This episode is all about metal – shaping, smashing, cutting, making it do what you want it to do, which isn’t always easy. “I’ve definitely filled up a few scrap bins in my day,” Bruce Van Sant, Owner/President of Trick-Tools, confesses to the guys. From his auto body background growing up on a farm, to becoming a self-described tool junky, Bruce now offers all kinds of tools, even tools for tools!
For pure sub-9 second, factory direct, mega horsepower drag racing, nothing beats COPO Camaro. Just ask Rich Rinke, multi award-winning driver and owner of COPO Parts Direct. Kevin and Willie do just that as they get the inside scoop on the latest and greatest. From battles royale in the staging lanes, to the next evolution of the Central Office Production Order, one thing remains constant, says Rich: “We’re a bunch of overgrown Hot Wheels lovers!”
“The future creates the present.” So Google’s top-rated futurist speaker Thomas Frey tells the guys in this fascinating podcast. From predictions of the death of the internal combustion engine and the emergence of the 1000-mile range electric car, to the impact of autonomous vehicles on real estate values and how the Covid era will fundamentally change mankind, “We’re gonna try to stretch people’s thinking a little bit here, so let’s jump right in!”
Kevin and Willie ponder the science, the mystery, the voodoo behind the harmonic balancer that holds an engine together. They invite Fluidampr’s Ivan Snyder III to school them on the three types of vibration to be aware of – unbalanced, axial and torsional – starting with Lesson #1: You know you’ve gotta have a damper, but what the hell is it? The answer: It’s crucial.
Kevin and Willie go behind the scenes with longtime SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting as he prepares to roll out SEMA 360, the organization’s new online platform created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the annual Las Vegas trade show. With over 6,000 member companies, the Specialty Equipment Market Association is much more than its namesake event. The preeminent trade association of the automotive aftermarket is on the front line of defense, actively tackling the biggest challenges facing the $45 billion industry. “It’s a whack-a-mole gig” that keeps Chris extremely busy.
The Rambler Ranch in Colorado is, in a word, unique. THE destination for all things AMC, Nash (and Kelvinator appliances) is home to, as Willie puts it, “one of the most amazing car collections on Earth.” Started in 1992 with 30 cars and now numbering upwards of 800, rarities include a 1955 Pinin Farina Speciale, 1948 Nash Tow Truck, AMC Marquesa prototype, and the only AMC Concord Touring Car in existence. “I have seen grown men cry,” says caretaker Ben Hamilton, “and I’m not joking.”
Troy Ladd has a special love for old school hot rods, especially 30’s-era hot rods. Ever since he built his first car in high school – a ’66 Mustang – the visionary behind Hollywood Hot Rods has made his bones on new stuff that looks like old stuff and makes you feel like you’re back in 1936. From one-of-a-kind barnyard finds to the one that got away, Troy tells the guys, “I wish I had the ability to keep them all and never sell a car,” but unfortunately that’s no way to run a business.
Comedian Christopher Titus is an automotive addict. “The disease bites you,” he admits to Kevin and Willie. “It’s terminal, I can’t get rid of it, and I’m glad I have it!” In a lively discussion, the trio of horsepower freaks share crash and burn stories, discuss the famous Titus-Foose “Once a Knight” ’56 Chevy, and agree that “cars are a great litmus test for any relationship you’re in”… well, that and IKEA.
Engine builder Jon Kaase is all about winning. The 1977 NHRA Pro Stock Championship. 12X Mountain Motor Pro Stock Champion. 9X Engine Masters Challenge Champion. You get the picture. Jon recently sat down with Kevin and Willie to discuss his many accomplishments, most notably the revered Boss Nine automotive engine, and his many big engine battles in the marine world.
It’s a fairly simple equation: More Air + More Fuel = More Power. A supercharger can boost that power by as much as 50-85%. Now ProCharger has changed the game with its F3X capable of generating 3500 HP @ 70,000 RPM. Sergio Shifman joins the guys to explore the company’s lineup of full kits that can add hundreds of horses to late-model vehicles in a single weekend.
Art, sophistication, elegance, performance and total badass-ery are the hallmarks of Rad Rides by Troy. As Bonneville, SEMA and Ridler Award-winning custom builder Troy Trepanier informs Willie and Kevin, “this ain’t no 40-hour job,” and that’s no joke. With a pledge to constantly raise the bar without sacrificing quality, he lives by his mantra: “We try to let the car tell us what it wants a little bit.”
In the second of their two-part interview with Gale Banks, Willie and Kevin get deeper insights into the man who changed the history of the internal combustion engine. “I’m hopelessly addicted to horsepower,” exclaims the racing legend who cut his teeth on gas and is now largely known for diesel. On predicting what lies ahead, the born to run competitor anticipates “it has to have a higher energy density.” And that’s just the beginning.