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Bruce Kent builds a Buick for the Engine Masters Challenge

Long known for making insane torque at low rpm levels in bone-stock shape, big Buick V-8s have long been a mainstay of the underground street racer. Boasting 500 ft.-lbs. of torque with the capability to ingest gobs of nitrous, the stock Stage 1 Buick 455 was the perfect weapon for the street digs. In modified form, we've seen big Buicks dive deep into the 9-second zone in street trim, and we featured an 800-horse twin-blown Buick on the cover of our September '99 issue. It remains a favorite cover around here, and the man behind that engine is back for more; namely the Engine Masters Challenge.

Bruce Kent of San Dimas, CA, is a well-known West Coast Buick enthusiast who always shows up with nice cars, a great laid-back attitude, and a kind demeanor. He's the nicest guy in the world as long as you're not staging next to him at the strip. The Buicks he builds and pilots are always deadly quick, and it's not just local hype. He and partner Dave Benisek have owned their class of choice (called Street Eliminator) at the Buick-only GS Nationals (held in Bowling Green, KY) for three of the last four years. It would have been a 4-year sweep, save for a single faulty plug wire that cost them the final round. Kent drives Dave Benisek's '74 Buick Apollo (an X-body car, like a Chevy Nova) powered by a Kent-built 470-inch Buick engine. The car is limited to 10-inch tires, and has run a best elapsed time of 9.96 at 135 mph. While a 9-second all-motor Nova-type drag car may not sound too fast to the regular readers of this mag, consider the minimum weight in the class is 3,800 lbs. Suddenly that 9-second run is looking pretty good, isn't it?


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