THS "Hot Rod of the Month"

Slow91z Helper
Staff member
Aug 7, 2003
THS “Hot Rod of the Month”
Written by Ed Mucha

To keep the winter months interesting we have a couple of profiles about some of the Hot Street competitors from last year. Feel free to comment but keep in mind that if there is missing information from the build-up, it was purposefully done so by the owner. I told them they would not have to divulge all their speed secrets! The owner of our first “feature car” however, held nothing back.

Mike Schwab: “THS runner-up at the Midwest Buick Challenge in Osceola, Indiana in September 2009.”

I would hazard a guess that there are not many original owner Grand Nationals (or Turbo T/ T-Types) around 20+ years after they were new. And probably fewer still that are driven the way Buick intended them to be. That, to me, makes Mike’s car that much more special. I asked him home he got into Buicks and this is his story. “I was originally a Chevy guy. I bought a LS-6 Chevelle new in 1970 and raced it every week in 71 before I got married in 72. It ran low 12's and I won a lot of races in 71.” (Isn’t this how Red got started?!?) “After I got married we sold the Chevelle. In 1987 a friend at work took me a ride in his T-Type and that started the fire again for performance. I worked in engineering for GM and drove company cars so I immediately entered a request for a GN to drive as my company car. There were some screw ups in the order system and I almost missed out but I got one of the last ones built in Oct 87. It was one of five GN's that were going to Harrison Radiator Div. in Lockport, NY but had not been assigned. I drove the car until March 88 and then bought it at a very good price. My wife and I agreed that the LS-6 Chevelle had gotten away from us but we would keep the GN and I've been a Buick guy ever since.”

“I didn't take the GN to the track until I think 91 where I met Eric Juenglinge, AKA ‘XCESSIV’” (another original GN owner I believe, who also ran THS in Columbus in 2009), “and a group of Turbo Buick guys at TriState (Dragway in Hamilton, Ohio). I took it to the track in 92 and ran a 13.90 with a Kenny-Bell chip. I've been running it ever since. I was running mid 12's still stock when I blew a head gasket in 96. I then upgraded with Champion heads, a 210-205 cam, and a TE-44 turbo with blue tops and ran this until 2005 when an intake runner cracked at BG spraying water into the # 3 bore leaving a hair line crack. The best I ran with this combo was 11.08 @ 123. I then talked to my very good friend Lee Thompson about helping me build a new combination with the goal of mid 10s.”

“Here is my current combination.

Motor - NA 109 bored to 3.820 with a Weber 3.55" stroker rotating assembly, internal balanced and a girdle installed. The rods and mains have .0015 max clearance. The cam is a 218-224 billet hydraulic roller. The Champion iron heads have T&D 1.5 roller rockers installed. The injectors are 60 lb Motechs and I have a dual M 10 nozzle Razor alky system. The turbo is a Limit TE-45a with a stock location Mark Jackson 20 row intercooler for the stock look. I use the stock computer with a TurboTweak chip.
Transmission - 200 4-R set up to shift at 6000 rpm with Alto Red clutches and intermediate band, with billet servo, input shaft, forward drum & overdrive carrier. The converter is a Precision 5 disc with a 0 pump.
Rear end - Stock with Mosier axles, air bags and HR Parts lower arms.
Front suspension - 90/10s with the sway bar removed.
Exhaust - stock headers with a 3" TH down pipe and an Applied Technologies 2 1/2" dual exhaust.
Tires - M/T 9.0/15-28 ET drags with stock fronts all on Convo Pros.
The car weighs 3750 with me and 1/2 tank of gas and has 39,000 miles.
Best ET 10.54 Best MPH 128.5 @ 25 lbs - still tuning.”

I asked Mike what he had learned from owning/ racing his car all these years that he might want to pass on .And he said this .“The thing with running boost with these cars is to be sure to listen to what the car is telling you if it likes your change or not.” I also asked him what he thought about THS. “I appreciate you guys sticking to you guns on the rules. You can't please everyone and I think you have a good class the way it is.”

As smart as we all think we are, we often don’t do this alone and Mike wanted to thank some people who helped him along the way! “Thanks to Eric for getting me started running and a big thanks to Lee for all his mentoring. I'd like to thank Kip also for making sure the parts were available when we were building the engine. I've also had it very good with a wife that has gone to all the Buick meets with me over the years and has never complained - thanks Nancy.”

Thank you Mike for taking the time to share your car’s story and combination! See ya at the track!

“The below picture of Mike and his car was taken in Norwalk, Ohio in 2009 on its way to a 10.57 ET.”


  • Mike Schwab.jpg
    Mike Schwab.jpg
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Its the quiet guys that people should listen to.Mike is very meticulous .After every run you will see him logging data and I dont think you will see to many get as much out of a combo as Mike.After all 11.08 with bluetops!
His car is immaculate and I just wish I had his patience.I am very glad to know him and call a friend.
Ed thanks for the write up and come see me I got something for you
Mikes car is probably one of the cleanest gns out ther. Mike is also a very good guy! See ya soon when the local tracks open back up:)

Mike , Nice write up, your car represents what THS is all about.It was really nice meeting you and racing against you.That race at the MWBC was a close one.I know what you mean about Lee he is handy to have around. Met him years ago at the nats, super nice guy.Hope to see you at more THS events this year.
David Day

Thanks fellas for the kind words. They are appreciated. I definitely do plan to run most of the THS events this year. Looking forward to seeing everyone.