I’m not a big expert on the world of roundy-round dirt-track racing, but the few times I went ages ago, Chevy V8s were almost ubiquitous. Now I have very fond memories of watching, and most of all, hearing a wild 1948 Buick snort around the quarter-mile fairgrounds oval at some small Iowa town in the early seventies. The sound of its bellowing straight eight still haunts me all these years later. It couldn’t quite keep up with the younger sbc-powered machines (almost all tri-five Chevies), but what a show that big Buick it put on.
Anyway, this ’35 Chevy sitting in an industrial lot caught my attention, with the hand lettering on the hood: AMC 232. That’s pleasantly unpredictable.
There it is, with three jugs on what must surely be a Clifford manifold. The AMC sixes have had a following from since they arrived in 1965, and their rugged construction and decent breathing (for the genre) make them suitable for plenty of power increases. Plenty of warmed-over 258s in Jeeps, and such, and their torque is hard stop. But a dirt-track racer…
You were probably in Tipton or West Liberty at the local oval. Wasted a few Saturday nights there myself. I particularly liked the Bomber division – you never quite knew what was going to be entered. My cousin ran small block Chevys on that circuit for many years. Good memories.
I went to West Liberty a couple of times, and there was a guy there who was pretty dominant; his name is on the tip of my tongue. Ran big, burly red haired guy, ran a ’55 Chevy.
But the Buick I caught up in North East Iowa, somewhere between IC and Dubuque; maybe Monticello or so?
I wonder if it was Curt Hansen out of Dike, Iowa, or Red Droste of Waterloo. Hansen was a dominant driver in the 70s. Droste was a Chevy man. Damn near everybody was. Don’t remember a Monticello track, although we lived 10 minutes away in Anamosa, where my dad worked at the prison. Dubuque had a nice track, too.
Now that I think about it, you may have been at the Farley Speedway to hear the Buick.
The Buick straight-8 story reminds me of an old Peter Egan story from Road & Track, “The Glory Days of the Late Straight Eight” (I can’t be the only one here who remembers it).
That is very cool!
Looks like the owner may have AMC in his/her blood too. That 10-4 package J truck is a pretty rare bird!
I wonder if there’s a six cylinder class of racing near you. We had a similar thing back in the seventies in Northeast Ohio. A good friend of mine’s brothers raced in some of those classes although they mostly stayed with V8s.
Those old car bodies were passed down from owner to owner seemingly forever. I think we have a class of these running at Berlin here in West Michigan… I’d imagine this is a marriage of convenience, he had a hot motor waiting for a legal body. Or vice versa. Either way, definitely different. I’m envious.
Yes there is or was some sort of “vintage” racing class in OR for the 6cyls. 3 or 4 years ago I was traveling through OR and in the Hotel parking lot there were a couple of similar race cars on open trailers. I briefly talked to one of the owners and he told me what track he was headed too but I don’t remember it at this point.
That’s no Clifford intake that’s a stock intake that someone has modified to accept the extra 2 carbs. All the Clifford intakes for the AMC six are single carb unit.
I had that same thought when I looked at the picture closer after I wrote that. Yes, the Cliffords are for single four-barrels.
Howabout that Jeep pickup in the background. I think I’d rather have that.
I know nothing of dirt-track racing; but it seems to me that’s an odd choice. In all my AMC experience, I’ve had a 232; a couple of 258s; and one 2.5 four. The 232 was a pleasant, innocuous engine, with power enough to get around town and keep up on the freeways. The 258s, with their longer stroke, had scads of low-end torque, as noted. But those were big, heavy engine blocks…and revving was something they didn’t much care to do.
I guess it would depend on the weight of the car, and the kind of driving he liked to do. Certainly a six like that would keep shifting to a minimum in tight curves…
Without spending the time to look it up, I’m quite sure the 258 was essentially the same block as the 232, with slightly longer stroke.
Oh, yeah. I guess I worded the post a little clumsily. The 232, 258, Mexican 282 and 4.0 were all the same block – to the point where the 4.0 heads can be fitted to a 258 to get the best of all worlds, FI and its fuel economy with a tractorlike torque curve.
But racing with one, even dirt racing…puzzles me.
Or you stick the 258 crank and rods in the 4.0 and get yourself an American 282 or thereabouts depending on bore.