Super Street Network

 |   |   |  Ultimate Street Car Challenge - The Guru Panel
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Ultimate Street Car Challenge - The Guru Panel

Mar 2, 2007
0403_sccp_01_z+uscc_guru_panel+engineering_panel Photo 1/7   |   Ultimate Street Car Challenge - The Guru Panel

This should be the most frightening test of all. Take your creation, your masterpiece, the car you've spent years conceiving, building and trying to figure out how to pay for, and let some of the best minds in the tuning business nitpick it to pieces.

In previous years, our chief picker of nits was Mike Welch, owner of Road/Race Engineering. Two cars from his shop ended up in this year's test, though, so he was forced to lead the judges in exile. The remaining members of the gasoline geek team are: John Concialdi, founder of AEM; Jeff Cheechov and Johnathan Spiegel, co-founders of the Progress Group; Jay Kavanagh, technical manager of aftermarket at Garrett Engine Boosting Systems; and Mike Kent, a sometimes robotics engineer, sometimes SCC contributor and full-time car geek.

The engineering panel looks for smart, purposeful modifications done for a reason and done well. Bolt-ons don't impress, nor does sloppy execution of even the best ideas. Doing stuff yourself gives them goose bumps, though.

You'd think the judging was in a meat locker, then, judging by the goose bumps after seeing Jay Esterer's Ultima and Troy Truglio's MR2. Both owners showed complete mastery of every last geeky detail of their cars. Esterer floored the suspension geeks from Progress with tales of how he juggled roll centers, ride frequencies and electronically controlled dampers in a quest to make his Ultima's suspension equal the McLaren F1's. And Truglio wowed the engine geeks from Garrett and AEM with tales of home-made main bearing girdles and intelligent analysis of cylinder head warpage under the strain of half-inch head studs as he tried to wring a reliable 11,000 rpm from the 3S-GTE.

The Ultima, being essentially one giant, well-executed rolling modification, rolled from the Guru Garage with the full 110 points. Truglio, who Kavanagh called a DIY god, took a nearly god-like 103 points.

The two Eclipses got two very different responses from the judges. Scot Gray's black '94 Eclipse impressed them with what wasn't done. Gray had a goal-to build a damn fast, but comfortable and reliable street car-and only did what was necessary to achieve that. Roy Narvaez' silver '95 Eclipse, on the other hand, was excess at every turn. It was the haste with which that excess had been ladled into the car, however, that frightened the judges, with "lots of things zip-tied to other things."

The big hammer Viper had few friends in the geek pool. While Kent dismissed it as a Visa car, Cheechov noted some frightening details like the inline fuel pump mounted a fraction of an inch from the driveshaft. "He's already broken axles, if he breaks a U-joint, it'll be a car-b-que."

Note to future competitors: The engineering panel looks very closely at fuel system safety.

While Cheechov was impressed with the innovative fuel management on the 350Z's ProCharger supercharger kit (basically an inline fuel pump set up to behave like a rising-rate fuel pressure regulator), Kavanagh was annoyed by James Chen's shoes, which were yellow for the second year in a row. The end result was a ninth-place 24 points.
-Dave Coleman

Overall
Leaving the palace of geekdom, the Ultima and MR2 were first and second overall, with James Chen, yellow shoes and all, bringing his Z in third place. Next up: dyno. Watch out for the Viper, boys.

1 Ultima GTR 110 Cheechov: "This is not a kit car"
2 {{{Toyota MR2}}} 103 Kavanagh: "This guy is a DIY god."
3 {{{Nissan}}} Skyline {{{90}}} Spiegel: "21 points for suspension" (out of a possible 20)
4 Mitsu Eclipse (black) 82 Concialdi: "Should I be impressed or frightened by 21 psi on 91 octane?"
5 Mitsu Eclipse (silver) 75 Concialdi: "Lots of things are zip-tied to other things."
6 {{{Dodge Viper}}} 69 Kavanagh: "The big hammer approach; simple and effective."
7 {{{Toyota Supra}}} (red) 50 Kent: "Is this for show, go, or both?"
8 {{{Audi S4}}} 44 Fire damage
9 {{{Nissan 350Z}}} 24 Kavanagh: "Enough with the yellow, already!"
10 {{{Toyota}}} {{{Supra}}} (green) 10 Bolt-on city

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE EVENT COVERAGE

Recap of the biggest drifting event of the year, the 2017 Formula DRIFT Finals
Bob HernandezOct 20, 2017
Head up to San Jose and you'll find 1 of the few Japan Towns in the US which also happens to be where the annual Shukai show takes place.
Jofel TolosaOct 19, 2017
If you know, you know, and if you don't, now you do — Super GT is one of our favorite mixed-class racing series in the world.
Justin BannerOct 19, 2017
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP