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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Bowtie Bob's S-10 Toy

How to Build a Low Buck Bracket Bomber

By Bob Cronk

Bowtie Bob lights 'em up. Photo by Jamie Bardoni
Bowtie Bob lights 'em up. Photo by Jamie Bardoni

This picture was taken on Labor Day 2000 by my girlfriend Jamie Bardoni at Northern Michigan Dragway located South of Traverse City in a little town called Kaleva. She told me to give her a little burnout worth shooting for her portfolio so this is what she shot. Had she waited a few seconds you would have trouble identifying the truck as I continued to bury the little S truck in a cloud that brought roars from the crowd. I guess this was quite a surprise, as I don't normally light em up like this.

Let me tell you a little about the truck and me.

My friends have a number of nicknames for me... on my helmet my friend airbrushed Geriatric Juvenile. I made a mistake one day referring to myself as an old fella. A friend of mine corrected me by calling me this and it stuck. Guess me being 49 years young and originally joined NHRA in 1969 might have something to do with it. 

My favorite nickname and Hotmail ID is bowtiebob@hotmail.com where I do a lot of my Internet classic and nostalgic performance parts business. I'm also referred to as "NO-Spray Bob" as I believe I can get in enough trouble and spend more than enough trying to prove a point on just plain ol' carb and racing fuel without using the laughing gas. Many a friends want to know if I'm going through my second childhood but are set aback when I tell them I haven't finished my first yet. Just having fun.

I put the truck together out of spare parts I have in my garage. This was a bet to prove to my friend that I could build a 12-second street legal 1/4 mile drag truck from my collection without going to any great expense.

When he found out that I was talking about the S-10, he really thought I was nuts, as the S-10 is known for having a terrible time hooking up. He's right about that, as I almost have to stall it out to come out of the hole without loosing a lot of "GO FAST."

The truck is a 1988 S-10, powered by a 1967 327 .030 over with 2680 steel crank, 4 bolt Milodon splayed caps, recycled millings oil pump, used Pink rods, a Crane Fireball 305 cam I took out of a 355 that had a cracked block. I also used the lifters from the 355, an old set of 1969 186 camelback heads with stock press-in studs and stamped steel rockers pushing stock 194/150 valves that are only hand lapped (not even a complete valve job). 

I used a Weiand single plane high-rise with a self rebuilt old Holley 660 center squirter carb, Hooker super comp headers, a Carburetor shop 7500 rpm HEI ignition, bolted to a heavy TCI Street Fighter 400 trans with a 3500 stall TCI converter shifted by a B&M Stargate ratchet shifter driving -- YES -- a STOCK S-10 7 1/2" C clip rear end with Richmond 4.56 gear and a Strange mini-spool, BF Goodrich 275x15x60 D.O.T. Drag Radials.

I ran pretty consistent 13.02 until one day I decided to try to come out a little softer and shit a little sooner and broke my first 12 sec. time of 12.89 @ 106 mph.

I am in the process of getting a little more serious about this truck and would like to keep in touch with the results of my new drive train and see what we can come up with for a comparison. I guess you could say I come from the old school.

The little small block was assembled in my garage as I told you. This project was motivated by the deadline of an annual 4th of July weekend Streetdrags sponsored by a local car club in the little town of Hillman Michigan about 20 miles from my home of Alpena Michigan.

The eighth mile, single car, run against the clock is the only sanctioned event of its type I know of in the state.

I worked all night Saturday night July 2nd 1998 attempting to finish it in time for a scheduled start at noon Sunday and a Drivers meeting at 11 A.M.

At 10 A.M., I finally put the fire to it and gave the valves a quick final touchup threw the valve covers on and the hood and drove the little truck with open headers the 20 miles to Hillman. What a break-in run hey.

Timing was out a bit and the little small block was tighter than an old rusty gate. The aftermarket oil filter conversion kit leaked as they all do. At first it looked like I had wasted a lot of time when I returned to the house to fetch the original canister-type and filter (cannibalized from one of the many small blocks in the garage). As my buddy Clinton drove his pickup back to Hillman I was in the back with a pan of cleaning solvent, and the drag slicks, cleaning it up to install as soon as I got back.

Time was definitely running out for any chance to run when I worked like a busy beaver and finally got fire put to it without any leaks, about 2:30 that afternoon.

I made it to the burnout box with my worn-out M&H Cheater slicks on as I never got a chance to change the tires and attempted a burnout which in this case is most of the show for most.

You could tell the motor was tight and after the burnout, it acted like it didn't want to run that good, (no revs like I expected). At the launch, I didn't try to impress anybody as I was just trying to make a run.

As it ended up I ran a 9.20 sec. 1/8th mile and wondered what was wrong when I found out my throttle linkage had slipped loose and was only running on a two barrel.

I clamped a pair of Visegrips to it and went back out and ran an 8.05 ET.

On the run home that day I stopped to run it off again and disintegrated a drive shaft. The little truck rolled over a country mile closer to my house until it came to a stop on a curve where I pulled it off the road until I could tow it the rest of the way.

I continued to tune and run the little truck at the dragstrip for three seasons until the Labor Day event shown in the original picture at Northern Michigan Dragway. I never ran slower than a 14.01, which occurred when I learned that the B F Goodrich Drag Radials hook better when you don't get them quite so hot at the line. They seem to get too greasy and light up too much.

Hope you have a Bowtie day!

Bob Cronk



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