Everett-Morrison cars have earned a reputation in the kit and replicar industry for their solid chassis engineering and well-crafted body components. In layman's terms, that means the cars look good, the body panels fit right, and the engineering under that beautiful skin is well thought out and totally functional.
Everett-Morrison has been in this business for 21 years and has continued to advance both the cosmetics and functionality of their product with each successive upgrade (they now offer a Generation IV). Everett-Morrison was formed in 1983 by Beaufort Everett, his sons Bruce and Brett, and Dean J. Morrison. Morrison had formerly owned Allied Industries in Nebraska where he had been a major producer of dune buggy bodies in the '60s, thus making him familiar with the day-to-day grind of the kit business. According to Brett Everett, the 1983 kit was a bare-bones economy model priced just under a reasonable $5,000.
Over the years they made many improvements and configured the kit for several different (Mustang II with straight axle, Jaguar, C4 Corvette, and Ford independent) suspensions in an attempt to improve the all-around performance of the car, yet retain some semblance of economic feasibility. During that time, they also tested the fitment of various engine and transmission combinations from Ford, GM, and Chrysler.
So what has the Generation IV car to offer? Though the frame is constructed of 4-inch tubing (as it has been in the past), now it's made from stainless-steel tubing. It also features a removable transmission crossmember, a driveshaft safety loop, and the seat and seat-belt mounts are attached directly to the frame rather than to the body. The wheelbase was stretched to 93 inches in order to provide a better entry, egress, and seating situation for the less-than-petite souls.
The body is hand-laid for accurate control over panel thickness, the foot boxes are widened by 2 inches (again for those with less-than-petite soles), the doors have better side beams, and every body is cured at 210 degrees for six hours as a final quality assurance. For suspension, the car uses a streamlined version of the Ford-based, four-wheel independent suspension, and now features stainless-steel control arms. Brakes rotors are 13 inches up front while 11.65-inch rear power disc units put the stopping power to the rear.
The two most common engines offered in the Generation IV replica are the 400hp 390 engine and the killer 500hp 427 package that seem to turn stationary objects into flashes of light. Both are backed to a Tremec five-speed equipped with a Centerforce clutch.
So it should come as no surprise that a guy with a background in serious automotive racing would be attracted to the basic E-M package no matter what generation of vehicle your dealing with, which brings us to Scott Johnson, the owner of the car featured here. An ex-motocross racer, pure automotive enthusiast, exuberant dirt-track racer, Scott is no stranger to cars that hurl themselves around the dry, slick, short-track bullrings. This is a sport where the name of the game is getting a 2,800lb car, powered by an 800hp engine, to move forward with the least amount of wasted motion (or, as they call it, "forward bite"), which were the same attributes Scott was looking for in his street car.
After a considerable amount of spec-checking, tire kicking, and finally, a trip to the 1999 Run & Gun event where he could see the cars in action, Scott settled on the Everett-Morrison package as the absolute best starting point for his personal project, though it was only an initial step. For the next four years, Scott would build each and every part of the car.
In late 1999, the odyssey really got started in earnest when Scott took delivery of his roller from E-M. His first act was to completely disassemble it and start redesigning the chassis and the suspension using computer-aided drawings. By 2000 the redesign was complete, and Scott had E-M build a second chassis using his CAD drawings. The new design reverse-engineered the suspension in an effort to better control motion ratios, camber gain, antisquat, and roll centers to more closely mate the engine's power delivery.
Using GKI Cutting Tool's full complement of CNC equipment, Scott manufactured all the new suspension linkages that would help eliminate torque-induced toe changes and bump steer and in the rear and changed the locations of the trailing arms to control antisquat. Then after all the calculations were completed, the new pieces manufactured and bolted in place, it was time to select the proper antisway bars at both ends as well as the coilover shocks that would yield the proper wheel rates at each corner of the car.
With the speeds Scott intended for his new ride, stopping was just as important as the "go." Braking would be handled by 12-inch Vette discs in the rear while 13-inch Baer two-piece rotors would grip the front. Steering is accomplished with a Vette Z-51 rack and pinion (two turns lock to lock), and an ididit column topped with a Lecarra steering wheel. Johnson then chose Compomotive 17 x 10.5 and 17 x 12 wheels and Hoosier 275/40-17 front and 335/35-17 rear tire combination.
While Scott was busy reconstructing the chassis and suspension, the guys at ProPower Racing Engines (Sullivan, WI) were busy machining the small-block Chevy engine that would power the Cobra. Scott selected this engine and engine-builder combination based on his personal racing experience. ProPower is the number-one ranked engine builder in professional dirt Late Model racing and the builders of Scott's competition engines, so it seemed natural that they would be responsible for his very hot street engine.
