[MN] Devil's Rods - Tuning, the American way


Hi, I’m Nathan García. Welcome to Devil’s Rods.

What’s Devil’s Rods?

We’re one of Motornation’s franchises, a garage specialized in tuning with a long tradition we carry to this day: carburetors over fuel injection, forged pistons, nice radial tyres and a lot, lot of passion for what we do.

What kind of stuff do we tune?

Even though our preference is classic cars, we’ll take anything from historical cars to the latest go-fast mobile you can think of. But all of our tunes share something, our motto: mechanical over electronic.

We’ll be posting the tunes we create here from time to time.

I want my car to be tuned!

Send a pm to me explaining me briefly the story of the model, model name, and I’ll get to it as soon as I come up with a story and tune for it (and I’m not busy with other stuff like challenges).

Tuned cars and nicknames.


Legend reborn - The '68 Erin Merna “Vampire”.

(Props to @DeusExMackia for the car!)

Nathan García with you guys again. Let me tell you the story of this little thing.

It all started in this auction. This abandoned '68 Merna was there, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it had to be mine. So I fought for it like a madman and got it for $5000. I took it to the garage, and the magic began.

You know what the first step is for me: rust removal. Well, this car was full of trash, no wonder I could get it so cheap. I had to remove a dead rat from inside even. But whatever; the steel panels had been eaten by rust, so I had to get to the cutting machine with a few sheets of fiberglass. I replaced the…debris, because these panels were not proper in any sense with the custom panels, and then cleaned the interior up. I removed the rear seats and left only two bucket seats at the front, the usual.

Then I moved on to the suspension. Why do Europeans insist on independent rear ends? They are a pain in the ass to work with! Anyways, I replaced the arms and coilovers and then repeated the process with the front end. MacPherson struts, weren’t too much of a problem.

Then I lifted the bonnet and my fears were confirmed: the engine was fucked. Literally fucked: more holes in the engine block than a gruyere cheese. Off to a great start. Getting one of these blocks would be really complicated, so I called my friend Neville and he told me he could get me a small block the same day. And he delivered: a Starbanner 5.0 ‘Sinner’ six pack from a '65 Maine Motors Imperator. The intake, however, was missing, but he managed to fetch me an intake with a slot for a four barrel carburetor.

The carburetor of choice was clearly a Holley 4 barrel. Could’ve gone with mechanical fuel injection, but that I’ll keep for a more extreme project. So the new small block v8 was making 300hp at the dyno, with a pretty wide powerband. Not bad, definitely not Malaise levels at least. I paired it with a 5 speed manual from a modern Erin Merna and played around with the rations, also dropping in a Quaife LSD in the process.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I converted the drivetrain from FWD to RWD, by mounting the engine longitudinally. Now you have a pocket muscle car here. I finally gave it radial tyres and alloy rims, a black finish and a lot, lot of aero. It’s functional, I’m no stupid ricer.

I took it out to an abandoned factory near me during the night. This car is mental. Accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds, which is not too remarkable, it reaches 130 mph. Wait, Nathan, what’s mental in that? That’s your average muscle car there.

Well, it’s the cornering. The rear end makes this thing nimble as nimble as one of these British fighters, the Vampire. 1.2Gs at 20m and 1.37Gs at 250m. Holy shit, it definitely earned the ‘Vampire’ nickname. It’s also a solid drift rocket, with a lot of low end grunt to initiate slides and donuts. This is probably the Gameboy of muscle cars, if you catch my drift. YES, THE PUN WAS INTENDED.

So after that wonderful experience, appart from some more relaxed driving, I’ll say I’ll definitely be modifying more Erins in the future. Perhaps I can try something more modern. Or perhaps I can go back to their roots. While I make up my mind though, I have to finish a few different projects.


What are you insinuating about old Erin engines? :wink:

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Homemade Group B - '81 Nohda Assent GTX “Hurricane”.

(Props to @Dorifto_Dorito for the car!)

I’ve been in a car related movie watching spree these days. I rewatched Blurred Vision for the third time, then moved on to Le Mens by Steve McQueen and finally Days of Banter.

And I got inspired by these movies, and started looking for a theme that hasn’t really been used in movies. I finally decided to go for Group B rallying, even if a movie about it was released in 2015. So I started calling my buddies at Motornation and they brought me some offers for cars from the 80s. In between all these offers, I saw this ad for a Nohda Assent GTX and decided to go for that one. I drove a couple hundred of miles and came back home with a quite rusty, but still restorable, Nohda Assent GTX from '81, for $500. Not bad.

Poor little Nohda arrived at our HQ like so. Fucker selling it tried to make me not lowball because “he knew what he had”.

So I began working on the car. You know the flow: removing rust with an agent is the first step, then removing the rear seats, and this time I only left one bucket seat in the front, clean the dirt that can be found inside (I found some suspicious clear stains below the rear seats. Won’t ask any questions.) and take the engine out.

