts about all of this, but at that time, that's All they were, Thoughts, Ideas, opinions........nothing proven yet. For all I know I could be thinking completely Wrong!

I had also been in touch with the Mopar Performance "Tech" line several times and was starting to get tired of the same ol song and dance coming out of whoever was on the other end of the line. Damn it, I want to try out some of these parts I have, but Nooo, you Have to have Everything or Nothing. The S60 is a Complete pkg, it Will Not work unless it's All there! :tsktsk-tisk: This also made no sense to me. How can it Not work? I can see it making less power, but why can't I just install the inj's/ 3 bar map sensor and SMEC on a stock 2.2 TII, for instance, and see what happens at 18psi? :brows:

Man, I even remember digging Deep and getting in touch with some of the ppl who actually built the S60 turbo's and I remember a guy on the other end of the phone that told me the S60 was only good to 18psi and that was IT! Really? Then what, it's going to drop off a cliff? So I definitely had my Spider sense tingling early on, and my BS meter by that time in my life was second to none, so none of this sat well with me.

This brings us to the fall of 96. I bought another 2.2 TII from the local auction, wrecked, but this one was nice! It got smoked in the side rear and wrecked the door and crunched the 1/4 a little, but it's on all 4 tires and running. (most cars I was buying at this point were Not drivers as they were still new enough to be fixed for minor damage) On top of that, it's running Great! We take it for a spin and it's hitting 12psi and pulling strong. Trans feels great and after driving it around a bit (I live in the boonies so I could get away with this) I code it and it only has the codes I would expect to see.

So, everything checks out and my brother Brent and I start tearing it apart. Off come the doors, hatch front clip ect ect, and we're just getting to the point where the drive train is going to be next when it hits me. Most if not all of the parts cars had been 87/88 and not in drivable shape. This was a funny one, it was an 89 TII, but No ground effects, it looked like a plain jane red Daytona with rear wing and I'm pretty sure it had red CS badges on the fenders. It was Perfect! Just what I'd been waiting for and I didn't even see it till that exact moment! It's not to late, we've only stripped body parts, it's still a running drivable chassis. So here's what we're gonna do;

We'll install the S60 SMEC/ +40inj's and 3 bar map sensor and see what happens. I mean, what's the worst that Could happen? It runs too rich and the experiment fails? So we go to it, and before long we have it all installed and even tapped the harness so we can ground/ unground the wire for 14psi/ 18psi boostability :)

We added octane boost to the 91 premium we had and went out for a spin. Tried it a couple times on the 14 psi setting and it was a blast. After all, we were driving in a pretty light Daytona with No doors, front clip or hatch, but it was nothing hair raising. So we stopped and switched to 18psi mod. HOLY HANNA BANANA BATMAN! 1st gear, 2nd gear 3rd gear Roasting the tires! (or tire at that point) I couldn't believe the difference. 4 more psi, but obviously that was not it, it was the aggressive spark curve that came along with that extra 4 psi that made all H#LL break loose. So we went back and forth a couple times and were baffled at just how lazy the 14psi setting was, but then realised that's the way they wanted it to be, low octane street driving on the 14psi setting and high octane aggressive for 18psi.

Well it was getting dark, so we parked it back in the shop, but we weren't finished with our little experiment just yet. See my Lizard brain had been hard at work from the time I had gotten all the S60 parts, and it had been formulating something far and beyond the 12 second car we were hoping to build. It had come up with it's own idea of efficiency with one little sit-down with my Dad. I had gone over for a visit one day and had mentioned the turbo project that Brent and I were pursuing. He (being a brilliant Civil Engineer in his own right, and More importantly, a Problem Solver!) casually walked across the floor to his shelf of books and pulled one out on thermodynamics. He flipped it open to a page that showed the average thermodynamic efficiency of a combustion mtr. I believe it was something like 15%! lol That changed my thinking Forever! As it also covered the basics of cylinder filling and the three most important variables in achieving success. Charge density, Charge temp, and proper octane. (if memory serves) So I had left his place armed with a new goal. (funny, I hadn't even achieved Any goals yet!) I could now see that the S60 was just the tip of the iceberg. The little 2.2 could take much more than that turbo could put out, but those were the parts that were readily available, + all of the parts we were acquiring. Besides, I had heard nothing of anything larger than the S60 that would match our engines, so I dreamt up the Twin turbo :brows:

Among the parts I had already acquired or fabricated was a modded 3:85 FD welded diff section. We would install this into the Daytona and go for another round of "street testing". We put the softest compound tires we had (I believe it was the Firestone Firehawks back then) 160 tread wear if memory serves and 225/50/15's on crab rims. That was something to remember! Broad daylight with Brent in the passenger seat, ripping up and down the Hwy with no doors and no front clip. I'd step on it and the boost gauge would bury in a second and smoke would pour off of both tires past and through the door opening and right out the back! lol (no hatch) We were laying 30' patches of black rubber all over the place! I looked at Brent and said "Damn, if this isn't a 13 second car right now, I don't know what is!"

Then I pulled over and let him drive. :cheers:

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!
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I'm IN!
Now THIS is the thread I've been waiting for.

The people who say you are "long winded" IMHO are also the ones running 14s IN-consistently with wire ties holding the IC plumbing together and,
breaking every single time they go down the track(or the road for that matter)

The extra time(which is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) involved in properly modifying these vehicles is what separates the men from the boys.

I'm not a fan of the crowd that prefers to look good and lose.
Appearance is of value to me; just nowhere near as valuable as results!

Excellent thus-far Rob. Keep it coming.
In the phase of the build my GLHS is in at the moment,
I don't think your timing could have been better.
I'll most likely use this thread as my build manual! :thumb:
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Wow, thank you for the kind words! I think we should ALL be able to enjoy our achievements however major or minor they may seem to others at the time. This community needs to shake the dust of the past off of its feet and embrace the positive changes that are moving things forward.

Hope I can get another segment in soooon! :thumb:
Hopefully you can find time to keep this story going. It is really interesting.
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