Interview with John Paige and his Streetfighter 2nd Gen Bird!

My man Mr Paige has been dropping bits of knowledge on our favorite sites and for some time now.
I naturally gravitated to his post for its merit coming from experience on and off the track.
Check out what is his take on the Streetfighter style, and his personal bruiser also..

1. Do you think your car is a Streetfighter?

Yes, I never really thought about what “type” of car mine was, until Johnny Hunkins called it a G-machine when he was shooting it for PHR during a NMCA drag race I was running the car at. Since my car isn’t really an all out effort to achieve “maximum” handling I’d never considered it a G machine. However, since he wanted to do a feature on the car for the magazine I figured he could call it whatever he wanted to, and it would be OK with me!!! My car is not Pro-Touring either in my opinion, since I don’t consider it to be built to a “Professional” level of craftsmanship. A couple threads popped up on the Lat-G and Pro-Touring forums discussing the Streetfighter type of cars and I think that’s where my car fits in best if I had to catagorize the car. It’s sort of a race car that still gets driven on the street. It gets drag raced, used on road race tracks and used for Land Speed Racing while still getting driven on the street.

2. What do you think a Streetfighter(car) is?

At the core, I think of a race car/driver combination that’s street driven. I think that what makes a Streetfighter has a lot to do with the personality of the owner, and that the car becomes an extension of the owners personality over time, in much the same way as the clothes we wear or haircut we have. Even if that part of the persons personality only comes out around the car. A multimillionaire can have a Twin Turbo Lambo Streetfighter just as easily as a high school guy with a primered Fox body Mustang. It’s a combination of car AND driver that makes a true Streetfighter. The driver of a Streetfighter car has a certain familiarity and relaxed comfortable attitude when behind the wheel. You won’t see a true Streetfighter driver anxiously checking his (or her) gauges every 2 seconds at a stoplight fearing something will go wrong without even moving. He won’t immediately open the hood at a destination just to make sure everything’s OK. The car is dependable and the driver is confident in its abilities and durability. If you put a regular (non car lover) type of person in an awesome Streetfighter car do you have a Streetfighter? No, it’s a cool car with a very nervous driver that can’t use the car to its limits.The combo couldn’t put up a “fight” against another car in its class with a streetfighter “driver” behind the wheel.

My perception of a Streetfighter “car” is that it is a car which is first and most importantly driven on the streets. Not just to get to a race, or other event, but for the enjoyment of driving the car. It’s the kind of car you can’t wait to get into just because of the exhilarating feeling you get driving or riding in it. It’s the kind of car that has an “attitude” of some kind. Whether it be a totally stock looking car with a brutally fast drivetrain, a car that is a barely street legal race car with license plates, a car that can handle much better that it did stock, or a Q-ship land yacht with a 250 shot. It’s a car that can release the adrenaline! The kind of car that makes people say “That thing is bad ass!” even if they would never want to own it themselves.

3. How long have you been interested in the Streetfighter style build?

I guess always. My first street car was a 68 Camaro I bought when I turned 16 in 1974. The first thing I did was put 4 fat tires on so it would handle better, instant attitude adjustment! LOL. That began the transformation that was guided by my personality. Although I do own completely stock original cars I prefer the ones that I’ve modified a lot and drive on tracks as well as on the street..

4. What do you think the point to a Streetfighter build should be?

I don’t really like the term “build” and I think there’s waaay to many people disassembling cars for “builds” that never get finished. Unless someone has a lot of disposable income I recommend the evolution way of guiding the changes to a car and keeping the car usable as modifications are made, with reasonable down time for upgrades. Most (although certainly not all) people have dreams that are bigger than their time and money will allow when it comes to “builds” and many people end up with very expensive outdated garage art that “would have been great” if only they had more time and money to finish the project, or they end up so deep in the hole financially they can’t afford to take the car to a track never mind insure it and drive it on the streets. Meanwhile they’re cheating themselves out of the fun they could have been having using the car instead of just visiting it briefly in the garage or driveway while walking by it for years. So what if it doesn’t have the engine of the week, or suspension of the week, or power adder of the week, or an 8 speed? You get the idea.

5. Streetfighter and pro-touring… similarities?, differences?

To me the term “Pro” gives the implication of a very high level of professional craftsmanship of all aspects of the car. The term “Touring” implies the actual use of the car for touring. “Street” implies the use of the car on the street while “Fighter” implies the ability of the car to do battle with others should the need or want arise. While all pro touring cars could possibly be Streetfighters not all Streetfighters are eligible to be considered Pro-Touring cars. Also Pro-touring cars are usually expected to be American muscle cars by most people. There is also a whole group of unused or barely driven Pro-touring type cars I refer to as Show-Touring which don’t I don’t feel qualify as Pro touring or Streetfighters, although some are amazing, very cool cars. With this line of thought there are, (or could be) Pro-Streetfighter cars? A professional level of craftsmanship on all aspects of a car with an “attitude” that’s street driven.

While Pro-Touring seems to be loosely defined as a modernized American muscle cars which have had modifications to enhance the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and maneuver I always thought that was basic hot rodding. It seems to me that cars are now categorized as pro-touring cars by what types of parts they have and what modifications have been done to them, with a much higher emphasis being placed on creature comforts and appearance besides the performance enhancements. At the same time a lot of pro touring cars have become supersized like everything else. More power than you can actually use, more brakes than gets used, more suspension equipment than gets used, more wheel and tire etc. They’re evolving into caricatures of the type of cars they started out as, much in the same manner that Pro-street cars did.

