Project Angry Grandpa: The Final Race At ATCO – Did Grandpa Redeem Himself?

Project Angry Grandpa: The Final Race At ATCO – Did Grandpa Redeem Himself?

Let’s not sugarcoat how things were after the last Angry Grandpa update: after parts-bombing our Chrysler 300C with a healthy amount of go-fast goodies, the first trip out to the track proved to be f**king infuriating. The car barely bettered it’s best time stock (like, maybe a hundredth or two better), wouldn’t run a sixty foot time worth mentioning, and wasn’t making any improvements whatsoever. In fact, the only thing that it did do nicely that day at Beech Bend was haze the tires into oblivion. Fun, but that doesn’t equal fast. I wanted answers, and so did Erik at BFNY. Something just wasn’t adding up.

And it didn’t help that I got to hear it from the peanut gallery, either:

“Want to easily get it into the 12’s? put a LS1 into it. LOL”. Ok, I’ve seen a couple of LSx-swapped late-model Mopars, even a couple that run hard, but that’s them. Not happening here.

“I knew this whole deal was a waste. Stock parts for other used stock parts. A teeny tiny shot of nitrous is the answer. The gas money would have paid for the kit.” I won’t own a bottle baby. I won’t put it on the car. That’s just a flat no. If you’ve got to resort to the bottle just to break into the twelves with a V8 that was made after 1998, you aren’t trying hard enough. And it wasn’t just “stock parts for stock parts”. These were well planned-out upgrades. It’s not like a 5.7 cam was swapped for another 5.7 cam.

But that’s alright. I said I wasn’t giving up on this deal. Just before I left for SEMA, I dug out an old laptop I’ve had since the last time I was in Iraq. I sent it to a computer repair specialist to have the screen fixed. Why? So that I could install the software that comes with the Trinity tuner…mainly so I could log runs, download the data and ship it to Erik so that he could review what the hell happened at Beech Bend. I had two logged runs, so once I got back from Las Vegas, Erik got the data. And he didn’t like what he saw one bit.

Particularly the part about where the torque converter flashed at 2,200 RPM instead of 3,200 RPM. Problem #1: the wrong torque converter was installed. The converter that was installed was indeed supposed to be a 3,200 RPM unit. But the guy who had turned in the converter as a trade-in core had been lied to by his previous trans builder, who had swapped in a stock SRT-8 unit instead of the new converter like what had been ordered. So Grandpa did get a converter upgrade, just 1,000 RPM shy of the intended target.


Another issue involved the fuel and spark mapping. Grandpa had been tuned fairly lean, and the spark mapping was all over the place. With time running down for the trip to New Jersey, Erik shipped out a tune to try out for a quick log. I went out and logged a run…on some quiet backroad surrounded by fields. The results looked promising, so with the new revision installed, I packed up the car, convinced the wife to come with, and made the 12-hour trek to Voorhees, New Jersey in one day.

The final event of the Modern Street Hemi Shootout series promised low temperatures and density altitudes, and it delivered. Nicely. Straight out of the box, the Chrysler punched a [email protected] on an absolutely garbage run. The car spun off the line, tried to fishtail and wasn’t happy with manual shifting. Yet it still ran a personal best, and shut down the first goal for the car: a 13.xx run at over 100 MPH. And we hadn’t even began to have fun yet.

I’ll spare most of the day because it truly became “run time trial, check tuner, make new revision, load tune, try again”. But here’s the bottom line:

ag-atco-bestDamn near a second better than it’s Beech Bend test and tune, and well over a second better than prior to the BFNY build. If the car and I hadn’t had an argument on my final run over which gear to start out in (the car won the argument and picked 2nd gear) I may have scratched precariously close to the 12-second mark. Erik is going to make good on getting the right converter into the car. There’s still a couple more things in the pipeline. And there might even be one more test and tune at Beech Bend yet, though I am not promising anything there. Because, honestly, I’m over the moon today. I had the radio on listening to the announcer on the 13.16 run and I started screaming as if I won the freaking lottery.

