Black paint, steel wheels and a look and feel that any high ranking mobster would kill for. This is the 1949 Dodge Wayfarer and unbeknownst to some, it's one of the coolest old school hot-rods we've ever seen. Owner Dan Zuccaro has taken a vehicle with humble roots and transformed it into a superb driver, show stopper and bad-ass street rod that steals the show wherever it goes.
Wide-Track: 1959 Bonneville - /BIG MUSCLE
• Chuck Cushner
Slathered in Lamborghini orange paint and exuding a presence that is
anything but subtle, this 1959 Bonneville is a car that represents a peak
time in American automotive design. It was drafted before government
mandates and regulations stifled imagination and creativity, and takes us
back to an era when we still looked to the stars for inspiration. This is a
car that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you truly long for the
days when chrome was King, gas was a mere .25¢ per gallon, and where Elvis
Presley was the greatest thing the public had ever heard.
Satan's Rat-Rod: 1931 Ford - /BIG MUSCLE
• Henry Kessler
The engine is out of a 1952 Diamond-Reo tractor and makes 1,640 lb-ft of
torque. The chassis is pieced together from old light poles from the City
of Hollywood. The body... that's from a 1931 Ford. Meet Gretchen, one of
the coolest rat-rods we've ever seen and a ride that turns heads wherever
it goes. This ain't no hybrid, instead it's a black smoke belching,
gasoline guzzling, animal of a car that's not only amazing to look at, but
with some cool hidden engineering, has the ability to surprise even the
most hardened of motor-heads.
1968 Charger / 1969 Daytona - /BIG MUSCLE Garage
The 1968 Dodge Charger and the 1969 Dodge Daytona. Two cars based off the
same platform with very different personalities. These two old sleds are
different though, 'cause well, they belong to me (your host) and they're
the reason that BIG MUSCLE exists today. These are not show ponies,
cruisers or weekend projects, but two warhorses that have been run in some
of the toughest long distance and performance events in the United States.
Built for reliability, power and performance, they are not technological
marvels, but old school resto-mods that have been updated for one reason
and one reason only - to put smiles on the faces of all those who see them.
Mitch Allread: Don't Call it a Rat Rod... - /BIG MUSCLE
It packs a 400 hp diesel out of a Ford F-350, a Dana 80 rear-end, and a
look and feel that would make Max Rockatansky feel right at home. This is
Mitch Allread's custom fabricated creation and it is, without a doubt, one
of the coolest things on the road today. This is a machine that transcends
the traditional hot rod formula by breaking down borders and setting its
Whereas most hot-rods are built by custom shops utilizing parts from mail
order catalogs, Mitch took a different approach and fabricated just about
everything on his ride by hand. Calling this a rat-rod would be an insult -
a work of art however... that'd be just fine.
Bad-Ass Buick: 1955 Special - /BIG MUSCLE
• Harry Fisher
In stock form, the 1955 Buick Special could best be described as a "nice"
car. It's not drop dead gorgeous like a 1959 Impala, nor does it have the
panache of say a 1956 Chrysler 300. You see the '55 Buick Special was a
working mans car. It had room enough for the whole family, a decent
power-plant thanks to its 264 cubic inch V8, and style that was, well...
above average. Harry Fisher or "Uncle Harry" as most people know him, saw
the old Buick a bit differently though. He knew that with a few little
touches (like a 502 cubic inch big-block, modern suspension, and a new set
of wheels) that this old Buick had the potential to become one of the
baddest hot-rods around.
JCG Restorations 1968 Camaro -- /BIG MUSCLE
Tucked away in a small industrial park in Oxnard, CA sits JCG Restorations
& Customs, a moderately sized shop that has built some of the best
performing pro-touring cars that we've ever driven. Now generally we don't
focus in on shops, however when the owners of three of our best test cars
start dropping names, we tend to listen. Originally we descended on JCG to
drive Blu Balz, a stunning 1968 Camaro owned by one Karl Dunn.
However since Mother Nature decided to water the Earth that day, we put our
original plans on hold and got shop owner Cris Gonzalez to give us the in's
and out's of what it takes to make a stellar pro-touring car.
