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.
Much has been written about the growing popularity of classic cars as investments. As demand among collectors and baby boomers continues to increase, the values of classic cars are being pushed ever higher at auction events nationwide.
While having a cushion of money in their portfolio is comforting to many retirees, some people look to enjoy the things they dreamed of in their younger days. For many people, a 1960’s muscle car is the physical manifestation of that dream. That’s how The 401k Club got started. From their website:
In 2006 a group of car club buddies decided to lease a warehouse for a place to work on their own vintage cars and Hot Rods. With Dana at the helm The 401K Club was born. Fast forward nine years and what started as merely a place for passionate car enthusiasts to tinker on their own projects, has transformed into a globally recognized Custom Hot Rod Shop with one of the best teams in the business.
At the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I saw this 1970 Plymouth Cuda that was built by The 401k Club of Huntington Beach, CA. You have to laugh at the tongue-in-cheek humor of their name!
The car features a Gen3 HEMI V8 swap and a wild vinyl-wrapped body that was done live at the show! The multi-color wrap shines like paint and really pushes the limit of what today’s high-tech vinyl wraps can do.
Unfortunately, I could not find many specifics about the car and there was no sign at the booth to reveal any further details about the build. I will let the pictures do the talking as you check out this resto-modded gem for yourself!
You may be familiar with the expression “like a bat out of hell” to refer to something moving wildly and out of control. In this case, this 1970 Plymouth Cuda moves like a “fish out of hell!”
We spotted this 1970 Plymouth Cuda nicknamed “Hellfish” on display at SEMA 2014, mere steps away from its cousin, the 1968 Charger. Like the Charger, this car was also built by The Roadster Shop, who seem to be up to their ears in vintage Mopars lately.
This 1953 Plymouth Suburban was looking minty fresh at the Odyssey Batteries booth at SEMA 2014. It belongs to Rutledge Wood of Top Gear (USA) fame and was built in partnership with Summit Racing. The build was done at Kenwood Rod Shop in Sharpsburg, GA.
Although it looks showroom new, this classic Mopar is anything but stock. Under the hood is a 408 cid V8 from BluePrint Engines with FAST electronic fuel injection and Summit block hugger headers. It is coupled to a T56 six-speed transmission with a McLeod clutch and a Quick Time conversion bellhousing. The whole thing is wired up with a Painless Performance wiring harness.
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).
Automobile manufacturers typically build two types of cars: regular passenger vehicles and wild, tire-squealing, high-revving performance vehicles. The latter is usually done by a company’s in-house performance division.
Mercedes’ in-house performance division is AMG. BMW has their M division. Over at Chrysler, they have the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team, which grew out of the original “Team Viper” group that was formed in 1989.
Since its inception 25 years ago, SRT has created high performance versions of many Chrysler vehicles including the Neon SRT-4, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 sedan, and the Ram SRT-10 Pickup. But what if SRT had existed back in the 1960s? What kind of cars would they have built? The guys at HPI Customs in Manitoba, Canada decided to try and answer that question.
The 1973 OPEC oil crisis had a dramatic effect on the American automobile industry. An embargo with oil-exporting countries of the middle east caused a shortage of crude oil which is refined into gasoline. The shortage in turn caused gasoline prices to skyrocket and rationing to go into effect.
In response to customer demand and new Federal Emissions Standards, the “Big Three” automakers went to work building a new generation of cars that were smaller and more fuel efficient. Chevrolet introduced the Monza and Citation, while Ford debuted the Pinto and the Fiesta. Not to be outdone, Chrysler introduced their new compact, front-wheel drive model in 1978: the Dodge Omni (and its badge-engineered cousin, the Plymouth Horizon).