The art of building and modifying the wonderful invention of the horseless carriage has been around for longer than any of us can remember. When the automobile first appeared, its only purpose was to carry people from one place to another, and hopefully back again. It is said that the world revolves around change, and slowly, in the poorly-lit sheds and garages across America, strange adaptations began to emerge. People who were yearning for more than just necessary transportation were modifying these newfangled inventions to display their individuality. Eventually referred to as soup jobs, until the early 60s and the factory horsepower era, if you wanted something different, you had to build it yourself. In the early years, finding that perfect aftermarket piece you needed was not so easy. You gotta remember, you didnt just pick up the telephone and call 1-800-GETCHERPARTS, because they simply werent available. If you couldnt find what you needed in the salvage yard, you made it.
Lets move ahead in time a little, shall we? Its 1998, over a century after the invention of the automobile, and Roger Brands, an electrician from Grandville, Michigan, decides to build something other than average transportation.
What he started with was less than average. The convertible 71 Barracuda body he acquired was in such poor condition, he says when he opened the doors, the body literally collapsed. Still not discouraged with the condition of his project, Roger found a wrecked 72 hardtop to use as a donor car. Next, he and friend Tim Hafer handled the arduous task of returning the 71 beast to its former glory
and then some. Using Sherwin-Williams base/clear paint, he covered the revitalized sheetmetal with eye-catching In-Violet, a HIP color from the musclecar age. The amazing part about this restoration is not just the condition of the body he started with, but the fact that this entire project was completed in only nine months!
Taking this hulk of rusted sheetmetal and transforming it into this gem you see here in nine months is one thing but
to complete this feat using a computer-controlled 1994 V10 engine from a Dodge truck creates a myriad of other complications. Just like the forefathers of hot-rodding, Roger had to fabricate a lot of the parts he needed to complete the project.
Consider, if you will, just the intake, a custom piece with the upper half fabricated by Rich Gordon, made to accept the throttle body from a Corvette. Or the stock oil pan with a hole cut and a tube welded through the middle to allow passage of the drag link. To cool this large, uncommon combination, a radiator was employed from a 93 diesel truck that holds a whopping 6 gallons of coolant, with air moved through the fins by an aftermarket fan. Spent gasses exit via stock exhaust manifolds through Turbo mufflers, while a wiring harness and computer from a 97 Dodge truck ignites and controls the fire. In keeping with the resto look, a 70 hockey stripe by Performance Grafix was altered with a V10 logo designed by friend Randy Boone and applied to the body.
The rest of the drivetrain consists of a stock suspension 8¾-inch rear spinning a SureGrip center with 3:55.1 gears. To couple the engine to that, Roger chose a 518-overdrive transmission with a lock-up converter (also out of a truck), which was subsequently rebuilt by Barry Wildey. The sanitary white interior of the car was brought back to new-like condition with the help of parts from The Paddock. All of this happened in just nine months; this guy was focused!
So, we can think back about the days when every hot rod guy owned (or had a buddy who owned) a Bridgeport, and a torch, and extra metal for bodywork. For Roger, this challenge was not a problem, with the V10s now around and old E-Body ragtops just waiting for another shot at street life, it is easy to say, You knew it had to happen.