Phantom Cat Motorsports

Autosport Fabricator, Racer, and Anime fanatic

Getting to know a new friend

Starting with a 2000 GMC Sonoma ZQ8, it had a 2.2 4 cyl and dead 4L60E trans. The frame and cab were in good shape, but the front clip was pretty hashed from multiple deer hits and the box, in addition to being rotted out, looked like it had been used to haul tractor engine blocks. This is what it looked like the day I rolled it into the barn to start the work:

I thrashed on it just enough to able to hit the last couple of events in 2012. This amounted to getting the engine, trans, fuel cell, and other related systems set up

The winter of 12'/13' it went back under the knife for the rest of its re-working. With the aid of a craigslist parts truck, the hood, front bumper, windshield, and box were replaced. The interior was stripped and Kirkey Pro-Drag seats installed as were proper harness'. The roof was cut off and an elaborate cage was welded in.

I had planned to paint it low gloss black with old school flames, but I just couldn't pull the trigger on it. After trying and failing, to decide what color might work with the flames, I decided to paint it yellow. 68-70 GM Daytona to be exact. While I would've like it to be a more vibrant yellow, I'm pleased with it the way it is.

I decided to make my own grille so as to be able to get as much air on the radiator as possible. The stock piece took away too much radiator opening for my liking.

Brake ducting parts. Cut down the ducts and riveted them into the driving light openings in the bumper valance. There isn't enough room to connect the hoses to the spindles, so I aimed them at some scoops I added to the spindles to catch the air. Not the best idea, but one that would work. The downside being it really only works while the truck is going straight. However they worked great at the track day I attended at Gingerman Raceway. Not a bit of the fade I experienced with the Malibu.

Current Specifications:

1975 400 small block bored .030 over, "ginsu" cast crank, race prepped 5.7 rods, hyperutectic pistons, Lunati VooDoo 489/504 cam, Vortec heads with 2.02/1.60 valves/screw in studs/guide plates, Edlebrock Performer RPM intake, 750 Holley converted for E85, Sanderson shorty headers, 2.5" dual exhaust w/ an x-pipe and 40 series Flowmasters, Summit Racing billet racing distributor, CD ignition box, and coil.

Hays Aluminum flywheel, Clutch Dynamics 11" 4-puck ceramic pad solid hub clutch w/ diaphragm pressure plate, Ram hyd throw-out, wilwood 3/4" clutch m/c, B/W/ wide ratio Super T10, Hurst street super shifter

Stock GM 7.5" 10-bolt housing, moser axles, Auburn pro-series diff, 3.08 gear, ARP 1/2" studs

Stock size rotors up front w/ 1/2" ARP studs, Speedway Motors 2.75" piston Metric calipers w/ Hawk HP Plus pads, and Jegs dot braided AN flex lines

Day motorsports vented street stock rotors out back, Jegs metric caliper mounts, O.E.size Metric calipers /w Hawk HP Plus pads, and braided AN flex lines

1-1/8" C3 Corvette Brake M/C, 7" dual diaphragm booster, Wilwood bias valve for rear, Jegs line-loc for front.

Front suspension:

  • Afco springs (5.5"x11"x1200 lbs)
  • Afco street stock shocks
  • O.E. 1-5/16" ZQ8 swaybar w/ Energy suspension mounts and endlinks.
  • Speedway motors tubular upper control arms w/ greaseable solid bushings
  • Boxed O.E. lowers w/ Summit Racing L.W. steel/nylon bushings
  • Summit Racing low friction 1" longer upper and lower ball joints
  • ARP 1/2" studs
  • - 2-1/4 deg. camber
  • - 1/16" toe out
  • ????? camber
Rear suspension:
  • Summit Racing 3" drop leaves
  • JTR 2" billet alum lowering block
  • Caltracs
  • Afco street stock shocks
  • O.E. ZQ8 swaybar w/ Energy suspension mounts and custom spherical rod end links.
  • Energy suspension leaf spring bushings

And it's done!

And here it is in all its completed glory!:

Previous two photos by Phil Hammar

This last image was taken in grid while we waited for the Corvette to be removed from atop a bike rack that one of its drivers  parked it on......

In action

From the 2013 season:

US131 Motorsports Park Furrin Group
season end autocross

Gingernan raceway

MSU Furrin Group autocross

Gingerman Raceway

GVSU Furrin Group autocross

MSU Furrin Group autocross

Gingerman Raceway

The Michigan Mile @ W.K. Kellogg airport

The Numbers

Chassis Dyno results:
327 rwhp
427 rwtq
(numbers are from when engine was in the Malibu. Will make more but clutch at time of pulls wouldn't hold the engines power. Will get new numbers in the spring.)

1/4 Mile:
14.44 @ 100.34 mph
2.44 - 60'
(numbers with stock ZQ8 rear suspension @ US131 late 2012. Had to launch truck like I was driving it in traffic, hard launches resulted in severe wheel hop. Had loads of wheel spin through 1st and 2nd gears. Looking for new, but probably not much better numbers in 2014; lots of torque, tall gear, and small tire.)

Standing Mile:
140 mph.
(Truck should've gone faster. The truck would race to 125, plateau for a bit, then surge to 140 at the finish. Primary fuel filter was plugged with fuel cell foam debris. Will try again in 2014)