Streetfighters to me are the leaner, meaner cars which are modified to the point of being “race ready” for one or more types of competitive events. The car does not necessarily need to be a musclecar, it can be any year make or model that’s “race ready” and yet still routinely gets driven on the street. It doesn’t ever have to put one tire on a track as long as it’s ready to do battle at any given point. It also doesn’t need to be comfortable for “touring”, it might be, but doesn’t need to be. If a Streetfighter driver has a certain amount of money to spend on something car related at a particular time, it’s a lot more likely to get spent on a day at the track or a performance enhancer than something plush or shiny for the car that doesn’t make it perform any better. That’s not to say we don’t buy and install creature comforts, or pretty things, but if moneys tight, the money’s going toward driving or increasing performance rather than creature comfort and appearance items.

6. The essential modifications visual and functional?

I don’t think there’s modifications or items in particular that I feel is essential to a cars Streetfighter status, it just has to have the ability to “fight” if need be in some type of contest of speed or agility with cars in it’s own class. It doesn’t need to have certain products, a certain power to weight ratio, a certain elapsed time, or a certain lateral G capability. But… simply looking like a fighter isn’t enough. To me the overall “feeling” a Streetfighter car gives is of a car that is primarily function first and very durable. That doesn’t mean it can’t also be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, far from it. The nicest streetfighters are ones that make you stare at them for one reason or another and you can’t figure out why you don’t want to turn away.

7. Do Streetfighter builds only apply to the lowbuck or are there Highdollar fighters?

My opinion is that Streetfighters can range from very low dollar cars to megabucks cars. I’ve got a magazine on my desk right now (Grassroots Motorsports April 2010) with an awesome looking VW bug/streetrod looking creation on the cover that ran an autocross, was judged as a show car, and ran a 10.8 at the strip on a $2000.00 budget. With a couple small changes it could be registered in many states. The first thing I thought when I saw the cover pic on the magazine in the mailbox was “That thing is bad ass!” On the opposite end of the spectrum I was running in a Land Speed Race down here in So FL a couple months ago and there were some incredible, highly modified Lambos, Ferraris, Porsches, and Ford GT’s that were driven to the track and ripping off passes at 200 MPH! There was a guy running a AMG Mercedes behind me in staging that ran 190 MPH!! These guys drive the cars on the street all the time! I consider them Streetfighters.

8. Do you think a Streetfighter build is restricted to American cars or others?

Nope, every car ever built could be transformed into a Streetfighter. Some would be ugly to most people and some would be considered slow to most people but they’d still be Streetfighters in their own right.

9. When they say “street” what type of conduct do you think applies to these cars on the street?

I love hearing the sound of a small block winding up to 7 grand banging through the gears with open headers on a highway on ramp off in the distance breaking the silence of a quiet evening for a few moments. On the other hand I don’t drive my car with loud sidepipes through the open air restaurant section of my town at dinnertime. It’s not polite. There’s a time and place for different types of behavior with a car. If you think you might be annoying someone with your car or actions, you probably are. We’re car people. Most people aren’t.

As far as driving goes I think common sense should apply. Real high speeds should only be done in controlled environments like at a track. Endangering the health or lives of others in any way without their consent crosses the line. If you want to risk a ticket and your own health doing 150 MPH alone in the car on a empty highway where a deer could dart out it’s all on you, but passing others at much higher than normal street speeds should not even be considered. Likewise a passenger egging you on to “smoke um up” on a deserted back road is OK too because they wanted you to do it, but trying to scare an unwilling passenger by driving at the limits is not acceptable. There’s a time and place for everything without putting anyone who doesn’t want to be at risk. Any time a topic like this comes up there’s always a “gray” area. My advice would be that if you think the actions in question would fall into the gray area, don’t do it.

10. The Streetfighter type people you have met along the way, what are they like?

Streetfighter personalities tend to find each other no matter who or where you are. Nationalities, social status, and income level have no bearing on the comradery of Streetfighters. I’ve seen guys who I know are well educated, with high social status, and have cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars develop friendships with other Streetfighters on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. Streetfighters come from all walks of life.

I ran into a guy at a gas station a while back around 9 PM while I was out driving around in my Firebird with no destination or agenda. We would never have run into each other in regular social circles. He is a Tex-Mex (his word) with a thick accent and I’m a white guy from New England (insert favorite New England saying or WASP here). I was getting accustomed to driving my car with a new full cage and full containment seats with 6 point harnesses when I stopped for gas. He was driving a 1st gen Camaro, just out driving for the fun of it. His car was a sort of old school style car with long shackles on the leaf springs, Torque Thrust wheels all around, and it was little raw and rough around the edges. There was nothing wrong with the car, it just wasn’t the type of car that looked like it had all the newest bells and whistles and had just rolled out of a detail shop headed to a show.

