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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Spectre High Beam Air Ducts

3/10/2017

Let me introduce you to the newest project car to grace our garage. I scored a complete 283/auto, ’67 Malibu from a friend’s barn a couple years ago. As it turned out, the car had some way deeper body issues than had first appeared. However, that’s a story (a few actually) for another day. At least that gives enough background to tell you about these great parts from Spectre and give you an idea of my plans for this slab of GM muscle.

I’m a big fan of the sixties. Especially hot rods and racing from the sixties. For a guy building a big block Chevelle (it got carried away fast), Smokey Yunick is kind of a big deal. That’s where the inspiration for this project car comes from.

Like this, but full-scale and a year newer

I want this car to be the epitome of understatement. All black, with a black bench interior and black steel wheels, wrapped in fat redline tires. All that, coupled with a ride height that hovers just a few inches off the ground... It will hint at sinister underpinnings but never come right out and say it. In other words, Speak softly, carry a jackhammer.

One of the things that I’ve always loved about serious performance cars of the era was the wanton disregard for factory lighting if it could be sacrificed to enhance performance. I had already been thinking in this direction when Spectre came out with ready-made parts to do exactly what I was looking for.

I’ll be the first to admit, this series of stories on what was a pretty complete, stock Chevelle is going to irritate some people. Trust me, it wasn’t as nice as it looked. Let’s start cutting.

The first thing you’ll notice when you hold the new parts up to the empty and sightless headlight buckets is the difference in size. The duct size on the new ports is 4” in diameter.

The first photo shows the typical arrangement in a quad headlight front end. Some other things to consider when doing this conversion on your car are:

  • Relocation of the battery
  • Radiator Overflow is in the way
  • Washer Resevior may also be in the way
  • Converting outer lights to High intensity Hi/Lo

Even after considering those things I decided that it was worth following through.

As it turns out, those little tin headlight buckets are extremely difficult to hold in a vice or any other way I could fathom without destroying them in the process. Always being safety minded, I found a way to make a clean cut with no drama or worries about parts (or fingers) shooting across the shop.

I wrapped one of the polished aluminum funnel ports in heavy masking tape to protect the surface. This is the part I’ll use for marking, measuring and test fit. I placed the square end of it over the back of the bucket and marked around it with a sharpie. A cut-off wheel on my grinder made quick work of the thin sheet metal. I filed and deburred the edges once the cut was made.

With a nice fit on the funnel achieved, I was able to re-install it on the car and mark the radiator saddle where it would also need to be opened up. I fumbled by forgetting to take photos of this step, but I then drilled four 1/2” holes at the top and both sides of the circle.

Through those holes I was easily able to cut the circle cleanly with a body saw. The hole was then deburred and dressed with a die grinder and 80 grit drum.

Irregular surfaces don’t cut easily. Take your time.

The port funnel is retained by the factory headlight retaining ring and will require some adjustment of the plastic spacer ring supplied depending on whether or not you want to run the optional stone guard screen. I’m still not sure which way I’ll go. I’m leaning toward the open, unscreened look.

Below is a sneak peek of what those ports will be feeding. Look for a future article on the 496 Big Block topped with a 600 HP Fitech System to make sure we use up every last bit of extra cold air this upgrade can give.

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