Factory Hot-Rods & other prototypes

Here is a page of one-off, backroom, go-fast cars & engines made for a variety of reasons... And in one or two cases were going to be production items! 

From the "factory" a.k.a. Highland Park

1983-1985? PPG pace car (a.k.a. The Wraith)

From Richard at www.Auto-Enthusiast.com

Built by Specialized Vehicles Inc. in Troy Michigan (Well ok so this one isn't quite from the factory) as the last (?) of a long string of Dodge PPG pace cars for the Indy Car world series this car is the best known due to it's wild looking 2.2 liter engine and the fact it was the star of a low budget B-movie called The Wraith (Well Charlie Sheen was in the movie too but no one seems to remember his role) The engine features a Ford-based Cosworth cylinder head adapted for use on a 2.2 block, twin Garrett turbo's and a wild looking header. Slated hp was targeted at 100 hp per liter. The car currently resides at the Walter P. Chrysler museum in Michigan. 

Ok this was the mocked up engine.

From Richard at www.Auto-Enthusiast.com

Installed and ready to rock!

Other Dodge PPG Pace cars

The L-body Charger based 1981 PPG pace car.

1982 PPG- also Charger based with gull wing doors.

Pacing the pack in 1983 and 1984 was the first Daytona body shown here in wind tunnel testing at Lockheed.

1985-1986 The DC Yellow Bird Shadow

During mid-1985 the Direct Connection staff was given one of the new P-bodies to play with. The brakes were upgraded with better calipers & rotors from the Daytona's, better linings and a prototype rear brake setup. Of further interest in the braking system was the use of a Bendix electric master cylinder. The rest of the chassis was rounded out with better bushings, 1.25 inch swaybars, lowered springs and DC hi-po struts. Handling was further enhanced by use of a quick ratio rack which was shimmed up .200 for better geometry & Mini-van steering knuckles which further altered the steering ratio.

For the drivetrain a stock blueprinted shortblock was used (also used was a prototype 5-speed that sounds like a 555 pre-production unit). Cylinder head choice was the always popular DC race ported head with oversize valves actuated by a stock camshaft. Intake and intercooler used was out of the DC parts book. Of interest this car used a prototype header that was announced but never sold, rumor was there was to many problems with cracking and it was never offered to the public. Turbo choice SEEMS to be the DC +unit with larger turbine housing. All and all the package was good for 180 hp at 11 psi and 210 ft/lbs of torque. 

(From Direct Connection ad, April 1987)

Whereabouts of the car is unknown- last it was seen was sitting in a warehouse and then it vanished.

1987 Lebaron Indy pace car

For 1987 Chrysler was going to have the official pace car for the Indy 500- A Lebaron convertible body was chosen and engineers Dave Zelkowski & Dick Winkles were assigned to provide the motive power needed for 130 mph pace duties. Reaching into the Directed Connection parts bin the IMSA valve ported head was selected as were a selection of other stock components (2 piece intake & 52 mm throttle body) also used for the first time was a low restriction intercooler and turbo with larger compressor and turbine (these would be used later for the S-60 package) with the cam centerlined at 114 degrees, 400 cc injectors, no catalytic converter and 12 psi of boost the package made 236 hp and was good for 151 mph.

From Dave z- "I was the project engineer on the Indy LeBaron. Four cars were built, one is in the Chrysler museum, one is at the Indy museum and Al Unser, Sr. has one. I don't know where the last one is. I still have the spare keys for all four of the cars"

The 1989 220-230 hp Robert Lutz Daytona

From Richard at www.Auto-Enthusiast.com

All I can find on this is a single write up in a magazine- Robert ask Bill Doolittle, manager powertrain engineering in the special vehicle division to whip him up something snappy. In typical hotrod fashion Bill installed a larger throttle body, o-ringed the block, installed a higher flowing muffler borrowed off the Maserati TC coupe, a 2.5 bar map sensor and the computer was recalibrated for 16.5 psi of boost vs. the stocks 12 psi. 

 0 to 60 mph happened in 6.5 seconds.

Last report was the car escaped the maw of the crusher and is living in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.