We started chatting at the pumps and decided since we were both just driving around aimlessly we’d search at some spots in the vicinity where he knew they held cruise nights so we’d have something to do. As we maneuvered through the city streets and on and off highways whenever there was no traffic he was winding it up and chirping through the gears. I was being more respectable since I had race #’s all over the car. After a couple hours with no success it had gotten so late that any cruises would have long been over, but really, neither of us cared, it was just something to do while we were driving. We stopped in a parking lot and I was about to tell him I was going to head toward home because I had about a 45 minute drive ahead of me still and it was past midnightwhen he asked if I wanted to grab a bite to eat. Since I hadn’t eaten I said sure and followed him to an all night outdoor Mexican place he knew of.

Over dinner I learned that his wife had bought him the car because he’d sold his old one long before to buy her a new (used) car at one point when their finances were low. He had gone without a hot rod for years and then one day she surprised him with the Camaro. He just loved to go out and drive the car, banging through the gears on a nice night whenever he could and he also took it to the dragstrip every once in a while when time allowed. He didn’t care about shows and cruise nights he just loved to drive the car, banging through the gears. He is a Streetfighter, a low profile Streetfighter (unlike some of us) but a Streetfighter none the less. If someone were to throw down the gauntlet at a stoplight with no traffic ahead, I have no doubt he’d lay into the throttle, right to the very limit of traction, even if he knew he was gonna get smoked… Oh, he now owns a multimillion dollar company, and can afford to change anything on the car he wants but chooses to keep it close to the way it appeared when his wife bought it for him. He’s slowly been doing performance upgrades himself because he likes to work on the car and suspension upgrades are next. It’s not about having the newest coolest widget or paint, it’s an attitude.

He was like many Streetfighters I’ve met. They’re really nice people, who, beyond the often loud, bold, raw, over the top, or “in your face” appearance of their car or personal attire etc. are very mellow, thoughtfull, ambitious, skilled, and creative, if not downright artistic types. Most downplay the abilities of their car or significance of the designs and work they’ve put into the modifications they’ve done to their vehicles.

11. To those who are afraid of this type of build style(ie: because of chipping their paint) what would you say?

I have a pretty big chip in my front spoiler from a 2 X 4 block that kicked up from under a truck on a highway just south of New Orleans (pre hurricane). I was on the way back to the hotel after getting a ride in a Big Block Chevy powered airboat in the swamps. I’d driven the car on vacation from CT for the trip. That’s a waaaay better story than “some jackass chipped my car with his camera at a show”.

I have also have some chemical damage to the paint on the hood of my car that looks like water spots that I can’t buff out. An Alfa Romeo lost an engine on the back straight of the new Palm Beach International road track this past Summer during a NASA HPDE track session. I was just about to pass the Alfa after receiving a “point by” when it appeared to me like he’d blown a cooling hose so I backed off to get out of the spray. It probably wouldn’t have been a problem to get off the paint if I’d taken care of it right away but I spent the time before the next track session talking to David Wallens from Grassroots Motorsports magazine thinking it was just water from the radiator. Apparently there was something else besides water that got on my car. That’s a waaaay better story than “someone spilled something on my car at a show and I didn’t notice until it was too late”.

I’d like to take this opportunity to get up on my soapbox.

Take your cars out and drive them!!!! If it doesn’t run, just get it together! It’s very hard to keep spending all of your spare time and money on something that doesn’t give you anything in return for months or years at a time. There are too many people taking usable cars apart to the frame (or unibody) with a dream of building the car to be what they consider the “perfect” car. The odds are against them. Life priorities and financial obligations can suck the wind out of a project in a flash. Meanwhile if they’d kept the car whole and did upgrades as time and money allowed they could enjoy the car and the upgrades as the project progressed. Even if the car never reached what they’d envisioned as “perfect” they still would have had a lot of fun with it. Yes it might take some extra time and money to reach the final goal but the benefits along the way are worth it.

Older guys fondly recall their high school car (many of which were Streetfighters) and all of the great memories associated with it. Most times it was a car they wished was more than it was, they spent all their extra cash to make it better. It didn’t have the nicest paint, it wasn’t the quickest , it didn’t handle like a slot car but it was their car and allowed them to create moments that will live in their memories forever. Take your cars out, create a memory!

The first time I took my Firebird out on a road track it still had the original 350 2 barrel. Did I care? Hell no ! I was driving on the famous Lime Rock Park race track! (since then I upgraded the engine)

The first time that same car was on a drag strip was at a track rental day with some buddies. It ran a blistering 16.4 smoking the right rear wheel because it didn’t have posi yet. Did I care? Hell no ! I had a great day with friends and made 20+ passes! (since then I bought DOT slicks and built a couple posi rears I use)

The first time I entered the same car at a Land Speed Race they told me I wasn’t allowed to go much over 135 MPH because I didn’t have the correct safety gear to go faster. Did I care? Hell no ! I happily made a dozen passes at 135+ MPH ! (since then I upgraded the safety equipment to allow me to run much faster)

I have the memories from each of those days and many, many, others because I kept the car usable while upgrading it. If I’d tried to “build” the “perfect” car out of the Firebird all at once, it still wouldn’t be driveable because of lifes bumps, turns, and stopsigns. I’ve been working on it almost 20 years now and it still doesn’t have things I’d like to have. However, in a way, it’s already “perfect”. To me the “perfect” car is the one you get the most enjoyment out of, and for me, it’s a STREETFIGHTER!

