One of the premiere builders in the hot rod scene today is Troy Trepanier. From his shop in Manteno, Illinois, Rad Rides by Troy delivers some of the most unique automotive creations on the road today.
I got to check out their 1956 Buick “Nailed” on display at the 2013 SEMA Show and based on the crowd of admirers, I could tell this car was something special. At the risk of sounding cliche, this ain’t your granddaddy’s Buick!
With this car, they kept original Buick Nailhead V8 motor instead of taking the easy route and dropping in a crate engine. There aren’t a lot of aftermarket parts available for Buick V8s, so the guys had to resort to making a lot of their own.
The bottom end was strengthened with new main caps and a pan girdle that were CNC machined in-house, along with a set of Carillo “I-Beam” connecting rods. The engine also has one-off pistons and a custom-ground billet steel camshaft. The modified heads were fitted with LS valves and Beehive valve springs.
To add some extra oomph, a twin turbo system was installed along with a 6-stage dry sump oiling system and a custom fabricated oil pan. If you’re wondering where the turbos are, they are hiding under the fake oil bath air cleaner cover! It’s a clever trick that disguises this car’s true performance.
Perhaps the wildest thing of all was the Nailhead 12784563 firing order was changed to a better, but unconventional 15634278 firing order with the #1 cylinder on the passenger side bank. The guys say that this will improve crankshaft reliability. This is what separates Rad Rides from conventional hot rodders who just slap on some bolt-on parts to make more power. These guys are actually re-engineering the factory design of the engine, which is very impressive to me.
Besides the custom piping for the turbos, a set of one-off headers and exhaust were fabricated for this car. Everywhere you look, there are little custom touches to notice. The shaved front turn signals and the nickel-plated trim are subtle stylistic touches that make the car look clean and simple.
This car is an exercise in painstaking detail and one that hardcore Buick fans are sure to appreciate!
Engine and Driveline
413cid Buick Nailhead Twin Turbo engine
6-Stage dry sump oiling system w/custom pan
GM 4L80E transmission
Ford 9-inch rear end, 3.50 gears w/posi
Custom headers and exhaust
“Troy Trac” accessory drive
Wheels, Suspension, and Brakes
Art Morrison chassis
Corvette C6 suspension w/RideTech coilovers (front)
4-link rear suspension
Billet Specialties 19″ (front) and 20×12 (rear) wheels
Michelin Pilot Super Sport white wall tires
Exterior and Body
Shortened and sectioned bumpers
Front turn signals shaved
Copper stitching on seats and panels
Copper gauge needles