And then I had a pleasant surprise. The rear suspension was a solid axle! Finally, I was already expecting another fancy independent system torturing me, so good news. I bought a set of nice strong dampers and softer springs, perfect for rallying, and installed them in each corner of the car.

I then took a look at the 1.8 liter engine, dual overhead cam. Seemed to be in good condition, so I thought of storing it and swaping in a Shromet big block or a Merciel engine to turbocharge it…but then I decided to keep the engine in place and modify it.

So I replaced the worn out components with forged pistons. I also cleaned the exhaust manifold and decided, as this was going to be some sort of homemade Group B car, cut the manifold and manipulate it to house a turbo. I did so, bending the pipes, and then installed the turbocharger.

Remember I mentioned I had a mechanical fuel injection system laying around? I decided to used it for this project. After all, carburetors only get you so far with a turbocharger.

I then put the engine back in place and the exhaust, as well as a new gearbox with a mechanical LSD. I removed the catalytic converter (before you kill me, I am aware of our emissions testing, this is not supposed to be road legal.) and only installed a glass pack muffler to slightly strangle the noise.

Next thing was the styling modifications…I’ll leave you guys with a photoshoot, as an image says more than a thousand words.

Yes, we dumped the exhaust headers through the bonnet.

Specs-wise, the car is making 300hp; these 300 horses push the 2360 pounds from 0 to 62 in only 5.3 seconds. Quite tame for Group B indeed, but I don’t have the kind of tech these guys used back then; I had to work with what I had. Top speed is quite low, with the 5 speed manual transmission topping out at 111mph; however, keep in mind my intention for this car was to make it a rally car of some sort.

I am too scared of the turbo lag in my creation, so I might send it to one of the professional drivers we have at the general HQ; that way, we can have some second thoughts as well. But one thing’s for sure: Nohdas are easy to tune and reward you greatly, so I’ll definitely be tuning more of them in the future. Now I should get back to my next project…


That car looks, sounds, and feels like madness… In a good way!

And the Vampire is all the better for its heart transplant.

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Thanks for @Mr.Computah for letting me review his modified Berlose and @DeusExMackia for providing the car.

My God what happened here - '96 Erin Berlose X-Drive “Astaroth”

Hello, it’s Matt Sierra again :wink: ! So here I am, in the US. I was going to spend my Easter break lazing around watching TV, but the office decided to drag me all the way here to San Fransisco to stare at a car in the desert. They said it was a custom made Erin Berlose, so of course, I jumped at the opportunity. That being said I didn’t expect this…

What did Nathan do to this poor car? Doesn’t he know these things are rare back across the pond. I can barely find one that’s in decent nick for less than 12 grand.

Well anyways, lets see what hes done.
Flared arches: :white_check_mark:
Big Wings: :white_check_mark:
CF bonnet with pipes poking out on top: :white_check_mark:
And inside, a 10L V10 taken straight from an ACA Chevalier: :white_check_mark:

Yeah sounds like Nathan. Looks like its been driven straight through Halfords smothered in superglue. At least the performance will should be good.

Under the bonnet (hood to you Americans) lies a turbocharged 10L V10 pulled straight from a 1996 ACA Chevalier pumping out around 1012hp. A high flow catalytic converter has been kept, although considering that the rest is just a straight pipe, Im not sure why he kept it on, probably some emissions regulations he has to do being in California and all.

Inside, everything but the bare minimum has been stripped and emptied out to reduce weight. The gearbox and transmission have been replaced by for a racing spec manual 6 speed gearbox to handle all that power. A custom made roll cage has also been fitted inside as well as a bucket racing seat. While the car is bare bones, it still retains the variable hydraulic power steering and ABS, probably so Nathan doesn’t plow the car into the nearest wall.

Naturally as this was intended to be a track monster, it would be fitting to send it flying round a circuit, and conveniently, the Laguna Seca was open just for Motornation.

When you consider that the car launches from 0-100 in 2.6s, you realise how much of a monster this car is. Topping out at 303km/h, its terrifying to even dare push the gas pedal down even half way. Even with the catalytic converter, the V10 is deafening. Roaring as you accelerate. And considering that its a pushrod V10, it revs to a decent 7000 RPM. Going round corners, the car is planted. With wider wheels and a modified AWD system, the car can speed through corners and can even tackle the infamous corkscrew.

Overall, the car managed a time of 1:35:40*

Just as a comparison, a Nohda Cadenza GTX also from the 90s goes around the track at a not so blistering time of 1:57:03*

Anyways, Matt Sierra signing out :wink:

*Flying lap times

Extra Images


What a fine job @Mr.Computah did of thoroughly mangling the old car into something superbly over the top, and a lovely review work by @Dorifto_Dorito. You’ve done my car proud :smiley:


Hey, you can say I mangled it, but you lowkey love it and you know it :wink:


Low but certainly not slow - '83 BMMA Dolphine “Hitman”.