Currently running a ’74 400 with ’68 # 16 heads. 110 leaded race gas for track events,
cut 50% with 93 octane for street use
Speed Demon carb
Holley Blue pump
Performer intake
Canton Road Race pan
MSD Pro Billet distributor and MSD wires
MSD box and Blaster 3 coil
Flowkooler water pump
T 350 W/shift kit
B&M supercooler

Hotchkis springs
Hotchkis Swaybars
Hotchkis offset upper Control Arm Shafts
Bilstein shocks
Subframe connectors
Del-A-Lum control arm bushings
Energy Suspension Poly bodymounts
Driveshaft loop

10 bolt 3.73 for drag racing and short stuff
10 bolt 2.41 for high speed stuff, Built with moser Tapered bearing axles,
Tapered bearing housing ends welded on,
Axle tubes welded to center section,
Aluminum bearing support cover etc.

American Racing Torque Thrust II’s ( with Rad Capz of course!) Yokohama AO 32’s 275 40 17’s and 315 35 17’s
Centerlines with Mickey Thompson ET Streets and Mickey skinnys up front (drag race wheels)

B&M Quicksilver shifter
Hurst Roll control (line lock)
Schroth 6 point harnesses (Nascar style HANS compatable)
Full roll cage
Kirkey #63 full containment seats (NASCAR style heavily modified)
Shift light built into stock style tach in dash
Aftermarket gauges
Firefox 10 lb 4 nozzle engine and fuel system fire extinguisher system
Firefox 6.5 lb 3 nozzle passenger compartment system

Emblems removed
Trim shaved or blacked out
Halogen headlights with built in LED turn/park lights
Original park/turn light openings for brake cooling ducts
Tow hooks front and rear
Blacked out wipers
Painted door handles
Rear bumper bolts shaved

Owned since early 90’s and almost all work performed by owner. Internal transmission work, roll cage fabrication, and exhast tubing fabrication performed by shops. Body, paint, engine swaps, interior, suspension etc all performed by owner.

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on June 8, 2011 under Events,Interviews

Interview with Daign Rogue.. and the Golden Coffin Streetfighter 69 Camaro.

I got a special guest for you knuckleheads out there.. Mr. Daign Rogue.. no holds barred interview..
Put this in your pipe and smoke it….

1. Do you think your car is a Streetfighter?

Absolutely. Every component has been chosen for absolute reliability and ease of maintenance. It wears R888s on the street and I use it to get groceries and go to meetings alike.

2. What do you think a Streetfighter(car) is?

A barebones classic designed for overall performance. $20,000 paint jobs have no place on any car that gets driven a lot. It causes the owner to be paranoid about driving their car hard, leaving it places, and overall enjoying it.

3. How long have you been interested in the Streetfighter style builds`?

Since 1996 or so. A friend took me for a ride in his Red 1957 Chevrolet 210 with a 454 and as many suspension goodies as were available back then. It was his daily driver and there were frequently surfboards strapped to the top.

4. What do you think the point to a Streetfighter build should be?

A barebones car designed for maximum performance and reliability. A car as comfortable to drive to work, but flog at a track day and kick the crap out of modern cars. I believe if you build a fast car, you should explore its limits in a safe environment. I see 80 year old guys driving rental Cadillac DTS’s at track events. I’ve also met CEOs at track events. If you want to make the time you’ll make the time.

5. What is a streetfighter owner like?.. streetfighter mentality?

We are drivers, not car show attendees. We’d rather be driving our car than sitting around at a car show comparing bolt ons and stroking each others ego. I’ll attend Supercar Sunday every once in a while just to see some VERY rare cars. My favorite car I’ve seen was Bruce Meyer’s 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa.

6. Streetfighter and pro-touring… similarities?, differences?

I initially got into the pro-touring scene because I liked the idea of classic cars outperforming modern cars. Lately it seems as if Protouring is nothing more than a bunch of street rodders who have moved onto the latest trend. I recently saw a post by a major vendor on one of the forums stating that Air Conditioning is an absolute requirement for any pro-touring car. Pro-touring guys like to constantly hold dick swinging contests about who has the latest and greatest subframes and LSX powerplant. Don’t forget the absolutely necessary Car Rendering and fancy name to identify your car.

Streetfighter guys seem to enjoy the act of driving, don’t care too much for cosmetics or 20k paint jobs, and spend as much time possible driving their cars, whether it be at track days, on windy roads, or cross country.

7. The essential modifications visual and functional?

Subframe connectors, Guldstrand modifcation, a good alignment, good rubber, a reliable powerplant thats easy to work on in the pits. (Try diagnosing LSX fuel injection issues in between sessions.) and proper brakes, not those Wilwood Dynapro 6 calipers which flex like a juicehead at muscle beach. Those calipers nearly killed me at big willow. Brake manufacturer’s appear to be making ‘showtouring’ brakes that are no better than the stock brakes. They flex under pressure and you lose pressure. I’m just glad to be alive. But good brakes and rubber are all anyone really needs.

8. Do Streetfighter builds only apply to the lowbuck or are there Highdollar fighters?

A streetfighter build can be super high dollar. Look at Big Red or Bob Owens 69 camaro. Full bred racecars with street legal features.

9. Do you think a Streetfighter build is restricted to American cars or others?
Definitely not restricted to American cars. The europeans and japanese have been building them long before Americans ever started. Hot rodded BMWs, Volvos, Japanese Skylines, Celicas. My 1970 Austin Mini has a Yamaha R1 powerplant in it, and 12″ Metro brakes in it. Its been calculated at 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and handles like a slot car. If thats not a streetfighter I don’t know what is. Any car can be made into a functional street legal racecart ‘streetfighter’.

