Jim Noble’s 1954 Chevrolet street rod and its one-of-a-kind “W-18” powerplant will remind showgoers that there’s no substitute for cubic inches when the certifiably insane pickup makes its Carolinas debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Sept. 8–10 Charlotte AutoFair.
“Dubya,” as Jim and his wife Cindy have affectionately named their Torch Red and Pure White beast, carries three Chevrolet 6-cylinder engines behind its super-wide, hand-built radiator. Each engine was bored out during rebuild, giving the retired farm truck a staggering 718 cubic inches of displacement from its combined 18 cylinders! Owning such an unusual vehicle means Noble must answer a lot of questions every time he pulls up to an intersection or stops for gas.
- Yes, he did all the work himself! The Michigander has been working on cars, motorcycles, and snowmobiles since his teen years. A self-taught fabricator, Noble at one time maintained a fleet of five tractor trailers and was a heavy equipment mechanic welder before that. Every part on Dubya—no matter how big or small—was designed and built from scratch.
- Yes, it took a long time! It took 15 years, to be precise. Getting three 6-cylinder engines to work together in harmony is not a problem that can be solved by watching a YouTube video. Noble admits there was a lot of trial and error; for example, it took five attempts to connect all three crankshafts so they could operate through the single 700R4 automatic transmission.
- Yes, it will smoke the tires! Dubya’s owner/builder estimates his W-18, which inhales through six carburetors, produces 500 to 600 horsepower and somewhere between 700 and 800 foot-pounds of torque. Floating around the internet is some shaky video of the truck smoking its enormous rear Michelin tires.
- Yes, it wins awards! Noble turned the last bolt on Dubya just in time for the 2021 Detroit Autorama, only to hear it was canceled because of the pandemic. His patience was rewarded a year later when he took home Autorama’s “Spirit of Rodding” and “Best Engineered” trophies.
- No, it’s not for sale!
The W-18 Chevrolet will be displayed in the Showcase Pavilion during the Sept. 8–10 Charlotte AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Other show highlights include an assortment of movie tie-in vehicles such as vintage cars from Leatherheads and the 1959 Corvette from Animal House, a trio of Sept. 11 tribute cars, a half-dozen of Oldsmobile’s finest performance machines, and an array of beautiful rides from the Xquisite Car, Truck and Jeep Club.
The Charlotte AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 10,000 vendor spaces offering an array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway throughout the three-day show. Hours for the Sept. 8–10 Charlotte AutoFair are 8 am to 6 pm, Thursday through Saturday.
Single-day tickets are $10 on Thursday and $15 on Friday and Saturday for adults. Admission is FREE for children 12 and under with an adult. To buy tickets, AutoFair attendees can shop online at CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com, purchase at the gate, or call 800-455-FANS (3267).
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