“Roadkill: No Logic, No Budget and No Shame.” David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan of Hot Rod Magazine decide to take their next Roadkill trip to Texas to pull a car out of a junkyard and try to get it drag strip worthy in 24 hours. After roaming CTC Auto Ranch in Denton Texas based on a Facebook recommendation, they decide to go with a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda that’s missing all of it’s glass, interior and gas tank. Can the guys put the car together and drive it to North Star Dragway in Houston Texas for the NMCA Lone Star Nationals or will they blow it up with a bottle of nitrous?
When you think of American hot-rodding, the Meyers Manx probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The brainchild of Southern California surfer, Bruce Meyers, the Manx formula is putting a great looking fiberglass body over a dune buggy with VW running gear. The original intent was to give people a kit where they could build a little piece of surf culture in their garage with their own hands. You build it yourself and you add whatever flavor you want to it. That’s the essence of hot-rodding. The Manx started off as a design success because it looked cool and then continued to be popular because they also worked awesome for desert racing and autocross. What a cool little nugget of American car culture.
The staff of Hot Rod Magazine brings us the story of their adventures taking the 2-day course at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. The fact that the 6 staffers have varying levels of road racing experience makes for interesting stories of where each person had some breakthroughs. After a classroom session at the start, the staffers tour the course in a van and then start working on basic skills behind the wheels of C6 Corvette Grand Sports. At first, they practiced fundamental skills like high speed lane changes, heel-toe downshifting and skid control in a Cadillac CTS that had trolleys that would lift each end of the car off the ground to make the front and rear axles lose traction. The lessons then culminated with some full fledged track racing and a timed autocross to see who could set the fastest time.
This episode of Hot Rod Magazine’s Road Kill embodies the reason I have an “Australian Car Culture” category here on the blog. The guys travel to Australia to check out the Powercruise events organized by a man named Gup. They’re basically a celebration of Australia’s love of the burnout. The Powercruise gives folks an excuse to annihilate tires and drag race at tracks all over the country. Gup also lets Finnegan and Freiburger play around in his 1974 “Elvis” Holden HQ and his 1,275 horsepower 2006 Holden HSV VE Clubsport R8 (the car we got as a Pontiac G8) with a 727 cubic inch Hemi built by Sonny Leonard. There’s also a 1500 cubic inch semi truck that smokes all four of its rear tires doing a doughnut at one point in this video. Stay tuned after the credits for 4 extra minutes of burnout competition footage.
Mike Finnegan of Hot Rod Magazine takes us into the world of drag boat bracket racing. He built the 1,160 horsepower jet boat that his friend is using to compete at the highest level of the sport. The point of bracket racing is to get as close to a bogey time as possible without going too fast. Finnegan and his friend Jeff are competing in the 9 second bracket. The guys do a good job talking about what it takes to tune the engine power and water jet pressures based on the heat, humidity and water smoothness of the track. It’s something similar to drag racing cars but completely different at the same time.