Wally Elder’s Pro Street Daytona Debuts at DuQuoin Street Nats

Hero homebuilders still walk among us, but many of today's generation are unaware of the long standing contributions that continue to spring from the deep well of small shops and garages across the nation. Wally Elder's 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona has been a widely celebrated fixture of the pervasive Pro Street world for decades. A movement largely fostered and driven by heritage performance magazines of the era such as Car Craft and Hot Rod, it was summarily back-stabbed by some of the same people with one foolish editor blindly proclaiming Pro Street is dead as the Pro Touring movement took hold. But a funny thing happened.  It was never dead, but simply dormant. Pro Street lived and the magazines all died. Imagine that. An enduring undercurrent driven by many of those same hero builders and a legion of enthusiasts propelled it to a stunning comeback. Accordingly, Wally decided to replace his original Daytona build with updated technology and the same high level of quality that he brought to all of his builds back in the day. Hence his all new Daytona 2.0.
Wally Elder has long been a top tier fixture on the Pro Street scene and he loves building these cars. However impractical they may seem to some, they still represent a high point of street machine building, and a worthy component of the hot rodding art. Modeled after the look of original Pro Stock and Modified Production drag cars, they have steadily evolved from basic big tire and tubbed street cars with four barrels and tunnel rams to all-out tube framed wonders displaying the full range of the builder's vision and skill. Previously a high end build to begin with, Wally's Daytona 2.0 version reemerges with a potent combination of the latest go fast technology and master craftsmanship. There's no subtlety in this build. It's sinister good looks and unmistakable intent are a clear statement of the current art.
A ground up build like this requires endless measurements, cuts, trial fits, tack welds and complete mock ups before it ever resembles a car. A chassis jig or table helps keep everything square and aligned while all engine, drivetrain and suspension components are evaluated for best fit within the body. Cars like this are almost always completely assembled, reassessed and modified many times over to satisfy the builders goals.
The Daytona's handcrafted chassis is constructed of 4130 chrome moly tubing with appropriate triangulation and bracing to accommodate the car's formidable powertrain. Built to be a state-of-the-art show car, Wally also wanted it to be capable of making drag strip passes with enough performance authority to silence naysayers and non-believers who view Pro Street cars as little more than fairground queens lacking any performance substance. He plans to show it on the circuit and ultimately race it to establish its performance pedigree.
"The body is basically a one to one scale kit for grownups. "Some assembly required."
Try to imagine how and where you would start to assemble all these pieces and mate them to a compatible chassis and drivetrain and you'll get a very real sense of why these cars take so much time and money to build, especially for one very dedicated guy laboring as fast as time and funds permit. It's a labor of love and Wally has the talent to match the challenge.
This is definitely no one week wonder like those you see on TV. Wally has labored years over this new creation while maintaining a thriving auto body business and full family commitments. But the attention to detail took precedence over some arbitrary time schedule and he has pursued excellence at every step.
Stance and proper tire fitment are essential to a build like this. A lot of Pro Street builds have the front tires tucked in way too far and it looks wrong. The trick is to find the optimum combination of wheel placement with the desired stance and safe practical turning radius so the front of the car doesn't look unfinished because the tires are tucked in too far. Wally's got it down for practical street use as seen in the finished photo at the end of this article.
Custom mirror image Spintech mufflers are fully wrapped with the exhaust configured to exit just ahead of the rear wheels. Electronic cutouts are built in so the so the driver can select muffled operation on the street or full race open exhaust on the track.
He built these panel enclosures with screens to surround the wrapped mufflers. They function as heat extractors. Electric fans behind them force hot air out from the enclosures to minimize heat loading in the interior and the back of the car.
A Lenco 4 Speed, air-shifted transmission with a Bruno's BRT torque converter drive transfers power to the rear axle.
The BRT Converter Drive was  perfected in late 1989 by Bruno’s Automotive. It was patented in 1992 and features in many Pro Mod and Top Alcohol drag cars.  It gives  racers and hardcore street guys like Wally a safe, consistent and reliable alternative to the conventional to the automatic transmission. It handles up to 4000 horsepower and the air operated transbrake offers superior holding capability and more consistent shifting. It's a plenty serious piece to be in a car Like Wally's. The shifter is a Tim McAmis modified unit with with a custom-made Mopar E-body piston grip with custom inserts  in keeping with the all Mopar theme.
The rear axle is a self-modified Dana 60 housing to keep it all Mopar. It has a Strange spool with 40 spline Strange axles, 5/8-inch wheel studs, Strange brakes. Wally's friend Brian Raymond helped perform the extensive modifications to beef up the axle housing to handle a lot of power. The rear cover is a Strange Ultimate 60 with bearing supports.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Bad ass interior says race car all the way with twin Racetech seats and a full cage with Funny Car/Pro Mod style protection around the driver. These early details show the interior taking shape amid a complicated maze of safety tubing.
A dual-fuel system is set up to run on methanol or E85 pump gas and the calibration can be switched on the fly for optimum performance as required. Twin tanks with separate feeds. The car can carry 42 gallons of fuel with two 16-gallon tanks in the rear and a 10-gallon tank up front. The front tank is methanol only so the car can be run at the drag strip without fueling from the rear tank as tech inspectors may not be impressed with fuel lines running through the car even though they are fully protected. The rear tanks can be shutoff for racing, and for those who wonder about it, he figures he can drive it about 25-30 miles on the methanol and maybe double that on the E85.
A full Racewire kit ties together all the cars electrical and electronic systems. Wally took the time to conceal as much of the wiring as possible to obtain a cleaner look using the Racewire bundles.
A full complement of Autometer gauges and warning lights reside in a carbon fiber dash insert with all systems easily visible to the driver. The Gauges are arranged in period-correct Dodge Charger style with the larger Speedo and Tach to the left and the rest of the smaller gauges to the right.  At the front, behind the sleek Daytona charger nose, an aluminum radiator is masked by dual Derale transmission and oil coolers with twin electric fans to cool the beast.
When you get to the point of installing and firing up the engine it puts a smile on your face. Still there are a ton of details to attend to before unveiling the car at the DuQuoin Street Machine Nationals on June 4th, 2021. If you can make it, this Pro Street car is sure to knock your eyes out. For exclusive details on the engine build check out the story here: https://hotrodenginetech.com/a-pro-mod-hemi-for-the-street/

Continental Tire Street Machine Nationals, DuQuoin, Illinois, June 4-6, 2021

All loaded up had headed out. See Wally Elder's awesome Pro Street '69 Dodge Daytona at the Continental Tire Street Machine Nationals today (June 4th, 2021) at the State fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois.