Jim Blair qualified number one with a 4.43 second pass in the eighth mile Top Gun Shoot Out at Palm Beach International Raceway on April 25-26, 2009. The ATF backed, Procharged Mustang ran well all weekend as Blair piloted it to the final round. Jim credits Jason Gatlin and the ATF crew for their hard work and diligence that helped him get The Silver Bullet into another final round. Jim also thanks Scorpion Racing Products for all of their support. As you can see in the video, Blair cut the tree a hair to close and lit the red light in the final sending the win to Matt Salminen.
Crew Chief Jason Gatlin is dialing in The Silver Bullet's new Neal Chance billet aluminum torque converter. Jason's tuning and adjustments will have The Silver Bullet flying even faster down the 1320. The ATF Team is looking forward to their next challenge: The NMCA race at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, KY on May 1-3. Heading into Blowing Green, Jim Blair is #1 in the NMCA Super Street 10.5 class.
The Automatic Transmission Factory releases another wild animal. A bright yellow 1,500+ horsepower twin turbocharged Dodge Viper with an ATF Stage 4 Powerglide is on the loose. The Viper came to the shop equipped with twin 76mm turbos and a race ready, stroked V-10. ATF removed the 2003 Viper's T-56 six speed manual transmission and replaced it with a bulletproof ATF Stage 4 Powerglide. The Stage 4 is rated for applicatons up to 2,600 horsepower and can take anything this twin turbo Viper can throw at it. ATF's Powerglide transmissions are proven race winners that can be configured for any application. The ATF Stage 4 Powerglide custom built for the Viper features an SFI approved Reid / Dedenbear aluminum case and tail housing, ATF custom fluid release valve body with ATF transbrake, ATF 1.80 gear set (1.80:1 first gear, 1:1 second gear), red clutches and steels, ATF 2" high energy band with hardened steel adjusting pin, ATF stator tube and pump, ATF large diameter input shaft, ATF billet servo and billet servo cover and a deep aluminum pan with a high flow filter. An ATF spec'd billet bolt together torque converter with a stall speed of 3,500 RPM links the Viper's engine to the Powerglide transmission. The ATF Powerglide conversion provides the Viper with brute power handling capability and extreme drag racing consistency in an easy to maintain package.
Installing the Powerglide and its components into the Viper was a challenge that ATF's Jason Gatlin faced with confidence. ATF began the conversion with the removal of the T-56 manual transmission, the clutch, the clutch pedal and other related parts. Then ATF test fit the Powerglide and mapped out the locations for the shifter cable, cooler lines and dipstick / transmission fill tube. Measurements for the adapters, spacers and a custom driveshaft for the Powerglide were also taken during the test fitting process. The Viper needed to shed some skin to make room for the width of the Powerglide. To get the clearance the Powerglide needed, ATF notched the frame rails and then boxed them for maximum strength. The Powerglide was then mounted to the Viper's chassis with a custom fabricated transmission mount. Jason Gatlin and his talented fabricators and technicians handled all of those aspects of the Powerglide conversion with ease. The true test of ATF's expertise and ingenuity was creating the flexplate, adapters and spacers required for the Powerglide and its torque converter to be connected to the Viper's powerful twin turbo V-10 engine. Jason spent many hours in the ATF machine shop designing and manufacturing billet steel and billet aluminum adapters and spacers he needed to make the Powerglide conversion flawless. While the ATF machine shop made the spacers and adapters, ATF's technicians installed and plumbed a heavy duty B&M transmission cooler. An electric fan was installed on the B&M cooler to ensure proper operating temperatures in all driving conditions. To keep an eye on the automatic transmission fluid, a Lokar transmission dipstick / fill tube was mounted to a custom made plate on the passenger's side of the engine.
