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A Wheels-Up Chevy Packing Ford Parts and Cummins Power

Wild Ride

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Without a doubt, the diesel drag race scene is chock-full of unique vehicles. From 1-ton trucks to Ford Rangers, rails to dragsters, and rat rods to collector cars, plenty of variety exists in our sport. The one consistency shared across the board is simple: eclipse the 660 or 1,320-foot mark as quickly (and as fast) as possible. How each driver chooses to get there is where things get interesting.

In longtime sled-puller Ryan Bean’s case, his need for speed was quenched by hunting down the perfect rolling chassis. As fate would have it, he stumbled upon Ryan Tucker’s track-proven ’81 Chevy C-10. A major selling point for Bean was the fact that the chassis and soft suspension had already been fine-tuned to optimize hard launches, and the truck had a history of cutting 1.3-second 60-foot times. “It was too easy,” Bean told us. “He already had it set up about perfect.”

Because Bean specializes in Cummins conversions (and because the truck previously housed a 12-valve Cummins), installing a common-rail Cummins and 4R100 automatic was a cinch. The 5.9L was put together in-house at Bean’s Diesel Performance and the transmission was sourced from Brian’s Truck Shop, along with a Powertrain Control Solutions transmission controller. Engine tuning comes in the form of a standalone Zeus ECM from Destroked. Right off the bat (around the 700-rwhp mark), Bean clicked off a low 10-second quarter-mile. Since then, he’s ramped up the power progressively and focused much of his attention on getting the flexible Chevy to launch as effectively as possible.

At the 950hp level, Bean piloted his C-10 to a 6.24-second eighth-mile (roughly a 9.8-second quarter) and mustered a best 60-foot time of 1.34 seconds. Unfortunately, transferring nearly 1,000 hp to the ground ended up bending the stock frame. “Going for 5s [in the eighth-mile] was a bit too much for the current chassis,” Bean said. With plans to straighten the frame and reinforce the rest of the chassis this winter, we’re sure he’ll be looking to put the 1,272 hp the truck recently dyno’d to good use in 2012.

In many ways, Bean’s Chevy epitomizes the quintessential diesel drag truck. It’s lightweight, runs as well as it looks, and of course, it’s Cummins-powered.

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