Part One: History, Commentary, Chassis Preparation |
Shawn Zubler, Sleek New Ride Invading The 10.5 Ranks:
Special note: Click on any photo to enlarge
Shawn Zubler has stepped up as most of the field has in the past few months with the realization that it will take a lighter car and a bit more horsepower to compete at a level that was set at the end of the year when the bump spot in the quick 8's was the first ever all seven second crew of eight cars. Many know Shawn from the track, streets, and on the message board here as KOS. Shawn will make no excuses as he admittedly was a street racer roaming the area for money runs in Philly's hey day of it all.
From the Chevelle's humble beginnings when the car had a stock 350 and over one hundred thousand on the odometer, this was Shawn's third car before he reached seventeen, his senior year in high school. In his mind it was a pretty good driver and he was going to leave it alone, but you know how that story goes, It wasn't enough. In went a 396 bored over to 415ci, a turbo 400 trans with a 12 bolt and 4.56 gears, to replace the tired 350 power plant and drive train. The car was silver with black stripes, a black vinyl top finished off the look. This combination was bracket raced for three to four years beginning at high elevens and finishing with elevens flat during its last year as a bracket machine. Discovering the secret night life of the "Street Racing" underbelly of Philly, the bug hit him. A quick install of a 150hp NOS plate system put the car into the low tens solidly. This wouldn't be enough to be considered a threat in the street scene, so with two or three years elapsing, the car finally received a back half, 565ci big block with 2 stages of NOS, powerglide and a 9 inch rear and he set out on the streets in 96 to 97.
Track times dropped like a brick to 8.50's and the car reacted the same on the street as it did at the track, wheels in the air and riding the wheelie bars. Winning more than he lost Shawn became known as KOS, or "King Of The Street" around the Philly scene. The midnight games and the extreme risk with a car this fast took its toll on Shawn's conscience and his racing days were over on the street. The only option for a car this of this type was to run in the Atco Raceway and Cecil County Dragway Quick 8 series. The first time out on ten five tires at Atco Raceway, Shawn needed to get a hold of the track better on its only qualifying run. He didn't make the field spinning hard out of the hole and getting way out of shape, but came back strong the next month and put himself in the second spot on the ladder and ended up in the finals next to Ken Staib. The transmission had reared its bad side and broke on the line in this race but Shawn had left his mark on the field and the fans. Shawn went on to more finals, one of the most important would have to be the American Iron Shootout III. Although being the runner up again, it was only a flat rear tire while the car was staged that cut him short of a possible win, the competition at this race was fierce.
Shawn Zubler Commentary:
At the beginning of the 2004 season there was a bit of controversy over the rules but I was able to come away from it ok (in the beginning). The engine let go pretty bad while racing at the June Quick 8, I decided that was enough abuse for the car to handle. The Chevelle needed to retire; it had seven years of hard driving on the track and on the street. The car is very well known in the street racing scene from New York to North Carolina and as far west as Chicago! One thing I can say is it never let me down, now it's time to return her to the glory days of just cruising the Streets. One final thing keep your eyes open for her protege' to be even Nastier then her!
Part One:Chassis Preparation 101:
With the Chevelle tucked neatly away in the KOSMotorsports headquarters, Shawn has taken to the donor car now, a 94 Trans Am with a 98 front clip and chassis build has begun. The car itself was a victim of a front end hit and the whole rear and lower frame is in great shape for a project. The car will keep its original panels except for the front clip that Shawn has decided has a much better look and is more noticeable. Third gens and fourth gens are fast becoming the car to use next to Mustangs. The car that was decided was Shawn's own idea, as it has smoother lines than a Chevy and more flexibility than a Mustang. Pontiac puts much of their design to use in the fourth gens, with excellent aerodynamics and that look of toughness. The car has spent the last month or so in the shop at QuickTime Motorsports after it returned from Montana Brothers Race Cars for a partial frame build.