Fitting a Hurst 'Quarter Stick' Powerglide shifter into the Viper's console posed a problem. The Hurst shifter was not designed for the Viper but it had to fit and function properly without cutting up the interior of the car. The Viper needed a custom shifter housing and Gatlin used everything is his arsenal to develop the solution. Gatlin's machine shop is equipped with a host of modern marvels including a high tech plastic printing machine. It prints layers of ABS plastic that build up to form solid objects. The ABS plastic is durable enough to be drilled, tapped and machined. Jason plotted the exact dimensions of the Viper's console and the Hurst shifter. Then he designed a new shifter housing using Solid Works CAD software. When his design was completed, he printed it in black ABS plastic. The result was a well made shifter housing that tucked right into the Viper's console and fit the Hurst shifter like a glove. Problem solved.
As posted in the first installment of this article Going Beyond Bulletproof Part 1, the powerglide transmission in Jim Blair's Outlaw 10.5 Mustang was breaking stator tubes and front pumps. Jason Gatlin, the owner of ATF, has engineered and manufactured a new design for the powerglide stator tube. His solution for building a stronger powerglide front pump is in development and will be available in the near future.
The new ATF powerglide stator tube is CNC machined from high strength, yet light weight, 4340 chrome-moly steel. As you can see in the images below, there are a lot of differences between the ATF stator tube and the stock stator tube. The ATF stator tube's splines are specially machined to engage perfectly with the converter splines (without being to loose or binding up from being to tight). The ATF unit's wall thickness is 25% greater than the stocker. One of the most noticeable features of ATF's new stator tube is that it mates to the pump with a "locking" hexagonal flange. Compared to the stock stator tube's round flange, ATF's hexagonal design will never twist or rotate inside the pump. ATF's hexagonal design also eliminates the tedious and failure prone pinning of the stator tube in multiple locations (which was done to keep the stock tube from twisting or rotating). During the final stage of manufacturing, Jason puts the ATF stator tubes through a special heat treating process that makes them ready for the tortures of extreme horsepower and torque.
The result of Jason Gatlin's hard work is already paying off. The ATF team won the Super Street 10.5 divison at the 2009 NMCA season opener in Bradenton, FL on March 28th and 29th. (Click here to read more...) Congratulations to Jim Blair and Jason Gatlin and the ATF crew: Patrick, Dave, Danny and Rich. Stay tuned for Part 3 of Going Beyond Bullet Proof for more information about ATF's new powerglide front pump.
Jim Blair brings home the win. The NMCA season opener (3/28 - 3/29) at Bradenton Motorsports Park was a great return for Jim Blair's Automatic Transmission Factory backed "Silver Bullet" Mustang. Blair owns and drives the 2,500+ horsepower
Super Street 10.5 Mustang down the quarter mile in the 6 second zone in excess of 200 MPH. The ATF team has worked hard to overcome the parts breakage issues that had been plaguing them for the past few races. This time out we were battling a 20-30 MPH head wind.
Jim Blair qualified third in a field of 14 competitors on Saturday with a 6.98 @ 198 MPH.
With ATF's new design stator tube and a new Neal Chance billet aluminum converter, the ATF team came prepared to battle the big dogs in the
NMCA Super Street Outlaw 10.5 division. Through racing and further track testing the upgrades to Jim's Mustang will be sorted out and the Silver Bullet will continue to get faster. The new billet converter is a great benefit to the program but
it will prove even better once it's dialed in. We found that Jim's Mustang is over powering the new converter and "driving through it". At the race we switched back to the PTC converter and broke the pump. The ATF crew put the billet aluminum Neal Chance
converter back in for the remainder of the race. A few adjustments and some fine tuning and the new converter will be just right.
In Sunday's final, Jim Blair lined up against Spiro Pappas. Blair cut the tree down and left hard against Pappas.
Pappas lost traction, broke loose and lifted the throttle then he got back in it and lost control of his twin turbo charged 1969 Camaro. Pappas crossed the center line, crashed into the wall and exploded into a massive fireball. We are all relieved and
glad to know that Spiro Pappas was not hurt in the crash and walked away from it. Be sure to view the jaw dropping video (scroll down) of the final round where Blair took the win while Pappas unfortunately crashed and burned.
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Click on a part in the picture below for more information on each component.