It was at about the time that Dave had attained the status of "instant celebrity" that Dave, myself, and longtime friend Joe Leonard began discussing an entry for the 1990 Cannonball One-Lap of America, It was quickly decided that an Omni like Dave's could be competitive, which it surely was (see p. 36 Mopar Action, Dec. 1990), but it was just as quickly decided (by Dave!) that his original, one-of-a-few red rocket wasn't up for grabs. So, Dave took the "easy" (?) way out, and built a clone out of two wreaked GLHs. (Like, warm up the chain saw, Vern!) That's how the black car came to be.

Starting Point

The base car for these buildups were stock Turbo I 4-dr. Omni GLHs. You could just as easily use a Shelby Charger, although you'd be burdening yourself with 100-pound weight increase (and no headroom for 6-footers). You could really start with any 5-speed 2.2L L-body, although you'd want to bring the car up to GLH/Shelby specs first: brakes, suspension, steering rack (fast ratio), hubs, wheels, and tires are a few of the obvious differences.

Engine-Bottom End

The short block Dave uses is a 100% stock '87-88 Turbo II piece, unmodified. Oiling system, crank, rods, pistons, rings, bearings, etc. are run literally right out of the box, although some early '87 motors had rods that were suspect and should probably be visually inspected, or, better still, magnafluxed. The only "trick" item here is the lubricant: Mobil 1 synthetic oil is used exclusively. This would seem to be sensible for any turbo motor.

The 1989 Turbo II short blocks can be utilized as well, if so, you'll also need the '89 version oil pan, pickup, and camshaft drive system.

Cylinder Head and Valves

Dave's minirocket was initially assembled several years ago, before the advent of Mopar Performance's ready-to-go cylinder heads. Hence, Dave used the best head available at the time, which was the 1985 "G" casting. Modified Toyota valves, measuring 44mm on the intake side and 36.15 on the exhaust, were utilized, along with like-sized seats. One reason that the factory never went this large on production heads is the fact that when valves of this size are fitted, the seats run into each other, and the gap of headcasting material normally present between the seats vanishes. To date, though, Dave has had no problems with this setup, and hasn't heard any other negative feedback.

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