Jim’s Blog: Give Dad the Gift of Horsepower

Want to give the father in your life a Father’s Day he won’t forget? Then you need to give him what he really wants. Not sure what that is? Well, if he’s anything like me, the answer is always horsepower. With that in mind, here are a few gifts he’s sure to love:

 

A Charger Hellcat

 

Nothing says “sorry we made you drive a minivan, Dad” more than the shriek of a 707-hp supercharged Hemi. The Charger Hellcat might just be the best Dad car in the world. It’s got four doors, plenty of room, and an over-200-mph top speed to get your little ballerinas to their dance recital on time. There’s a red one on eBay right now with only 77 miles, a sunroof, and a red interior all for just $82k. Depending on your budget, you might even still have room for a set of MNI VAN vanity plates. It just doesn’t get any more perfect that that, right?

 

A new engine

 

OK, I know what you’re thinking. $82k? I love ol’ Dad, but that’s crazy. Fine.

 

Well, you may not know that you can have all the fun of a Hellcat for a fraction of the money it takes to buy one. How? Well does Dad have an old car already, like a Chevelle? Well you’re in luck. All you need to do is repower Dad’s old 396 Chevelle with something a little bigger than stock.

 

How much bigger? 468? 496? 502? 540? 572? No, the best bet is to just go biggest. Like this $20k 632-ci monster from Shafiroff Racing. It makes a solid 1,050 horsepower on 93 octane gas, which means he’ll be able to fill it up at the pump. Every day or so.

 

That’s right — 1,000 horsepower is that easy, and there’s no better way to see if Dad’s old Chevelle can run 200 mph just like the new Hellcats. Those old drum brakes, loose steering box, and worn suspension components should be pretty thrilling just before his A-body achieves liftoff, too. But you can worry about all that stuff at Christmas.

 

Forced induction

 

OK, maybe a $20k engine isn’t in the cards, either. You can still give the gift of horsepower with a Roots-style blower on Dad’s V8.

 

Blower surge is cool in a “look out I can’t stop this thing” kind of way, and there’s nothing that looks meaner than a big Weiand 8-71 perched between the valve covers. For about $4k, you can get a kit that’ll come with pretty much everything he’ll need, minus a fuel system and blower carbs (that’s another $2k or so). Get it all set up, and he’ll be doing smokey burnouts in front of his house until the neighbors call the cops. 

 

Just remember that his engine will have sky-high compression with that setup, so best to get him a few gift cards for Sunoco 118-octane race fuel, too. Or just have him fill up at the airport from now on.

 

A shot of nitrous

 

You knew this one was coming — nitrous oxide is the cheapest way to go fast, and if you do it right, Dad’s engine might not eat itself in the process. How do you do it right? Get one of these $438 NOS Powershot kits, which adds 125 hp to Dad’s engine at full throttle. At that power level, the crank and rods should stay where Detroit put them and no pistons should melt — but if things do go bang, consider it an added bonus. You’ll get to spend a lot of time with Dad as the two of you study CarTech’s How To Rebuild the Big-Block Chevy book. He’ll love it.

 

Something he might actually use

 

Seriously though, most of us aren’t going to spend $82k, $20k, $6k, or even $500 on Dad this Sunday. But you can still get him something he’ll really love without breaking the bank. If his car is a project, look to Danchuk, Camaro Central, Mustangs Unlimited, NPD, OPG, Luttys, and other restoration houses for the parts he might actually need to get his car done. Also check out The Busted Knuckle Garage and Genuine Hot Rod Hardware for car-related swag, which those of us with a serious car obsession really love. 

 

Hopefully I’ve helped you out just a little here — now someone please help me out and send this blog to my wife before that Hellcat eBay listing expires.