I decided that as much as I love the Buck Rogers aspect of the twin plug engine, it is too complex and highly strung to serve as a mill to propel a car across the continent without undue drama.
Reluctantly, I decided to remove one circle from my Venn diagram-- the one labeled “wannabe race-car”. Jeanie has a limited tolerance for balls-out corner-carving anyhow, and I had already put a “comfort” seat in her side (to go with the Speedster bucket in mine). Tube-frame IMs are lovely cars, with rollup windows and a lot of nice GT-style features-- but they are not light by any metric, and cannot be made to be so.
I decided to make the car into what it always should have been-- a long-legged GT, built to drive long distances in reasonable comfort. I got a second “comfort” seat, took it apart, remade the bottom frame to get it as low as it can possibly be in the car, reshaped the foam to fit my “unique” physique, ordered carbon-fiber seat heaters from Amazon, and took both seats to the best upholstery shop in the area to be recovered in leather. I’ll have them back by early May, Lord willing.
I swallowed hard and pulled the twin-plug 2276, then put it aside for a future project. I’ll likely rework the intakes in the heads, put an 84mm crank in it to bring it back to a 2332, and get a bigger cam, but that is a project for another day.
Around the first of the year, I discussed my desires with Pat Downs, and decided to build a 2234 with 92mm AA thick wall cylinders, Panchitos heads, and a CB 2292 cam and 1.4 rockers. That’s a big cam for a street engine, but the way Pat explained it-- the Panchitos have such great port velocity that bigger engines running these heads can tolerate a lot more valve overlap without getting soggy on the bottom end. It makes sense, and Pat has forgotten more than I’ll ever know, so I went with his recommendation. CB’s shop is backed up in the shop for way longer than I could wait, so I set about looking for somebody I trusted to do the machine work for the new build.
I contacted VintageVolks, which is a very small (two guys working nights and weekends) shop in Spokane, WA. We started out just talking about doing a case with the mods I wanted-- but after a lot of discussion, I contracted with them to build the entire long-block (explanation later). I’ll dress the engine with my DTM, (rebuilt) 45 Dellortos, and the exhaust from my 2276. Anand’s engine made 180 hp on Pat’s dyno, I’ll be happy with 150- 170. The flow numbers of the heads seem to support those numbers.