We’re weird. We know that we’re weird and we kind of embrace that fact. If you have been around here for very long you know that. The guys in the Cloyes Performance booth have what could be the coolest car at PRI 2014 in the form of the Eric Larson owned and campaigned Boss Bird 1971 Pontiac Firebird. This car was run by Arnie Beswick and was the last “true” Pontiac funny car to run with the big dogs in the blown, nitro burning department in the early 1970s. It was not around for that long because frankly the mighty Pontiac didn’t have a whole lot for the hemi guys back then and “The Farmer” stuck with the cause as long as he could before making the switch to a Chrysler elephant powered car. The machine is spectacular and has been a labor of love for Larson and his crew who have experienced the highs (bringing the car back to life) and the lows (a big fire) of running this unique and historic machine.
The thing that makes us weird is freaking out because this car runs a stock part number Cloyes Performance double roller timing chain in it. Yes, this multi-thousand horsepower car uses a timing chain. Not a belt, not gears, a flippin’ chain. Making things even more awesome is the fact that the chain has the added work of turning the fuel pump and the magneto. After a bunch of runs the team swapped chains and sent theirs back to Cloyes for inspection and the thing was virtually perfect and could have stayed in there for a good long time. Nuts, right?
To be perfectly honest we were a little flummoxed as to why this car was sitting in the Cloyes Performance booth at first because other than its sheer awesome looks and the ability to attract foot traffic we didn’t see the relevance of it to a timing chain company. We then looked like tourists when asking one of the Cloyes guys what the story was while standing directly in front of the display shown below that literally tells the tale of the chain that was on the car and how much it stretched, etc. Not only are we lacking in smarts, our powers of observation are apparently leaving the building as well. Chances are that if you have screwed together a high performance engine in your life a Cloyes timing chain has been a part of the program somewhere along the way.
Lastly, if you have ever wondered about the strength and durability of a timing chain we’re pretty sure that the Cloyes guys will be more than happy to tell you about the nitro burning Pontiac that their stuff lives in happily. Your stuff ain’t got nothing on the Bad Bird!