Reinvented: Robert Carrasca's 1987 Chevrolet Sprint Pro Street

10 min read

Reinvented: Robert Carrasca's 1987 Chevrolet Sprint Pro Street

10 min read

Dean Kamen once said, “An invention is any assemblage of technologies or ideas that you can put together that nobody put together that way before.” Since its inception, Pro Street has always been about invention, thinking outside the box, and doing something different. Pro Street started as an homage to Pro Stock cars from the drag strip adapted for on-road use. However, car show competition quickly morphed Pro Street into even more exaggerated versions with multiple power-adders. No vehicle is off-limits and even encouraged, but you will never see another quite like this.

Carrasca Sprint 1

Welder and fabricator Robert Carrasca of Alexis, Illinois, grew up watching his dad paint vehicles in his spare time. As soon as he was old enough, Robert started working on them himself and never looked back, eventually making a living out of building cars. He attended many of the massive car shows supported by the national automotive publications during his formative years. Seeing those wild creations sparked Robert to tackle his first complete build in 1993. But, what vehicle should it be? He knew he wanted something different but couldn’t spend a ton of money obtaining it. Almost on a dare, a friend offered to sell him his bone-stock 1987 Chevrolet Sprint for a mere $75.

The miniature three-cylinder Chevy Sprint made a whopping 70 horsepower in stock form — not exactly something one would equate with Pro Street. However, Robert took it as a challenge and bought the Sprint, starting a 28-year love affair with the unique little pocket rocket. It has seen several reinventions through the years, though the latest might be its best. With very little extra time on his hands, the first iteration took seven years to complete and featured a tunnel-rammed small-block Chevy.

Carrasca Sprint Older Form 1

The second and more egregious variation began in 2006 with power from a big-block Chevy. It was literally and figuratively over the top with a massive 14-71 Blower Shop supercharger. Six Weber carbs pushed the behemoth over the roof. It looked like a real-life Hot Wheels and garnered several awards at Du Quoin in both 2013 and 2014.

Carrasca Sprint Older Form 2

Not one to rest on his laurels, Robert began the third (and current) reinvention in 2015, finishing it in 2020. As it sits now, Robert's Chevy Sprint is an absolute marvel of engineering built at home to his exacting standards. On a wheelbase of just 88-inches, the full chassis was hand-built out of 2x3x3/16-inch rectangular tubing fitted with a 12-point cage. Flange to flange, the 12-bolt rearend is a mere 27-inches wide with 13-inch Moser axles located by homemade ladder bars. The rear suspension consists of factory coils cut down to lower the body and Pro Shocks to dampen the ride. Brakes are stock GM units.

With limited space and no aftermarket support for the Chevy Sprint, the front suspension is a bit trickier. Robert fabricated the upper and lower control arms to work with inboard-mounted Carrera coilovers utilizing rocker arm and pushrod engineering. He used Mustang II brakes, calipers, and spindles with a Strange master cylinder and Wilwood proportioning valve, all tied into a hand-built brake pedal assembly.

Carrasca Sprint 2

Fitting the current powerplant was surely a test of his skills, sanity, and artistic ability. Still working on a budget, Robert managed to use the firewall as a mid-mount plate to shoehorn in a stock 2002 5.3-liter LS fed by twin 56mm turbos utilizing an amazingly symmetrical and ingenious piping configuration.

The turbo-densified air forces through a 95mm tapered-bore throttle body into a hand-sanded and polished Holley mid-rise intake before entering the chambers to meet up with fuel atomized using Holley rails and TRE 80-pound injectors. Stock factory truck coils with MSD wires light the fire. The EFI is managed by a Terminator X system tuned by Robin Lawrence of Holley.

Owner-built stainless-steel 1⅝-inch headers expel gasses to spin the turbos before exiting through the 2.5-into-3-inch exhaust with no mufflers. A BeCool ‘69 Camaro aluminum radiator with two 11-inch Permacool electric fans chills the water pumped into the engine by a 55gpm Mezeire remote water pump, while a Powermaster 220amp alternator keeps everything running.

The power transfers to a 3800rpm-stall Jegs XHD 10-inch torque converter into a manual-valve-body turbo 350 automatic transmission spinning a 34-inch driveshaft built by RJ Race Cars. The car hasn’t been dyno’ed, so no horsepower numbers are available. But in true Pro Street fashion, this car is built for looking good and cruising on the street instead of burning up the quarter-mile.

Carrasca Sprint 3

And looking good, it does very well. The Pro Street stance is achieved with just a mere 10-inches between the rear wheel tubs housing massive 33x21.5-inch Hoosier radials on 15x14-inch Weld Prostar wheels. The front tires are 15x6-inch Cooper tires on 15x3.5-inch Prostar wheels. Whereas Robert’s last paintjob was a wild “look at me” type of Pro Street scheme, this newest one is much more subdued yet still eye-catching. Josh Lester of Pocket Paint and Performance in Monmouth, Illinois, laid down the miles-deep House of Kolor Candy Brandywine that dances in the sun.

The vinyl tan interior contrasts perfectly with the Brandywine exterior. Robert upholstered the door panels with aluminum and carbon accents from Jason Allen at Metalcrafters. With such tight confines due to the lowered stance, Robert fabricated a relief into the massive tunnel for his driving leg, right next to the B&M Pro Stick shifter.

The stock dash and cluster are still present but are now complemented with AutoMeter gauges and the Terminator X handheld. A 13-inch Grant steering wheel attached to the stock column provides a little extra room to the driver, while Pro Car Elite series 1100 tan vinyl seats accessorized with G Force seatbelts keep him in place. And don’t even think about a back seat...that area is wholly taken up by wheel tubs and the owner-built 10.5-gallon aluminum fuel cell outfitted with dual Aeromotive Phantom fuel pumps with braided stainless-steel plumbing.

With no major car shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Sprint saw its official “re-debut” in 2021 at the Du Quoin Street Machine Nationals, where it was only bested by Wally Elder’s equally spectacular and outrageous Pro Street ‘69 Dodge Daytona. But, it isn’t about the awards for Robert. His most memorable moments come from the friends he’s made in the hobby and the challenge of packaging high horsepower into tight spaces. With that in mind, it makes us wonder . . . will he leave it this way for very long, or will he reinvent the Sprint again?

Carrasca Sprint 4


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