Indianapolis native Avijit Verma flew — almost literally — onto the small-tire no-prep drag racing scene at last fall’s War in the Woods VII, parking his 1980 Ford Fairmont Futura on the bumper in front of a raucous crowd at the Brown County Dragway, a short drive south of his home. For Verma, the Fairmont is the latest, and fastest, in a long series of import and domestic cars in the fleet of a certified gearhead.
“I got into modifying cars and racing when I was 18. I bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt SS (truthfully, it wasn’t my first choice, but my dream car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, wasn’t anywhere near attainable for me). I had very little knowledge on sports cars but always liked tinkering with engines,” Verma says. “I grew up with nitro R/C cars, and in the era when you always had to catch the Fast and Furious movies. Even though the Cobalt SS wasn’t anything special, to an 18 year old college kid living with his parents, working one day a week with almost no expendable income, it was definitely a blast to drive. The moment I test drove it off the lot, I was bitten by the boost-bug. From that moment on, just about everything I earned went to car parts.
“Over the next few years I met a lot more people in the local street scene and my interest slowly gravitated toward the Honda import crowd. It was cool how they were so small and nimble, like a go-kart on steroids, plus it seemed like relatively inexpensive platform (or so I thought). Finally, I got a chance to ride in a Turbo B-series hatch and it was game-over after that. I had to have one.”
Varma’s first actual “build” was a Turbo EG Civic hatchback that, over a three-year period, went from making 400 horsepower and being very simple and street-able, to a 750-horse setup that was pretty wild for a four-cylinder car in 2012. That car clocked a 10.80 at 142 mph on its first run, but he says it was “almost useless on the street.”
He then moved onto an S2000 that he and some buddies tore down and rebuilt with a LY6 6.0-liter LS engine, a Tremec T56 transmission, and a Cobra IRS rearend. “The car was a lot of fun and seemed to always turn heads.”
After realizing that having a two-seater convertible as his ‘fun car’ with a new family wasn’t going to be in the cards any longer, Verma sold his S2000 and made a deal to buy a CTS-V he’d been eyeballing. “As a max-effort SBE setup, that car made 767 horsepower and 767 torque, and went 10.20s at 137 mph on…
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