Volume III, Issue 9, Page 26

By John Carollo
Photos by John Carollo

How’s this for unlikely? This ’34 Chevy hot rod carries a complete NASCAR chassis and an odd but voracious motor. Larry Hammond has always wanted a hot rod that handled like a race car. In fact, he’s been bugging his childhood buddy Dave Marcis to build one for more than 20 years. Now that Marcis is retired as one of NASCAR’s legends, he finally built Larry his dream Race/Rod. Larry smiles like a dolphin and says the wait was so worth it.

It was actually Street Rods by Dave Marcis that built what they are calling SR-71. That comes from SR for Street Rod and 71 for Dave’s longtime NASCAR number. With the very able help of SRDM techs, Sam Beam and Jim Presnell, this two year project is literally like nothing before it. As magazine guys, we’ve seen cars and trucks with NASCAR elements such as a long truck arm rear end, or a race motor or maybe a roll cage. But shoving a complete suspension, rear end and in this case, a Chevy SB2 motor, complete with dry sump oil system, into the narrow confines of a full fendered ’34 Chevy two door sedan is nothing short of genius.

The frame is custom mild steel perimeter made by Jack Laughlin, one of a handful of NASCAR chassis builders. Seeing it sans body shows just how much like a typical NASCAR racer it is. Its wheelbase is 106 inches, compared to racing specs of 110 inches, and that’s where the squeezing began. SRDM had to meet the reduction of width of both the front and rear track, which meant refiguring the geometry of the A-arm front suspension and the Ford-style rear end hung on long Chevy truck control arms that makes up a typical NASCAR suspension.