5.0 Mustang & Super FordsNews & Views
Real Appeal: Inside Uncle Robin's Real Street Engine Program
We go inside Uncle Robin's Real Street garage to take a look at his Real Street engine program.
After spending three years in Factory Stock, infamous NMRA racer Uncle Robin Lawrence decided to climb the next rung of the class ladder and turn his seasoned Factory Stock red notch into a Real Street machine. It wasn't an easy decision for Robin. His years in Factory Stock were an education, but his combination was often a tick behind, keeping the F/S championship just beyond his reach. Factory Stock not only honed his earlier skills, but it also helped Robin learn new ones--enough so that he felt ready for more.
The Real Street class has become quite popular, and Editor Turner predicts there will be a full field running in one of the NMRA's events this season. While the class has grown beyond the scope of the original plan (give a racer a rule book and he'll work every angle), the original concept was something Robin liked right at the start, even though he wasn't able to immediately move into the class. With streetable combinations and off-the-shelf parts mandated by the rules, the Real Street class was something Robin could easily relate to from his years of street tuning and building projects for other people. He already feels at home in the class. And few people recall Robin once fielded a nine-second, turbocharged racer that would have fit in the old days of Outlaw.
Horse Sense: As do many racers, Robin was waiting on new parts and throwing his new car together just a week before the NMRA season opener at Bradenton Motorsports Park. When we saw him a few days before the event, he had yet to scale the car and was looking to rent the local eighth-mile track for some testing. He must be on to something with his new combination--at Bradenton he was the number-two qualifier in Real Street and finished runner-up.
While Real Street may not be Outlaw or Renegade, it does have a unique rule set that differs significantly from the Factory Stock program Robin was used to running. Tubular K-members, coilover suspension, power adders, slicks (instead of drag radials), and more horsepower and lower e.t.'s (so everything happens faster inside the car as well) meant Robin had to start from scratch. Using his Factory Stock red notch, he went to work converting suspension, brakes, and more to ready the chassis for a new Real Street-spec'd engine. We received a lot of good feedback from Robin's article on building a Factory Stock engine ("Taking Stock," Sept. '02, p. 157), so when he came to us inquiring about the same concept for his new Real Street engine, we gave the thumbs up for him to get to work.
The buildup of Robin's new engine for Real Street is in the following captions and sidebars. Unlike last year's Factory Stock engine, he actually had this one in the car for the Bradenton opener, just as he promised.