10. When they say “street” what type of conduct do you think applies to these cars on the street?
I drive within the speed limits but have been known to enjoy a curve or two in the canyons around los angeles.

11. The Streetfighter type people you have met along the way, what are they like?
Never met a single pro-touring guy at a track event. The only person I’ve met had a track prepped blue 69 camaro with an aluminum block 427 and dry sump. He was a serious track enthusiast and a very nice guy. Sadly the streetfighter and pro-touring crowd seems to only attend autocross events. I’m not interested in waiting 45 minutes for a few minutes of cone dodging with a maximum speed of 60mph.

12. To those who are afraid of this type of build style(ie: because of chipping their paint) what would you say?

Sell your car and buy a prius. You can polish it and attend Prius meets as well! Fast cars are meant to be driven, if you dont drive them, then why dump all the money into performance parts? This goes back to the dickswinging contest you see on the forums. I don’t believe classic cars should be wasted as a status symbol, if you want a status symbol go buy an AMG mercedes.

Youtube vids:
Some Big willow footage, car was driven there:

Buttonwillow flybyes

ButtonWillow Session:

Rolling Burnout

Playing with a Ferrari F355 who was chasing me down.

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on February 23, 2011 under Events,Interviews

Words from Mr. Dicksa round2 and a SURPRISE for us!

In came the email from Mr. John Dicksa telling me to give him a call, so i got my thoughts together and gave the man a ring.

We had such a great conversation about what it was like for him and others back in the day on Van Nuys Avenue.
I didn’t have a voice recorder so most of my notes are pretty choppy, but you can get some of the gist of it all.

I got to find out that the car had MUCH more done to it than i think most folks knew about.
Much of what was done to the car was out of necessity, and there just wasn’t anywhere you could just pull off the shelf
for those parts.. unlike we can now.
Many of his ideas spawned from his time at Willow Springs hanging out with the racers there and getting interesting
ideas on what to do with his Camaro.. which he brought to the street scene soon after.

The body was done by his good friend named Raymond.. he couldn’t remember his last name but back then Raymond was a
serious player in the Van Nuys body game.. He did the fender flares and cleaned up the body real well and molded in the rear spoiler.
If you noticed there are black rockguard-like protectant which was black vynil contact paper(used in kitchen applications)
that he got the look from a turbo Porsche and brought it to his car.

Probably the first to do this modification (which you probably wouldn’t notice right away) was the 2 inch
1st gen Camaro cowl mated to the hood of the 2nd gen, think that it was in the late 70s early 80s when that was done!

John also worked the lights on the Camaro, he liked the look of the red and yellow like a ferrari so he cracked open the lights
and tinted them himself. John also hated the egg crate grille so he replaced it with black honeycomb mesh.
The headlight covers were actually made because of a accident on the track which costed him precious money that at his age
that time he didn’t have too much of. He was chasing another car and a rock kicked up and destroyed the light, then they
fined him for trash on the track.. oh well.. answer solved.
The covers are snap on custom pieces which he took flat gauge steel and covered the inside with soft flocking.
they pop in and out with ease when he wants to roll at night.

The wild LT1 he had running in the car was by no stretch a stock engine.
It was fully built by TRAKO in Van Nuys a notable shop of engine builders responsible for badass IROC race cars.
As John stated he could rev the engine to 8 grand all day long and tear it out on the streets of Mullholland.
If you look closely there are tubes coming off of the valve covers they were tubes for blowby that went into a catchcan
in the firewall. John had steel ball bearings inside the tubes that blocks off on acceleration.
not to mention EVERY BOLT was safety wired in the whole engine!

Another wild move was the bodydrop of the car he did by cutting the body mounts in half
then made them out of aluminum.
Then he decided to work out some suspension goodies and put in a swaybar.. but the ones he worked just
didnt do what he expected so he fabbed up his own.. but this one had adjustable ends with rod bearings
and neoprene mounts!
John also noticed that some of the guys on the boulevard running duals
but could tell that the escaped fumes weren’t equal.. so he put in an H pipe in his exhaust.
The brakes on his camaro he could only do just so much to, being that he had to fit them behind the 15s of the time.
so instead he kept them fresh and stout by running braided steel lines the whole length of the system, which wasn’t common
at all at the time.

But John stated his favorite modification of the time was pretty his gas tank!
John took his stock gas tank and chopped it in half (hamburger style)
then he fabbed and welded in a metal mouse maze inside and a gap with cross flow tubes!
then welded all together with a 2 inch strip of metal to make it an overall bigger tank.. miles of fun!
and he needed it because the snarly engine took a bath in the petrol.

so that pretty much was the bulk of the talk.. but he did leave me with this story..
which i thought was pretty cool!

John said he was taking the Camaro out at a windy pass near where he lives.
This was before the LT1 engine was put in the car..
It was late in the evening and he was looking for a bit of fun.. then up in his mirror he sees a set of headlights
in the dark. Quickly as he saw them they come DASHING by him.. it was a red 66 Corvette, he decided to chase it down.
As he was trying to catch up to it it was slowly getting farther and farther away.
he thought to himself, damn that sucker really moves!
later on he caught up with the car at a redlight.. and to his surprise.. it was an OLD LADY!
she turned to him and said “pretty spunky, huh?… My son Vic built this car for me”
he said “oh yea?”
she said.. “you might know him.. Vic Edelbrock.”


