Huw Evans
October 1, 2006
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

Eventually, Chad paid to have the car picked up and brought to Austin in an enclosed trailer. In the meantime, he'd been busy checking into the past life of Ginger. "I had talked to every one I could that I know was involved with the building of the car and it was clear this horse was ridden hard and put up wet." Once safely in Austin, the rebuilding could begin. The fuel system was first on Chad's list. Aeromotive components, including fuel pump, pressure regulator and filter, brought the car's outdated hardware back into spec. Next came some suspension work and a little love for the ignition system. After that, the issue of cooling had to be addressed, but a hollow feeling was starting to develop.

Chad told us, "I started to learn that all these Band-Aids were not going to fix the true issue of a worn out motor and tired clutch." So, the engine and transmission came out with helping hands from his neighbors, Jim Skiles and Doug Luquette. Chad enlisted Dave Kropp to handle the engine build and, when you check the specs on it, you'll see that Dave's 25 years of experience were fully brought to bear on the problem. The engine came back just a little before Chad was going to move out of his apartment and into a house, so he needed to get Ginger on the road soon. That almost didn't happen. "Eleven days before my move, I started the car up and got an instant milkshake dip stick. Yes, I suck again. What now?"

The dipstick was telling Chad, in no uncertain terms, that coolant was leaking into the crankcase. This is not a situation that can continue for any time without losing the main or rod bearings, so a call to the engine builder was made. Chad got far more than he expected. "He not only offered to fix it, but also to come to my house and fix it in my non-a/c garage." Given the average temperatures in Austin, that is customer service, for sure. After some investigation, they found that a water passage in the lower intake was the problem. Not happy with doing a quick fix, Dave Kropp took the piece back to his shop for welding and resurfacing. The following weekend, with only four days before Chad's move, Dave was back and putting the motor together.

Having been caught out twice by the car, Chad was more than nervous. "I had never been so scared to turn over a car in 15 years." Still, all went well and Ginger was driven to her new residence. Through the entire process of sorting and rebuilding the motor, Chad had lots of help - the neighbors already mentioned, Dave Kropp, John Dinkel from Punisher Automotive and also from Chad's favorite speed shop, Austin Performance. Before the rebuild, Ginger's heart was putting out 867 RWHP and 802 RWTQ, when running 109-octane gas, or 670/663 on pump gas. When we met up with Chad, he and the other Southern Comfort participants had gathered at American Racing Technology in nearby Buda, TX. Chad was looking for pump gas numbers of 770 RWHP and 700 RWTQ. Let's just say that he found them, no problem.

Part of the ability to manage numbers like that on the street comes from tuning the car's electronic processor. Ginger is equipped with the factory EEC-IV processor from a 1991 GT and supplemented by an AutoLogic chip that was tuned by Don Walsh, Jr. at D&D Performance in Wixom, MI. Chad has yet to return to the quarter mile exercise yard since the rebuild, but we can expect that Ginger would beat her previous best of 10.51 seconds @ 141.3 mph before the rebuild.