Meet Gary Sparks, many of you may know him as the no nonsense, Ban Hammer wielding, yet very helpful administrator over in our main Facebook group V8 S10 Owners Group.
We had a chance to sit down with Gary and talk about the tire melting, asphalt eating, cop evading, little “305” 1989 Purple Blazer, also known as Barney
It all started back in 1999 when Gary picked the truck up as a drag truck for his wife. She drove it once and like a Tyrannosaurus Rex rising up from the tar pits, Barney scared the living hell out of her, she decided this purple beast was way too fast for her.
So Barney became Gary’s daily driver. Something to load the whole family up in and cruise up and down the coast of Florida. For the next 6 years when he wasn’t cruising the coast Gary would load the truck up with tools and went to work everyday. Stopping on the way to pick up a few of his coworkers. There was nothing better then pulling up to a light next to a Mustang or Corvette and being able to put the smack down on them with a loaded down grocery getter. At that time the truck had a stock hood and wheels. The mad sleeper is what his buddies use to call it . So Gary finally decide to take it to the track and see what it had . His first pass out netted him a 13.6 spinning the street tires. Not bad for a 406 ci engine but not where he thought it should be.
Wait, did we just say 406? Yup, that’s been the running joke in the group…..Gary and his little 305 purple dinosaur, Barney. But if you see Gary out at the track he will still tell you it’s a little 305…..grudge racers. Don’t worry Gary, your secret is safe with us.
So next he added slicks, different heads, a new carb and that dropped it into the 12.40 range. He stayed at that point for four years bracket racing. Winning rounds and spending more money then it was making, but having fun . The drag strip was family day so no more driving it to the beach . Every weekend they would load up and go to a different tracks around Florida .
Not much better then going to run Pinks All Out and having a ten year old crew chief and a twelve year old tire checker …lol .
After that Barney went under the knife yet again. The 7.5 rear couldn’t handle the changes that Barney was about to get so Gary sold his 62 Nova pro street project and picked up a Currie 9” and Cal Trac’s . Barney was now ready to handle some serious horsepower.
The 406 got bumped up to a 409, all forged 6” rods, big dome pistons, RHS 220 heads , and a 630/630 solid roller cam at 310 . Though Barney is now set up for nitrous, it hasn’t been added yet. But when it does, look out, because this little purple dinosaur is gonna fly. At least for a few passes and then Gary says he will have to jet it up …..
Gary’s philosophy is, if you have time to look around when making a pass you need to be going faster .