Every year at SEMA, we can count on Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle (HRCC) to come up with something outrageous and over the top. Last year we saw a green beast that combined the early street rod look with parts and panels from Ford, Pontiac, Chevy, and Plymouth musclecars. The Kosmic Outcast was a low, mean-looking 1940 Ford Pickup that pushed the imagination as far as it can go.
But the team of Chad Hill and Kevin Tully is much more comfortable with their out-of-the-norm creations, and that’s what keeps their builds alive and on the edge. The Violent Valiant is no exception to that rule, and this 1964 Plymouth Valiant Signet has been transformed from a little-old-lady’s car into a track-ready monster that doesn’t fit into any current mold for a Pro-Touring car.
Although they have been building race cars for quite a while, it is now – during their ten year anniversary – that “the secret is out”. The Violent Valiant is their first official car to come from the newly announced Skunkworks Racing Division, and they certainly didn’t come in softly. This car makes a loud statement, all the while retaining that unique look and custom touches that are synonymous with HRCC.
Hill and Tully wanted something different to put out on the autocross, something that would stand out. Tully said, “While we were out at Goodguys Columbus last year, I told Chad that there are all sorts of Camaros, Mustangs, and Chevelles, but nobody really has a cool Mopar.” So Tully and Hill decided to build the ultimate Mopar for road racing when they took this formerly-planned A-body Super Stock car and re-engineered it into a corner-carver like none other out there.
Getting this Valiant to perform took a combined effort of a who’s who of performance parts. The motivation started with a low-deck 440 wedge topped off with Indy 440-1 cylinder heads, and the combination comes in at 528 cubes. Stuffed between the Indy heads sits a Hilborn stack injection that provides throttle response that Tully says, “is quicker than the synapse your brain can process when you press the pedal.”
Getting big spark on the fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber, Tully says that the Crane ignition system they installed is absolutely amazing. “I don’t like to roll the dice for parts,” Tully said. “I called them up and told them what I plan to do with the car, how we plan to drive it, and they sent me a box of components that perform just as I expected.” The Crane HI-6R and matched coil provide the spark needed to get the 680 crank horsepower and 640 lb-ft or torque through the drivetrain with neck-snapping acceleration.
You have to be sure that the power coming off the crankshaft can be delivered to the custom Moser rearend, and a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed transmission is the route they chose for the Violent Valiant. Clamping down on the flywheel to hook all of that power up is a McLeod clutch, and Tully says the entire combination works extremely well for them.
With all of that power and torque, the Valiant is a true musclecar in every sense of the word. But just because it’s got a bit of old school mentality built into it, don’t think that it’s missing some of the modern technology and refinements of modern musclecars. A really nice touch is the American Racing “daisy” wheels wrapped in Nitto NT-05 rubber, adding to the old school look and still providing the lightweight performance you’d expect.
The entire package delivers brute force when you need it, but a reasonable amount of technology that makes the car driveable on the street. Tully said he’s getting roughly 17 mpg on the highway, which is pretty impressive for a car putting this kind of power to the ground with an old school engine.
Hill and Tully love the old wedge motors and big blocks that we all remember from decades past. Tully said, “The LS engines are great, but don’t count out the wedges and the old big-block Chevy engines, they’re still potent and can be built to be very reliable.” Having built a few old school street rods, it just doesn’t seem right to keep tossing out these old school engines, and HRCC has shown that building a capable vehicle with power, performance, and reliability is still possible.
They’ve had the car out on the autocross at a couple of Goodguy events, but still need to get some more tuning in on the Ridetech suspension. They plan to hit a few more of the Goodguys events, so you can expect to see them at Des Moines, Nashville, and Columbus events this year. Being a part of the Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA), they’re goal is to qualify for the big event at the end of the year: The Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI).
Keep an eye out for the Violent Valiant from Skunkworks Racing at a couple of Goodguys events this year. If all goes well, and we’re thinking it will, you can plan on seeing this beauty at the OUSCI after SEMA 2015 in Vegas. Tully said that he needs a little more seat time to gain experience, but we’re thinking it’s just another excuse to get behind the wheel of the Violent Valiant. That’s the excuse we would use… wouldn’t you? See more of this beast in the gallery below.