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Old 09-22-2003, 03:21 AM   #1
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Car: 1988 IROC
Engine: 350 TPI
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TPI in a Manta Mirage?

For those of you who may have followed the kit (replica, home built, custom built - whatever the heck you want to call them) for any length of time, you are probably familiar with the Manta Mirage (and it's sister, the Montage). For those of you who aren't, I'll try and attach a picture of the one I'm acquiring).

I'm considering a 350 TPI in this car, and I'm curious what you all think of this choice. These cars are typically quite light (about 1500 pounds) and are built on either a VW pan or a tube frame (mines on a tube frame). The Chevy V8 is the overwhelming engine of choice, and is typically mated to a ZF or Audi transaxle in a longitudinal fashion.

I like the TPI because I think it's a very clean, "sexy" design. I know it's really built for low end torque and works well in our heavy 3rd gens because of this, but NOT taking gearing issues in to account, do you think this would be too torquey for this kind of car? Do you think I ought to look mor toward a higher revving 350 or a 327? What about a TPI setup on a 327? I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that - is that because the 327 is by nature a higher revving, faster to spin up engine? Do you think this would be a better choice in this kind of vehicle?

Any opinions are welcome - and if I DO use a TPI I'll try and keep you all posted (hoping the wife doesn't make me sell the IROC to make room for this bad boy though - gotta have something to DRIVE...)

Jonathan
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Old 09-22-2003, 01:19 PM   #2
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I knew what a Manta was.

It would depend on the trans used. A Hewland would allow any engine but they are $$$.
A 327 and a TPI might save the trans. I don't recall the ZF being the strongest trans. About the same as a T5.
You might try a LT1 intake to get rid of some of the lowend too.

If I could afford the Tube framed car, I'd build a 327 for it.
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Old 09-22-2003, 02:55 PM   #3
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a local buddy I use to work with has a tube frame one of those Just sitting in his garage collecting dust. He move donto finish up his vette.

and there is another red one in town forsell also.

id say do a 350 with a Holly Stealth Ram myself.
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:11 PM   #4
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I have for the last few years been into dune buggy's with fiberglass frames. They are basically the same style of kit car, minus the length.

I really hate to say this, but if you're frame is setup for a volkswagon, or other 4 cyclinder engine your best to go with that. Basically you're looking at a VW frame.

When I put a dual carbed 1600 motor into my fiber glass buggy, it would wheelstand in first, and pull the front off the ground in second. The freeway was all to scary heheh.

In other words, my 56hp stock VW motor was almost too much for these types of cars.

My suggestion. If you are bent on putting in a tpi or a v8, beef that frame to the hilt, and get some weight in it. I hvave a feeling that v8 would rip the frame in half before you got it to move.

It would be like strappen your but to a motor heheh. Good luck in your venture, and if you have any frame/steering Q's let me know as I said I have been through 4 of these, and know a few sietes with info of the makers of these kits, and how rare they are. Some people have even bought the molds and stated making parts for them again. good luck! man they are fun!
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Old 09-22-2003, 09:51 PM   #5
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A 327 and a TPI might save the trans. I don't recall the ZF being the strongest trans. About the same as a T5. You might try a LT1 intake to get rid of some of the lowend too.
The ZF wasnt a "great" tranny but it was a helluva lot stronger then a T-5.....Using an LT1 intake will add MORE low end grunt then a TPI, a little less midrange and more on top...

id use the tpi..you should be able to hook the TPI low end and itll fly in the midrange...run it to 5200 and shift, then repeat as nessesary
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Old 09-22-2003, 10:11 PM   #6
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If you want a high revving horse power engine de stroke a 350 and build a 302. If you recall, GM used this engine back in 69 on Z28 camaros. THey were hugely successful in road racing applications. In your car, since its so light, I think a 302 would do wonderfully...
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Old 09-22-2003, 10:45 PM   #7
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You could also run a hellaciously high rear end gear (lower numerically) to offset the lowend torque, get insane gas mileage, and really high top speed . I'd really consider a caddy northstar engine as well, a few people have swapped them into fiero's with good success and it's transverse design works well for rear engine rear drive cars. Not to mention not quite the grunt of a tpi, but plenty of hp.
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:53 AM   #8
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I saw a Fiero with a Northstar at a local Pontiac car show recently.

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Old 09-23-2003, 01:59 AM   #9
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Here's a pic
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:49 PM   #10
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guy lives nearby just dropped a 327 in a fiero......spent big bucks and lots of time.........turned into a mess.........trans broke every time you full powered it plus endless other trouble ...like have a huge weight in the back of the car made the thing terribly unpredictable in turns..............he sold it cheap just to get rid of it after spending major bucks to build it.
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:29 PM   #11
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Thanks for the thoughts, all

This particular car is already on the factory (Warp 5) tube frame, and is setup for a small block chevy. The weight balance ratio is something very close to 50/50 if you go this route, and although I have considered the Buick turbo 3.8, and tha Mazfa rotary (13B), I really want to go with the SBC. I have several 4 bolt blocks, and two TPI setups, so that helps to keep it cheap.

A 327 is a possibility - the 302 is a great idea - hadn't even considered that. I know there are a couple of guys out there that have built these cars with BBC's, but that's some bucks, and they weigh a bit more (kind of seems like overkill, to me...) Matter of fact, my inclination would be to build this only slightly better than stock - ported heads (aluminum?), moderate cam, port matching, hyper-euts or forged pistons. Otherwise I don't think I'll change much, as I'd like to preserve driveability (right!!) and longevity. It seems to me, that in such a light car, the real problem is going to be putting 300-400 ponies on the pavement and keeping them there.

Transmission wise, the Hewland is definitely the best choice, but mucho bucks, and again, I'm not planning on putting HUGE gobs of power through it. The ZF's are ok - probably most popular because they've got good gear ratios and are really already well set up for a 350. But they're also pricey - if you can find one for sale. The Audi's (016's) hold up pretty well up to about 400 ponies if you take a little time to beef some internals and set the drive train up correctly.

I'm leaning toward the TPI - (I don't know why - you would think my problems with my IROC would be enough to send me screaming!) - I'll keep you all posted.

Jonathan
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Old 09-26-2003, 03:11 AM   #12
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I built a Montage some years ago, and I used a 350 TPI in it... With the Porshe transaxle that was set up for the SBC... I loved it... but if I was doing it today, I think I would prolly use a Northstar... Then again, the Montage is a LITTLE smaller and slightly lighter than the Manta.
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Old 09-26-2003, 05:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott_Lopez
I knew what a Manta was.

I don't recall the ZF being the strongest trans. About the same as a T5.
The ZF trans behind the LT1/LT4's is one of the strongest manual transmissions GM ever put into production vehicles. Its rated at 450 ft/lbs. and is arguably even stronger than the GM T56's.
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Old 09-26-2003, 05:04 PM
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