There’s nothing dull or boring about the world of hot rodding. Awesome cars, innovative builders, spectacular events and larger-than-life personalities - there’s always something cool going on! We’re out there in the real world of hot rodders week in and week out; when we come across something that’s a little out of the ordinary, we’ll bring it to you in SPOTLIGHT.
A number of you have commented to us about the unusual looking GMC Typhoon truck in the public gallery and have asked for more info on it, so we decided we'd do a Spotlight feature on it.
It started out as a stock, all wheel drive, turbocharged V-6 Typhoon bought new in 1993 by it's current owner, but after he grenaded the 'tweaked" V-6 for the third time, he decided he'd try something completely different with it. To the chagrin of the purist Typhoon collector, he junked the entire drive train and dropped in a 438 cu. in. blown, nitrous small block V-8 that puts out close to 900 HP.
He sandwiched in a turbo hydro 3 speed tranny, hooked it to a burly GMC transfer case that now feeds those 900 horses to a beefed up differential in the front and in the rear to a Currie 9" Ford rear end. (Yes, it's still all wheel drive!)
While he was at it, he junked the entire stock suspension too. Now, it's got tubular A arms with coil overs in the front.
In the rear, the truck now has coil over ladder bars (with wheelie bars to keep the front end planted)
And to heap insult on injury to the classic purist mentality, the owner decided he could improve on the stock Typhoon's look by chopping the top 2 1/2 inches.
And oh yeah, he added a tilt front too!
The end result is one bad, hot rodded, Pro-Street Typhoon - take a gander.
Check out more of our Spotlight features.
Want to take a trip back in time? Check out Back to the Fifties
You don't want to miss the Dynamic Racing Duo - Roger and Sue Campbell and their Wild Willys.
You have NEVER seen the likes of this next ride- The Stragster; It's one Bad Ride!
We saw Route 66/Chicagoland Speedway from every angle when GoodGuys came to town, check outGoodGuys/PEAK Chicagoland Nationals
Hot Night and Cool Cars was the name of the game at - Hot August Nights 2009!
You'll won't believe the creation from - Mark "MAD MAN" Madson
We've been to a lot of car shows all across the U.S.- big and small; local and national- but there's something about the MSRA's "Back to the 50's" car show in the Twin Cities that's different.
Sure it's big, in fact maybe the biggest. Just under 12,000 cars showed up this year with over 100,000 spectators.
And it's amazing to see how the organizers - all volunteers and members of the Minnesota Street Rod Association- can so smoothly herd those 12,000 street rods in and out of the fairgrounds each day without a single hitch. (The Minnesota state police ought to take traffic control lessons from these guys!)
And the spotless setting- the Minnesota State Fairgrounds- couldn't be nicer: Paved streets lined with lots of big, leafy shade trees; so many first class food vendors scattered throughout the venue that it would take a month just to sample then all; many of the buildings and restaurants constructed in a small town, 50's motif. (and incidentally the fresh baked cinnamon rolls were to die for!)
Cruising is a big part of "Back tot he 50's" and there are litterally miles of tree lined paved hot rod boulevards to cruise on.
And if you had a problem with your street rod, not to worry. The Michigan Street Rod Association, as they do every year, trailered their rolling hot rod repair shop to the event, replete with a complete inventory of hard to find parts and staffed with volunteer gearheads ready to help you tackle any problem in order to get that hot rod rollin' again.
And speaking of parts, there were so many after market vendors there that you could have started from scratch and built a complete turnkey street rod on the spot just from what was available in inventory at the show. And if the vendors left your wanting the swap meet on Sunday offered so much quality merchandise there was no reason to leave the show empty handed.
Now this is all well and good, but it's not what makes this 37 year old event so special. What sets it apart is subtle, and yet you feel it the moment you walk into the fairgrounds. You are stepping back in time, to a time of innocence, a time of friendliness and goodwill, all centered on sharing the joy and tradition of the hot rodding experience. There is a reason why so many people travel from all over the United States to come to this event year after year. It is in a very real sense an extended family reunion that brings back to life the feeling of an era that was a whole lot simpler and less complicated. It's a joyful, carefree feeling that's contagious. It's good for the hot rod soul!
A tip of the hat and a low bow to Jerry Johnson, The Minnesota Street Rod Association and all it's hard working volunteers for putting on such a great event!
Here are some more pictures and our unique take on a "quick" trip through "Back to the 50's". Just a sampling of the cars and the people from this fantastic weekend.
