Jim Hand's 455  

The engine that powers Jim Hand's 1971 Pontiac Le Mans Station Wagon (with factory installed GTO appearance Endura front end) into the high 11s in the quarter mile is detailed below. Jim's amazing success is attributable to his meticulous approach to engine building, tireless approach to supertuning, and his use of well-matched engine components to furnish power from idle to 5500 rpm. A real detail man, Jim has carefully tweaked the engine and chassis improving upon its performance a little at a time. Jim graciously provided the following information to share with musclecar enthusiasts who visit the Pontiac Street Performance website. Many thanks, Jim. (j.e.hand@worldnet.att.net)

Technical Data
(1999 and prior years)

Engine Block: 1973 Pontiac 455 with 2 bolt mains
Bore and Stroke: 4.15" x 4.21"; bored .030 to accommodate forged pistons with moly rings
Heads: #64 heads with TRW stainless steel 2.11" and 1.77" valves (ported by "Hand")
Deck Height: zero deck height (.000")
Valve Springs: Jim Butler #052B (dual springs)
Rocker Arms: Harland and Sharp 1.65 roller rockers
Retainers: stock
Keepers: stock
Valve Seals: positive Viton seals (without inserts) to fit installed guides. Positive and o-ring seals used on all valves
Lifters: Rhoads variable duration
Push Rods: stock
Crankshaft: stock uncut with polished journals; all reciprocating parts are balanced
Rods: stock untouched except for resizing big ends
Rod Bolts: new Pontiac bolts
Pistons: TRW forged +.030
Rings: moly--Sealed Power E 300K stock type
Main Bearings
Rod Bearings
Cam Bearings:
Clevite (Michigan) 77
Timing Gear and Chain: double roller set from Jim Butler Performance
Gaskets: standard Fel Pro builder's set, except with custom header gaskets made from Mr. Gasket flat gasket material
Camshaft: Wolverine WG 5059--234/244 degrees intake/ exhaust duration @.050; advertised duration, 300/310 intake/exhaust; .536" lift intake/ .561" lift exhaust with 1.65 rockers; 112 lobe separation angle; cam installed with intake at 107 degrees per manufacturer's recommendation. Smooth idle with Rhoads lifters, 13.5 vaccum in Drive at 750 rpm. (Note: rough idle with standard hydraulic lifters). Cam timed with intake slightly retarded to 108 degrees to compliment action of Rhoads lifters
Intake Manifold: Performer RPM with .5" cut in divider at secondary opening
Carburetion: 750 cfm Quadrajet (assembled by Jim); .074 primary jets with .041 rods; .038 secondary rods below 75 degrees , .043 rods above 75 degrees ambient temperature. 92 octane Amoco gasoline, no additives
Fuel Pump: Mallory 140 with Holley regulator set for 3 pounds fuel pressure; 1/2" fuel line from tank to regulator, 3/8" gas line through metal Fram filter to carb. "Hand" fabricated cool induction through firewall with air filter over air inlets on plenum
Exhaust: Hooker 1.75" primaries, 3" collector; Dr. Gas 3" X Crossover into 3" x 2.5" Flowmaster reducers into 2.5" Walker # 17288 21" length Ultra Flow mufflers followed by Torque Technologies 2.5" mandrel bent tailpipes modified to exit behind rear wheels. Headers modified to fit ports, cleaned up pipes into collectors, and 2" added to all left side primary pipes to more equally match right side length 
Ignition: stock HEI with GM 990 module, Delco cap and rotor, "Cobra" spiral wound solid core resistence wires from J. C. Whitney. Champion RJ12C plugs gapped .050". Mechanical advance starts at 1100 rpm, total of 19 degrees advance in by 2900, and inital timing set at 11, for a total mechanical advance of 30 degrees, plus 14 degrees vaccum advance
Oil Pump: Melling 54C, 40 pounds of pressure when warm, 15-20 pounds @ idle; 5W-40 synthetic oil 
Transmission: TH-400 (built by Tom Hand); Trans Go Shift Kit; transmission governor and valve body modified to automatically shift at 5500 rpm at full throttle. Shifts normally under other conditions. High stall torque ratio Continental converter.
Rear End: 3.55 gearing in 12 bolt limited slip with HD pre-load springs installed (GM PN 3890860). "C" clip Eliminator package installed for safety. Moser axles installed for strength
Vehicle Weight: 4025 pounds with driver after new VFN fiberglass nose replaced Endura bumper (without roll bar); roll bar added 50-60 pounds

Performance: Average Quarter Mile and Eighth Mile for five runs on September 29, 1997, at Kansas City Dragstrip (75 degree F. 60% humidity, 30.0 BP, altitude 850 feet). 11.916 seconds @ 111.75 mph with 60' time of 1.709 seconds; Eighth Mile: 7.55 seconds @ 90.83 mph. Tires: Mickey Thompson ET Street tires, 28 x 13.5 -15, 11" tread width on Cragar Superlite 15" x 10" wide wheels.

1998 Performance: October 21, 1998, at Kansas City Dragstip (good weather, fair traction strip), average of 5 runs: 11.84 @113.04 mph; 60' times of 1.72 seconds; 1/8th mile time of 7.52 @91.48 mph. See Jim's quickest time slip.

1999 Performance: NHRA mandated roll bar added and car ran a best of 11.86 @ 113.4 mph.

Note: As a result of an errant screw falling out of the quadrajet carburetor and lodging between a piston and cylinder whcih destroyed the block in late 1999, Jim built a stroked 455 for the 2000 season. See Jim Hand's 473....

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