Rob Ida is a third-generation car builder and, in Kevin’s estimation, one of the most talented designer-builders on the planet. His penchant for Tuckers is renowned, and he also tackles an incredible array of projects from the most modern to most archaic and just about everything in between. In Part 4 of our five-part series, Rob chronicles the hurdles and headaches of restoring a rare 1962 Holman Moody Ford Falcon/Challenger 3 for SEMA.
TGGP Season 2
Once upon a time, old school hot rodders had to sacrifice cabin comfort for horsepower. Today, there are zero reasons for any cool car not to have AC. Much of the credit for this can be attributed to the folks at Vintage Air and its Chief Innovation Officer, Ryan Zwicker. The company’s SureFit and Front Runner systems have revolutionized the industry, leading Willie to dub them “the panacea of pulleys,” and Ryan to note that the “best way to judge a fan’s capacity to do work is how much motor it has on it.”
As owner of the successful Girl Gang Garage and co-host of MotorTrend’s long-running hit series All Girls Garage and Garage Squad, Bogi Lateiner has earned an enviable reputation in the automotive world. Now deep into her third all-female SEMA build – “I did not expect to be building a SEMA car, ever!”– she takes time out to chat with Kevin and Willie about the project in the third installment of our five-part series. “It’s the biggest undertaking that I’ve ever done; it is absolutely insane, it’s just an unreal project!”
In the second podcast of this five-part series, Willie goes deep on his first gen ‘66 Dodge Charger build for this year’s SEMA Show. Not exactly renowned for its natural beauty, this labor of love (emphasis on labor) is inspired in part by Kevin’s own kick-ass 1990 LS-powered BMW M3 build several SEMAs back. “Ugly cars get really cool at SEMA,” notes Willie, “and sometimes really gorgeous cars get really ugly at SEMA!”
Cleveland Power & Performance is a one-of-a-kind hybrid: part salvage yard, part custom build shop, and all-around amazing. Kevin describes it as “a go-to place for nothing but the awesome stuff,” and second-generation owner Rick Fragnoli doesn’t disagree. In fact, his famed “Reverence” restomod – a ’69 Charger with a 6.2L supercharged Hellcat engine – recently sold for around $400K. “If it’s a $20 part or a $20,000 part,” Rick tells the guys, “we’ll work with whatever parameters people need.”
If SEMA is the Super Bowl of car shows, the Ring Brothers are the Lebron and Michael of car builders. Yet even Jim and Mike are up against the wall trying to get parts for the three projects they’re bringing to this year’s highly anticipated event, the first since the onset of the pandemic. In the first of a five-part series leading up to SEMA, Kevin and Willie go two-on-two with the legendary siblings who modestly describe themselves as “just guys that like cars and [are] lucky enough that people like what we’re doing.”
On today’s podcast Kevin observes that once you truly understand the way it moves, “the amount of things that you can go make with metal is incredible!” Much of the credit for this can be attributed to the good folks at Woodward Fab, purveyors of fine industrial grade sheet metal equipment at affordable prices. “The tools are very old and technology, they’re very, very simple,” says Manager Darren O’Brien, “but the right tool can make the difference in speed and quality of your project.”
Established in 1967, Kinsler Fuel Injection is all about stacks and individual throttle bodies. From vintage to state of the art, restoration to the latest and greatest, their specialty is and has always been classic stuff in modern interpretations. “My job is to burn up as much fuel as I can,” GM Greg Murchison tells Kevin and Willie, “because fuel is power.”
When it comes to Chevy Blazers, Mark Sopko of Motor City K5 is THE go-to guy. “I did Broncos for almost 20 years; I knew Broncos like the back of my hand,” before deciding to change course and specialize exclusively in Blazers. “I was expert in the old world, I need to be expert in the Blazer world,” he tells Kevin and Willie, “so that’s what I did.” And in a big way, with his 4WD SUV walking off with First Place at 2020’s Detroit Autorama.
Livernois Motorsports and Engineering is making great modern horsepower come alive in your car, and they’re doing it in the easiest and simplest of ways. “Everything today starts with the tuner, it’s the cheapest mod you can do,” co-founder Dan Millen tells the guys. With 27 lifts and 45-50 cars in the shop at any given time, this self-described die-hard Ford guy turned die-hard everything guy is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible both on and off the track.
Vorshlag Motorsports owner Terry Fair knows the ins and outs of every type of go-fast car. Autocross, open track events, time trials, wheel to wheel road racing, drag racing; you name it, he’s done it at a high level. As if that’s not impressive enough, Kevin has dubbed him “the Christopher Columbus of LS swaps,” having been at the forefront of a movement that has gone from laughed at to lauded. Strap in for some fascinating conversation as Terry shares his wealth of knowledge with the guys.
Fresh off a nine-day, 1600-mile cross country bike ride, Kevin’s a little raw but raring to go swapping stories with noted custom bike builder Kevin Dunworth. Add Willie to the mix and you’ve got a trio of diehard motorcycle fans shooting the breeze on everything two-wheeling past, present and future. “We are in the last of the gasoline era in cars and bikes,” observes Dunworth, before adding, “I might get beat up at the bar for saying this, but I think electric’s cool!”