The Barramont takes on Midwest Drags!
Fonzie Novelo is mostly known for his work on Coyote engines, with some LS and Gen3 Hemis mixed in for good measure. And while he continues that passion, he wanted a new challenge. That challenge is to build a car capable of mid-8 second passes, haul the whole family AND compete in drag and drive style events. That last part of the goal is where we pick up. He attended his first drag and drive event as a co-pilot for Tim Flanders on Midwest Drags 2021. Tim’s turbo Coyote ’86 Mustang is very fast, posting an 8.52 average for the week, putting them as number 49 in the Fastest 100 2021 List. Fonzie says “I was hooked. Most fun I’ve ever had racing.”
On the way from Midwest Drags, he immediately started mapping out a plan to participate in 2022. Like most of us, he had two project cars at home and knew he could only focus on one to make that deadline. Which car would be chosen?
Kids say the darndest things!
In late 2020, Fonzie was scrolling through a Facebook group called “Under Appropriated Survivors”. There he found an “old man driven”, 43k original mile, “Light Chamois” 1979 Ford Fairmont. Him and the family jumped in the car on New Years Eve and drove 10 hours, one way, to pick it up in North Carolina. They cruised the car in stock form that spring and summer. “The car was stock with a 3.3x inline 6 and I figured there was nothing cooler than keeping an inline 6 with the car. I was just about done with a turbo 04 Cobra, came home from Midwest and made the decision one of them was going to be a drag and drive car. The kids made that decision. And it’s [Fairmont] is just cooler, imo.” So he sold the Cobra and got to work on the Fairmont.
He pulled the car apart for a custom 8.50 cage, that keeps functionality for the backseat (because kids still want ice cream), repainted all the interior plastics, reupholstered the seats and new carpet throughout.
Remember that he wanted a new challenge? “I wanted to open the hood and confuse people a little and have a good conversation starter” – Fonzie. “I found the engine in the middle of nowhere in Utah. Some guy brought a few in for buggy projects that never worked out. I basically low balled him, thinking there was no way he’d sell it that cheap.” Another Facebook Marketplace score!!
The car was home on January first and the engine arrived on January 18th. He built the entire engine himself, sourcing a lot of parts from BarraSwapLLC. The parts list includes Ross .010 Over pistons, Manley Turbo Tuff Rods, ARP main and head studs, ACL Bearings, Ferrea Valves, Crow Springs, Plasmaman Intake Manifold, FID2000 Inj, 6Boost Turbo exhaust manifold. For now, the turbo is a VS Racing 78/75 Gen3. He will use Fueltech for engine management.
All of this is backed by a TH400, custom Hughes 9.5” torque converter, and a Torque Power bellhousing from Australia. Out back is a Ford 8.8 with 3.31 gears, 9” ends, filled with Strange internals and all the bracing to handle power capable of 8 second runs!
One of the coolest parts are the custom-made mounts to run old school Ford hubcaps to fit onto Weld Draglites, for that “sleeper vibe”, as Fonzie puts it.
As we count down the days until Midwest Drags 2022, you can cheer Fonzie on by following the build page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Barramont!