Hot Rods

  Hot Rod Jim's Chassis Shop

Black Widow 2.0


Hot Rod Jim’s 1957 Chevy 2 Door Sedan started its life as a 210 2 doors sedan with a straight 6. Little did it know it was going to get the upgrade of a lifetime and become a road going demon starting with a new chassis, one of Jim's C4 Chassis will be at the root to become one of the most comfortable Pro Touring today. The Little 6 would get replaced with a Corvette LS1, Viper Specked T56 6 Speed Manual Transmission, and Interior from a 04 Pontiac GTO. See the complete list for all the upgrades.

Hot Rod Jim’s C4 Basic Rolling Chassis
      2 Turn Power Rack and Pinion
      All Urethane Bushings
      SS Kit Up Grade
         30 MM Front Sway Bar
         14 MM Solid Rear Sway Bar
         Adjustable 4 Bars
         QA1 Dual Adjustable Shocks
Dana 36 Rear Differential
      3.73 Gears
      Stock Limited Slip Clutch Pack
C5 Corvette Brake Upgrade
     Twin Piston Front Calipers
     12.6” Front Drilled Slotted Rotors
     Single piston Rears
     11.8” Rear Drilled Slotted Rotors
Hawk Pads
17”x8.5 Front Rims with 245/45/R17
18”x10 Rear Rims with 275/40/R18

-Motor Transmission
LS1 04 Corvette
      CAM 224/230 112LSA
      .612 Intake .605 Exhaust
      Patriot Performance Dual Gold Extreme
      Titanium Retainers
      Thunder Racing Chrome-Moly Pushrods
T56 Viper Spec
      2.66, 1.78, 1.30, 1.00, .74, .50
      Steel 3-4 Shift Fork
      Carbon Ceramic Synchronizers
      Brass Shift Pads
      Drill Modified Slave Cylinder
      Stage 3 Spec Clutch
      Steel Fly wheel
Long Tube headers
      Full 2.5” Dual Exhaust
      Cheery Bomb Glass Packs
Steel 3” Driveshaft
Tuned With EFILive
LC-1 Wide Band O2 Sensor

Black Widow Paint
     150 Trim and Logos all Air Brushed On
     C5 Corvette Flags and
     “Fuel Injection” logo
     Shaved Door handles
     Remote Poppers
     Remote Actuated Trunk
     Dark Tent
     Narrowed Tight Fit Bumpers
     Custom Spider Grill

APC Red and Black Cloth Race Seats
K-O wool Insulation
Boss 6.2 Inch touch screen Head Unit
      CD/ DVD Player
2 - 6”x9” 600 Watt Mids
Auto Meter Gauges

Spokes 2009 SMAP

Final Update
       Plenty of things have changed and plenty more too change. We’ve had some family health issues and changed a few things here so the 57 had to go. New tools and equipment have taken the place of the 57 and our 57 Pickup Project the PT-57 and all of our customers projects will greatly benefit from it too but we thought we’d have one last throw down with the 57 before she went up for sale. The place Spokes new Autocross lot at the San Marcos Air Port. Militarily grade concrete from WW2, this is an autocrossers dream and a perfect way to say goodbye to our toy.

       So with several friends and family armed with still and video cameras all over the course and the drivers will to drive the car harder than ever before we took to the course to tear up some rubber. We shoed the car with 275/40/ZR18’s up front and 275/35/ZR19 Michelin Pilot Sports, fresh balancing a few tweaks to the suspension and we were ready to do battle.

       We ran a good race and it was the perfect way to move on to the next project with no regrets. Check out our videos all in HD, a good clean run and a crazy spin out. Also check out all of our stills and see the Widow bring the pain one last time.

       - Russell Alexander

       The Doughnut

       The Last Run and More (Coming Soon)

The Final Autocross and video of the Black Widow

Driveway December 12, 2008

Update December 15, 2008
       I lied, there was a track day and it was 75 down here so I went but I broke the camera so no video today. The base couldn’t take the G’s. I went into corner 1 when the green flag went down and the camera’s mount broke off at the base and ended up in the passenger’s seat. But My buddy Dreads had the camera with the 300mm zoom lenses I borrowed from a friend. So today we have some good stills in and out of the corners for the guys looking.