After conferring with ProPower owners Bill and John Schlieper, the group consensus was that the ideal engine for this project would be a dirt-track-inspired, 434 Chevy small-block. Starting with a Dart/Rocket tall deck, raised cam race block, the crew at ProPower added a Crower 4340, steel, lightweight, 4-inch stroke crankshaft. Then they filled the bores with 4.155-inch, 9.5:1 compression ratio CP pistons connected to 6.25-inch Dyers Top Rods. Next, a Lunati solid roller cam with a .65-inch lift was added to the mix to activate the Del West titanium valves in the AFR CNC ported heads. To keep everything inside the engine alive and well lubricated, a Stock Car Product's dry sump system was bolted up, which works in conjunction with a Billet Fabrication aluminum pan and Peterson three-and-half-gallon dry sump tank.
To get the fuel-air mixture in and out of the engine, an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake was bolted to the heads with a 1,000-cfm, Stealth Racing-prepped Holley HP carb doing the mixing. To carry the spent gases away from the engine, a pair of owner-fabricated headers using 1 7/8- to 2-inch step tube primary tubes flowing into 3 1/2-inch collectors were constructed to fit the space perfectly and then covered in black ceramic. The 3 1/2-inch side pipes with perforated cores were also made by the owner and coated in the same black ceramic. A Racemate 32-amp alternator and a Stewart Stage 4 water pump were bolted to the front of the engine, finishing up the package that easily cranks out 625 hp and 600 ft-lb of torque on premium pump gas.
Of course, when you have that many horses in the barn, you need to be able to put their power where you want it when you want it, so Scott selected a Richmond five-speed transmission and a McLeod clutch system to get the job done, and wrapped the large spinning parts in a Lakewood bellhousing for safety.
While the engine work was being done, Crystal Auto Body (Crystal Lake, IL) laid on the Prowler Yellow two-part paint to the entire body. After that, Scott completed the installation of a full complement of Stewart Warner instruments, a Kirkey high-backed racing seat, RJS harness belts, all the wiring, and a myriad of fit and finish details. Next were the Everett-Morrison interior components, all of which (with the exception of the Kirkey high-back racing seat) are so nicely finished that there is no real reason to change that arrangement.
Because of a rigorous racing schedule, the Cobra project seemed to go on forever (it actually covered four years) and was still in full flog mode when the car was rolled into the trailer the day before the car was unloaded at the 2003 Run & Gun. And despite the owner's first-time efforts at the event, he picked up a First Place in Prepped Big-Block and a Second in the autocross racing. But, just as his car is an example of fine tuning, Scott Johnson is confident he will be able to do better in the future with more seat time in his bad-fast kit.
Scott JohnsonCrystal Lake, ILEverett-Morrison Gen IV
|Frame ||Everett-Morrison round-tube |
|Wheelbase ||90" |
|Rearend ||Corvette C4/Dana 44/3.54:1 |
|Rear Suspension ||C4 Vette w/Pro Shock coilovers |
|Rear Brakes ||Vette 12" disc |
|Front Suspension ||Owner-built independent |
|Front Brakes ||13" Baer two-piece rotor |
|Steering ||Vette Z-51 rack and pinion |
|Front Wheel ||17 x 10.5 Compomotive |
|Rear Wheel ||17 x 12 Compomotive |
|Front Tire ||275/40-17 Hoosier |
|Rear Tire ||335/35-17 Hoosier |
|ENGINE & TRANS |
|Make ||Dart Rocket |
|Crankshaft ||Crower |
|Pistons ||C-P 9.5:1 w/Dyers Top Rods |
|Water Pump ||Stewart Stage IV |
|Radiator ||Griffin aluminum |
|Alternator ||Racemate 32-amp |
|Heads ||Ported AFR 210 Race Ready |
|Induction ||Edelbrock Victor Jr. manifold,single Holley Stealth1,000-cfm carb |
|Air Cleaner ||Fabricated w/ K&N element |
|Ignition ||MSD Billet w/ MSD 6AL box |
|Headers ||Self-made 1 7/8" to 2" |
|Mufflers ||Self-made, ceramic coated |
|Transmission ||Richmond five-speed |
|Shifter ||Billet aluminum |
|Trans mods ||McLeod clutch w/Lakewood bellhousing |
|Manufacturer ||Everett-Morrison |
|Paint ||Prowler Yellow |
|Painter ||Crystal Autobody,Crystal Lake, IL |
|Gauges ||Stewart Warner |
|Wiring ||By owner |
|Steering Wheel ||Lecarra |
|Seating ||Driver: Kirkey high-back,passenger: E-M |
|Upholsterer ||Everett-Morrison |
|Material ||Connolly leather |