Hot Rodding may have begun in southern California, but the guys at Big Oak Garage in Hokes Bluff, Alabama have certainly perfected the craft. They have given the “Big Oak” treatment to this 1965 Dodge Dart, which I saw on display at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The car’s bright green and chrome look caught my attention right away! The color is actually a stock Mopar color called “Green With Envy,” which I thought was very cool. You don’t see too many of these cars around, especially at a show like SEMA which is dominated by pro-touring Camaro and Mustang builds. The Dart stands out, and in a good way. Continue reading →
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.
Off the top of your head, what were some of the top supercars of the 1990s? The ones that come to my mind are: Jaguar XJ220, Lamborghini Diablo, Dodge Viper, and the McLaren F1. While all of them were iconic in their own right, only one of them has fallen into the sub-$40,000 range today: the Dodge Viper.
This depreciation has made the Viper’s V10 engine an attractive option for people looking to do an unusual engine swap. People like the owner of this 1959 Belvedere, for example.
The 1970s are remembered today as a decade of excess, and nothing embodies that mindset greater than the cars that people were driving. This was the era that gave us the Dukes of Hazzard, Smokey and the Bandit, and the original “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
There was another craze during the 1970s: custom vans. People would take full-size vans from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge and trick them out with shag carpet, a stereo system, custom paint and wheels, custom interior, CB radio, and even accessories like mini fridges!
“Vanning” exploded in popularity and was featured in movies and songs of the era. Like vinyl records and most things from the 1970s, “street vans” fell out of fashion to fade into obscurity, only to see a small revival today.
This 1970s-era Dodge Ram van may be a relic of that era. It looks to have been converted to a camper/motorhome at one point, and is now languishing on a side street. The interesting thing about this van is its dual rear axle setup – something I have not seen before and can find very little about on the Internet. I suspect it may have been a custom modification.
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.
One of the first cars I ran into at SEMA 2014 was this customized 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack called “Rapture” at the AMSOIL booth.
This eye-catching car was a collaboration between Pfaff Designs and Downforce Motorsports, and was built by RM Motorsports in Wixom, Michigan. It features a number of custom touches that really set it off from a regular Challenger.
While Carroll Shelby is most famous for his work with Ford vehicles, he spent much of the 1980s working his magic for Chrysler. Mike featured the Shelby CSX in a previous post, which is definitely worth checking out if you missed it.
In addition to the CSX, Shelby and Chrysler created a high-performance compact car based on the Dodge Omni. Shelby called it the “GLH” for “Goes Like Hell” and it was available in three different levels: a non-turbo base model, a turbocharged model, and the top-of-the-line GLHS model (for Goes Like Hell S’More).
The early 1990s were an interesting time for compact trucks. For some reason, auto manufacturers got the idea that pickup trucks were just too boring and that they needed to be more fun and exciting and sporty!
In 1991, General Motors released the one-year-only GMC Syclone. This compact pickup featured a powerful turbocharged 4.3L V6 engine that produced 280 horsepower and ran circles around everything else on the road. With its blacked-out appearance and lowered stance, the Syclone was essentially a factory hot rod that became instantly collectible.