Brian Kohlman’s nitro hemi coupe is one hell of a hot rod, sometimes it acts like it is from hell as well. Kohlman’s car uses an early Hemi on a nice load of fuel hooked to a stick shift transmission to assault the track. The rub is that he drives this thing on the street and specifically on Hot Rod Magazine Drag Week and despite what you are going to see below, he’ll have it fixed and read to go by then. So what’s the deal?
The short story is that when he began the burnout, the throttle went wide open, got sideways, and caught the corner of the guardrail that protects the starter area at Byron Dragway during the Meltdown Drags. The more detailed story and something that is backed up by the video is a little more involved. The barrel valve on a fuel burning engine is an important piece of the tuning puzzle. The barrel valve has a spool with a groove in it. As the throttle is opened the spool rotates, allowing more fuel to flow through. That’s the basic idea. Now imagine that thing failing and instead of a little fuel entering the engine to spin the tires and complete a burning, the engine getting all the fuel it can and then basically running away. That’s what happened here.
When watching the top video, pay close attention to the top of the frame and you will see fuel starting to spray out of the valve. That was when the engine was getting the full hose job and running at literal full tilt. The bottom video shows the inside car view and you can see that Kohlman got full left rudder into the car but it was plowing right and was not coming back.
From what we have read and heard, the frame is fine, the engine is fine, and the only damage is to the front suspension of the car. He’ll have it fixed quickly and yes, he is entered in Hot Rod Magazine Drag Week again this year. The car is awesome and has been for years. We are glad that he’s OK and that the car will be fixed in time for the ass whip of an endurance drag race in September.