But the real surprise came when after we talked i got about 5 or 6 emails from Mr. Dicksa..

and what surprised me was this.. CAR CRAFT September Issue 1977!!

What you know about this?… i guess im not the only one who thinks his car is a Streetfighter!

This was before its super wide red brawler incantation.

Cant be denied… Streetfighter.

Thank you Mr.Dicksa!

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on December 14, 2010 under Events,Interviews

Words from Mr. John Dicksa

So as some of you have seen i did a pseudo Streetfighter style history spot on Mr. John Dicksa’s 73 Camaro a couple of months back.
I was in in japan for the time and when i came home i checked my email to discover an email from Mr. Dicksa himself!

The email was simple:

Thanks for the kind words. Won every car show and race ralley I entered, back in the day. Loved that car. My favorite times were out cruising Van Nuys Blvd at its peak, when that was popular. You have some awesome cars on your site…….John
Sent via DROID on Verizon Wireless

I thought.. wow.. is this really him?.. so i decided to reach out to the man and ask him a volley of questions about his ride that we all love so much.
His email back was proof enough that it was him with some nice never seen photos and some magazine shots that were of the those times.

pretty damn cool, huh?

so heres what i asked him.. and what the man said..

. Since the 1981 issue of HOTROD “Street Heroes” magazine what have you been up to?

By trade (now retired) I was an exercise physiologist. I trained pro athletes and actors for tv and movies. Also developed corporate fitness and pro public speaker……
Of coarse always a die hard car nut. I always wanted to build and design cars for a living.Back in my day, Chip Foose and others wer not doing it yet, so making a living at it proved too difficult.

. What inspired you to design your car that way?.. were there others with that style?

Growing up in the 60s, drag racing was everything.My dad used to take me to Lyons drag strip as a kid. By the time I had my first ride, I put air shocks in the back, raked up the rear, put big tires in the back and skinny ones up front…presto I’m a drag racer, like everyone else. I was in the pits of the Winternationals one year and watched the crew remove the shell of a funny car. It hit me—–the frame was low to the ground. Only the body was raked to clear the tires. We had it all wrong. I started going to Riverside raceway to watch SCCA, IMSA and IROC races. I studied the stance and function of the cars and suspention. Turning and braking required a more complete driver skill set, in my mind. I then attended Bob Bonderant’s driving school at Ontario Motor Speedway. Wow, I thought I knew how to drive before watching the instructor throw a van sideways and recover (at speed). Lower air resistance, better handling and braking and big front tires did not signifacantly slow down a street car in a drag race (if the motor is set up right). My launches got better, due to less weight shift and wheel hop. Presto, now I am respected by the drag racers AND the road race crew who knows what an apex is…..
I wanted my camaro to be the poor mans (or in my case kid) version of a Ferrari, and I beat plenty of them.

Strait up 80s business in the interior..

. Your car had a distinct road race/streetfighter look to it back then, what did folks think of it?

There were not too many cars like mine, in the mid to late 70s. Most everyone still wanted to drag race. I helped build and design several of my freinds cars at the time. We all hung out together. For the most part, I was different. I won every car show I entered, was featured in several magazines (even in Europe). But still no way for a 23 yr old to turn it into a career.

I was well respected out on Van Nuys Blvd cruising in the 70s (when crusing was the most popular activity on the weekends). It was packed out there, and fun. All the different car clubs had sections of the Blvd they would park on, during cruising. I knew I had “made it” when they gave me my own designated spot in which to park. Anyone else parked there, would move to allow me my spot, once I arrived on the Blvd. The respect felt great. Those were good times. I would stand out there for hours and talk about all the mods I had developed and/or designed (way too many for a magazine to even cover). Some I am pretty proud of (maybe another interview).
Man.. gotta love that 80s engine bay shine

. Do you know what happended or where your 2nd gen is now?
I did eventually sell it (had too for money), but still have the photos on the wall today.

. In these years your car would have been considered a Streetfighter( a built for road race no frills type car on the street)
with its widebody, wide tires, tacked on front spoiler, window braces, etc.. what do you think of the diffrent cars out now that have a kinship to your car?

I like the direction the modern muscle cars are going. It is nice to see the throw back models again. I like the blend of new high tech with old school look. I can’t help but look at the new mustangs, camaros and challengers with what I would do to them. Might be a new project in there somewhere. I have often thought of taking an old body and merge it with modern components, with my flare of coarse.

Heres a recent HOTROD magazine bullet point to Mr.Dicksa’s car and its styling so early in the protouring game.

this mag showcases a gang of camaros that influenced many after they were shown..

they titled it “the Mulhauler”

the excerpt reads:
One of the Jan. ’81 cover cars was what in retrospect looks like a progenitor of Pro Touring but that the staff might have called a Mulholland car back in 1981.
the story said “Mulhauler” Indeed, L.A.’s twisting Mulholland Drive was where Gray Baskerville shot John Dicksa’s ’73 that incluced Dick Gulstrand suspension, Essence 18×8 and 15×12 wheels,
Goodyear Blue Streaks, and a interior loaded with a fabricated dash, beard seats and a rollcage.