More of the sights that make this weekend so special.
This is something you don't see everyday!
So Much to see, so little time!
This is one event you do not want to miss; visit MSRA.com so you can start planning your trip for next year.
The racing stars were aligned when Roger and Sue Campbell met. For as long as he can remember Roger liked to build cars that went fast and Sue well, she liked to drive cars that went fast. It was a match made in gear head heaven!
It was a display of generosity that brought the '41 Willys into the Campbell's life over 30 years ago. The car was given to Roger by a man who had purchased it in 1952 with the intention of turning it into a hot rod. Unfortunately that vision was never realized and the car was left to rust in his backyard. At the age of 72 the former owner asked Roger if he wanted the car. Always up for a challenge, Roger brought the Willys home. At first Sue thought the car was the ugliest thing she had ever seen, but all it took was a trip to a GoodGuys show and an encounter with a fully hot rodded, bright green Willys to change her mind. Realizing the possibilities they had with their rust pile, Roger and Sue began their transformation in earnest. Eight months after they started, with 8 hour "after work" days during the week and 16 hour days on the weekends the Willys was finished. Very proudly Roger and Sue were responsible for every nut and bolt on the car. She did all the bodywork; they both worked on the chassis and welding; Roger was responsible for the paint, transmission and the beast under the hood.
The finished product of all that hard work, patience and dedication became Sue's daily driver. Sue would drive the Willys to work Monday thru Friday. Friday night it would go into the garage, street tires would come off, slicks on, open exhaust uncorked and it was off to the track on Saturday. Sunday night the reverse and on Monday it was back to driving to work. As time went by though it became quite evident that, to put it mildly, Suzie had a lead foot. With the state in possession of her driver's license and having been dropped by their insurer, Roger decided it might be a good idea to get Sue and the Willys off the street and strictly on the track so he converted the Willy to a pure racer replete with a roll bar, all the requisite safety equipment and a fire breathing engine. Roger and Sue took their new beast to the track and the rest is history.
Take a look at the before and the incredible after:
Currently this wild Willys runs a blown 551 cu. in. Chevy big block alcohol motor with a 13 to 1 compression ratio; it puts out well over 1000hp through a Glide 2 speed hooked to a 9 inch Ford rear. It easily runs mid 8's at 160mph plus. Since Roger and Sue run it as a 9 second car, their biggest challenge is to slow it down!
Throughout their 12 years of serious racing, Roger and Sue have had their share of interesting encounters. At a Super Chevy show in Montgomery Alabama, Sue earned a spot in the finals of the Super Pro class. After waiting several minutes for her opponent to show Roger had a funny feeling. Turns out her good old boy opponent didn't like the idea of racing a woman in front of all of his friends, so he offered to split the first place money with Roger and Sue if they'd call it a day. Never one to back down Roger countered be betting the money for both 1st & 2nd place if this guy could beat Sue. Apparently that was enough enticement for him, so he finally agreed to race. Well Sue cleaned his clock and her opponent left mumbling about having been beaten by that little Yankee lady in the red coupe. It's this spirit of good will that keeps this couple a popular fixture on the racing circuit everywhere they go!
Now take a look at Sue and her Willys in action:
Now for the REAL fun!
This flamed red Willys is as solid as Roger and Sue. In the last 2 years Roger hasn't even had to change a spark plug. Regular maintenance is all this ride takes; Roger believes if nothing is wrong with it, leave it alone. Gone are the days of letting the race car outrun your wallet! When the day is over, having a good time is what it's all about for Roger and Sue Campbell. This "good time" attitude is clearly evident in their pit. The large group of people - The Rod Squad, a car club the Campbells belonged to in the '70's. A chance encounter on Facebook brought the club back together and when the members found out Sue was going to be racing at Beech Bend they traveled from near and far to gather and support her. Proof positive of the stellar character of Roger and Sue and the aura of fun and good will that surrounds this hot rodding duo.
Although they are "in it for the fun" this is one racing couple that's a force to be reckoned with. Sue doesn't take any prisoners and Roger makes sure she doesn't have to. Keep an eye out for them this summer; they'll be racing in the Nostalgia Pro Comp Series. Just look for the pretty and petite unassuming redhead with the flamed out fingernails and her 6'5" mustachioed crew chief! And if you would like to own a replica of this awesome ride, there are Johnny Lightening and Eagle Collectable Universal Hobby models of their Willys.