Paige and I came up with the basic idea and concept for the car. Fords are so prevalent that we wanted to make our statement using a Chevrolet and all Chevrolet running gear. Our concept was to develop an incredibly nasty looking car but yet incorporating the highest levels of high tech to match our personal decorating style of modern chrome and glass. We also wanted to emphasis simple, clean and elegant.
We chose to use an all aluminum, fully polished block. We were able to locate an all aluminum 502, supposedly one of a run of 60. Then engine was built by David Cooper in Marysville, Tennessee. We had also contacted Jim Foley in Reno, Nevada who was able to locate a 50 year old Hilborn Fuel Injection System and we came up with the idea of spinning new stacks to follow the rake of the hood. We then chose Accel Generation 7 electronics because we needed the vast array of parameters that it offered in order to adequately feed the engine. Jim asked that we leave the entire design and finish of the injection system to his imagination. The engine puts out just under 700 horse power.
We did not want to break the lines of the car with rear-view mirrors, so we incorporated a color - self-reversing camera eye in the chassis and designed the system so it shows as a default on the DVD screen when the ignition is on. We incorporated turn signals within the headlights to further maintain the clean look. All the wiring is skillfully hidden within the frame to further perpetuate the clean look that we desired.
We wanted to make a statement with the wheels and designed them with simple, open and tasteful lines. They were cut especially for us as a one-off set. The entire flow of the car was a vision of 100 miles per hour while standing still.
Jason Rushforth of Tacoma, Washington helped us with the concept drawings, which were then put in the capable hands of Mike Rutter of Rutterz Rodz. Mike is only 34 years old, but possesses the knowledge, capability and work ethic of a seasoned, veteran car builder. We built the car through a series of 795 emails/pictures, plus telephone calls and faxes, without a single harsh word. We only saw the car twice in its entire build process, once in the raw and once in many, many pieces prior to paint. Mike also did all of the body work and painting and then the car was turned over to Paul Atkins of Cullman, Alabama for a one-off interior.
Our first actual view of the car was 1 ½ days prior to our departure for Detroit from Mike’s shop in Bristol, Tennessee.
The shows and the accolades are all secondary to the essence of hot rodding for Paige and I and Hoochie. The memorable aspect of this incredible year’s ride was the fact that we traveled approximately 50,000 miles in the last year mainly to satisfy our thirst for cars and car people. We have met and shared experiences with many of the hot rod icons and most importantly, an extraordinary number of memorable hot rodders throughout the United States.
This whole sport is about people, cars and good times. We have certainly “seen the USA with our Chevrolet”. Rich is nearly 61 years old and we had the opportunity to either continue the quest for the last dollar or to take some time to see the country, see fabulous street rods and meet extraordinary people. We are blessed with good health and we chose to take a hiatus from work and create some memories that we will be able to treasure for the rest of our days on this planet. We hope that the good health will continue so that we can see even more cars, travel to even more places and meet the rest of the good people that we have yet to meet.