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Exclusive Feature on Blackout Fullsize Racing
For this feature we shift the spotlight to Sweden where we focus on Anders Envall and the Blackout Fullsize Racing Team. Anders was around the sport in the 1980s with the Whiplash Camaro before taking a fifteen-year break from racing. After taking delivery of his Impala SS in 2000, defeat in a street race set Anders back on the slippery slope of improving performance - which inevitably led him back to the quarter mile!
Anders first came to Eurodragster's attention when he E-Mailed us in mid-2003 asking us to add his web site (www.blackout.nu) to our Links pages. What started off as a quick look at the web site turned into a hour plus spent laughing our way through an excellent site with a great sense of humour running through it. Later in 2003 we met Anders and the team face-to-face when they drove (yes, drove, not trailered) the Impala SS from Sweden to Santa Pod Raceway to race in Pro ET at the FIA European Finals. The team turned out to be even more fun face-to-face than they are on their web site, not even letting what most be some sort of European record for shreading blower belts (one per run!) and a half-dead transmission spoil their fun. For more details be sure to check out Anders' European Finals race report on his web site for the details.
Many thanks to Anders for making the time to take part in this Team Feature, and for producing a web site which brings a smile to our face whenever we look at it!
Eurodragster: Tell us a little about yourself away from the track?
Anders: I'm married to Agneta and our son Axel was born 1998. I work as a writer/director at Dockhouse Film and TV AB which we started back in 1989. We specialise in corporate films/image/educational/informative films for international markets. Among our customers are Volvo Car Corporation and IKEA. A lot of my time is of course spent in this business and the rest of the time is split between the Impala SS and my family so I'm sorry to say that sometimes I see my family too little!
Eurodragster: When did you first go to a drag race?
Anders: In 1972 (hmm...I must be old!) It was at Anderstorp Raceway and it was 1500 kilometers from our hometown of Umeå in northern Sweden. One way - without sleep. I was paying my part of the fuel cost for a place in the backseat in Pelle Westin's 1968 Firebird which ran 14-something. I was in heaven!
Eurodragster: When did you first take part in a drag race?
Anders: In 1980. At Pite Dragway. It was with my 1967 Camaro four-speed that had just got its six-cylinder swapped to an stock all-iron 350. I ran 14-something. I was in heaven!
Eurodragster: What is your current car?
Anders: Impala SS 1996. It came with a Corvette LT1, 4L60E trans, quick steering, 12" vented discs all round, leather interior, power supported this and that, etc etc. The model was only built in 1994-96 and when GM killed the line of full size cars in 1996 the Impala SS was of course included, even though that particular model was doing good business.
Eurodragster: When did you acquire your current car?
Anders: In 2000, in Sweden. I was over in Florida with a friend in 1997 to search for Impalas with the money in our hands. He found one, I didn't. They were still going up in price at that time.
Anders: GM built it originally, but then I started tweaking things! Reluctantly in the beginning, I didn't want to destroy a collector's car!
Eurodragster: What is the powerplant and who built it?
Anders: The 396 stroker is built by my old friend Lennart "Bagar'n" Bergqvist who has been successfully running his business, Autoshop Racing Engines, in Orlando Florida since 1985. Before that he had the business in our hometown Umeň, Sweden. The engine is tailor-made for the ProCharger boost with 8.5:1 in compression ratio and much much much more as well.
Eurodragster: Approximate BHP?
Anders: Without the supercharger the engine has 498 HP in the dyno. The ProCharger should double the effect when the boost is right.
Eurodragster: What drivetrain does the car employ?
Anders: A fully prepared 4L60E (TH700 with electronic valve) but I'm looking for the big brother for trucks, the 4L80E (TH400). It's all about how many rounds you can get before an overhaul. A Mark Williams carbon fibre driveshaft is the only thing that can handle this sort of Torque vs. Weight ratio. The rear end is a beefed-up stocker, the GM 8.5" 10-bolt, now with 3.73 gears, Moser axles and Eaton 400 lbs differential.
Eurodragster: What is the car's race weight?
Anders: 1933 kg (4261 lbs) but it will unfortunately be even heavier. All the weight reduction I have done in the past gets offset by things like uprating the the rollbar and adding a full rollcage.
Eurodragster: How the car has developed since you first got it?
Anders: First I changed to a 160 F thermostat... But when I got beaten in a street race everything happened real quick - nitrous, slicks, headers... And that was also the way back to drag racing. I was drawn back in again! Now I have changed from that stock engine to a specially built stroker 396 with a ProCharger.
Anders: 10.802 seconds/126 mph. This was at Santa Pod in 2003 and we ran this despite the fact that the blower belt started shredding about a hundred feet off the line. The FAST computer logged 20 psi of boost in the burnout, 17 psi at the start and only 7 psi at the top end!
Eurodragster: Who is your current crew?
Anders: At the track it's my dear wife Agneta and son Axel. Back home I have a couple of friends who like to be around and dig in when not building on their own cars, like Robert "Syclone" Pothorcki, Tommy "Lincoln 698 ci" Olsson and Anders "Nova" Forsberg. Tommy is also crewmember for Patrick Wikström's Pro Mod team.
Eurodragster: What plans do you have for the future?
Anders: The natural aim is to top The List - to have the quickest and fastest Impala SS in the world! All my fellow competitors are Impala SS/B-bodies racers in the USA. We have an ET/MPH list with some 250 racers that report their performances to this list. I was No. 3 after 2003 European Finals with the 10.80 but I am falling back as their winter season is rolling on. No. 1 for the moment is Jorge Perez Gurri with a 9.98 on nitrous. It is not street driven....
Eurodragster: What is your favourite story/moment involving the car?
Anders: When it was delivered! When I saw it I just got a rush that I'll never forget. Then there are a lot of fun stories which have happened related to weight v performance. Winning my first quarter-mile race after a fifteen-year break was also fun of course.
Eurodragster: What is your favourite story from the pits?
Anders: Many stories of course! But in my first race with the new blown engine in 2003, at Säve, Gothenburg I was lucky in one of the rounds when the quicker opponent red lit, so I was still in the race. When I got back to the pits my five-year-old son Axel came running as fast as he could, away from his mother, across the big grass lawn from the grandstand and shouting out loud: "DADDY YOU WON! DADDY YOU WON!". Everybody heard him and saw him! I laugh when I think about it. Not that spectacular but I guess every racing daddy and mother can relate to warm memories like that.
Eurodragster: What do like most about the sport?
Anders: The people of course! And the atmosphere. I'm very romantic about the sport of Drag Racing. I also like the fact that all races are like small vacations, small adventures for the whole family.
Eurodragster: If you could award a medal to someone in Drag Racing, who would it be and why?
Anders: For Sweden: Stig L Sjöberg, the publisher and CEO of the Swedish publishing house Albinsson and Sjöberg who make the Bilsport Magazine (once my employer). He has always believed in giving back, so I'll guess Bilsport is the biggest sponsor of Swedish Drag Racing ever. Beside all the boosting articles about the art of accelerating that Bilsport delivers every fourteen days! It has been like this since 1975!
For Europe: I am absolutely impressed - as everyone else I know - over the fabulous work that you are doing for this sport at Eurodragster! It's not only worth a couple of medals but also a couple of beers! Without you it would be very empty! Keep up the good work of building our European drag racing community! (You are too kind, Anders - Blushing Features Ed)
Eurodragster: Any people you would like to thank?
Anders: Besides all the people I already mentioned, there are too many more to list. But I guess I can mention my dearest wife Agneta again! She tops my personal list. Also thank you Eurodragster for asking!
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