The Firebird is one of Montana Brothers specialties, dealing in Pro Mods and the tight chassis needed to plant 10.5 tires to the pavement with their favored double frame rail. Again the car is fitted to the jig and the underneath completely removed for careful placing of the 1 5/8 .083 diameter chrome moly frame rails. The rest of the car uses the full spectrum of 1 5/8 to 3/8 width tubing for weight, this assortment fills the cage and and various sections of the chassis making it rigid and safe. The mid plate is a main structure in these cars, it's placed and strategically cut from sheet aluminum and is mounted near the existing points of contact of the new frame rails to the original formed front frame rails. Some modifying of the strut towers is a necessity for this body style to accept the width of the big block and clearance for headers over 2 1/2in. diameter. The roll cage is tied to the upper part of the cross bars to complete the needed funny car cage, it's a clever way it has been mounted for a driver as tall as Shawn. The cowl is also a problem area for most any car running these classes. A major portion must be kept intact although still allowed to be modified to a certain extent. None of these cars came into production with a block height anywhere near that of what will reside in the engine bay. Montana Brothers have a great knowledge of the rules and kept what was allowed, they made more than enough room to place the big engine where it needs to be and at the proper angle.
Moving towards the center of the car, the double frame rail is clearly seen in the pictures, it formally makes the connection very solid and stiff for optimal torque transfer to the completely fabbed four link. The rear suspension utilizes the 1/4in steel four link brackets from Jerry Bickel, they have been double reinforced and Shawn now has all the infinite adjustments of a new Pro Stock rear. Jerry Bickel also supplied the sheet metal rear and the brackets for that mounting, also in the kit with the arms that attach with hardened heim joints at each end. The housing will be filled with Mark Williams's star flange and gun drilled axles in a Mark Williams 9in aluminum housing with a steel spool and 35 spline pinion, gears are yet to be determined and might just stay a secret by request. The car will be stopped by a pair of Mark Williams rear disc brakes. The whole back end will sit upon the Strange adjustable coil over shocks. Moving into the cockpit and where Shawn will control this animal, Shawn is responsible for mounting the Racetek seat to his comfort and the custom steering column. He also is behind the mounting of various safety brackets and smaller items that need to be done to make this as useful and practical for him as a driver. His controls for the gas and brakes are his own fabrications, the Stroud window net mounts, rear Trans mounts and Stroud harness is all KOS Motorsports work.
A full SAFEcraft "push" fire system was plumbed inside and mounted before anything else would get in the way of probably the highest priority safety precaution, next to the dual Stroud "launcher" parachutes. Most of you that read this are familiar with the strut controversy involved with any of these cars and the rule against full tube frames. The tricky part of this whole thing coming together is relying on strict mounting points to optimize the existing frame to counter the huge torque of big cube motors. No need to get out your old algebra books for his one. Simply stated it's all just finding the centerline from the front of the crank to the rear pinion angle.
Before all this is done an AJE Racing lower K member is cut and modified for a dry sump system and placed in the original mounts. The struts are also from AJE Racing with Aerospace disc brakes up front to hold the car steady and help out the rears. Montana Brothers set the big dummy block in place to attain the front engine mounting for the plate that will support this beast along with the mid plate it sets the centerline to provide the angle to diminish the horrendous tire shake and traction problems that can come from these critical points not in the proper place. QuickTime Motorsports fabricated the front plate with their own design; they also finalized the transmission mount for the G Force Bruno Trans.
The upper tubular reinforcements are the last part to go in and tie this whole piece of tubing / sheetmetal together. Stock front plastic fenders will be part of a one piece unbolt-able front end which has a one of a kind carbon fiber header or nose if you would feel more comfortable with that term. It is specially built and the maker is private, but unlike other noses for these cars it's an exact duplicate, not stretched or manipulated to make it sleeker or smaller at any point. Shawn took great expense in using this part to keep that brutally bad look of the Firebird font end. QuickTime Motorsports also fabricated the very hidden mounting points that will keep most of the fasteners out of eyes range and add to the sleek looks.
The hood design is also up in the air at this point, but you can bet it will be different and big. With the car now set on the ground its optimal ride height will be set at around 5 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear. The rolling rubber, yet to be chosen but will probably stay the typical 33X10.5W 15 will be mounted on Weld Racing AlumaStar 2.O wheels and double bead-locs out back, with 15 inch skinnies up front on spindle mounts.
The stance, and classic looks of the Pontiac Firebird with a chassis that can handle gobs of billet aluminum cnc machined horsepower is ready to get the engine installed after being sent all over the country for repairs and upgrades. The following parts of this build will continue with the engine tin work and color being sprayed on the body, Shawn and QuickTime Motorsports has let gDR in on this information and I can tell you its going to be one very cool car and the color is a particularly nice enhancement, going for a retro look of the earlier Trans Ams adding to the great lines of this body.
Keeping You Posted On The Details Of The Next Installments !!
Montana Brothers Race Cars
Jerry Bickel Racing
Mark Williams Enterprises
Weld Racing Wheels
Click Here For Installment Part Two