We love your car Mr.Dicksa.

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on December 1, 2010 under Events,Interviews

Interview with Ron Schwarz and his Streetfighter 66 Mustang fastback.

Interview with Ron Schwarz and his Streetfighter 66 Mustang fastback.

Around the protouring/ Gmachine forums Ron’s car is notorious, for many reasons.. I for one watched this guy take a chunk of sea coral you would call a 66 mustang fasty
and make it into this badass streetfighter page after page after page… with each update as astonishing as the next.. with all the work practically done himself.
the thread he named for the car was “$5000 budget mustang build”.. and that was it.. a strait to the point title for a car that was strait to the point.. mean!
so i got a chance to catch up with Ron about the mustang and how he feels about the fact many view it as a veritable road brawler.. with its bulging widebodied handfabbed fenders,
and his LS1(yes chevy, we dont care about branding here.) motor that he recently grenaded.. and will probably get another chevy motor within its framerails.. and heres how we chopped it up.

1. Do you think your car is a Streetfighter?

I suppose my Mustang would be considered a Streetfighter, with the no frills budget approach, and heavy use of used and fabricated parts. The paint makes for a good 20 footer, and I have to say I’ve loved not worrying about keeping it waxed, hell I’ve only washed it a 2 or 3 times. The poor thing hasn’t seen an easy life so far, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

2. What do you think a Streetfighter(car) is?

My definition of a Streetfighter would be a car that is totally function over looks. A car that the owners ingenuity can sometimes trump a fat wallet. Although I do believe a high end car can be a Streetfighter, that is the exception not the rule. The cool part about the fighter cars is that there can be so many different styles, (drag cars, pro touring cars, ricers, even street rods). I think the Streetfighter name fits perfectly, bare knuckled brawler that loves action way more then looking pretty.

3. How long have you been interested in the Streetfighter style build?
I tubbed my first Streetfighter at 16, I’m now 46. We didn’t call them Streetfighters then, they were just street cars. At 16, you did all you could with what you had (which wasn’t much). Remember me and a couple buddies, jacking an (I-95) highway street sign to fabricate the tubs and floors.

4. What do you think the point to a Streetfighter build should be?
In a word Fun. To beat, pound, and terrorize our cars, and neighborhoods, with little time spent setting in a parking lot in a folding chair.

5. Streetfighter and pro-touring… similarities?, differences?

In my opinion Streetfighters have been around long before the Pro Touring movement started. Certain street cars fit the fighter profile all the way back in the 50’s. The touring cars have of Modernized powertrains, brakes, and suspensions with a style emulating the 60’s and 70’s Trans Am race series cars. Although that same thing could be said about some Streetfighters. I believe a carbureted big block with drum brakes could fit the fighter, but not the touring car.

6. The essential modifications visual and functional?

I do believe a Streetfighter must have a certain look. Any body mods (scoops, flares, spoilers) MUST BE FUNCTIONAL!! Any attempts to modify an already attractive car just for looks, will be highly frowned upon. The cool part is, the mods can done with no thoughts of perfection (primer, and jagged edges are acceptable, sometimes desirable) Big tires, obnoxious attitude are mandatory.

7. Do Streetfighter builds only apply to the lowbuck or are there Highdollar fighters?
At first I thought cars like Bad Penny couldn’t be a brawler (just too pretty). Then I raced against it, drove through the crappy weather with it, and saw Steve Rupps approach to his car. Function!!! Oh, it looks cool, but his mods are function first. I think I said it earlier, these cars are the exception not the rule. Most of the time fighters are a little more rough around the edges, and are equipped with options such as duct tape and bailing wire.

8. Do you think a Streetfighter build is restricted to American cars or others?

I’ve gotten my ass spanked by some nasty looking rotary Mazdas at the drag strip.These cars were definitely Streetfighters. A low dollar approach to spanking my Hemi Cuda. Totally gained my respect, and I loved the way the owners didn’t waist time paint, or nice wheels. Yes, as much as I hate to say it, Ricers can be fighters.

9. When they say “street” what type of conduct do you think applies to these cars on the street?
Who’s listening??
I’ve done some things through the years that I’m not exactly proud of. Been in a few high speed chases, and lost my license several times to show for it. I would not recommend this behavior, we all like let it hang out there, but not at someone else’s expense. Use your head, don’t do anything that could hurt someone else.

10. The Streetfighter type people you have met along the way, what are they like?

The group I hang with, are a great group of guys, that enjoy the same thing we all do. Pounding on our rides with little thoughts to wax. Would rather be cruising then sitting.

11. To those who are afraid of this type of build style(ie: because of chipping their paint) what would you say?


Posted by Mr. Vengeance on February 27, 2010 under Interviews

Interview with legendary streetfighter Steve Chryssos

Some words from the man himself..

A conversation with legendary streetfighter Steve Chryssos.

Do you think your car is a Streetfighter?

Yeah I do! Every time I see my car or climb into it, I feel like I just stole a race car from the track. And it polarizes people. Love it or hate it, there is nothing quite like it.

What do you think a Streetfighter car is?

