1962 Chevrolet bubbletop – Drag Challenge contender

Carl Taylor’s 1962 bubbletop Chevy has always been a standout. It’s a car that harks back to a bygone era of chrome, great bodylines and stick-shifted luxo-barges

Photographers: Graeme Neander

Carl has been successfully racing the Chev for the past 10 years, and even picked up four Christmas trees in the process.

In recent times the car has been running a bored-out 409 that came in at 484ci and pushed the Chevy to mid-to-high 10s. But in a bid to keep up with his mates – all running similar-era muscle cars of different breeds – Carl has lashed out and bought an all-aluminium 540ci W-motor Chevy from famed US engine builder and ex-Super Stock racer Carl McQuillen. McQuillen specialises in the Chevy W-class engines, and even casts his own intake and heads.

Bubbletop ChevAs Carl T wants to keep his bench seat and loves bracket racing, his tech will only allow him to run to a 10.0 ET, so McQuillen has specifically built him a low-maintenance, hydraulic-roller W-motor that will do just that. On the dyno, the 12:1 combination makes 734hp at 6300rpm, and a healthy 697ft-lb at 4600rpm. The engine is topped with a mini tunnel-ram and a pair of 850 Quick Fuel carbs, and the dyno numbers have been duplicated on the track, with a 10.1 pretty much right out of the blocks. When you consider that this is a 4000lb car in aspirated trim, to be knocking on nines is pretty bloody stout.

This model Chevy is fitted with the notorious X-chassis that is known to flex and behave horribly, so it’s a credit to Carl that he has been able to get a car that traditionally is just wrong for racing performing so admirably.

“I’m running the engine on a mix of 98 pump gas and 109 race fuel at the track, and regular unleaded on the street,” Carl says. “There are a lot of small changes that make this combination work, like the LS firing order just to make the engine run smoother. For now I’m just trying to get to know the combination, how it responds to fuel, timing and everything else. Naturally I’d like to see a nine-second pass just to be able to say it can, but I’m really happy that I got what I wanted and what I paid for.”

Photographers: Graeme Neander