The roar of a V8 at full throttle is irresistible in racing, and it’s what gives American Iron so much of its character. The class enjoys a virtually unlimited supply of donor cars because it is open to any American-made sedan or coupe from 1960 forward, and the power-to-weight ratios keep things simple. Sandwiched between the wide-open rules structure of American Iron Extreme and the more limited Spec Iron classes, American Iron provides racers a lot of room for creativity when building a car, and provides close competition on track.

“Those older cars with the right driver can be just as competitive as the newer cars,” said Rob Capetz, series leader for the Southern California Region. “That’s the beauty of the power-to-weight ratio.”

 

 

 

Class Description

“The American Iron Class was created to meet the needs of domestic sedan racers looking for a series specifically tailored to accommodate modified vehicles that are currently relegated to racing in Unlimited or Spec-limited classes. This class is designed to field a large high-profile group of American muscle cars and will unify fields of cars that currently race in other sanctioning organizations. With this in mind, a variety of other sanctioning organization formats (such as standing starts and flying starts) may be employed during the regional racing season and at the National Championship. This large field/open modification concept will provide racers and vendors access to a promotional racing venue containing similarly prepared and appearing cars that can run nearly unlimited configurations.”

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Eligible Makes and Models

All 1960 through present, American-made sedan vehicles/body styles certified by the United States Department of Transportation for street use at their date of manufacture. OEM and aftermarket “Body in White” type vehicle shells are allowed provided the body style is the same as original DOT manufacture.”

 

Donor Prices and Availability

2010 Camaro SS 

$14,000 to $18,000

2005-2009 Ford Mustang GT

$6,500 to $10,000

SN95 Mustang

$5,100 to $6,500

Fourth-generation GM F Body             

$3,900 to $7,000

2010 Camaro SS 

$14,000 to $18,000
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Engine Specs

American Iron runs on a power-to-weight-ratio formula:

  • 9:1 without ABS
  • 9.25:1 with OEM ABS
  • 9.5:1 for 2005-plus Ford ABS

 

Weight

Minimum weight: 2,700 lbs.

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Fuel Required

Pump gas. From the rule book: “Primary fuels permitted are any grade commercially available unmodified gasoline or ethanol blends such as E85.”

 

Average Cost to Build Donor

$20,000 to $25,000 depending on modifications

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Average Cost to Buy Built Car

Some recent listings from RacingJunk.com

1999 Chevrolet Camaro       

$12,000

1998 Chevrolet Camaro       

$15,000

1986 Ford Mustang             

$3,500

2007 Ford Mustang with Coyote swap

$38,000

2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302        

$69,900

1999 Chevrolet Camaro       

$12,000

 

Typical Modifications

  • Replacing windshield with Lexan
  • Single- or double-adjustable coil-over suspension
  • SLA front suspension available to replace McPherson struts
  • Aftermarket brakes
  • Aerodynamics such as a G Stream rear wing, and front splitter

Cost Analysis

Average cost to run a weekend — $2,200 to $2,800

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Consumables Prices

Tires, size, brand and prices From Phil’s Tire Service

Toyo Proxes RR 275 35ZR 18: $284.77

Toyo Proxes RA1 275 XX 18: $279.34

 

Brakes, brands and prices

Front, with stock calipers; Hawk DTC $225

Rear, with stock calipers; Hawk DTC 60, $175

 

Available contingencies

Ford Performance, Toyo Tires, Hawk Performance, Winding Road, Neo Motorsports, AST Suspension, Spec Clutches, Sampson Racing Communications, Frozen Rotors, Injector Pulse.

 

Factory Participation

Yes. Ford Performance.

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Benefits

  • Fun to drive and fun to race V8-powered cars
  • Affordable parts
  • Class is growing nationwide
  • Large Championships fields

Challenges

Modifications list can be extensive, thus expensive

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Rulebook Highlights

— Factory IRS is permitted. Updating or backdating of an IRS is not permitted except as specifically listed herein.

— Minimum ride height is five (5) inches to be measured with driver.

— Lexan or polycarbonate material may replace windshield, rear glass and side windows provided it is installed in accordance with the NASA CCR.

— Venting, louvers, ducting, etc is permitted anywhere on the car.

— Rear aerodynamic devices are limited to a wing, spoiler, diffuser and a maximum of four dive planes/canards

— Brake rotor friction surfaces must be iron with a maximum diameter of 14 inches.

— AI vehicles may NOT use dry-sump oiling systems.

 

 

What Racers Say

 

Corey Weber, NASA SoCal

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“I like the power, the sound, the handling, the looks and the affordability, in that order. AI has enough power to easily bring the rear out, which adds another dimension to your driving that you don’t get with Miatas and E30s. It’s also not too high that components will start breaking. The sound of a small block V8, of course, is hard to beat. Sound is definitely part of the experience, so if you are going to spend the dough to race wheel to wheel, your car might as well sound wicked.

“With the proper components and chassis stiffness and setup, these cars are a joy to drive. My car will do what I ask and is easy to save if circumstances get a little hairy. I believe a nicely built AI car of any brand is a thing of beauty. Lastly, I believe AI has one of the best experience-to-affordability ratios. I mean, if a person rated the experience of driving an AI car on a scale of one to 10 compared to other cars and then did the same for the costs, I believe in most cases it would be hard to beat. Tires are affordable and last for two weekends on my car. I can go a whole season on one set of pads (thank you Baer!). If I pop a motor, I can get a new Coyote for under $6K.”

 

Joe Bogetich, NASA Rocky Mountain

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“I wanted to race an American built muscle car representative of the past. It’s all-American and can be seen on the streets. I like the torque, horsepower and sound of a large displacement V8 engine. No paddle shifters just a stick shift and clutch requiring more driver input.”

 

Jason Lakomiak, NASA Great Lakes American Iron series leader

NASA Great Lakes, Midwest Regions @ Mid-Ohio

“I love the V8 power and sound. I’m familiar with the cars, and they are easy to modify for racing. The rules have stayed consistent over the years. There’s great competition – even with very different cars! Great friends, too!

 

Lapping Videos

 

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Images courtesy of Brett Becker, headonphotos.net and Tom Hitzeman/F51-GT Photography