Virtual Super Summit

Call Your Shot in the Virtual Super Summit Fun Runs

Virtual Super Summit is underway on Summit Racing’s Facebook and other social media pages. In most years, the actual Super Summit offers participants a chance to make “fun runs” down the Summit Motorsports Park dragstrip.

Since Summit has gone “virtual” for the event in 2020, they asked us to help create a virtual representation of the fun runs for its event. So…we’re pitting eight of the greatest factory dragstrip terrors of all time in a drag-racing battle royale. You’ll be able to vote in each round on Summit Racing Facebook page to see which car advances to be the Virtual Super Summit dragstrip champ.

Here is the field:

1963 Plymouth Max Wedge 426

In 1963, Chrysler took its legendary 413 Max Wedge engine and upped the displacement to 426 cubic inches. Chrysler claimed the new 426 Max Wedge delivered 415 horsepower with standard 11.0:1 compression and 425 horses with an optional 13.5:1 ratio. Real power output, though, was much higher at closer to 500 horsepower. In 1963, this was one of the quickest cars in the world. For professional racing teams and wealthy individuals, Plymouth offered an option of aluminum panels, bumpers, and other lightweight components. This lowered the weight and maximized the performance.

1962 Pontiac “Swiss Cheese” Catalina

Pontiac had a good basis for a fast super stock car in the form of a two-door Catalina with a potent 421 V8 engine.

But it needed more power and less weight.

To do the latter, Pontiac’s manufactured more aluminum parts like bumpers, fenders, and hoods, saving 159 pounds from the heavy car.

However, the car earned its legendary nickname “Swiss Cheese” when Pontiac engineers drilled holes in the car frame to save a few grams. With a high-compression 421 V8 engine, these Catalinas were fast.

1968 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

The Mustang 428 CJ was a mid-year introduction mostly intended for drag racing. They also had a close ratio four-speed transmission and heavy-duty suspension to satisfy NHRA rules. Ford rated the new 428 Cobra Jet at 335 hp, but everybody knew the big block produced far more than that. The real output of race-prepared white Fastbacks was closer to 500 hp.

1969 AMC AMX 390 SS

Built on a shortened Javelin chassis, the AMX 390 SS was developed in conjunction with Hurst. It featured lots of modifications and the biggest AMC engine, the 390 V8 with 340 hp. This may not sound as much as some other muscle cars of the period, but the AMX SS 390 was light, compact and brutally fast. They only made 52 of them.

1969 Camaro ZL1

The ’69 ZL1 used an all-aluminum 427 big block called ZL1 (go figure) in 1969. It was a high-revving, 7.0L V8 with around 550 hp in mild tune. Chevrolet produced around 200 of those engines. While most of them went to Can-Am racing teams, they installed 69 ZL1s in COPO Camaros.

1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt

Ford introduced the Fairlane Thunderbolt in 1964. Ford built it using a plain Fairlane two-door sedan body. However, they removed all but the essentials because the Thunderbolt was all about light weight and big power. They stripped the interior and removed the trim, and utilized lightweight fenders, bumpers, and a hood with the characteristic “teardrop” air scoop. The new 427 V8 FE engine had a factory rating of 425 hp, but most experts think actual power was closer to 600 horses. The Thunderbolt was so successful, it won the 1964 NHRA title for Ford despite the fierce competition.

1968 Dodge HEMI Dart L023

After years of fiddling with mid-size platforms, for 1968, Mopar shoehorned the Race Hemi in the smallest platform they could find — the Dodge Dart. The actual fabrication of this beast was a tough task. The Hemi Darts were assembled almost by hand using the regular 383 Dart as a basis. The new Dodge Hemi Dart was a drag strip terror since it had the lightest body with the most powerful engine. In fact, Mopars owned the 1968 NHRA season.

1963 Chevrolet Impala Z-11

The Chevrolet 409 V8 engine was a popular choice for street and drag racers when introduced in 1961. But for 1963, Chevrolet introduced a limited but highly influential Z-11 option on their two-door Impalas.

This option used aluminum panels, grilles, hoods, and fenders and deleted extras like the radio and heater. Under the hood, a new 427 put out close to 450 hp, but some claim it was closer to the 500 hp. The Z-11 Impalas were regular 11.2-second quarter-mile cars, so they obviously had a lot of power.

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