The March Meet elicits all sorts of images for the drag racer: Funny Cars doing half-track burnouts, Fuel Altereds getting crossed-up and crazy, and Top Fuelers shattering the silence like a bomb blast as they tear down the strip at Auto Club Famoso. But they aren’t the biggest class of racers…that goes to the Hot Rod category, where you can find just about anything running, so long as the car is over thirty years old. From full-on race cars to street-driven machines that can hustle, it’s a catch-all kind of class and it is one of my favorites simply because a street car can come in and do well in category.
Note, I said “street CAR”. When Chad and I started observing the vehicles that were present and testing on Wednesday evening, the last vehicle we expected to see patiently waiting in the staging lanes was this 1973 Chevrolet K-10. With 35″ tires up front and slicks out back, this square Chevy looked like it’d be more at home in the Pismo dunes than it would be staging up on the strip, but that’s how owner Sady Cass likes it. His Chevy is the kind of rig that can do it all, so yes, it does hit the dunes, and yes, it does hit the strip. And yes, it still has California plates on it, so it can be street-driven!
The K-10’s powerplant is the core to everything this truck does. It’s a 10:1 496 Chevrolet big block with a forged bottom end and a Dominator feeding it, hooked to a TH350 with a 4,500 RPM stall converter. The nitrous solenoids aren’t just for looks…on the juice at other events, this is a 11.0 truck in the quarter (it was slower at the March Meet, since nitrous is a no-no.) The suspension up front is stock, but out back a truck-arm suspension from a 1969 Chevrolet pickup replaces the original leaf-spring setup. A GM 14-bolt takes the abuse from the powertrain and converts it into forward momentum with no drama or fuss…the K-10 launched straight, with no pogo action from the front end or hop from the rear. In Hot Rod, there are so many individual cars running that occasionally you can get lost in them. There are so many Novas, Mustangs and tri-fives in the field that when something like a lifted-up, out of place four wheel drive pickup comes strutting into the water box, you sit up and take notice. You even start to root for the guy, because this K-10 isn’t light, isn’t aerodynamic, and was operating at a disadvantage compared to a light musclecar before the engines fired. And we got to root for Sady for a while, because he knows the truck well enough that he could knock out consistent runs all day long.