I want to build a race car clone

July 1, 2009 | By Richard Prince


I am originally from Sebring, Florida, home of the Sebring 12-Hour race. I have been a fan of road racing ever since my early years. Although my favorite car would be a Ferrari, my funds from being a pastor of a church aren’t quite enough to afford one of those beautiful machines. However, I was always a fan of the famous IMSA DeKon Monza.

So, this is what I want to do with my new toy, a 1980 Chevrolet Monza: Swap out the I-4; install a ZZ4-350 355HP V-8, swap out the 4-speed transmission, install a Tremec 5-speed, swap out the rear axle, install a 9” Ford rear end with something like a 3.73:1 or 3.55:1 ratio. I am also planning to overhaul the interior, order an IMSA DeKon wide body fiberglass kit & spoiler, paint and then enjoy driving around with my wife in a “clone” of a real race car!

Any help that you can throw my way with my project would be very much appreciated.


About a dozen DeKon Monzas were built for IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) competition in the mid1970s. They were designed by Horst Kwech of Ausca Racing and Lee Dykstra, and proved very competitive, thanks in part to their good design and potent V-8 engines. Your plan to build a clone of one of these racecars is ambitious, indeed, because you will have to do a fair share of engineering and fabrication.

As always, a good starting point is to begin acquiring related books and other literature. “Engine Swapping Tips and Techniques” (edited by R.M. Clark and published by Petersen and Brooklands Books), “How to Build & Modify GM ProTouring Street Machines” (by Tony E. Huntimer, published by S-A Design), Chilton’s Repair & Tune-Up Guide: GM Subcompact 1971-80, and the factory shop manual for your car are certainly good starting points.

There are numerous Web sites that will further your education and lead you to parts, tools, and advice for your project. Perhaps the best is http://h-body.org/. It has a very good forum and loads of links and references to other sources for the information you need.