How quick is a '68 J-Code?

Wow! I had the most unbridled fun all year Sunday. I took the '68 J-Code to Drag’N in the 50s, #3 of 4 nostalgia drag events at New England Dragway this year. Found my GM friends Tom and Wayne in the line at the gate at 0710. Tech’d in, pitted, took out the cooler and folding chair, and that was the end of my race prep. Entered the B/Street class (14.00 and slower, full tree bracket). Ran 16.50s, made the semifinal, redlit against an even older guy, new friend Joe, 76, to exit. My gosh, no changing of all four tires like with the 2012, no sore discs 20 minutes in…

It’s 4 seconds slower than my V6 Mustang, but I could, let’s say, fix that (with planning and $$ + time). Credit: Image courtesy Richie Coury and Primetime Photo

I have a new avocation, Cougar racing!

Sweet! 16.5 with white walls is great in my book. Were you running race fuel? Next time, fill up with some 110 octane, bump the initial advance to 14-16 deg BTC and Let those J code high compression heads do their magic.

That’s cool, nice picture!

Nice launch pic. Ass down and front end up, not much weight on that front drivers tire!

Loved driving my J-Code. Even in need of a rebuild that 302 was fairly stout.
Miss banging gears…

You guys are great! Alas, from the casting dates on the heads, they are post-'68 and therefore big chamber. P.O. got talked into a new (flat tappet) long block in the late 1990s (6K ago), confirmed by his box o’receipts. Too bad, because I had been looking forward to working with the real thing.

I left everything at my normal specs - 6 initial, light Accel c. advance springs, 38 total as verified by me - just to avoid taking a timing light (it was handicap ET racing anyway). But yes, you’re right, now I can start TINKERING!

I ran mine a long time ago. Low 15 seconds but couldn’t get it into the 14’s but real close. I have a different cam, I ported the heads and headers. I was fast enough to beat my friends 68 Z28 camaro with the DZ302 engine.

So cool!

I wonder how that 16.5 quarter mile time compares to road tests by magazines back in the day. All of the tests I’ve ever seen focused (understandably) on GT’s and GTE’s.

Cool! What tires are those? I like the style.

  1. There is a Car Life test from '68; 17.40s at just under 80. Link Scroll in about 10 pages.

  2. Diamond Back in South Carolina made those up. We talked on the phone; they prefer BF Goodrich Radial T/As (the all-season regular ones). We negotiated a 3/8 whitewall 2 1/2 inches from the rim (not bead).

    2a. They make a lousy drag tire. They ride great, have nice steering feel when you twitch off-center, and corner great.

I took my J code '68 XR7-G to the SCAT Nationals in '93 - 94 including running it at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX. My car was running high 15’s at 95 MPH with a 3.25:1 Traction Lock rear. It was stock except for a Holley 600 CFM carburetor.

You don’t have to be the fastest car to have fun drag racing!

I’ve heard it said and I think it’s true - “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow”.

That’s a great pic, thanks for posting!

  • Phillip

I second that! It’s work running that 2012 V6 stick car, powershifting on the shift light, hoping you’ll run the number in that 12.50 index class (fun when everything works, of course). But racing the Cougar is more like being 17 again…I do my part, and it’s gonna do its!

Looks like I have a target for the fall, Royce - better traction and autumn air, maybe chase you and that high 15!

Gearing is important too. The little J code 302 in stock form runs out of breath by 5500 RPM, so you can’t gear it with 4:11 gears. Maybe 3.50:1 would be ideal, depending upon how tall your tires are. Obviously 3:50 to 1 is going to be unpleasant on the freeway with the AC running.

Mine is a 302 but not a J code. Its a Boss 302!! 4sp

I like it! 7.70s in the 1/8th? I would bet you don’t shy from the RPMs, either.

If you’re used to 12.5’s and banging gears the 16’s with an automatic had to be an interesting change. I’ve never drag raced an automatic, but have to imagine the intensity drops off pretty good after the initial launch. My 289 4V, 4-speed started out in the 15.3@89 range and I ended up at 14.5 @93 (if I remember right) by the time my clutch gave out. I’m still debating whether I’ll take it back in it’s current form or wait until I get the engine swap (FE) done.

Last weekend I went to the 1/4 mile track & ran 11.8 seconds. Its still has room for improvement! 119mph

Back in the 1980s I ran my 1967 Cougar at the drags here in Arizona on the Friday night “Run what you brung” night. It had a 289-4V with a decent cam, headers, Cobra Intake, Holley 650 DP, and Uni-lite dual point distributor. I would guess it was making around 270 HP. It was a 3 speed on the floor, and I put 4.11 gears in the 8 inch rear end, with wide rear tires and traction bars. My Best time was 14.30 seconds @ 94 MPH, so it was pretty quick off the line. I surprised a lot of guys who had “Big block” cars. It was a lot of fun, I miss those days!