It’s That Time Of Year: Santa Reveals his Southern California Sleigh

Southern California has always been a big problem for Santa’s Sleigh. Sleighs were made for snow — or being airborne in tow by eight flying reindeer. SoCal is not particularly known for its wintry weather. Needless to say, he still needs to make deliveries to all the good boys and girls in the sub-tropic climate. Fortunately for the jolly old elf, in a garage in Huntington Beach, he stashed an 11.0 second car that has lots of room for Christmas joy.

 (9)“RAT DNA” is a creation of Ken Vela, proprietor of Wikd Kustoms. The 1957 Chevy Bel Air is a genuine pro street masterpiece. Santa likes it because it gets him around quickly and doesn’t cramp his style.

 (6)Powering this beauty is a Westech Performance Group built four bolt GM 69/010 high nickel content 350 block, bored .040 over — making 397 cubic inches; a Comp Cams 640/640 lift roller; Isky’s “REM” finished tool room dual springs; Del West 2.05/1.6 stainless valves with titanium retainers; ported and polished Dart pro1 aluminum heads, a Scat 3.875 stroke steel crankshaft; Ross custom 10.5:1 pistons with zero gap rings; a Brodix ported and polished HV 1000 intake; Demon Drag Race 850 double pumper carb; a Moroso 7 quart pan; Edelbrock “Quiet” gear drive; MSD digital 6 box and billet distributer; Hooker Super Comp headers; Ron Davis double pass radiator with 10” dual fans; and a Stuart Warner Stage II aluminum water pump. Santa said, “I just like the way it sounds, during the SoCal leg of my trip, I rarely listen to Christmas music as this engine is music to my ears.”

 (3)

The Mickey Thompson 30” x 14” x 15” drag radials meet the road through a Transmission Specialties 700r4 tranny connected to a Currie Enterprises 9” Ford rear end. Santa says, “ I love wrapping my hand around the B&M Hammer shifter and I can light those Mickey Thompsons up from every light for at least an eighth of a mile — yet the car gets reasonably good mileage. It cruises at 80 mph at 2,400 rpm. Sadly, the houses are really close together in much of California so I rarely get the full effect. Mrs. Claus and I vacation here occasionally and take this bad boy to the beach — everyone wants to race at every stoplight. I love smokin’ them!”

 (5)It’s pretty easy to smoke the competition with this bad boy making 500HP with 500 lbs. of torque — with a Sneaky Pete 100HP shot of NOS to seal the deal. Though Santa is too busy to take this sexy car to the strip, it is estimated by the builder, Vela, to be a 10.5 to 11 second car. The LED lighting makes for beautiful night display in the engine bay and strategically around the rest of the car.

 (1)For Santa, “RAT DNA” combines the speed and style he so craves when making his Southern California deliveries. “My second favorite delivery vehicle is the one I keep in Sicily, but we will discuss that one on a future Christmas story…”

 (2)In the meantime, Santa said that many of you will be getting the high-performance parts you asked for — that is, “if you were good boys and girls! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” Screeech!

About the author

Tom Stahler

At eight months of age, Tom Stahler sat in a baby stroller in Thunder Valley and watched Chuck Parsons and Skip Scott win the 1968 Road America 500. He has had the car bug ever since. He has won several awards, including the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and the International Motor Press Association's Gold Medal for his writing and photography. When not chasing the next story, Tom drives in vintage road racing events.
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