You can make your guesses as to what the car will run once the right converter is in place. But for now, I’m content knowing that the big gold brick has met and exceeded both the 13-100 goal and has surpassed my previous personal best by a large margin. And the kicker on all of this is that after I was done, after I put the backseat back in and loaded the car up, I drove to a gas station, topped off the tank, and cruised around like I’ve always done since the day I took the Chrysler home.



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12 thoughts on “Project Angry Grandpa: The Final Race At ATCO – Did Grandpa Redeem Himself?

    1. Dan Barlow

      Congrats. I can relate . My 87 GTA trans am I couldn’t get out of the 15s . Now drag racing really wasn’t what I wanted the car for but still , 15s from a tpi 350 ?

  1. jerry z

    You are correct about the converter, it will make a different. I see your 60 ft was only a 1.92, my Caprice was doing 1.7X but never did make 12’s. That 2/10th would easily get your car into the 12’s.

  2. doug gregory

    Your 330ft was really soft and the 84mph on the 660 attests to that with a 8.4 ET. Top end MPH looks low for this car’s potential though so something is still amiss in the tune when the car is legging it out. Converter will help the 60ft and 330. I’d like to see a 1.7x sixty and a 8.0 or 8.1 in the eighth. A 7.9 would be wonderful, but its a big car with still not much gear. I’m guessing with some tune and the correct converter its a 12.8 car at 107-108mph. Grandpa-proud.

  3. oklxs03

    OK you knew something like this was coming. First its great to see progress on the car and I enjoy the project cars and BS a lot. However, the “if you have a 98 and up v8” comment ? C’mon Bryan-not everyone has the access to parts facilities and talent that enthusiast insiders like you and others enjoy. My 3200 converter was a grand as were my SW headers and that’s a drop in the bucket for the trans, rear end and under hood bolt on’s that I threw at my 4400 pound 281 CI powered 2003 Crown Vic LX Sport. It took a 125 shot to get it to its best 13.4 @ 103 at Drag Week 2015 where a bad new nitrous tune melted 7 plugs and cracked the intake yet the stock block still finished the event. Months of searching Vic, Marauder and mustang boards looking for forged bottom end parts or low mileage engine with forged rods and pistons resulted in a 10 hour each way trip through a snow storm to pick up a replacement engine that fit my budget. The engine is in running nicely on a remote tune, but even though I got registered for DW 16 couldn’t get it dyno tuned and a new progressive controller to HOPEFULLY hit high 12’s so I missed the show. Every bit of work has been done outside on jackstands with no air tools in all kinds of weather always on deadline because it is my daily driver and has to be ready to go rain, shine, heat, snow, kids carpools etc… Don’t denigrate fans and readers who DON’T have access to a pile of parts a lift and a tuner. I’m glad ( and a little jealous) that you have that access to all those resources but if it takes N2O for me to hit my goal don’t say people like me are “not trying hard enough”. We are all in this together and everyone works hard to hit their goals and no matter how its done we all deserve a high five for trying and a cold one after our next goal is achieved. Congrats on Angry Grandpa’s improvement and hoping that spring brings your next goal. Here’s to all of us no matter how we do it! Cheers!

  4. Gary Smrtic

    Congratualtions, and I know more are to come, plus some celebrating when you finally get to your desired numbers!
    You’re doing it right, just like most working guys would (I’m so old, not sure about the ‘puter thing, though!) I too, have no desire for a bottle baby. I hated that I had to use it back when I ran my turbo nitrous funnybike (but it was needed to compete with nitro bikes).

  5. Gump

    Jay Greene is the tuner you should be working with. Has a few Ram trucks hitting 12s with just tuning and simple bolt ons.

  6. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    You could just substitute that modern Hemi for a good ol’ 426 and probably hit the high 11s with some simple tuning – but where would be the fun in that?

    Well done lads – its nice to see you crawling out from behind your computers and burning some rubber!

  7. Floating doc

    Congratulations! I knew you would get there. This is a well planned build, and will be in the 12s soon.

  8. Jeff Lee

    With the right converter, some sticky tires and good axles, I’ll say 12.7’s based on that MPH. But ATCO in November is also a record setting atmospheric mineshaft. July in Bowling Green might be different.

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