       With another track session under my belt I’ve decided to bump the spring rates 50-100 pounds all the way around. The car rides well enough and each coil has some minor per tension so I’m sure I can pull it off without sacking any ride quality. The issue I was running into way with understeer. The rearend just hooks too well and the front end even with the same size tire just doesn’t bite nearly as well so you get push and understeer. I intend to bump the rear to 450 and the front to 500 that should remove some more body roll and make the frontend hook a little better. If it works out and the ride quality can be maintained I’ll be standardizing this option on the SS kits.

       The better tires helped but the cold track didn’t so my lap times were only .1 faster than my best time during the school. So my completion for the day, a 2007 Nisimo 350 Z, 2008 Z06 Corvette a GT Mustang (who was kicked off the track later for having not taken the class) and a 2008 BMW M3 the one with the V8. I wish I could use them for comparison but we’re all novice drivers looking for more experience. At least the Z06 never passed me. We both got black flagged at different times due to taking it to close to the edge.

       As a last little fun bit my instructor from the race school and in the autocross, Lance showed up. So after helping with a last minute fix on his car he offered me some ride time in his car to work on my lines. Z06 corvette with road racing slicks, and a world class driver, it was a blast.

       - Russell Alexander

SASCA Event #12

Spokes Event #11

Update December 10, 2008
       It the end of the Autocross session until March and Hot Rod Jim’s has done a lot that we haven’t had time to keep you all up on so you get an extra long update today to make up for in including a movie to go with it .  What have we been doing with the Widow everything you want to and then some.  We’ve been trying to break everything on this car from the rearend to the headlights. Starting with the some drag racing and then on to a lot of autocross and daily driving to fill the gaps. We’ll also go over what we’ve learned modification we’ve done and what where planning for next year on the widow.  
       We’ll start with the Autocrossing. For those who don’t know let me define it, Autocross or Solo as it is also known is a form of motorsports that emphasizes safe, low-cost competition and active participation. An autocross is a timed competition where drivers navigate one at a time through a temporary course marked by traffic cones, usually in parking lots, rather than racing on a track with multiple other cars, as in road racing or oval racing. Autocross tends to place more emphasis on car handling and driver skill than on sheer horsepower. –Wikipedia
       With handling being our main concern autocrossing was an easy choice. It gives us and our customers a chance to push their beautiful machines around a safe environment without other cars or barricades to worry about crashing into if you mess up. So we started here with Austin Club Spokes and The San Antonio Sports Car Association running in their E Modified class. After the first event it was clear the base line packages accomplished their jobs of being a comfortable inexpensive upgrade to handling and comfort but they left something to be desired in the handling department.  So we developed the Sport Kit adding front and rear sway bars to our base chassis and adjustable 4 bars. The adjustable 4 bars server two purposes. One, they are the suspensions component that the rear sway bar attaches too. Second they allow us to tweak the rear suspensions squat and wheel spin on each side. This way we could influence the wheels for even launches and corner exiting.  After a few races with the Sport kit it was time to start tweaking the shocks for better performance at each wheel. The new stiffer springs we upgraded required more shock compression adjustment than our QA1 Ultra Ride shocks offered so we then upgraded to the QA1 Double adjustable Shocks giving us more tenability on each wheel. The is now known as out SS kit.
       What have we accomplished with our SS kit on the basic chassis, how about a 1.18G average at the last autocross with SASCA on street tires. Don’t believe me checkout the video and the screen shot of our chart on the right.

