- Introducing Project Buford T Justice – Our 1987 9C1 Chevy Caprice – The Adventure Begins!
- Project Buford T Justice: Our Cop Car Cruises Home and Then We Beat on It!
- Driveway Tech: Bodywork on Buford T Justice – We Close Our Roof Hole For Fun and (NO) Profit!
- Project Buford T Justice Hits the Strip with Some Pretty Shocking Results!
- Project Buford T Justice Hits the Dyno and Goes KABLOOEY! CARNAGE VIDEO INSIDE!
- Project Buford T Justice Will Be Saved For About A 100 Bucks With a 15 Year Old Transmission
- Project Buford T Justice Update: The Trans Thrash is ON!
- Buford T Justice Update: It Lives Again Thanks to a Down and Dirty Driveway Thrash and Junkyard Parts
- Buford T Justice, Our 1987 9C1 Chevy Caprice Goes Through Final Testing Before the Upgrades Begin!
- Buford T Justice 9C1 Update: The Parts From Hotchkis, Cragar, AFCO, and Mickey Thompson
- Update: Hotchkis Suspension & AFCO Bushings Transform Our 9C1 Caprice
- Buford Update: Our 9C1 Caprice Gets Real With Mickey Thompson Tires and Cragar Wheels
- Driveway Tech: How To Swap A Jeep Steering Shaft Into Your GM B-Body or G-Body Car With A Trashed Rag Joint
- Buford Update: We Flog The Suspension, Unveil a Mountain of Speed Parts, Spill Our Wild Drag Strip Plan
- Project Buford T Justice Update: Drag Strip Thrash Squashed By Ma Nature – We Learn Stuff – Plan B!
- Project Buford T Justice Quick Update: Where The Hell Has Our 9C1 Caprice Been?!
- Project Buford T Justice: We Go On Hot Pursuit Of Horsepower-Our 9C1 Caprice’s 350 Gets A Slap!
- Buford T Justice 9C1 Caprice Update: Metal Fab,Head Work, A Good Surprise, An Awful One
- Buford T Justice Update: Headers, Cheap LS Technology, New Valvetrain Parts, More Compression, Fun!
- Buford T Justice Update: A TCI 700R4 And Breakaway Torque Converter Get Our 9C1 Caprice Shifty!
- Buford T Justice Update: A Very Frustrating Day On The Dyno And How We’re Planning To Fix It
- Project Buford T Justice Update: Where Has Our 9C1 Caprice Been Hiding?
- Buford T Justice Update: We Install A First Gen Chevelle Flowmaster Kit On Our 9C1 Caprice!
- Project Buford T Justice: Our Caprice 9C1 Gets The Shaft! A Dynotech Drive Shaft That Is!
- Project Buford T Justice Our 1987 9C1 Caprice Hits The SCCA Autocross – Photos And Video!
(Photos by Dave Nutting and the author) – So last we left you, Buford T Justice had quit running on us twice during some mundane cruising action around town. The first time the car shut down we determined that the ignition coil had walked off the job. Enlisting the help of local pal Jon Wall to scurry us to the parts store for a replacement, we were back on the road in no time. After that, a full throttle blast down a back road netted us a car that was 100%, completely dead from an electronic perspective. Luckily the issue was rooted in the battery cables which were not exactly in the finest of shape. Due to the fact that the fix required only adding the proper side post battery and replacing the ground cable, we didn’t feel like it warranted much coverage. It took all of 15 minutes including the run to the store to buy the battery. The important outcome was that we were able to cruise the car for the next five days hassle free and in preparation for a date with the slalom cones and testing out the brakes at our secret BS eastern testing facility.
We were excited to throw the car through the exact same series of tests that we did before to illustrate how much more composed and capable it is now with the Hotchkis suspension system, wide Cragar wheels and grippy Mickey Thompson Street Comp rubber. From just rolling around town we knew that it handled the corners far better but would the results hold up when we really got aggressive with the car on a “closed course”? Also, we needed to get this done because now that the car is capable of actually hanging onto the road, we desperately need to make it faster. The solution to our lack of speed? A mountain of parts that we plan on installing with typical BangShift flair.
Scroll down to see testing photos and captions along with all of the speed parts we’ll be bolting on to Buford AND the diabolical drag strip disaster we have planned for this weekend!
In order to refresh your memory, here's Buford before the suspension, new front end parts, wheels, and tires. We were kind of surprised how "well" it did, especially because every front end component was trashed all to hell.
Same car, virtually identical photo with respect to speed and where it was shot on the slalom course but in reality it couldn't be more different. The car corners shockingly flat and that's something that really gets tested in this slalom because all of the nearly two tons of the car are heaving back and forth. The Hotchkis suspension pieces all worked in unison to keep the car composed and controllable in the slalom at speeds far superior to where we started.
Obviously since the suspension was managing the weight of the car, the rest of the work really came down to the tires. There's not a much more punishing environment on a set of tires than to take a super heavy car and throw it side to side in rapid fashion. The Mickey Thompson Street Comps took everything we threw at them with a smile.
One of the interesting things with the new steering shaft we swapped into the car was how much more responsive the steering wheel was. We were mowing over cones at first because the car was actually turning when we moved the tiller. Previously we needed to be "ahead" of the car a little because of that extra play in the steering.
