Here's a quick quiz question for you. What's the largest, in terms of numbers of participants, short-track racing division in the country? If you said Street Stock (or Sportsman or Super Stock for that matter) you're right on target. Pound for pound, there are more Street Stocks around the country than any other type of oval-track race car.
The backbone of many a short track's back gate, the venerable Sportsman division is an entry level to intermediate class of race car that has everyone from 16 to 60 years old competing. Cars in these divisions run the gamut, from early '70s 116-inch wheelbase cars to late '80s 108-inch metric chassis and beyond. Those chassis and their squared off, boxy shaped bodies are the staple at both dirt and paved tracks from California to New York. But rarely, do you see a sleek-bodied race car show up in this division. That's about to change thanks to the guys at ARP Bodies.
For years, Jerry Criswell, President of ARP Bodies, wanted to design a body that would fit the 108-inch high rollcage stock-type chassis common in Sportsman divisions everywhere. "We wanted to do a body that looked different from the basic Late Model bodies available and one that might also be more durable and easier to use than the stock steel bodies out there," explains Criswell. The stock chassis-type cars typically have a straighter, longer, and higher (50 inches or more) style rollcage along with a 12-13 inch engine crank height which makes the installation of a current late model body almost impossible. "At best it usually looks bad," he says.
After drilling out the rivets...
After drilling out the rivets holding the body on, the ARP crew lifts the old body off.
The Problem Most Late Model bodies have a 'cage height of 45 inches or less. They're also generally set back farther on the chassis with the 'cage being laid back as well. Plus, the dry sump engines that most Late Model touring series run are as much as 3 to 4 inches lower than those found in a Sportsman. In the past, if you ever tried to update your sportsman by installing a Late Model body on your stock metric or Impala chassis, you ran into a whole host of problems. In addition to the roof being too small to fit the larger Sportsman-type 'cage, the roof and quarter-panels wouldn't line up, leaving a 3 to 4 inch gap. If you could get the roof to fit, then the wheel openings wouldn't match, largely because a Late Model body is designed to fit a 101 to 105 inch wheelbase chassis. Not to mention the fact that the height of the Sportsman motor will prevent the hood from fitting correctly. The list of problems with this type of body swap goes on and on.
The Solution Enter ARP, taking the concept of an updated Sportsman/Street Stock race car, it designed its NGB Sportsman Body to be versatile enough to fit everything from a 108-inch wheelbase car, up to 118.
With the body off, the need...
With the body off, the need for some serious housekeeping became apparent.
Introduced at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, Florida, in December 2008, the NGB Body was originally designed to fit the rules of the Mid American Racing Series, the Midwest sanction that runs mostly on - to -mile tracks, but also throws in stops at Road America and the Milwaukee Mile for good measure.
The versatility of the body can be seen in the special trim panels which allow you to fit the quarter-panel wheel openings to your specific wheelbase. The body is also designed to accommodate the taller wet sump-type engines that have to conform to a 13 inch crank height rule. The NGB body has molded-in side flairs that make the fender side taller and allows the fender top to be higher for added carburetor/air cleaner clearance.
Designed to fit a metric chassis with a 62 to 63 inch tread width using the proper 8 inch wheels and tires, the NGB Body's plastic parts come in seven different colors along with complete front and rear window mounting ledges as well as quarter window ledges. You can choose from the Pontiac G8, Cadillac CTS, Chevy Malibu, Dodge Charger, or Lincoln MKS. But enough of the stats, let's get to the transformation.
These window braces will be...
These window braces will be removed, along with other braces that were designed for the figure eight racing the previous owner enjoyed taking part in.
Once the frame heights were...
Once the frame heights were set, the guys at ARP cut tubing and welded each side of the front clip to the steel rack to ensure that the clip didn't move as they cut and removed the front bumper and push bars. They also cut the front bay bars back some to ensure proper hood clearance. A removable bay support cross bar will be added later.
Here, a plumb bob is dropped...
Here, a plumb bob is dropped to the center of the front wedge bolt to accurately measure 12 inches forward along the top bay bar. This is the location where they decided to cut the bay bars. From this point, they will cut and notch 1 inch 0.095 tubing, placing it as the new down supports for the bay bar.