I spoke with Bob Karakashian on the phone a couple of weeks ago, and man! What a great Mopar enthusiast to talk to. From my experience over the phone, Bob is a very humble down to earth person to work with.
I called mostly because I’m very interested in his special cam grind. All I knew up to that point was that the Factory-Appearing-Stock-Tire (F.A.S.T) racing class that Bob runs his A12 Super Bee in, turns 12.09 seconds in the quarter @ 114 mph. And he does it with the required factory HP exhaust manifolds, a full exhaust system, and skinny G70-15 redline tires. I thought to myself that undoubtedly, these real world numbers speak for themselves. I mean, these are not engine dyno numbers, or chassis dyno numbers, but honest to goodness real world street/strip performance numbers, and a true testament to Bob’s expertise in big-block Mopar tuning.
The “Mr. Six Pack” Cam-
The conversation I had with Bob about his cam was very interesting and informative. I wanted to know how his cam was developed. First, Bob briefly mentioned that he had worked for Chrysler, which in my opinion, he understated that fact. I’ve since learned that the magnitude of Bob’s work for Chrysler was that his A12 Super Bee was a test mule of sorts for Chrysler engineers in the early 70s. Chrysler tested a number of new at the time Direct Connection Purple Shaft cams in his Super Bee. Bob went on to say that after some time his stock cam started to go flat, which apparently the factory Six-Pack cam has a taper to them, which makes them prone to going flat. At that point he turned to the major cam manufactures and had their engineers’ custom grind him a cam for his street/stock application. After testing cam after cam, none of them worked as well as original cam did when combined with his exhaust manifolds and tight factory torque converter. He then went on to say that he still has a box in his basement that is collecting dust with all of those cams in it. Disillusioned with the aftermarket, Bob thought to himself; I’ll design my own cam. Fast forward to our phone conversation. Bob told me that the factory Six-Pack cam is a great cam and that Chrysler really did their homework with it. Although tight lipped about the exact cam specifications of his cam grind, he did tell me that for the most part, it does not have much deviation from the original Six-Pack grind. He also told me that his grind is ground on a 114 degree Lobe Separation rather than the stock 115. In addition, Bob put allowances into his cam in order to make corrections for the lack of a true 1.5:1 rocker arm ratio of the factory stamped steel rocker arms. He is required to run the stock rocker arms in his racing class. Bob went on to say that his engine has such a glassy smooth idle, that he can rest a cup of coffee on the air cleaner while the engine is running without spilling. Then peoples’ jaws drop when he clicks off nearly 12 seconds flat in the quarter mile. After a while, people stated asking Bob what cam he is running. Bob tells them that its his own design, which is then promptly countered with, can I get one of those?!?! Again, the word is humble. Rather than do what a lot of folks sometimes do in the racing world by keeping their work secretive, Bob is willing to sell a copy of his cam to anyone who is interested.
Bob said that he’s helped folks replace their Mopar 284, and 509 cams with his own grind resulting in more crisp performance in their street/strip applications.
At this point, I have no qualms about it. My next street/strip engine build will have the now famed “Mr. Six-Pack” cam grind installed in it. Stressing over the right cam is now officially over.
Kudos to Bob Karakashian!
Quote from phone conversation: Bob Karakashian- “Most any engine can make power on the dyno, but can it get your car down the track?”