"American Iron"

Waylon Klein's '86 GT

“This car was one of the original American Iron cars from ‘01 when the series started”
— Waylon Klein

     As much as I love drag racing, lately I have caught the fever for some open track action. Sadly, I have never had the pleasure of beating the hell out of a car lap after lap. That being said, I don't care much for Nascar or Indy cars. They just don't seem real. What I mean by that is they have no basis on real cars anymore. I feel the same about NHRA drag racing. There's nothing about any of those cars that even remotely resemble an actual car. I am not knocking those sports, but for me, I want to see something that I can identify with, something that I can look at and draw similarities to my own car. I also don't think I am alone. There's a reason events like Lights Out draw larger crowds than NHRA events.  

    There is a class of purists these days that don't really care much for the giant corporate owned sanctioning bodies like Nascar. In a nutshell, when was the last time you saw a Camry running around with a V8 in it? Personally, I think they lost their way, and fans are moving on.  

    Where I get pumped up is classes like American iron Mustang vs. Camaro challenge. This is where an average Joe can build up his former streetcar, and go racing. Technically, it can still be a street car too. Under the hoods aren't all aluminum race engines that cost more than most people's homes, they are very much like what is under the hood of your car. Not only that, but the caps put on power eliminate the need for one off, high dollar parts. The 331 in Waylon Klein's '86 rocks the same AFR 185 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, and FTI cam that you or I could buy. The transmission is a Tremec 3550, just like many a street going foxbody, and the Maximum Motorsports suspension parts are much of the same as on our resident '92 LX project car.  

    The '86 you see before you was actually one of the first cars to compete in the NASA Camaro vs. Mustang challenge when it began in '01. The build began by grafting in a Maier Racing wide body kit. Up next was a Steeda Aero spoiler that was flushed into the hatch, giving the rear an ultra smooth look. Up front a HO Fibertrends hood was bolted down, and a Meier Racing lower valence with brake cooling ducts round out the nose. The glass is custom cut lexan to save weight, and the FRPP '95 Cobra R wheels meet NASA standards, and provide clearance for the Cobra spec brakes.      

    While the rules are strict in American Iron, they do allow for plenty of modifications. Up front is a SLA arrangement, with Koni coil overs, and Maximum Motorsports bump steer kit. The rear setup is a Steeda 5 link, Maximum Motorsports torque arm springs, Koni shocks, and Steeda lower control arms. The brakes are Wilwood Dynalite 4 piston calipers front and rear. 

    Obviously safety is a major concern, even though they are limited to 9.5 hp per pound of weight; they are plenty fast. Chock full of roll cage, fire suppression, harnesses, and window nets; they almost resemble a Nascar inside. 

    Over the years as the class has evolved, it has gotten more competitive, and expensive to run. Waylon has since moved to time trial competitions where you are up against the clock, as opposed to a field of other cars. Regardless of what he runs, the satisfaction that comes from dropping the clutch and smoking the Toyo RA1s is priceless.   CR


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