1950 Chevrolet: Morrison Farm Truck - /BIG MUSCLE
The 1950 Chevrolet 3100 Series pickup is the quintessential American farm
truck. However, after Craig Morrison of Art Morrison Enterprises found it
languishing in someone's front yard, this little farm truck went from
all-slo, to all-go. The original chassis was removed in favor of a new GT
Sport bolt-on unit, as was the original Chevy straight-six engine. In its
place sits a new GM Performance Parts crate motor with EFI injection that's
coupled to a Hughes Performance 4L60E automatic transmission. With the
original paint and interior still intact, this old truck has been given a
new lease on life while still retaining all the heritage that made it great
over 60 years ago.
The Original Sting Ray - /BIG MUSCLE
• BRIAN HOBAUGH
When did you first realize that you loved cars? Maybe it was the time you
caught a glimpse of a Ferrari as you were sitting in the back of your
parents minivan. Or maybe it happened after watching your older brother do
a burnout in his rusted out Camaro. For owner Brian Hobaugh,
his love of cars started thanks to his Dad and a certain 1965 Chevrolet
Corvette that's been in their family for over 30 years.
1927 Ford: Double-Trouble -- /BIG MUSCLE
• Gordon Tronson
In the world of hot-rodding there are few cars that are going to leave as
big an impression as this - the 1927 Ford Model T custom simply known as
"Double-Trouble". It rides on a custom-built tube chassis that's fabricated
from 1.5-inch tube. Is powered by two 4.6-liter modular V8s from Ford with
four, count 'em, FOUR Superchargers for
an approximate power output of around 1,200 hp. It also utilizes the
rear-end (inboard disc brakes and all) from an early Jaguar. It's a rolling
a Hot Wheels car and a masterpiece of engineering that is sure to make all
your naughty bits tingle.
Right Seat Hot Rod: 1922 Ford - /BIG MUSCLE
• Anji Ramsey
Family heirlooms tend to come in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes
they come in the form of a piece of jewelry, other times a piece of
furniture. Rarely though do they come equipped with a 255 cubic inch Ford
flathead, side pipes and a sound that rivals most orchestras. This is Anji
Ramsey's 1922 Ford Roadster and it's a car that's been in her family (in
one way or another) for the better part of 65 years.
MAIER Racing: 1966 Mustang Coupe - /BIG MUSCLE
• Mike Maier
If you've ever driven a bone-stock mid-1960's Ford Mustang, then you know that these
little cars make wonderful cruisers. They possess movie-star good looks and
turn heads everywhere. Drive them hard though and you'll soon realize that
what lies beneath that sheet metal is usually in need of some serious
improvement . Mike Maier of Maier Racing is the owner of this stunning blue
1966 coupe, a car that was supposed to have been bought as a play toy for
him and his wife. However when you grow up in a racing family, leaving
things alone is generally not an option. Little by little the Mustang evolved away from the family
hot-rod and into a test bed for new parts. More importantly than that
though, it's now one of the baddest street 'Stangs on the planet. Most
people will tell you that "Bigger is always better"... one drive in the
Maier Racing '66 coupe however may make you rethink that statement
Racing Bonneville On a $300 Craigslist Motorcycle - /RideApart
"You don't have to spend a million bucks to fulfill your dreams. I bought a
bike for $300, got it running and entered it in a race I'd always dreampt
Bonneville is an epic thing that brings out all kinds of speed contraptions
and it was an honor to ride an old 1986 Honda VFR750 in the
Run-Whatcha-Brung class and pretend to be like my childhood heroes.
If I can do it, anyone can." — Jamie Robinson
For more on motorcycles, visit http://RideApart.com
Back to Basics: 1966 Coronet - /BIG MUSCLE
• Joe Massucco Jr.
This is a 1966 Dodge Coronet 440, and it's as stock as they come. We're
talking drum brakes, 14-inch steel wheels with bias ply tires and a bench
seat that was made for drive-in movies. I found this beauty at a local car
show and instantly fell in love with it, because it reminded me of an old
moonshine or getaway car that you'd see in any number of b-movies made in
the 1970's. This car is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and hot damn if
it wasn't exactly what we ordered.
1966 Cobra Dream Machine - /BIG MUSCLE
It's a 1966 Shelby Cobra replica that was built by a Father and his two
sons more than 10 years ago. It's faded fiberglass shell is chipped and
spider-webbed. The stainless trim is pitted and tarnished and the wheels
are coated in a thick layer of brake dust. The carpet is also coming up and
every now and then it blows flames from its side-pipes due to it running a
little rich. Some may think these are problems. Me personally - I think
it's one of the coolest cars I've ever driven. This episode of "Big Muscle"
is about the drive, those project cars that we work on, and the
exhilaration we get when we wring them out for the first time on the open