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An obsession with details certainly comes in handy for building cars, but Darren was perfected in his career in the subsea production, where sweating the details is absolutely vital. Darren life and the lives of those who work with him to rely on every little thing being triple-checked, as it often is not room to slip in front of the sea-cast housing.
Have you ever watched those nature shows on channels that appear remarkably close to sharks circling the cage without sight? This is the kind of shooting Darren specializes in. On top of that, he was always a fan of exploring underwater caves, which is in itself an extremely risky hobby. It really does not sound like he needs more excitement in your life, right?
|1971 Plymouth Cuda-Image 4|
Although he always had luck, Darren met some people who were not so lucky. Perhaps to put a chink in his confidence, but eventually the risk started to look less attractive and Darren sought to turn his interest toward something not as fate-tempting. As a lifelong gearhead, the choice to fill the void was easy, he needed a new car project.
Prior to his underwater fixation, Darren had a string of GM musclecars including a Chevelle of each year until 72, but this time he decided to engage in Mopars and set his sights on a Cuda. "Unfortunately he made that decision after the prices of all things Mopar had already begun to spiral upwards, so that your investment of $ 20K was little more than a basket case '71 'Cuda full of questionable re-engineering and modifications. At least it came with a trailer with four flat tires.
|1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Shannon-Image 3|
If you had waited for a car with a little more substance, Darren knew he would eventually replace almost everything before the car was above expectations. Moreover, with the final product he had in mind, there was not much use of stock components anyway. A lucky (if you could call it that), part of being abandoned Cuda "was that the rear had been cut to wheeltubs, but the work was too butch for Darren did not waver before sliding down his shield to start cut to make room for a monster set of Hoosiers.
As the saying goes, if you want it done right, you have to do it alone, and this is doubly true when you are a perfectionist. Darren knew that the only way he could ensure that the engine was built to your exact specifications and that the Cuda "won its fat tires was to build a new Hemi from scratch yourself. For Gas Pump Monster I had in mind, this is not easy, unless you have a well-equipped garage. Lucky for Darren, he has good friends who do, over Engine Systems in Tucker, Georgia. While most of these specialized inch big Fords, Darren picked their brains during the assembly of the base stroked Keith Black Hemi. With the same meticulousness he took to measure the rate of correct gas for their scuba tanks, Darren measured and reassessed every clearance and fit each piece to nth degree. On the dyno he had the head of no less than five times, adjusting gasket thickness and chamber volume to optimize horsepower and quench while still staying pump gas friendly, and finally arrived at 1,032 hp and 817 lb -ft of torque. A lot of time and contemplation were also introduced into the lubrication system to remove heat and maintain sufficient oil in the valvetrain to keep him alive on the street.
With the numbers sung by the incredible power massaged Hemi, the 'Cuda huge rear tires easily put the rear bumper on the sidewalk, so Darren adjusted and readjusted the suspension and even pulled 10 degrees of time to dial the launch. Trial and error the patient eventually rewarded him with a 8.87 at 152.8 mph with excellent 1.28 meters 60 times. Of course, all this hard work was for nothing when he was accepted for Drags HOT ROD Pump Gas (tm) in '06. The limit of the tires was 12.50 a thorn in the side of Darren since he finally had to rethink the rear suspension, swap to a Powerglide, and change times are ready to come back again and lost control and traction with the smaller tires. "It was absolutely the tire undriveable small at first," says Darren. "I was a nervous wreck trying to get the car ready before the gas pump Drags (tm), and there were some really close calls during the test. I was still working out the kinks right up to the race and I was not really satisfied. In fact I have not slept much the night before the race because I was checking everything adjusting rockers, changing oil, pulling the trans pan, and check the nitrous system. I finally went to bed at about five hours "
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But this is still not good enough for Darren. He is currently working on a new no limit 604ci Hemi with Stage V heads of Millennium Engineering, which could easily need to upgrade your armor to the Funny Car status must Darren decides to run it through the back door. There is no plan to lose the appeal of street car, however, and once the wraps come off new and improved Darren greater Hemi, Cuda he intends to bring the "one week in HOT ROD Drag future (r) to challenge the current reigning Mopar Eddie Miller, even if he has to pop a Valium to deal with a dirty 'Cuda for a week.
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