Gone are the days when building a hot rod meant swapping in a junkyard motor and some bolt-ons to any old jalopy. The collector car market is now dominated by elite restoration shops that completely deconstruct and reassemble the classics of yesterday as modern hot rods. These cars are adorned with precision machined parts, exotic materials like titanium and carbon fiber, and one-off fabricated parts. In many cases, these frame-off resto-mods may take one to three years to build and cost upwards of $150,000 or more!
Hot rodding has become an over-the-top, “mine’s-bigger-than-yours” competition of insane proportions. The latest example of this comes from SpeedKore Performance in Grafton, Wisconsin. Their 1970 Dodge Charger “Tantrum” is one of the wildest custom car builds I have ever seen.
In 1970, the only people working with carbon fiber would have been the aviation industry and NASA. This space-age material is incredibly lightweight and strong. At the time this car rolled off the production line, it would have been unthinkable to have such materials in a passenger car. But that’s exactly what Speedkore have done: carbon fiber hood, front fenders, and bumpers.
The Dodge Charger is one of the great legendary muscle cars of the 1960s. Though it looks like a muscle car on the outside, this Charger is actually a high-powered supercar in disguise!
The guys at The Roadster Shop have transformed this American muscle car into a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Under the hood is a V10 engine from a Dodge Viper, breathing through twin turbochargers and pumping out an incredible 1,300 horsepower.
I’ve never heard of these things before. Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a second generation of the Explorer Sport Trac. Apparently this started out as a stereo package for the Sport Trac and morphed into this “appearance-package” atrocity starting in 2008. Based off what was meant to be an SVT-lead performance truck, that idea was apparently scrapped, but kept the 2005 GT-R concept grille treatment. Something nowadays many other manufacturers can’t seem to avoid stealing as well (I’m looking at you SRT team).
So basically this thing is all show and no go. Being as it’s a quad cab with a pathetic excuse for a bed -and built from the Explorer platform- I shouldn’t be surprised that this is basically what you would call a “lifestyle” vehicle. Which I suppose is a nice way of saying that it’s only meant to look like its sporty and utilitarian, instead of actually being sporty and utilitarian. It’s a mechanical cod piece. I also shouldn’t be surprised that the lady driving this looked like she was off to get the kids from soccer practice, driving in a part of town that is exclusively new, upper-middle class suburbs.
During a year where Ford was making the Five-Hundred, Fusion and Taurus (fleet only) all at the same time, I feel comfortable in saying that this was the most useless, outdated and foolish-looking vehicle in their line-up. I hope it’s rarity ensures that I never have to notice another one and think “Oh, what the fuck?”