Hot VW's - October 2007 - Super Comp Standout
A look at engine ace, Patrick Downs' wild weekend racer
BY DEAN KIRSTEN
The name Patrick Downs is most likely a familiar one with most of our readers, as he has been the lead engine builder at CB Performance for years. Patrick, a resident of Visalia, California, has been involved with numerous drag and street projects over the years, but always wanted to step up to the plate and run a full tube chassis sedan. Of all the cars running in the western states area, one that stood out in his mind was owned by Greg Parker of Scottsdale, Arizona. Greg's car at the time (see March 2000 issue) was set up to run in NHRA's Super Street class, but he too wanted to step up to something a little quicker and faster. Pat approached Greg about purchasing the car minus engine, and the deal was consummated.
What Patrick purchased was a 1969 sedan body shell mounted on a Ron Lummus-built tube chassis (1-1/2-inch mild steel). While the foundation of Greg's car was surely sound, and basically ready to race, still, like most of us, Patrick wanted to cahnge the car's appearance, and make changes here and there. The car was quickly stripped bare, so everything could be inspected and checked out. Up front, the existing 5-1/2-inch narrowed link-pin front beam was retained, as was the drilled and chromed trailing arms and Stilleto rack and pinion steering box. The back end also was in good shape, as Greg had set-up the car to run a Dave Folts modified 091 bus box for swingaxle, using coil-over shocks and RLR ladder bars. What Downs did do was to change the gear stack with new ratios (3.10, 1.98, 1.48 and 1.09), thanks to Scott Sebastion of Metalcraft Racing Transmission. Shocks are now Spax with 650-pound Eibach springs fitted, and brakes are based on Wilwood calipers.
Inside, Pat replaced the seat with a full-support PRP racing seat, fitted with Simpson cam lock belts (and matching window net). Controls, such as the tubular pedals from the Frame Works, MSE Vertigate shifter, Auto Meter gauges, Chassis Shop switch panel still remain, but Patrick did add a MSD 7AL2 ignition box and completely rewired the car front to back.
Of course, being an ace engine builder, Patrick wanted to use his own setup, so the car was purchased less engine. Currently, this car is setup to run in the PRA Super Comp class, which is basically a 10.90 index. The idea here is to build a car that could run 10.90's all day long without killing itself, which means that this particular car can go much, much quicker, when needed. With that in mind, the quickest time to date with a 2759cc Downs-built engine is 10.07/137mph, but dipping into the nines appear to be within easy reach.
Patrick's engine is based on a Scat 3-piece case, using CB Performance Comp Eliminator heads and dual 53mm CB throttle bodies. Inside the short block we find a Scat 86mm flanged crank with Type 4 mains across the board. This crank uses Pauter 5,800-inch chromoly rods (with Buick journals), with 101.6mm JE forged pistons inside JayCee billet cylinders. Cams is a custom CB Performance flat-tappet, matched with CB lifters, straight-cut steel gears, and 1.4:1 rockers.
As with most of these highly-breed VW engines, the key to its power is the cylinder heads, which Downs takes car of himself. Other than the siz head-stud conversion, which was performed by Mike Fischer of CE in Phoenix, Pat took care of all the port and chamber work, as well as setting the compression at 16.0:1. Valve size is 50mm x 40mm, springs are K-Motion K-800s, and titanium retainers are CBs. Feeding this beast is a CB Performance EFI system, using 52-pound, rated injectors, cusom-made velocity stacks, and port-matched manifolds. At the opposite end of the engine, Patrick built his own 2-inch merged header system. And coupling this 305hp runner with the transaxle is a KEP Stage 2 clutch (fitted with an aluminum shoe), and a RLR Black Magic disc.
Moving to the exterior, the main modification seen is a whole new fiberglass front end, re-engineered to fit, and lengthened some six inches to place the front tires centered within the fender opening. Bodywork and paint were handled by ace Steve DeMann of Kolor King in Corona, California, and we outlined how this car was painted in the October 2006 issue. But as you can plainly see, Steve used some pretty wild candy colors, and pearl accents to showcase his talents. Once the outside was fully decked-out, Downs took all the interior aluminum work, originally done by Duane Dixon, and had it anodized bright blue, which makes the inside just as "loud" as the exterior. With a whole new look, new power, and few major wins under its paint, look for this one to return strong to the PRA wars in 2008, but this time, in Pro Stock and Pro Mod!