Driveway School

       To improve the skill of Russell the driver he took a special class at the Driveway Austin in Road Racing 101. The added bonus to this particular class is that the head instructor was a seasoned autocross champion in the C5 corvettes. The rest of the staff were all very competitive in their respective class including Subaru STI’s , 3ed Gen RX7’s, and Miata’s. The day finished up with The Widow finishing 4.5 seconds behind a 07 Z06 Corvette with race slicks and a intermediate level driver to boot. The Widow at that time only had the Sport kit installed with its street tires.
       You can see several of the images on the right you can see us throwing the widow at the corners and cutting around the course. On all of these outing the Widow was driven to and from the event. While we are racing the car this is a street car first and a race car second. We want to make sure we maintain that idea with our car. We want you to want to drive your car not trailer it. Our spring rates are still very street able and are still considers softer than most performance C5 and C6 Corvettes that we’ve driven. The Widow gets 22-27 MPG depending on who’s driving and has 6752 miles on her at the time of this post. We will continue to drive her and hope to see 8,000 before the year is done.
       To aid in our racing we have swapped the GTO seat for lighter race seats and 4 point harness. We have also aluminum decked the car to eliminate addition weight of the interior and give us a place to store goodies. Next year we will be upgrading to 4.10 gears for more effective RPM’s and torque on the road course and at the autocross track. We will also be upgrading the wheels and tires to 18x10 front wheels with Michelin PS2 275/35/R18 for tires and 19x11 out back with 295/35/R19 to put down the extra torque.


Update July 27, 2008
       This past week we took the Black Widow to the American Racing Technologies and got some WHP and WTQ numbers before we went to the drag strip. Cody and the guys got us hooked up and pulled 353.59 wheel horse power and 334.57 wheel torque.  After our run we made our way to the drag strip.  During this trip we also logged over 138 miles and averaged 24 MPG including the dyno pulls and a few tuning passes on the street that morning all on the same tank of gas.
       When we got to the drag strip we really wanted to make sure we were doing everything in our power to break that rear end. So with only 1 gallon of gas left in the tank we opted for 5 gallons of 110 octane unleaded for a little extra punch. After 13 total passes and a successful 13.3 second run we only broke one bolt that is normally replaced on all of our customer’s chassis. Now the one bolt was holding the half shaft U joint. The half shaft spun around and broke the bat wing as well as the lower strut mount on the diff case. We were able to weld it up and have her back on the ground in a day. We pulled the gears out and they were tight and solid. The bolts we use on our customers cars are new grade 10.9 alloy and the stock GM bolts are much softer. You can see in the last photo the stock bolt sitting next to the replacement we use..
       Look forward to the first part of next month when we go and get some handling numbers at the local Autocross.


Update June 25, 2008
       The Black Widow is starting to look like a car. With the entire exterior locked down and the car now street legal we plan on putting some serious miles on the car. We are going to wait on finishing up the interior so we can catch up on our orders.  We’re going to start going to the track and make a few passes and see if we can break the little dana 36 behind this gun boat and its 400 HP LS1. We will also be taking it to the local autocross and start getting some performance handling numbers.  Anyone want to stop by and take it for a drive?


Update May 5, 2008
       Progress has been made.  The front end is on, and locked in. The cam is in, along with the other goodies. Intake has been modified for the Cable throttle body and is installed along with everything except the alternator. We’re waiting for the rack cooler to rout the lines for that one and some other finish out goodies.  With this update I’ve also updated the tech sheet up top with all the more accurate info for the Black Widow. We've also built a custom dual cone cold air intake to ensure fresh air and solid power into our fire breathing beast. You might also notice the custom grill we’re building to help complement the “black widow theme. The GTO Seats have had some touch ups on the front. The rear seats are being modified for a little more shoulder room and a custom center console. Some photos of the 4000 watt stereo and it’s 1000 watt sub.

Stay tuned


Update April 14, 2008
       The chassis is now complete with the exception of the back half of the exhaust and the front brake lines.  The body has been bolted down, the doors installed and the gas tank mounted.  We’re waiting on the new Custom Specked cam from Thunder Racing before we put the motor back together and get the front end installed. We’ve sent out for the custom cut glass for the left and right door windows once we removed the vent windows. The GTO Seats have been sent out to have the GTO Logos removed from the center and have the driver’s side patched where an unnamed individual (Jim) burned a small hole with the welding torch.  The bumpers and other small chrome parts have been sent out for air brushing.  Check back soon for more.


The saga continues
       We now have the Body back from paint and we have also built one of our new V4 chassis for our Black Widow 57. Now the assembly can get under way. Check back for more

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