When was the last time anyone ran a ’36 Chevy sedan through the wind tunnel?
Legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham likely became the first engineer in history to ponder the topic with the creation of his latest project, “The Ghost.” Unveiled at the SEMA Show on Wednesday morning, The Ghost embodies the most important attributes of motorsports and car couture to the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.
A product of the 60-year-old’s imagination, The Ghost combines his admiration for old-school automotive styling and aesthetics with his knowledge and access to modern-day technology and performance.
But put in simpler terms, The Ghost is the answer to a question: What would a modern-day modified stock car look like?
The Ghost is a custom-built race car designed to look like a modified that would have been raced in the 1960s but features state-of-the-art mechanics and electronics.
Born and raised in upstate New Jersey, Evernham is a child of the northeastern NASCAR Modified culture. He grew up competing on tracks like Wall Stadium and Flemington Raceway and won seven features at Wall from 1976-1981. Thus, The Ghost is Evernham’s full-circle moment.
“The Ghost is this crazy idea I had from 40 years of racing, 40 years of building cars,” Evernham said. “I wanted to build something to just build it. I didn’t want to build something to a certain set of rules or specifications. And I didn’t want to use CAD technology, but rather build it from our own experiences in an old-school way.”
It’s named The Ghost due to the pearl white Axalta-provided paint scheme. The car was built on a relative budget and primarily funded by Valvoline. Each contingency sponsor represented on the side of the car offered a discounted part or participated in its creation.
Evernham plans to race the car himself, while placing other professional drivers behind the wheel to push the car to its limits. While it has the appearance of a 1936 Chevrolet sedan, The Ghost has the underbody of an Indy car.
“This was my favorite kind of modified as a kid,” Evernham said. “I used to watch these cars as a kid. Now the chassis is a combination of a current NASCAR Modified car, a Trans-Am car and a little bit of a Cup Series car.
“It’s very safe. Built out of rectangular and round steel tubing. All aluminum Chevrolet SV2 410 cubic inches. It’s got old-school Kinsler fuel injection but new-school electronics by Bosch.”
The chassis was custom-designed and built from the ground up by Evernham and his team at the Big Iron Garage the old-fashioned way, without any help from computers. The car was constructed with a wide range of adjustability so it can be set up to compete on different types of tracks, including ovals, road courses, drag strips and hill climbs.
“We really wanted open wheels obviously, but we needed downforce,” Evernham said. “So we made it like a 190s Indy car. It’s flat all the way until it reaches the back and it has a huge rear diffuser for downforce.”
Due to the lack of computer simulation work, Evernham doesn’t have exact downforce figures, because again, why would anyone take a 1930s modified to the wind tunnel? But Evernham does plan to put his latest creation through one before taking it on a slate of 2018 vintage events at Road Atlanta, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pikes Peak and more.
But beyond personal satisfaction, Evernham hopes to turn heads at SEMA and beyond.
“In a perfect world, someone sees this at SEMA or (the Performance Racing Industry trade show) and wants us to build one,” Evernham said. “As much as I like coming to work every day and just creating whatever comes to mind, we need to run a business too.
“I think it is dang cool. It’s something I want to drive, and I hope that others feel the same way and want one, too. That’s what it takes to let us come up with other ideas like this moving forward.”
The complete specifications of The Ghost can be viewed below.
Body: 1936 Chevrolet Sedan
Chassis: Rectangular 2” x 3.125” mild steel tubing main frame rails with a NASCAR-style 1.75” round .095 mild steel DOM tubing integral roll cage
Weight: 2,650 lb with driver and fuel
Front Tread: 63”
Rear Tread: 67”
Engine: All-Aluminum Chevrolet SB-2 by Pro Motor Engineering
Engine Displacement: 410 CI
Peak Horsepower: 850
Peak Torque: 626 ft/lbs
Motor Oil and Lubricants: Valvoline
Cooling: Custom-built C&R Racing Radiator and Oil Coolers
Plumbing: Brown and Miller Racing Solutions
Transmission: Jerico Performance Products 4-Speed
• 1st Gear – 1.75
• 2nd Gear – 1.40
• 3rd Gear – 1.13
• 4th Gear – 1
Driveshaft: Custom Carbon Fiber
Rear End: Winters Aluminum Center Section Quick-Change
Ring and Pinion: 4:12
Steering: Sweet Manufacturing Rack and Pinion
Engine Management System: AEM Performance Electronics Infinity Series 7
Electronic Dash: AEM Performance Electronics CD-7 Digital Dash Display
GPS/G-Meter: AEM Performance Electronics Vehicle Dynamics Module
Coils: AEM Performance Electronics Smart Coils
Wiring: Brown and Miller Racing Solutions
Braking and Suspension
Front Brakes: PFC Brakes ZR94 Zero Drag Caliper with 41mm and 44mm staggered pistons to reduce pad taper and wheel locking, and Zero Failure Disc with V3 disc technology
Rear Brakes: PFC Brakes ZR94 Zero Drag Caliper with 29mm and 36.5mm staggered pistons to reduce pad taper and wheel locking, and Zero Failure Disc with V3 disc technology
Front Suspension: Unequal length A-arms with mono balls, adjustable degree steel spindles and coil-over shocks by JRi Shocks with Hyperco springs
Rear Suspension: 36” aluminum radius rods and FK Rod Ends with a single adjustable Neuline torque arm, front center bearing mounted Watts link, coil-over shocks by JRi Shocks and springs by Hyperco
Pedal Assembly: Tilton 800-Series Master
Tires and Wheels
Front Tires: Goodyear Racing D1570
Rear Tires: Goodyear Racing D1751
Front Wheels: 13” x 16” Aluminum Wide 5 Real Racing Wheels
Rear Wheels: 14” x 16” Aluminum Wide 5 Real Racing Wheels
Fuel Cell: Custom Fabricated ATL 22-Gallon Fuel Cell
Steering Wheel: MPI-GT-13-A by Max Papis
Seat: Kenny’s Components Carbon Fiber Racing Seat
Safety Belts: Schroth Racing 5 Point Harness
Fire Suppression System: Safecraft’s AT10 Dual Hose
Automatic Air Jacks: AirJax Air-Powered Racecar Lifting System
Paint: Axalta Coating Systems
Graphics: 3M Commercial Solutions
Fabrication and Paint Supplies: 3M Automotive Aftermarket Supplies
Ray Evernham – Visionary and Designer
Eddie Bohn – Lead Mechanic
Dan Baker – Lead Fabricator and Paint