From any angle, those big 275s under the car look right as rain. We couldn't be more pleased with the look and stance of Buford.
The car felt very neutral through the slalom. It was not grossly under or over steering. We were able to loop it if we came through the last gate and quickly lifted off the throttle. That sent the car into a nice drift.
The next thing we wanted to check out was how the braking performance improved with both a larger contact patch, more grip-tastic tires, and less nosediving due to the better suspension. Panic stops from around 40 mph were way less exciting than before. While the car does shift the weight forward on hard braking, it stopped straight and true. We could have pulled our hands off the wheel and not had an issue. Previously, it would try to swap ends when the brake pedal was buried.
We do plan on actually upgrading the brakes on the car from factory stock and at that point we'll add some science to the mix by actually recording stopping distances. This experiment was more about seeing how the brakes' performance works in conjunction with other factors of the car.
This is a final gratuitous photo just because we think it rules. Now, onto the speed parts and our diabolical drag strip plan!
Sure Buford can now carve cones like a mother, but the sad part is it will get beat by a mother in a mini-van from the stoplights. The car doesn't have enough umph to do a burnout with the 275 Mickeys bolted to it. This is a problem that needs immediate attention and that's what this pile of parts is all about. We picked up the phone and contacted MSD, COMP Cams, Holley, Weiand, K&N, and Flowtech for help. What you see here is a a great collection of pieces to take a tired old small block and make it a tire smoldering street thumper. Instead of just bolting this stuff on in our driveway and telling you how it works, we're going one better. This entire pile of stuff will come with us to the drag strip this weekend and we'll bolt it on, one piece at a time in the pits while making runs to show you what the improvements are. If the strip rains out, we have an alternate plan to use a chassis dyno and do the same installs between making pulls. Either way, this is going to be a blast. Keep reading for the specifics on exactly what's going to happen to the well used 350 in the front of Buford T Justice!
It is all about the air to start with and we'll be getting our strained through a K&N 14-inch open element filter. We cheated on this one and bolted it to the motor already. Everyone reading this has probably used a K&N product or is using one currently and we don't have to tell you the immediate improvements that come with bolting one on from a performance perspective.
Starting from the top we're going to ditch the factory "feedback" Quadrajet. Well tuned, it is a fine carb that will deliver good mileage, etc. In 196,000 mile form it is all done. When we called up Holley and told them our plan, they had a simple and sensible recommendation for us.
That would be this baby! 650CFM, vacuum secondaries, and literally designed as a bolt in replacement for a Quadrajet.
This Holley fits our needs perfectly because time will be of the essence at the strip, so features like this, which allow the use of the existing factory fuel line with no modification are perfect and will save us precious minutes.
Again, this piece is designed to swap right in place of a Q-Jet and frankly if you just had someone feel around the base plate with a blindfold on, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference. We're going to track gas mileage improvement with this bad boy, too. We'll bring our jetting kit with us but we're not sure how much fine tuning time we'll have between parts installs.
The headers we'll be using are Flowtechs with the part number 11100FLT. These are pretty basic units with 1 5/8 inch primary tubes and a 3" collector.
These are an integral piece of the puzzle as the stock exhaust manifolds represent one of the biggest bottlenecks in the whole performance equation with Buford.
Moving right along to the valvetrain, we're going to use COMP Cams Magnum Rocker arms. These guys use a steel roller tip, are of great construction, and should serve our needs perfectly. We're using stock ratio rockers at this time.
Robust construction means that these rockers should last us a good long time.
Note the guided steel roller tip.
The timing chain is a double roller from COMP that will replace the stock one in the car, which is probably pretty well stretched after 200,000 miles!
Double roller goodness.
Since our engine is a factory roller piece, we're going with a hydraulic roller cam. Sure, you can reuse roller lifters, but with the large mileage on this engine, we're not about to put the stockers on our nice new COMP cam!
It will be interesting to compare the stock lifters out of the engine to these.
With the new cam we need new springs because the stock ones would go into bind at the lift we'll be using and we have to imagine that the stock springs have lost some of their functionality.
These beehive springs will do the trick for controlling the valves in our relatively low RPM small block application.
The pushrods are also from COMP's Magnum line.
Almost too nice to hide in the engine!
Here's our cam card. This is an Xtreme Energy 276HR grind and from working with the COMP tech guys, it is the one they recommended for this application. It'll give us some snotty-ness at idle and great performance up to the 5500RPM threshold we're going to stick to at this point.
Mmmmmm cam lobes.
We talked to Weiand about an intake manifold and they recommended one of their dual plane Street Warrior intakes. These are suited to our mild needs, making best power between 2000 and 5200 RPM. That's where we want to live.
Finally, to light all of this goodness off we called MSD and came up with an ignition package centered around one of their Pro Billet distributors.
To juice things up, we're also adding a 6AL-2 box. The 6AL-2 has a built in rev limiter and also a two step for drag strip launching fun. We can't wait to mess with that!
The rev limiter and two step are controlled with small switches in the box.
Finally a blaster coil and a set of custom cut (for a small block Chevy obviously) spark plug wires will complete the package.
Those are the parts and that is the plan! Take your best guess. What will it run at the strip will all of these upgrades? Can we go bottom 14s? Our best so far is in the 15.80s. Stay tuned for updates….or a mushroom cloud!