The shortest path to an explanation is “Race Car for the Street”. That is the lowest common denominator. Lean and aggressive with a different priority sequence than, say a street rod or restored vehicle. How you achieve that end-game is up to you. It bugs me that people hijack the term to rationalize their cars’ deficiencies: “Budget” or “Ratty” or “Dented”. A streetfighter can have dents, but the dents to don’t make it streetfighter. One more thing: I hope that the term relates to cars that handle and brake well. As such, I view it as a subset of pro-touring.

How long have you been interested in the Streetfighter style build?

Long before it had a name, the cars have been around. A 1976 Porsche RSR is a race car for the street. I built a Tamiya 1/12th scale replica of that car as a kid. It inspired me to learn more about these cars. I was blown away that a car manufacturer would sell a car with a roll cage, rear seat delete and other key race car features as part of the homologation process. Big Red is a street driven race car as are a ton of movie and TV cars. Hal Needham in the 70’s, Enzo Ferrari in the 60’s–even those hooligan Bentley brothers in the 20’s. They all built streetfighters.

What do you think the point to a Streetfighter build should be?

The reaction might vary, but we build cars that punch you in the face when you see them. Each day, when I open the door to my shop and turn on the lights, I’m still blown away by how cool these cars are. Alternative striping, killer wheels with alternative finished and exposed hardware. Personally speaking, traditional pro-touring cars are too subtle for my tastes. Streetfighters make you stop and think. The adrenaline should start flowing as soon as you turn the key. Budget or not, funds are allocated towards performance parts before creature comforts. That doesn’t mean that all creature comforts are taboo. But if your car has working AC and a killer stereo but no brakes, you missed the exit. Turn around and try again.

Streetfighter and pro-touring… Similarities? Differences?

They both stop, steer and accelerate better than stock. That traditional pro-touring car is subtle. It looks like it drove out of a new car showroom—not escaped from a race track. And in the showroom, “fully loaded” is considered a plus. At the racetrack, fully loaded means overweight and slow. One example: Factory “Rally” stripes are right at home on a pro-touring car. We prefer to employ alternative graphics on the cars that we design. Shocked has a single rally stripe that runs perpendicular to the original design. I actually had some dude step up to inform me that we painted the stripe on wrong. Seriously.
Another example: Pro-touring cars could have softer suspension for long distance cruising. A streetfighter enthusiast might step up spring rates for high speed handling at the expense of low speed comfort.

The essential modifications visual and functional?

I don’t wish to demand a mandatory list of mods or cues. Doing so undermines the idea of a pro-touring alternative. A pendulum exists with race car at one end of the spectrum and touring car at the other end. My car has 650 pound front springs, 3 piece wheels, a roll cage, no back seat, no AC and stripes inspired by a Mopar. If I add AC tomorrow, the AAR cuda inspired stripe and sheet metal rear spoiler will still offend or inspire the same people.

Do Streetfighter builds only apply to the low-buck or are there High dollar fighters?

It has nothing to do with money. We are building a streetfighter right now with a twin turbo LS3. It ain’t cheap but it IS a race car for the street. It will be more hardcore than Hoover—the last build. But it will also be more expensive. I’m seriously weirded out by people asking if there car qualifies as Streetfighter. The build style is alternative and counterculture. Like punk rock (real punk rock) the Streetfighter build style flies in the face of convention. If everyone does it—or if you need to ask for permission, then you have it wrong. No one should be in a position to ask for or grant permission.

Do you think a Streetfighter build is restricted to American cars or others?

No, I don’t think there should be any restrictions. Domestic or foreign, I dig cars from all countries. My buddy Tom Heath has a turbo Miata with a WW II themed paint scheme. It hauls ass and offends everyone.

When they say “street” what type of conduct do you think applies to these cars on the street?

The more time I spend at racetracks, the less I want to mess around on the street. But at the same time, every hot rodder that I know exceeds the speed limit and experiences “excessive wheelspin” from time to time. Feel free to drive like a mook as long as you accept responsibility for your actions. Driving fast at a track is always ALWAYS more fun than messing around on the street. The only time you should be looking over your shoulder is to see if you are about to get passed. Unless you are robbing a bank, car chases are no fun at all.

The Streetfighter type people you have met along the way, what are they like?

There must be a streetfighter gene. It’s as though we were all separated at birth. We like the same movies, have similar taste in music, food, clothes and, of course, cars. A focused, competitive streak seems common to the genome, as well. And streetfighter types do not seem overly concerned about resale value.

To those who are afraid of this type of build style (i.e., because of chipping their paint) what would you say?

Make a complete list of your cars intended parts, specifications and goals. Then prioritize that list. You will find that your car leans towards one end of the spectrum or the other—race car or touring. It all comes down to how the priorities get shuffled. There is nothing wrong with traditional pro-touring. Expect better comfort and resale value from a good P-T car. It is entirely possible to build a fast, competitive pro-touring car. And you will always fit in at car shows.

But if you prefer to beat on your car and raise eyebrows, the pendulum might swing more in the direction of a stripped down, raunchy Streetfighter.

Either way, get your car done and drive it.

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on January 14, 2010 under Interviews

Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine – May 2003

Click on images below to read article.

Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine - May 2003 - Cover     Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine - May 2003 - Page 26

Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine - May 2003 - Page 27     Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine - May 2003 - Page 28

Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine - May 2003 - Page 29     Article by Steve Chryssos from Popular Hotrodding Magazine - May 2003 - Page 30

Posted by Mr. Vengeance on January 12, 2010 under Interviews