(Props to @NormanVauxhall for lending me the car!)

My job is one of tuning cars from different eras. But no matter how hard I try not to, I can never help going back to the 80s, an era full of truly beautiful cars. Sure, you might argue that during the 80s, when we were still suffering the consequences of the oil crisis of 1973 and the energy crisis of 1979.

But even if most cars did not have much go, they did have a lot of show. The Mk3 Stallion Saber, the more sober Mk1 Erin Berlose, the Kimura TKR-C and many more. But I decided to bring you a very particular and loved BMMA today.

Of course, the guy knew what he had and wanted no lowballers.

But we’re not here to showcase a stock Dolphine. This is the “Hitman” BMMA Dolphine.

Some of you might already be unsheathing their knifes and gun and poiting them at me. Slow down, I did not modify a pristine top end model, this is the humble 1.7 Gorizia trim. It wasn’t in the best of conditions and its previous owner thought that cars did not need to get their oil changed, so knowing that’s the least offensive thing I heard from the guy you can imagine the condition this thing was in.

I decided to go for a more subtle and sober, yet distinctively tuner look this time. A ducktail is in charge of the downforce at the back, lips at the front, an all around sober bodykit and coilovers to lower it all. Some of you might be thinking “ewww, low and slow”.

Not the case. I swapped the old, anemic 1.7 liter engine for a proper small block with mechanical fuel injection. 351 cubic inches of fury from a Maine Motors, developing 380 horses. And in the true American v8 fashion, it has power from the very beginning. Of course, that power is sent nowhere except the rear wheels, like I know you guys like it. Consider the interior stripped out as well, of course.

Let’s speak numbers here for a moment. 0-62 in 5.7 seconds through its 5 speed manual and limited slip differential. Over 1G of lateral grip in both tests. Tops out at 163 mph. Sounds good, eh?

You messed with the wrong guy, kid.

This might not be my most insane build, but I’m damn proud of it. I grew so attached to this car as I built it that I decided to make it my new daily driver. So if you ever hear a v8 rumbling and see a Dolphine approaching…you’ll know it’s me. Now, back to my next project…


I love that modifications. I’m thinking to send to you a Montes to be tuned :smirk:

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I am not dead!

Nathan’s challenged by CMW! - The “Challenger” CMW CS260

(Props to @MrChips for letting me modify the 260!)

Nathan here once again. When arrived at my workshop two weeks ago, Neville had brought me a letter from CMW. It was a challenge. I had to modify a base CS260 to beat the CS42ER. The 260 was waiting for me just outside of the workshop. You don’t fuck with Nathan. Proof:

Modifying a saloon to turn it into a homemade touring car? Check!

Yep, I turned the 260 into a homemade touring car. But before we talk about the modified car, we have to talk about what the benchmarks were. These were the benchmarks I had to beat in order to win the challenge:

  • 0-62: 4.3 seconds.
  • 49-74: 2.4 seconds.
  • 1/4 mile: 12.43 seconds.
  • Standing km: 22.35 seconds.
  • Airfield time: 1:19.55.

The fellas at CMV were kind enough to provide a v8 engine I could work with, however. And with my goals in mind, I started working on it. My first step was to strip the interior down, leaving it with just one bucket seat inside and removing most of the safety systems. New springs and dampers followed, and lower profile wheels were the next step. I had some restrictions, however. No semi slicks, only regular sports compound, and a fixed maximum tyre width.

When all of this was sorted, I moved on to making it a bodykit. My main inspiration were GT and touring cars, making a bodykit that’s not just rice. It’s functional rice, reducing lift and creating downforce. It also gives the “Challenger” it’s particularly agressive stance.

And the last, but not least step, was the engine. The 4.7 liter engine was retuned to 495 horses, through a new fuel map and wider exhaust pipe, as well as less restrictive catalytic converters and mufflers. Of course, the engine was kept naturally aspirated.

A nearby abandoned airport was the place of choice for the car to be tested. What were the results?

Devil’s Rods won…except for one bit. The “Challenger” accelerates from 0 to 62 in 4.4 seconds, 0.1 seconds slower than the CS42ER to beat.

But it is overall faster. Not only does it complete the 1/4 mile in 12.19 seconds, it also clears the km in 21.45 seconds, and the airfield in 1:18.18. And that’s why I said, CMV…you don’t fuck with Nathan. That being said, I’m surprised by these cars…and will definitely be tuning more of their stuff further down the line. Now though, I need to go back to working on something different…


Finally have a chance to comment, but I definitely love what you’ve done to the CS (even if it’s been redesigned in the meantime) - it’s got some proper presence, with those wide fenders and low skirts. You’ve definitely given the engineers at CMW’s ER department something to think about…perhaps a rematch down the road with a Competition Package CS42ER? :smirk:


Dude, flirting like that is borderline NSFW :smirk:

That thing looks properly mental, angry, and race-ready all at once - no wonder I love it to bits!

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