The Ultimate Daytona- 2.5 16V Turbo Intercooled

92 Daytona from sales flyer

"It was called the "Ultimate Daytona" and built for Bob Lutz. Mainly built for the autobahn from what I heard. It was a 1990 2.5L bottom end w/ Turbo IV production rods, and production 2.5L pistons. The only trick piece was a billet copy of the stock 2.5L crank made by Valasco. The cylinder head was all production Turbo III. The turbocharger used was a Mitsubishi TD06 turbocharger - the same unit that is on the GMC Syclone Pickup. They used 50% higher flow methanol injectors and the fuel pressure was set to 55psi. The boost starts out at 14 psi and ramps, beginning at about 5200 rpm to a final figure of 19 psi at 5850 rpm. The engine used twin stock Turbo III intercoolers. This engine had the potential of spinning at 7000 rpm and pump out over 426 horsepower. When the engine was in the car it reached a speed of 155 mph, but it was estimated to go to 170 - 180 mph. Zero to sixty times were estimated at low 5's to high 4's with quarter mile numbers registering high 12's to low 13's."

There were two phases to the ultimate Daytona project- 

Phase I was with a basic 2.5 shortblock with the Lotus hardware, factory intercooler & turbo bolted on it, at 14 psi it made 255 hp and 252 ft/lbs of torque.

Phase II used the billet crank, TD06 turbo, dual intercoolers & larger injectors listed above AND a $70,000 prototype cam phaser that could alter intake cam timing on the fly while driving down the road. It made 305 hp at 5200 rpm and 290 ft/lbs or torque- A low torque number due to the fact the boost was kept low till the engine was over it's torque peek to keep the transaxle from blowing itself to bits.

After Lutz was done driving the car it was returned to engineering, raced once at Milan dragway by Dave Zelkowski (It ran a best of 13.40 @ 104mph) then dismantled and crushed.

Prototype engines, transmissions and... stuff.

Turbo 3.0 V6 for domestic cars.

From Engineer Dave Zelkowski:

"Actually, a 3.0L turbo V6 Daytona was a program in the late '80's. There were probably 6 prototypes built. They ran very strong. Unfortunately, the program was cancelled."

I'll assume for the sake of argument these where canceled for a variety of reasons-

1) Emissions?
2) Would have cut into sales of R/T 16V powered cars? (Chrysler had lots of time & money tied up here)
3) Would have cut into sales of Mitsubishi imported Stealth?
4) Transmission durability concerns?

This is all speculation on my part. One or two of these engines showed up for sale a few years ago... last I knew someone was going to try and get one working in a car..

1 of 6 2.2 RWD Dakota automatic transmission 

Well this is what I was told.... Mopar salvage yard owner Cliff Sebring has one installed in his RWD 2.2 powered dragster and he tells me this story about how he got it. It seems back when they were doing development work for the upcoming Dakota pickup trucks the question came up of how well would the truck run with a 2.2 & automatic package? Since automatics make up the bulk of sales it's a good question! 6 cases were cast up at Chrysler for testing and the question was answered- Not So Good. To much truck, not enough power. So how did Cliff get hand's on this unit? Well it seems Chrysler engineer Jerry Mallicoat was into desert racing in small pick-ups but had broken his leg (but was still racing in a cast mind you!) So he could not drive the truck with a manual... Seems Jerry ended up with 2 of the prototype units so he could race his truck whilst in a cast... He's friends with Cliff Sebring... And there's the transmission...

See pic's of Cliffs dragster here!

1990 Daytona IROC R/T show car

Not a hotrod in the true sense but it was to neat looking to pass up!  I'll assume this TII powered car made the show circuit and then.... 

An associate of mine at Chrysler tells me:

"It was 90' they wanted a car with the new front end (92 style), so they took a 90 car and put the 92 front end on it. The whole front end was fiberglass. The intercooler/radiator setup just so happens to be in my garage from the car. Now, I'm not sure if the pic you showed is the car I am speaking of, but I must say the intercooler I got had white -- and I repeat white dust on it and in the intercooler and it was crushed out at CPG and is probably in the graveyard somewhere if not already melted down."  bummer.

Thanks for visiting Donovan's Dodge Garage